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4. In 8/14:04
102d Congress
2d Session

}

COMMITTEE PRINT NO. 6

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

REPORT
OF THE

COMMISSION ON WARTIME RELOCATION
AND INTERNMENT OF CIVILIANS

REPORT
FOR THE

COMMITTEE ON INTERIOR AND
INSULAR AFFAIRS
BY

HON . GEORGE MILLER, CHAIRMAN
Kdog horsodeo s'n

NO11037700 SINIWn304
2661 22 AW
WISHBAINO

HVIS VINVATASNN3d MARCH 1992

Printed for the use of the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs

102d Congress

COMMITTEE PRINT NO. 6

2d Session

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

R E POR T
OF THE

COMMISSION ON WARTIME RELOCATION
AND INTERNMENT OF CIVILIANS

REPORT
FOR THE

COMMITTEE ON INTERIOR AND
INSULAR AFFAIRS
BY

HON. GEORGE MILLER, CHAIRMAN

MARCH 1992

Printed for the use of the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs

U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
53-124

WASHINGTON : 1992

For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office

Superintendent of Documents, Mail Stop: SSOP, Washington, DC 20402-9328
ISBN 0-16-037697-1

.

COMMITTEE ON INTERIOR AND INSULAR AFFAIRS
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
GEORGE MILLER, California, Chairman
DON YOUNG , Alaska,
Ranking Republican Member
EDWARD J. MARKEY, Massachusetts
ROBERT J. LAGOMARSINO , California
AUSTIN J. MURPHY, Pennsylvania
NICK JOE RAHALL II, West Virginia
RON MARLENEE , Montana
JAMES V. HANSEN , Utah
BRUCE F. VENTO , Minnesota
BARBARA F. VUCANOVICH , Nevada
PAT WILLIAMS, Montana
BEVERLY B. BYRON , Maryland
BEN BLAZ, Guam
JOHN J. RHODES III, Arizona
RON DE LUGO , Virgin Islands
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
SAM GEJDENSON , Connecticut
PETER H. KOSTMAYER , Pennsylvania
ROBERT F. SMITH , Oregon
CRAIG THOMAS, Wyoming
RICHARD H. LEHMAN , California
JOHN J. DUNCAN , JR ., Tennessee
BILL RICHARDSON , New Mexico
GEORGE (BUDDY) DARDEN , Georgia
RICHARD T. SCHULZE, Pennsylvania
MEL LEVINE, California
JOEL HEFLEY, Colorado
CHARLES H. TAYLOR, North Carolina
WAYNE OWENS, Utah
JOHN T. DOOLITTLE , California
JOHN LEWIS , Georgia
BEN NIGHTHORSE CAMPBELL, Colorado
WAYNE ALLARD , Colorado
PHILIP R. SHARP , Indiana

PETER A. DEFAZIO , Oregon

RICHARD H. BAKER , Louisiana

ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA ,
American Samoa
TIM JOHNSON , South Dakota
CHARLES E. SCHUMER , New York
JIM JONTZ, Indiana
PETER HOAGLAND, Nebraska
HARRY JOHNSTON , Florida

LARRY LAROCCO , Idaho
NEIL ABERCROMBIE , Hawaii
CALVIN M. DOOLEY, California
DANIEL P. BEARD, Staff Director
RICHARD MELTZER, General Counsel
DANIEL VAL KISH , Republican Staff Director
( II )

U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,

COMMITTEE ON INTERIOR AND INSULAR AFFAIRS,

Washington, DC.
DEAR INTERIOR COMMITTEE MEMBERS: The Report of the Commis
sion on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians, Personal
Justice Denied, is a compelling document that vividly recounts a

dark chapter in our history. This report is based on personal ac
counts and historical documents from witnesses who lived through
the reprehensible Japanese American internment period. The find
ings helped encourage the Congress to pass the Civil Liberties Act,
and apologize to Japanese Americans affected by the internment

period. By reprinting this popular report, the House Committee on
Interior and Insular Affairs is helping to memorialize this event in
our history.

This report also is extremely relevant to two bills considered by
the Committee and enacted during the 102d Congress. H.R. 543 des
ignates Manzanar a National Historic Site in California . Manzanar

was the first of 10 relocation camps where approximately 10,000
Americans of Japanese descent were sent by the U.S. government.
H.R. 2351 , the Japanese American National Historic Landmark

Theme Study Act, directs the Secretary of the Interior to recom
mend historic sites to be nationally recognized. These sites include

places where Japanese Americans were given military training and
language lessons to aid in the defense of our nation during World
War II. This legislation initiates a process to give proper designa

tion to the sitesto remind succeeding generations that they are not
to trample on the constitutional rights of citizens, even in times of
war.

While it is easy to criticize human rights abuses in foreign coun
tries, it's important that we remember our record has not been per

fect. This report, along with the legislation considered by the
House Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs in the 102d Con

gress, will help remind us of our mistakes and reinforce our com
mitment to civil liberties and the Constitution . As the historic

marker at Manzanar says, “May the injustices and humiliation suf

fered here as a result of hysteria, racism and economic exploitation
never emerge again .”
Sincerely yours,
GEORGE MILLER ,
Chairman .
( III)

THE COMMISSION ON WARTIME RELOCATION AND
INTERNMENT OF CIVILIANS

Joan Z. Bernstein , Chair
Daniel E. Lungren , Vice -Chair
Edward W. Brooke
Robert F. Drinan
Arthur S. Flemming
Arthur J. Goldberg
Ishmael V. Gromoff

William M. Marutani
Hugh B. Mitchell

Angus Macbeth , Special Counsel
Map on p. xii reprinted from Michi Weglyn, Years of Infamy ( 1976), by kind
permission of William Morrow & Company, Inc.

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 82-600664
( IV )

[I]t remained afact that to loyal citizens thisforced
evacuation was a personal injustice, and Stimson

fully appreciated their feelings.
-Henry L. Stimson and McGeorge Bundy,
On Active Service in Peace and War
( V)

Introduction

The Commission's report is rooted in both its hearings and in archival
research . Between July and December 1981, the Commission held 20

days of hearings and took testimony from more than 750 witnesses:
Japanese Americans and Aleuts who had lived through the events of

World War II, former government officials, public figures, interested
citizens, and other professionals who have studied the subjects of the
Commission's inquiry. Between July 1981 and December 1982, the
Commission staff collected and reviewed materials from government

and university archives and read and analyzed the relevant historical
writing

The account of decisions made by officials of the federal govern
ment is primarily drawn from contemporaneous memoranda, writings
and transcribed conversations with a lesser reliance on memoirs and

testimony before the Commission .

The account of public events outside the federal government as

well as those chapters which deal with background before Pearl Harbor
or events in Hawaii or the First World War experience of German

Americans, cited for comparison, rely more heavily on secondary sources.
For instance, while many of the working papers at the University of
California which analyzed press attitudes in the first months of the war
( VII )

VIII

were reviewed by the staff, no effort was made to collect and reread

the entire range of press coverage and comment.

The account of the experiences of Japanese Americans and Aleuts
relies heavily on the personal testimony given in the Commission
hearings, although substantial support is also provided by contempo
raneous government reports. It has been suggested that some of these
accounts suffer from the fading of memories over forty years; but it is

difficult to give greater weight to accounts by a captive population
which may

well have believed that fully candid statements accessible

to a hostile public or government were not in its best interest. The
Commission proceeded carefully to develop out ofthe testimony a fair,
accurate account of the experiences of exclusion, evacuation and de
tention .

The Commission has not attempted to change the words and phrases
commonly used to describe these events at the time they happened.
This leaves one open to the charge of shielding unpleasant truths

behind euphemisms. For instance, “ evacuee ” is frequently used in the
text; Webster's Third International Dictionary defines an evacuee as
one “who is removed from his house or community in time of war or

pressing danger as a protective measure.” In light of the Commission's
conclusion that removal was not militarily necessary , " excludee” might
be a better term than “ evacuee. ” The Commission has largely left the
words and phrases as they were , however, in an effort to mirror ac
curately the history of the time and to avoid the confusion and con
troversy a new terminology might provoke. We leave it to each reader

to decide for himself how far the language of the period confirms an
observation of George Orwell: “ In our time, political speech and writ
ing are largely the defense of the indefensible. ... Thus political
language has to consist largely of euphemism, question -begging and
sheer cloudy vagueness .”
*

*

As Special Counsel to the Commission, I wish to extend deep

thanks to all the consultants, volunteers and members of the staff of
the Commission throughout its existence . They have borne the burden
of aa difficult and sensitive task with unfailing diligence and patience.
They deserve the entire credit for the additions to knowledge and

understanding which the Commission's report provides: Paul T. Ban
nai, Mark Baribeau, Kate C. Beardsley, Donald R. Brown, Jeanette
Chow, Michelle Ducharme, Donna H. Fujioka, Aiko Herzig -Yoshi
naga, Jack Herzig, Helen Hessler, Toro Hirose, Stuart J. Ishimaru ,
Gregory G. King, Key K. Kobayashi, Donna Komure, Barbara Kraft,

IX

Alex M. Lichtenstein, Karen L. Madden, Teresa M. Myers, Robin J.
Patterson , Ardith Pugh, Mitziko Sawada, Nancy J. Schaub , Lois Schif

fer, Maria Josephy Schoolman , Katrina A. Shores, Charles Smith, Fu

mie Tateoka, Tom Taketa, Terry Wilkerson, Lois J. Wilzewske, Cheryl
Yamamoto and Kiyo Yamada.
I owe a special debt to two members of the staff who have borne
more than their fair share of the Commission's labor: Aiko Herzig

Yoshinaga, who in large part found and organized and remembered
the vast array ofprimary documents from which the report was written ,
and Terry Wilkerson , whose calm and unfailing professionalism in

handling a manuscript that sometimes resembled a jig -saw puzzle was
crucial in allowing us to produce a printable manuscript.

