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"had to do with force or violence or overthrowing of this system of government other than by lawful means provided in the Constitution.” He testified that he never saw any behavior on petitioner's part that brought him into conflict with any law.
The testimony of the two professors discussed Marxian theory as evidenced by the writings of Marx, Engels and Lenin, and concluded that it did not advocate the use of force and violence as a method of attaining its objective.
In its written opinion the district court held that petitioner's certificate of naturalization was illegally procured because the organizations to which petitioner belonged were opposed to the principles of the Constitution and advised, taught and advocated the overthrow of the Government by force and violence, and therefore petitioner, "by reason of his membership in such organizations and participation in their activities, was not 'attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the same.'” 33 F. Supp. 510, 513.
The district court also made purported findings of facts to the effect that petitioner was not attached to the principles of the Constitution and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the same, and was a disbeliever in organized government, that he fraudulently concealed his membership in the League and the Party from the naturalization court, and that his oath of allegiance was false. The conclusion of law was that the certificate was illegally and fraudulently procured. The pertinent findings of fact on these points, set forth in the margin,' are but the most
6 IV. “The Court finds that it is true that said decree and certificate of naturalization were illegally procured and obtained in this: That respondent (petitioner] was not, at the time of his naturalization by said Court, and during the period of five years immediately preceding
general conclusions of ultimate fact. It is impossible to tell from them upon what underlying facts the court relied, and whether proper statutory standards were observed. If it were not rendered unnecessary by the broad view we take of this case, we would be inclined to reverse
the filing of his petition for naturalization had not behaved as, a person attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the same.
“The Court finds that it is not true that at the time of the filing of his petition for naturalization respondent was not a disbeliever in or opposed to organized government or a member of or affiliated with any organization or body of persons teaching disbelief in or opposed to organized government.
"The Court finds that in truth and in fact during all of said times respondent had not behaved as a man attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the same, but was a member of and affiliated with and believed in and supported the principles of certain organizations known as the Workers Party of America, the Workers (Communist) Party of America, the Communist Party of the United States of America, the Young Workers League of America, the Young Workers (Communist) League of America and the Young Communist League of America, which organizations were, and each of them was, at all times herein mentioned, a section of the Third International, the principles of all of which said organizations were opposed to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, and advised, advocated, and taught the overthrow of the Government, Constitution and laws of the United States by force and violence and taught disbelief in and opposition to organized government.
V. "The Court further finds that during all of said times the respondent has been and now is a member of said organizations and has continued to believe in, advocate and support the said principles of said organizations."
VI. (The substance of this finding is that petitioner fraudulently concealed his Communist affiliation from the naturalization court. It is not set forth because it is not an issue here. See Note 7, infra.)
VII. “The court further finds that it is true that said decree and certificate of naturalization were illegally and fraudulently procured and obtained in this: That before respondent (petitioner] was admitted to citizenship as aforesaid, he declared on oath in open court
and remand to the district court for the purpose of making adequate findings.
The Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed on the ground that the certificate was illegally procured, holding that the finding that petitioner's oath was false was not “clearly erroneous.” 119 F. 2d 500. We granted certiorari, and after having heard argument and reargument, now reverse the judgments below.
The Constitution authorizes Congress "to establish an uniform rule of naturalization" (Art. I, § 8, cl. 4), and we may assume that naturalization is a privilege, to be given or withheld on such conditions as Congress sees fit. Cf.
that he would support the Constitution of the United States, and that he absolutely and entirely renounced and abjured all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, and that he would support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and bear true faith and allegiance to the same, whereas in truth and in fact, at the time of making such declarations on oath in open court, respondent (petitioner) did not intend to support the Constitution of the United States, and did not intend absolutely and entirely to renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, and did not intend to support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and/or to bear true faith and allegiance to the same, but respondent at said time intended to and did maintain allegiance and fidelity to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and to the said Third International, and intended to adhere to and support and defend and advocate the principles and teachings of said Third International, which principles and teachings were opposed to the principles of the Constitution of the United States and advised, advocated and taught the overthrow of the Government, Constitution and laws of the United States by force and violence."
