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But the alien as stockholder in a corporation was not treated so indiscriminately.
Both bills denied corporations the majority of whose capital stock was owned by Asiatic aliens land owning privileges. Both bills permitted corporations the majority of whose capital stock was owned by European aliens to own land.
In this particular both bills were clearly discriminatory against the Asiatics.
And on the day after the Senate accepted this discriminatory measure, and six days after the Assembly bill had been passed, a telegram was received from President Wilson, both by Governor Johnson and by the Legislature, in which the President most earnestly and respectfully protested against such discrimination.220
220 President Wilson's protest, dated April 22, 1913, was as follows:
"I speak upon the assumption, which I am sure is well founded, that The People of California do not desire their representatives, and that their representatives do not wish or intend-in any circumstances to embarrass the Government of the United States in its dealings with a nation with whom it has most earnestly and cordially sought to maintain relations of genuine friendship and good will, and that least of all do they desire to do anything that might impair treaty obligations or cast a doubt upon the honor and good faith of the nation and its government.
"I, therefore, appeal with the utmost confidence to The People, the Governor, and the Legislature of California to act in the matter now under consideration in a manner that cannot from any point of view be fairly challenged or called in question. If they deem it necessary to exclude all aliens who have not declared their intention to become citizens from the privileges of land ownership, they can do so along lines already followed in the laws of many of the other States and of many foreign countries, including Japan herself. Invidious discrimination will inevitably draw in question the treaty obligations of the Government of the United States. I register my very earnest and respectful protest against discrimination in this case, not only because I deem it my duty to do so as the Chief Executive of the nation, but also, and the more readily, because I believe that The People and the legislative authorities of California will generously respond the moment the matter is frankly presented to them as a question of national policy and of national honor. If they have ignored this point of view, it is, I am sure, because they did not realize what and how much was involved.”
Governor Johnson's reply to President Wilson's communication was:
"To the President, Washington, D. C.
"Immediately upon receipt of your telegram of this date, it was transmitted to both houses of Legislature. I think I may assure you that it is the desire of the majority of the members of the Legislature to do nothing in the matter of alien land bills that shall be embarrassing to our own Government or offensive to any other. It is the design of these legislators specifically to provide in any act that nothing therein shall be construed as affecting or impairing any rights secured by treaty, although from the legal standpoint, this is deemed unnecessary. If any act be passed, it will be general in character, relating to those who are ineligible to citizenship and the language employed will be that which has its precedent and sanction in statutes which now exist upon the subject. I speak, I think, for the majority of the Senate of California, certainly I do for the vetoing power of the State, when I convey to you our purpose to co-operate fully and heartily with the national Government and to do only that which is admittedly within our province without intended offense or invidious discrimination.
(Signed) HIRAM W. JOHNSON.”
THE COMING OF BRYAN.
The rapidly increasing tangle into which conflicting interests of alien investors and the State were throwing the proposed anti-alien land measure must have proved confusing at Washington.
No sooner had the State Department received a draft of the Senate Substitute Bill which applied to all aliens alike, than followed word that the Senate bill had by amendment been made even more offensive than the Assembly measure.
On April 23, President Wilson telegraphed each House of the Legislature and Governor Johnson, very frankly stating Washington's inability to understand fully the situation, and inquiring whether it would be agreeable to the Legislature to have Secretary of State Bryan visit Sacramento for the purpose of counseling with the members of the Legislature and co-operating with them in framing a law which would meet the views of The People of the State and yet leave untouched the international obligations of the United
221 President Wilson's telegrams were identical. They were addressed to the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the Assembly, and Governor Hiram Johnson respectively. In full, each was as follows:
“We find it so difficult from this distance to understand fully the situation with regard to the sentiments and circumstances lying back of the pending proposition concerning the ownership of land in the State, that I venture to inquire whether it would be agreeable to the Legislature to have the Secretary of State visit Sacramento for the purpose of counseling with the members
Here was something entirely new to the California Legislature. It is not probable that four years before such a request would have been well received. At the 1909 session the slightest indication of Washington interference called forth vigorous protest.222 But President Wilson's telegram met with no expressed objection. There was, however, sharp division of the wording of the resolution of acceptance of the President's suggestion.
