The Sectary of State to the Swiss Minister (Bruggmann)
Sir: I have the honor to refer to your note ad N.2.5. of June 5, 1942 concerning the liability of Swiss nationals for military service in the United States.
The note calls attention to Article II of the Convention of Friendship, Commerce and Extradition between the United States and Switzerland, concluded on November 25, 1850, under which “The citizens of one of the two countries, residing or established in the other, shall be free from personal military service”, and to the Convention Regulating Military Obligations of Certain Persons Having Dual Nationality signed at Bern on November 11, 1937; and the view is expressed that under these conventions Swiss nationals in the United States are unconditionally relieved from military service.[Page 496]
I have taken note of your objection to the provisions of the Selective Service Act regarding the right of neutral aliens to obtain exemption by forfeiting their right thereafter to become American citizens.
All male persons within certain specified ages “residing in the United States”, unless otherwise exempted, are required by Section 2 of the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940 to register and are made liable for military service by Section 3 (a) of the Act.
Swiss nationals temporarily in the United States are not considered to be “residing in the United States” within the meaning of that term as used in the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940 and therefore are not required to register or to render military service under that Act. It is, however, incumbent upon those persons whose departure from the United States is to take place more than three months after their entry to make application within such period of three months to the Local Draft Board in the place in which they are staying for a determination of their residence status. When such determination establishes that they are here temporarily, they are issued a certificate of non-residence which, during the period of its validity, exempts them from registration and military service. Such certificates are renewable upon application. Swiss nationals temporarily in the United States who have registered for military service in error may have such registration canceled by following the procedure for determination of residence.
In addition to the foregoing I may tell you that it is not the intention of this Government to deny to Swiss nationals any right or privilege conferred on them by treaty and appropriate consideration will be given to any individual requests by Swiss nationals for exemption from military service under either of the conventions referred to above whether such requests be made by the nationals themselves or by you in their behalf.