INTERIM: December 7, 1941 to February 19, 1942
In the Beginning
Promptly on December 7, 1941, in metropolitan areas of the Pacific States, representatives of the Federal Bureau of Investigation began a round-up of Japanese aliens thought to be dangerous to the Nation in time of war. As early as September 6, 1939, there had been an instruction from the President of the United States to the Department of Justice on the functions and obligations of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in relation to national security, covering surveillance of German, Italian and Japanese nationals. In accordance with the instruction, FBI officers in each district "educated" the local police and other law enforcement agencies in the conduct of their relations with enemy nationals in time oi war. Lectures were given by FBI representatives to the various police departments, and formal classes were held in all police departments for the dissemination of detailed instructions. The FBI had approached the problem of Japanese nationals from a somewhat psychological angle, and, in classes for local law enforcement personnel on the West Coast, had emphasized the Bureau's decision that no physical force was to be used on Japanese suspects; it had been determined officially that "domination" of Japanese suspects must be on a "mental" plane. It had been anticipated that operation of the program would be on an individual basis for questioning or arrests, that there should be no mass raids.3°
Although there were intermittent raids and isolated single arrests throughout the period that preceded the mass evacuation of all persons of Japanese ancestry, the majority of the Japanese who were detained were picked up in the first few weeks of the war, some 5,000. In addition to gathering up all suspects whom the Federal agents had had under observation prior to the outbreak of war, the FBI representatives acted promptly on any report from any source that cast suspicion upon any Japanese alien, detaining the suspect for questioning and thorough investigation.
At the same time that the FBI launched its drive on aliens, borders were closed to all persons of Japanese ancestry. Japanese residents who were unable to prove their American citizenship were prohibited from transferring or registering motor vehicles; all assets of Japanese nationals were frozen; Japanese banks were closed; the Federal Government revoked all general and specific licenses issued to aliens to operate business establishments and placed guards around the places of business. The aliens were left with whatever cash they happened to have on hand as of Sunday, December 7.
As one result of this sweeping revocation of all general and special licenses that had been issued to Japanese aliens, the local produce markets by December 11 were reduced in volume to 30 percent of normal. On that day the Secretary of the Treasury under Executive Order No. 8389 of April 10, 1940, issued General License No. 77 and a press release, the former permitting certain Japanese nationals to engage, under strict banking controls, in "the production, marketing and distribution of food products in Continental United States," the latter advising the Japanese nationals to "bring their products to market as evidence of their loyalty to the United States and assuring them that these products would be received by American firms for marketing."39 A day later volume of produce in the markets had increased to 75 percent of the normal and within a few days was back to normal. A further liberalization of regulations was granted on December 15 by the Secretary of the Treasury in General License No. 68a, which allowed a number of Japanese nationals to resume control of produce houses.39-a By the first of the year it was possible for the Issei to draw a hundred dollars a month from his bank account to provide for the needs of his family.
In the early weeks of the war the West Coast population suffered hypertension, living in constant expectation of attack from the air or from the sea. Air raid alarms were frequent. Blackout materials were exhausted in most cities and towns the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor. It was discovered that air raid sirens could not be heard at the required distances. Civilian defense agencies, which had been organized during the previous summer, rushed into action, rapidly expanding the scope of their activities and in some instances duplicating work which had already been performed by the Red Cross or other agencies.
Genuine fear of attack and uncertainty about what had happened at Pearl Harbor bred rumors. A whispering campaign suggested that Japanese truck farmers in California were inoculating their produce with poison in order to dispose of their customers. The Los Angeles Times oh December 11 captioned an article: "Vegetables Found Free of Poisons" and labeled "rumors of possible sabotage of California through poisoning or other means" as "simply malicious and unfounded," stating that more than 2,000 samples of Japanese-grown produce had been chemically analyzed and found to be pure. At a later date chemical analysis disproved a rumor that Japanese canned crab in stock in the markets had ground glass in it. The Seattle Post Intelligencer of December 11 carried the headline: "Fifth Columnists Set Plane Beacon Fires Near Pt. Angeles," and described flaming arrows pointing toward Seattle that had presumably been planted by "fifth columnists seeking to guide Japanese air invaders." On an inside page of the same edition was a small item in which the Assistant Governor stated that the fires had been set by white men who were clearing the land of brush and that the arrow shape
of the beds of coals was in all probability coincidental. Everywhere on the West Coast, brush fires, flashes of light of any description, and stray gleams in a blackout were given a sinister construction. Both officials and ordinary civilians saw signs and portents with increasing ease.
However, throughout these weeks of December there was no concerted move to oust the Japanese American minority from the West Coast* It is true that the San Louis Obispo Independent, a minor paper, was first in the field with a recommendation to evacuate the Japanese--on December 12óbut the item was not picked up by other papers. On the whole the press was conservative in attitude toward the people who shared ancestry with the enemy across the Pacific. Many papers were inclined to use feature stories which, if not sympathetic toward the wartime situation of the resident Japanese, were at least objective. Radio commentators and the press, generally speaking, appeared to be under the influence of Attorney General Riddle, who on December 8 began his plea for fairness and the avoidance of witch-hunting,37 and on the 10th stated: "The great majority of our alien population will continue to be loyal to our democratic principles if we, the citizens of the United States, permit them to be."37-a On the same occasion he promised: "No alien was apprehended, and none will be, on the score of nationality alone." Every few days he issued statements to the press or spoke over the radio, assuring the public that the FBI had the disloyal elements identified and under control, warning that the defense of our country would be hurt, not helped by any persecution of non-citizens. Until Christmas the Pacific State governors echoed the sentiments of the Attorney General, affirming their confidence in the ability of the FBI to deal with all subversives. It might be said that at this time the voice of the Attorney General was the voice of reason, of faith in the democratic tenets, and for a short time that voice dominated public sentiment.
Even during those days, however, factors and figures and even a Cabinet member's verbal ineptitude were stimulating the racists to action and spreading the kind of confusion that was bound to enlarge the following of the racists and thus allow the voice of prejudice, hysteria and hatred to swell and soar above the voice of reason.
On December 15 Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox reached Washington, returning from a hurried flight to Oahu to Inspect the scene of the December 7 attack. On the day of his return he held a large-scale press conference, in the course of which he stated that "the most effective fifth column work of the entire war was done in Hawaii, with the possible exception of Norway." On the same occasion he paid tribute to the heroism of workmen of Japanese ancestry at Pearl Harbor who "deserted their benches to help the marine defense battalion man
machine gun nests. Two of them with hands blistered from hot gun barrels required emergency treatment."38
Under the date of December 20, 1941, Curtis B. Munson, Special Representative of the State Department, reported from Los Angeles in a final installment of the comprehensive report which he had been sent to the West Coast and to Hawaii to make on the Japanese question:
"We desire respectfully to call attention to a statement of the Secretary of the Navy evidently made to some reporter on his return to Washington after the Pearl Harbor attack as printed in the Los Angeles Times of December 18th and the Los Angeles Herald and Express of December 16th. This release was a U. P. and A. P. release.
"We quote, 'I think the most effective Fifth Column work of the entire war was done in Hawaii with the possible exception of Norway,' Secretary of the Navy Knox said. We suggest that this paragraph creates the wrong impression in that it uses the term 'Fifth Column.' This term is loose and has been widely abused. Should not the term 'complete physical, espionage' have been used instead? 'Physical espionage1 is supplied unwittingly by the gabble of Navy wives, by the gabble of loyal second generation Japanese, by the gabble of the postman and the milkman and classified by definite agents of a foreign government. To this may be added years of photographing, sounding and 'look seeing' by disloyal and paid American people for the last twenty years. Fifth Column activities, such as in Norway, impugns the loyalty of a certain large proportion of a population. Your observer still doubts that this was the case in Honolulu.
* * * * * * * * *
"Some reaction of an undesirable nature is already apparent on the West Coast due to this statement of the Secretary's. In Honolulu your observer noted that the seagoing Navy was inclined to consider everybody with slant eyes bad. This thought stems from two sources: self-interest, largely in the economic field, and in the Navy usually from pure lack of knowledge and the good old 'eat 'em up alive' school. It is not the measured Judgment of 98% of the intelligence
services or the knowing citizenry either on the mainland or in Honolulu. * * *
" * * * Tour observer suspects that Secretary Knox's comparison to the Fifth Column in Norway stems from either of two things: First, a very busy man being caught by the coattails by a reporter; and second, from the unknowing 'eat' 'em up alive' element amongst whom of necessity he was largely exposed in his hurried visit to determine responsibility."39-b
Slightly more than 4 years later, in the course of the hearings before the Joint Committee on the Investigation of the Pearl Harbor incident, Mr. Munson's report was introduced to establish the fact that the late Secretary Knox had meant, not "Fifth Column work" with its implication of deliberate and planned sabotage by resident Hawaiian Japanese, but "espionage," chiefly by paid consular agents.
