Truman Library, Truman papers, PSF–General file

Memorandum by the Secretary of State to the President

  • Subject:
  • Walter Omnibus Immigration Bill (H.R. 5678)

I wish to bring to your attention the desirability of obtaining early enaction of the Walter Bill, the consideration of which has been postponed at the request of Majority Leader John W. McCormack.1 It is understood that members of the White House staff and of the Bureau of the Budget requested postponement until amendments could be prepared to the bill which could be offered during the debate on the floor of the House.

It is of the utmost urgency and importance that the bill, which removes racial bars to the immigration and naturalization of Asian peoples, be enacted as soon as possible in view of the ratification of the Treaty of Peace with Japan. If after concluding such a Treaty the United States fails to enact the proposed legislation, which has been widely hailed in Japan as a gesture of good will between the two countries, a serious irritant of long standing in United States-Japanese relations will not only remain but will be accentuated, to the detriment of United States prestige in Japan and the high objectives of the Treaty. Our failure to remove racial barriers provides the Kremlin with unlimited political and propaganda capital for use against us in Japan and the entire Far East. Furthermore, existing procedures required by the Internal Security Act are damaging our relations with Italy, Austria, Germany and Spain. This latter situation may be alleviated by the bill’s new definition of totalitarian parties as those advocating the establishment of totalitarian dictatorship in the United States.

You may wish to request Majority Leaders McFarland2 and McCormack to attempt to obtain early favorable action on the Walter Bill, which is the middle of the road bill so far as either the McCarran or Lehman3 bills are concerned.

Dean Acheson
  1. (D.–Mass.).
  2. Representative Ernest W. McFarland (D.–Ariz.).
  3. Senator Herbert H. Lehman (D–N.Y.). On Mar. 12, 1952, a group of 13 Senators led by Lehman and Hubert Humphrey (D.–Minn.) introduced S. 2842, which was similar to earlier immigration and nationality bills but included many more liberal provisions, such as modification of the national origins system. This modification established a pool of unused quotas and permitted their redistribution in the following year to immigrants selected on the basis of criteria apart from their national origin.