The Under Secretary of State (Stettinius) to the Speaker of the House of Representatives (Rayburn)

My Dear Mr. Speaker: As it is understood that H. R. 3070 on the subject of Chinese immigration has been reported favorably by the Committee on Immigration and Naturalization and will be discussed shortly on the floor of the House, you may wish to have the views of the Department of State regarding the measure.

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Because of the traditional friendship between the United States and China, and because of the many interests which the United States and China now have in common in the prosecution of the war and will have in the future, the Department is most desirous of promoting cordial relations between the two countries.

It is believed that it would be most conducive to this end to remove immigration and naturalization discriminations against the Chinese which have been a source of misunderstandings between the United States and China for many years. It will be recalled that the United States has already voluntarily relinquished extraterritorial jurisdiction over American citizens in China.21 This action was most favorably received by the Chinese. It is only fitting that the further step of removing additional discriminations should now be taken in recognition of China’s place among the United Nations fighting for democracy and of her great future in a democratic world.

Such recognition cannot fail to give added inspiration to our Chinese allies in their heroic struggle against the enemy seeking to destroy her and to nullify the efforts of this enemy to spread false propaganda regarding the attitude of the United States towards China.

The Chinese exclusion laws were enacted prior to the adoption of provisions to restrict immigration by the quota system. By placing the Chinese on a quota, under the system applied to other countries, and by granting rights of naturalization to Chinese admitted lawfully as immigrants, discriminations will be eliminated and China will be accorded the recognition due her as a great nation, subject to such quota immigration restrictions as the Congress may from time to time impose.

The Department cannot urge too strongly that it is the part of sound practical policy to eliminate discriminations which, unless removed, tend to impede this country in its relations with China during the war period and afterwards in the development of trade and cultural intercourse.

It is also the part of far-seeing wisdom to make manifest in this way our traditional friendship with China, the great country of the Orient whose destiny is to participate equally with other democratic nations in fostering a civilization based upon democratic ideals and to stand as a bulwark against evil forces of destruction.

Sincerely yours,

Edward R. Stettinius, Jr.
  1. See bracketed note, p. 690.