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IAM very much flattered to be invited by the Council on Foreign Relations to address you this evening. I agree entirely with your aims and objects, -- that foreign relations should be lifted out of party politics. Not that I do not believe in party politics, because no democracy can function without parties. But when we come to deal with our relations with foreign countries, as far as possible the questions that arise should be considered in a non-partisan spirit. We will be misunderstood if they are not. Your Society is doing a great work. It was only a few years ago, we all remember, when our foreign service attracted no particular attention. The State Department was considered to be a rather polite adjunct of the Government, -- probably necessary, but with no particular functions that people had any great concern in. But of late years people have begun to take an interest in our foreign affairs, in the relations of this country with other countries. For example, they realize that our commerce is to a large extent dependent upon the aid it receives from the State Department. I want to congratulate the Council on Foreign Relations on another thing, and that is the splendid magazine which it publishes. FOREIGN AFFAIRS would be an honor to any society. It has been of real assistance to the State Department.
During my residence abroad as Ambassador to Great Britain, and often in this country, I have been asked the question, "What is the foreign policy of the United States?" or "Has the United States a foreign policy?" These questions, pertinent as they seem, often imply a certain amount of loose thinking. While the President or the Secretary of State may announce some radical change in our foreign policy, in the main it does not issue fully formed from the brain of any one man. It is something that grows and develops from the continuing task of guiding and regulating the relations of this nation with other nations, from hour to hour and day to day.
In the first place, there appears to be a popular impression that the Secretary of State, sitting in an office decorated with portraits of Jefferson, Clay, Webster, Seward, Blaine, Root, Hughes and other distinguished predecessors, and drawing inspiration from their lives, considers some great problem of international affairs which will go down in history as a distinctive American policy. I am somewhat loath to dispel this pleasing delusion. As a matter of fact, the Secretary of State through long hours is occupied with handling specific questions, many times of very great moment, involving our relations with foreign countries, -- such as the construction of a treaty, the protection of American citizens abroad, the consideration of pecuniary claims by or against a foreign Government, passing upon questions of the rights of aliens in this country, or the determination of how best to foster American commerce in some distant part of the world. Few realize that the State Department is the medium through which all the departments of the Government communicate with foreign nations and how tremendously the activities of this Government have increased in the last few years. Let us get clearly in mind, then, that the foreign policy of a country is a slow growth.
If you want to know what it is at a given moment, you must take into account long established custom, the development of the principles of international law, treaties and conventions, -- in fact, the whole history of the country as far as its international relations are concerned; and when we mention treaties, it is well to remember that these important expressions of foreign policy are not controlled by the Executive branch of the Government alone. The Senate participates in the making of treaties. Personally I regard this procedure as of first importance, the wisdom of which is testified to not only by the experience of this country but by the fact that the practice of submitting treaties for legislative approval is becoming more and more general all over the world. The framers of our Constitution believed that the independence, peace and progress of the nation depended to a great extent upon treaties made with foreign countries and that the treaty-making power should not, as was the case in some countries, be vested in the Executive alone or in the Executive and a mere majority of the Senate. However, this circumstance does to a degree militate against the concise definition of foreign policy by the Executive. In so far as foreign policy is embodied in rules for the conduct of international relations, it will be found that there is great similarity the world over. All civilized nations now have much the same treaties of amity, commerce, and extradition, as well as postal, sanitary, copyright and trade-mark conventions. But it is the original and distinctive features of foreign policies that really concern us most. Of these the United States, in the course of the past century and a quarter, has accumulated its share. Our form of government, our geographical situation, our commercial needs, that indefinite factor which we designate our national characteristics have all contributed to give color and form to our policy. For there cannot be a bit of doubt that we do have a foreign policy resulting from the play and interplay of the factors I have just mentioned -- one that is not the work of any individual or of any Administration, simply the traditional and historically developed policy of the United States which every Secretary of State strives faithfully to interpret and to apply. It is of two or three features of this policy that I would speak to you tonight.
