Permission to Immigrate

Relationship: Child of im/migrant

Thanks to the War Brides Act of 1945, mother was able to immigrate to the U.S. despite severe quotas limiting the number of Chinese who could enter the country as residents.  The Chinese Exclusion laws had been rescinded in 1943, but Chinese were limited to 105 visas per year.  This restriction did not change until 1965, but Congress permitted American veterans of WWII to bring their wives to the U.S. regardless of the quota.  My father who had served in the U.S. Army in the Pacific married my mother (a childhood arrangement by their mothers) in Guangzhou, which most Westerners at the time called Canton.  She arrived in the U.S. in December 1948.  The first photo shows her with my father between two other couples.  The next photos are of their marriage certificate issued at the American Consulate General in Canton by Vice Consul Harold G. McConeghey on January 17, 1947.  The consulate closed in 1949 when the U.S. government retreated from China.  It reopened thirty years later after diplomatic relations were restored.  It eventually moved to a site on Xiamen Island not far from the original consulate building where my parents were married.  As I explored that building in 1981 as a U.S. Vice Consul newly assigned to Guangzhou, the irony was not lost to me that I was in the building holding the same position of the American officer my parents had seen there 32 years ago for permission to immigrate to the U.S.  

Place(s): Guangzhou, China,
Year: 1948

– Ted Gong, FSO Retired, U.S. Department of State

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant