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Letter from Linus Pauling to Richard C. Tolman. December 20, 1940.
Pauling explains the difficulty of readmitting Zechmeister permanently to the U.S. He describes delays caused by the Mexican government, and notes that the Canadian government may be willing to provide aid if the U.S. guarantees re-entry for Zechmeister. Pauling requests that Tolman inquire into the situation and, if able, provide support. Pauling also briefly discusses ongoing events and research at Caltech.


December 20, 1940

Dr. Richard C. Tolman

National Academy of Sciences

2101 Constitution Avenue

Washington, D.C.

Dear Richard:

We have continued to have no success in our efforts to obtain a permanent visa for Professor Zechmeister. For several months his application for a Mexican visa has been in the hands of the Mexican government, with no result. Professor Millikan wrote to the Mexican Secretary of State about two weeks ago, requesting that the visa be given him, and has not yet received an answer. The Mexican Secretary of State had written to Zechmeister that his visa application was under consideration. The Mexican Consul has said that as soon as assurance that Zechmeister would be readmitted to the United States were at hand, the visa would be issued. The British Consul in Los Angeles also told Professor Millikan that he had found on consultation with the Canadian officials that if this assurance were given Zechmeister could obtain a visa to Canada and reenter the United States from that country.

Zechmeister's visitors visa expires on December 29, 1940. He has applied for an extension of six months, to June 29, 1941. A copy of the affidavit which he submitted with his application is enclosed. You will see that it states that the Institute has extended the appointment of Dr. Zechmeister for a further term, and has in addition offered him a permanent appointment.

When I talked with the legal representative of the Los Angeles office of the American Bureau of Immigration, he said that Professor Zechmeister's reentry into the United States on a permanent professorial visa under Section 4d of the Immigration Act of 1924 seemed to be a perfectly straight-forward matter.

In his letter to you of August 7, 1940 Mr. Eliot B. Coulter mentioned that American consular officers no longer followed the practice of making preliminary examinations of documents. The American Consul at Tia Juana wrote the same thing to Professor Zechmeister last summer. It occurs to me that the situation might possibly be changed now. If it is not too inconvenient for you, would you be willing to make inquiry about this point. Also, I would think that it would be good if someone of some influence in the American government were to express an interest in this case, perhaps writing a letter with the statement that it would be a good thing for Professor Zechmeister to be brought into the country permanently. This document, even though not official or binding, might influence the Mexican government to give Zechmeister a visa. I do not like to trouble you about this matter, but I hope that something can be done, and I have thought that you might well know how to handle the situation.

Everything is going along well in the laboratory here. I miss my occasional talks with you, and wish that you were back. We have had some problems regarding men in biology who seem to us to be essentially chemists and who are going to receive doctorates with possibly less satisfactory training than we require of our men.

Has anybody expressed any interest in research on hydrogen peroxide? Dr. Giguere's fellowship expires at the end of this month, and unless some support for him becomes available he will leave.

With best regards to you and to Ruth, I am

Sincerely yours,

Linus Pauling



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