The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, May 09, 1913, Page 11, Image 11

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The Commoner.
MAY -9, 1913
Bassett Moore, acting secretary of
state, was invited by the president to
Bit in the place of Mr. Bryan. It is
a rare occasion when an acting head
of a department sits In the cabinet
and usually he is sent for only for a
brief period while the business of his
department is considered. Mr.
Moore stayed virtually throughout
the cabinet meeting, which was taken
as an indication that the Japanese
question took almost the entire time
of the president and his advisers.
Mr. Moore, who is an authority on
international law, has given con
siderable study to the international
phases of the California land law.
While the cabinet discussed the
situation in Mexico to somo extent,
the principal subject under discus
sion was Mr. Bryan's proposal.
No messages were submitted by
the president to be sent either to Mr.
Bryan or the California authorities,
and members of the cabinet also said
no conclusions had been reached.
The view was expressed, however,
that the administration would not
recede from its position as described
by Mr. Bryan to the California legis
lature yesterday. In the event of a
rejection of those suggestions cabi
net members felt that the Japanese
government would realize the Wash
ington government had done every
thing in its power to prevent dis
crimination. There were intimations
that somo members of tho cabinet
reported a growing sentiment about
the country for a more careful in
quiry into the California viewpoint of
the question. This, it was said, how
ever, would be in line with the sug
gestion to call for a postponement so
an investigation could be made and
an understanding arrived at with
Japan through regular channels.
Later Ambassador Chinda visited
the state department and had a long
and earnest conference with Acting
Secretary Moore. Both flatly refused
to discuss the situation, but it was
believed that the ofllcial conferences
here over Secretary Bryan's telegram
to the president had been extended
to include the Japanese ambassador
and that the correspondence between
Washington and Sacramento would
include some of the results.
Sacramento, Cal., April 29. The
possibility of an amicable adjust
ment of the alien land controversy by
means of a new bill drawn in strict
conformity with the treaty between
Japan and the United States con
fronted tonight the third secret con
ference of Secretary of state Bryan
with Governor Johnson and the Cali
fornia legislature. The conference
was called for 8:30 o'clock. Attor
ney General U. S. Webb drafted the
new measure at the suggestion of
Governor Johnson and a copy was
placed immediately in the hands of
Secretary Bryan.
The term' "ineligible to citizen
ship," which is declared by Secretary
Bryan to be odious to the Japanese
is not included, and the progressive
republican leaders are confident they
have arrived at a solution of the
problem that will receive the indorse
ment of President Wilson.
Secretary Bryan declined to com
ment upon the new bill except before
the conference.
The principal features of the bill
1. All aliens eligible to citizen
ship may acquire and hold land in
tho same manner as citizens of tLe
United States.
2.-T All other aliens may acquire
and hold land "in tho manner and
to the extent and for the purposes
prescribed by any treaty existing now
between the government of the
United States or the nation or the
country of which such alien" is a citi
zen or subject."
3. Corporations " composed of
aliens other than those who are
eligible to citlzonship may acquire
and hold land according to tho terms
of existing treaties.
4. Present holdings of aliens re
gardless of their rights to citizen
ship aro protected.
5. Tho state specifically reservec
its sovereign rights to enact any and
all laws relating to the acquisition or
holding of real property by aliens.
Attorney General Webb worked
upon tho theory that thero could bo
no objection to writing into tho Cali
fornia statute tho specific limitations
of the Japanese treaty of 1911. Under
the terms of this treaty, Japanese
subjects aTe permitted to own
"houses and lands for residential
purposes, factories, manufactories
and shops," according to Mr. Webb.
Another clause permits Japanese sub
jects to lease land for residential and
commercial purposes.
These are tho only stipulations
made and it is tho belief of tho at
torney general that tho rights of
Japanese subjects to land owner
ship in tho United States stop at this
point. Under his construction of the
treaty no land can be owned or leased
by a Japanese for agricultural pur
poses, except that which is already
owned, or for any other purposes ex
cept those set forth in the agree
ment between tho nations.
Explaining tho wording of the
substitute bill Mr. Webb said:
"Our theory is that at the time
the treaty was framed Japan asked
for all the rights as to ownership of
land in California that that nation
desired for her subjects, and that tho
treaty as it now stands represents all
that Japan asked and all that the
United States was willing to grant.
"This act does not draw the lino
on aliens who aro ineligible to owner
ship. These words are not used. It
gives not only to Japan, but to every
nation whose subjects aro ineligible
to citizenship under the laws of the
United States, full right to owner
ship of land in California that the
treaties between tho United States
and such nations give."
