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Memo from Assistant Secretary of State Breckinridge Long, to State
Department Officials dated June 26, 1940, outlining effective ways to obstruct
the granting of U.S. visas.
June 26, 1940.
A-B - Mr. Berle
PA/D Mr. Dunn
Attached is a memorandum from Mr. Warren. I discussed the matter with him on
the basis of this memorandum. There are two possibilities and I will discuss
each category briefly.
Their entry into the United States can be made to depend upon prior
authorization by the Department. This would mean that the consuls would be
divested of discretion and that all requests for nonimmigrant visas (temporary
visitor and transit visas) be passed upon here. It is quite feasible and can be
done instantly. It will permit the Department to effectively control the
immigration of persons in this category and private instructions can be given
the Visa Division as to nationalities which should not be admitted as well as
to individuals who are to be excluded.
This must be done for universal application and could not be done as regards
Germany, for instance, or Russia, for instance, or any other one government
because it would first, invite retaliation and second, would probably be a
violation of some of our treaty arrangements. The retaliation clause is in
connection with Germany because it could mean the closing of our offices in
almost all of Europe.
We can delay and effectively stop for a temporary period of indefinite length
the number of immigrants into the United States. We could do this by simply
advising our consuls, to put every obstacle in the way and to require
additional evidence and to resort to various administrative devices which would
postpone and postpone and postpone the granting of the visas. However, this
could only be temporary. In order to make it more definite It would have to be
done by suspension of the rules under the law by the issuance of a proclamation
of emergency--which I take it we are not yet ready to proclaim.
We can effectively control non-immigrants by prohibiting the issuance of
unless the consent of the Department to obtained in advance for universal
We can temporarily prevent the number of immigrants from certain localities
such as Cuba, Mexico and other places of origin of German intending immigrants
by simply raising administrative obstacles.
The Department will be prepared to take these two steps immediately upon the
decision but emphasis must be placed on the fact that discrimination must not
practiced and with the additional thought that in case a suspension of the
regulations should be proclaimed under the need of an emergency, it would be
universally applicable and would affect refugees from England.
The Canadian situation and travel across that border we can handle through
an exception to the general rule and so advise our consuls In Canada.
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