? That court said it was unnecessary to consider the charge of fraudulent procurement by concealment of petitioner's Communist affiliation. The Government has not pressed this charge here, and we do not consider it.
United States v. Macintosh, 283 U. S. 605, 615, and the dissenting opinion of Chief Justice Hughes, ibid. at p. 627. See also Tutun v. United States, 270 U.S. 568, 578; Turner v. Williams, 194 U. S. 279. But because of our firmly rooted tradition of freedom of belief, we certainly will not presume in construing the naturalization and denaturalization acts that Congress meant to circumscribe liberty of political thought by general phrases in those statutes. As Chief Justice Hughes said in dissent in the Macintosh case, such general phrases "should be construed, not in opposition to, but in accord with, the theory and practice of our Government in relation to freedom of conscience." 283 U.S. at 635. See also Holmes, J., dissenting in United States v. Schwimmer, 279 U. S. 644, 653–55.
When petitioner was naturalized in 1927, the applicable statutes did not proscribe communist beliefs or affiliation as such. They did forbid the naturalization of disbelievers in organized government or members of organizations teaching such disbelief. Polygamists and advocates of political assassination were also barred. Applicants for citizenship were required to take an oath to support the Constitution, to bear true faith and allegiance to the same and the laws of the United States, and to renounce all allegiance to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty.10 And, it was to “be made to appear to the
8 The Nationality Act of 1940, while enlarging the category of beliefs disqualifying persons thereafter applying for citizenship, does not in terms make communist beliefs or affiliation grounds for refusal of naturalization. § 305, 54 Stat. 1137, 1141; 8 U. S. C. $ 705.
Bills to write a definition of "communist” into the Immigration and Deportation Act of 1918 as amended (40 Stat. 1012, 41 Stat. 1008) and to provide for the deportation of "communists” failed to pass Congress in 1932 and again in 1935. See H. R. 12044, H. Rep. No. 1353, S. Rep. No. 808, 75 Cong. Rec. 12097–108, 72d Cong., 1st Sess. See also H. R. 7120, H. Rep. No. 1023, pts. 1 and 2, 74th Cong., 1st Sess.
98 7 of Act of June 29, 1906, 8 U. S. C. § 364. 20 8 4 of Act of June 29, 1906, 8 U. S. C. § 381.
satisfaction of the court” of naturalization that immediately preceding the application, the applicant "has resided continuously within the United States five years at least, ... and that during that time he has behaved as a man of good moral character, attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the same." 11 Whether petitioner satisfied this last requirement is the crucial issue in this case.
To apply the statutory requirement of attachment correctly to the proof adduced, it is necessary to ascertain its meaning. On its face the statutory criterion is not attachment to the Constitution, but behavior for a period of five years as a man attached to its principles and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the United States. Since the normal connotation of behavior is conduct, there is something to be said for the proposition that the 1906 Act created a purely objective qualification, limiting inquiry to an applicant's previous conduct. If this
11 § 4 of Act of June 29, 1906, 8 U. S. C. $ 382.
12 The legislative history of the phrase gives some support to this view. The behavior requirement first appeared in the Naturalization Act of 1795, 1 Stat. 414, which was designed to tighten the Act of 1790, 1 Stat. 103. The discursive debates on the 1795 Act cast little light upon the meaning of "behaved,” but indicate that the purpose of the requirement was to provide a probationary period during which aliens could learn of our Constitutional plan. Some members were disturbed by the political ferment of the age and spoke accordingly, while others regarded the United States as an asylum for the oppressed and mistrusted efforts to probe minds for beliefs. It is perhaps significant that the oath, which was adopted over the protest of Madison, the sponsor of the bill, did not require the applicant to swear that he was attached to the Constitution, but only that he would support it. See 4 Annals of Congress, pp. 1004-09, 1021-23, 1026–27, 1030–58, 1062, 1064–66. See also Franklin, Legislative History of Naturalization in the United States (1906), Chapter IV.
The behavior requirement was reënacted in 1802 (2 Stat. 153) at the recommendation of Jefferson for the repeal of the stringent Act