811.2222 (1940)/17

The Swiss Legation to the Department of State


An Act cited as the “Selective Training and Service Act of 1940”, passed by the Senate of the U.S.A. on August 28, 1940, provides in Section 3 (a) that every male citizen of the United States, and every male alien residing in the United States, who has declared his intention to become such a citizen, between the ages of twenty-one and thirty-one at the time fixed for his registration …2 shall be liable for training and service in the land and naval forces of the United States. According to this provision, the United States Government is authorized to draft for military training such aliens who have obtained their so-called “first papers”, but who have not become citizens of the United States.

It is noted that according to the Swiss laws the declaration by a Swiss citizen of his intention to become a citizen of the United States has no effect on his status as a Swiss citizen, since he does not lose his Swiss citizenship and as such he will be in a position to invoke the Treaty of Friendship and Commerce between Switzerland and the United States of November 25, 1850,3 which provides in its Article II that “the citizens of one of the two countries, residing or established in the other, shall be free from personal military service…”.2

The Swiss Legation sees therefore the existence of a legal conflict between the text and the spirit of the Treaty of 1850 and the proposed text of the Act of Selective Training and Service of 1940 and finds it desirable that the wording of the proposed Act be brought into harmony with the existing Treaty, in order to prevent difficulties which may later arise if the act should be approved in its present form.

  1. Omission appears in the original aide-mémoire.
  2. Hunter Miller (ed.), Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States of America, vol. 5, p. 845.
  3. Omission appears in the original aide-mémoire.