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BILL TO PERMIT OATH OF ALLEGIANCE
Mr. GRIFFIN. Mr. Chairman, I would like to supplement my remarks by put. ting in at this point an extract from the selective act of May 18, 1917, under which the Vice President of the United States, the officers, legislative, executive, and judicial, of the United States and of the several States, Territories, and the District of Columbia, regular or duly ordained ministers of religion, stúdents who at the time of the approval of this act are preparing for the ministry in recognized theological or divinity schools, and all persons in the military and naval service of the United States shall be exempt from the selective draft herein prescribed; and nothing in this act contained shall be construed to require or compel any person to serve in any of the forces herein provided for who is found to be a member of any well-organized religious sect or organization at present organized and existing and whose existing creed or principles forbid its members to participate in war in any form and whose religious convictions are against war or participation therein in accordance with the creed or principles of said religious organizations, but no person so exempted shall be exempted from service in any capacity that the President shall declare to be noncombatant; and the President is hereby authorized to exclude or discharge from said selective draft and from the draft under the second paragraph of section 1 hereof or to draft for partial military service only from those liable to draft, as in this act provided, persons of the following classes :
“ COUNTY AND MUNICIPAL OFFICIALS
“ Persons employed by the United States in the transmission of mails.
Artificers and workmen employed in the armories, arsenals, and navy yards of the United States, and such other persons employed in the service of the United States as the President may designate.
“Mariners actually employed in the sea service of any citizen or merchant within the United States.
" Persons engaged in industries, including agriculture, found to be necessary to the maintenance of the Military Establishment, or for the effective operation of the military forces or the maintenance of national interest during the emergency
" Those in a status with respect to persons dependent upon them for support which renders their exclusion or discharge advisable. Those found to be physically or morally deficient."
The CHAIRMAN. That is a law or regulations laid down in the preparation of an army for an emergency and it deals primarily with the citizens of the United States. This other matter is dealing with people who seek to become citizens. You can not apply one to the other.
Mr. GRIFFIN. This shows how the Government in time of war confronts this problem as to the kind and character or nature of the services which are expected.
The CHAIRMAN. Certainly; that is perfectly proper. That is a matter of regulation at the time that the war occurs, and is not to be considered at the time that a person presents himself or herself for naturalization.
DAVIS, POLK, WARDWELL, GARDINER & REDD,
New York, January 25, 1932. Hon. ANTHONY J. GRIFFIN,
House of Representatives, Washington D. C. MY DEAR MR. GRIFFIN: I have been informed by the secretary of the Griffin bill committee that a hearing on your bill amending the naturalization act will be held before the Committee on Immigration and Naturalization on Tuesday of the coming week. I regret not to be able to be present.
The opinion of the Supreme Court in United States v. Schwimmer in May, 1929, particularly Mr. Justice Holmes's dissent, invited my interest. It seemed to me that the Department of Labor, in asking an applicant for citizenship minute and hypothetical questions concerning what he would or would not do in a war, had exceeded the authority given it by Congress in the naturalization act. To ask an applicant, be the applicant a crippled man or an old woman, whether he or she would be willing to bear arms exemplified the dangers of bureaucracy.
In June, 1929, Douglas Clyde Macintosh, a professor of theology at Yale University, of the age of 52 years, was denied citizenship by the District Court of Connecticut because of his unwillingness to promise to bear arms in each and every war that this country might engage in. The decision impressed me as an unfortunate extension of the decision in the case of United States v. Schwimmer. The principle at stake I considered particularly vital and, accordingly, together with my partner, Allen Wardwell, volunteered to appeal the case.
As you know, the Court of Appeals of the Second Circuit (Judges Manton, Learned, Hand, and Swan sitting) unanimously reversed the district court. But the Supreme Court in turn reversed the court of appeals by a five to four decision in which Mr. Chief Justice Hughes and Justices Brandeis, Holmes, and Stone dissented.
In our brief and argument before the Supreme Court we urged that Congress had not in terms demanded of every applicant an unconditional promise in advance to bear arms in any and every war even against the applicant's conscientious scruples. We pointed out that though Congress had at various times specifically legislated on the admissibility of certain aliens, it had never provided that aliens with conscientious scruples could not become American citi
We argued that Congress in enacting the provision that an alien must take an oath of allegiance, which in substance is similar to that administered to all public officials of the United States, except the President, did not intend to preclude a person with conscientious scruples against bearing arms from honestly and legally swearing thereto.
And we substantiated our contention that Congress could not have meant to exclude from citizenship persons with conscientious scruples who otherwise met the qualifications, by showing that Congress throughout the history of our country has zealously sought to protect such persons. In every militia, conscription, and draft act hitherto passed, Congress has explicitly granted such protection. In addition, we brought to the court's attention that the colonial legislation, many of the State constitutions and militia acts have and do defend conscientious scruples.
