130 Howe, Audrey Marie
Memorandum by Mr. Richard W. Flournoy of the Office of the Legal Adviser
The question whether the Americans who take oaths of office when they accept positions as teachers in Canada thereby lose their American nationality under the provision of the first paragraph of Section 2 of the Act of Congress of March 2, 1907, would seem to depend upon the nature of the particular oath taken. If the oath appears from its phraseology to be an unqualified oath of allegiance, it seems necessary to hold that American nationality is lost by taking it. If, on the other hand, the oath appears merely to obligate the taker to be obedient and to bear [Page 106] temporary allegiance to the British Sovereign while he or she continues to hold the position of a teacher in Canada, it seems reasonable to hold, in accordance with previous rulings, that the oath is not an “oath of allegiance”, within the meaning and intent of the statute mentioned, so that American nationality is not lost by taking it. Examples of the two classes of oaths are found in this correspondence. The oath required of teachers in the Province of Alberta reads as follows:
“I, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . of . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . in the Province of Alberta, swear by Almighty God that I will be faithful and bear allegiance to His Majesty King George the Fifth, His Heirs, and Successors according to law. So help me God.”
The oath required of teachers in the Province of Manitoba reads as follows:
“I, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . hereby swear that, while holding any office as teacher in the public schools in the Province of Manitoba, I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to His Majesty, King George the Fifth, his heirs and successors, according to the law. So help me God.”
It is the opinion of this office that the oath required in Alberta is an “oath of allegiance”, within the meaning of the first paragraph of Section 2 of the Act of Congress of March 2, 1907, but that this is not true of the oath required in Manitoba.