MR. JUSTICE BURTON delivered the opinion of the Court.
The question is whether, under the special circumstances of this case, a native-born American citizen who became an Italian citizen in 1940, and lived in Italy with her Italian husband from 1941 to 1945, nevertheless retained her American citizenship. For the reasons hereinafter stated, we hold that she did not. The controlling statutes are § 2 of the Citizenship Act of 1907,
The petitioner, Rosette Sorge Savorgnan, brought this action in the United States District Court for the Western
Insofar as material, the undisputed facts and those found by the District Court are as follows:
The petitioner was born in Wisconsin in 1915 of native-born parents and resided in the United States until July, 1941. In March, 1940, her intended husband, Alessandro Savorgnan, was an Italian citizen, serving as Italian Vice Consul at St. Louis, Missouri. He informed her that, under Italian law, she would have to become an Italian citizen before he could obtain the necessary royal consent to their marriage. She applied for Italian citizenship. He prepared her application. It was in Italian which he understood, but which she did not understand. In August, the petitioner was granted Italian citizenship. In November, she appeared with Savorgnan at the Italian Consulate in Chicago, Illinois, and, in his presence, signed an instrument which contained an oath, in Italian, expressly renouncing her American citizenship and swearing her allegiance to the King of Italy.
December 26, 1940, the petitioner and Savorgnan were married. In July, 1941, when Italian diplomatic officials were required to leave the United States, an Italian diplomatic passport was issued to the petitioner, and she embarked for Italy with her husband. She remained in Italy until November, 1945, except for six months spent in Germany. While in Italy she lived with her husband and his family in Rome, where he worked in the Italian Foreign Ministry. In November, 1945, she returned to America on an Italian diplomatic passport and later requested the Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service to correct the records of his office to show that she was an American citizen at the time of her return to America. The request was denied and she instituted the present proceeding.
There is no evidence of her maintaining, at any time after her marriage, a residence, dwelling place or place of general abode apart from her husband. The District
We thus face two principal questions:
I. What was the effect upon the petitioners American citizenship of her applying for and obtaining Italian citizenship? The Government contends that she thereby was naturalized in a foreign state in conformity with its laws within the meaning of either § 2 of the Act of 1907 or § 401 (a) of the Act of 1940.
II. What was the effect upon the petitioner's American citizenship of her residence in Italy from 1941 to 1945? The Government contends that, even if the petitioner did not lose her American citizenship, in 1940, when she
What was the effect upon the petitioner's American citizenship of her applying for and obtaining Italian citizenship?
The requirements for expatriation under § 2 of the Citizenship Act of 1907 are objective.
Traditionally the United States has supported the right of expatriation as a natural and inherent right of all people.
A. One contention of the petitioner is the novel one that her naturalization did not meet the requirements of § 2 of the Act of 1907,
B. The petitioner's principal contention is that she did not intend to give up her American citizenship, although she applied for and accepted Italian citizenship, and that her intent should prevail. However, the acts upon which the statutes expressly condition the consent of our Government to the expatriation of its citizens are stated objectively.
The United States has long recognized the general undesirability of dual allegiances. Since 1795, Congress has required any alien seeking American citizenship to declare "that he both absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to every foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty whatever, and particularly by name, the prince, potentate, state or sovereignty, whereof he was before a citizen or subject; . . . ." 1 Stat. 414, see 8 U. S. C. § 735 (a).
The petitioner, in the instant case, was a competent adult. She voluntarily and knowingly sought and obtained Italian citizenship.
C. The Government contends vigorously that the petitioner's Italian naturalization, in 1940, then and there expatriated her. It contends that this provides sufficient basis, under the Act of 1907, to affirm the decision of the
What was the effect upon the petitioner's American citizenship of her residence in Italy from 1941 to 1945?
A. The Nationality Act of 1940, including its repeal of § 2 of the Citizenship Act of 1907, took effect January 13, 1941.
B. The petitioner's residence abroad met the requirements of the Act of 1940. Sections 403 (a) and 104 used the terms "residence" and "place of general abode" without mention of the intent of the person concerned.
The District Court did not find that the petitioner failed to take up an actual residence or place of general abode abroad. It found merely that in "July 1941 when she left this country for Italy she did so without any intention of establishing a permanent residence abroad or abandoning her residence in the United States, . . . ." (Emphasis supplied.) See 73 F. Supp. at 110. Under the Act of 1940, the issue is not what her intent was on leaving the United States, nor whether, at any later time, it was her intent to have a permanent residence abroad or to have a residence in the United States. The issue
The judgment of the Court of Appeals, accordingly, is affirmed, and the case is remanded to the District Court with directions to dismiss the petition against the United States and to enter judgment in favor of the other defendants in conformity with this opinion.
MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.
MR. JUSTICE FRANKFURTER, whom MR. JUSTICE BLACK joins, is of opinion that the judgment of the District
"When any naturalized citizen shall have resided for two years in the foreign state from which he came, or for five years in any other foreign state it shall be presumed that he has ceased to be an American citizen, and the place of his general abode shall be deemed his place of residence during said years: Provided, however, That such presumption may be overcome on the presentation of satisfactory evidence to a diplomatic or consular officer of the United States, under such rules and regulations as the Department of State may prescribe: And provided also, That no American citizen shall be allowed to expatriate himself when this country is at war." (Emphasis supplied.) 34 Stat. 1228, 8 U. S. C. (1934 ed.) § 17.