I suppose all men will agree that the feature of our policy which gives it its chief distinction, and which at the same time is least understood and appreciated by the rest of the family of nations, is the fixed determination to avoid participation in purely European political matters. This policy has its roots deeply embedded in our history and we have clung to it consistently ever since we came to be a nation. Its influence is no less controlling today than when the Farewell Address of Washington was delivered. Not since 1798 has the United States been a party to any military alliance with any foreign power. We shall go to the very limit of reasonable coöperation for all legitimate purposes, but we will not under any circumstance commit ourselves to the European system of alliances and counter-alliances to maintain the balance of power upon that Continent. In Europe for centuries there have existed political combinations formed among nations to maintain the so-called balance of power, -- alliances offensive and defensive containing military commitments, such as the Holy Alliance, the Triple Alliance and the Triple Entente which preceded the Great War. These undoubtedly have been caused in some cases by a feeling of insecurity, many times caused by national jealousies, racial animosities or commercial antagonisms. It is doubtful if they ever have really contributed to the maintenance of peace. They have contributed to competition in building both naval and military armament and when war has come they have broadened its scope and intensified the conflict. It is these political commitments and military alliances which it has been the policy of the United States to avoid.
Much is constantly being said, especially in the foreign press, about our isolation as a country, our refusal to coöperate with other countries in the settlement of the economic and political problems now confronting the world. The difference between being a party to a political or military alliance and coöperating with and lending assistance to the economic restoration of the world is very wide. I believe that within the limitations of its policy, the United States has coöperated in every way in solving the grave problems confronting Europe and lending encouragement and assistance in its economic reconstruction. The United States has never turned a deaf ear to the call of distress, nor has it ever refused assistance when its aid has been sought in a way which would not involve us in the political controversies and domestic affairs of other countries. As a further evidence of the fact that the United States is not holding aloof from world affairs, I may say that this Government has sent representatives to postal, sanitary, and telegraph conferences, is represented in the agricultural conference, and has had representatives in the opium conference and the conference for the limitation of the sale of munitions of war and many others. The last two mentioned were held in Geneva during the present year. They were called by the League of Nations but did not include simply countries belonging to the League. In the conference for the limitation of the sale of munitions of war we entered into a treaty providing generally for publicity in the sale of arms and munitions of war and included in the Protocol the provision of the Treaty of Washington prohibiting the use of poisonous gases in war. The United States has always been willing to attend these conferences and to aid in every way in the establishment of principles for the advancement of science, of trade and commerce, for the amelioration of the horrors of war, the settlement of the principles of international law, the prevention of disease, and the aiding of agricultural and other activities which are the subject of international consideration.
Since the World War, evidence that Europe is making a sincere effort to free itself from the old system of balance of power supported by military alliances is unmistakable. Recent events justify the hope that mutual distrust, with its hateful paraphernalia, balance of power, military alliances, etc., may really be replaced by mutual confidence with its normal accompaniments, conciliation and arbitration. The Locarno Conference is an outstanding accomplishment. While it contains military guarantees to Belgium, France and Germany, it is not conceived on the basis of the old balance of power which divided Europe into military camps ever jealous of each other and striving for additional armament and power. On the contrary it was conceived in the spirit of uniting the European nations in a common pact of security; and for conciliation, arbitration and judicial settlements rather than an appeal to the arbitrament of arms. It followed naturally and completed the work of the Dawes Committee, and the London and Paris Conferences.
When the Dawes Committee took up its task, reparations were not being paid, Germany was bankrupt and her economic and financial conditions presented an almost insuperable obstacle in the path of European peace and prosperity. The armies of France and Belgium were in the Ruhr and the rule of force at that moment had displaced the rule of law. The adjustment of these problems lay at the very foundation of the restoration of Europe and the maintenance of peace. The Dawes Committee, made up of representatives of each of the Allied Powers and two citizens of this country (one distinguished citizen, Mr. Owen D. Young, being present tonight), approached the constructive settlement of this problem on its economic side in the spirit of fairness to all nations which had engaged in the war. This was not a political committee. It was simply a group of business men applying practical common sense to the situation and thus laying the foundation not only for economic but for political stability in Europe.
After the Dawes Committee had finished its labors, the London Conference followed naturally and paved the way for the evacuation of the Ruhr and the Rhineland sectors. Germany's industries were restored to her; her payments to all of the Allied and Associated Powers were fixed; her banking system and currency were reorganized and arbitration was provided as a means of settling all disputes that might arise in this connection.
