811.2222 (1940)/559

The Finnish Minister (Procopé) to the Secretary of State

Memorandum

The Finnish Minister, under instructions from his Government, brought forward the following concerning the application of the Selective Service Act to Finnish citizens in the United States.

I.
As a matter of principle the Finnish Government consider that the extension of the liability for military service to citizens of foreign countries is contrary to the rules concerning rights and duties of foreign nationals and to international practice. It may be noted that in Finland, in addition to Finnish citizens, only persons without any citizenship can be liable to military service.
II.
However, with regard to a) persons possessing the nationality of both Finland and the United States and b) persons who have declared their intention of becoming American citizens the Finnish Government do not make representations as far as the extension of the stipulations of the Draft Act to these persons is concerned.
III.
On the other hand the extension of military service to other Finnish citizens in the United States could not be agreed to by the Finnish Government.
IV.
In this connection special attention is drawn to the Convention of January 27, 1939 between Finland and the United States9 under which persons possessing the nationality of both countries who habitually reside in the territory of one of them and who are in fact most closely connected with that country shall be exempt from all military obligations in the territory of the other country. It is obvious that under this Convention a person possessing both Finnish and American nationality who does not permanently reside in the [Page 487]United States should be exempt from the stipulations of the Selective Service Act. As this applies to persons of both Finnish and American nationality, it is only logical to conclude, a fortiori, that the same rule should be applied first of all to persons who possess only Finnish nationality and who are not permanent residents of the United States, but also to other persons of only Finnish nationality living in this country, with the exception of those mentioned above under point II.
  1. Department of State Treaty Series No. 958; 54 Stat. (pt. 2) 1712.