Letters to the Editor

Carl F. Goodman: Wilson rejected equality referendum

Josh Shaffer’s Dec. 7 column “Wilson’s grim past should not be erased” appeared to prove a point made in Eric Muller’s Dec. 6 Point of View “Embarrassing pasts hidden in plain sight.” Monument naming does little to educate but much to hide embarrassing pasts.

Woodrow Wilson was a major force in rejecting our then-ally Japan’s request for an equality covenant in the Versailles Treaty that would have granted equality to those of Asian origin with those of European origin. Such a covenant might have done much to smooth relations between Japan and the United States prior to Dec. 7, 1941, might have ameliorated discrimination against Japanese-Americans in the United States and might have prevented their removal from the West Coast and subsequent imprisonment for no reason other than their ancestry.

President Roosevelt’s special emissary to look into the issue of loyalty of Japanese-Americans in the event of war with Japan had reported, prior to Pearl Harbor, that they were no threat.

None of which is mentioned in Shaffer’s column notwithstanding his research into Wilson-connected monuments.

Carl F. Goodman

Adjunct professor, Japanese law, Georgetown University Law Center

Chapel Hill

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