The Paris Conference, which came next, regulated the distribution of German reparation payments among the Allied and Associated Powers.
Finally came the Locarno Conference to deal with the purely political phases -- security for France and Belgium and the prevention of war throughout Europe. I shall not attempt to describe in detail the agreements entered into at Locarno. England, France, Italy, Belgium and Germany entered into a treaty of mutual guarantee whereby the frontiers between Germany and Belgium and between Germany and France as fixed by the Treaty of Versailles were declared inviolable. This was supplemented by treaties of reciprocal guarantee between France and Poland and France and Czechoslovakia, providing that in the event of failure of observance of the other treaties forming a part of the general settlement, the contracting parties would lend to each other immediate aid and assistance, if such failure were accompanied by an unprovoked recourse to arms. Then separate conventions of arbitration were entered into by Germany with France and Poland and Czechoslovakia whereby it was agreed that future disputes of every kind which cannot be settled amicably by the normal methods of diplomacy shall be submitted either to an arbitral tribunal or to the Permanent Court of International Justice, with the possibility of submitting such disputes in their preliminary stages to permanent conciliation commissions set up for the purpose. Here was not the old balance of power sustained by alliances on each side struggling constantly to maintain supremacy both on land and sea. Here was a regional pact, the very cornerstone of which was conciliation and arbitration, and certain guarantees entered into not only by the Allies but by Germany which must have a lasting effect upon the peace and prosperity of Europe.
I do not claim that the peace of the world is always going to be maintained by treaties and conventions or by conciliation commissions, arbitration or judicial tribunals. These are powerful instruments for peace which, if the higher ideals of mankind are ever to be realized, must be the medium through which international disputes are to be settled. I place as much store upon the spirit of Locarno as upon the treaties of Locarno. I had the honor to represent the United States at the London Conference as one of the delegates, and at the Paris Conference, and there was evidence at those conferences of a desire for accommodation, a spirit of helpfulness, and a wish to substitute arbitration for force which gave me great hope for the future of Europe. I have seen comments in the European as well as some of the American press about the relation of the United States to these European questions which I exceedingly regret. They have been to the effect that the United States has held aloof, that it has not been willing to coöperate and lend its aid, that Europe at Locarno was able to settle its own problems without the assistance of the United States. As I have stated, it has been the settled policy of the United States not to interfere in purely European questions, certainly not unless invited, and there was no reason to invite the United States to attend the Locarno Conference. It was called to settle purely European political questions involving regional guarantees directly affecting only those countries, and generally affecting the rest of the world only as it is concerned for the peace of Europe. The people of the United States were interested in all of these movements just as they are interested in every movement for the peace and advancement of civilization. I am sure that no people have been more gratified than the American people by the success of the Locarno Conference.
CHINA AND THE FAR EAST
I wish now to say a few words about China.
In China I think it may be said that we have a liberal and forward-looking policy. The United States has always been friendly to China. John Hay was foremost in advocating the open door -- in other words, equal opportunity for trade, commerce and intercourse with China as opposed to special concessions, spheres of influence and leased territories. At the Washington Conference a step forward was taken in the adjustment of the many Pacific and Far Eastern questions to which all the Nine Powers were a party. The treaties framed at the Conference are, of course, familiar to every one, but they deserve brief mention because their execution is taking place during my administration of the State Department.