In the 4-year interval between the Secretary's semantic slip and its official correction, 120,000 people were excluded from their homes and sources of livelihood under a cloud. The majority of these people lived for the better part of 3 years in barrack communities in the wastelands of the interior behind barbed wire fences that were patrolled by armed military guards. Roughly 35,700 of the people had left these barrack communities, by the time that the War Department revoked the mass exclusion order, for resettlement in midwestern or eastern communities or, in the case of more than 10,000 of the young men, to prove their loyalty to the United States by offering their intelligence and their lives in defense of the country of their birth. Then the War Department authorized the return to the West Coast of all except a few thousand who had rejected the American way of life.
Back in December of 1941, other happenings were influencing public sentiment away from reason. On December 20, Admiral Greenslade, of the 12th Naval District, in an appeal for the end of a welders' strike in the shipyards stated that Japanese submarines were attacking shipping off the West Coast. The very day of his announcement an American tanker, Agwiworld, was fired on off Cypress Point, near Monterey, but got to port on its own power, and a second tanker, the Emidlo was sunk off Eureka. Five of the crew were lost, the remaining 32 survivors being picked up from life boats.40 On December 22 an enemy submarine fired on the freighter H.M. Storey off Point Arguello, near Santa Barbara, but missed.40-a On the twenty-third, the Union Oil Tanker, Montabello. was hit by a torpedo "off California," and the Larry Doheney was shelled but escaped«40-b The West Coast residents were convinced that the coast was blockaded by a fleet of enemy submarines. However, after Christmas Day, when an Army bomber sank one
submarine off the California coast,41 the submarine attacks on coastal shipping ceased.
As Christmas Day approached, an uneasy feeling spread among the coast population that Japanese militarists might well think that the Christian holiday was an appropriate time for an attack on the West Coast. There was no attack, but the day brought news of the loss of Wake Island. It brought, too, the first shipload of wounded together with women and children refugees from Oahu to San Francisco, offering California visual evidence of the fact of war and some Hawaiian-bred rumors. The refugees from Hawaii brought unverified reports of sabotage performed by Island Japanese on December 7: it was said that on that Sunday, Island Japanese blocked the road to Pearl Harbor with trucks to prevent reinforcements and ambulances from getting through, that they had rammed planes on the flying fields, that they had entered Hickam Field in a milk delivery truck just before the attack, and when the first bombs fell they had let down the sides or the truck, revealing a machine gun nest, from which they shot down the American flyers as they tried to run-to their planes. These stories circulated quickly, received widespread credence and produced a marked change in the public attitude toward the Japanese American population in California and the other coastal States. Too, they gave support to the interpretation which had been given Secretary Knox's use of the term "Fifth Column." In the last days of the year, with the darkening war picture, prejudice and suspicion increased. The day after Christmas the capture of Hongkong was confirmed by London. Daily the news from the Philippines grew worse. There were sporadic attacks upon local Japanese, chiefly by Filipinos. The first of these was reported by the Los Angeles Times on the day before Christmas. The victim happened to be a Nisei who had been honorably discharged from the United States Army Medical Corps earlier in the year; he was found stabbed to death in a Los Angeles street early in the morning of December 23. On Christmas Day a Japanese was killed in Stockton.41-a In the next week or 10 days there were attacks upon Japanese in San Jose,41-b Gilroy41-c and Sacramento.42
The Rallying of the Racists
By January the voice of the racists, the old pressure groups, lifted again in clarion fashion, with slogans and arguments and battle cries. Until war between the United States and Japan provided conditions favoring a reinterpretation of certain guarantees contained in the Constitution of the United States, the Exclusion Act of 1924 had remained the greatest victory achieved by the West Coast anti-Japanese forces. It was not that the anti-Japanese forces had been content after 1924 but that between dreams of depriving the Nisei of their citizenship and ridding the coastal States of the Japanese already in residence and the realization of those dreams stood the substantial obstacle of the Constitution. Certain organizations comprising the anti-Japanese front passed yearly resolutions recommending amendment of the Constitution to permit denial of citizenship to the American-born on racial grounds and to simplify procedures for deportation, but the resolutions were produced and reproduced without any real expectancy of their achieving their objectives--until war between the United States and Japan presented the racists with a golden opportunity.
It took the pressure groups of the West Coast approximately a month to recover sufficiently from the shock of the attack on Pearl Harbor to realize the advantage which the nature of that attack had given them. For so long, on so many occasions, they had cried "Wolf, Wolf!" without a wolf on the horizon, that the sudden materialization of one may have robbed them of speech. Whatever the reason, this usually vocal element was noticeably silent on the subject of the Japanese Americans until after Christmas of 1941.
On December 30, the General Hunter Liggett Chapter 100 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart "voted a letter to President Roosevelt asking that all Japanese be removed to inland points from California coast counties."441-d On January 16, 1942, there began in the California Senate the first whittling away of State civil liberties guarantees. Senator John Harold Swan of Sacramento introduced a resolution urging special loyalty investigations of Nisei state civil-service employees. Mr. Swan stated that he believed that 50 percent of Japanese American citizens in the state were disloyal. He and Senator Jack Metzger of Red Bluff produced a photostatic copy of a payroll sheet of the Motor Vehicle Department which showed only Japanese names; Mr. Swan "contended this was a systematic plot to get Japanese on the state payroll and allow them to bore from within." Mr. Metzger, defending the proposed resolution, enlarged a little on the original milk-truck story, saying: "Japanese fifth columnists in milk wagons
drew machine grins instead of milk bottles out of 21 wagons in Honolulu the morning of December 7 and turned them on Pearl Harbor barracks."42-a
An editorial appearing in the Sacramento Union on January 18 was sharply critical of the plan to investigate the Nisei personnel:
"Nine months ago, however, when war was in the offing and Swan was still a great one for civil liberties, he voted in favor of a bill providing that in applying the State civil service act, 'it is unlawful * * * to permit or suffer any notation or entry to be made (in civil service records) indicating or in any wise suggesting or pertaining to the race, color, or religion of any persons whatsoever.'
"This bill was subsequently passed and became the law of the state--the law under which the State personnel board now administers the civil service act.
"Prior to December 7 that attitude was known as guaranteeing the civil liberties of all Americans. And since December 7 the President and the Justice Department have appealed urgently for tolerance among the people of the nation with those fellow-citizens who chance to be descended from the natives of the countries with whom we are at war.
"This appeal, of course, has fallen rather flatly on some ears that have been deafened by the hysteria of war.
"It is utterly deplorable, however, that this hysteria should be reflected in demands on the part of our elected representatives for legislative investigations of the racial background of American citizens.
"Senator Swan and all his colleagues know very well that citizens of California cannot be barred from state employment simply because their parents are Japanese nationals.
"So what good purpose could possibly be served by bringing the matter up and trying to launch
an investigation that could only stir up the prejudices of people whose emotions already are near the boiling point?
" * * * The Swan resolution, as finally passed was modified considerably. We hope the investigation it may touch off will not be a witch hunt.
"The idea of simply making an investigation into the racial composition of the state's personnel looks like a plain example of racial persecution.
"If Senator Swan, the ex-champion of civil liberties, still doesn't get the point, we might refer him back to a bill which he himself introduced in the regular session of the legislature last spring:
"'Every person who maliciously and wilfully harasses, disturbs, annoys, injures, or molests another person because of his race or ancestry is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be punished by a fine not less than $200 or by imprisonment in the county jail not less than 90 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment.'
"In the present instance, it would seem that Sacramento's senator is fortunate that this great piece of civil liberties legislation which he introduced last year failed to get out of committee."42-b
However, the very day that this editorial appeared, the chairman of the State Personnel Board said that the board's hands were tied unless the legislature gave the board power to abolish civil-service lists, adding that it was his opinion that the legislature would be giving the board "too much power" in that event.42-c A feature story which appeared a few days later in the Sacramento Union contained the opinion that the Personnel Board probe into the loyalty of Nisei State employees was a "hot potato." The writer pointed out that the board, before it could act, had two preliminary steps to take: first, it would have legal sanction for employing such a measure against American citizens of Japanese ancestry who might hold dual citizenship; and, second, it would have to formulate a policy for determining the loyalty of such citizens and procedures for trying and dismissing those accused of disloyalty.42-d
On January 21, Congressman Leland 1(. Ford of Santa Monica, California, announced in Washington that he would urge Government officials to move all Japanese, whether native-born or alien, to
concentration camps.41-e He was the first of the West Coast Delegation to propose mass evacuation. From this time on demands from organizations, municipal authorities and individuals for evacuation or evacuation and detention of the Japanese American minority increased in number and urgency.
On January 25, the San Francisco Examiner, which since Christmas had been carrying more and more anti-resident-Japanese articles, stories and letters to the editor, warned of a new submarine menace.
"A grim warning that the West Coast be on the lookout for an attack on merchant vessels similar to that staged the last few days on the Atlantic coast, was sounded by the Navy yesterday.
