360h.117 Rigler, Frank/9

The Minister in Yugoslavia (Wilson) to the Secretary of State

No. 513

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Legation’s despatch No. 504 of April 10, 1936,22 concerning the military service case of Frank Rigler.23 On page two of that despatch I explained that I believed that cases of this sort were due to misunderstanding caused by replies given to persons contemplating a visit to Yugoslavia by Yugoslav consulates in the United States. I therefore requested the Foreign Office to instruct the Yugoslav consulates in the United States that in reply to inquiries as to immunity from military service in Yugoslavia they inform the visa applicants that they are permitted to spend a period of six months every three years in Yugoslavia without being obliged to serve their military term on condition that they have fulfilled all the provisions of Article 45 of the Yugoslav Military Law.24

The Legation is in receipt of a note from the Foreign Office, dated April 20, 1936, stating as follows: [Page 834]

“In reply to the note of the Legation of the United States of America No. 357 of April 4, 1936, the Koyal Ministry of Foreign Affairs has the honor to inform the Legation that it has not failed to give new instructions to all Royal Diplomatic and Consular Missions abroad concerning the strict application of the provisions of Art. 45 of the Law on the Organization of the Royal Army and Navy.”

As the result of these instructions it is hoped that there will be fewer cases of American citizens who, upon their arrival in Yugoslavia, are taken for military service.

Respectfully yours,

Charles S. Wilson
  1. Not printed.
  2. The Yugoslav military authorities had held Mr. Rigler for the performance of military service while temporarily visiting in Yugoslavia, although he had been born in the United States of Yugoslav parentage and claimed American citizenship. The incident arose because the Yugoslav Consul in New York had not made it clear at the time when the visa had been issued that the applicant had not ceased to be considered a Yugoslav national, because he had not previously applied for and obtained authorization to expatriate himself, as required by Yugoslav law. (360 h. 117 Rigler, Frank/5–8)
  3. For the main provisions of this law, see despatch No. 976, January 19, 1931, from the Minister in Yugoslavia, Foreign Relations, 1931, vol. ii, pp. 1050, 1051.