As you know, for many years since 1842 the tariffs which the Chinese might apply to foreign products, and the control that the Chinese Government might exercise over the actions and property of foreigners living in China, have been regulated by formal Conventions between China and the several Powers. One of the Washington treaties provided for a Tariff Conference, to be held at Peking within three months after its ratification, for the purpose of giving consideration to China's desire for higher tariff rates. A Commission was provided for by Resolution V of the Conference to investigate the subject of extraterritoriality and report what steps will be necessary as preliminary to the renunciation of extraterritorial rights. The Tariff Treaty was not ratified until August 6th of this year and the Conference is now in session in Peking. So far there is evidence that this conference is endeavoring to find a means of meeting the desires of China. It has unanimously adopted a resolution whereby the Powers recognize China's right to enjoy tariff autonomy and agree to remove the tariff restrictions contained in existing treaties between them respectively and China. The Powers consent to the going into effect of the Chinese National Tariff Law, January 1, 1929, while China agrees to abolish what is known as likin, that is, local taxes on goods in transit within China, simultaneously with the enforcement of the Chinese National Tariff Law. The duties on exports and imports to be applied pending the abolition of likin and the granting of tariff autonomy are now being considered. The Commission on Extraterritoriality, composed of commissioners, one from each of the Washington Treaty Powers and from such other Powers as adhere to the Washington Resolution, is to meet in Peking on the 18th of December. I have every hope that the aspirations of China to regain the control over her tariffs and to establish the jurisdiction of her courts over foreigners living within her borders will be worked out by the Conference with the assistance of the Commission on Extraterritoriality.
It must not be forgotten, however, that the tariff conventions and extraterritorial rights were not forced upon China for the purpose of extending foreign influence but were made by mutual agreement for the purposes of aiding commerce, protecting foreign citizens and settling long-standing, difficult questions between China and the other nations. I believe the time has passed when nations capable of maintaining self-government can be expected to permit foreign control and domination. Nevertheless one of the difficulties with which foreign countries have to deal in the case of China is the instability of its government and the constant warfare between various contending factions. China is a great nation; it has made wonderful progress and is now struggling to maintain a republic. In this she has the sympathy and good will of the American people and everything that we can legitimately do to aid her will be done.
This is a subject which I have refrained from discussing in the press or in public speeches and I would not now do so but for certain criticisms in the foreign press and, I think, some misunderstanding of the situation among our own people. I do not, of course, lay the blame for press criticism upon the foreign governments, but there has been much said of late about the harsh terms imposed by us upon our debtors. Many have considered that we might have been more liberal toward the Allies with whom we fought and possibly might have cancelled altogether their indebtedness to us. I want to say to you now that I believe this Government has at no time been unmindful of the suffering and losses of the debtor nations and the staggering burdens which their peoples are carrying. We have gone just as far as we possibly could in recognition of these extraordinary and deplorable conditions.
Let me briefly review the facts: Some adjustment of these unprecedented international obligations was necessary from every point of view. The time had come when the United States must take action to settle this much discussed and troublesome debt question. It was not only necessary as a domestic question but it was equally necessary if Europe was to be rehabilitated, international credit maintained, currencies stabilized, budgets balanced, and the industries of Europe restored. I believe in the main foreign governments have come to take this view of the question. We have not hurried anybody. But these obligations were all of long standing and the time to take action had arrived. It is true that many of those countries suffered more than the United States because they were the immediate theatre of the war and lay in the path of its devastation. Yet it should be remembered that had the United States not intervened, the losses of these debtor countries would have been incalculably greater. And the broad facts relating to our intervention cannot be lost sight of. We sent two million men to foreign shores and mobilized our economic and man power to the limit. In the brief space of two years the United States spent nearly thirty billion dollars on the war, in addition to the ten billion dollars loaned to its Allies. All of the thirty billion dollars was an economic loss to the United States, and the full measure of such loss cannot be arrived at without adding the extremely heavy burden entailed by the subsequent readjustment of artificially stimulated industry. During the war and for two years thereafter we imposed upon our people a burden of taxation equal to any, and in most cases exceeding that imposed by any nation of Europe.
When we borrowed ten billion dollars from our own people and loaned it to foreign governments, we did so under specific agreements for repayment at the particular request of the foreign governments that such financial assistance should take the form of loans and not of subsidies. The American people today pay taxes to meet the obligations which their Government thus incurred.
Furthermore, a large part of these loans to foreign governments was made after the Armistice when we might well have said, "The war is over and the object for which we went to war has been attained." It is one of the indisputable and outstanding facts of the period immediately following the war that the United States made a second intervention in Europe which was fully as vital and significant as its intervention during the period of hostilities. In 1919 the menace of starvation and of political and economic disorganization hovered over the continent of Europe. Of course it is idle to speculate on what might have happened had events taken a different course, but we may well recall that many sober minds at that day entertained the conviction that Europe faced a situation comparable only to that following the Thirty Years War, when one-third of the population of Europe perished. As I have stated, we were not obliged to make this second intervention but we did do it, and huge advances comprised in the ten billion dollar total were then made.
