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(The statement follows:)
STATEMENT BY ABRAHAM CHOUDRY, SECRETARY OF THE INDIA AssociatiON FOR
AMERICAN CITIZENSHIP, PRESIDENT OF THE INDIA BENEVOLENT ASSOCIATION, SECRETARY OF THE MOSLEM BROTHERHOOD OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, my name is Abraham Choudry. I was born in the district of Sylhet, Assam, India, and have lived in this country since 1923.
We natives of India, who have come to you today asking for what we consider to be only justice, neither demand nor beg, however, for correction of the wrong done us 20 years ago when our right to American citizenship was taken away from
We are not demanding, because it is not for us to tell you what to do and it is not for us to teach you to act and live according to the fundamental principles of justice for all originally laid down by the founding fathers of this Republic. In common with our brothers throughout Asia we have too much faith in the essential sense of justice of the American spirit to doubt that you yourselves can do anything else but act in our favor when the time comes; you would not be true to the examples set us in these days by Washington and by Lincoln; you wou!d not be faithful to the principles expressed at Tehran and Yalta; if you did otherwise.
Neither do we beg, for we are your fellow allies, just as much as China, just as much as all the others in our and your United Nations. Our fathers and our brothers fight side by side with yours on the far-fiung battle fronts of this global
Thousands more of our brothers serve in the Indian merchant marine, bringing to this country and to our fellow allies the raw materials that are needed for tomorrow's victories. We are certainly not begging for a scrap of bread or for the leavings from democracy's table, because the 2,000,000 volunteer soldiers whom we have under arms today, the thousands upon thousands of our men at sea, our vast contributions in materials of war that have caused us to be called the arsenal of democracy in Asia-all these and our history which is reckoned in thousands of years and not in centuries—all these and many more factors entitle us to the consideration due allies who are your friends in war and who will be your friends in peace.
I do not speak, however, here, for the few; I speak for the many.
I am not speaking for the transient element—the student, the business man, the lecturer, the interpreter of India's past and present, whose interests and ties in this country are temporary, the man or the woman whose roots are in India and who eventually returns home.
I talk for those of us who, by our work and by our sweat and by our blood, have helped to build fighting industrial America today. I talk for those of our men who, in factory and field, in all sections of American industry. work side by side with their fellow American workers to strengthen the industrial framework of this country. I talk for men like myself who have spent more than 20 years in this country, and who during these years have come to be Americans in every sense except by law; men like myself who love this country and who have made this country their adopted home. We have married here; our children have been born here; in many instances our sons fight today in the American army, overseas. I speak for such as myself, for those of my brothers who work in the factories in the East and in Detroit, and for those in California and the West who are making such remarkable contributions to the agricultural front.
I speak for the workers and the farmers of our community in this country whose lives have been bound to this country's destiny for 23 years or longer. I speak for these men who while they themselves have no rights under oriental exclusion, have seen their young sons go off to war these last years to fight for a democracy which they—their fathers—could not themselves enjoy. I speak for men who have lived much of their lives in this country and expect to die in the country to which they have given their best years; men such as my friend here, Mr. Mohammed Ben Ali, from Jersey City, both of whose sons are overseas, who has lived in this country for 35 years.
We whose lives, whose hopes, whose futures are so very much bound to this country's future; we who have seen our American-born children assume the duties and the responsibilities which have been denied us these last 20 years; we simply ask you for justice-American justice.
By our lives and by our acts, those of us who have lived here since prior to 1924, have shown our sincerity and our faith in this country. We ask you to give us the right of citizenship once more- -a right which we have asked for since it was taken away from us in 1924.
We who are your allies and who at the same time would seem to be unwanted as citizens, ask this and only this at this time. We ask for justice for those of us who have spent the last generation in this country; what further action you may choose to take is not up to us to suggest.
Mr. Lynch. I should like to present Mr. Henry Tudor Mason.
STATEMENT OF HENRY TUDOR MASON, FOUNDER AND INTER
NATIONAL PRESIDENT, ALL NATIONS ASSOCIATION, NEW YORK, N. Y.
Mr. Mason. Mr. Chairman, and members of the committee, I can be very brief, because I write epigrams. I do not know whether that is a crime or not.