"Enemy submarines have recently appeared off the Pacific coast and unidentified vessels off Alaska, the 13th Naval District announced in Seattle. Should the enemy strike, it would be the first resumption of hostilities off the Pacific Coast since Christmas week.* * *
"The thirteenth Naval District expressed appreciation for the action of British Columbia in removing all enemy aliens from the coast. It said that the province is extremely important in the defense of the 13th Naval District, which includes Alaska * * * the exodus of aliens will be of inestimable value in the defense of the Northwest."41-f
Further on the same item included rather vague hints of Navy reports of flares at sea and blinker shore lights. By January 26,. Senator Hiram W. Johnson of California, announced in Washington that he was going to call an immediate conference of the Pacific Coast Delegation to survey the entire problem of West Coast defenses,4-g while Los Angeles County supervisors passed a resolution for the removal of the 13,000 Japanese aliens from the Los Angeles area and the California Department of the American Legion, in a more sweeping resolution, demanded that all of California's 93,000 Japanese, whether citizen or alien, be interned for the duration.£-h At the same meeting, the Los Angeles County supervisors ordered the discharge of the 56 Japanese American county employees, saying it was "impossible to distinguish between loyal and disloyal members and it is not feasible to detail Americans to shadow all the Japanese employees." The city of Los Angeles followed suit and dismissed its 39 American-born Japanese, but permitted them to apply for leaves of absence for the duration of the war. Within 24 hours of the issuance of these orders by Los Angeles officials, the State Personnel Board took action to bar, pending
loyalty investigation, all "obvious" direct descendants of enemy nationals from taking future civil-service examinations in California, and voted also to launch an investigation into the loyalty of current State employees, with emphasis upon cases of presumed dual citizenship--as soon as funds were made available to the Board.42-f Senator Metzger, an inaugurates of the legislative resolution behind the State board*8 action, promptly assured the board that the legislature would "reimburse the emergency fund for any sums spent In investigating the loyalty of state employees." The Sacramento Union commented:
"Officially, the board's orders will apply to direct and immediate descendants of Germans and Italians, as well as Japanese. Wide discretion will be given the board's administrative staff, however, and the use of the word 'obvious' made it apparent that the action will be concerned primarily with those of Japanese extraction, particularly since descendants of German and Italian nationals cannot be readily identified."42-g
Senator Metzger said sweepingly: "I do not believe there is a single Japanese in the world who is not pulling for Japan regardless of where born. They will spy, commit sabotage, or die if necessary." His friend and the resolution's co-author, Senator Swan, said that he believed that "most, rather than all, Japanese are sympathetic with Japan. "42~g
There appeared on January 29 the first of a series of syndicated articles written by the eastern columnist, Henry McLemore, during his brief visit to California. In the San Francisco Examiner, the article was captioned: "Why Treat The Japs Well Here?" In the Sacramento Union, it was introduced by the statement: "AMERICANS ARE NUTS: They should move Japanese from California." Writing from Los Angeles, Mr. McLemore protested:
"The only Japanese apprehended have been the ones the FBI actually had something on. The rest of them, so help me, are as free as birds. There isn't an airport in California that isn't flanked by Japanese farms. There is hardly an air field where the same situation doesn't exist. They run their stores. They clerk in stores. They clip lawns. They are here, there and everywhere.
"You walk up and down the streets and you bump into Japanese every block. They take the parking positions.
They get ahead of you In the stamp line at the post office. They have their share of seats on the bus and street car lines.
* * * * * *
"Everywhere that the Japanese have attacked to date, the Japanese, population has risen to aid the attackers. Pearl Harbor, Manila. What is there to make the government believe that the same wouldn't be true in California? Does it feel that the lovely California climate has changed them and that the thousands of Japanese who live in the boundaries of this state are all staunch and true Americans?
"I am for the immediate removal of every Japanese on the West coast to a point deep in the interior. I don't mean a nice part of the interior either. Herd 'em up, pack 'em off and give 'em the inside room in the badlands. Let 'em be pinched, hurt, hungry and dead up against it.
"Sure this would work an unjustified hardship on 80 percent or 90 percent of the California Japanese. But the remaining 10 or 20 percent have it in their power to do damage--great damage to the American people. They are a serious menace and you can't tell me that an individual's rights have any business being placed above a nation's safety.
"If making one million innocent Japanese uncomfortable would prevent one scheming Japanese from costing the life of one American boy, then let the million innocents suffer.
" * * * There are sure to be some Americans who will howl and scream at the idea of inconveniencing America's Japanese population in order to prevent sabotage and espionage.
"Okay, let them howl. Let them howl timber-wolf type. Our government has told us we face war. All-out war. It has told us that we are up against the roughest days in our history. It has demanded of us sacrifice and sweat and toil and all of the other of Mr. Churchill's graphic words.
"That's all right, we will answer. But let us have no patience with the enemy or with any one whose veins carry his blood.
"Let us in this desperate time put first things first. And, who is to say that to the men and women of this country there is anything that comes above America?
"Personally, I hate the Japanese. And that goes for all of them.
"Let's quit worrying about hurting the enemy's feelings and start doing it."42-h
On January 29, 1942, the Attorney General of the United States, acting upon recommendations made by General DeWitt, began designating prohibited zones, small areas which surrounded electrical plants, dams, and other vital installations. These areas were known as "spots." In the course of a few days, 99 such spots were designated as prohibited zones for aliens of enemy nationality. The largest areas were along the water fronts of San Francisco, San Diego and Wilmington--the Wilmington area included Terminal Island, the Japanese fishing village. February 15 was set as the deadline for evacuation by enemy aliens of the prohibited spots, with the exception of a few of the larger and last designated areas, principally a 40-square-mile area which embraced a goodly portion of Los Angeles City and County. These exceptions were to be cleared by February 24.
The plan to clear strategic "spots" of aliens of enemy nationality had been shaping since the first week in January. During that week Lieutenant General DeWitt and his Assistant Chief of Staff, Major (later colonel) Karl R. Bendetsen, conferred with Attorney General Biddle's special representative, Assistant Attorney General James Rows, who had be«n sent out to San Francisco, and with Mr. N. J. L. Pieper of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The conferences, continuing from January 2 to 5, led to an exchange of identical memoranda on January 6, 1942.
These memoranda laid down specific principles and procedures for safeguarding the West Coast against espionage and sabotage which might be performed by aliens, and at the same time they showed, or implied, that the Attorney General did not in all instances see eye to eye with the Commanding General of the Western Defense Command and Fourth Army. The first principle set forth was that of the designation of restricted or prohibited zones:
" * * * The Attorney General will designate restricted areas. He will entertain Army recommendations. He will require the Army to determine the exact description of each restricted area. What further requirements he will make will depend in large measure upon the nature of the area involved and the extent of alien enemy population in such area. Indications are that, should Army recommendations include areas in which there is resident a large number of alien enemies and evacuation will thereby be rendered necessary, he will also require the submission of detailed plans for evacuation and resettlement. The Army has expressed disinclination to compliance on its part with such a requirement for the reason that the Justice Department will undertake an alien enemy registration and will have in its possession all the information essential for planning purposes once the proposed restricted areas have been made known to that Department by the Army."31-d
The memoranda committed the Justice Department to registering alien enemies "with the least practicable delay,** to acquire photographs, finger prints and full personal data on every alien of enemy nationality who was beyond the age of 14. The memoranda established the fact that alien premises could be searched and alien persons apprehended in emergencies without the formality of a warrant, and they established the fact that dwellings shared by citizens and aliens could not be searched without a warrant signed by a United States attorney. The sixth principle set forth the Attorney General's regulations for conducting broad scale searches:
"The term 'mass raid' will not be employed by the Attorney General. Instructions which have been or will be issued to United States Attorneys and to F. B. I. Special Agents will permit 'spot raids.' That is to say, if lists of known alien enemies with the addresses of each are prepared by the F. B. I. and warrants are requested to cover such lists, a search of all the premises involved may be undertaken simultaneously. Thus all of the alien enemy premises in a given area can be searched at the same moment."31-d
As military and popular pressure for mass evacuation of Japanese residents from the coastal region increased, the Chief of the Enemy Alien Control Unit of the Department of Justice recommended to the Attorney General that a spokesman for the Department of Justice should be sent to the West Coast to supervise the "spot" clearance program and to convince California officials that the security of the West
Coast was being safeguarded by the present system of FBI raids, seizure of contraband, and arrest of suspects, and that mass evacuation was undesirable and unnecessary. The Attorney General acted upon this recommendation, selecting Thomas C. Clark, of the Anti-Trust Division of the Department of Justice, to be his special representative to the West Coast.
Just arrived in Los Angeles, Mr. Clark was quoted in the press as stating on January 30, that all American-born Japanese would be placed under strict surveillance and those who fell under suspicion would be sent to concentration camps in the Midwest.42-1
Back in Washington, D. C, Attorney General Biddle, on Sunday evening, February 1, the eve of the alien enemy registration, broadcast over CBS a warning against the persecution of alien enemies, promising that the Department of Justice would "continue to be on the alert in protecting the internal security of the country," and concluding: "I want to point out that the persecution of aliens--economic or social-can be a two-edged sword. Such persecution can easily drive people, now loyal to us, into fifth column activities.
