150 Barred Zones/43a: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Secretary in Charge at New Delhi (Merrell)

174. The following statement was presented today by the Chief of the Division of Middle Eastern Affairs,86 before the House of Representatives Committee on Immigration and Naturalization in open hearings on pending Indian immigration legislation:

“The Acting Secretary of State has asked me to present the following statement on his behalf:

‘In response to an invitation by your Committee, I am glad to make known the views of the Department of State with regard to this proposed legislation. Dept strongly favors the purposes of the legislation, and believes that the existing discrimination against the people of India in our immigration and naturalization legislation should be removed.

India is a prominent member of the United Nations. Its soldiers are fighting shoulder to shoulder with American troops in Italy, Burma and elsewhere. We are asking for and confidently expecting their continued support until the ultimate and final defeat of Japan. Japanese propaganda officials are endeavoring to sow seeds of distrust between us and our allies in the Orient. We know that they shall fail. At the same time, we are aware that our efforts to bring our friends in the Orient, and particularly the four hundred million [Page 285] people of India, into full and enthusiastic cooperation with us in the war effort and in our endeavors to build a strong and peaceful postwar world are not consistent with existing barriers against Indians contained in our immigration legislation. Declarations such as the Atlantic Charter87 are unimpressive when no Indian can be naturalized as an American citizen or immigrate into the United States.

The people of India understand fully that the proposed legislation will permit a minimum number of Indian immigrants to enter the United States each year. There is no difference of view on this point. I recommend to your committee, however, that the principle of discrimination as regards both immigration and naturalization be removed in order that America may approach India with dignity and justice in our relations with that great nation.’”

  1. George V. Allen.
  2. Joint Declaration by President Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Churchill, August 14, 1941, Foreign Relations, 1941, vol. i, p. 367.