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Petition to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth

May 1, 1953


I, Garry Davis, a stateless person, humbly beg of Your Majesty that she might intervene on my behalf. I find myself deprived by Your Majesty’s servants of the fundamental human right to exist by earning a livelihood, and to freedom of movement; moreover I face prosecution from Your Majesty’s servants.

Being stateless and therefore unrecognized, I have no political representation in matters relevant to my existence, though I am still under the jurisdiction of your country’s laws; my reason also makes me conscious of my duties to the world community, as well as my inherent are and inalienable human rights as a member of that community. It is on both these grounds that I make m appeal to Your Majesty, not only sovereign of the British Commonwealth of nations, but of the broader community of humanity itself bound together by reasoned justice and loving kindness throughout the world.

These are the facts of my plight:

1) I left the United States on Jan. 23rd for South India, my Indian visa having been obtained in New York City as was my transit visa to pass through England.

2) While on the Queen Mary, I was informed by cable that a work permit had been obtained from the British Ministry of Labour by a theatrical producer in collaboration with an American theatrical producer allowing me to become employed as an actor in a play to be produced in London. Though I had had preliminary communication with the latter producer, no definite arrangement was agreed upon, and thus the labour permit was secured without my knowledge or consent.

3) On Jan 28th, I entered England on my transit visa.

4) Directly after my arrival in London, I was taken to the Home Office by the American producer to find our whether the labour permit which had been held by the Immigration Officers in Southampton pending investigation, could still be issued. After hearing the facts of my entry, a representative there order its reissue to me.

5) Possessing a labour permit though actually "in transit" in England, and being informed that over 150 British actors had been interviewed for the part without qualifying, I felt obligated to remain in England to assume the role, though this was not my original intention.

6) Having experienced the play’s success in New York and elsewhere, and having faith that its success could he duplicated in London, I utilized my existent funds for personal and familial obligations while here. I confess here my imprudence both in my misplaced faith and my lack of foresight in not retaining sufficient funds to continue my journey.

7) The play was unsuccessful, closing after one week in London, leaving me without work or funds. I tried to obtain work before April 20th, the expiration date on my Labour permit as well as on my visa, but was unsuccessful.

8) On April 28th, I returned to the Home Office to ask for an extension of stay in order to earn my livelihood whilst accumulating my passage fare to India. It was refused. I was informed at the same time that after three of four days, I would no doubt be apprehended by the police.

9) Thus, as of April 28th, without intention but with good-will to all concerned, I find myself in direct violation of British law being in fact, yet by necessity, still a resident of England. As such I face either jail or deportation.

These are the facts of my case. They oblige me to re-affirm and ask to be recognized my fundamental rights to work and to freedom of movement as proclaimed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Therefore, in full awareness of the responsibility of my undertaking, and with full willingness to accept with good-will whatever consequences ensue therefrom, I hereby petition Your Majesty most humbly and sincerely for Her Royal Intervention on my behalf.

I do so not only in the name of a single individual, a world commoner, without power and means, caught in the web of circumstances from which he admits his helplessness to extricate himself alone, but also in the name of an awakening world civilization - to which he owes prime allegiance - becoming conscious of its freedom and equality, its endowment of reason and conscience and its divine inheritance of fellowship from which flows all human welfare and hastiness, and which is our common heritage.

I have the honour to remain, Madame, Your Majesty’s most humble and obedient servant.

Garry Davis

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