At dawn of February 2, the first day of the alien enemy registration program, the FBI launched a series of spot raids on the Japanese fishing village at Terminal Island. The Los Angeles Times gave the number of arrests made in the first raid of the dawn series as 336, and described the occasion in some detail:
"Armed with Presidential warrants--issued only in time of war, FBI, aided by Police and deputy sheriffs, launched the raid shortly after dawn, finding many of the aliens still in their beds. * * * Most of the Japanese taken into custody were sped to the U. S. Immigration Station on Terminal Island. Others were taken to outlying city and county Jails. The aliens will be held for investigation. Those considered dangerous to the national safety will be interned for the duration, it was explained. The others are expected to be released.
" * * * Army patrol cars bristling with machine guns threaded the narrow streets throughout the congested Terminal Island residential district during the harbor raid. There was not a single instance of any resistance being offered the officers.
"As an additional precaution, however, soldiers were stationed at the drawbridge leading to the island, and at the ferry house, the only other means of entrance and exit.
"Operating with machine-like efficiency, the FBI agents, headed by J. W. Vincent, in charge of operations, had prepared lists of the names and addresses of all those for whom warrants had been issued.
"The entire island was divided into areas of one or two blocks, with a dozen or more men being assigned to each district. In each instance an FBI agent, accompanied by two policemen or deputy sheriffs, rapped at the door of a home of an enemy alien. After being admitted they informed the occupant he was under arrest and proceeded to take him to the Immigration Station."38-b
On February 2, too, the Los Angeles County Defense Council recommended that all dual citizens be interned, while the county manager urged the board of supervisors to "clear the way for use of temporary camps for interned Japs in Antelope Valley and other locations," and the board applied to the Director of the Bureau of the Budget in Washington for funds to care for the internees.38-b On the same day, in the Nation's Capital, Washington and Oregon members of Congress joined in the plea of their California colleagues for speeding up evacuation machinery. In San Francisco, on that day, State Attorney General Earl Warren opened a conference of 100 California law enforcement officers with the declaration that California was "wide open" to any kind of sabotage or fifth column activity, and the conferring officers voted to ask the Federal Government to remove at once all alien Japanese from a 200-mile-wide strip of California coastline for the duration of the war; they decided too to launch a fresh investigation of land titles and file civil suits for escheat to the State of land which they should consider to be held illegally by Japanese.* At the same time that the State attorney general was going on the record as favoring mass exclusion of Japanese aliens from virtually the entire state, the State Governor in Sacramento was working in conference with military and Justice officials to reach a solution of the problem of national security without resorting to mass evacuation of the Japanese. 38-c The reports of the two conferences, appearing on the same page of the Los Angeles Times, highlighted the difference in attitude and objective of the two highest officials of the State of California.
*The question of the right of Japanese aliens to purchase land in the name of their citizen children had been threshed out in test cases during the 'Twenties, with court decisions affirming the right of alien parents unable to purchase land in their own right to buy it in good faith for their citizen children.
In addition to the prohibited spots, the U. S. Attorney General designated as Restricted Area No. 1, a 500-mile-long strip of coastline from the Oregon border southward, and varying In width from 30 to 150 miles, including Sacramento. Designated "spots" within the restricted area would be cleared of Axis aliens at the time prescribed, but the area as a whole was not to be cleared: Axis aliens could continue to live and work there, but after February 24 were to observe a 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. curfew, and could not, without special permit, travel more than five miles from their homes.
Tom Clark promised the people who were faced with eviction that everything would be "all right" and indicated that "farm colonies will be established for the evacuated aliens and their families." Governmental agencies were becoming aware of the problem of alien destitution, and were beginning to hold conferences on the subject.38-d
In the Nation's Capital, Pacific Coast Senators and Representatives were becoming more and more agitated, and there was conflict in attitude and opinion among them. The Los Angeles Times representative in Washington wrote under dateline of February 3:
"Heads of the Army, Navy and Department of Justice today were asked to supply Pacific Coast Senators and Representatives with a full account of measures taken thus far to defend the West Coast against enemy attack and also to supply detailed information on steps that that have been taken to solve the alien and native-born Japanese situation.
"Divergent views of Coast members on both subjects became more pronounced as Senator Downey of California delivered a nation-wide broadcast tonight in defense of Justice Department plans for handling the Japanese evacuation problem and other Californians promptly took issue with his contentions.
"Regarding Downey's remarks as inspired by Justice Department spokesmen who are themselves unacquainted with the real issues presented by the Japanese dual citizenship situation, several members of Congress from the Pacific Coast States prepared to take public issue with his two principal assumptions.
"The first of these is that there is danger of popular uprisings against the Japanese of the Pacific Coast, and the other is the Senator's assertion that 'Attorney General Riddle has acted with speed and decision.'
"Representative Costello (D.) of Hollywood, was the first to challenge Downey's position.
"'I have no fear whatsoever,' said Costello, 'that the people of California will take the Japanese situation into their own hands. But I do feel that the people on the Pacific Coast understand their peril and are absolutely justified in demanding prompt, intelligent and vigorous action from Washington authorities.'
"On the subject of the adequacy and expedition of Biddle's procedure, Costello was equally emphatic. 'I don't agree with Senator Downey that Attorney General Biddle has acted either with speed or decision.-*' * * Two months have passed since the Pearl Harbor incident, and only now, after two of the most critical months in our history, has any action been taken. The program of registering aliens, of barring aliens from certain prohibited zones, of attempting to maintain a watch on American-born Japanese who may or may not contemplate acts of sabotage, won't prevent sabotage.'"38-e
Two committees were appointed within the West Coast Delegation, one to investigate defense preparations, the other to examine the Japanese situation. On the latter committee were Senators Bone and Walgren of Washington, Senator Downey of California, Representatives Costello, Welch, Elliott, Anderson, Voorhie, Leland M. Ford, Gearhart, Sheppard, Thomas F. Ford and Rolph, all of California; Representative Pierce of Oregon, and Representatives Hill and Angell of Washington. Senator Walgren was made chairman of the committee and expressed the hope that American-born Japanese would aid in the solution of the problem, saying:
"As to the native-born Japanese, I know some people believe there are legal loopholes through which we can work to remove them from the zone of danger. I'm inclined to the idea of asking their cooperation on such a proposal. I think if we ask for it and put it in the right light, they will want to leave for their own protection."338-f
Paul V. McNutt, Administrator of the Federal Security Agency, in response to Senator Walgren*s recommendation that the Government should provide dislocated Japanese with housing and work opportunities, announced that his agency was taking steps to meet this obligation.38-f
Representative Martin Dies, of Texas, a few days before the question of allowing his Committee on Un-American Activities to continue another year came up before Congress, released to the press detailed summaries of his "Yellow Report," which at that time had not been published. He maintained to the press that if the Administration had allowed him to publish this report on un-American propaganda activities of the Japanese Americans the previous September, thus disclosing his view of the operations of the Japanese espionage system, "Pearl Harbor couldn't have happened."38-g From February 5 on, the Dies material provided scare stories for the yellow press and kept cropping up in many of the more responsible news sheets of the West Coast. The Los Angeles Times headlined the first disclosure of the Dies Committee findings: "DIES 'YELLOW PAPER' REVEALS JAP SPYING ATTEMPTS, PROBABLY SUCCESSFUL, TO LEARN LOS ANGELES AQUEDUCT SECRETS DISCLOSED."38-g The next day the paper headlined: "WATER PLOT CONFIRMED BY VAN NORMAN; CORRESPONDENCE SHOWING JAPANESE ATTEMPT TO GET DATA GIVEN OUT." There followed a reproduction of a photostatic copy of a several-year-old letter from the Japanese consulate to H. A. Van Norman, chief engineer and general manager of the Los Angeles Water Bureau, asking information about the local water system.38~h An editorial in that issue of the paper pointed out that there were some inaccuracies in the Dies Report, citing two:
"The committee implies that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was somewhat at fault, since it did not investigate the Japanese request to Van Norman but passed the buck to the Army, whose San Francisco office expressed disinterest in the matter as beyond the scope of the Army's peacetime functions. But the FBI had no specific duties in regard to national defense prior to 1939, though enforcement of the Espionage Act of 1917 was part of its work.
