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Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of Her Britannic Majesty, is travelling in the United States and Canadas for recreation.
These are therefore to request all authorities, Civil Military and Naval to extend to him that protection and courtesy which are due to the diplomatic representative of a friendly power.
In testimony, etc., twenty-fourth day of August, A. D. 1864.
WILLIAM H. SEWARD.
A foreign minister, being dismissed from service to dismissed near the Government of the United States and "given his passports," as the phrase is, receives a document in the following form:
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
Special Passports, vol. 10, P. 216.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE.
To all to whom these presents shall come, Greeting:
Know Ye, that the bearer hereof the [full name and title] is about to travel abroad.
These are therefore to request all officers of the United States, or of any state thereof to permit him to pass freely, without let or molestation, and to extend to him all friendly aid and protection in case of need. In testimony, etc.,
A. D. 18
During the period from 1846 to 1868 no special To Millard passports are recorded as having been granted to private citizens, save one on July 7, 1855, to Millard Fillmore, “late President of the United States.” In 1868 the practice was revived, but only four special
Number to private citizens.
passports to private individuals were issued during Mr. Seward's administration. Mr. Fish, during the eight years of his term, issued thirty-five; Mr. Evarts, in four years, issued ninety-six; Mr. Blaine, serving from March to December, 1881, issued fifty; Mr. Frelinghuysen, serving a little over three years, issued eighty-three; Mr. Bayard, serving four years, issued one hundred and fifty-four; Mr. Blaine, serving from March, 1889, to June, 1892, issued three hundred and ninety-four; Mr. Foster, serving less than a year, issued twenty-nine; Mr. Gresham, serving from March, 1893, to May, 1895, issued one hundred and three; Mr. Olney, serving from June, 1895, to March, 1897, issued twenty-two.
Shortly after Secretary Gresham assumed office, an effort was made to introduce a more perfect system to regulate the granting of special passports. No fee for a special passport had ever been charged, and the propriety of this practice was questioned, in view of the requirement of law that a fee of one dollar be collected for every citizen's passport issued. The Solicitor of the Department, Hon. W. D. Dabney, stated in a memorandum dated May 7, 1894:
No fee charged formerly.
Solicitor's views, 1894.
There is no law authorizing the issuance of special passports, nor waiving the fee in favor of any person or class of persons.
I do not see how anyone—unless, perhaps, persons traveling in the service of the Government-is entitled to exemption from payment of the fee.
No decision was rendered by Mr. Gresham, and the matter was brought to the attention of his
successor, Mr. Olney. The memorandum of the Olney's Passport Division stated :
The act of 1862 required that a fee be collected “for Passport, every passport issued;" that of 1874 that it be collected memoranfor "each citizen's passport;" that of 1888 (now in force) used the same language. Section 4076 of the Revised Statutes forbids the granting of a passport to any person who is not a citizen of the United States. In view of the above, the propriety of issuing special passports free of charge is seriously questioned. In the case of those documents, called passports, given to foreign diplomatic officers, they are sanctioned by international usage and courtesy. They are addressed often to authorities in this country and are not passports in the meaning of the law; but, to whomsoever they are addressed, they contain a distinct statement that the holder is not an American citizen, and under the circumstances it is thought they may be excluded from consideration in the question submitted.
It was doubted by several officials of the Depart-decision ment whether the special passport was a “citizen's passport" in the meaning of the law, and it was decided verbally and informally by Mr. Olney that the custom of charging no fee for a special passport should continue, but that the special passport should never contain a statement that the holder was a citizen of the United States.
The whole question came up on review before Sherman's Secretary Sherman. He decided that the special passport should always contain a statement that the recipient is a citizen of the United States, that it could not properly be given to anyone who is not a
citizen, and that the fee of one dollar should always be collected from every person to whom a special passport might be issued. Following are the Solicitor's opinion and the Secretary's decision:
MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY.
ORDINARY AND SPECIAL PASSPORTS.
Ante, p. 3.
Ante, p. 5.
Passports, as regarded in the text-books on international law, are written permission given by a belligerent to subjects of the enemy whom he allows to travel without special restrictions in the territory belonging to him or under his control. (Hall, section 191; Halleck, 351.)
Passports to private citizens in time of peace are documents of an entirely different nature. A citizen of one country visiting another might obtain from the country visited a passport authorizing him to travel in that country, and when he crossed the border into another country he would be compelled to repeat the process. To avoid this inconvenience, a system has been adopted by which a citizen leaving his own country for another obtains from his own government what is called a passport.
With respect to the citizen's own country, this passport is permission to leave; but in respect to foreign countries, it is rather a certificate of citizenship, with such a description of the person as will serve to identify the bearer and prevent the document being transferred. The presenting of this document at the entrance of a foreign country serves to authenticate and identify the bearer; and the foreign government, instead of granting him a passport, gives its assent to the bearer's passing through, either impliedly or by express indorsement on the document itself. As this passport from one's own government attests no privilege, but simply certifies private citizenship, it furnishes no
exemption from the jurisdiction of the country which receives him. The most that can be claimed for it is that it is a request to a foreign government to admit the bearer with the privileges and obligations of a foreign citizen. (Dana's Wheaton, sec. 220, note.)
“That sort of passport which is given by a government to its citizens when proposing to pass into the territory of another government is in its essentials only a certificate of nationality and identification." (17 At. Gen., 674.)
” There was no special federal legislation on the subject of passports until August 18, 1856 (11 Stat., 60), the substance of which, with some modifications, may now be found in the Revised Statutes, sections 4075 and 4076:
[See “Sherman's decision" below.] A law was passed March 3, 1863 (12 Stat., 754), authorizing the issuing of passports to “any class of persons liable to military duty by the laws of the United States." This statute is, no doubt, repealed by reason of its omission Post, p. 44. when the Revised Statutes were compiled and adopted.
The statutory requirements as to passports issued by the United States are
1. That they shall be issued by the Secretary of State only.
2. That they can be issued to citizens of the United States only.
The statutes prescribe no form, and do not undertake to prescribe what kind of a document a passport shall be. It was no doubt intended that it should be of a nature described by Mr. Dana in a note above referred to; and the forms which are now and for a long time have been in use by the Department of State show that the passports issued in pursuance of Revised Statutes, sections 4075 and 4076, are, in the first place, certificates of citizenship, and, in the second place, requests upon foreign govern