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We are very grateful to you for your appearance and testimony. Are there any other witnesses?
STATEMENT OF MILTON KEMNITZ, WASHINGTON, D. C.
Mr. KEMNITZ. I am appearing on behalf of Mrs. Bertha Josselyn Foss, who was delegated by the New York Conference for Inalienable Rights to appear and testify on this bill.
Mr. HOBBS. And what is your name and address, please?
Mr. KEMNITZ. Milton Kemnitz, 1410 H Street NW., Washington, D. C. I wish not to testify on behalf of the organization, but to appear on Mrs. Foss' behalf to request that, since she has been here at several previous hearings, and finds that it is impossible to be here today because of very severe illness in her family that she be permitted to testify at a hearing next week if such a hearing is arranged. She asked me to come and make that request of you, because she has been here on previous occasions.
Mr. CRAVENS. Has she testified before?
Mr. KEMNITZ. No; she has not testified. She has been here ready to testify but has not had the opportunity.
Mr. CRAVENS. As I recall it, someone appearing for Mrs. Foss, on day before yesterday, asked or was given permission to file a statement of her views. Was it you, Mr. Green?
Mr. GREEN. As I explain the other day, Mrs. Foss' grandchild has an attack of measles and she is in Alexandria at the present time. The chairman suggested that she be permitted to file a brief. If there are no additional hearings, then, of course, she will be forced to file such a brief or statement. She would like to submit the statement in person. It is only because of the unfortunate illness of her grandchild that she finds it impossible to be here today.
Mr. CRAVENS. Wasn't it your suggestion the other day that she file a statement?
Mr. GREEN. No; the chairman suggested that she submit a statement if she could not be here.
Mr. CRAVENS. I knew there was something came up. I understood she was to file a statement.
Mr. GREEN. If there are no more hearings to be scheduled, then, of course, she will have to file a statement.
Mr. CRAVENS. I am not in a position to say whether there are going to be any more or not. I did understand the chairman had hoped to close these hearings. Hearings were held, and then they were reopened. I think everybody that wants to be heard with the possible exception of Mrs. Foss has been heard. I cannot speak for the entire subcommittee, but my idea would be that when they discuss the matter they will decide to close the hearings today. Although we appreciate her condition and situation, I think, under all the circumstances, it will probably be best for her to file a statement. I really doubt if we are going to have further hearings.
Mr. HOBBS. There are three additional witnesses to be heard, but they will certainly take a full day, Mr. Starnes, and Mr. Adams, and Mr. Harrison, the former head of Alien Registration.
Mr. GREEN. Would it be possible, if further hearings are scheduled, for her to be heard?
Mr. HOBBS. While I would be perfectly delighted to hear Mrs. Foss, I am perfectly satisfied it will take at least 4 or 5 hours to hear the three gentlemen who, throughult of the committee, declined to
appear, or failed to appear on several other occasions. In other words, those three men will take all of the time.
Mr. GREEN. Well, I think Mrs. Foss will agree with you that if no time is available, she will submit a statement.
Mr. CRAVENS. I would suggest this, that Mrs. Foss keep in touch with the clerk of the committee, and if there are further hearings he will give that information at her request. If there is no opportunity for her to be heard, she can file a statement.
STATEMENT OF MRS. BERTHA JOSSELYN FOSS, BEFORE SUBCOMMITTEE No. 2 OF THE HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE, REPRESENTING NEW YORK CONFERENCE FOR INALIENABLE RIGHTS, NEW YORK CITY
My name is Bertha Josselyn Foss. I am a native of Massachusetts and have been a resident of New York State for the past 35 years. I am here representing the New York Conference for Inalienable Rights, which was organized in New York City 2 years ago. The conference represents more than 500 organizations in New York State with a total membership of more than 3,000,000. The conference is a civil rights committee representing educational, religious, youth, neighborhood, trade-union, fraternal, and citizens' organizations in all parts of the State.
In the name of these 3,000,000 residents of the State of New York I am here to protest to your committee the bill introduced by Representative Hobbs and known as H. R. 3.
We believe this to be a thoroughly dangerous bill because: (1) It establishes in effect, the principle of the concentration camp as a part of the laws of the United States; and (2) it undermines the established democratic procedure of due processs; (3) and singles out one section of the population for discriminatory action.
In addition, we wish to protest the provisions of H. R. 3 which, under title III, would dangerously alter existing deportation laws, which in the past have been adequate to deal with any problems arising in our American community. We feel that the problem of nondeportable aliens, as presented by the Attorney General in his letter to your committee, is not as serious as presented and most certainly creates no dangers which existing laws cannot adequately take care of. Since so many other witnesses before your committee have devoted themselves to a critical analysis of the specific provisions of H. R. 3, I do not desire to take any further time of your committee in discussing these provisions. However, I do wish to register the complete and unqualified opposition to this bill by the New York Conference for Inalienable Rights. The first duty of every democracyif it is to remain a democracy in these difficult days-is to insure the fullest protection of the democratic rights of all residents, be they citizens or noncitizens, native or foreign-born.
Our organization believes that the only procedure which will not work harm upon our democratic institutions is to permit those aliens who have been ordered deported by whose deportation cannot be effected equal rights with American citizens who have committed crimes and paid their penalty to our society-until such time when those aliens ordered deported can be deported.
