Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

There can be no question whatsoever that the passage of the Immigration Act of 1924 undercut the position of liberal Japanese statesmen whose policy was based on friendship with America. And I knew many of them myself in the old days-men who were giving up everything they had to develop good relations with our country, to stem the tide of militarism, who risked imprisonment and assassination-and many of them were assassinated-doing everything they could. Those are the people who need our support.

In the sense that friends of this country were weakened, while the extremists were given a potent weapon with which to exacerbate Japanese-American relations, the policy of exclusion contributed largely to the final crisis.

In connection with this point, it is pertinent to recall a statement concerning the pending immigration bill made by Baron Sakatanihe was a great friend of our country-during debate in the Japanese Diet sometime in February 1924. I do not have the exact words used, but the statement was substantially as follows, and I would like to state, in reading this statement of Baron Sakatani, that there was no threat involved in his statement. It was merely a statement of facts, and the facts which he stated then in the Diet in Tokyo have certainly been proved by history to have been abundantly accurate:

If this bill is enacted by the United States it would lead to grave consequences. I do not mean to say by that that the Empire will go to war with the United States over this question. But what I do mean to say is that if the Japanese people are to be classified by the United States as an inferior race, that action would seriously destroy the present desire of the Japanese people to cooperate with the other signatory nations in supporting the nine-power treaty and to observe the letter and spirit of that treaty in resolving our issues with China. this bill becomes law, no one can foresee where that will end.

Of course, that is practically what happened. True, Baron Shidehara kept Japan in line until 1928, but once Baron Tanaka became Prime Minister, in 1928, the nine-power treaty was relegated to the archives. In fact, what brought about Shidehara's downfall in 1928 was the charge that in keeping step with the other signatories he had failed to protect Japanese interest in China.

By the time I reached Japan in 1932 the military was firmly in the saddle, and short of abject appeasement on the part of the United States the hope for peace was already glimmering. I remember that after arriving in Japan in 1932 I spent a couple of months trying to size up the situation and the psychology there, and I then wrote to Mr. Stimson, who was then Secretary of State. I remember the words of that letter today. I said:

"This situation here, the war psychology being developed, is very similar to the same war psychology that I saw working out in Germany before 1914." I said, "The Japanese Army has been built for war. It feels prepared for war. It would welcome war. It has never been beaten. It has unlimited self-confidence.”

Now, I said, "I am not an alarmist, but I believe we should have our eyes open to all possible future contingencies in this part of the world."

Now, I added, “The facts of history would render it criminal to close them." That was in August 1932.

The opportunity to improve relations by eliminating exclusion had already been lost. It is interesting to note that an entry in my

diary for January 27, 1935, relating to repeal of the discriminatory provisions of the 1924 act, stated in part:

I do not think that this is the time to approach the questionthat is, the question of amending the exclusion clause of the Immigraion Act. Of course the act always rankles and always will, but to repeal the discriminatory provisions now would

be interpreted by many as an indication of weakness and as a desire to placate the martial spirit of Japan and, while lovely editorials would be written about our graceful action in recognizing Japan as an equal, it would not in the slightest degree alter Japanese policy or tone down the military propaganda

Toward the end of my mission, it became clearly evident that the only possible hope for moderate leadership in Japan was through the complete disgrace of the military, and that only defeat in war could bring this about.

Defeated in war, the military leadership of Japan collapsed like a pack of cards. These men had forced their way into power through violence and the control of all avenues of information. They carried a misguided and uninformed people into a mad adventure which could have but one end. When their immunity to criticism was stripped away by defeat, liberal elements of Japan could once more emerge; nowhere in history has the repudiation of a defeated leadership been so complete.

Many observers have likened the reception accorded our initial occupation of Japan to the liberation of a friendly territory. How long this spirit may be expected to continue can hardly be forecast. The final outcome will depend upon Japanese leadership, for nothing is more certain than that at last all American troops will be withdrawn.

In the meantime, we have our opportunity to assist in the development of leadership which will solidify the present trend of friendship toward this country.

When Japanese military might was at its zenith, it was unable to induce the United States to amend its immigration law. Now it is possible to accomplish as a matter of principle what then would have been considered appeasement.

There is a quality of loyalty about the Japanese which lies very deep, and I know the Japanese pretty well

. You cannot help knowing them when you live among them for 10 years. I knew the good with bad. The Japanese are not all good nor all bad as some of our countrymen have felt at one time--that there were no good elements there.

I know of no finer people in the world, and I have lived in a great many countries, than what I call the "good Japanese," the Japanese who want to keep away from war, who want friendship with other countries, who especially want mutual cooperative friendship with the United States.

There were plenty of them in the old days. They were overridden by the military. There are plenty of them there today. And if we offer our friendship, and they know it is genuine and sincere, they will come to us like a magnet. We need have no doubt about that.

We have found the Japanese to be a desperate and implacable foe. Japan can be an equally valuable friend if mutual confidence can be built between us. There are realities in the world situation today

7561448

which should impel us to strengthen by all means our bonds with nations whose friendship can be ours.

