December 20, 1940
Dr. Richard C. Tolman
National Academy of Sciences
2101 Constitution Avenue
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