811.5245/46

The Secretary of State to the Indian Agent General (Bajpai)

The Secretary of State presents his compliments to the Honorable the Agent General for India and refers to representations made by the Agent General in regard to a bill, known as Senate Bill No. 140, passed by the Legislature of the State of California. It has been the Agent General’s opinion that the interests of British Indians resident in California would be adversely affected by the bill in question.

As a result of the representations on the subject made by the Agent General, correspondence has ensued between this Department [Page 318]and the Governor of California, in which the objections as perceived by the Agent General were brought to the Governor’s attention. The Governor has, however, now informed the Department that he has affixed his signature to the bill which has become Chapter 1059 of the California Statutes of 1943.

In discussing the bill in question, the Governor assured the Department that it had been designed only to strengthen the procedural sections of the Alien Land Law of California in order to prevent further evasions of a sort which, according to the Governor, were extremely prevalent among Japanese residents of California prior to Pearl Harbor. It is the Governor’s contention that the substantive rights of British Indians in California are not affected by the bill, as everything prohibited by the new statute was prohibited under the law prior to amendment. The Governor has added that the bill was passed because of a feeling that the security of the State demanded it, and with every desire to refrain from any action which fairly construed might be considered as adversely affecting the interests of nationals of our Allies.

It is realized, with regret, that the information as transmitted herewith may not be entirely satisfactory to the Agent General as presumably his interest has centered more in the possible effect of the measure upon British Indians than in its intent and purpose. The Department is confident, however, that the Agent General will recognize that, as the measure has now become law and as there is no contravention of provision of treaty, there is no further action in the matter which the Department of State can take.