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nothing in a true reading of the oath which provides for such a question.
Mr. CABLE. Let me ask you another question. What do you think of the statement of the minister from Buffalo who said that a very large proportion of aliens who become citizens have a mental reservation when they answer that question?
Mr. LEIF. I don't know if that mental reservation applies to all aliens. I do know that those who are scalawags and ragtags and the riffraff are not the ones who will forfeit the privileges of citizenship by saying “No” to Question 24. They will slip through by saying “ Yes; sure."
Mr. CABLE. Then you would intimate that they say, “yes” when they mean “no”? Would that be true of the large body of aliens who have come and applied for citizenship?
Mr. LEIF. No. I would say that the people that you fear most might say “yes” when they mean “no.
Mr. CABLE. Then it is a fair proposition to exclude some of those by asking as many questions as necessary to keep out that class, isn't it?
Mr. LEIF. The law provides against believers in anarchism as a stipulated question, “Do you believe in organized government?” The law is opposed to polygamy, and it will not admit anyone who believes in polygamy.
The CHAIRMAN. That is law. That is not a rule.
Mr. LEIF. Exactly. But there is no law that says that people opposed to war shall be denied citizenship. That is the main point in Chief Justice Hughes's dissenting opinion—that the law is not specific on that point. In order to legalize question No. 24 there would have to be a point in our statutes.
Mr. CABLE. The oath is provided for by law, isn't it?
Mr. CABLE. And the oath provides that they shall defend and support the Constitution?
Mr. LEIF. Yes.
Mr. LEIF. In the absence of specific requirements that opinion was delivered.
Now, it is our privilege as a Republican country and citizens of it to attempt to improve the law and to improve the Constitution. That is why we are constantly amending it. Although there was an agreement by a 5 to 4 vote, it was a bare majority in the Schwimmer case. I hope that the next time that a case comes before the new complete Supreme Court the opinion will be 4 to 5–5 in favor of the applicant. And that is not beyond the realm of possibility.
Mr. CABLE. Then it is not necessary to change the law?
Mr. LEIF. It is necessary. We have a majority of the judges interpreting it one way.
Mr.CABLE. But if they interpret it the other way? It is a question of interpretation, then, as I understand you?
Mr. LEIF. If we were going to rely upon the panel of the Supreme Court in all these cases, there would be no function for the honorable Congressmen to perform.
The CHAIRMAN. That would put us out of a job?
Mr. GREEN. Will you just permit me to ask a question? Do you know whether or not the communist organizations have indorsed this bill?
Mr. LEIF. They have not. They never have been asked. The communists are just as bitter about the pacifists. You must realize that there is no possibility at all of cohesion or similar color of the communists and the pacifists.
Mr. JOHNSON. Do you speak for the pacifists?
Mr. LEIF. Yes. I believe we have got to be militant in our pacifism
Mr. JOHNSON. All the rest of the pacifists are inclined to be militant.
Mr. LEIF. No. But I was about to tell you about some societies which are namby pamby
Mr. Johnson. You say you are militant in behalf of pacifism?
Mr. LEIF. Good. I am glad. But we are not communists, Mr. Johnson. The communists are not pacifists, because they say you are attempting to disarm the working class.
Mr. GRIFFIN. I hope the committee will catch this.
Mr. LEIF. The communist says, “We are striving for revolution. We are not striving for revolution by mere words, by some mere amendment of the naturalization laws.” I am paraphrasing the communist argument.
Mr. JOHNSON. What are the pacifist arguments?
Mr. LEIF. The pacifists say, “We will do it by peaceful meansthrough constitutional measures, through conversations, through our literature, through any method, honorable method, of dissemination of information and ideas."
Mr. JOHNSON. Do what?
Mr. LEIF. Spread the idea that pacifist measures can be used for the solution of conflicts. And that is the only purpose of militant pacifism as I conceive it. There is no such wild idea as overturning the Government, which means violence. We are opposed to violence like that [gesturing).
