In a letter to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency Mr. Louis Marshall, Chairman of the American Jewish Committee questioned the attitude of Senator La Follette towards the immigration problem. The letter reads as follows:
Jacob Landau, Esq.,
Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Inc.
“I have just seen the digest issued by your agency on September 22, 1924, from which it would seem that there are/a number of
newspapers that are seeking to make it appear that Senator La Follette’s attitude on immigration has been favoragle to the immigrant. Looking at the subject from a purely conpolitical standpoint, it is important that the truth be known.
“I challenge any of the friends of the Senator to show that he at any time during the last ten years performed a single act indicative of a desire to oppose restrictive immigration legislation. His attitude has been that of organized labor namely, a desire to close our doors to the immigrant. An examination of the Congressional Record covering the period when the Johnson-Reed immigration bill was under consideration, fails to show that he in any way befriended the immigrant or lifted a finger on his behalf even for the purpose of humanizing the immigration law. I do not know whether or not illness prevented him from being present at the several roll calls in the Senate from the beginning of April to the middle of May which related to this legislation, but the record shows that he was either absent at the roll calls or was recorded as not voting-nothing, however, to indicate that he in any way signified opposition to this cruel legislation. He is not the only sinner in this regard. I merely object to his being regarded as a saint.”
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency having inquired directly from Senator La Follette and not having received a reply, is, however, in a position to publish the following letter received from Mr. Ernest Gruening, Director of Publicity, La Follette Wheeler Progressive Campaign.
Mr. Jacob Landau,
Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
“I have just received a copy of Mr. Louis Marshall’s letter to which you ask me to procure a reply from Senator LoFollett I do not know whether in the face of the tremendous pressure of work entailed by his coming speaking tour Senator LoFollette will find time to reply. But I can tell you on my authority that during the period in which the Johnson-Reid Immigration bill was in Congress last spring, Senator La Follette was serious ill with pneumonia. His attitude toward the immigrant, however, is perfectly clear. He believes in restriction of immigration to maintain the higher standards of living, the greater opportunities for earning a livelihood and for securing economic self-advancement which alone have made America sought in recent years by the overwhelming majority of immigrants. This is the very essence of friendliness-and far more important than kind works – for the already arrived immigrant, either of the past or present generation, and for such future immigrants as may be admitted to our shores. But while insisting on some form of limitation, Senator laFollette is wholly antagonistic to the fixing of quotas on a basis of racial discrimination. He is unalterably opposed to this Ku Klux Klan method of restriction just as he is to the Ku Klux Klan, which he denounced at the beginning of his campaign, a clarification of his position on a fundamental issue which Mr. Louis Morshall’s candidate, Mr. Coolidge, has thus for conspicuously avoided making.”
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.