Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Biddle Urges Different Treatment for Loyal and Disloyal Enemy Aliens

July 26, 1942
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The possibility of differentiating between loyal and disloyal enemy aliens in the enforcement of government regulations affecting such aliens as a whole is now being studied, it is disclosed today by Attorney General Francis Biddle, in an article on “The Problem of the Enemy Alien” which will appear in the August issue of the “Free World Magazine.”

Paying tribute to the fact that many people now labeled “enemy aliens” hate Hitler as much as any true American does, Mr. Biddle points out that we are providing opportunities for these people to help us with the war effort. He suggests, further, that after certain precautionary measures have been taken, that we remove any vestige of blind prejudice against enemy aliens as such. “We can broaden their job opportunities,” the article states. “We can seek out the sources of propaganda designed to keep prejudice alive, and give a more active war-time cogaizance to the damage which such propaganda is working upon our cause. Without nullifying the effect of safeguards set up against sabotage, espionage, and all forms of fifth-column activities, we can liberalize our regulation of alien enemies.”

Mr. Biddle writes that as time and opportunity permit, we should differentiate between individuals, especially among those who have lived in our country for many years; who have sons fighting in our armed forces; or who have American children.

Citing the reasons why he, personally, feels that such differentiation should be made, the Attorney General writes: “A determining difference between the enemy aliens in this war and in the last is one of ideology rather than nationality. The simple fact of a man’s birthplace gives no clue to his mind and heart.”

Mr. Biddle concludes: “No X-ray machine exists that will show up the marks of fascism in a man’s mind and heart. If we cannot get down to cases and cull the loyal and disloyal individuals; if we cannot make special arrangements, how can we be fair, impartial, and most important, safe under the circumstance that there are more than a million enemy aliens in this country today?”

Recommended from JTA