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bill would affect American policies and American interests. This bill seeksto provide the privilege of becoming a naturalized citizen of the United States to all immigrants having a legal right to permanent residence and to make immigration quotas available to Asiatic and Pacific peoples.
This measure embraces two important questions—the extension of the privilege of naturalization to all qualified immigrants without reference to racial origin, and the extension of the use of national origin based immigration quotas to the peoples of all areas of the Far East.
Concerning the first of these questions, it seems to me there can be little room for disagreement that any immigrant who is allowed to remain permanently in the United States should not only be permitted to seek citizenship, but should be encouraged to do so. If. before the war, there were doubts concerning the deportment in time of crisis of the Japanese, Koreans and other far eastern people living in America, we have now had a conclusive answer.
All of those made immediately eligible to apply for naturalization papers under the first section of H. R. 5004 came to this country prior to July 1, 1924. Their children born here are citizens; it is a source of hardship and humiliation to both parents and children that the former may not gain citizenship. Without granting any special privileges whatsoever, passage of this measure will provide immediate relief at this point. It is wholly in keeping with American tradition that in so deeply important a matter as citizenship, admission or denial be made only on grounds of individual behavior and qualification.
The second question, that of allowing universal use of immigration quotas by all peoples, including those of the Far East, is an issue with which I have long been familiar. It is my considered opinion that American relationships in the part of the world which this bill defines as the Asia-Pacific triangle can never be expected to become entirely sound until this country eliminates the humiliation inflicted by our exclusion laws.
These laws were based on two premises which time has proved to be in error:
(a) That the people of the Far East, and especially the Japanese, are not assimilable and therefore would not be loyal to the United States in the event of war with Japan; and
(6) These people maintained a lower standard of living than other ethnic groups and therefore created economic problems.
The war effectively disposed of the first contention. High military and civilian authority agree that there was no act of sabotage or espionage committed by a Japanese resident in Hawaii or the United States, before or during the war. Although forced by the circumstance of their ineligibility to American citizenship to remain citizens of Japan, the Japanese aliens resident in the United States and Hawaii proved themselves law abiding and cooperative during the entire war period. A considerable number, in point of fact, served the country of their adoption as language instructors, translators, and in the preparation of maps.
Their sons, the nisei, proved themselves as loyal and effective troops, not only in the European theater but in the Pacific as well. recall that General Marshall's report as Chief of Staff singled out the nisei Four Hundred and Forty-second Infantry combat team for
special citation for bravery. While it is true that disillusionment resulting from evacuation did cause a number of Japanese-Americans to turn away from America, the overwhelming majority stood firm, even though their outlook was circumscribed by the barbed wire of relocation centers.
Time is disposing of the second contention. It is no doubt true that initially Japanese immigrants lived on a lower scale than their neighbors of older stock. This has been generally true of most immigrant groups. It is just as true that the second generation, those born on American soil, have improved the status of their parents, just as have the sons and daughters of other immigrants,
Today the nisei, together with their parents, are living in all sections of the country, and it is entirely safe to say that their standards of living are those of the communities in which they live. I realize, of course, that this bill does not directly affect the nisei. Nevertheless, it is pertinent to point out that one measure of fitness of any immigrant group is the conduct of their children. As a matter of fact, much that is said of the nisei may also be said now of the first generation.
It is also true that there have been no additions to the immigrant generation since 1924, and that this has helped to alleviate the pressure of economic competition. The number of older Japanese who are able to work is constantly and rapidly declining. Had an earlier Congress seen fit to authorize a quota under the 1924 Immigration Act, the situation would have been substantially the same. An addition of 185 persons per year would have been entirely negligible. Such action, taken in 1924, might have saved this country and the world much bitterness and hardship.
Let me say, here, that I do not favor throwing open the gates to unlimited immigration from the Far East, or any other part of the world. In this respect, H. R. 5004 is similar to the earlier laws which grant quotas to the Chinese and natives of India. Under the formula provided in this bill, the number of possible far eastern immigrants will be only a few hundred more annually than present law provides.
From the standpoint of our relations in the Far East, the number allotted to a given quota is not a primary importance. The question is one of principle, of recognition of the innate equality of peoples, of giving force to our own democratic beliefs.
I believe the present to be an exceptionally favorable time to take a step of this nature. The United States no longer has a general policy of far eastern exclusion. The peoples of China, India, and the Philippine Islands have all been made eligible to citizenship. The stigma placed upon those who remain ineligible is accentuated.
The present is a time of great movement among these peoples, of realinement and choosing of friends. Burma is newly independent; Indonesia is seeking a new status; everywhere there is receptivity to new ideas. Nowhere is this more evident than in Japan, where a new leadership is emerging under our tutelage.
It seems to me to be the height of folly to ask the support of democratic elements in these countries, yet at the very point where our democracy comes to test to back away. If we want to hold our friends, we must support them. The ending of exclusion now would provide concrete proof of American good faith at a time when it is most important that new leadership be oriented in our direction. The matter of Japan warrants particular attention.
There can be no question whatsoever that the passage of the Immigration Act of 1924 undercut the position of liberal Japanese statesmen whose policy was based on friendship with America. And I knew many of them myself in the old days --men who were giving up everything they had to develop good relations with our country, to stem the tide of militarism, who risked imprisonment and assassination and many of them were assassinated --doing everything they could. Those are the people who need our support.
