Margaret Sanger, "Response to General Douglas MacArthur," 12 Feb 1950.
Source: "Margaret Sanger Papers, Sophia Smith Collection Margaret Sanger Microfilm, Smith College Collections S72:52."
This was a press release issued by the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Additional text comes from Mrs. Slee Says She was Denied Entry by U.S. Authorities, Kingston Daily Freeman, Feb. 13, 1950, p. 11
I must refuse to accept as final the reported decision of Gen. MacArthur that I may not come to Japan at the invitation of the Japanese. That an American can be barred from a perfectly proper mission by the bigotry or whim of other Americans is intolerable.
This is not the first time I was told I could not visit Japan. In 1921 I was refused permission by the Imperial Japanese government. It is tragic to see that our Occupation authorities, while mouthing democratic principles, are emulating the old Japanese military regime. However, in 1921 the angry protests of the people forced the lifting of the ban. I am confident that something of the same sort will occur in 1950.
When I asked to have Gen. MacArthur reconsider the refusal to admit me, I believed he meant what he was quoted as saying last July--that birth control was a matter for the Japanese people and the Occupation had a policy of hands off. I hope that this attitude will be resumed. Anything else is a denial of the right of the Japanese to decent and healthy family life. Anything else is a denial of the basic democracy which we are trying to help this people achieve.
My invitation came from the press, health officials and private groups. They wanted me to advise them on carrying out their new laws which legalize birth control, because they know that it is the only way to halt the disastrous rise in population.
If I can help them in applying their new laws on birth control, I mean to do so. I shall continue to work for a reversal of any ruling that seeks to stop me.
A noted authority on birth control says she twice has been denied permission to enter Japan.
Margaret Sanger Slee said yesterday she applied for permission last August and was turned down. In September she asked that the denial be reviewed.
She said she was told a cable had been sent to the theatre commander (Gen. Douglas MacArthur) and he declined to review her application.
"I don't believe the refusal is consistent with a statement General MacArthur released to the press on July 6, 1949,"Mrs. Slee said. "He said that United States officials would keep hands off the new Japanese law on birth control--that it did not come within the scope of occupation.
A recent law permits both birth control and sterilization.
Mrs. Slee said she had received many invitations to enter Japan, including a personal invitation from the Japanese minister of welfare, and one from Mrs. Shizue Kato, former member of the Japanese Diet.
She had been asked to serve as consultant in organizing a group to promote birth control among the poorer people of Tokyo, Mrs. Slee added.
Copyright, Margaret Sanger Project