811.5294/571: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Japan (Grew)

25. On February 14, the Japanese Ambassador49 called on the Secretary and expressed concern in regard to a bill, a copy of which he supplied to the Department, pending before the Arizona State Legislature which does not distinguish between denying to an alien ineligible to citizenship the right to own or lease agricultural land and denying to such alien the right to prepare or cultivate such land. In view of decisions of the United States Supreme Court affirming the [Page 1069] principle that “the right to work for a living in the common occupations of the community is of the very essence of the freedom and opportunity that it was the purpose of the (14th) Amendment to secure”, we have doubts in regard to constitutionality of those provisions of the bill which would deny to aliens ineligible to citizenship the right to cultivate agricultural lands.

Among the several reasons which give us concern in the event of the bill being enacted is the probability that similar legislation would be enacted in California and other states in which there are large numbers of Japanese. We are endeavoring discreetly and by confidential methods to induce withdrawal or other appropriate disposal of the bill, or of modification thereof to meet objections of the character above indicated.

If you should consider it necessary to disclose any of the foregoing to the Minister for Foreign Affairs,50 please impress upon him the importance of keeping it confidential, especially our efforts above indicated.51

  1. Hirosi Saito.
  2. Koki Hirota.
  3. The Ambassador in Japan in his telegram No. 39, February 25, 11 a.m., reported that the Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs had not yet approached him on this subject (811.5294/575).