The immense job of locating relevant material could not have been
completed without the very substantial assistance of a great many
people in archival libraries and government departments to whom the
Commission wishes to express its gratitude. Without their help the
report could not have been finished .

National Archives: Margaret E. Branson , George Chelow , Edwin
R. Coffee, Sylvan Dubow , Angela M. Fernandez, Cynthia Ghee, Terri

Hammett, Jerry Hess, Joseph Howerton, Cynthia D. Jackson, Charles
Johnson, Bill Lewis, William Lind, Mary Walton Livingston, Naida

Loescher, Michael McReynolds, Michael Miller, Ellie Malamud, James
Paulauskas, Fred Pernell, John Pontius, Edward J. Reese, William
Roth, Aloha South, John E. Taylor, John Van Dereedt, Ted Weir and
Harold Williams .

Department ofJustice, Immigration and Naturalization Service,

Federal Bureau of Investigation: William Haynes, Madelyn Johnson,
Jean Kornblut, Russell Powell, Jane Scott.
Department of Defense: Dean Allard, Alfred Beck, Bernard Cav
alcanti and Hannah Zeidlik.

New Executive Office Building and White House Libraries: Judith
Grosberg, Sharon Kissel, Bridget Reischer, Peter Sidney, Diane Tal
bert and Robert Updegrove.

Federal Reserve Bank, San Francisco : Patricia Rey.
Library of Congress: Peter Sheridan .
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Library: Robert Parks, Susan Bosanko.

University of California at Berkeley: Bancroft Library Staff.
Yale University, Sterling Library: Judith Schiff.

In addition, a number of people in private life with particular
knowledge or interest in the subject of the Commission's inquiry were

especially helpful: Lydia Black, Peter H. Irons, Lael Morgan, David

X

Musto, Raymond Y. Okamura, Thomas M. Powers, Kenneth A. Ringle
and Michi N. Weglyn.

Roger Daniels and Bill Hosokawa undertook to read the historical
part of the report in draft form and offered innumerable useful sug
gestions. They bear no responsibility for the content or conclusions of
the report in its final form . The Commission staff undertook the re
search and review of documents and testimony from which the report
was written , and any errors or omissions are the responsibility of the
staff.

Great contributions to the editing and production of the report
were made by Judith Dollenmayer.
Last, but by no means least, I wish to thank my wife, JoAnn, for

her understanding and support throughout the time which I have
devoted to the Commission's work.

-Angus Macbeth
Special Counsel

Washington , DC.
December, 1982

Contents

Summary

1

PART I : NISEI AND ISSEI

25

1. Before Pearl Harbor

27

2. Executive Order 9066

47

3. Exclusion and Evacuation

93

4. Economic Loss

117

5. Assembly Centers

135

6. Relocation Centers

149

7. Loyalty: Leave and Segregation

185

8. Ending the Exclusion

213

9. Protest and Disaffection

245

10. Military Service

253

11. Hawaii

261

12. Germans and German Americans

283

13. After Camp
Appendix: Latin Americans

295

PART II : THE ALEUTS

315

303

War and Evacuation in Alaska

317

NOTES

363

INDEX

453
( XI )

d

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a

ry

ita

园

Lake
Tulo

OREGON

Portland

Puyallup

Manzanar

942
until
,1
29
March

MilP
iios
ta ton
Aro ry
1 a

CALIFORNIA

Pomona

Anitay
Santa

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o

o
Fresno

\

!

Gila

Coast
est
1,WArea
Military
Zone
ree
FoMilitary
r
“2Area

MOayor

Aeupp
L
! ARIZONA

Topaz

UTAH

MEXICO
NEW

Fe
Santa

)( macho
A

Granada

COLORADO

WYOMING

Mountain
Heart

MONTANA

Δ/Moab

Missoula

Minidoka

IDAHO

WASHINGTON

Stockton
O
FTanforando
ourlock
O
Merced
Salinas
opinedalo

Sacramento

Marysville

Mil

City
Crystal

TEXAS

B•ismarck

DAKOTA
NORTH

Rohwer
Joromo

ARKANSAS

.

., riz
ALeupp

U
, tah
Moab

., ont
M
Missoula

.TCity
, ex
Crystal

CAMPS
ISOLATION
CITIZEN
A

T
DEPARTMEN
JUSTICE
CAMPS
INTERNMENT
.,N.
Mex
Fe
Santa
.,N.
Dak
Bismarck

Rohwer
,A
. rk
., rk
A
Jerome

U
, tah
Topaz

,Colo
.Granada

,Ida
.Minidoka
,. yo
Mountain
Heart
W

., riz
APoston

,Ariz
.Gila

CENTERS
RELOCATION
I

., alif
CManzanar
alif
.,Tule
CLake

,Calif
Anita
.Santa
., alif na
CPomo
r
.Maye
,Ariz

.,Calif e
Tular

.C, alifale
Pined
.,Califas
Salin
.Fresn
,Calif o

., alif d
CMerce

.C, alif ville
Marys
.C, alif mento
Sacra
., alif ran
CTanfo
., alif ton
CStock
alif ck
.,CTurlo

Portl
,.Ore and

CENTERS
A
OSSEMBLY
., ash lup
W
Puyal

KBY

Summary
The Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians

was established by act of Congress in 1980 and directed to
1. review the facts and circumstances surrounding Executive Or
der Numbered 9066, issued February 19, 1942, and the impact
of such Executive Order on American citizens and permanent
resident aliens;

2. review directives of United States military forces requiring the
relocation and, in some cases, detention in internment camps of
American citizens, including Aleut civilians, and permanent res

ident aliens of the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands; and

3. recommend appropriate remedies.
In fulfilling this mandate, the Commission held 20 days ofhearings

in cities across the country, particularly on the West Coast, hearing
testimony from more than 750 witnesses: evacuees, former government
officials, public figures, interested citizens, and historians and other
professionals who have studied the subjects of Commission inquiry.
An extensive effort was made to locate and to review the records of

government action and to analyze other sources of information includ

ing contemporary writings, personal accounts and historical analyses.
By presenting this report to Congress, the Commission fulfills the
instruction to submit aa written report of its findings. Like the body of
the report, this summary is divided into two parts. The first describes
1

2

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

actions taken pursuant to Executive Order 9066, particularly the treat
ment of American citizens of Japanese descent and resident aliens of
Japanese nationality. The second covers the treatment of Aleuts from
the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands.

PART I: NISEI AND ISSEI*

On February 19, 1942, ten weeks after the Pearl Harbor attack, Pres
ident Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which gave
to the Secretary of War and the military commanders to whom he
delegated authority, the power to exclude any and all persons, citizens

and aliens, from designated areas in order to provide security against
sabotage, espionage and fifth column activity . Shortly thereafter, all

American citizens of Japanese descent were prohibited from living,
working or traveling on the West Coast of the United States. The same

prohibition applied to the generation of Japanese immigrants who,
pursuant to federal law and despite long residence in the United States,
were not permitted to become American citizens. Initially, this exclu

sion was to be carried out by “ voluntary ” relocation. That policy inev
itably failed , and these American citizens and their alien parents were
removed by the Army, first to “ assembly centers ” —temporary quarters
at racetracks and fairgrounds — and then to “ relocation centers ” —bleak
>

barrack camps mostly in desolate areas of the West. The camps were
surrounded by barbed wire and guarded by military police . Departure

was permitted only after a loyalty review on terms set, in consultation
with the military , by the War Relocation Authority, the civilian agency

that ran the camps. Many of those removed from the West Coast were
eventually allowed to leave the camps to join the Army, go to college
outside the West Coast or to whatever private employment was avail
able . For a larger number, however, the war years were spent behind

barbed wire ; and for those who were released , the prohibition against
returning to their homes and occupations on the West Coast was not
lifted until December 1944 .

This policy ofexclusion, removal and detention was executed against
* The first generation of ethnic Japanese born in the United States are
Nisei; the Issei are the immigrant generation from Japan ; and those who re
turned to Japan as children for education are Kibei .

