August 9, 1928
Count Michael Karolyi,
Mexico City, Mexico.
Dear Count Károlyi:
Following my wire to you the other day, I consulted Morris Ernst and have talked with several of our friends here in New York. – among them Madame Schwimmer and Mr. Biro, to all of whom, by the way, I am sending copy of this letter.
Mr. Ernst and I, together with the Civil Liberties Union Committee are agreed upon the following points:
- That by far the most effective procedure is for you to ask only for leave to land during the time the boat is in New York harbor. You can raise the whole issue on that point. If you are allowed to land, you can have a reception here in New York at which the folly of State Department’s previous stand will be made clear. If you are not allowed to land, we can make a public protest, which will reach the politicians, the State Department and the wide public, convincing everybody that a department of the government which is afraid to let you land for forty-eight hours makes a fool of itself. Whatever the authorities do, you come nearer winning your point. If you are allowed to land, is our intention to take you to Washington in that brief period, for the purpose of applying for a regular visa to be used at a later date. The fact that you would be there yourself to be questioned would give the authorities a chance to save their faces, if they want to, and for public opinion to act swiftly and to the point. We do not think it wise for you to ask for an extension of your leave to stay longer at that time, because we all will be charged with getting a forty-eight hour permit only as a subterfuge. To ask for an extension of your shore leave would probably result in your being refused, whereas if you ask for a visa for a longer date, there is a chance that it might be granted.
- The Civil Liberties Union will confine its function to making representations to the authorities concerning your permit to land and organizing protests, if they refuse. We will not organize a welcoming committee, – at least not publicly. Our executive Committee has agreed to assist the Hungarian Committee letting as many Americans of established reputations as possible to serve with it. But it will not be under our auspices.
- We will not make any public statements about the issue until you are on the boat on your way to New York. The news value of the story will be greater of we do that. But we will make our preliminary inquiries now at Washington to see what the attitude is of both the Labor and State Departments. While it is true that immigration authorities are the ones to decide the issue, they will abide by the advices of the State Department and it will be necessary for us to deal with both of them.
If you are in disagreement with any point in this plan, don’t hesitate to say so. Wire us collect if you think it necessary.
With warm regards and with lively anticipation of meeting you on shore on your arrival, I am
Copy to Morris Ernst
New York Public Library Manuscripts and Archives Division. Rosika Schwimmer Papers, Box 182.