"The Dies committee is in error as to the official post of Kiyoshi P. Okura, whom it describes as chief examiner of the city Civil Service Bureau. He was merely one of 10 junior personnel technicians; but it is admitted he could have influenced the obtaining by Japanese of ratings entitling them to be considered for appointment to city jobs."38-i
The Mayor of Los Angeles was advocating over the radio that all Japanese, alien and native-born, should be removed to a distance of several hundred miles from the coast and that they should be put to work raising food for freedom, with the final admonition:
"Every person of Japanese blood, wherever he be residing in this country, should be made to understand
that one single act of sabotage--anything that might assist the Japanese government in this time of war--will brand the entire Japanese population not only during the existence of a state of war but for at least a generation."38-j
On the same day the Los Angeles County grand jury "unanimously adopted a resolution to Federal authorities urging immediate ousting of all alien Japanese from the Pacific Coast combat sons to avert fifth column activities and sabotage," adding that "serious consideration be given to the removal of Japanese other than aliens * * * in the interests of safety * * * and protection of life and property and national defense."38-k
Back in Washington, D. C, Attorney General Biddle was still opposing the idea of interning all enemy aliens, protesting that such a step would be "profoundly unwise and profoundly un-American," and warning that it would cause retaliations on Americans caught in enemy-occupied territory.38-l
General DeWitt issued sabotage alert orders to all officers, on February 6, and the newspapers of the coast carried the message next day: "You are instructed to be on the alert for sabotage and subversive acts particularly in areas where defense activities exist. Report immediately to this office occurrences of a suspicious nature." The Los Angeles Times placed on the front page beside the news of the sabotage alert a summing up of the latest changes in the Japanese American situation:
"The alert came after Tom C. Clark, alien control administrator in San Francisco, announced that between 200 and 300 citizens of Japan, Germany and Italy will receive written notices by next Monday to leave prohibited areas.
"He said other groups totaling 10,000 in California and including 1,800 in the Los Angeles area must obey the Federal ouster order by February 24. Clark said that while it was not intended to Impose additional evacuations from agricultural areas after February 24, the Army is resurveying city territory, indicating possible further movement from those zones.
"The notices the aliens will receive through the mall will instruct them to go to the Social Security Board offices in their communities. They will be given information and access to attorneys to learn their
civil rights, if they desire, and will receive funds if they cannot finance their enforced moves.
"Efforts will be made to get them jobs in the interior--perhaps in Utah, Clark said*
"Possibilities of detaining alien and other dangerous Japanese in the County's string of mountain road camps and the jail honor farm at Castalc were explored yesterday by Supervisor Roger Jessup and Sheriff Biscailus."38-m
On an inner page of that February 7 issue of the Times there was the first sign of public awareness that Japanese residents were being victimized:
"Determined to halt asserted racketeering by junkmen and secondhand furniture dealers upon the confused and panicky families of alien Japanese seized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation at Fish Harbor, Captain Basil Starkey of the San Pedro police division assigned a detail of five men to the Terminal Island area.
"Starkey quoted K. Higashi, president of the Japanese-Aamerican Citizens' League, as complaining junkmen and used furniture dealers were telling wives of arrested aliens that the Federal government intended to seize their household belongings.
"Through this technique they were buying refrigerators, radios, stoves and other furniture costing from $50 to $200 for from $4 to $5, loading their purchases on their trucks and driving away, Higashi complained.
"The police were instructed to aid Higashi in warning his people not to sacrifice their belongings.
"Higashi was aiding I. Sakamoto, head of the Southern California Japanese Fishermen's Association, to register aliens at the local post offices. They also were attempting to prevent hunger or destitution among families of aliens now in custody.
"Sakamoto said ha was obtaining powers of attorney from alien owners of Jigboats to permit their sale to provide funds to support the fishermen's families pending receipt of Federal aid. About 45 of the small fishing boats are involved."38-n
Personal attacks made upon Attorney General Biddle through press and radio were getting increasingly violent. The Los Angeles Times Washington representative reported that the delay in Government action to effect the removal of the Japanese population from the West Coast was caused by the Attorney General's concern for the guarantees contained in the fourteenth amendment of the Federal Constitution. This man wrote, under dateline of February 7, from the Capital:
"It /the question of American-born Japanese/ is hung up in the Department of Justice and Mr. Biddle himself hung it there.
"The Attorney General of the United States is not only a lawyer, he occupies an eminent position as one of the country's foremost liberals. There are some who feel that his views extend slightly beyond the roseate horizons of America's traditional brand of liberalism.
* * * * * * * * *
"The Army and Navy want the Japanese removed from Terminal Island and from all other areas to which the security and the national defense of the country are related. Obviously Mr. Biddle represents a bottle-neck, so far as they are concerned.
"In the opinion of Mr. Biddle and in the expressed views of Secretary of War Stimson, the Attorney General has taken all steps necessary to control enemy aliens in the United States and to so circumscribe their activities as to greatly minimize the danger of sabotage by them.
"On the other phase of the problem--which realistic citizens and officials on the Pacific Coast regard as even more perilous--Mr. Biddle has not been content with his own refusal to act.
"He has sought to discourage those who demand prompt measures to effect the removal of the American-born Japanese; and other departments of the government
at the request of the Department of Justice have attempted to soft pedal the whole thing.
"Members of Congress who have their own duties and responsibilities to consider and who are also possessed of a knowledge of the humanitarian as well as the legal issues involved, say that the Attorney General can act at once in this matter if he chooses to act."38-o
Henry McLemore, after a week in California, wrote his column from San Diego crying out upon the Attorney General for giving alien residents of the larger "spots" until February 24 to move out; and concluded:
"Mr. Biddle is the Attorney General in Washington, but he could run for office in California and not even win the post of third assistant dog catcher in charge of liver spotted airedales.
"That's the way they feel about Mr. 'BLueblood' Biddle out here.
"Maybe the feeling is all wrong. Maybe they have the man pegged incorrectly. I wouldn't know about that. All I know is that Californians have the feeling that he is the one in charge of the Japanese menace, and that he is handling it with all the severity of Lord Fauntleroy playing squat tag with his maiden aunt.
"I've been here a week now, and have traveled a few hundred miles up and down the coast, and have yet to meet a man, woman, or child who doesn't think that Mr. Biddle's handling of the bow-legged sons and daughters of the Rising Sun is mighty ridiculous."41-i
FBI raids continued, with more spot raids on communities in the Salinas Valley, the Vallejo area, and other parts of the northern district and in the harbor areas of Los Angeles and San Diego in the south. In the meantime General DeWitt and Attorney General Biddle had come to open disagreement on the designation of additional prohibited areas. In a memorandum addressed to Assistant Attorney General James Rows, Jr., on January 5, 1942, General DeWitt stated that the "Army has no wish to undertake the conduct and control of alien enemies anywhere within continental United States. Impressions to the contrary notwithstanding, the Army would accept transfer of such responsibility and
authority with the greatest reluctance."31-e In reference to exclusion areas, he said:
"In order to avoid absolute confusion in the natter, Army authorities strongly urge that the Department of Justice undertake to establish immediate liaison and coordination with all appropriate relief agencies prepared to alleviate hardship resulting from compulsory change of residence on the part of alien enemies residing in Category A, restricted areas /Those areas within, or through which no alien may be permitted under any circumstances?. As the Department of Justice has requested permission to announce that the establishment of restricted areas has been made by the Attorney General only because the commanding General of this theatre has so requested, military authorities desire it to be unequivocally clear that they desire that everything possible be done to eliminate unnecessary hardship and the need for planning and coordination along this line is strongly emphasized."31-f
Some weeks later, after making recommendations for the establishment of prohibited spots in California--and these were accepted by the Attorney General--the Commanding General of the Western Defense Command made recommendations for the establishment of prohibited zones in Arizona, Oregon and Washington. To quote from the general's final report:
"Upon receipt of these supplemental recommendation * * * the Attorney General refused to act until further study. In the case of Washington State, the recommended prohibited zone included virtually all of the territory lying west of the Cascades. A general enemy alien evacuation from this area would have been required. More than 9,500 persons would have been affected. No agency was then prepared to supervise or conduct a mass movement, and the Attorney General was not convinced of the necessity."31-g
The Attorney General's reply to the Secretary of War on the subject of General DeWitt's large scale recommendations, dated February 9, 1942, contained the following:
"Your recommendation of prohibited areas for Oregon and Washington include the cities of Portland, Seattle and Tacoma, and therefore contemplate a mass evacuation of many thousands* * * No reasons were given for
this mass evacuation * * * I understand that * * * Lieutenant General DeWitt has been requested to supply the War Department with further details and further material before any action is taken on these recommendations. I shall, therefore await your further advice.
" * * * The evacuation * * * from this area would, of course; present a problem of very great magnitude. The Department of Justice is not physically equipped to carry out any mass evacuation. It would mean that only the War Department has the equipment and personnel to manage the task.
