Letters from the President, Woodrow Wilson — to the Secretary of Labor, W.B. Wilson


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April 20, 1916

My dear Mr. Secretary:

I feel every confidence, after having read the enclosed copy of your letter to Mr. Clemens Horst, representing the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, that you have given the most careful consideration to the representations he made about the treatment of Chinese merchants entering the country. But I take the liberty of writing you concerning this matter, because it occurs to me that something might be done, perhaps, to change the attitude of mind of the immigration officials at San Francisco towards cases of the sort referred to. The prejudice on the Pacific Coast against the Chinese is so intense and so touched almost with passion that I can readily believe the officials of the immigration service when dealing with Chinese citizens can be very severe and even unjust without being conscious of it or without intending to do anything but enforce the law in its true construction. Perhaps if you would have a talk with Mr. Caminetti, you might impress him with the importance and true wisdom of treating such applicants for admission to the country with punctilious consideration. Every item of this sort nowadays, great or small, has assumed a new significance.

Cordially and sincerely yours,

Woodrow Wilson