The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Italy (Gunther)

No. 409

Sir: The Department has received a note from the French Embassy in Washington,81 proposing, prior to the assembling of the International Conference on Emigration and Immigration which is to take place at Rome within the first months of the coming year, a meeting at Paris of a Conference where besides the American Government those of Great Britain, Canada, South Africa, Australia, [Page 119] Brazil, the Argentine Republic, and other countries, which might have a direct interest in defining the principles of a policy concerning immigration, might be represented. The note in translation further stated that it occurred to the French Government that there would probably be occasion prior to the Italian Conference “to establish between the immigration countries a contact like that which has been closely maintained among themselves for several years by the emigration European countries, particularly through the permanent liaison agency which is functioning at Rome under the auspices of the Italian General Commissioner of Immigration.”

While the Department has long understood that in Italy emigration is strictly controlled, it has not been informed concerning the activities of the above-mentioned permanent liaison agency. You are, therefore, requested to report to the Department as promptly as possible any pertinent information which you may be able discreetly to obtain.

You are advised that the Department has informed the Italian Ambassador in Washington that, with due regard to certain limitations, the Government of the United States would be glad to have its representatives attend the Conference to be held at Rome and to participate, in so far as possible, in a discussion of the technical problems as presented.

In replying to the note from the French Embassy, the Department stated that since the Rome Conference—in which certain restrictions will be incumbent upon the American representatives due to the fact that the reception of immigrants within the United States is regarded wholly as a domestic matter in which the exclusive authority of Congress must be recognized—is to be a strictly technical one to exchange and clarify views on pertinent questions, this Government is unable to perceive the need for a preliminary conference, and that, therefore, it would not send its representatives to the proposed Conference in Paris.

I am [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
William Phillips
  1. Not printed.