The Secretary of State to President Wilson

My Dear Mr. President: Now that Congress has adjourned and you are relieved somewhat from the pressure to which you have been subjected there is one matter which I would like to have you revolve in your mind.

I see but one way of relieving the Japanese situation on the Coast and that is by the dispersion of the Japanese in this country so as to relieve the economic pressure which has aroused protest. In discussing [Page 401] the subject with the Japanese I have tried to convince them that the question is not a race question, but purely an economic question and I have given them what seems to be conclusive proof, namely, that although we have Japanese in every state they have no trouble whatever with their neighbors except where they congregate in large colonies and thus create an economic situation. If it were a race question they would have trouble wherever they appear, but, being an economic question the trouble appears only when they are found in sufficient numbers to create economic embarrassment for Americans about them.

If I am right in this theory then the remedy for the difficulty would seem to be the dispersion of those in this country—emigration having now been stopped—among enough states to prevent economic complaint.

I venture to submit, therefore, for your consideration the following plan:

A diplomatic agreement between the United States and Japan that the two Governments shall cooperate for the scattering of the Japanese now in this country with a view to reducing the number in California by one-half, the reduction to be made where the concentration is greatest and where complaint has been aroused.

Japanese now residing in California are to be encouraged to move into other states, with the understanding that not more than one thousand shall go into any other state, not more than one hundred into any one county in such state, and that those going into a county shall be so distributed that not more than five per cent of the population of any organized city, village or voting precinct shall be Japanese.

I have talked over this plan with Ambassador Chinda but I have explained to him that it did not have your endorsement and was not presented as a proposition and should not be presented to his Government. It has simply been discussed by us unofficially in an effort to reach some solution of the difficulty.

If we can reduce the Japanese population in California by one-half and give assurance to other states now complaining that there will be no increase in their population and that this plan of scattering will be used as far as the two Governments can bring influence to bear, we may be able to secure a repeal of the anti-Japanese laws in California. These laws were not intended so much against present evils as against evils which the people of California feared.

For the same reason I believe that such a plan would prevent hostile legislation in other states because when Japanese have come into other states agitation has been commenced on the fear that they might come in numbers large enough as to raise economic objections.

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Will you let me know whether you think there is any merit in the above plan and if so whether any modifications suggest themselves to you? If the plan seems to you improbable have you anything in mind that would give us a working basis for a settlement? The Japanese Government has exercised so much control over its citizens here that I believe it would be possible to carry out some such plan as this, and, if carried out, I believe it would go far toward restoring harmonious relations. As the “gentlemen’s agreement” has prevented any new immigration, the number of those in the country would, by natural law, gradually decrease and this decrease would be accelerated by those who return to Japan, so that in the course of a few years we might expect the friction to cease entirely.

With assurances [etc.]

W. J. Bryan