Secretary of State Unaware of Visa Practice Labeling Jews

Secretary of State Dean Acheson said today that he knew nothing about a practice by the Visa Division of the State Department which requires the identification of Jews as such on visa applications.

The Secretary made this reply when asked at his press conference today if he could comment on protests addressed to him by members of Congress and Jewish organizations. The protests were based on the specific listing of Jews by the Visa Division which makes no similar designation of members of other religious faiths. The Department previously made known that replies were being drafted to letters on this topic addressed to Mr. Acheson.

The labeling of Jews as such by the Visa Division of the State Department was condemned by the Cleveland News in an editorial yesterday. “There is nothing in the new McCarran Immigration Act to require it, but our blundering State Department is forcing aliens seeking to enter this country to designate whether they are Jews,” the paper wrote. “What’s the purpose? This is wholly contrary to American principles, the Constitution and the spirit of the law.”

The paper said that “Rep. Frances Bolton of Cleveland has done the country a service by pointing out the State Department’s very irregular procedure in this matter. She is correct in calling this a ‘misrepresentation’ of the McCarran Act. There is, she says, no Jewish ‘race’ and therefore there is no logical or lawful reason for forcing Jews to reveal their religion.”

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