The resolution introduced in each house set forth that while this (Senate) (Assembly) respectfully maintains the right of the Legislature of the State of California to legislate on the subject of land ownership within the State, “the visit of the Secretary of State to Sacramento would be entirely agreeable."223
When the resolution came up for adoption in the Senate, Senator Wright, backed by six of the ten Democratic Senators, attempted to have the words "while this Senate respectfully maintains the right of the Legislature of the State of California to legislate
of the Legislature and cooperating with them in the framing of a law which would meet the views of the people of the State and yet leave untouched the international obligations of the United States.
222 See “Story of the California Legislature of 1909," Chapter XX.; footnote 90, page 206; footnote 92, page 209.
223 The resolution recited the receipt of President Wilson's enquiry, and continued:
"Resolved by (the Senate) (the Assembly) of the State of California, That while this (Senate) (Assembly) respectfully maintains the right of the Legislature of the State of California to legislate on the subject of land ownership within the State, it will be entirely agreeable to this (Senate) (Assembly) to have the Secretary of State of the United States visit Sacramento for the purposes indicated in the President's telegram; and be it further
"Resolved, That in view of the probable early adjournment of the Legislature the (Secretary of the Senate) (Clerk of the Assembly) be, and he is hereby, instructed to transmit forthwith these resolutions by telegraph to the President.”
on the subject of land ownership within the State," stricken from the resolution.
Senator Wright's motion to that end was defeated by a vote of seven to twenty-eight.224
Campbell moved to amend by adding to the pro vision that the Senate maintained the right of the Legislature to legislate on the subject of land ownership within the State, the words "under the constitutional guaranties and limitations respecting treaty rights."
Campbell's proposed amendment was defeated by a vote of nine to twenty-six,225 eight Democrats voting with Senator Wright in the affirmative, the two remaining Democrats in the Senate, Caminetti and Cartwright, not being recorded as voting.
After the defeat of the Campbell amendment, the Senate by a vote of thirty-five for and three against adopted the resolution inviting Secretary Bryan to come to California.
224 The vote on Wright's proposed amendment was as follows:
To strike the words from the resolution-Campbell, Curtin, Juilliard, Owens, Sanford, Shanahan, and Wright-7.
To leave the words in the resolution-Anderson, Beban, Benson, Birdsall, Boynton, Breed, Brown, Bryant, Butler, Caminetti, Carr, Cogswell, Cohn, Finn, Flint, Gates, Gerdes, Grant, Hans, Hewitt, Jones, Kehoe, Larkins, Lyon, Regan, Rush, Strobridge and Thompson-28.
225 The vote by which the Campbell amendment was defeated was as follows:
For the Campbell amendment-Campbell, Cohn, Curtin, Grant, Juilliard, Owens, Sanford, Shanahan, and Wright-9.
Against the Campbell amendment-Anderson, Avey, Beban, Benson, Birdsall, Boynton, Brown, Bryant, Butler, Carr, Cogswell, Finn, Flint, Gates, Gerdes, Hans, Hewitt, Jones, Kehoe, Larkins, Lyon, Mott, Regan, Rush, Strobridge, and Thompson-26.
226 The Senate vote on the resolution was:
For the resolution-Anderson, Avey, Beban, Benson, Birdsall, Boynton, Breed, Brown, Bryant, Butler, Caminetti, Carr, Cartwright, Cogswelí, Cohn, Curtin, Finn, Flint, Gates, Gerdes, Grant, Hans, Hewitt, Jones, Juilliard, Kehoe, Larkins, Mott, Regan, Rush, Sanford, Shanahan, Strobridge, Thompson, and Tyrrell-35.
Against the resolution-Campbell, Owens, and Wright-3.