"The proclamations directing the Department of Justice to apprehend, and where necessary, evacuate alien enemies, do not, of course, include American citizens of the Japanese race. If they have to be evacuated, I believe that this would have to be done as a military necessity in these particular areas. Such action, therefore, should in my opinion, be taken by the War Department and not by the Department of Justice."31-h
The DeWitt report comments:
"The Commanding General thereafter submitted a resume of the military considerations which prompted his recommendation for a prohibited zone in Washington and Oregon embracing virtually the westerly half of those states. The Department of Justice, however, concluded that it was not in a position to undertake any mass evacuation, and declined in any event to administer such general civil control measures."31-d
It states further that at this time there were "hundreds of reports nightly of signal lights visible from the coast, and of intercepts of unidentified radio transmissions. Signaling was often observed at premises which could not be entered without a warrant because of mixed occupancy. The problem required immediate solution. It called for the application of measures not then in being."31-i That statement was footnoted as follows: "It is interesting to note that following the evacuation, interceptions of suspicious or unidentified radio signals and shore-to-ship signal lights were virtually eliminated * * *"
Governor Olson of California, at that time in frequent conference with General DeWitt, began to share the letter's worry about
shore-to-ship signaling and radio diablerie as the day for clearance of Axis aliens from the designated spots drew near, but he continued to resist the idea of mass evacuation, over the radio and in press conferences; he appealed to young Nisei representatives in conference to cooperate in handling the evacuation of Axis nationals from the spots and to assist the war effort* He was quoted in the Sacramento Union as saying to the Nisei: "There isn't any middle ground for Japanese /American/ citizens. Loyal Japanese will have to make sacrifices, but if you are not prepared to go all the way, you ought to be concentrated." He ended this conference by declaring that he was "quite heartened" by the attitude of the Japanese Americans."42-k
On February 7, Representative Martin Dies informed the press in Washington that he had "information" which he believed to be "reliable" that Axis forces would attempt to land simultaneously on the United States East and West Coasts within the next 12 months.41-J The announcement rated scare headlines in those days when the Nation was suffering a fairly bad attack of nerves. On the same day the same Congressman said that his committee had "decided tentatively to propose that all Japanese in Pacific coast state be removed at least 500 miles inland and interned," that Justice Department moves designed to protect the Pacific area had not been fully effective and that the Japanese had taken advantage of "protection of civil rights" to "promote systematic espionage such as prepared the way for the attack on Pearl Harbor," named the Central Japanese Association as an instrument of espionage and bestowed upon it 150,000 members, a number considerably in excess of the total number of Japanese and Japanese Americans in the entire continental United States of either sex and any age, and ended by an assertion that "when Pearl Harbor was attacked, Japanese truck drivers ran their machines into United States planes on the ground, others disabled automobiles of army and navy officers and still others threw furniture into the streets to blockade them."42-l
Tom Clark was assuring a Jumpy populace that if the designated spots could not be cleared by the deadlines of February 15 and 24, he would recommend the establishment of restricted martial law.42-m
Representative Leland Ford, from Santa Monica, California, delivered a radio address on February 9 to advocate evacuation of both alien and citizen Japanese, assuring them and the public at large that their removal could be managed in orderly and humanitarian fashion, and called upon the American-born to take the initiative in this program, promising them that other citizens would applaud their loyalty and sympathize with them for their plight. He said:
"This inland placement and the handling of these people to be so placed, certainly would * * * be an exemplification showing the difference in the way people
are handled in a democracy, as against the way they are handled under Axis dictatorship.
"These people would be treated with the greatest consideration, kindness, justice, courtesy and humanitarian understanding. They would be well housed, well fed, well clothed and removed from any of the dangers of war activity whatsoever, with no possibility of being bombed or exposed to shell fire. In other words, they would be safe.
"If the loyal Japanese would voluntarily carry out the program as outlined above, they would surely be making some sacrifices, but certainly, this contribution and sacrifice, which I hope they will make voluntarily, is not nearly as great as the sacrifice and contribution that the man makes who gives his life, or the family makes, who give their closest kin * * *"38-r
On Tuesday, February 10, 1942, posters were put up on Terminal Island by Department of Justice order, warning all Japanese aliens that the deadline for their departure was the following Monday, February. 16.38-p However, on February 11, without warning, a Presidential order transferred Terminal Island to the Jurisdiction of the Navy, and Secretary Knox instructed Rear Admiral R. S. Holmes, Commandant of the 11th Naval District in San Diego to notify all residents of Terminal Island that their dwellings would be condemned and that they would be evicted within 30 days.38-q This arrangement automatically cancelled the orders of the Department of Justice, and on the face of the matter, it seemed to constitute a reprieve of eviction sentence. Before a week had passed, the residents of Terminal Island were ordered to be out within 48 hours of notification.
Aliens required to move out of a prohibited spot by Justice received individual mail notices which stated that they could get information and, if they needed it, assistance from their local Social Security Board. The Federal Government, using Tom Clark as coordinator, had arranged with the Social Security Board that the latter would loan to the Department of Justice, personnel from the Bureau of Public Assistance to register and assist aliens affected by the spot clearance orders. These people functioned in the USES offices within each county. They .were supposed to be ready to serve at the time that the registration of aliens in the post offices began, but they were slow to get started, and the Los Angeles office was not set up until February 9. On request, they provided vans, transportation and even grocery orders to affected aliens. The spot evacuation of aliens was a comparatively simple if personally distressing matter, for in general only the
individuals left, moving over the line with friends or relatives; some-times only the father of a family would be an alien, sometimes only the mother. If both parents were aliens but had a citizen child old enough to take over the responsibility of the home and business, only the parents went. According to the persons who worked in the hastily set up offices in the USES stations, very few Japanese asked assistance.
The case of the Terminal Islanders was different. Theirs was a small scale mass evacuation which involved everybody on the island, whole families. Because of the change in jurisdiction and the canceling of Justice orders, the evicted received no notices of instruction by mail to inform them where they could get help from the Government. They were simply told to get out within 48 hours. If they were aware that they might expect assistance from an office an hour-and-a-half ride from home, there was no time to go and spend more time standing in line and being questioned all over again. They packed what they could, and church groups which had been interested in the problems of the Japanese Americans took over, borrowing, renting and begging farm and delivery trucks to move out as much movable property as time allowed, and transferring the people with their belongings to hostels, quickly set up in churches and language schools in outlying communities. Much property was left behind, stacked on porches or in yards, because there simply was not time to get it out.
The Los Angeles Times on February 11 mentioned that Tom Clark and Mayor Bowron had gone to confer with General DeWitt and California Attorney General Earl Warren in San Francisco, "to try to get together on this business." This was on the front page, along with the announcement that the Congress group from the West Coast was suggesting that there should be a system of permits issued to all persons living in defense areas to allow them to continue living there; it was proposed that the defense areas be expanded to include the entire three coastal States and Alaska.38-s Had this proposal been adopted, everyone living in. the coastal States and Alaska would have needed a formal permit, whether he was lineal descendant of Pocahontas, John Alden, John Hancock, or even a California Bear Flag Riot hero. The program would have been time consuming, and little more was heard of it. After conferring with General DeWitt, the State attorney general announced that he felt that this was a "military problem, not civil," and Mayor Bowron said, "I feel that DeWitt is awake to the situation and doing all he can."38-t
The Mayor of Los Angeles, back in time to make a Lincoln's Birthday address over the radio, posed the question: "If Lincoln were alive today, what would he do * * * to defend the nation against the Japanese horde * * * the people borm on American soil who have secret loyalty to the Japanese Emperor?" And he answered his question in this fashion:
"There isn't a shadow of a doubt but that Lincoln, the mild-mannered man whose memory we regard with almost saint-like reverence, would make short work of rounding up the Japanese and putting them where they could do no harm.
* * * * * * * * *
"The removal of all those of Japanese parentage must be effected before it is too late. Those little men who prate of civil liberties against the interest of the nation and the safety of the people will be forgotten in the pages of history, while an executive in Washington who will save the nation against invasion and destruction will be entitled to a secure place beside Lincoln,"38-u
Wartime fear and hatred of the people associated in the eyes of other Americans with the enemy were not lessened by the news from the Pacific. By the end of the second week in February, the Allied forces in the Pacific Theatre had, with the single exception of a naval raid on the Gilbert-Marshall Islands, been continually on the defensive and might have been considered to be fighting a losing battle. Japan, on the other hand, in addition to inflicting heavy initial losses on both American and British forces, had taken most of the Philippines, Hongkong, Thailand, Wake and Guam Islands, Sarawak, Tarakan, and other sections of Borneo, Moulmein in Burma, outlying Dutch and Australian possessions, and the Malay peninsula up to Singapore Island--and Singapore was to surrender on the fifteenth of February.
