Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs (Hornbeck) of a Conversation With the Counselor of the Japanese Embassy (Fujii)

After giving me an account of the Arizona situation, Mr. Fujii said that the Japanese Embassy had been informed that a member of the House of Representatives in California, a Mr. Walker, had introduced in the House a bill which would make it more difficult for Japanese to [Page 1071] do work in California. I inquired whether it would apply to Japanese or to all aliens. Mr. Fujii said that it would apply to Japanese under the “ineligible to citizenship” formula. He said that he had no details. He said that the Ambassador asked that the Department do what it could to prevent the passage of such a bill.

I replied as I had replied in regard to the Arizona situation, and I said that in connection with such matters it is necessary to envisage our form of government and a separation of authority between the states and the Federal Government; also the concept which our people have of governmental functions, as between national and local regulation; and that it must be remembered that the efforts of the Federal Government in some instances in the past to interfere with the course of legislation in states has sometimes resulted only in making matters worse. Mr. Fujii mentioned Mr. Bryan;52 he said, however, that if these laws were passed the impression in Japan would be very bad and that this therefore was an international matter and of concern to the Federal Government. I said that the Department, in relation to such matters, would do what it considered appropriately possible.

  1. William Jennings Bryan, Secretary of State, 1913–15; see Japanese protest against land laws of California, Foreign Relations, 1913, pp. 625 ff.