Mr. Bayard to Mr. de
Washington, April 7, 1888.
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 17th ultimo, in which you inquire whether, according to the laws in force in this country, Mr. Alexander Menist is an American citizen, he having been born in Philadelphia on the 8th of November, 1869 (his father, there resident, being then a naturalized citizen of the United States, of Dutch birth), but having been in the year 1878 taken back to the Netherlands by his father, the latter having left this country without the intention of returning hither, but of remaining permanently in the land of his origin.
The parties interested in the case as stated by you are not before this Department, and therefore no opinion is given as to them.
But the general view held by this Department is that a naturalized American citizen by abandonment of his allegiance and residence in this country and a return to the country of his birth, animo manendi, ceases to be a citizen of the United States; and that the minor son of a party described as aforesaid, who was born in the United States during the citizenship there of his father, partakes during his legal infancy of his father’s domicile, but upon becoming sui juris has the right to elect his American citizenship, which will be best evidenced by an early return to this country.
This right so to elect to return to the land of his birth and assume his American citizenship could not, with the acquiescence of this Government, be impaired or interfered with.