SUMMARY

3

120,000 people without individual review , and exclusion was continued
virtually without regard for their demonstrated loyalty to the United
States. Congress was fully aware ofand supported the policy ofremoval
and detention; it sanctioned the exclusion by enacting a statute which
made criminal the violation of orders issued pursuant to Executive
Order 9066. The United States Supreme Court held the exclusion

constitutionally permissible in the context of war, but struck down the
incarceration of admittedly loyal American citizens on the ground that
it was not based on statutory authority.
All this was done despite the fact that not a single documented
act of espionage, sabotage or fifth column activity was committed by
an American citizen of Japanese ancestry or by a resident Japanese
alien on the West Coast.

No mass exclusion or detention , in any part of the country, was

ordered against American citizens ofGerman or Italian descent. Official
actions against enemy aliens of other nationalities were much more
individualized and selective than those imposed on the ethnic Japanese.
The exclusion , removal and detention inflicted tremendous human
cost. There was the obvious cost of homes and businesses sold or

abandoned under circumstances of great distress, as well as injury to
careers and professional advancement. But, most important, there was

the loss of liberty and the personal stigma of suspected disloyalty for
thousands of people who knew themselves to be devoted to their

country's cause and to its ideals but whose repeated protestations of
loyalty were discounted — only to be demonstrated beyond any doubt

by the record of Nisei soldiers, who returned from the battlefields of
Europe as the most decorated and distinguished combat unit of World
War II, and by the thousands of other Nisei who served against the
enemy in the Pacific, mostly in military intelligence. The wounds of

the exclusion and detention have healed in some respects, but the
scars of that experience remain , painfully real in the minds of those

who lived through the suffering and deprivation of the camps.
The personal injustice of excluding, removing and detaining loyal
American citizens is manifest. Such events are extraordinary and unique
in American history. For every citizen and for American public life,
they pose haunting questions about our country and its past. It has
been the Commission's task to examine the central decisions of this

history — the decision to exclude, the decision to detain, the decision
to release from detention and the decision to end exclusion. The Com

mission has analyzed both how and why those decisions were made,
and what their consequences were. And in order to illuminate those

4

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

events, the mainland experience was compared to the treatment of
Japanese Americans in Hawaii and to the experience ofother Americans
of enemy alien descent, particularly German Americans.
The Decision to Exclude

The Context of the Decision . First, the exclusion and removal
were attacks on the ethnic Japanese which followed aa long and ugly
history of West Coast anti-Japanese agitation and legislation. Antipathy
and hostility toward the ethnic Japanese was a major factor of the public

life of the West Coast states for more than forty years before Pearl
Harbor. Under pressure from California, immigration from Japan had
been severely restricted in 1908 and entirely prohibited in 1924. Jap
anese immigrants were barred from American citizenship, although
their children born here were citizens by birth . California and the
other western states prohibited Japanese immigrants from owning land.
In part the hostility was economic, emerging in various white American
groups who began to feel competition, particularly in agriculture, the
principal occupation of the immigrants. The anti-Japanese agitation

also fed on racial stereotypes and fears: the “ yellow peril” ofan unknown
Asian culture achieving substantial influence on the Pacific Coast or of
a Japanese population alleged to be growing far faster than the white
population. This agitation and hostility persisted, even though the
ethnic Japanese never exceeded three percent of the population of
California, the state of greatest concentration.

The ethnic Japanese, small in number and with no political voice
the citizen generation was just reaching voting age in 1940 — had be
come a convenient target for political demagogues, and over the years
all the major parties indulged in anti-Japanese rhetoric and programs.
Political bullying was supported by organized interest groups who
adopted anti-Japanese agitation as a consistent part of their program :
the Native Sons and Daughters of the Golden West, the Joint Immi
gration Committee , the American Legion, the California State Fed
eration of Labor and the California State Grange.

This agitation attacked aa number of ethnic Japanese cultural traits
or patterns which were woven into a bogus theory that the ethnic
Japanese could not or would not assimilate or become “ American .”
>

Dual citizenship, Shinto, Japanese language schools, and the education
of many ethnic Japanese children in Japan were all used as evidence.

But as a matter offact, Japan's laws on dual citizenship went no further
than those of many European countries in claiming the allegiance of
the children of its nationals born abroad. Only a small number of ethnic

SUMMARY

5

Japanese subscribed to Shinto, which in some forms included vener
ation of the Emperor. The language schools were not unlike those of

other first -generation immigrants, and the return of some children to
Japan for education was as much a reaction to hostile discrimination
and an uncertain future as it was a commitment to the mores, much
less the political doctrines, of Japan . Nevertheless, in 1942 these pop
ular misconceptions infected the views of a great many West Coast

people who viewed the ethnic Japanese as alien and unassimilated .
Second, Japanese armies in the Pacific won a rapid, startling string
of victories against the United States and its allies in the first months
of World War II. On the same day as the attack on Pearl Harbor, the
Japanese struck the Malay Peninsula, Hong Kong, Wake and Midway
Islands and attacked the Philippines. The next day the Japanese Army
invaded Thailand. On December 13 Guam fell; on December 24 and

25 the Japanese captured Wake Island and occupied Hong Kong. Ma
nila was evacuated on December 27, and the American army retreated
to the Bataan Peninsula. After three months the troops isolated in the
Philippines were forced to surrender unconditionally — the worst
American defeat since the Civil War. In January and February 1942,
the military position of the United States in the Pacific was perilous.
There was fear of Japanese attacks on the West Coast.
Next, contrary to the facts, there was a widespread belief, sup
ported by a statement by Frank Knox, Secretary of the Navy, that the
Pearl Harbor attack had been aided by sabotage and fifth column
activity by ethnic Japanese in Hawaii. Shortly after Pearl Harbor the

government knew that this was not true, but took no effective measures
to disabuse public belief that disloyalty had contributed to massive
American losses on December 7, 1941. Thus the country was unfairly

led to believe that both American citizens of Japanese descent and
resident Japanese aliens threatened American security.

Fourth, as anti-Japanese organizations began to speak out and
rumors from Hawaii spread, West Coast politicians quickly took up
the familiar anti- Japanese cry. The Congressional delegations in Wash

ington organized themselves and pressed the War and Justice De
partments and the President for stern measures to control the ethnic

Japanese — moving quickly from control of aliens to evacuation and
removal of citizens. In California, Governor Olson, Attorney General
Warren , Mayor Bowron of Los Angeles and many local authorities

joined the clamor. These opinions were not informed by any knowledge
of actual military risks, rather they were stoked by virulent agitation
which encountered little opposition. Only a few churchmen and aca

6

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

demicians were prepared to defend the ethnic Japanese. There was
little or no political risk in claiming that it was " better to be safe than
sorry ” and, as many did, that the best way for ethnic Japanese to prove
their loyalty was to volunteer to enter detention . The press amplified
the unreflective emotional excitement of the hour. Through late Jan

uary and early February 1942, the rising clamor from the West Coast
was heard within the federal government as its demands became more
draconian.

Making and Justifying the Decision. The exclusion of the ethnic

Japanese from the West Coast was recommended to the Secretary of
War, Henry L. Stimson , by Lieutenant General John L. DeWitt,
Commanding General of the Western Defense Command with re
sponsibility for West Coast security. President Roosevelt relied on
Secretary Stimson's recommendations in issuing Executive Order 9066 .

The justification given for the measure was military necessity. The
claim of military necessity is most clearly set out in three places: Gen
eral DeWitt's February 14, 1942, recommendation to Secretary Stim
son for exclusion ; General DeWitt's Final Report: Japanese Evacuation
from the West Coast, 1942; and the government's brief in the Supreme
Court defending the Executive Order in Hirabayashi v. United States.
>

General DeWitt's February 1942 recommendation presented the fol
lowing rationale for the exclusion :

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 Ger
many 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 were 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 .

There are two unfounded justifications for exclusion expressed
here: first, that ethnicity ultimately determines loyalty; second, that

-

SUMMARY

7

“indications” suggest that ethnic Japanese “ are organized and ready
for concerted action " —the best argument for this being the fact that
it hadn't happened.

