Garry Davis, 58, who renounced his U.S. citizenship more than 30 years ago and declared himself a citizen of the world, yesterday lost his bid to have a federal court recognize the passport issued by the world government he founded.
Davis, who flew bombing missions over Europe during World War II but then devoted himself to peace through world citizenry, is legally an alien who must have proper documents to enter the United States, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas A. Flannery ruled yesterday.
The passport issued by the world government's office in the National Press Building, Flannery said, just won't do.
When Davis renounced his citizenship at the American Embassy in Paris in May 1948, he sought his own "stateless" existence, Flannery said in his opinion.But Davis, who took on no other nationality, said yesterday that he is not a man without a country.
"I'm a real American. Real American means to be a world citizen because American principles are universal," Davis said in an interview.
Davis, son of the late society band leader Meyer Davis, had been living in a small town in France since he gave up his citizenship. He said he returned to the United States two years ago because "it is my native land."
His adventures as the world's chief promoter of global identity have taken him in and out of the United States seven or eight times.
Immigration authorities, he said, usually "looked the other way," when he presented his "world passport," but once kicked him off the Queen Mary in New York Harbor.
Once described in a newspaper account as "one of the Western world's biggest problem children," Davis said he has regularly faced trouble from the French government for issuing passports in the name of the world government.
Davis said he established the "World Citizen Government" at the city hall at Ellsworth, Maine, his home state, in 1953 and later set up the World Service Authority -- the government's administrative arm. More than 25 years later, he said, his government is still in the "embryonic" stages.
From the organization's office in the National Press Building, Davis said, he and his staff keep a register of 800,000 "citizens of the world" who pay a $32 fee to sign up. So far, Davis said the organization has issued 85,000 World Passports.
When he arrived at Dulles International Airport in May 1977, and presented his "world passport" to immigration authorities, Davis was arrested. pLater, immigration officials found him deportable, but he has been technically in the custody of his lawyer while pursuing the issue through the courts.
Flannery noted in his opinion yesterday that Davis need apply only for permanent resident alien status in order to remain in this country legally. Davis, however, said, he intends to appeal the decision and take it to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.
Most encouraging to Davis, however, were Flannery's statements in the opinion that "the court in no way wishes to depreciate the honesty of belief or depth of conviction that the petitioner feels for the cause of world citizenship."