The CHAIRMAN. No,
Mr. Mason. For twenty-odd years I have had the All Nations Association, and during that period we have had 52 major nations represented through the chambers of commerce and the consuls general.
The All Nations Association is fairly well-known to the Congress. We have not sought any benefits, but we have done a large work until we had to go into retirement on account of this war. We cannot have an All Nations Association when we have so many nations at war.
I just want to make this remark. I cannot add to anything already said, because it is like gilding the lily. I think almost everything has been said which I could say.
The CHAIRMAN. It is pretty difficult for any witness.
Mr. Mason. But there is one thing that may have been overlooked. If it was said, I may not have been listening at the moment. That is, I think we are overlooking the fact that this race is the father of the white race, springing from the Indo-Germanic tribes. I do not know whether that was said before or not.
And I have heard a great deal about the Chinese, the Javanese, and other nationalities who are purely Asiatics. Now if it is to be considered as a matter of race, instead of as a matter of geography, then they are entitled, from the white man's viewpoint, to a little more consideration from the political standpoint, if not from the human, because they are very, very much akin to the white races. will notice the contour of their faces, you will find they have aquiline features, and they have straight black hair. I have heard mention about pigmentation. There is no pigmentation-absolutely no pigmentation. I want to emphasize that. The CHAIRMAN. Well, Mr. Allen should be here.
Mr. Mason. That is why I say it. Mr. Allen is not present. Well, of course, as far as I am personally concerned, I do not care a cuss whether there is pigmentation or not. But if you want to look at it from the geographical standpoint, from the quota standpoint, I say they deserve the utmost consideration.
Here is another point: We have 52 major nations represented in the All Nations Association, from all walks of life. I have not yet found one of these Hindus, whether they be Mohammedans or Hindus or Zoroastrians, or whether they belong to any of the other religious sects of India-not one drunken man. I have not found one beating up his wife on a Saturday night.
The CHAIRMAN. That is something.
Mr. Mason. That is something. And I will say this much, that if they put into American citizenship as much spirit as they are putting into their religions, which are constructive and the foundation of our "Do unto others as you would be done by,” which was in force 750 years before Jesus—and I happen to be a so-called Christian
The CHAIRMAN. Well, you are a Christian. You are not a “socalled Christian."
Mr. Mason. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Mason. That is more than diamonds to me. I do not want to take too much time.
The CHAIRMAN. Proceed, Mr. Mason.
Mr. Mason. I do not want to emphasize these facts, because they seem to have been overlooked. I lost five sons in this present war, six nephews, and two step-brothers. I have no hatred toward Japan, or Germany, or any other nation. So therefore, when you speak of the Chinese and the Japanese, these races are very much akin to each other. Those who are our allies today may be our enemies tomorrow.
I say then let us give, because we are in a white man's country, essentially a white man's country-let us give to the fathers of the white race every opportunity to show the spirit they put into their constructive religions, to put it into American citizenship.
And I want to say this, if a hen lays an egg in a stable, what hatches from the egg is not a horse. And that goes for some Americans born here. I sought my citizenship. I want to be a hundred percent American, if it is possible. But I know this-citizenship does not come by word of mouth, or saluting any flag. I can get any ape from the zoo and dress it, and teach it to salute the flag, any flag. It does not know what it is doing. I used to salute the British flag, the Australian flag, the Canadian flag. And I have been through India from end to end, so I know what I am talking about.
I will not take up any more time. I cannot say any more than has been said. But why should these people want citizenship, if they did not have the spirit of citizenship before they ask for it? That is why they are here. And you cannot find in your archives, in your police courts, and I defy anyone present here to find that there is more than 2 percent of them with any criminal tendencies during the last 22 years.
The CHAIRMAN. We will adjourn until next Tuesday at 10:30.
(Whereupon, at 12 m., the hearing was adjourned until 10 a. m., Tuesday, March 13, 1945.)
TO GRANT A QUOTA TO EASTERN HEMISPHERE INDIANS
AND TO MAKE THEM RACIALLY ELIGIBLE FOR NATURALIZATION
TUESDAY, MARCH 13, 1945
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D. C. The committee met at 10 a. m., Hon. Samuel Dickstein (chairman) presiding.
(The committee had under consideration H. R. 173.) The CHAIRMAN. The committee will be in order.