The first evaluation is not a military one but one for sociologists
or historians. It runs counter to a basic premise on which the American
nation of immigrants is built — that loyalty to the United States is a
matter of individual choice and not determined by ties to an ancestral
country. In the case of German Americans, the First World War dem

onstrated that race did not determine loyalty, and no negative as
sumption was made with regard to citizens of German or Italian descent

during the Second World War. The second judgment was, by the
General's own admission, unsupported by any evidence. General
DeWitt's recommendation clearly does not provide aa credible ration
ale, based on military expertise, for the necessity of exclusion .
In his 1943 Final Report, General DeWitt cited a number of factors
in support of the exclusion decision: signaling from shore to enemy
submarines; arms and contraband found by the FBI during raids on

ethnic Japanese homes and businesses; dangers to the ethnic Japanese
from vigilantes; concentration of ethnic Japanese around or near mil
itarily sensitive areas; the number of Japanese ethnic organizations on

the coast which might shelter pro - Japanese attitudes or activities such
as Emperor -worshipping Shinto; and the presence of the Kibei, who
had spent some time in Japan .
The first two items point to demonstrable military danger. But

the reports of shore-to-ship signaling were investigated by the Federal
Communications Commission, the agency with relevant expertise, and
no identifiable cases of such signaling were substantiated. The FBI did
confiscate arms and contraband from some ethnic Japanese, but most
were items normally in the possession of any law -abiding civilian, and
the FBI concluded that these searches had uncovered no dangerous
persons that “ we could not otherwise know about.” Thus neither of

these “facts” militarily justified exclusion.
There had been some acts of violence against ethnic Japanese on

the West Coast and feeling against them ran high, but “ protective
custody ” is not an acceptable rationale for exclusion. Protection against
vigilantes is a civilian matter that would involve the military only in
extreme cases. But there is no evidence that such extremity had been
reached on the West Coast in early 1942. Moreover, “ protective cus
tody” could never justify exclusion and detention for months and years .
General DeWitt’s remaining points are repeated in the Hiraba

yashi brief, which also emphasizes dual nationality, Japanese language

8

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

schools and the high percentage ofaliens (who, by law , had been barred
from acquiring American citizenship) in the ethnic population. These
facts represent broad social judgments of little or no military signifi
cance in themselves. None supports the claim of disloyalty to the
United States and all were entirely legal. If the same standards were
applied to other ethnic groups, as Morton Grodzins, an early analyst
of the exclusion decision , applied it to ethnic Italians on the West

Coast, an equally compelling and meaningless case for “ disloyalty ”
could be made. In short, these social and cultural patterns were not

evidence of any threat to West Coast military security.
In sum, the record does not permit the conclusion that military
necessity warranted the exclusion of ethnic Japanese from the West
Coast.

The Conditions Which Permitted the Decision. Having concluded
that no military necessity supported the exclusion, the Commission
has attempted to determine how the decision came to be made.
First, General DeWitt apparently believed what he told Secretary
Stimson : ethnicity determined loyalty. Moreover, he believed that the
ethnic Japanese were so alien to the thought processes of white Amer
icans that it was impossible to distinguish the loyal from the disloyal.
On this basis he believed them to be potential enemies among whom

loyalty could not be determined.
Second, the FBI and members of Naval Intelligence who had
relevant intelligence responsibility were ignored when they stated that
nothing more than careful watching of suspicious individuals or indi
vidual reviews of loyalty were called for by existing circumstances. In
addition , the opinions of the Army General Staff that no sustained
Japanese attack on the West Coast was possible were ignored.
Third, General DeWitt relied heavily on civilian politicians rather
than informed military judgments in reaching his conclusions as to
what actions were necessary, and civilian politicians largely repeated
the prejudiced, unfounded themes of anti-Japanese factions and in
terest groups on the West Coast.

Fourth , no effective measures were taken by President Roosevelt
to calm the West Coast public and refute the rumors of sabotage and
fifth column activity at Pearl Harbor.
Fifth , General DeWitt was temperamentally disposed to exag

gerate the measures necessary to maintain security and placed security
far ahead of any concern for the liberty of citizens.

Sixth , Secretary Stimson and John J. McCloy, Assistant Secretary
of War, both of whose views on race differed from those of General

SUMMARY

9

DeWitt, failed to insist on a clear military justification for the measures
General DeWitt wished to undertake.

Seventh, Attorney General Francis Biddle, while contending that
exclusion was unnecessary, did not argue to the President that failure
to make out a case of military necessity on the facts would render the

exclusion constitutionally impermissible or that the Constitution pro
hibited exclusion on the basis of ethnicity given the facts on the West
Coast.

Eighth, those representing the interests of civil rights and civil
liberties in Congress, the press and other public forums were silent
or indeed supported exclusion. Thus there was no effective opposition
to the measures vociferously sought by numerous West Coast interest
groups, politicians and journalists.
Finally, President Roosevelt, without raising the question to the

level of Cabinet discussion or requiring any careful or thorough review
of the situation, and despite the Attorney General's arguments and
other information before him, agreed with Secretary Stimson that the
exclusion should be carried out .
The Decision to Detain

With the signing of Executive Order 9066 , the course of the Pres
ident and the War Department was set: American citizens and alien
residents of Japanese ancestry would be compelled to leave the West
Coast on the basis of wartime military necessity. For the War De

partment and the Western Defense Command, the problem became

primarily one of method and operation, not basic policy. General DeWitt
first tried “voluntary” resettlement: the ethnic Japanese were to move
outside restricted military zones of the West Coast but otherwise were
free to go wherever they chose . From a military standpoint this policy
was bizarre, and it was utterly impractical. If the ethnic Japanese had
been excluded because they were potential saboteurs and spies, any
such danger was not extinguished by leaving them at large in the
interior where there were, of course , innumerable dams, power lines,

bridges and war industries to be disrupted or spied upon. Conceivably
sabotage in the interior could be synchronized with a Japanese raid or
invasion for a powerful fifth column effect. This raises serious doubts

as to how grave the War Department believed the supposed threat to
be. Indeed, the implications were not lost on the citizens and politicians
of the interior western states, who objected in the belief that people
who threatened wartime security in California were equally dangerous
in Wyoming and Idaho.

10

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

The War Relocation Authority (WRA ), the civilian agency created
by the President to supervise the relocation and initially directed by
Milton Eisenhower, proceeded on the premise that the vast majority

of evacuees were law -abiding and loyal, and that, once off the West
Coast, they should be returned quickly to conditions approximating

normal life. This view was strenuously opposed by the people and
politicians of the mountain states. In April 1942, Milton Eisenhower
met with the governors and officials of the mountain states. They
objected to California using the interior states as a “dumping ground "
for a California “ problem . ” They argued that people in their states
were so bitter over the voluntary evacuation that unguarded evacuees
would face physical danger. They wanted guarantees that the govern
ment would forbid evacuees to acquire land and that it would remove
them at the end of the war. Again and again , detention camps for
evacuees were urged. The consensus was that a plan for reception
>

centers was acceptable so long as the evacuees remained under guard
within the centers.

In the circumstances, Milton Eisenhower decided that the plan
to move the evacuees into private employment would be abandoned ,
at least temporarily. The War Relocation Authority dropped resettle
ment and adopted confinement. Notwithstanding WRA's belief that

evacuees should be returned to normal productive life, it had, in effect,
become their jailer. The politicians of the interior states had achieved

the program of detention.

The evacuees were to be held in camps behind barbed wire and
released only with government approval. For this course of action no

military justification was proffered. Instead, the WRA contended that
these steps were necessary for the benefit ofevacuees and that controls
on their departure were designed to assure they would not be mis

treated by other Americans on leaving the camps.
It follows from the conclusion that there was no justification in

military necessity for the exclusion, that there was no basis for the
detention .

The Effect of the Exclusion and Detention

The history of the relocation camps and the assembly centers that
preceded them is one of suffering and deprivation visited on people
against whom no charges were, or could have been , brought. The

Commission hearing record is full of poignant, searing testimony that
recounts the economic and personal losses and injury caused by the

SUMMARY

11

exclusion and the deprivations of detention. No summary can do this
testimony justice .

Families could take to the assembly centers and the camps only

what they could carry. Camp living conditions were Spartan. People
were housed in tar-papered barrack rooms of no more than 20 by 24
feet. Each room housed a family, regardless offamily size. Construction
was often shoddy. Privacy was practically impossible and furnishings

were minimal. Eating and bathing were in mass facilities. Under con
tinuing pressure from those who blindly held to the beliefthat evacuees
harbored disloyal intentions, the wages paid for work at the camps

were kept to the minimal level of $12 a month for unskilled labor,
rising to $19 a month for professional employees. Mass living prevented
normal family communication and activities. Heads of families, no

longer providing food and shelter, found their authority to lead and to
discipline diminished.
The normal functions of community life continued but almost
always under a handicap - doctors were in short supply; schools which
taught typing had no typewriters and worked from hand -me-down

school books; there were not enough jobs.
The camp experience carried a stigma that no other Americans
suffered. The evacuees themselves expressed the indignity of their
conditions with particular power:
On May 16, 1942, my mother, two sisters, niece, nephew , and I
left ... by train . Father joined us later. Brother left earlier by
bus. We took whatever we could carry . So much we left behind,
but the most valuable thing I lost was my freedom .

Henry went to the Control Station to register the family. He came
home with twenty tags, all numbered 10710, tags to be attached

to each piece of baggage, and one to hang from our coat lapels.
From then on, we were known as Family # 10710 .