"(a) Obtaining naturalization in a foreign state, either upon his own application or through the naturalization of a parent having legal custody of such person: . . . or
"(b) Taking an oath or making an affirmation or other formal declaration of allegiance to a foreign state; . . . ." (Emphasis supplied.) 54 Stat. 1168-1169, 8 U. S. C. § 801 (a) and (b).
"SEC. 403. (a) Except as provided in subsections (g), (h), and (i) of section 401, no national can expatriate himself, or be expatriated, under this section
"SEC. 104. For the purposes of sections 201, 307 (b), 403, 404, 405, 406, and 407 of this Act, the place of general abode shall be deemed the place of residence." (Emphasis supplied.) 54 Stat. 1138, 8 U. S. C. § 504.
"The person in question [Rosetta Andrus Sorge, who, as Rosette Sorge Savorgnan, later became the petitioner in the instant case], having been requested to take an oath . . . pronounced the following words:
" `I, Rosetta Andrus Sorge, born an American citizen, declare I renounce and in truth do renounce my American citizenship, and swear to be faithful to H. M. the King of Italy and Albania, Emperor of Ethiopia, to his royal successors, and to loyally observe the statutes and other laws of the Kingdom of Italy.' " (Emphasis supplied.)
"Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That any declaration, instruction, opinion, order, or decision of any officers of this government which denies, restricts, impairs, or questions the right of expatriation, is hereby declared inconsistent with the fundamental principles of this government." 15 Stat. 223-224, R. S. § 1999, 8 U. S. C. § 800.
The above language, when enacted, was intended to apply especially to immigrants into the United States. It sought to emphasize the natural and inherent right of such people to expatriate themselves from their native nationalities. It sought also to secure for them full recognition of their newly acquired American citizenship. The language is also broad enough to cover, and does cover, the corresponding natural and inherent right of American citizens to expatriate themselves.
"I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion: So help me God. In acknowledgment whereof I have hereunto affixed my signature." 54 Stat. 1157, 8 U. S. C. § 735 (b).
The Citizenship Board of 1906, appointed by the Secretary of State, proposed the expatriation provisions of the Act of 1907, and said in support of them:
"It is true that because of conflicting laws on the subject of citizenship in different countries a child may be born to a double allegiance; but no man should be permitted deliberately to place himself in a position where his services may be claimed by more than one government and his allegiance be due to more than one." H. R. Doc. No. 326, 59th Cong., 2d Sess. 23 (1906-1907).
Similarly, the legislative history of the Nationality Act of 1940 contains no intimation that subjective intent is material to the issue of expatriation. On the other hand, it makes it clear that the relevant provisions of the new Act are a restatement of those in § 2 of the Act of 1907, and of the historic policy of the United States. Hearings before the House Committee on Immigration and Naturalization on H. R. 6127, superseded by H. R. 9980, 76th Cong., 1st Sess. 489, 408 (1940).
In § 401 of the Act of 1940, Congress added a number of per se acts of expatriation. These included, among others, entering the armed forces of a foreign state, accepting office in a foreign state to which only nationals of such state were eligible, and voting in a political election of a foreign state. Lack of intent to abandon American citizenship certainly could not offset any of these. A fortiori a mature citizen who accepted naturalization into the full citizenship of a foreign state could not have been intended by Congress to have greater freedom to establish duality of citizenship.
Congress found it necessary after World War I to enact special legislation to assist men to regain their American citizenship after they had expatriated themselves by taking a foreign oath of allegiance required to permit them to enlist in the armies of certain foreign nations. 40 Stat. 340, 542 et seq. See 55 Cong. Rec. 6935, 7665-7666 (1917); S. Rep. No. 388, 65th Cong., 2d Sess. 7-8 (1917-1918); H. R. Rep. No. 532, 65th Cong., 2d Sess. 3-4 (1917-1918); 56 Cong. Rec. 6008-6009, 6011-6012 (1917-1918).
"SEC. 347. (a) Nothing contained in . . . chapter V [including § 504 which expressly repealed § 2 of the Act of 1907] of this Act, unless otherwise provided therein, shall be construed to affect the validity of any declaration of intention, petition for naturalization, certificate of naturalization or of citizenship, or other document or proceeding which shall be valid at the time this Act shall take effect; or to affect any prosecution, suit, action, or proceedings, civil or criminal, brought, or any act, thing, or matter, civil or criminal, done or existing, at the time this Act shall take effect; but as to all such prosecutions, suits, actions, proceedings, acts, things, or matters, the statutes or parts of statutes repealed by this Act, are hereby continued in force and effect." 54 Stat. 1168, 8 U. S. C. § 747 (a).
Section 504 also included the following clause: "The repeal herein provided shall not terminate nationality heretofore lawfully acquired, nor restore nationality heretofore lost under any law of the United States or any treaty to which the United States may have been a party." 54 Stat. 1174, 8 U. S. C. § 904.