The Finnish Minister for Foreign Affairs (Erkko) to the American Minister in Finland (Schoenfeld)13


Monsieur le Ministre: In your note No. 337 of February 16, 1939,14 you were good enough to call my attention to some questions in connection with the Convention relating to the military service, signed on January 27 last between Finland and the United States of America and to the desire of your Government that a naturalization convention may be concluded between the two countries.

With reference to your note I beg to inform you that my Government consider the said convention of January 27 last as applying to all persons possessing the nationality of both the contracting parties [Page 478] or not only to Finnish and American nationals born with dual nationality but also to naturalized persons who have not ceased to be citizens of their home country. Thus Finnish men between the ages of 17 and 28, who, when naturalized in the United States, have double nationality, shall by virtue of the said Convention be exempt from all military obligations in Finland if they habitually reside in the United States and are in fact most closely connected therewith. Under such circumstances no other treaty defining the military obligations should, in my opinion, be required.

As to the question concerning the conclusion of a naturalization convention I beg to refer to the views expressed by the Finnish Government in the course of previous conversations and correspondence regarding this matter. According to these views the laws of Finland have already solved the question of the abolition of dual nationality in a manner which in the main corresponds to the requirements suggested by your Government in previous proposals and settles by far the most cases of dual nationality. Nevertheless I beg to assure you that the Finnish Government are willing carefully to consider any suggestion your Government might like to make in this matter and particularly to examine any formal proposals or draft conventions which your Government might find useful to prepare for this purpose.15

Please accept [etc.]

Eljas Erkko
  1. Copy transmitted to the Department by the Minister in Finland in his despatch No. 1231, April 24; received May 5.
  2. Not printed.
  3. On July 12, 1939, a new draft treaty of naturalization was presented to the Finnish Government, but no agreement was reached. On May 9, 1941, however, Finland enacted a new citizenship law which brought Finnish jurisprudence on dual nationality more into line with the views of the United States Government.