The government's efforts to “ Americanize” the children in the
camps were bitterly ironic :

An oft -repeated ritual in relocation camp schools ... was the
salute to the flag followed by the singing of “ My country, 'tis of
thee, sweet land of liberty” —aceremony Caucasian teachers found

embarrassingly awkward if not cruelly poignant in the austere
prison -camp setting.
*

*

*

12

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

In some ways, I suppose, my life was not too different from a lot
of kids in America between the years 1942 and 1945. I spent a
good part ofmy time playing with my brothers and friends, learned
to shoot marbles, watchedsandlot baseball and envied the older
kids who wore Boy Scout uniforms. We shared with the rest of

America the same movies, screen heroes and listened to the same
heart- rending songs of the forties. We imported much of America

into the camps because, after all, we were Americans. Through
imitation of my brothers, who attended grade school within the

camp, I learned the salute to the flag by the time I was five years
old. I was learning, as best one could learn in Manzanar, what it

meant to live in America. But, I was also learning the sometimes
bitter price one has to pay for it.

After the war, through the Japanese American Evacuation Claims Act,
the government attempted to compensate for the losses of real and
personal property; inevitably that effort did not secure full or fair
compensation. There were many kinds of injury the Evacuation Claims

Act made no attempt to compensate: the stigma placed on people who
fell under the exclusion and relocation orders; the deprivation ofliberty
suffered during detention ; the psychological impact of exclusion and

relocation ; the breakdown of family structure; the loss of earnings or
profits; physical injury or illness during detention.
The Decision to End Detention

By October 1942, the government held over 100,000 evacuees in
relocation camps. After the tide of war turned with the American
victory at Midway in June 1942, the possibility of serious Japanese

attack was no longer credible; detention and exclusion became in
creasingly difficult to defend. Nevertheless, other than an ineffective

leave program run by the War Relocation Authority, the government
had no plans to remedy the situation and no means of distinguishing
the loyal from the disloyal. Total control of these civilians in the pre
sumed interest of state security was rapidly becoming the accepted
norm .

Determining the basis on which detention would be ended re
quired the government to focus on the justification for controlling the
ethnic Japanese. If the government took the position that race deter
mined loyalty or that it was impossible to distinguish the loyal from
the disloyal because “ Japanese” patterns of thought and behavior were
too alien to white Americans, there would be little incentive to end
detention . If the government maintained the position that distinguish
ing the loyal from the disloyal was possible and that exclusion and

detention were required only by the necessity of acting quickly under

SUMMARY

13

the threat of Japanese attack in early 1942, then a program to release
those considered loyal should have been instituted in the spring of
1942 when people were confined in the assembly centers.
Neither position totally prevailed. General DeWitt and the West
ern Defense Command took the first position and opposed any review
that would determine loyalty or threaten continued exclusion from the
West Coast. Thus, there was no loyalty review during the assembly
center period . Secretary Stimson and Assistant Secretary McCloy took
the second view, but did not act on it until the end of 1942 and then
only in a limited manner. At the end of 1942, over General DeWitt's
opposition, Secretary Stimson , Assistant Secretary McCloy and Gen

eral George C. Marshall, Chiefof Staff, decided to establish a volunteer
combat team of Nisei soldiers. The volunteers were to come from those

who had passed a loyalty review. To avoid the obvious unfairness of

allowing only those joining the military to establish their loyalty and
leave the camps, the War Department joined WRA in expanding the
loyalty review program to all adult evacuees.
This program was significant, but remained a compromise. It pro

vided an opportunity to demonstrate loyalty to the United States on
the battlefields; despite the human sacrifice involved, this was of im
mense practical importance in obtaining postwar acceptance for the
ethnic Japanese. It opened the gates of the camps for some and began
some reestablishment of normal life. But, with no apparent rationale

or justification, it did not end exclusion of the loyal from the West
Coast. The review program did not extend the presumption of loyalty
to American citizens of Japanese descent, who were subject to an
investigation and review not applied to other ethnic groups.

Equally important, although the loyalty review program was the
first major government decision in which the interests of evacuees
prevailed , the program was conducted so insensitively, with such lack
of understanding of the evacuees circumstances, that it became one

of the most divisive and wrenching episodes of the camp detention .
After almost a year of what the evacuees considered utterly unjust

treatment at the hands of the government, the loyalty review program

began with filling out a questionnaire which posed two questions re
quiring declarations of complete loyalty to the United States. Thus,
the questionnaire demanded a personal expression of position from
each evacuee - a choice between faith in one's future in America and

outrage at present injustice. Understandably most evacuees probably

had deeply ambiguous feelings about a government whose rhetorical
values of liberty and equality they wished to believe, but who found

14

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

their present treatment in painful contradiction to those values. The

loyalty questionnaire left little room to express that ambiguity. Indeed,
it provided an effective point of protest and organization against the
government, from which more and more evacuees felt alienated. The

questionnaire finally addressed the central question of loyalty that
underlay the exclusion policy, a question which had been the predom
inant political and personal issue for the ethnic Japanese over the past
year; answering it required confronting the conflicting emotions aroused
by their relation to the government. Evacuee testimony shows the
intensity of conflicting emotions:

I answered both questions number 27 and 28 ( the loyalty ques
tions) in the negative, not because of disloyalty but due to the
disgusting and shabby treatment given us. A few months after
completing the questionnaire, U.S. Army officers appeared at our
camp and gave us an interview to confirm our answers to the
questions 27 and 28, and followed up with a question that in
essence asked: “ Are you going to give up or renounce your U.S.
citizenship?” to which I promptly replied in the affirmative as a
rebellious move . Sometime after the interview , a form letter from

the Immigration and Naturalization Service arrived saying if I

wanted to renounce my U.S. citizenship, sign the form letter and
return . Well, I kept the Immigration and Naturalization Service
waiting.
*

*

*

Well, I am one of those that said “ no, no” on it, one of the " no ,

no ” boys, and it is not that I was proud about it, it was just that
our legal rights were violated and I wanted to fight back. However,
I didn't want to take this sitting down. I was really angry. It just

got me so damned mad. Whatever we do, there was no help from
outside, and it seems to me that we are a race that doesn't count.
So therefore, this was one of the reasons for the “no, no” answer.

Personal responses to the questionnaire inescapably became pub

lic acts open to community debate and scrutiny within the closed world
of the camps. This made difficult choices excruciating:
After I volunteered for the (military) service, some people that I
knew refused to speak to me. Some older people later questioned
my father for letting me volunteer, but he told them that I was
old enough to make up my own mind.
*

*

*

The resulting infighting, beatings, and verbal abuses left families
torn apart, parents against children, brothers against sisters, rel

SUMMARY

15

atives against relatives, and friends against friends. So bitter was
all this that even to this day, there are many amongst us who do
not speak about that period for fear that the same harsh feelings
might arise up again to the surface.

The loyalty review program was a point of decision and division
for those in the camps. The avowedly loyal were eligible for release;
those who were unwilling to profess loyalty or whom the government

distrusted were segregated from the main body of evacuees into the
Tule Lake camp, which rapidly became a center of disaffection and

protest against the government and its policies — the unhappy refuge
of evacuees consumed by anger and despair.
The Decision to End Exclusion
The loyalty review should logically have led to the conclusion that
no justification existed for excluding loyal American citizens from the
West Coast. Secretary Stimson, Assistant Secretary McCloy and Gen
eral Marshall reached this position in the spring of 1943. Nevertheless,
the exclusion was not ended until December 1944. No plausible reason

connected to any wartime security has been offered for this eighteen
to twenty month delay in allowing the ethnic Japanese to return to
their homes, jobs and businesses on the West Coast, despite the fact
that the delay meant, as a practical matter, that confinement in the
relocation camps continued for the great majority of evacuees for an
other year and a half.
Between May 1943 and May 1944, War Department officials did

not make public their opinion that exclusion of loyal ethnic Japanese

from the West Coast no longer had any military justification. If the
President was unaware of this view , the plausible explanation is that
Secretary Stimson and Assistant Secretary McCloy were unwilling, or
believed themselves unable, to face down political opposition on the
West Coast. General DeWitt repeatedly expressed opposition until he
left the Western Defense Command in the fall of 1943, as did West
Coast anti-Japanese factions and politicians.

In May 1944 Secretary Stimson put before President Roosevelt

and the Cabinet his position that the exclusion no longer had a military
justification . But the President was unwilling to act to end the exclusion

until the first Cabinet meeting following the Presidential election of
November 1944. The inescapable conclusion from this factual pattern
is that the delay was motivated by political considerations.

By the participants' own accounts, there is no rational explanation
for maintaining the exclusion of loyal ethnic Japanese from the West

16

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

Coast for the eighteen months after May 1943 exceptpolitical pres
sure and fear. Certainly there was no justification arising out ofmilitary
necessity .

The Comparisons
To either side of the Commission's account of the exclusion, re

moval and detention, there is a version argued by various witnesses
that makes a radically different analysis of the events. Some contend

that, forty years later, we cannot recreate the atmosphere and events
of 1942 and that the extreme measures taken then were solely to protect
the nation's safety when there was no reasonable alternative. Others
see in these events only the animus of racial hatred directed toward

people whose skin was not white. Events in Hawaii in World War II
and the historical treatment of Germans and German Americans shows
that neither analysis is satisfactory.

