The Second Secretary of the Canadian Legation (McGreer) to the Chief of the Visa Division (Hodgdon)

Dear Mr. Hodgdon : I am enclosing a copy of a letter which I am forwarding today to the Commissioner General of Immigration concerning the difficulties being experienced by Canadian doctors who are desirous of entering the United States to serve as internes in United States hospitals and institutions, and I should be grateful if you would be good enough to offer any suggestion or comment which might help to remedy a situation which is giving rise to considerable anxiety to members of the medical profession in Canada.

Yours sincerely,

E. D’Arcy McGreer

The Second Secretary of the Canadian Legation (McGreer) to the American Commissioner General of Immigration (Hull)

Dear Sir: I am directed to bring to your attention a matter which is giving grave concern to members of the Canadian Medical Association and to the various medical colleges of the Dominion. I refer to the difficulties being encountered by graduates of Canadian universities who, desirous of continuing their studies in medicine by accepting post-graduate internships in universities and medical schools of the United States, are experiencing considerable difficulty in fulfilling the necessary immigration requirements for admission to the United States.

I am informed by the Assistant Dean and Secretary of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Toronto that in the past it has been customary for some twenty-five to fifty Toronto graduates to proceed annually to serve in hospitals in the United States, but that this year a number of graduates who have been requested to report for duty on July 1st have been refused admission to the United States at the border. Many of these graduates have applied to the United States Consul at Toronto for visas but without success, the grounds for refusal apparently being that they were either proceeding to positions which can be filled by citizens of the United States or that [Page 103] they come within the contract labor provisions of the United States Immigration laws.40

The Assistant Dean of the Faculty of Medicine of Toronto, Mr. E. Stanley Ryerson, states that for several months after Toronto graduates have received hospital appointments in the United States he continues to receive further requests for more Canadian graduates, and it would accordingly appear that the United States medical schools are apparently not in a position to engage the necessary number of American graduates to meet the demand for interns.

With regard to the payment of interns a large proportion of whom serve for nothing else but the experience, it is understood that the honorarium is most negligible and only in rare instances attaining a sum as high as $25.00 or $50.00 a month. Under the circumstances, therefore, it would seem that interns might be considered to be on the same basis as other Canadian students proceeding to the United States to perfect themselves in their particular profession.

It is understood that the question of admitting Canadian graduates as interns in United States institutions was taken up recently by the Canadian Medical Association with the United States Consulate- General at Toronto and it is reported that Mr. C. P. Fletcher of the Consulate stated that he would not consider the granting of visas until after the graduation of the applicants. However, since graduation this month, it is reported that the applicants are being refused visas.

Dr. Bert W. Caldwell of Chicago, the Secretary of the American Hospital Association, has also interested himself in the case and he was advised by Mr. A. Dana Hodgdon, Chief of the Visa Division of Washington, to the following effect:

“Since the records in visa cases are kept at the consular offices abroad, to which the applications for visas are made, the Department will be glad, upon being advised of the names and addresses of any specific medical students who have been unsuccessful in obtaining visas, to request the consular officers concerned to advise the Department fully what the records of their respective offices indicate in the matter.”

I am enclosing for your information a list41 furnished by the Secretary of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Toronto, of Toronto graduates showing the hospitals and institutions in the United States to which a number of Toronto graduates have been assigned for duty, and it is understood that in addition to these there are also others from McGill and Queen’s and other Canadian universities who are in the same situation.

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In view of the fact that the majority of these appointments begin on July 1st I would be most grateful if you would be good enough to inform this Legation, at your earliest convenience, of the regulations governing the admission of interns into the United States and also whether some method might not be arranged by which the entry of these young men might be facilitated without interference with the purposes of the immigration regulations of the United States.

Yours sincerely,

E. D’Arcy McGreer
  1. Section 3 of the Immigration Act of February 5, 1917; 39 Stat. 874.
  2. Not printed.