and in deliberate and very clear terms, the opportunity has been extended to dual nationals to return to the United States as American citizens, providing they make an election within a specified time period. The provisions of re-entry add that those over the age of 25 years shall be admitted as nonquota immigrants; this should be conclusive of the present intent of Congress.
However, this case is controlled by the Nationality Act of 1940, and under that Act the plaintiff failed to return to the United States within the period of grace set forth. Section 401(a) extended the right to dual nationals, who had not voluntarily expatriated themselves, to return to the United States by January 13, 1943. Thereafter, such persons were to be "forever estopped" from claiming American citizenship. Plaintiff explains the war intervened and the American Consulate in Naples was closed from 1941 until 1946; that as a result it was impossible to return to the United States by January 13, 1943. The inevitable suggestion to be derived from such testimony is that the Act was in a temporary state of suspension during those years. A like defense was offered in the case of Mastrocola v. Acheson, D.C., 105 F.Supp. 580, 582, and the court held such claim was without merit in that legislative records indicated that the statute did not toll.
In support of this position, note is taken of the Congressional attitude when an occasion to alleviate this result was offered. H.R. 387, 79th Congress, 1st Session, was introduced for the purpose of extending the deadline of January 13, 1943, to January 13, 1947. The Committee on Immigration and Naturalization reported favorably on the bill and recommended it be enacted but still the House of Representatives refused to pass it.
During the periods prior to 1947, when the American Consulate in Naples was open, plaintiff claims she could not contact them because of the interjacent impassable terrain. Her testimony left the impression that the village where she resided was completely severed and divorced from the rest of the world. This court is in doubt as to plaintiff's veracity as to these facts and, furthermore, does not feel the plaintiff displayed any sincere efforts to embrace United States citizenship until June of 1947. Prior to that date she seemingly was in a state of uncertainty as to where the pastures were greenest. Now, with the shadow of middle age approaching, she apparently feels the greatest benefits lie in American citizenship. The lure of social security and old age pensions attract many who have not contributed one iota of assistance to the well being of this country; they have not recognized their obligations as American citizens -- rather they are only conscious of the advantages and rewards thereunder. If an adult person does not value his citizenship enough to come forth and affirmatively assert it, he is not worthy of it. Those individuals in the status of dual nationals have the duty to make an election within the reasonable time established by Congress, or accept the consequences of their passive attitude.
If this court were not bound by the rulings of the Supreme Court of the United States, and the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, it would not hesitate to render judgment against the plaintiff. This court would prefer to follow the doctrine announced in Mastrocola v. Acheson, N.Y., supra. However, since this is a trial court of the District of Columbia Circuit we are compelled to follow the decisions rendered by the Appellate Courts in this jurisdiction.
In Mandoli v. Acheson, 1952, 344 U.S. 133, 137, 73 S. Ct. 135, 137, the Supreme Court, although under no compulsion to do so, had this to say of the Nationality Act of 1940:
"The Nationality Act of 1940, though not controlling here, shows the consistency of congressional policy not to subject a citizen by birth to the burden and hazard of election at majority. This comprehensive revision and codification of the laws relating to citizenship and nationality was prepared at the request of Congress by the Departments of State, Justice and Labor. The State Department proposed a new provision requiring an American-born national taken during minority to the country of his other nationality to make an election and to return to the United States, if he elected American nationality, on reaching majority. The Departments of Justice and Labor were opposed and, as a consequence, it was omitted from the proposed bill. This disagreement between the Departments was called to the attention of the Congress. While in some other respects Congress enlarged the grounds for loss of nationality, it refused to require a citizen by nativity to elect between dual citizenships upon reaching a majority."
The Supreme Court erred in its legal premise; the State Department's proposal was accepted by Congress with only one modification: instead of an immediate election on reaching majority, the native-born dual national was to have two years, after the date of reaching majority, within which to make his choice of allegiance. Hearings, Id., p. 269-318. The State Department's proposal is quoted in the first proviso of Section 401(a) of the Nationality Act of 1940. Thus, the statement that "the consistency of congressional policy not to subject a citizen by birth to the burden and hazard of election at majority" is doubtful and apparently not supported by the Congressional record of the proceedings. See Hearings, Id. pp. 158-159, 176-180, 200, 249, 250, 267-8 and especially pp. 318-320. The Department of State did object to permitting those persons entry into the United States who had attained majority years ago and had continued to reside in the foreign country (Hearings, Id. pp. 248-249, 260, 266, 274); and in this regard, as previously stated, the Congress preferred to side with the Departments of Labor and Justice by inserting verbatim the second proviso of Section 401(a). Hearings, supra, Id., p. 254. The interpretation now resting on this provision has completely frustrated the Congressional intent to eliminate the vexing problem of "dual nationality". In Acheson v. Maenza, 92 U.S.App.D.C. //--, 202 F.2d 453, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia specifically adopted the Supreme Court's language pertaining to prolonged foreign residence by a dual national and held such residence "does not in itself deprive an American citizen of his citizenship rights". Reluctantly, this court is under compulsion to follow the conclusions of both appellate courts and accordingly, the plaintiff shall be adjudged an American citizen. Counsel will present an appropriate order.