Hawaii. When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, nearly 158,000 per
sons of Japanese ancestry lived in Hawaii — more than 35 percent of
the population. Surely, if there were dangers from espionage, sabotage
and fifth column activity by American citizens and resident aliens of
Japanese ancestry , danger would be greatest in Hawaii, and one would

anticipate that the most swift and severe measures would be taken
there. But nothing of the sort happened. Less than 2,000 ethnic Jap
anese in Hawaii were taken into custody during the war - barely one
percent of the population of Japanese descent. Many factors contrib
uted to this reaction .

Hawaii was more ethnically mixed and racially tolerant than the
West Coast. Race relations in Hawaii before the war were not infected
with the same virulent antagonism of 75 years of agitation. While anti

Asian feeling existed in the territory, it did not represent the longtime
views ofwell-organized groups as it did on the West Coast and, without
statehood, xenophobia had no effective voice in the Congress .
The larger population of ethnic Japanese in Hawaii was also a

factor. It is one thing to vent frustration and historical prejudice on a
scant two percent of the population; it is very different to disrupt a
local economy and tear a social fabric by locking up more than one
third of a territory's people. And in Hawaii the half-measure of exclu
sion from military areas would have been meaningless.
In large social terms, the Army had much greater control of day
to -day events in Hawaii. Martial law was declared in December 1941,
suspending the writ of habeas corpus, so that through the critical first

SUMMARY

17

months of the war, the military's recognized power to deal with any
emergency was far greater than on the West Coast.

Individuals were also significant in the Hawaiian equation. The

War Department gave great discretion to the commanding general of
each defense area and this brought to bear very different attitudes
toward persons of Japanese ancestry in Hawaii and on the West Coast.

The commanding general in Hawaii, Delos Emmons, restrained plans
to take radical measures, raising practical problems of labor shortages
and transportation until the pressure to evacuate the Hawaiian Islands
subsided. General Emmons does not appear to have been a man of
dogmatic racial views; he appears to have argued quietly but consis

tently for treating the ethnic Japanese as loyal to the United States,
absent evidence to the contrary.
This policy was clearly much more congruent with basic American

law and values . It was also aa much sounder policy in practice. The
remarkably high rate of enlistment in the Army in Hawaii is in sharp
contrast to the doubt and alienation that marred the recruitment of

Army volunteers in the relocation camps. The wartime experience in
Hawaii left behind neither the extensive economic losses and injury

suffered on the mainland nor the psychological burden of the direct
experience of unjust exclusion and detention .
The German Americans. The German American experience in the
First World War was far less traumatic and damaging than that of the
ethnic Japanese in the Second World War, but it underscores the power
of war fears and war hysteria to produce irrational but emotionally

powerful reactions to people whose ethnicity links them to the enemy.
There were obvious differences between the position of people of
German descent in the United States in 1917 and the ethnic Japanese
at the start of the Second World War. In 1917, more than 8,000,000

people in the United States had been born in Germany or had one or

both parents born there. Although German Americans were not mas
sively represented politically, their numbers gave them notable polit
ical strength and support from political spokesmen outside the ethnic
group

The history ofthe First World War bears a suggestive resemblance
to the events of 1942: rumors in the press of sabotage and espionage,

use of a stereotype of the German as an unassimilable and rapacious
Hun, followed by an effort to suppress those institutions — the language,

the press and the churches — that were most palpably foreign and per
ceived as the seedbed of Kaiserism . There were numerous examples

of official and quasi- governmental harassment and fruitless investiga

18

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

tion of German Americans and resident German aliens. This history
is made even more disturbing by the absence of an extensive history
of anti -German agitation before the war .

The promulgation of Executive Order 9066 was not justified by
military necessity, and the decisions which followed from it - deten
tion, ending detention and ending exclusion — were not driven by analysis

of military conditions. The broad historical causes which shaped these
decisions were race prejudice, war hysteria and a failure of political
leadership. Widespread ignorance of Japanese Americans contributed
to a policy conceived in haste and executed in an atmosphere of fear
and anger at Japan . A grave injustice was done to American citizens

and resident aliens ofJapaneseancestry who, without individual review
or any probative evidence against them , were excluded, removed and

detained by the United States during World War II.
In memoirs and other statements after the war , many of those

involved in the exclusion, removal and detention passed judgment on
those events. While believing in the context ofthe time that evacuation
was a legitimate exercise of the war powers, Henry L. Stimson rec

ognized that “to loyal citizens this forced evacuation was a personal
injustice. ” In his autobiography, Francis Biddle reiterated his beliefs

at the time: “the program was ill-advised, unnecessary and unneces
sarily cruel.” Justice William O. Douglas, who joined the majority
opinion in Korematsu which held the evacuation constitutionally per
missible, found that the evacuation case “ was ever on my conscience .”
Milton Eisenhower described the evacuation to the relocation camps

as “an inhuman mistake.” Chief Justice Earl Warren , who had urged
evacuation as Attorney General of California, stated, “ I have since

deeply regretted the removal order and my own testimony advocating
it, because it was not in keeping with our American concept offreedom
and the rights of citizens.” Justice Tom C. Clark, who had been liaison
between the Justice Department and the Western Defense Command,
concluded, “ Looking back on it today ( the evacuation ) was, of course ,
a mistake.”

PART II: THE ALEUTS

During the struggle for naval supremacy in the Pacific in World War
II, the Aleutian Islands were strategically valuable to both the United

SUMMARY

19

States and Japan . Beginning in March. 1942, United States military

intelligence repeatedly warned Alaska defense commanders that Jap
anese aggression into the Aleutian Islands was imminent. InJune 1942,
the Japanese attacked and held the two westernmost Aleutians, Kiska

and Attu. These islands remained in Japanese hands until July and
August 1943. During the Japanese offensive in June 1942, American
military commanders in Alaska ordered the evacuation of the Aleuts

from many islands to places of relative safety. The government placed
the evacuees in camps in southeast Alaska where they remained in
deplorable conditions until being allowed to return to their islands in
1944 and 1945.

The Evacuation

The military had anticipated aa possible Japanese attack for some
time before June 1942. The question ofwhat should be done to provide
security for the Aleuts lay primarily with the civilians who reported to
the Secretary of the Interior: the Office of Indian Affairs, the Fish and

Wildlife Service and the territorial governor. They were unable to
agree upon a course of action — evacuation and relocation to avoid the

risks of war, or leaving the Aleuts on their islands on the ground that
subsistence on the islands would disrupt Aleut life less than relocation .

The civilian authorities were engaged in consulting with the military
and the Aleuts when the Japanese attacked.

At this point the military hurriedly stepped in and commenced
evacuation in the midst of a rapidly developing military situation. On
June 3, 1942, the Japanese bombed the strategic American base at
Dutch Harbor in the Aleutians; as part of the response a U.S. ship
evacuated most of the island of Atka, burning the Aleut village to

prevent its use by Japanese troops, and Navy planes picked up the
rest of the islanders a few days later.
In anticipation of a possible attack, the Pribilof Islands were also
evacuated by the Navy in early June. In early July, the Aleut villages

of Nikolski on Umnak Island, and Makushin, Biorka, Chernofski, Kash
ega and Unalaska on Unalaska Island, and Akutan on Akutan Island
were evacuated in a sweep eastward from Atka to Akutan .

At that point, the Navy decided that no further evacuation ofAleut
villages east of Akutan Island was needed. Eight hundred seventy -six
Aleuts had been evacuated from Aleut villages west of Unimak Island,
including the Pribilofs. Except in Unalaska the entire population of
each village was evacuated, including at least 30 non -Aleuts. All of the
Aleuts were relocated to southeastern Alaska except 50 persons who

20

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

were either evacuated to the Seattle area or hospitalized in the Indian

Hospital at Tacoma, Washington.
The evacuation of the Aleuts had a rational basis as a precaution

to ensure their safety. The Aleuts were evacuated from an active theatre
of war ; indeed , 42 were taken prisoner on Attu by the Japanese. It
was clearly the military's belief that evacuation of non -military per
sonnel was advisable. The families of military personnel were evacuated
ev

first, and when Aleut communities were evacuated the white teachers
and government employees on the islands were evacuated with them .

Exceptions to total evacuation appear to have been made only for
people directly employed in war-related work.
The Aleuts' Camps

Aleuts were subjected to deplorable conditions following the evac

uation . Typical housing was an abandoned gold mine or fish cannery
buildings which were inadequate in both accommodation and sanita
tion. Lack of medical care contributed to extensive disease and death.

Conditions at the Funter Bay cannery in southeastern Alaska,
where 300 Aleuts were placed, provide a graphic impression of one of
the worst camps. Many buildings had not been occupied for a dozen

years and were used only for storage. They were inadequate, partic
ularly for winter use. The majority of evacuees were forced to live in
two dormitory -style buildings in groups of six to thirteen people in
areas nine to ten feet square. Until fall, many Aleuts were forced to

sleep in relays because of lack of space. The quarters were as rundown
as they were cramped. As one contemporary account reported:
The only buildings that are capable of fixing is the two large places
where the natives are sleeping. All other houses are absolutely
gone from rot. It will be almost impossible to put toilet and bath
into any of them except this one we are using as a mess hall and

it leaks in thirty places. . . . No brooms, soap or mops or brushes
to keep the place suitable for pigs to stay in.
.