In the sense that friends of this country were weakened, while the extremists were given a potent weapon with which to exacerbate Japanese-American relations, the policy of exclusion contributed largely to the final crisis.
In connection with this point, it is pertinent to recall a statement concerning the pending immigration bill made by Baron Sakatanihe was a great friend of our country-during debate in the Japanese Diet sometime in February 1924. I do not have the exact words used, but the statement was substantially as follows, and I would like to state, in reading this statement of Baron Sakatani, that there was no threat involved in his statement. It was merely a statement of facts, and the facts which he stated then in the Diet in Tokyo have certainly been proved by history to have been abundantly accurate:
If this bill is enacted by the United States it would lead to grave consequences. I do not mean to say by that that the Empire will go to war with the United States over this question. But what I do mean to say is that if the Japanese people are to be classified by the United States as an inferior race, that action would seriously destroy the present desire of the Japanese people to cooperate with the other signatory nations in supporting the nine-power treaty and to observe the letter and spirit of that treaty in resolving our issues with China. If this bill becomes law, no one can foresee where that will end.
Of course, that is practically what happened. True, Baron Shidehara kept Japan in line until 1928, but once Baron Tanaka became Prime Minister, in 1928, the nine-power treaty was relegated to the archives. In fact, what brought about Shidehara's downfall in 1928 was the charge that in keeping step with the other signatories he had failed to protect Japanese interest in China.
By the time I reached Japan in 1932 the military was firmly in the saddle, and short of abject appeasement on the part of the United States the hope for peace was already glimmering. I remember that after arriving in Japan in 1932 I spent a couple of months trying to size up the situation and the psychology there, and I then wrote to Mr. Stimson, who was then Secretary of State. I remember the words of that letter today. I said:
“This situation here, the war psychology being developed, is very similar to the same war psychology that I saw working out in Germany before 1914.” I said, “The Japanese Army has been built for war. It feels prepared for war. It would welcome war. It has never been beaten. It has unlimited self-confidence."
Now, I said, “I am not an alarmist, but I believe we should have our eyes open to all possible future contingencies in this part of the world."
Now, I added, "The facts of history would render it criminal to close them.” That was in August 1932.
The opportunity to improve relations by eliminating exclusion had already been lost. It is interesting to note that an entry in my diary for January 27, 1935, relating to repeal of the discriminatory provisions of the 1924 act, stated in part:
I do not think that this is the time to approach the questionthat is, the question of amending the exclusion clause of the Immigraion Act. Of course the act always rankles and always will, but to repeal the discriminatory provisions now would be interpreted by many as an indication of weakness and as a desire to placate the martial spirit of Japan and, while lovely editorials would be written about our graceful action in recognizing Japan as an equal, it would not in the slightest degree alter Japanese policy or tone down the military propaganda
Toward the end of my mission, it became clearly evident that the only possible hope for moderate leadership in Japan was through the complete disgrace of the military, and that only defeat in war could bring this about.
Defeated in war, the military leadership of Japan collapsed like a pack of cards. These men had forced their way into power through violence and the control of all avenues of information. They carried a misguided and uninformed people into a mad adventure which could have but one end. When their immunity to criticism was stripped away by defeat, liberal elements of Japan could once more emerge; nowhere in history has the repudiation of a defeated leadership been so complete.
Many observers have likened the reception accorded our initial occupation of Japan to the liberation of a friendly territory. How long this spirit may be expected to continue can hardly be forecast. The final outcome will depend upon Japanese leadership, for nothing is more certain than that at last all American troops will be withdrawn.
In the meantime, we have our opportunity to assist in the development of leadership which will solidify the present trend of friendship toward this country.
When Japanese military might was at its zenith, it was unable to induce the United States to amend its immigration law. Now it is possible to accomplish as a matter of principle what then would have been considered appeasement.
There is a quality of loyalty about the Japanese which lies very deep, and I know the Japanese pretty well. You cannot help knowing them when you live among them for 10 years. I knew the good with bad. The Japanese are not all good nor all bad as some of our countrymen have felt at one time-that there were no good elements there.
I know of no finer people in the world, and I have lived in a great many countries, than what I call the "good Japanese," the Japanese who want to keep away from war, who want friendship with other countries, who especially want mutual cooperative friendship with the United States.
There were plenty of them in the old days. They were overridden by the military. There are plenty of them there today. And if we offer our friendship, and they know it is genuine and sincere, they will come to us like a magnet. We need have no doubt about that.
We have found the Japanese to be a desperate and implacable foe. Japan can be an equally valuable friend if mutual confidence can be built between us. There are realities in the world situation today
which should impel us to strengthen by all means our bonds with nations whose friendship can be ours.
And I submit, Mr. Chairman, that Congressman Judd's bill, in my opinion, if it is passed, will have a very powerful effect in leading up to that most desirable objective.
Mr. FELLOWS. We thank you, sir, very much. .
I think that we will have to recess until Wednesday morning at 10 o'clock. We are due at the House of Representatives in a few minutes. Tomorrow the full committee meets, so we will have to recess until 10 o'clock Wednesday morning.
(Whereupon, at 11:45 a. m., the hearing adjourned until Wednesday, April 21, 1948, at 10 a. m.)