Accordingly we urged that Congress, cognizant of this legislative tradition, did not intend by the general provisions of the act to render inadmissible aliens with conscientious scruples. It was not our direct contention that Congress could not legislate to force people with conscientious scruples to bear arms, but that Congress had not thus far so legislated. Wi out such legislation the Bureau of Naturalization was not justified in recommending the exclusion of an intelligent alien, desirous of American citizenship, on account of his answers to a series of questions, fantastic and irrelevant.
True, the majority of the court decided otherwise. Our contentions, however, were fully grasped and forcefully 'and lucidly presented by Mr. Chief Justice Hughes. In his opinion he states:
“I am unable to agree with the judgment in this case. It is important to note the precise question to be determined. It is solely one of law, as there is no controversy as to the facts. The question is not whether naturalization is a privilege to be granted or withheld. That it is such a privilege is undisputed. Nor whether the Congress has the power to fix the conditions upon which the privilege is granted. That power is assumed. Nor whether the Congress may in its discretion compel service in the Army in time of war or punish the refusal to serve. That power is not here in dispute. Nor is the question one of the authority of Congress to exact a promise to bear arms as a condition of its grant of naturalization. That authority, for the present purpose, may also be assumed.
“The question before the court is the narrower one, whether the Congresshas exacted such a promise. That the Congress has not made such an express requirement is apparent. The question is whether that exaction is to be implied from certain general words which do not, as it seems to me, either literally or historically, demand the implication, I think that the requirement should not be implied, because such a construction is directly opposed to the spirit of
our institutions and to the historic practice of the Congress. It must be conceded that departmental zeal may not be permitted to outrun the authority conferred by statute. If such a promise is to be demanded, contrary to principles which have been respected as fundamental, the Congress should exact it in unequivocal terms; and we should not, by judicial decision, attempt to perform what, as I see it, is a legislative function."
With this statement I heartily agree. And since the law as interpreted by the majority of the Supreme Court seems to me to run counter to the history and ideals of America, I lend my hearty good wishes and support to your efforts.
Judicial channels exhausted, it now becomes the function of Congress to legislate definitely on the question if it is not in fact its will to exclude from citizenship persons of high and unusual caliber merely because of their conscientious scruples. Yours very truly,
JOHN W. DAVIS.
CHURCH ORGANIZATIONS FAVORING H. R. 297 AND A FEW LETTERS OF THE MANY
Grace Community, Aaron Allen Heist, pastor, 210 West Thirteenth Avenue, Denver, Colo.
Federal Council of Churches, Dr. Sam Cavert, 105 East Twenty-second Street, New York City.
Church of the Brethren Publishing House (Dunkards), Dr. Paul Bowman, Elgin, Ill.
Salem Evangelical, Rev. H. J. Hahn, Buffalo, N. Y.
Riverside Church, Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick, Riverside Drive and One hundred and twenty-second Street, New York City.
Union Theological Seminary, Henry S. Coffin, Broadway and One hundred and twentieth Street, New York City.
American Friends Service Committee, Ray Newton, peace section, 20' South Twelfth Street, Philadelphia, Pa.
Peace Committee, Pasadena monthly meeting of Friends, Lydia C. Vail, 411 Kensington Place, Pasadena, Calif.
Committee on Peace and Service, Philadelphia yearly meeting of Friends, Fifteenth and Race Streets, Philadelphia, Pa.
Grace D. Watson, chairman; Arabella Carter, 1515 Cherry Street, Philadelphia, Pa.
Religious Society of Friends, William B. Harvey, secretary, 304 Arch Street, Philadelphia, Pa.
Friends Church, western yearly meeting, Richard R. Newby, superintendent, Plainfield, Ind.
Religious Society of Friends, Eleanor Taber, clerk, 144 East Twentieth Street, New York City.
West Grove quarterly meeting of western yearly meeting of Friends, Sheridan, Ind.
Western yearly meeting of Friends Church, Indianapolis, Ind. Sand Creek quarterly meeting of Friends Church, Elizabethtown, Ind. Western yearly meeting of Friends Church, Plainfield, Ind. West Milton monthly meeting of friends, West Milton, Ohio. Cherokee quarterly meeting of the Society of Friends, Cherokee, Okla. Monclair monthly meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, Monclair, N. J.
North New Jersey Friends Branch of the Women's International League," Plainfield, N, J.
Woodbury monthly meeting of Friends, Woodbury, N. J.
Western quarterly meeting of, Society of Friends of London Grove, Pa., London Grove, Pa.
COMMISSION ON INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE AND GOODWILL,
New York, N. Y., May 26, 1930. Hon. ANTHONY J. GRIFFIN,
House Office Building, Washington, D. C. MY DEAR MR. GRIFFIN : I have the honor to convey for your information the following action taken on Friday, May 23, 1930, by the administrative committee of the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America. Respectfully yours,
SIDNEY L. GULICK, Secretary. " In view of certain recent judicial decisions which raise fundamental questions as to the justice of our present naturalization laws, we desire to put on record the following convictions :
“ We hold that our country is benefitted by having as citizens those who un. swervingly follow the dictates of their consciences and who put allegiance to God above every other consideration, and that a policy of denial of naturalization to aliens of such character is contrary to the ideals of a nation into whose very structure the principle of political and religious liberty has been built.
