File No. 894.4054/23

The Assistant Secretary of Labor to the Secretary of State

Sir: Careful consideration has been given to the contents of your letter of the 11th ultimo, in which you suggest that Japanese women who come to ports of the United States claiming to be the wives of Japanese-American citizens and to have acquired that status through the process of registration in vogue in Japan as a system of marriage, should be required to go through with a marriage ceremony in conformity with the law of the United States after arrival at a port of this country.

This Department does not believe that the difficulty with which it finds itself confronted should be solved by the adoption of your suggestion. This Department has always declined (and it is understood the practice obtained long before the Department was established and assumed jurisdiction of immigration matters) to permit women to come to ports of the United States from China and qualify for admission to the United States under the Chinese-exclusion and immigration laws by there being married to Chinese-American citizens. In enforcing the new immigration law the Department is following a similar practice with respect to aliens generally; for instance, it is not permitting any illiterate alien woman to come to a port of the United States and there qualify for admission as the wife of a United States citizen or of a domiciled alien by marrying such citizen or alien. You can readily understand, therefore, that it could not afford to establish a practice with respect to the admission of Japanese women on the ground that through marriage they had become the immediate members of the family of a Japanese domiciled here when the marriage was to be contracted after the alien arrived at a port of this country.

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In view of the foregoing, and of the fact that in your letter of October 11 you state that you agree with this Department’s view that consistency forbids the holding that a form of marriage, not valid in this country, but recognized as valid in Japan when contracted between subjects of that Empire, is to be regarded as valid when one party thereto is not only a resident but a citizen of the United States, it is the purpose of this Department to hold that in cases of this kind marriage will not be permitted after the woman arrives at a port of the United States and that such a woman cannot be admitted as the wife of a Japanese-American citizen unless the latter proceeds to a place where both he and his intended wife will be under the jurisdiction of the country in accordance with the laws of which the marriage is contracted.


Louis F. Post