The Acting Secretary of State to the Chairman of the House Committee on Immigration and Naturalization (Dickstein)

My Dear Mr. Dickstein: I refer to my letter of October 4, 1945,35 concerning H. R. 1444, a bill “To provide for the deportation of Japanese aliens.”

It is the view of the Department that H.R. 1444, providing for the deportation of all Japanese nationals who on the seventh day of December 1941, were subjects of the Government of Japan, with the exception of those Japanese nationals closely related to persons [Page 443] who served in the armed forces of the United States during the war between the United States and Japan, is too comprehensive in covering certain categories of Japanese nationals and not sufficiently so to include others who might advisably be included.

The terms of the bill would require the deportation from the United States of all Japanese nationals except those closely related to persons who served in the armed forces of the United States during the war between the United States and Japan. Many of the Japanese nationals to whom a deportation law such as the one proposed would apply are persons long resident in the United States who could not attain the right of citizenship because of the laws of this country but whose loyalty to this country has been firmly established. They were not considered dangerous during the war period and many of them have contributed indirectly to the prosecution of the war against Japan. Furthermore the bill would disregard the claim on the gratitude of the people of the United States of the hundreds of Japanese who have taken a direct and important part in the war effort against Japan. These people have willingly sacrificed their standing in their native land for the sake of American ways of life. The bill would also call for the deportation of the parents of American citizens who, because of age or physical disabilities, could not serve in the armed forces of the United States. Thousands of family units might be broken by the operation of the provisions of the proposed legislation.

Japanese nationals, who were not considered dangerous, together with American nationals of Japanese ancestry were evacuated from the west coast under the terms of Public Proclamation Number 1, dated March 2, 1942. On December 17, 1944, the mass exclusion orders were revoked through the issuance by Major General Henry C. Pratt, Commanding General of the Western Command, under the terms of Public Proclamation Number 21. A pertinent paragraph of the Proclamation reads:

“The revocation order provides that any person of Japanese ancestry about whom information is available indicating a pro-Japanese attitude will continue to be excluded on an individual basis. Those persons of Japanese ancestry whose records have stood the test of Army scrutiny during the past two years will be permitted the same freedom of movement throughout the United States as other loyal citizens and law abiding aliens.”

Since the proclamation was issued, the Government has spent large sums trying to find new homes for these people and has even assisted them to return to the west coast. Many Japanese nationals have in this way reentered the stream of American life and it would not appear to be consistent with the relocation policy now to deport them to Japan.

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Many persons of Japanese ancestry, who were born in the United States and thus acquired American citizenship, renounced their American citizenship after December 7, 1941. Yet the deportation of such renunciants would not become mandatory if the proposed bill becomes law.

In view of the foregoing, I believe that the passage of the bill as it has been drafted might cause grave injustice in many instances.

Finally, I cannot refrain from expressing grave doubts in regard to the moral aspects of a proposal to eject from our community, solely on racial grounds, an element in our population which can rightfully claim an enviable record during the war period for industry, law observance, and loyalty to their adopted land. I fear that the bill would violate long established and valuable principles which have guided the people of this country since the founding of the republic.

I suggest that you ask for the recommendations of the Department of Justice and the War Relocation Authority with regard to this matter as those agencies have had many more contacts with the Japanese alien residents of the United States during the past five years than this Department has had.

I am enclosing for your information four statements36 issued by various offices which have been concerned with the segregation in the United States of Japanese nationals that may be of interest to you in considering H.R. 1444.

The Department has been informed by the Bureau of the Budget that there is no objection to the submission of this report.37

Sincerely yours,

Dean Acheson
  1. Not printed.
  2. None printed; see documents itemized in the memorandum of February 5 to the Spanish Embassy, p. 431, and footnote 15, p. 432.
  3. H. R. 1444 was not reported out of Committee; see Congressional Record, vol. 91, pt. 14, p. 840.