Some of the stronger nations in Europe loaned much smaller sums after the Armistice and these relief and reconstruction loans were all coupled with written agreements that there should be no discrimination in the settlement or payment between the United States and the other countries making such advances. In the adjustment of post-armistice loans to Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Esthonia, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Rumania, the United States has given more generous terms than any other creditor; and as to the pre-armistice debts, our terms have been certainly as liberal as those offered by any other countries.
Naturally we have had to seek a basis of compromise taking into account actual conditions faced by the debtors and at the same time doing reasonable justice to our own people. Cancellation was impossible. I sincerely believe that such action, even if circumstances had permitted it, would have been in the long run unwise, would not only have saddled this country with the main burden but would not have been in the real interest of the debtor nations themselves. No American Government could contemplate an outright gift of billions of dollars.
There were, however, certain factors which gave elasticity to the negotiations and free play to our desire to show liberality and to impose no insuperable burden upon other nations. There was the factor of time and that of interest; and so within these limits the Debt Commission has laid down the test of capacity to pay. The payment of principal has been spread over sixty-two years and various rates of interest have been imposed, the details of which it is not necessary to state. I maintain that no fair-minded American citizen and no European who is prepared to take a statesmanlike view of this matter can expect us to go further. I shall not discuss the details of each settlement; they will be submitted to Congress, which alone can decide whether the settlements shall be accepted or not. But the World War Foreign Debt Commission has approached the settlement with each country in a spirit of fairness, taking into consideration its indebtedness, its burdens of taxation, its exports and imports and its general economic condition. I believe it has been the desire of the Debt Commission to treat each country upon this basis and not to lay a burden greater than it could bear. This I think is a good economic policy as well as a policy which commends itself in all dealings between nations.
There is another question which I desire to discuss briefly tonight, and that is the question of foreign loans, as there seems to be considerable misunderstanding as to the attitude of the State Department with regard to them.
In March, 1922, after a consultation with various financial houses, the President directed the Department of State to publish a circular requesting in substance that those desiring to float foreign bond issues in the American market should notify the Department of State, giving such information as they could furnish in reference to the loans. The Department of State would then give the matter consideration in order that, in the light of the information in its possession, it might if it so desired say whether objection to the loan did or did not exist. It was stated, however, that the Department could not require bankers to consult it; that it would not pass upon the merits of foreign loans as business propositions nor assume any responsibility in connection with the loan transaction and that offers of foreign loans should not state or imply that they were conditioned upon the expression of the Department's views regarding them, nor should any prospectus or contract refer to the attitude of the Government. The object of this was that the Government might state whether it believed certain loans were or were not in the public interest, such as loans for armament, loans to countries not making debt settlements with the United States, or loans for monopolistic purposes.
The Department has received notice of a great many loans to foreign governments, municipalities and industries. It has objected to loans to countries which had not settled their debts to the United States, as it believed that it was not in the public interest to continue to make such loans, and it has objected to certain loans for armament and the monopolization of products consumed in the United States. The Department has not assumed and could not assume to pass upon the validity of loans or the security. It has not the authority of law and it will be impossible for any department of the Government to parcel out foreign loans, to pass upon their merits or their security, or to pass upon them as business propositions. Where objection is not made, the Department universally states that it does not pass upon the merits of foreign loans as business propositions nor assume any responsibility in connection with such transactions and that no reference to the attitude of the Government should be made in any prospectus or otherwise. There has been a great deal of correspondence and considerable press comment upon the loans made to German municipalities and states. While the Department has not thought itself called upon to object to such loans as being against the public interest, it has called the bankers' attention to the fact that indiscriminate loans to municipalities and states were not, it was believed, favored by the German Government, and might raise serious questions of transfer of funds sufficient to pay the principal or interest of such loans. The Department has further called the attention of the bankers to the fact that they should consider very carefully the question whether such loans were for productive purposes which would aid in procuring funds for transfer. It will probably be remembered that all the reparations paid into the Reichsbank must be transferred with the consent of the Transfer Committee, of which Mr. S. Parker Gilbert is the head, and the question naturally occurs whether the Transfer Committee could place obstacles in the way of states and cities procuring the necessary funds for transfer. I have no desire whatever to throw any obstacles in the way of legitimate loans but I do think American bankers should consider to what extent state and municipal loans should be made.
