PIN files, lot 56 D 324, “Minutes, 1947–52”

Minutes of the 63d Meeting of the Policy Committee on Immigration and Naturalization, Held in the Department of State, 10 a.m.–1 p.m., June 3, 1952

PIN M–63
  • Present: George Gray, H, Acting Chairman
  • Robert C. Alexander, VD
  • Samuel Boggs, OIR/GE
  • John Devine, P
  • Daniel Goott, E/L
  • James Keegan, L/EUR
  • Richard J. Kerry, UNI
  • George Knight, L/EUR
  • Virginia Massey, IEP [IES]
  • Peter Rutter, WE
  • George H. Steuart, Jr., CON
  • Irwin Tobin, S/M
  • George B. Toulmin, A/MS
  • William S. Lambert, S/SS, Secretary
[Page 1613]

Draft Memorandum From the Secretary to the President on the McCarran and Walter Bills

1. Action: The Committee approved, with the revisions indicated, the following draft memorandum prepared for transmission from the Secretary to the President (insertions underlined, deletions stricken):1

“Your memorandum to me of May 13 concerning the Walter and McCarran Omnibus Immigration and Nationality Bills (H.R. 5678 and S. 2550) has promoted a review of the Department’s position on these Bills. In the course of that review the Department has given careful attention to the memorandum prepared by the Bureau of the Budget which you forwarded to me.

“The analysis made by the Bureau of the Budget was based on the Bills as they were reported from the respective committees of each House. With regard to the provisions as they existed at that time, the Department [stricken deletion illegible] continues to believe that despite their shortcomings, their enactment would, on balance, be more beneficial than harmful to our foreign relations. On balance from the viewpoint of our foreign relations, they provide the greatest improvements in existing legislation which can be [illegible] at this time.”

[Here follows a suggestion by Kerry that the Department take the approach that certain provisions of the bill were so important that they justified acceptance of the entire measure.]

Comments on Bureau of the Budget Staff Memorandum (PIN D–30/3)

4. Action: The Committee revised extensively pages 1 to 10 of PIN D–30/3. These changes were incorporated in the revisions of this document issued as PIN D–30/3a.2 It was agreed that the Department would comment only on those aspects of the Bureau of the Budget staff memorandum which related to foreign relations. It was also agreed, as indicated in the discussion below and in the minutes of subsequent meetings, that certain subjects which were deleted from the detailed comments would be included in a general introductory statement.

5. Discussion: Mr. Alexander favored mentioning the necessity of length and bulk in a codification of all existing laws relating to immigration and nationality and it was agreed that this would be done in the introduction.

6. Mr. Tobin suggested that some justification be given for the principle for charging people of Asian origin to Asian quotas rather than to countries of birth. Mr. Alexander said that the imposition [Page 1614] of quotas on Western Hemisphere countries would eliminate racial discrimination from our immigration laws but that the State Department is opposed to the establishment of such quotas.

7. With regard to point 5, Mr. Alexander commented that the Senate Committee Report3 indicates that the reorganization of the Department provided for in the bills is not intended to diminish the authority of the Secretary of State to control the administration of the affected area. He thought that the provisions were preferable to either alternative which had been proposed during the hearings.

8. With regard to the injection of Congress into the administrative field by the creation in the Walter bill of a “Watch Dog” Congressional Committee, Mr. Steuart pointed out that this issue is a very controversial one and he suggested that it be avoided especially since it had no particular effect from the foreign relations point of view.

9. With regard to point 6, it was not clear what provisions of the bill were referred to and it was generally agreed that the Department would not comment on provisions that were not clearly identified.

10. With regard to point 7, Mr. Tobin pointed out that the Bureau of the Budget seem to imply that what is needed is an entirely new immigration system, and he thought that many of their comments had been addressed to that point. He suggested making it clear in the introduction that we are concerned with the bill itself and realistic possibilities.

11. During the discussion of item 11, Mr. Tobin suggested that a sentence be added to the first paragraph of the comment pointing out that divergencies such as these mentioned are inevitable in any national origins quota system. Mr. Rutter proposed that this idea be placed in the introduction together with a statement that no consideration is being given in these comments to changing the national origins quota system.

12. With regard to item 12, Dr. Boggs thought that use of the 1950 census would be fairer and he also thought that the negro population of the United States should be included in the calculations. Mr. Kerry pointed out that the principal changes in the composition of the population of this country by national origin have not resulted from a shift in sources of immigration alone but have also been related to the differences in birth and death rates between persons of Northern European as contrasted with Mediterranean origin. Mr. Alexander pointed out that Congress is not going [Page 1615] to permit large increases in the immigration into this country. This bill at least eliminates the overall total of 150,000, and Mr. Alexander feared that if another basis is used, this numerical limit would be reimposed. Mr. Tobin suggested that while we see certain advantages to shifting the base from 1930 to 1950 we believe the practical possibility of obtaining legislation to accomplish this is slight.

13. With regard to the discussion of the Asia-Pacific triangle in connection with paragraph 14, Mr. Alexander noted that he had tried to emphasize that this device is preferable to the existence of the “Asiatic Barred Zone”. Mr. Tobin suggested that a sentence be added to the effect that the Asia-Pacific triangle would expand the area of admissability to immigration into the United States and would therefore be beneficial to our foreign relations.4

  1. Printed here as italics.
  2. Not found in Department of State files.
  3. “Revision of Immigration and Nationality Laws,” Senate Report 1137, 82d Cong., 2d sess. (Washington, 1952).
  4. At its meeting on June 5, the PIN Committee continued to review the comments to be made by the Department of State on the Asia-Pacific triangle provision of the omnibus immigration bills and considered the suggestion that the Department indicate that, in the absence of some such provision, about 150,000 Asians born in Europe and Africa would become eligible for quota immigration. Tobin felt that the Department should admit that this was a controversial question. There followed considerable discussion on the question of admitting people of Asian origin who were now in Latin America. It was generally concluded that an Asia-Pacific triangle provision was necessary because of the nonquota status of the Western Hemisphere countries, a status it was considered inadvisable to change. It was also concluded that the Department did not assume that unlimited immigration into this country was acceptable. (Minutes of June 5 meeting, designated PIN M–68, PIN files, lot 56 D 324, “Minutes, 1947–52”)