University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Foreign Relations of the United States

Page View

United States Department of State / Papers relating to the foreign relations of the United States, 1920

Japan,   pp. 1-48 PDF (16.5 MB)

Page 12

Mevworandulm by the Amnbassador in Japan (Morris), temporarily
in the United States
[WASHINGTON,] July 22, 1920.
I explained to Mr. Shidehara the tentative conclusions which I
have reached as a result of my discussions with residents of Cali-
fornia and Japanese representatives during my recent trip to San
I told Mr. Shidehara that there was practically a unanimous de-
termination on the part of the people of California to prevent all
Asiatic immigration to California. I explained to him that in my
judgment this was not primarily economic but that it arose from the
fear of the people of California that the presence of a large body
of unassimilable people would threaten them with a serious and per-
sistent race problem. I said that there was a division of sentiment
among those who had studied the question whether the Japanese
people ever could assimilate with Western civilization. I further
expressed my opinion that this question could only be determined by
the test of experience and I saw in the California conditions a
peculiar opportunity for such a test.
There were admittedly 85,000 Japanese already there and if we
could allow two or three generations to pass without adding by im-
migration to that number we would then know how Japanese had
blended into the economic and social structure of California life.
I explained that the " Gentlemen's Agreement " had not succeeded
satisfactorily in preventing immigration during the past ten years.
I believed that if arrangements could be made to provide for total
exclusion in the future that we would thus establish the foundation
for better treatment by Californians towards Japanese already there.
I further told him that the initiative would in my judgment un-
doubtedly pass and that any effort on the part of the Japanese resi-
dents or the Federal Government to prevent its passage by propa-
ganda or otherwise would only serve to accentuate the present
antagonism. I had, I said, serious doubts as to the validity of the
existing and proposed discriminatory legislation against Japanese
residents, in view of our Constitutional provisions and treaty obliga-
tions, and that I wished that question could be determined. I asked
him to think over the following procedure to handle the problem
for the immediate future.
First, to wait in the hope that a test of the validity of the Act
of 1913 might be made in our courts so that we know whether we
were discussing a real or fictitious situation.

Go up to Top of Page