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United States Department of State / Papers relating to the foreign relations of the United States, 1919

Japan,   pp. 415-463 PDF (17.1 MB)

Page 417

T have deemed it my duty to point out that the question of discrim-
ination against the Japanese people in California is one which pro-
foundly affects Japanese pride and sentiment and any action by
California at this time when public feeling in Japan is generally
antagonistic would lead to an extremely serious crisis.
In a recent conversation Mr. Hanihara 7 expressed to me the con-
cern he personally felt about the California situation and his fear
that Governor Stephens might not be able to withstand the popular
agitation now going on. He further stated that Viscount Uchida 8
was also greatly disturbed and worried. He explained that in his
judgement it would be possible for Japan to remove some of irritat-
ing factors in the present situation if Governor Stephens would per-
sist in his refusal to call an extra session of the legislature and thus
allow a year for discussion and voluntary action. He spoke in par-
ticular of the question of picture brides and said that only recently
at a special meeting of the Japan[ese] Association of California a
resolution was passed by which, while recognizing the legality of
the socalled photograph marriage, nevertheless in view of the feeling
and customs of the American people, the Association practically
stopped of its own accord the further immigration of picture brides.
This resolution, Mr. Hanihara said, would receive without formal
action the tacit and effective support of the Japanese Government.
He pointed out that the resolution gave the Japanese Government
an excellent opportunity to support a movement of its own people in
a case where it could not act under pressure from outside.
711.94/306: Telegram
The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Japan (Morris)
WASHINGTON, November 21, 1919, 3 p.m.
Your telegram November 19, 7 p.m.
The question of the immigration into the United States of the so-
called Japanese picture brides has come into considerable prominence
owing to the recent large increase in the number of such women com-
ing to this country. The legality under our law of the marriages of
these women is now under investigation. In the meantime Senator
Phelan has introduced a bill to amend the immigration act so as to
exclude all Japanese laborers, thus substituting an act of Congress
for the Gentlemen's Agreement. In order to avoid the adverse effects
on the relations between Japan and America which would result
either from a holding that such marriages are illegal or from the
' Masanao Hanihara, Japanese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, September,
' Viscount Yasuya Uchida, Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs.

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