Mr. FREE. You have been quoting from some compilation of these laws. What is that? Is that a Government publication that you
. have there
Mr. LEIF. This is a quarterly collection of Supreme Court opinions. Mr. FREE. Have you got them in one volume?
Mr. LEIF. No. For instance, this is volume 283 United States Reports, No. 4.
The CHAIRMAN. Are you through?
Mr. LEIF. Well, there is just one point that is dangling, and that is the question made by the honorable member before me whom I am facing. That is about the oath to support and defend the Constitution.
Chief Justice Hughes, who knows the law as well as any of us, said:
There are other and most important methods of defense even in time of war apart from the personal bearing of arms. We have but to consider the defense of our country in the late war, both in industry and in the field of the workers, and all sorts of engineers, doctors, chaplains, to realize that there is opportunity at such a time for technical services in the line of defense which do not require overriding such religious scruples. I think the requirements of the oath of office should be read in the light of our record from the beginning for freedom of conscience.
And he goes on to point out that the oath of office is in no sense any different than the oath of allegiance, except in the case of the President.
Mr. CABLE. Do you think that it was within the powers of Congress when it asked question 24?
Mr. LEIF. Maybe “powers" is not the exact word.
Mr. CABLE. You used the word. Then, we have authority to ask that question, haven't we?
Mr. LEIF. I should say not. Mr. CABLE. If it is beyond our authority to ask that question, then why do you appeal to Congress? Why would not a court say that
a we had no authority and that, therefore, the man should be naturalized ?
Mr. LEIF. The court said that there is no express stipulation against it.
Mr. CABLE. Then they had authority to ask it, didn't they, in view of that decision?
Mr. LEIF. There is no express
Mr. CABLE. It has been upheld by the Supreme Court twice, hasn't it?
Mr. LEIF. Which does not mean that it will be upheld again.
Mr. JOHNSON. Mr. Chairman, I would suggest that it would be good to have in the record all the Supreme Court decisions together. In Professor Davis's presentation he had some of them. I wonder if Mr. Griffin could get them all together in one place!
Mr. GRIFFIN. It was my offer to the chairman to put them in the record in support of my remarks.
Mr. Johnson. Mr. Griffin, I was on the previous committee, and we got some decisions then, and an effort was made then, and I think that the pamphlet should be printed; not put in, but be made available for the use of the committee.
The CHAIRMAN. We can read them in connection with the hearing on this bill.
Mr. Johnson. As a separate pamphlet.
The CHAIRMAN. My impression would be that we ought to print the last decision by the Supreme Court, together with the argument made by Mr. Griffin. The other decisions could be compiled with your assistance and that of the clerk for the use of the committee in discussing this matter in executive session.
Mr. Johnson. They have them all set up in the printing office. It would only have to be added as an appendix to the hearing.
The CHAIRMAN. I understand that you want to call another wit
Can't you just take about 10 minutes longer? Mr. GRIFFIN. I have Mr. Mercer G. Johnston, director of the People's Legislative Service, of Washington, D. C. But I notice here that I had the names of Dr. S. M. Grubb, editor of the Mennonites, and Henry James Perry, of Dover, Mass.
The CHAIRMAN. We would like to adjourn pretty soon.
Mr. GRIFFIN. I will divide the time among these three gentlemen, because they have come a long distance here to be heard before the committee. I think they can say what they have to say in about five minutes.
The CHAIRMAN. All right.
STATEMENT OF MERCER G. JOHNSTON, DIRECTOR OF THE PEOPLE'S
LEGISLATIVE SERVICE, WASHINGTON, D. C.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will be in order. Give your residence and business.
Mr. JOHNSTON. The best easy description of myself is director of People's Legislative Service, 208 First Street SE., of which Senator Bronson Cutting, who is sponsor in the Senate of this bill, is the chairman.
Mr. Johnson. Who else is in it?