And I submit, Mr. Chairman, that Congressman Judd's bill, in my opinion, if it is passed, will have a very powerful effect in leading up to that most desirable objective. Thank you. Mr. FELLOWS. We thank you, sir, very much.

I think that we will have to recess until Wednesday morning at 10 o'clock. We are due at the House of Representatives in a few minutes. Tomorrow the full committee meets, so we will have to recess until 10 o'clock Wednesday morning.

(Whereupon, at 11:45 a. m., the hearing adjourned until Wednesday, April 21, 1948, at 10 a. m.)

PROVIDING FOR EQUALITY UNDER NATURALIZATION

AND IMMIGRATION LAWS

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21, 1948
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,

COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY,
SUBCOMMITTEE ON IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION,

Washington, D. C. The subcommittee met at 10 a. m., Hon. Frank Fellows presiding.

Mr. FELLOWS. If the committee will come to order, we will proceed with further consideration of this proposed legislation, H. R. 5004.

This morning we have on our list the Honorable Bertrand W. Gearhart, a Member of Congress from California.

STATEMENT OF HON. BERTRAND W. GEARHART, A REPRESENTA

TIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

Mr. GEARHART. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I want to thank the committee for this privilege of appearing before you this morning in supoprt of this legislation. Others in this room are far more familiar with the technical provisions of the bill than I could possibly be. In the interest of brevity, and in recognition of their special knowledge of this general subject, I am passing over that phase of this inquiry. I know the measure has been very carefully analyzed by Dr. Judd in his presentation of last Monday. In the confidence that the immigration authorities will call the attention of the committee to any imperfections that might require correction, I will, with the committee's indulgence discuss the policies that are necessarily involved.

The spirit of the legislation is what has brought me here to raise my voice in support of what I think constitutes a modernization in our attitudes toward these recurring questions of immigration and naturalization, a modernization which has occurred in public thinking as a consequence of demonstrations of loyalty to our country by the so-called ineligible races during its great days of crisis.

I realize that the great share of the benefits which this act will carry will go to those of Japanese descent, and it is that phase of the bill that interests me the most. It is because I think we will be lifting from our minds an unreasoning prejudice which has oppressed us no end down through the years by the adoption of this legislation that inspires me to raise my voice in its support.

I have been raised among Japanese in great numbers. Years ago in the days of my childhood they began to settle around me, principally as farmers, people interested in the agricultural industry. As

time progressed, they were seen more frequently in the business and the professions of the community.

In all of our civic enterprises they were foremost in the promotional end. They always took a leading part in all of our patriotic celebrations. In the promotion of the general welfare, their cooperation was always generous and complete. As far as their record is concerned, it was one which should have instilled confidence, but, for reasons based upon fear, and I think in most cases now, looking back through the years, it was an unreasoning fear, we could not open our hearts to them and receive them with that ease of manner as we do and have done in the days gone by, in the case of those who came to live with us from other sections of the world.

But we did like them personally; every one of us was glad to call many of them personal friends. In business transactions they were as honest and as scrupulous as any group could possibly be. But, still there lurked in our minds a fear based upon a fact which we could not disregard, that is, that there was a great and unfriendly power rising in the Far East which we thought might have a greater claim on their loyalties, than any they might feel for the country that had offered them hospitality, a home, and opportunities far greater than any nation could offer.

That is a fear that has been completely disabused in the light of a great experience, an experience which must have been a very, very difficult one for those of Japanese descent, certainly a great and a difficult experience for Americans as well.

We have come through that war, and the record fails to disclose a single act of sabotage or disloyalty which can be charged against this race, save those who have foresworn their allegiance to our flag and taken up arms with the enemy. On the contrary, there is evidence defying contradiction of the undivided loyalty of the vast majority of their numbers to our cause. Their sacrifice, when measured in percentages, was very much greater than that of any other people who have come from afar to live with us here.

In my own country we had an actual demonstration, a demonstration of loyalty by these people, the nisei, as they are known. A recent survey conducted by the United Veterans of Fresno, an organization of World War II veterans, reveals that there are approximately 862 returned Nisei veterans who have reestablished themselves in central California. Among these there is 1 holder of the Distinguished Service Cross, 8 holders of the Silver Star, 46 holders of the Bronze Star, 236 holders of the Purple Heart, and a number, estimated to be about 351, who have been awarded the Presidential Unit Citation.

This survey further reveals the sad information that 27 of this Nisei contingent died in the service of the country that has denied their parents citizenship.

That is the nisei record of my home county. That is a most impressive demonstration of the loyalty, the bravery and the courage of these boys of Japanese descent, a demonstration that they are just as worthy of American citizenship as a race as are any of those who have their roots in European soil.

I have in my hands here a statement which I would like to read. is entitled “The Japanese American Creed.” It was engrossed under the imprimatur of the Japanese American Citizens League, an organization headquartered in Salt Lake City. I quote:

It

« PředchozíPokračovat »