People fell through rotten wooden floors. One toilet on the beach just
above the low water mark served ninety percent of the evacuees.
Clothes were laundered on the ground or sidewalks.

Health conditions at Funter Bay were described in 1943 by a

doctor from the Territorial Department of Health who inspected the
camp:

As we entered the first bunkhouse the odor of human excreta and

waste was so pungent that I could hardly make the grade.

The buildings were in total darkness except for aa few candles here

21

SUMMARY

and there (which ] I considered distinct fire hazards. ... [ A ] mother

and as many as three or four children were found in several beds

and two or three children in one bunk. ... . The garbage cans
were overflowing, human excreta was found next to the doors of
the cabins and the drainage boxes into which dishwater and kitchen
waste was to be placed were filthy beyond description. ... I
realize that during the first two days we saw the community at its
.

worst. I know that there were very few adults who were well. .
The water supply is discolored , contaminated and unattractive.

[ F ]acilities for boiling and cooling the water are not readily
available. ... I noticed some lack of the teaching of basic public
health fundamentals. Work with such aa small group of people who

had been wards ofthe government for a long period oftime should
have brought better results. It is strange that they could have
reverted from a state of thrift and cleanliness on the Islands to the

present state of filth, despair, and complete lack of civic pride. I
realize, too, that at the time I saw them the community was largely
made up of women and children whose husbands were not with

them .. With proper facilities for leadership, guidance and stimu
lation ... the situation could have been quite different.
In the fall of 1942, the only fulltime medical care at Funter Bay

was provided by two nurses who served both the cannery camp and a
camp at a mine across Funter Bay. Doctors were only temporarily
assigned to the camp, often remaining for only aa few days or weeks.
The infirmary at the mining camp was a three -room bungalow ; at the

cannery, it was a room twenty feet square. Medical supplies were
scarce .

Epidemics raged throughout the Aleuts’ stay in southeastern Alaska;
they suffered from influenza, measles, and pneumonia along with tu
berculosis. Twenty -five died at Funter Bay in 1943 alone, and it is
estimated that probably ten percent of the evacuated Aleuts died dur
ing their two or three year stay in southeastern Alaska.
To these inadequate conditions was added the isolation ofthe camp
sites, where climatic and geographic conditions were very unlike the
Aleutians. No employment meant debilitating idleness. It was prompted

in part by government efforts to keep the Pribilovians, at least, together
so that they might be returned to harvest the fur seals, an enterprise
economically valuable to the government. Indeed a group of Pribilov
ians were taken back to their islands in the middle of the evacuation

period for the purpose of seal harvesting.
The standard of care which the government owes to those within

its care was clearly violated by this treatment, which brought great
suffering and loss of life to the Aleuts.

53-124 - 92 - 2

22

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

Return to the Islands

The Aleuts were only slowly returned to their islands. The Pri
bilovians were able to get back to the Pribilofs by the late spring of
1944, nine months after the Japanese had been driven out of the
Aleutian chain . The return to the Aleutians themselves did not take

place for another year. Some of this delay may be fairly attributed to
transport shortage and problems of supplying the islands with housing
and food so that normal life couldresume. But the government's record,

especially in the Aleutians, reflects an indifference and lack of urgency
that lengthened the long delay in taking the Aleuts home. Some Aleuts
were not permitted to return to their homes; to this day, Attuans

continue to be excluded from their ancestral lands.
The Aleuts returned to communities which had been vandalized

and looted by the military forces. Rehabilitation assessments were

made for each village; the reports on Unalaska are typical:
All buildings were damaged due to lack ofnormal care and upkeep.

... The furnishings, clothing and personal effects, remaining in
the homes showed , with few exceptions, evidence of weather
damage and damage by rats. Inspection of contents revealed ex
tensive evidence of widespread wanton destruction of property
and vandalism . Contents of closed packing boxes, trunks and cup

boards had been ransacked. Clothing had been scattered over

floors, trampled and fouled . Dishes , furniture, stoves, radios,
phonographs, books, and other items had been broken or dam
aged. Many items listed on inventories furnished by the occupants
of the houses were entirely missing.
It appears that armed
forces personnel and civilians alike have been responsible for this
vandalism and that it occurred over a period of many months.

Perhaps the greatest loss to personal property occurred at the
time the Army conducted its clean up of the village in June of
1943. Large numbers of soldiers were in the area at that time

removing rubbish and outbuildings and many houses were entered
unofficially and souvenirs and other articles were taken .

When they first returned to the islands, many Aleuts were forced
to camp because their former homes (those that still stood ) had not yet
been repaired and many were now uninhabitable. The Aleuts rebuilt
their homes themselves. They were “ paid ” with free groceries until
their homes were repaired ; food, building and repair supplies were

procured locally, mostly from military surplus.
The Aleuts suffered material losses from the government's occu
pation of the islands for which they were never fully recompensed, in
cash or in kind. Devout followers of the Russian Orthodox faith , Aleuts

treasured the religious icons from czarist Russia and other family heir

23

SUMMARY

looms that were their most significant spiritual as well as material losses.
They cannot be replaced. In addition, possessions such as houses,
furniture, boats, and fishing gear were either never replaced or re

placed by markedly inferior goods.
In sum, despite the fact that the Aleutians were a theatre of war
from which evacuation was a sound policy, there was no justification
for the manner in which the Aleuts were treated in the camps in
southeastern Alaska, nor for failing to compensate them fully for their
material losses.

T
Part I

Nisei and Issei

1

1
Before Pearl Harbor
On December 7, 1941, Japan attacked and crippled the American fleet
at Pearl Harbor. Ten weeks later, on February 19, 1942, President

Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 under which the War De
partment excluded from the West Coast everyone of Japanese ances

try — both American citizens and their alien parents who; despite long

residence in the United States, were barred by federal law from be
coming American citizens. Driven from their homes and farms and

businesses, very few had any choice but to go to “ relocation centers ”
Spartan, barrack-like camps in the inhospitable deserts and mountains
of the interior. *

* There is a continuing controversy over the contention that the camps

were “ concentration camps” and that any other term is a euphemism . The
government documents of the time frequently use the term “ concentration
camps,” but after World War II , with full realization of the atrocities committed

by the Nazis in the death camps of Europe, that phrase came to have a very
different meaning. The American relocation centers were bleak and bare, and

life in them had many hardships, but they were not extermination camps, nor
did the American government embrace a policy of torture or liquidation of the
ethnic Japanese. To use the phrase “ concentration camps” summons up images
and ideas which are inaccurate and unfair. The Commission has used “ relo

cation centers” and “ relocation camps,” the usual term used during the war,
not to gloss over the hardships of the camps, but in an effort to find an
historically fair and accurate phrase.
27

28

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

This was done out of fear — fear of sabotage, of espionage, of fifth

column activity. There was no evidence that any individual American
citizen was actively disloyal to his country. Nevertheless, the World
War II history of Americans of Japanese ancestry was far different from

that of German Americans, Italian Americans or any other ethnic group.
It is the bitter history of an original mistake, a failure of America's faith
in its citizens' devotion to their country's cause and their right to liberty,
when there was no evidence or proof of wrongdoing. It is a history

which deeply seared and scarred the lives ofJapanese Americans. How
did it happen ?

War inflamed many passions in the country. On the West Coast
it rekindled the fears and prejudices of long years of anti- Asian agitation
carried on by organized interest groups. Decades of discrimination
against immigrants from Japan and public hostility toward Americans

of Japanese descent fueled outraged shock at the Pearl Harbor attack

and impotent anger against the Japanese as they swept through the
Philippines and down the Malay Peninsula to Singapore. Reports of
American battlefield deaths lit sparks in one community after another

up and down the West Coast, where fear of invasion was very real. In
significant measure, the evacuation decision was ignited by the fire of
those emotions, especially in California.
The hostile reception and treatment of Japanese immigrants on
the West Coast are the historical prelude to the exclusion and evac

uation . Federal immigration and naturalization laws, frequently spon
sored and backed by westerners, demonstrate this public hostility to
Asians, particularly the Japanese. Laws which prohibited the owner
ship of land by Japanese resident aliens and imposed segregation in
the schools tell the same story in the western states . Public perceptions

and misconceptions about the Japanese in this country were affected

by myths and stereotypes — the fear of “ the yellow peril” and antago
nistic misunderstanding of the cultural patterns of the Japanese in
America. Resentment of effective economic competition also inflamed
public feeling and , combined with differences of language and culture,
left the small minority of Japanese Americans on the West Coast com

paratively isolated — a ready target at a time of fear and anxiety.