“ If the present naturalization law does, under fair interpretation, require the exclusion from citizenship of applicants who put allegiance to God above every other consideration, we believe that the law should be amended."
NATIONAL COMMITTEE ON THE CHURCHES AND WORLD PEACE,
New York, N. Y., March 8, 1930. Mme. ROSIKA SCHWIMMER,
New York, N. Y. MY DEAR MADEMOISELLE SCHWIMMER: The Third National Study Conference on the Churches and World Peace, made up of the representatives of 37 communions and allied religious organizations, was held in Evanston, I., February 25 to 27.
The message adopted by the conference contained a paragraph bearing on the question of the right of conscientious objectors to become citizens. I am inclosing a copy of that part of the message, and I am sending it to you at the specific request of the conference itself.
The language of this resolution is in substance that of the statement adopted by the Federal Council of the Churches at its executive committee meeting in Chicago last December.
Many of us feel that no more significant problem faces America at this time than that involved in this issue. Sincerely yours,
WALTER W. VAN KIRK, Secretary.
FROM THE MESSAGE ADOPTED AT THE THIRD NATIONAL STUDY CONFERENCE ON THY
CHURCHES AND WORLD PEACE
We believe the United States sould welcome as citizens all applicants for citizenship otherwise qualified who conscientiously seek to follow the highest ideals, including those who have, in their own hearts, renounced war as an instrument of dealing with others. We urge that the statutes relating to the naturalization of aliens be amended to this end and be brought into harmony with the spirit and intent of the pact by which the nations have renounced war as an instrument of national policy.
Hon. ALBERT JOHNSON,
Washington, D. C.
MARVIN H. FOULKE, Clerk.
SHERIDAN, IND., April 29, 1930. Hon. ANTHONY J. GRIFFIN :
Inclosed is a copy of a communication addressed to the House Committee on Immigration and Naturalization and sent to the Griffin bill committee for its presentation.
If you can make any use of this expression the quarterly meeting will be very glad.
Your bill and your effort in behalf of improved naturalization laws is keenly appreciated. In behalf of West Grove Quarterly Meeting. Sincerely yours,
MARVIN H, FOULKE, Clerk,
WESTERN YEARLY MEETING OF FRIENDS CHURCH,
Indianapolis, Ind., March 11, 1930. Representative ANTHONY J. GRIFFIN,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. DEAR SIR: I understand that you have introduced a bill to amend by statute the recent judge made law that persons conscientiously opposed to bearing arms are ineligible to citizenship in the United States. All with whom I have spoken are of opinion that the recent decision of the Supreme Court in the Schwimmer case is most unfortunate at this time when the Kellogg pact has become the supreme law of the land.
Inclosed is a copy of a resolution passed at the 1929 session of the Western Yearly Meeting of Friends Church. This puts the Friends of western Indiana, eastern Illinois, and Michigan on record as to the inequity of the exclusion of persons from citizenship on the sole grounds that they are Christian pacifists and conscientious enough to state their belief.
The principle at stake is that of liberty of religion and of conscience. In spirit, if not in words, the Constitution of the United States was framed to protect such liberty. The group of decisions of which that in the Schwimmer case leads, is not based on express terms of the Constitution, but on the traditional right of a State to require military service. Justice Holmes dissenting opinion is more in harmony with the spirit of the Constitution than is the majority of the court.
Friends of this vicinity, therefore, heartily appreciate your action in introducing this bill, and hope you will be able to secure a favorable report and eventual passage. Sincerely,
FRANK H. STREIGHTOFF,
Secretary Committee on Peace. Be it resolved that Western Yearly Meeting of Friends Church express the following concern:
Western Yearly Meeting of Friends notes with deep concern the decisions of the United States Supreme Court and various other courts rejecting applicants for citizenship who refuse to bear arms in defense of, and offense for, the United States. We are concerned at the absurdity of an oath, to defend by means of arms, taken on the Bible which explicitly teaches, Thou shall not kill." We hold that this is a vital infringement on the Christian freedom of conscience and on the United States Constitution which grants freedom of religious belief. This same spirit is often in evidence when passports to other countries are requested by our people.
This attitude has never been necessary in the past, and we feel it is an outgrowth of a military policy which seeks the removal of civil liberty in our country.
As Christian citizens who are interested in the welfare of our country, we urge the cooperation of our Representatives, Senators, and judges in counteracting this subtle policy. We will do all in our power to bring about this more Christian attitude, and to appoint as our públic representatives those who are so minded: Be it further
Resolved, That copies of this concern be sent to Senators and Representatives of Indiana and Illinois.