At this critical time, a nationally known and respected columnist, Walter Llppmann, had just arrived in California to look into the Japanese question. In the first week of his stay, his column written in San Francisco on February 12 and titled "The Fifth Column on the Coast" was syndicated throughout the Ration. The tone of the article was one of grave concern. His concern was so great, in view of the dangers he had been told about, that he advocated setting aside the civil rights of citizens of Japanese ancestry, and produced an argument that was used by General DeWitt, by State Attorney General Warren and many others. It was a convenient argument because it could not be disproved except In the event of actual invasion by the armed forces of Japan while the West Coast Japanese minority was in residence: " * * * since the outbreak of the Japanese war there has been no important sabotage on the Pacific Coast. From what we know about Hawaii and about the fifth column in Europe, this is not, as some have liked to think, a sign that there is nothing to be feared. It is a sign that the blow is well organized and that it is held back until it can be struck with maximum effect." He concluded with the paragraph:
"What Washington has been trying to find is a policy for dealing with all enemy aliens everywhere and all potential fifth columnists everywhere. let a policy which may be wise in most parts of the country may be extremely foolhardy in a combat zone. Therefore, much the best thing to do is to recognize the western combat zone as territory quite different from the rest of the country, and then to set up in that zone a special regime. This has been done on the Bataan Peninsula, in Hawaii, in Alaska, in the Canal Zone. Why not also on the threatened West Coast of the United States?"38-uu
After reading Mr. Lippmann's column on the subject of the West Coast Japanese menace, numerous other eastern columnists took up the issue, many of them referring to Lippmann's article, and stating outright that they had been keeping off the subject deliberately, on the assumption that the western agitation was Just a further example of California's rugged anti-oriental spirit, but that if a man like Walter Lippmann said the menace was serious and that the Japanese population should be moved out of house and home, they would go along with him. Its effect was perhaps most pronounced upon Westbrook Pegler, who hammered home the points made by Lippmann, from Chicago on February 16, climaxing his column with the statement that if what Lippmann said was true, "the Japanese in California should be under armed guard to the last man and woman right now and to hell with habeas corpus until the danger is over."38-v
In the opinion of some persons who have studied the factors which brought about the evacuation, Walter Lippmann's article played an important role. After his brief investigation of the coast Japanese situation, Mr, Lippmann returned to the East and expressed no further views on the subject.
First Round to the Racists
The West Coast Congressional Delegation, on February 13, formally recommended to the President "the immediate evacuation of all persons of Japanese lineage and all others, aliens and citizens alike, whose presence shall be deemed dangerous or inimical to the defense of the United States from all strategic areas." A Washington press correspondent reported:
"Members of the committee expressed confidence that they will be able to persuade President Roosevelt that the danger of disastrous sabotage operations in vital defense areas is so great that prompt action should be taken.
"'We are aware of the gravity of asking a President of the United States to order the evacuation from any area of thousands of men and women who enjoy the rights of American citizenship,' said a committee member, 'but we feel the situation justifies our position and will warrant any action he may take.'
"Lawyers on the committee, it is said, will go to the White House with arguments to substantiate their contention that the evacuation plans as recommended to the President today do not infringe the civil liberties of any person who may become subject to an evacuation order."38-2
The day after this recommendation was delivered to the President, Torn Clark left Los Angeles by airline for Washington to confer with the Attorney General and to recommend the removal of "all persons deemed inimical to the defense efforts." The Associated Press story read:
"Clark pointed out that there are about 60,000 Nisei or American born to Japanese parents and that while the loyalty of many of them is unquestioned, it is difficult to determine who can be trusted. 'The fact that a citizen has rights under the constitution presents a legal problem,' he added, 'and means that the Nisei cannot be evacuated except under emergency orders.' He mentioned other problems such as housing and feeding.
"Declaring that all known dangerous enemy aliens already have been placed in custody, Clark said: 'I intend to further recommend that all persona who are deemed inimical to the defense efforts be removed from vital areas already designated, and from such additional vital areas as may be designated by the war and navy departments.'"42-mm
On this same day, February 14, 1942, the Commanding General of the Western Defense Command forwarded, to the Secretary of War, his final recommendations on the subject of the "Evacuation of Japanese and other Subversive Persons from the Pacific Coast." After pointing out the probability of attack on shipping, coastal cities and vital installations in the coastal area, air raids, and sabotage of vital installations, he explained his convictions about the nature of Japanese Americans in this paragraph:
"The area lying to the west of the Cascade and Sierra Nevada Mountains in Washington, Oregon and California, is highly critical not only because the lines of communication and supply to the Pacific theater pass through it, but also because of the vital industrial production therein, particularly aircraft. In the war in which we are now engaged racial affinities are not severed by migration. The Japanese race is an enemy race and while many second and third generation Japanese born on United States soil, possessed of United States citizenship, have become 'Americanized', the racial strains are undiluted* To conclude otherwise is to expect that children born of white parents on Japanese soil sever all racial affinity and become loyal Japanese subjects, ready to fight and, if necessary, to die for Japan in a war against the nation of their parents. That Japan is allied with Germany and Italy in this struggle is no ground for assuming that any Japanese, barred from assimilation by convention as he is, though born and raised in the United States, will not turn against this nation when the final test of loyalty comes. It, therefore, follows that along the vital Pacific Coast over 112,000 potential enemies, of Japanese extraction, are at large today. There are indications that these are organized and ready for concerted action at a favorable opportunity. The very fact that no sabotage has taken place to date is a disturbing and confirming indication that such action will be taken."31-j
His formal recommendations were:
"(1) That tho Secretary of War procure from the President direction and authority to designate military areas in the combat zone of the Western Theater of Operations, (if necessary to include the entire combat zone), from which, in his discretion, he may exclude all Japanese, all alien enemies, and all other persons suspected for any reason by the administering military authorities of being actual or potential saboteurs, espionage agents, or fifth columnists. Such executive order should empower the Secretary of War to requisition the services of any and all other agencies of the Federal Government with express direction to such agencies to respond to such requisition, and further empowering the Secretary of War to use any and all federal facilities and equipment, including Civilian Conservation Corps Camps, and to accept the use of State facilities for the purpose of providing shelter and equipment for evacuees. Such executive order to provide further for the administration of military areas for the purposes of this plan by appropriate military authorities acting with the requisitioned assistance of the other federal agencies and the cooperation of State and local agencies. The executive order should further provide that by reason of military necessity the right of all persons, whether citizens or aliens, to reside, enter, cross or be within any military areas shall be subject to revocation and shall exist on a pass and permit basis at the discretion of the Secretary of War and implemented by the necessary legislation imposing penalties for violation.
"(2) That, pursuant to such executive order, there be designated as military areas all areas in Washington,Oregon and California, recommended by me to date for designation by the Attorney General as Category 'A' areas and such additional areas as it may be found necessary to designate hereafter.
"(3) That the Secretary of War provide for the exclusion from such military areas, in his discretion, of the following classes of persons, viz:
(a) Japanese aliens.
(b) Japanese-American citizens.
(c) Alien enemies other than Japanese aliens.
(d) Any and all other persons who are suspected for any reason by the administering military authorities to be actual or potential saboteurs, espionage agents, fifth columnists, or subversive persons.
"(4) That the evacuation of classes (a), (b), and (c) from such military areas be initiated on a designated evacuation day and carried to completion as rapidly as practicable.
"That prior to evacuation day all plans be complete for the establishment of initial concentration points, reception centers, registration, rationing, guarding transportation to internment points, and the selection and establishment of internment facilities in the Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Corps Areas.
"That persons in class (a) and (c) above be evacuated and interned at such selected places of Internment, under guard.
"That persons in class (b) above, at the time of evacuation, be offered an opportunity to accept voluntary internment, under guard, at the place of internment above mentioned.
"That persons in class (b) who decline to accept voluntary internment, be excluded from all military areas, and left to their own resources, or, in the alternative, be encouraged to accept resettlement outside of such military areas with such assistance as the State governments concerned or the Federal Security Agency may be by that time prepared to offer.
"That the evacuation of persons in class (d) be progressive and continuing, and that upon their evacuation persons in class (d) be excluded from all military areas and left in their own resources outside of such military areas, or, in the alternative, be offered voluntary internment or encouraged to accept voluntary resettlement as above outlined, unless the facts in a particular case shall warrant other action.
"(5) The Commanding General, Western Defense Command and Fourth Army, to be responsible for the evacuation, administration, supply and guard, to the place of internment; the Commanding Generals of the Corps Areas
concerned to be responsible for guard, supply and administration at the places of internment.
"(6) That direct communication between the Commanding General. Western Defense Command and Fourth Army and the Corps Area Commanders concerned for the purpose of making necessary arrangements be authorized.
"(7) That the Provost Marshal General coordinate all phases of the plan between the Commanding General, Western Defense Command and Fourth Army, on the one hand, and the Corps Area Commanders on the other hand.
"(8) That all arrangements be accomplished with the utmost secrecy.
"(9) That adult males (above the age of 14 years) be interned separately from all women and children until the establishment of family units can be accomplished.
"(10) No change is contemplated in Category 'B' areas.
"3. Although so far as the Army is concerned, such action is not an essential feature of the plan, but merely incidental thereto, I, nevertheless, recommend that mass internment be considered as largely a temporary expedient pending selective resettlement, to be accomplished by the various Security Agencies of the Federal and State Governments.
"4. The number of persons involved in the recommended evacuation will be approximately 144,000. (This total represents all enemy aliens and Japanese-American citizens in Category 'A' areas recommended to date.)