It is generally believed here that
the now act would accomplish "the
ends said to be desired to be accom
plished by the people of tho state
namely, prevention of the further ac
quisition by Japanese subjects of
farming lands and ranches."
Administration leaders are not
disposed to allow a filibuster, even
one conducted by the secretary of
state of tho United States, to check
them, and unless Mr. Bryan presents
urgent reasons for further delay in
the conference that he is expected to
call the opinion is expressed that the
legislature will take hold of the ques
tion Immediately and pass too Dili
prohibiting ownership by foreigners
ineligible to citizenship while the
distinguished visitor looks on.
Adjournment has been set for May
3, but it is planned to extent this
date to May 10. Even this extension
allows less than two weeks for the
legislature to wind up Its affairs, and
the majority leaders feel there is no
need to waste time with the alien
land bill when other matters of vital
importance to the state aro still on
the files. Although several messages
in secret code were read by Mr.
Bryan this morning from President
Wilson, Mr. Bryan declined to dis
cuss the contents of his telegrams.
Their -probable discussion is the sub
ject of wide speculation.
Both houses of the legislature re
turned to their routine work today
as if thero had been no interruption.
A delegation from the Lodi anti
alien association called on Secretary
Bryan this morning to present the
views of the American farmers liv
ing in that community, where feeling
against the Japanese is said to be in
tense. Tho visitors were introduced
by Assemblyman Stuckenbruck,
democrat, who has announced his in
tention of voting for a strong anti-
Japanese bill In whatever form It is
presented, rogardless of Secretary
Bryan's arguments. The secretary
of state promised tho visitors a ftir
thor hearing.
If the purposo of tho visit of Sec
retary of Stato Bryan was to check
further legislation by tho legislature
on tho alien land law directed against
tho Japanese, his mission was a fail
ure. The conferences between Sec
retary Bryan and tho legislators
closed at 11:40 o'clock tonight.
Within threo minutes and beforo
most of tho spectators know what
had occurred, Senator A. E. Boynton,
president pro tern of tho upper house
convened tho senato and an amended
land bill, which provides that no
alien who is ineligible to citlzJiship
under tho laws of tho United states
may hold land in California, was
adopted by unanimous viva voco
It will como up for final passage
In tho regular order Thursday morn
ing and doubtless will be approved,
according to tho predictions of tho
administration leaders. When it
comes to Governor Johnson It will bo
signed. Tho new bill is drawn in
strict conformity with tho treaty be
tween Japan and the United States,
but all efforts to securo an opinion
from Secretary Bryan or President
Wilson failed and tho state leaders
decided forthwith to proceed with
the plans for enacting it into law.
Secretary Bryan brought into the
final conference tonight further mes
sages from President Wilson, but
they met with no response from the
legislators. At the close of tho secret
meeting Governor Johnson and a
number of administration leaders de
clared their opinions remained un
changed. President Wilson's mes
sages were in the form of replies to
questions asked by Secretary Bryan
tho preceding day. In reply to a
question as to tho effect the words
"ineligible to citizenship" would
have upon tho federal government,
President Wilson sent tho following
message to Secretary Bryan:.
"I can only say that I can not as
sume that tho representations here
tofore made to tho governor and the
legislature and which your presence
in Sacramento must necessarily
greatly have emphasized, will bo dis
regarded and so render it necessary
to consider that question."
That was taken as the nearest ap
proach to a threat of danger that has
resulted since the conference began.
In a reply to a" question as to
whether tho substitute bill drawn by
Attorney General Webb, which wa
acted on by tho legislature late
would be acceptable, Secretary Bryan
"I have telegraphed to President
Wilson and he deems it inadvisable
to sanction any particular statutes or
forms of legislation. Ho thinks it
should bo made emphatically evident
that we are acting just now as the
federal government, sanctioning not
this nor that, but as friends of Cali
fornia, wishing to be of such service
as is possible to California in a criti
cal matter."
When Secretary Bryan concluded
reading and discussing his messages
tho conference came to an end.
Proposal in Washington Stato
Olympia, Wash., April 29. Secre
tary Bryan sent this dispatch today
to Governor Lister of Washington:
"Please wire me status of propo
sition to amend alien ownership law
to strike out words 'ineligible to
citizenship.' Understand such an
amendment has been submitted or is
being considered."
Governor Lister replied:
"When proposed amendment relat
ing to ownership of land in this state
was introduced In this house at the
last legislature ,.J$o word was 'in
eligible to citizenship, because of
race or col6r?Sti.t' these words were
afterwards stricken out in the lower
house and tho proposed amendment
made to read: 'Tho ownership to
land by alions, othor than those who,
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