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As is well known, those so-called “enemy aliens” of Alsatian blood showed at the time when war became imminent in 1914, whose enemy they were, by crossing the frontier in large numbers and enlisting in the French Army. Thousands of them were thus received in each of our frontier cities.

The Germans, on their part, seem to entertain no doubt as to this. On several occasions, they reminded their troops that when they had crossed the Rhine, and found themselves in Alsace, they ought to consider themselves in “enemy territory.” It seems difficult to believe that this friendly American country, now nobly fighting for the same cause as ourselves, which, teste the President, includes the Alsatians, would persist in calling them, by a sweeping statement, enemy aliens, causing them in many cases, both the greatest possible humiliation and the loss of their employment.

Is it, on the other hand, a wise policy to oblige those men to consort with the Germans? to tell them that they are Germans, that they cannot be trusted? Is this a way to confirm them in their feelings, or to breed disgust and discontent? The question, I believe, answers itself.

I beg to commend these facts to your earnest consideration, hoping that, with the same fair-mindedness which caused you to have the registration forms altered, [you] will cause the cards to be similarly modified. Believe me [etc.]


[Enclosure 2]

The Attorney General (Gregory) to the French Ambassador


WASHINGTON, March 22, 1918. DEAR MR. AMBASSADOR: I have read with interest your letter of March 18, which you delivered personally.

In the first part of page 2 of this letter you again insist that French Alsatian-Lorrainers born after 1871 are not alien enemies, and, after all, my dear Mr. Ambassador, this seems to be your real contention, as it is the contention of the attorneys who have written the Department on the same subject. I can only again repeat my statement that under the act of Congress persons born in AlsaceLorraine since 1871 are alien enemies, and that I have no power to change an act of Congress, but it is my sworn duty to enforce those acts. I have never at any time conceded that these men were not enemy aliens, but I have most emphatically stated that by virtue of the act of Congress referred to they were such in the eyes of the law.

Because of your earnest insistence that they should not be required to describe themselves as enemy aliens, I agreed that in registering they might describe themselves as Alsatian-Lorrainers, and further agreed that a separate list of these persons might be made under the head of Alsatian-Lorrainers. I cannot acquiesce in your suggestion that we are compelling these men to consort with Germans. We are not insisting that they cannot be trusted, but, on the contrary, we have given you assurances that the utmost liberality practicable will be shown them, but I cannot take any action which can be construed as an admission that they are not within the regulations governing alien enemies or that they will not be dealt with for violating those regulations in case the necessity for doing so arises.

The certificate proper, appearing on page 3 of the alien enemy registration card which I sent you, is, to my mind, not subject to objection, as the holder of the card is merely described therein as a “ registrant” and as “a registered person.” "

The note appearing on page 4 is a simple statement that the holder of this card is subject to the regulations concerning the conduct of alien enemies. To leave this off would make the card incomplete, and the taking of it off in the cases of these persons would be a practical admission that this Department did not consider them so subject.

As to the change you suggest in this note, the only regulations are those concerning the conduct of alien enemies. If the note were changed in the manner you indicated it would state that the holder of the card was subject to the regulations concerning the conduct of “ said registrant.” You also insist that the certificate should be changed so as to describe the holder as a French Alsatian-Lorrainer. As there are no regulations prescribing the conduct of French Alsatian-Lorrainers, as such, or prescribing the conduct of any specified registrant, the change you suggest in the note, or the changes you suggest in the note and the certificate, would render the card meaningless and confusing.

Having an earnest desire to comply with your wishes as far as practicable, I have given this matter consideration for the third time, have discussed it with a gentleman very high in authority, and am reluctantly compelled to say that I cannot change the form of the certificate or the form of the note appearing on page 4, and that this decision is final.

As to the change you suggest on page 2, under the heading “ Penalty,” out of deference to your wishes, and because I think this can be done without affecting the legal status of these persons, I am will

I ing to instruct the United States marshals in all districts in which these Alsatian-Lorrainers have registered to erase the words “ alien enemy ” and substitute therefor the word “anyone ” on every card presented by an Alsatian-Lorrainer appearing on the separate lists


of those people now being made up by the Government. It will be quite a while before all these lists are complete, as the work is one of very great magnitude, and it will therefore probably be some 60 days or more before such an arrangement can be carried out. I am returning to you one of the cards changed as you suggested. Sincerely yours,


File No. 860c.01/79
The Secretary of State to the Representative of the Polish National

Committee (Paderewski)

WASHINGTON, March 26, 1918. Sir: I acknowledge the receipt of your letter of February 21 1 with reference to the selection by the National Polish Committee of Michael Kwapiszewski to act as your representative in charge of the issuance of certificates of Polish nationality to Poles born in Germany and in Austria, as well as in Russian Poland.