"5. If these recommendations are approved detailed plans will be made by this headquarters for the proposed evacuation. The number evacuated to be apportioned by the Provost Marshal General among the Corps Area Commanders concerned as the basis for formulating their respective plans. It is possible that the State of California, and perhaps the State of Washington, will be able to offer resettlement facilities for a given number of evacuees who may be willing to accept resettlement.
"6. Pending further and detailed study of the problem, it is further recommended: (l) That the Commanding General, Western Defense Command and Fourth Army, coordinate with the local and State Authorities, in order to facilitate the temporary physical protection by them of the property of evacuees not taken with them; (2) That the Commanding General, Western Defense Command and Fourth Army, determine the quantity and character of property which the adult males, referred to in paragraph 2b (9), may be permitted to take with them; and (3) That the Treasury Department or other proper Federal agency be responsible for the conservation, liquidation, and proper disposition of the property of evacuees if it cannot be cared for through the usual and normal channels."31-k
Under the supervision of Assistant Secretary of War John L. McCloy an executive order was drafted which would grant the military such power over civilian life as was unprecedented in the history of the United States, and a bill was drafted which would implement the executive order with Congressional legislation and prescribe penalties for violation by civilians of any military rulings laid down under the authority of the executive order.
While the country awaited Presidential action on the evacuation issue, confusion was at a new high and acrid recriminations flew back and forth from the West Coast to Washington, and between departments and officials in Washington. West Coast Congressmen were heckled by their constituents because of the delay; the Congressmen complained angrily that their constituents were confusing the issue by making "conflicting recommendations and appeals;" they blamed the President for his refusal to give them a personal audience so that they could lay their views before him; the War Department resented the Attorney General's disapproval of the mass evacuation idea; Department of Justice spokesmen "laid responsibility for inaction at the Army's door, asserting that the War Department can't make up its mind concerning the disposition to be made of American-born Japanese;" a group in Los Angeles was hardily proposing that the Nisei should be excepted from any exclusion orders;38-2 "scores of American farmers" were reporting to the Los Angeles County agricultural commissioner, "seeking information on the ways and means of taking over lands left idle by evacuation of Japanese aliens from prohibited military areas."38-w
In Washington, D. C, the President was faced with the necessity of making a decision on such an issue as had never before confronted a President of the United States. He was being urged by the West Coast Delegation, by West Coast officials, by powerful organizations which were exerting pressure through the press and radio as well as by
resolutions and petitions, and above all by the War Department and the military commander responsible for the security of the West Coast, to exercise the broad powers that were his in time of war by delegating to the military extraordinary power over civilian life and liberty, a power unprecedented in American history except under conditions of martial law.
The President's Attorney General was opposed to such a delegation of authority. The Attorney General's attitude toward this issue was understandable on several counts: he was personally prominent among the Nation's liberals; in his official capacity as Attorney General of the United States, he had a more than academic interest in keeping the actions of the Federal Government in line with constitutional provisions for the protection of citizens and resident aliens; since one of his wartime functions was the safeguarding of national security against espionage and sabotage, he could scarcely have relished the implications of the rising clamor for mass evacuation, as such a demand obviously constituted a criticism of the way the Department of Justice was performing one of its major wartime functions.
The careful and objective Munson Report on the Japanese situation in Hawaii and on the West Coast was available, and there was a memorandum prepared by three of the President's legal advisors. The latter gave the President assurance that it was well within his wartime powers to deal with the Japanese situation on the West Coast as necessity dictated, but it also warned against unreasonable assumptions, stating:
"The power to prohibit entry by the general public, citizens as well as aliens, into defined areas of especial importance to the national defense is clear. The legal power to prohibit entry into such areas by a particular class of persons or citizens rests upon the reasonableness of the classification. So long as a classification of persons or citizens is reasonably related to a genuine war need and does not under the guise of national defense discriminate against any class of citizens for a purpose unrelated to the national defense no constitutional guaranty is infringed."*
Having warned against unreasonable assumptions, the report straightway bogged down in a pitfall that catches many sincere persons who have never known or seen many orientals. The report reads:
" * * * It is a fact and not a legal theory that Japanese who are American citizens cannot readily be identified and distinguished from Japanese who owe no loyalty to the United States. It is a fact and not a legal theory that the unrestricted movement of Japanese, American citizens as well as aliens, in certain defense areas may lead, and has led in some instances, to bloodshed and riot which cannot readily be controlled by police protection and which could be injurious to our defense effort at a most critical juncture. It is a condition and not a theory which confronts the nation.
"The number of persons of Japanese descent in the three Pacific states is less than 110,000, including both citizens and aliens. Persons of Japanese descent constitute the smallest definable class upon which those with the military responsibility for defense would reasonably determine to impose restrictions. No one can tell a resident citizen or alien from a Japanese soldier landed by parachute from the air or from small boats along the coast. Since the Occidental eye cannot readily distinguish one Japanese resident from another effective surveillance of the movements of particular Japanese residents suspected of disloyalty is extremely difficult if not practically impossible.*
"The Japanese problem is a special problem which must be met with a special remedy. Similar dangers of disloyal activities by citizens of other racial stocks cannot, and, in fact, need not, be handled in the same way. It would, for example, present an insuperable problem of administration, not to mention the consequent disruption of defense production, to bar the millions of persons of German or Italian stock from either seacoast area. Moreover, the normal Caucasian countenances of such persons enable the average American to recognize particular individuals by distinguishing minor facial characteristics. It is thus
*Italics added. With all respect to the good faith of the three legal advisors, the present writer contends that to anyone who has ever taken a good look at any two Japanese--barring identical twins--it is no more difficult to distinguish between them than it is to distinguish between George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.
more practical to leave the prevention of disloyal acts by citizens of European stock to the usual methods of police detection and surveillance.
"To meet this special Japanese problem on the West Coast, precautionary measures should be taken, but these measures should be reasonably adapted to need, and every effort should be made to relieve unnecessary hardship."43
The suggested measures did not include a mass exclusion program, but did include a proposal for the establishment of Special Defense Areas which "persons of Japanese extraction should be allowed to enter only under special license," and Limited Defense Areas, in which designated persons would be subject to curfew, blackout and other restrictions. Th« measures suggested to alleviate hardship were drafting or enlisting American citizens of Japanese ancestry into the armed forces "and employing them where they can be of service to their country and where they are least likely to fall under suspicion, justified or unjustified." It was recommended that home guards under Army control "should be utilized to patrol rural districts inhabited by Japanese both for the protection of the Japanese and in the interest of the national defense * * * Every effort should be made to avoid compelling their migration, not only for humanitarian reasons but because of the serious effect it would have upon vegetable crops which are important both to California and the nation." The report recommended establishing special reservations at a "safe distance from the West Coast" where the citizens could go voluntarily and be "usefully employed and live under special restrictions," and special reservations within the coastal area where the population was predominantly Japanese, suggesting i "Such reservations might be roped off and all others than the registered Japanese inhabitants of such reservations might be debarred from entering such areas except under special licenses, while the Japanese inhabitants would be forbidden to leave such reservations without special permit."43
At the eleventh hour in the period of waiting for Presidential action, Representative Elliott of California wired General DeWitt, demanding that all California be declared a strategic area and all persons of Japanese ancestry be evacuated therefrom,42-o and the California Joint Immigration Commission, on the basis that the Pacific States were a combat zone and in danger, demanded that the Federal authorities move out of California "every Japanese in California, alien and citizen alike."42-o The Attorney General bowed to the War Department's thesis that in time of war the person best qualified to determine that constituted military necessity, in a given area was the commanding general of that area and notified the President that the Attorney General had withdrawn his disapproval of the proposed exclusion measure.
On February 19, 1942, the President signed Executive Order No. 9066, which, under the wartime powers granted the President, authorized the Secretary of War "and the Military Commanders whom he may from time to time designate * * * to prescribe military areas in such places and of such extent as he or the appropriate Military Commander may determine, from which any or all persons may be excluded." The order further authorized the Secretary of War to provide persons dislocated by exclusion orders with "such transportation, food, shelter and other accommodations as may be necessary, in the Judgment of the Secretary of War or the said Military Commanders."31-l
Executive Order No. 9066 cleared the way for a commanding general to exclude individuals or groups of individuals, regardless of their citizenship, from any region he might designate. The language of the order was devised to avoid the appearance of discrimination against any specific racial or national group, but there was no pretense on the part of Government officials or on the part of the press that the executive order was intended for any purpose other than to effect the exclusion of the Japanese from the West Coast. Attorney General Riddle in announcing the President's action to the press, stated: "Of course the problem is mainly a Japanese problem," and admitted that it was unlikely that any persons other than those of Japanese blood would be affected. He assured Californians, worried by rumors that martial law was to be declared in their State, that the order did not constitute martial law and that civil courts would continue to function. He stated that persons ordered out of an area "might ask for writs of habeas corpus," adding, "I do not think the courts will go behind military judgment in the matter."41-k
It was, from that point, General DeWitt's prerogative to decide whether the entire minority or only the alien third of it should be excluded.
Table of Contents
Previous Part (1) ** Next Part (3)