Mr. JOHNSTON. The organization was started in 1920. Mr. Chairman, all this comes out of my five minutes I suppose ?
Mr. Johnson. You must qualify.
Mr. JOHNSTON. I can not possibly finish in five minutes unless time is taken out for questions.
The CHAIRMAN. You represent the People's League, do you?
The CHAIRMAN. Who are they? What kind of an organization are they composed of? We will be brief. We won't take
much of your time!
Mr. JOHNSTON. It was organized by the senior Senator La Follette in 1920 in cooperation with people who were beginning to renew their progressivism. The old Progressive spirit of 1912 having subsided somewhat, it was renewed in 1920; and in 1924 they nominated Senator La Follette, Republican, and Senator Wheeler, Demicrat, as President and Vice President; and in that election secured about 5,000,000 votes.
The CHAIRMAN. That is the same organization that is still alive?
Mr. JOHNSTON. Well, I am here, not representing the organization, because it is a research organization which does not take votes on things, but the director of which attends hearings and expresses views such as I would like to express.
Mr. JOHNSON. Does it have any paid officers?
Mr. JOHNSTON. The director and the associate director draw salaries. · Mr. Johnson. And it keeps an office and headquarters? Mr. JOHNSTON. Yes. Mr. Johnson. And has stationery?
Mr. JOHNSTON. Yes. It edits the People's Business, which every Member of Congress gets every time it come out, once a month. I am sorry that you don't know about it. Every Member sitting here quite regularly
Mr. CABLE. Supported by contributions from the people?
Mr. JOHNSTON. Yes. The same people who paid for the Progressive campaign in 1924.
My representative capacity may perhaps be better understood if I say
I was the chairman of the executive committee of national Progressive headquarters, which was the only national executive committee that the Progressives have had.
But I am not here primarily as spokesman of the People's Legislative Service, but as an American citizen; and in this connection I would like to mention that the thing perhaps that stands out most in my mind in connection with this bill is that I was with the American Expeditionary Forces for about 20 months, connected with the One hundred and second Machine Gune Battalion of the Twenty-sixth Division. During that time my wife was also in charge of the soldiers' canteen in Paris. So both of us, although beyond age, were very deeply in the World War.
To go back of that, I was the head of the West Texas Military Academy, which began the education of Maj. Gen. Douglas MacArthur. He was a student under me at that academy.
In Manila-I followed the flag out there in 1903 to 1908—I was very closely associated with Bishop Charles H. Brent, who was the chaplain general in the Expenditionary Forces. Among my very close friends at that time were Gen. Leonard Wood and his family..
Mr. JOHNSON. You are very proud of all those acquaintances in the war?
Mr. JOHNSTON. As I noticed a little tendency to have it appear that those who are in favor of the bill are people lacking a proper degree of pugnacity, I thought it well to bring out the fact that such a charge against me could not be made to stick.
Mr. Johnson. You don't come here advertising yourself as a. pacifist?
Mr. JOHNSTON. No, sir.
Mr. JOHNSON. You see this letter here? It says that it will permit pacifist applicants to become citizens. I see that on that letter your name is in the list of
sponsors. Mr. JOHNSTON. I would be very glad to send you an extract from the hearings of the War Policies Commission statement of MercerG. Johnston, director of the People's Legislative Service—which would completely clarify the issue as to whether I am a pacifist or not.
Mr. JOHNSON. Seriously, now, I haven't any doubt at all about you. We will get all mixed up here if we don't straighten this out. This circular that was sent to the committee has your name on it as appealing to the pacifists.
Mr. JOHNSTON. As I understand his position, I am almost entirely in agreement with Congressman Griffin. As I had heard him speak, it seems to me that the idea he has is exactly the idea I have; that is, the necessity of protesting against the invasion of the rights of that spiritual thing within a man like myself which must be obeyed, let the worst come. Some of us call it God.
Some of us call it God. Some of us call it the