Without objection, I will put in the record at this point a letter from the President, in support of this bill.
THE WHITE HOUSE,
Washington, March 5, 1945. Hon. SAMUEL DICKSTEIN, Chairman, Committee on Immigration and Naturalization,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. MY DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: I understand that your committee soon will hold hearings on legislation to authorize the admission into this country under a quota of persons of the East Indian race, and to permit persons of this race to become naturalized citizens.
I regard this legislation as important and desirable, and I believe that its enactment will help us to win the war and to establish a secure peace. I am sure that your committee is aware of the great services that India has rendered to the United Nations in their war against the Axis. The Indian Army, raised entirely by voluntary, enlistment, has fought with great skill and courage in Europe, Africa, and Asia. India has also furnished and will continue to furnish substantial amounts of raw materials and manufactured products of great assistance in the prosecution of the war.
The present statutory provisions that discriminate against persons of East Indian descent provoke ill-feeling, now serve no useful purpose, and are incongruous and inconsistent with the dignity of both of our peoples.
The quota for East Indian persons would be approximately 100 immigrants a year. There can be no real danger that this small number of immigrants will cause unemployment or provide competition in the search for jobs.
It is my hope that the Congress will take steps to remove the present provisions of our immigration and naturalization laws that discriminate against persons of East Indian descent. Very sincerely yours,
FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT. I also have two letters from the Acting Secretary of State, Joseph C. Grew, and a letter from the Attorney General, Francis Biddle, all in support of this bill, which I would like to make part of the record at this point.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, February 9, 1945. The Honorable SAMUEL DICKSTEIN, Chairman, Committee on Immigration and Naturalization,
House of Representatives. MY DEAR MR. DICKSTEIN: In response to the request contained in your letter of January 11, 1945, for an expression of opinion concerning H. R. 173 to authorize the naturalization and admission into the United States, under a quota, of Eastern Hemisphere Indians, and with reference to the interim reply sent to you on January 18, 1945, I have pleasure in stating that the Department views with favor the passage of the proposed legislation.
The enactment of legislation such as H. R. 173 would, it is believed, remove an outstanding inequity in American immigration and naturalization laws and one which causes bitter resentment against the United States by the people of India, an important member of the United Nations.
The Department has been informed by the Bureau of the Budget that there is no objection to the submission of this report. Sincerely yours,
JOSEPH C. GREW,
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, March 6, 1945. The Honorable SAMUEL DICKSTEIN, Chairman, Committee on Immigration and Naturalization,
House of Representatives. MY DEAR MR. DICKSTEIN: I refer to my letter to you of February 9, 1945, in which I stated that the enactment of legislation such as H. R. 173 would remove an outstanding inequity in American immigration and naturalization laws and one which causes bitter resentment against the United States by the people of India.
You will be interested in learning in this connection that the Department has now received strong representations in support of this legislation from Sir Girja Bajpai, the Agent General for India in Washington. The Department has also received a telegram dated February 26, 1945, from the American Commissioner to India, New Delhi, advising the Department that sentiment in India may preclude the extension of reciprocal trade treatment to the United States in the absence of such legislation. Sincerely yours,
JOSEPH C. GREW,
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE,
Washinton, D. C., March 3, 1945. Hon. SAMUEL DICKSTEIN, Chairman, Committee on Immigration and Naturalization,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. MY DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: On February 13, 1945, in response to your request for my views, I commented on H. R. 173, a bill to authorize the naturalization and the admission into the United States, under a quota, of Eastern Hemisphere Indians of India and their descendants.
I have now given this bill further consideration and I should like to endorse its purpose. The present provisions of the immigration and naturalization laws which discriminate against the people of India seem to me to be unwise and unfair. TI is particularly true in view of the important contributions both of men and material that India has made in the present war.
Under the proposed legislation persons of the East Indian race will be eligible to migrate to the United States under the existing quota of 100 per annum now allotted to India but available only to persons presently eligible to naturalization who were born in India. I think this quota restriction is a sufficient protection to this country against excessive immigation from India. Similarly, it seems to me that persons of East Indian descent lawfully admitted to the United States should be eligible for naturalization. The Department's alien registration statistics show that the number of these person now in the country does not exceed 3,896. Consequently, the number of persons who will be eligible for citizenship under this legislation will not be great.