WHY I BECAME A U.S. CITIZEN

By 1971, I had been living in the USA about 4 or 5 years, using my "green card". I had experienced no problems getting a job as a professor of earth sciences, and I had just finished my Ph.D. degree. I still had my Dutch accent and pride in Holland's glorious past. There was really no reason for me to become a U.S. citizen, until .....
an antiquated U.S. law just about forced me ;o]


We (The Marine Science Consortium, of which I was the President) had the opportunity to purchase a Registered U.S. vessel, the 90 foot "Annandale"! I had seen her advertised for $300K, acquired a promise from NASA of three (3) annual contracts for $150K each to retrieve nose-cones, talked the manager of the local branch of "The Commonwealth National Bank" into financing the vessel "just like a house", for 5 years, convinced TMSC's Board of Directors, etc.

When I was just about ready to close the deal, I found out that there was a U.S. Law that forbade a "Foreign Corporation" to own and operate a Registered U.S. vessel. And, by definition, The Marine Science Corporation, was "foreign"...because "either its President or more than half of the Board of Directors" was a foreigner. . .
So what to do, since all my fellow directors (more than a dozen) were staunch U.S. citizens? Resign? No one else at the time would have been able or willing to run The Consortium.
This was also around the time of President Nixon's problems, so a sudden inspiration of "generosity" told me to join the USA citizenry to show solidarity and thus solve the "Annandale" problem, like killing two birds with one stone.
It was almost too easy. I did, however, feel a bit guilty and apologetic towards the Dutch Queen when 'forswearing allegiance to foreign princes and potentates.'
But then I thought of how much more generous I had been treated by the U.S. Navy than by my "own". . .

BLO fecit 20040907 - index of stories