ADMISSION OF ALIENS UNDER THE IMMIGRATION AND VISA LAWS
There is one question, which of late has attracted public attention, on which I desire to state the position of the State Department, and that is the admission of anarchists, revolutionists, agitators and propagandists who advocate the overthrow of orderly government and those who are affiliated with societies for that purposes, -- in other words, undesirable aliens. The policy of this country, as plainly indicated by the acts of Congress, is to keep certain specified classes of aliens out of the country. Some people seem to think that the policy should be different, that the doors should be thrown open and the activities of undesirable aliens dealt with from the inside after they arrive. But that is not the policy of this country as emphatically declared by the Congress. All loose talk of an arbitrary and unjustified attitude of the Secretary of State or of the American Consuls in this field is singularly futile. I am charged with the enforcement of this policy and, furthermore, I believe in it. Let us see what the law declares.
On May 22, 1918, Congress passed an Act entitled "An Act to prevent in time of war departure from or entry into the United States contrary to the public safety." The material portion of this statute reads as follows:
That when the United States is at war, if the President shall find that the public safety requires that restrictions and prohibitions in addition to those provided otherwise than by this Act be imposed upon the departure of persons from and their entry into the United States, and shall make public proclamation thereof, it shall, until otherwise ordered by the President or Congress, be unlawful --
(a) For any alien to depart from or enter or attempt to depart from or enter the United States except under such reasonable rules, regulations, and orders, and subject to such limitations and exceptions, as the President shall prescribe.
Pursuant to this Statute, the President made Executive Orders, one of which, dated August 8, 1918, reads as follows:
Section 32. In accordance with the provisions of the Presidential Proclamation of August 8, 1918, a visa will be granted only when it shall appear that there is reasonable necessity for entering the United States and when upon investigation such entry is deemed to be not prejudicial to the interests of the United States.
At the close of the war, when restrictions were generally being repealed, specific attention was drawn to the case of aliens and, accordingly, the following provision was embodied by Congress in the Diplomatic and Consular Appropriation Act of March 2, 1921:
That the provisions of the Act approved May 22, 1918, shall in so far as they relate to requiring passports and visas from aliens seeking to come to the United States, continue in force and effect until otherwise provided by law.
The Executive Order was from time to time amended and additional regulations covering visas were prescribed in General Instructions of the Secretary of State issued under the authority of Section 39. The last Executive Order on the subject is dated January 12, 1925. It deals with the documents required of aliens entering the United States, and with respect to non-immigrant aliens provides that they "must present passports or official documents in the nature of passports issued by the governments of the countries to which they owe allegiance, duly visaed by Consular officers of the United States."
But the most important Statute was the Act of October 16, 1918, amended by the Act of June 5, 1920, the material portion of which is as follows:
That the following aliens shall be excluded from admission into the United States:
(a) Aliens who are anarchists;
(b) Aliens who advise, advocate, or teach, or who are members of or affiliated with any organization, association, society, or group, that advises, advocates, or teaches opposition to all organized government;
(c) Aliens who believe in, advise, advocate, or teach, or who are members of or affiliated with any organization, association, society, or group, that believes in, advises, advocates, or teaches: (1) the overthrow by force or violence of the Government of the United States or of all forms of law, or (2) the duty, necessity, or propriety of the unlawful assaulting or killing of any officer or officers (either by specific individuals or of officers generally) of the Government of the United States or of any other Government, because of his or their official character, or (3) the unlawful damage, injury, or destruction of property, or (4) sabotage;
(d) Aliens who write, publish, or cause to be written or published, or who knowingly circulate, distribute, print, or display, or knowingly cause to be circulated, distributed, printed, published, or displayed, or who knowingly have in their possession for the purpose of circulation, distribution, publication, or display, any written or printed matter, advising, advocating or teaching opposition to all organized government, or advising, advocating, or teaching; (1) the overthrow by force or violence of the Government of the United States or of all forms of law, or (2) the duty, necessity or propriety of the unlawful assaulting or killing of any officer or officers (either of specific individuals or of officers generally) of the Government of the United States or of any other organized government, or (3) the unlawful damage, injury, or destruction of property, or (4) sabotage;
(e) Aliens who are members of or affiliated with any organization, association, society, or group that writes, circulates, distributes, prints, publishes, or displays, or causes to be written, circulated, distributed, printed, published or displayed, or that has in its possession for the purpose of circulation, distribution, publication, issue, or display, any written or printed matter of the character described in subdivision (d).