We respectfully urge that the civil and democratic rights of all residents of the United States be respected and protected by the Congress of the United States and, in order that we may be able to achieve the worth-while objective, your committee defeat the Hobbs concentration camp bill (H. R. 3).
Mr. KEMNITZ. While I am here, Mr. Hobbs, I would like to ask permission to read a letter which our organization has received from an eminent anthropologist at the University of Washington into the record with your permission.
Mr. HOBBS. Very well.
Mr. KEMNITZ. This letter comes from Melville Jacobs, assistant professor of anthropology, at the University of Washington, in Seattle. Professor Jacobs, being a professor of anthropology, has been intensely interested in a problem of racism and its abuse in Germany and
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in other countries where anti-Semitism and similar distortions of racial theory have caused such intense suffering to peoples, and it is with this scientific interest in the problem of racism, as against that background, that this letter is formulated.
The letter reads:
Under the Nazis a defenseless minority, the Jewish people, were singled out for persecution by the most un-Christian and most criminal forces in Germany. Today another kind of relatively defenseless minority, the foreign-born, including large numbers who have tried conscientiously and seriously to become citizens, but who were prevented through no fault of their own, are becoming comparable victims of persecution. Facism takes varying forms. H. R. 3, the Hobbs concentration camp bill. is open, blatant facism, of American cut and pattern. No ethical person, no Christian who is deeply and genuinely Christian, can do other than to labor to defeat this outrageous piece of proposed Facist legislation. Legislation such as this cannot effectively defend anything that patriotic Americans hold dear. It can only destroy the respect of tens of millions of loyal citizens for their representatives in government. It can only rend and tear our people into groups who fear, distrust, and hate one another. There is no need for rendering our landscape hideous with abhorrent places of detention. Once the Fascist ball starts rolling, other and even worse legislation will be easier to pass, until all of us will be living, even our legislators, in a nightmare of fear and hate.
May I as a research scientist whose years of studies have involved sympathetic and gracious contacts with all sorts of racial and foreign minority peoples, express my loathing of all that is implied in H. R. 3. May I urge upon your committee to report this bill unfavorably, and to do all that you can to prevent the enactment of this or comparable persecutory legislation. May I also assure your committee that I know of few persons indeed, in the wide circles to which my work carries me, who are other than horrified that Congress even be considering so extraordinary a Facist document as H. R. 3. There can be little doubt that it is not the will of the American people in general that our country take the awful road that Germany has taken, in internal legislation.
That is signed:
Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of Washington. Mr. CRAVENS. That letter indicates the professor has the same misapprehension about the objectives and purpose of this bill as to many other witnesses who have appeared here have had. He takes the position apparently in that letter that the bill is aimed at the aliens in this country, and it separates aliens and puts them in a separate class for persecution.
It has been pointed out here time and again, but apparently Dr. Jacobs has not grasped that point, that this bill is not aimed at aliens, other than those who have been, through due process of law, found to have violated some law of this country and thereby subjected themselves to deportation and have been determined to be deportable. It doesn't pick on aliens as a class; it doesn't persecute aliens at all, if you want to call it persecution, except to send them out of this country, or keep them here in detention until they can be sent out.
This bill deals only with a small, restricted class, and that class is comprised of those who by due process have been determined to have done something that subjects them, under the laws of this country, to deportation, who cannot be deported, on account of some physical or governmental situation abroad. That is all this bill does. If the bill had the objectives Dr. Jacobs assumes it has, there would be a great deal in what he says, but he has entirely misapprehended the
whole purpose of the bill, or what the bill provides. I cannot believe he has made a very careful study of it.
Mr. KEMNITZ. I am sorry Seattle is so far away from here, or perhaps Dr. Jacobs would appear in person. I cannot attempt to defend his statement.
Mr. CRAVENS. No; but I am just saying that so many of these witnesses who appear here objecting to this bill do not have the slightest understanding of what the bill provides.
Mr. KEMNITZ. I think one point that was made here that must be recognized is that Dr. Jacobs recognizes the fact that special treatment is proposed in this bill for a certain class of people.
Mr. CRAVENS. Special treatment is provided for a certain class who have been determined to be illegally and improperly in this country, and who ought not be here, and I don't think that Dr. Jacobs or anybody else should criticize the Congress for trying to take care of people until they can be sent out of this country, who are not entitled to be here. If we are going to abandon all sovereignty of the United States, all right. There has been so much apprehension that this bill is going to cover all aliens in this country. If it was going to cover all the aliens in this country, I personally would not have anything to do with it. But this bill does not do that. That is the point in his letter I was calling attention to. It is no criticism of you. I think if he would make a careful study of this bill, he would see we are aiming to do one thing, and that one thing is entirely different from his conception of the bill.
Mr. KEMNITZ. Dr. Jacobs seems to be projecting further along the line which this bill seems to be taking. I think that is the point of the letter, and I think, of course, it must be read from that point of view.
Mr. CRAVENS. He is getting jittery in advance.
Mr. HOBBS. What chair does he occupy?
Mr. KEMNITZ. He is assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Washington, Seattle.
Mr. HOBBS. We appreciate your coming here and appreciate very deeply your presentation of that letter.
Are there any other witnesses here?
Mr. CRAVENS. It has been determined to close the hearings on this bill, with the exception of the three witnesses I mentioned earlier. They will be heard commencing next Tuesday, at 10 o'clock.
(Whereupon, at 11:45 a. m., the subcommittee adjourned to 10 a. m., Tuesday, May 6, 1941.)