You request permission to open subagencies in certain of the larger centers of Polish immigration in the United States at which applications for certificates can be received and transmitted for consideration to the main agency, at which Mr. Kwapiszewski will officiate.

You call my attention to the fact that the British Government has authorized the National Polish Committee to issue certificates to Poles resident in the United Kingdom, and you submit a summary of the British declaration on this subject.

I enclose herewith a copy of a letter I received from the Attorney General, which, as you will note, refers to items 1 and 2 of the British declaration.

I am inclined to think that the proposed certificates may be accepted by this Government, in lieu of passports, in cases of Poles departing from the United States. However, the Department would prefer not to make a final decision upon this matter until it has seen the form of certificate to be used and has been informed more definitely as to the proofs of identity and national status upon which they are to be issued as all persons having the legal status of alien enemies are required to obtain the permission of the Department of Justice before they leave this country. This Department is of the opinion that the proposed certificate should set forth the date and place of birth of the holder, the place of his residence prior to his immigration to the United States, and the nationality which he was recognized as being at the time of his arrival in this country. The signed photograph of the person to whom the certificate is

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issued should be attached thereto, with an impression of the seal of the office by which the document is granted, placed partly upon the photograph and partly upon the certificate. I am [etc.]


[Enclosure 1]
The Attorney General (Gregory) to the Secretary of State

WASHINGTON, March 21, 1918. MY DEAR Mr. SECRETARY: I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your communication of March 8,2 enclosing copy of communication addressed to your Department by Mr. Ignace J. Paderewski, representative of the National Polish Committee of Paris, on the subject of the establishment in the United States of agencies for the purpose of issuing certificates of Polish nationality to Poles born in Germany and in Austria, as well as in Russian Poland, in which communication Mr. Paderewski states that the Polish Committee have selected Michael Kwapiszewski as their representative to take charge of the actual work of issuing the certificates; and request permission to open subagencies in certain of the larger centers of Polish immigration in the United States at which applications can be received.

You state that before replying to Mr. Paderewski you desire an expression of the views of this Department regarding these Polish agencies.

This Department has no objection to the establishment of such subagencies, nor to the issuing of the certificates referred to. I note however that in the letter addressed to you by Mr. Paderewski under date of February 21, he makes the following statement:

I am happy to say that the British Government has also recognized the National Polish Committee for the issue of similar certificates on the grounds that Poles resident in the United Kingdom are alien friends, and I am submitting a summary of the British acknowledgement and declaration on this subject.

1. Poles resident in the United Kingdom whether Russian, German or Austrian subjects, are considered by the British Government from henceforth as alien friends.

2. The British Government accepts certificates given to Poles by the National Polish Committee as officially establishing that the holder is a Pole.

3. These certificates may be accepted in place of a national passport in case of departure for abroad, after they have been provided with the visé of the National Polish Committee and with the authorization required by the respective states.

4. The National Polish Committee has the right to certify the signature of Poles who carry the certificates of the National Polish Committee.

1 Filed separately under File No. 860c.01/84. 'Not printed.

If it is inferred from the foregoing quotation that it is the aim of the Polish Committee to seek exemption from the statutory classification of alien enemies, for persons who are to hold these certificates of Polish nationality, I beg to inform you that the classification of alien enemies is defined by Revised Statutes section 4067 and cannot be altered without an act of Congress. I have the honor to point out to you that the fact that I have no objection to the establishment of the agencies referred to must not be interpreted as an expression of opinion by me on the advisability of excluding Poles from the classification of alien enemies. Respectfully,


File No. 860c.01/94
The Secretary of State to the Representative of the Polish National

Committee (Paderewski)

WASHINGTON, August 20, 1918. Sir: Referring to the matter of the proposed issuance by your Committee of “ Certificates of Polish Nationality” to residents of the United States who may be technically classed as “alien enemies” under the peculiar provisions of section 4067 of the Revised Statutes of the United States, because of their birth in enemy countries, but who are of Polish nationality, I beg to advise you that this Government authorizes the use in such certificates of the following paragraph which corresponds to the wording contained in the form proposed by your Committee with the exception of the omission of the words " and citizens " following the words “ public authorities :"

By virtue of authority conferred on the Polish National Committee at Paris (recognized by the United States Government on November 10, 1997), by the Department of State of the United States Government, this is to certify that

(Name) Residing at

(Give residence) Formerly a resident of, and claimed as a subject by

is of Polish nationality, and as such, is entitled to the consideration of public authorities which the Government of the United States has agreed to extend to Poles to whom these certificates are issued. (Signed)

IGNACE JAN PADEREWSKI Authorized representative in the United States

of the Polish National Committee at Paris


See telegram No. 2799 to the Ambassador in France, Foreign Relations, 1917, Supplement 2, vol. I, p. 778.

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