Anti-Americanism and Soldiers Overseas

July 3, 1957

Report Outline
Hostility to Americans in Foreign Countries
Reasons for Prevailing Anti-Americanism
Privilege of Special Court Treatment
Means of Combating Anti-Americanism

Hostility to Americans in Foreign Countries

Impact of Coming Court Ruling in Girard Case

When the supreme court hands down its opinion in the Girard case, probably not later than July 15, the ruling is almost certain to inflame public opinion either in Japan or in the United States. As soon as the government on June 4, following a special review, reaffirmed its earlier decision to waive criminal jurisdiction over Army Specialist 3/c William S. Girard, who was accused of having accidentally caused the death of a Japanese woman last winter, suit was entered on his behalf in the federal courts. District Judge Joseph C. McGarraghy held, June 18, that Girard's constitutional rights would be infringed if he were turned over to Japan for trial in the civil courts of that country.

The Supreme Court, which usually adjourns for the summer before the middle of June, agreed to prolong its term to hear oral argument, July 8, on a direct appeal from the district court's decision. If the high court upholds Judge McGarraghy, there may be widespread anti-American outbursts in Japan, where demand for trial of Girard by the Japanese is strong; such a ruling also might interfere with smooth operation in the future of agreements for handling criminal cases involving American servicemen in Japan and in numerous other countries. On the other hand, if the Supreme Court reverses the judgment of the lower court, there will be loud protests in this country and strengthening of demands in Congress for abrogation or revision of the so-called status-of-forces agreements.

At issue is the question of whether Girard's offense was or was not committed in performance of official duty; if the former, he would normally be subject, under the agreement with Japan, to trial by court-martial, and if the latter to trial by Japan's courts. When the State and Defense departments jointly announced, June 4, confirmation of the decision to waive jurisdiction, they said that any attempt to prolong the jurisdictional issue would create a situation which “could basically affect United States relations not only with Japan but also with many other nations.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
America's Image Abroad
Jul. 23, 2010  America at War Updated
Mar. 2007  Anti-Americanism
Feb. 02, 2007  Rethinking Foreign Policy
Nov. 23, 2001  Hating America
Sep. 11, 1981  America's Information Effort Abroad
Apr. 13, 1964  Anti-Americanism Abroad
Apr. 26, 1961  American Propaganda in Foreign Countries
Jul. 03, 1957  Anti-Americanism and Soldiers Overseas
Diplomacy and Diplomats
Regional Political Affairs: East Asia and the Pacific
Regional Political Affairs: Europe