being. I have my weaknesses; I fall; I make mistakes; perhaps more than my share; but I never said anything against the United States, or anything against the interest of this Country."
Probably the most damaging statement testified to was one to the effect that he would rather renounce his citizenship than condemn his mother country, or "anything that he had to do against his mother country, count him out." One witness testified that it occurred in 1941, another, in 1942 (Whether they were referring to the same or different occasions is not entirely clear). The defendant denied having said it. His version of the conversation is: "George Miller, he came over and said, 'The damn Germans are the most hated people in the World.' Now, I say, 'My father and my mother were respected people, and I wouldn't spit in their faces,' and that was before, that was before Pearl Harbor, and I said 'I wouldn't do it now, if I had to give up my citizenship. No fine and honorable American would ask me such a question. * * * It was some misunderstanding, little petty jealousies, and after Pearl Harbor I said, 'Fellows, forget all these little trifles. We have a big job on our hands. You people probably will realize how big a job we have on our hands.' I did not want to see America and my Mother Country at war." It was not disputed that he made the statements last quoted.
He had visited Germany in 1933. That was the year in which Hitler came to power and before the Nazi program had got into full swing. He came back with praise for Hitler and his labor laws. He expressed dissatisfaction with the corresponding legislation in this country although, as one of the witnesses testified, he did not express any preference for the German form of government over this government but considered it "equally as good as ours." At any rate, by the time war threatened in Europe he had pretty well committed himself to upholding the German side of the arguments in the plant. After it broke out, these arguments naturally centered about it and became sharper and the defendant continued to take the German side. He showed elation over the German victories over the British and French. He took the position that we were being misled by propaganda, much of which he attributed to the Jews. He condemned our policy and coarsely abused the President in language which can only be thought of with indignation, but for which the law does not impose the penalty of denaturalization. The vehemence of his arguments appears to have tapered off after this country became a belligerent, although, even the, he made one or two remarks which indicated his belief in the efficacy of the German submarines and slightingly criticised some of our troops as military units.
These things might well raise doubts in anyone's mind, whether the defendant, when he took the oath of citizenship really gave up all loyalty to Germany. This, however, is not sufficient. The evidence does not meet the standard set by the Supreme Court in the Schneiderman case. It is not clear, unequivocal and convincing.
There are the strongest reasons why the rule laid down by the Supreme Court should be faithfully adhered to by the trial judge and the prescribed measure of proof strictly required. Perhaps they are stated in Judge Rutledge's concurring opinion better than anywhere else. He said: "It may be doubted that the framers of the Constitution intended to create two classes of citizens, one free and independent, one haltered with a lifetime string tied to its status." And again, a naturalized citizen "could not open his mouth without fear his words would be held against him * * * Such a citizen would not be admitted to liberty. His best course would be silence or hypocrisy. This is not citizenship. * * *"
Once a man is admitted to citizenship he must be accorded exactly the same rights as every other citizen of the United States. Otherwise the process of naturalization itself becomes a fraud. These rights include the right of free speech and the right to criticise our Government and to disagree with and oppose its policies. They include the right to read about and to study any forms of political or social activity anywhere in the world and to form opinions upon them. Undoubtedly the right and the duty to denaturalize on the grounds of fraud and illegality is established by law, and such proceedings are often necessary and salutory. But it is none the less disturbing when one stops to consider how close such cases, with their discussions of ideologies and searching inquiries concerning a citizen's support of this or that political theory or international program, can come to the political trials of European countries.*It seems to me that the thought which underlies the attitude of the Supreme Court in the Schneiderman case makes a rigid adherence to the rules laid down in that case a prime duty.
Resolving, as I must under the rule of that case, such doubts as I have in favor of the citizen, I accept his testimony as true that he did not, when he took the oath, mentally reserve allegiance to Germany, and I so find.
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