For the purpose of this section: (1) the giving, loaning, or promising of money or anything of value to be used for the advising, advocacy, or teaching of any doctrine above enumerated shall constitute the advising, advocacy, or teaching of such doctrine; and (2) the giving, loaning, or promising of money or anything of value to any organization, association, society, or group of the character above described shall constitute affiliation therewith; but nothing in this paragraph shall be taken as an exclusive definition of advising, advocacy, teaching, or affiliation.
This Act makes it the duty of the Secretary of State to exclude all aliens falling within the defined classes quoted. Obviously the question whether an alien does or does not come under one or more of the excludable classes is one involving the exercise of judgment or discretion. The State Department receives from the various diplomatic and consular agents of the United States all the information possible in relation to these undesirable aliens. One would think from some of the comments in the press that a foreigner has some inherent right to come to the United States which is being denied by the State Department. No foreigner has any such right whatever. Congress may admit or exclude anyone it sees fit. The law has specified what classes shall be excluded, and until the law is changed it will be enforced; and it will be enforced without regard to their station in life, for the law applies to prince and peasant alike.
Nor am I going to enter into a public discussion of the facts of every case on which the exclusion is based. The law imposes the duty upon the Secretary of State and the American Consuls to refuse visas if in their opinion the persons applying come within the prohibited classes. If, from the information in their possession, they have a reason to believe a given individual is inadmissible, the visa is refused. The Secretary has not acted in an arbitrary manner and he has good reason for every refusal he makes. Nor is it in the public interest to disclose the facts upon which each decision is based since the information is often of a most confidential kind and would not be obtained at all if it were not treated as confidential. Foreigners seeking entrance into this country are not entitled to such information. There is not one of the prohibited classes who would not be delighted to enter into a controversy over the subject and who would not deny activity or connection with organizations barred by the Government. There is no question of free speech involved. They can speak as freely as they please in their own country just as Americans can do here, but they are not entitled to come to this country to make it a platform for their revolutionary theories.
I believe in carrying out the letter and the spirit of the American Constitution guaranteeing free speech. I believe it is one of the priceless heritages of liberty which we should preserve, but I decline to recognize that this applies to aliens who desire to come over here to teach their pernicious doctrines of communism, revolution, sabotage, and destruction of orderly government. If they wish to carry on this propaganda, they had better stay in their own countries. I know it is said that this action is arbitrary and narrow-minded, that the best way is to let them come over and say what they please. I know of some of the leading countries of Europe which have pursued that policy and regret seriously the disorders which have followed on account of it. We have a representative democracy and a Constitution guaranteeing the continuance of that Government and guaranteeing to every individual liberty of action, freedom of religious belief and worship, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, protection of property, protection to the home, equal opportunity in the avenues of enterprise -- guarantees which were not easily obtained but which came from the struggles of our ancestors through the centuries. The maintenance of this Government and of these guarantees of liberty depends upon the education, the moral standards and the enlightenment of the people. Why make this country the haven of all the agitators and revolutionists to appeal to the youth of the land for the overthrow of that government which is the greatest heritage any people ever had? We have been so long in the enjoyment of these privileges of an enlightened government that I sometimes fear we have forgotten at what cost they were obtained. I am glad to say that in this work of combating the communists and revolutionists the American Federation of Labor has taken a leading part, and if those well meaning but misguided individuals among us who are engaged in promoting the cause of anarchy and bolshevism under the guise of liberty and free speech would take the same manly stand as labor, there would be infinitely less danger over the dissemination of pernicious doctrines inimical to our institutions.