Ann Dunham with Barack Obama Jr.
Documents released by the State Department in two separate Freedom of Information Act requests bolster evidence Barack Obama became a citizen of Indonesia when he moved to the Southeast Asian nation with his mother and stepfather in the late 1960s.
In a passport amendment submitted Aug. 13, 1968, Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, identified her son with an Indonesian surname and asked the State Department to drop him from her U.S. passport.
The transaction could have been part of an effort by Dunham to obtain Indonesian citizenship for her son. It took place before the State Department began requiring all citizens traveling abroad, regardless of age, to obtain their own passport.
Several court cases challenging Obama’s presidential eligibility have argued he gave up his U.S. citizenship in Indonesia and used an Indonesian passport to travel to Pakistan in the early 1980s. Indonesia does not allow dual citizenship.
The amendment was submitted less than a year after Dunham joined her second husband, Lolo Soetoro, in Indonesia. It requested “Barack Obama II (Soebarkah)” be removed from her U.S. passport, No. 777788.
A letter from Lolo Soetoro to immigration officials in Hawaii pleading for an extension of his student visa, because anti-American sentiments in Indonesia could endanger his family, offers a possible reason for seeking Indonesian citizenship for Obama.
Meanwhile, an Indonesian school registration card that surfaced during the 2008 presidential campaign presents evidence Obama was an Indonesian citizen during his time in the country as a child.
Indonesian school registration for “Barry Soetoro” (AP photo)
WND reported in August 2008 the Associated Press published a photograph purportedly of Obama’s registration card at Indonesia’s Francis Assisi school. The card showed he was enrolled as “Barry Soetoro” and listed as an Indonesian citizen whose official religious identification was Muslim.
An AP spokesman affirmed to WND that the photograph of the registration card was authentic.
Lolo Soetoro’s letter to Immigration and Naturalization officials in the Department of Justice in Hawaii explained his wife’s U.S. citizenship could be a problem in the turbulent politics of Indonesia in the mid-1960s.
“My wife, Ann Soetoro, is a citizen of the United States and has resided here all her life,” Soetoro wrote the immigration officials, pleading hardship should he be forced to return to his Indonesian home. “It is presently impossible for my wife to return to Indonesia with me.”
Soetoro argued “anti-American feeling has reached a feverish pitch under the direction of the Indonesian communist party, and I have been advised by both family and friends in Indonesia that it would be dangerous to endeavor to return with my wife at the present time.”
“Complicated internal problems are causing the Indonesian government to crumble rapidly,” he pleaded. “The anti-Western forces are gaining in strength and have brought about government conviscation (sic) of all United States industry in Indonesia as well as sacking of the United States embassy, and burning and sacking of United States Information Service libraries. The United States Peace Corps has recently been asked to leave because the Indonesian government is no longer able to guarantee the safety of corps members.”
The newly released State Department records show Obama and his mother traveled to Indonesia to join her husband in October 1967, with Obama listed on her passport as her son and an American citizen.
When Obama’s mother returned to the U.S. Oct. 20-21, 1971, she entered with State Department forms allowing her to travel with the passport she used in 1967 to go to Indonesia, even though it had expired.
The expired passport contained no reference to Barack Obama, although he had traveled with his mother on the October 1967 flight from the United States to Indonesia.
The only known testimony that Obama returned home from Indonesia alone and on a U.S. passport is his own account in his autobiography, “Dreams from My Father.” That source, however, has proved to be unreliable in various material aspects.
Did Obama’s mother remove him from her passport to establish him as an Indonesian citizen, both for his safety and his acceptance in Indonesian schools?
If Dunham had wanted her son to retain U.S. citizenship, she could have kept him on her passport and avoided the trouble of filing an amendment with the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta.
On Aug. 13, 1968, the date Dunham filed the amendment, there was no reason to anticipate she would send her son home alone, something she did not decide to do until three years later, in 1971.
In her own handwriting on the passport amendment, Dunham declared, “I intend to continue to reside abroad for the following period and purpose,” stating her stay in Indonesia is “indefinite” because she is “married to an Indonesian citizen.”
Lolo Soetoro also appears to have had an influence on convincing Dunham to change her mind about sending Obama to school in Indonesia. Both were worried about that prospect when they were pleading for Lolo not to be forced home in 1966.
A letter to the file by INS/DOJ investigator Robert R. Schultz, dated May 24, 1967, documents a telephone call he had with Dunham in Hawaii on May 12, 1967.
“She also indicated that her son is now in Kindergarten and will commence the first grade next September and if it is necessary for her and the child to go to Indonesia she will educate the child at home with the help of school texts from the U.S. as approved by the Board of Education in Honolulu,” Schultz wrote.
Obama would not have needed Indonesian citizenship to study in Jakarta at home
with his mother.
Clearly, from the registration record from the Assisi school, being listed as an Indonesian citizen was useful to Obama, much as his mother and stepfather had pleaded to U.S. officials before Lolo Soetoro was denied the waiver he needed to stay in the U.S. legally past 1966.