The Secretary of State to Diplomatic and Consular Officers

Diplomatic Serial No. 3382

Sirs: With reference to the provisions of paragraphs 20, 21 and 22 of the memorandum enclosed with the Department’s Strictly Confidential Instruction of March 21, 1939,25 sent to American Diplomatic officers and certain officers in Europe and the Near East, the Department considers it desirable that each office be informed of the qualifications that experience has shown should be considered in determining the eligibility of persons for advances of government funds against promissory notes when such funds are made available.

While the Department has on occasion made funds available to certain of its offices abroad to enable destitute American citizens able to qualify for loans under the established rules to return to the United States from areas considered by it to be dangerous at the time, the [Page 414] Department does not contemplate making funds generally available for repatriation purposes.

In the event that as a result of future developments the Department should find it necessary and desirable to make such funds available to any office, persons to be considered for repatriation loans must be destitute American citizens who are unable to obtain funds from relatives, friends or employers in the United States and who are in complete and unquestioned possession of their citizenship rights, including the right to the full protection of this Government, to whom passports may properly be issued, who have ties in the United States and who have continually held themselves out while abroad as American citizens and are in every way identifiable as such.

Funds, if provided, may not be made available for the repatriation of the following persons: (a) those merely possessing some circumstantial claim to American citizenship which they have not validated by residence and maintenance of ties in the United States and by truly identifying themselves abroad as American citizens; (b) those resting under unrebutted presumption of expatriation,26 including those desiring to qualify under rule G;27 (c) those who are occupationally engaged or politically involved in activities which are considered to be inimical to the interests of the United States; and (d) those in whose cases there is a good reason to believe that they intend to desert their obligations to their spouses and children remaining abroad. The affording of transportation to the United States, particularly with the aid of government funds, to such classes of destitute persons would undoubtedly cause just public criticism of the action and of the Department.

In brief, persons who may be properly repatriated must be Americans temporarily abroad and desiring to return home and not persons who, having acquired a claim to American citizenship either by birth or naturalization, have removed from the United States and established a home and ties abroad which they would not consider leaving to return to the United States except that they find local conditions temporarily to be to their disadvantage in comparison with those in the United States.

In considering whether an applicant is to be regarded as a citizen of the United States, it would be well to examine the Nationality Act of 1940,28 particularly chapter 4 (see Department’s Circular Instruction [Page 415] of December 27, 1940, Diplomatic Serial No. 3316, “The Nationality Act of 1940”).29

Citizens who may properly be provided repatriation under the arrangements, if made, may receive the benefit of those arrangements for their accompanying alien spouses and unmarried minor children who are properly documented under the immigration laws for admission into the United States. In that connection, your attention is particularly invited to the public charge provisions of the immigration laws. Repatriation funds when provided may not be used in facilitating the admission into the United States of aliens who may become objects of public charity even though they be members of the immediate families of American citizens.

Finally, officers should be prepared to give the Department, if requested, evidence of the qualifications for repatriation under the above conditions of every person whose case they approve for a loan of Government funds.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
Breckinridge Long
  1. Ibid., p. 574.
  2. Naturalized American citizens residing abroad longer than periods allowed under the second paragraph of section 2 of the Act of March 2, 1907, were presumed to have lost their American citizenship unless they could show reason by rules issued by the Department of State.
  3. Naturalized American citizens residing abroad longer than periods allowed under the second paragraph of section 2 of the Act of March 2, 1907, if not covered by other exceptions, could apply to the Consul for an American passport under rule G—by giving assurances they were ready to depart immediately and would reside permanently in the United States.
  4. Approved October 14, 1940; 54 Stat 1137.
  5. Not printed.