811.111 Quota/135

The Italian Ambassador (Ricci) to the Secretary of State


Mr. Secretary of State: Now that the House of Representatives has decided purely and simply to extend to the 30th of June, 1923, the present 3 percent immigration law, I take the liberty of urging the recommendations which I had the honor to make to Your Excellency in my note of the 24th of January last.

In the said note, prompted by the desire to have the procedure of the law freed from the doubts that might arise in the course of its practical operation, considering the two-fold duty incumbent upon the Royal Government scrupulously to observe the American regulations and to forestall in the interest of the immigrants any danger of being denied admission, I pointed out the expediency of letting the passport determine both the nationality of the foreigner and also his or her assignment to the national quota, thus fulfilling—even in the case of nationals born out of their own country—the provision which was inserted in another bill previously introduced in the Committee on Immigration of the House, before the extension of the present provisional law was approved, to the effect that those born in the colonies and dependencies of European nations should, for the purposes of the quota, be considered as included in the quota ascribed to the mother country.

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There is no attempt, therefore, on our part to meddle with the legislative and administrative action of the Republic, but a desire to tender sincere cooperation for the better success of a service which in practice is carried on in common by the two countries.

But it is the other recommendation upon which I wish more earnestly to insist: the one relating to the computation of the quota, which, with the extension of the 3 percent law without any amendment, must continue to be made on the basis of the census of foreigners taken in 1910.

It is on this point that I wish to make my most earnest appeal to the well-tested sense of justice of Your Excellency. The question is one of so much importance, is so delicate, and is moreover so clear in its bearing and its incalculable moral consequences, that I believe it unnecessary to dwell upon it at further length. Your Excellency has given unmistakable evidence of your discernment and your willingness to make clear other delicate situations to the legislators; for such action on your part we are deeply grateful to you; but we feel confident of your continuing interest in this case, so that, even if circumstances determine the country to continue a policy of restriction, it may confirm in the provisions of law on the subject those traditions of equity that have been and are now the pride of the policy of this Republic.

Be pleased [etc.]

V. Rolandi Ricci
  1. File translation revised.