The Governor of California (Warren) to the Secretary of State

My Dear Mr. Secretary: Your wire of June 19, in response to my letter of June 4 concerning Senate Bill 140, was received after my departure for the East to attend the Governors’ Conference. I have just returned and this is my first opportunity to answer your wire personally.

I appreciate the importance of legislative action by the several states being consistent with the interests of our Allies of the United Nations, and we in California would not intentionally take any action, which fairly construed, might be considered to adversely affect those interests. Certainly there was no such intention on the part of our Legislature in the enactment of Senate Bill 140. On the contrary, it was designed to strengthen the procedural sections of the Alien Land Law in order to prevent abuses and evasions, which were so prevalent among Japanese residents of California prior to Pearl Harbor. The substantive rights of the Chinese and British Indians are not affected by the amendment, as everything prohibited by the new statute was prohibited under the law prior to amendment.

The statute still provides, as it did before, that, [Page 317]

“All aliens other than those mentioned in section one of this act may acquire, possess, enjoy, use, cultivate, occupy and transfer real property, or any interest therein, in this State, and have in whole or in part the beneficial use thereof, in the manner and to the extent, and for the purposes prescribed by any treaty now existing between the government of the United States and the nation or country of which such alien is a citizen or subject, and not otherwise.”

The land that the nationals of the countries in question are entitled to hold, therefore, depends in the last analysis upon the treaty between this country and the country of which the aliens are nationals.

Before receiving your wire, I had signed Senate Bill 140 and it is now Chapter 1059 of the Statutes of 1943.

Assuring you of our desire to cooperate with the State Department in every possible way, and with best wishes, I am


Earl Warren