The Spanish Embassy to the Department of State
The Embassy of Spain at Washington has the honor to advise the Department of State that, according to statements which have appeared in the newspaper La Prensa of New York, all foreigners who [Page 489]remain in the United States after May 16, 1942, or more than three months from the date of their entry into this country, whichever date is the later, will have to register and serve with the armed forces unless they have applied for and obtained a certificate of non-residence.
If such reports be correct, it is evident that such procedure, when the Selective Service Act is applied, would violate the provisions of the Treaty of Friendship which governs the relations between the United States and Spain,11 Article 5 of which exempts the citizens of the two countries who reside in the territory of the other from being called to arms.
On this occasion, the Embassy of Spain takes the liberty of reminding the Department of State that, on October 14, 1940 and under No. 63, it addressed to it a note12 relative to the said exemption from military service for Spanish citizens, which pointed out the same legal grounds referred to in the foregoing paragraph.
The Department of State replied to the said communication by means of its note No. 811.2222 (1940)/38, of October 31 of the year referred to above,13 agreeing to the said exception even for those Spaniards who had obtained what is known as first papers for the acquisition of American Citizenship, the only condition with respect to the latter cases being that they renounce the rights which such papers confer and therefore, their intention to change their nationality.
In view of the foregoing, the Embassy of Spain respectfully requests the Department of State to be good enough to clarify for it the apparent contradiction between the press reports mentioned and the Treaty of Friendship referred to above and the note of the Department, likewise referred to, and the Embassy likewise respectfully requests that the necessary steps be taken with the competent authorities to the end of maintaining the right of Spanish citizens residing in the United States to be exempted from military service.