IMMIGRATION AND LEGALIZED DISCRIMINATION

Discrimination in American immigration laws started with the Natu
ralization Act of 1790, which provided for naturalization of “any alien ,

BEFORE PEARL HARBOR

29

being a free white person .”1. Following revision of the statute after the

Civil War, the act was read to prohibit any Chinese immigrant from
becoming an American citizen .? It was generally assumed that the
prohibition would extend to the Japanese as well and, in 1922, the
Supreme Court interpreted the statute to prohibit the naturalization
of any Oriental.3 Although immigrants from Asia could not become
American citizens, their children born on American soil became citi

zens by birth.4 The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution as
sured to everyone born in the United States the rights and privileges
of citizenship without regard to the status of one's parents.
The Chinese began immigrating into this country under these
adverse conditions in the middle of the nineteenth century, several

decades before significant Japanese immigration began. California was
at the center ofAmerican discrimination against the Chinese and, later,
against the Japanese. By 1870 approximately ten percent of California's
population was Chinese. A great many ofthe Chinese immigrants were

railroad laborers; when the transcontinental line had been completed
in 1869 they were discharged wherever they happened to be. This left
almost 10,000 unemployed Chinese in a depressed labor market, and
anti -Chinese sentiment became widespread and vocal throughout the
west. The financial recession of the 1870's was blamed on “cheap Mon
golian labor,” and protests were directed against the Chinese and their
employers. The San Francisco labor movement prospered by using
anti- Chinese agitation as an organizing tool. The Chinese threat, first
characterized as unfair labor competition , eventually included claims
of racial impurity and injury to western civilization. The press and
political parties pandered to these anti-Chinese attitudes. After 1871,
both the Republican and Democratic parties in California had anti
Chinese planks in their platforms. Moreover, an independent work

ingmen's party organized in California around populism and anti- Chinese
measures: 5
Pressures mounted for the federal government to prohibit Chinese
immigration . Under that pressure , Congress passed a Chinese exclu

sion bill in 1880 which President Hayes vetoed . In 1882, President
Arthur vetoed aa similar bill; however, as a compromise he signed into
law a ten-year suspension of Chinese immigration. The Chinese Ex
clusion Act of 1882 was renewed in 1892 and made permanent in 1902.8
Immigration and naturalization of the Chinese was not permitted until
1943, when the United States was allied with China in the Second
World War.9

Significant Japanese immigration into the United States did not

start until the late nineteenth century. In 1853, Commodore Matthew

30

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

Perry led an expedition to Japan to establish trade relations, and the
next year he negotiated a treaty which opened Japan to American
commerce . 10 Relations between the two countries developed quickly.
Direct shipping between San Francisco and Japan was begun in 1855;

diplomatic relations were established in 1860, but by 1880 the total
Japanese population in this country was only 148 persons.

Several factors increased Japanese immigration significantly in the
following decades. Adverse economic conditions at home were an im
petus to emigration in this instance as in many other movements to
the United States. During the last half of the nineteenth century,
Japan's economy industrialized rapidly , with attendant dislocations. By
1884 the disruption was significant, and led Japan to grant passports
for contract labor in Hawaii where there was a demand for cheap labor
and, in 1886, to legalize emigration . 12 Between 1885 and 1894, the
years during which large -scale contract labor immigration continued,
over 25,000 Japanese went to Hawaii. 13 Many subsequently emigrated
to the American mainland. 14

As reports ofbetter economic conditions in the United States were

carried back to Japan, more immigrants were drawn to this country.
In addition , the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was perceived to leave

room for cheap agricultural labor, which allowed immigration and re
cruitment of Japanese from both Hawaii and Japan. 15 The Alaska gold
rush of 1897-99 drained the Pacific northwest of labor needed to link
Seattle and Tacoma with the east by railroad , so Japanese laborers were
sought. 16 By 1890 there were 2,039 Japanese immigrants and native
born American citizens of Japanese ancestry in the United States; by
1900 there were 24,326 ; between 1901 and 1908, a time of unrestricted
immigration, 127,000 Japanese entered the United States. 17

What were the characteristics of the immigrants ? Their predis
position to the United States was probably more than economic, since
the United States and its institutions were deeply admired by the
Japanese — in Japanese government textbooks, Benjamin Franklin and
Abraham Lincoln were models to be emulated. 18 The vast majority
were young adult males from the agricultural class — ambitious young
men of limited means. 19 The Japanese emphasis on small-scale indi
vidual enterprise served the immigrants well in the United States. In
many cases, their knowledge ofintensive cultivation, new to the west

including knowledge of soils, fertilizers, skill in land reclamation , ir
rigation and drainage enabled them to cultivate and develop marginal
lands successfully and to pioneer the production of new crops. Many
were fishermen who eventually revolutionized the fishing industry.20

BEFORE PEARL HARBOR

31

Their occupations were overwhelmingly manual but their hard work,

thrift, respect for education and social stability were a firm foundation
for a better economic future.21

The Japanese who emigrated to the mainland United States settled

on the West Coast, primarily in California. In 1900 41% of the ethnic
group and, in 1940, 70 % had made their homes in California.22 Nu
merically, they remained a tiny minority, making up only 2.1% of
California's population at the time of greatest concentration, and in

1940 comprising only 1.6% of the population of California, most heavily
concentrated in and around Los Angeles.23
The California of 1900 to 1920 was highly heterogeneous, based

on expansive resources, space and an expanding economy. A state
largely populated by citizen newcomers, California society was unin
tegrated, unstable, mobile and loosely organized. The state was made
up of culturally insulated and isolated communities. Without a general
sense of community or purpose , many outsiders, such as the “ Okies ”
of the Depression years, were regarded as inferior. 24
The Japanese immigrants were excluded from political life by the

prohibition against naturalization and were effectively barred from par
ticipation in social and economic affairs. As with many new immigrant
groups, they brought with them customs and mores which also tended

to set them apart in the early years after arrival. There was a sustaining
pride in the Japanese people and its culture, which honored traditional
social values and cohesive group relationships, with particular def
erence to those in positions of authority and status within the family

and the community.25 There were also the obvious differences of lan
guage and religion . These factors promoted internal solidarity within
the Japanese community and, combined with the hostile nativism of
California, placed the Issei* in comparative isolation in the public and
economic life of the West Coast.

The Japanese were a major focus of California politics in the fifty
years before World War II . Their small numbers, their political im

potence and the racial feelings of many Californians frequently com
bined with resentment at the immigrants’ willingness to labor for low
pay to make them a convenient target for demagogues or agitators.

* The Issei are the immigrant generation from Japan; the first generation
born in the United States are Nisei, athe second generation born here, Sansei.

Those who returned to Japan for education are termed Kibei and the entire
ethnic Japanese group in America are Nikkei .

32

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

Following early incidents in the 1890's, anti-Japanese activity com

menced in earnest in 1900. On May 7, 1900, local labor groups called
a major anti-Japanese protest in San Francisco . Political, economic ,
and social arguments were made.26 Mayor James Duval Phelan of San
Francisco expressed the prevalent feelings:
The Japanese are starting the same tide of immigration which we
thought we had checked twenty years ago.

.

The Chinese and

Japanese are not bona fide citizens. They are not the stuffofwhich
American citizens can be made. ... Personally we have nothing
against Japanese, but as they will not assimilate with us and their
social lifeis so different from ours, let them keep at a respectful

distance. 27

In the same year, the American Federation of Labor adopted a
resolution asking Congress to re - enact the Chinese exclusion law and
include all “Mongolian ” labor. Also in 1900 , both the Democrats and
the Populists of California adopted expressly anti -Japanese planks in
their platforms; similarly, the Republican position proposed effective
restriction on “cheap foreign labor.” In November 1901, a Chinese
Exclusion Convention met in San Francisco . Designed to instruct Con
gress to extend the Chinese Exclusion Act, the convention determined

not to seek Japanese exclusion only because the request would dissipate
its -message. Contemporary accounts of that convention show a growing
hostility in California toward Japanese immigrants.28
After Japan's striking victory over Russia in 1904–05, fear of Jap
anese territorial advances fueled the anti -Japanese immigration forces
movies, novels and newspapers reiterated accusations that Japanese in
America were merely agents of the Emperor.29 In February 1905 , The

San Francisco Chronicle began a series of anti -Japanese articles, the
first entitled “The Japanese Invasion, the Problem of the Hour. ” Al
though the motivation for these articles is unclear, they evoked strong
responses; some San Francisco clergy and the Japanese residents them

selves objected, but the public in general supported the paper's views.
In early March, both houses of the California legislature passed anti
Japanese resolutions. 30

Then in May 1905 , delegates from 67 organizations met in San
Francisco to form what became the Japanese Exclusion League (Asiatic
Exclusion League), led primarily by labor groups.. Ironically , many of
the League's leaders themselves had emigrated from Europe . The
League's motivations were racial and economic; its purpose, Japanese
exclusion ; its methods, legislation, boycott, school segregation and

propaganda.31 By 1908, the League had over 100,000 members and

BEFORE PEARL HARBOR

33

238 affiliated groups, mostly labor unions. 32 The League's presence
helped to catalyze anti-Japanese activity, despite the failure of its pro
posals. In the words of Roger Daniels, one of the foremost historians

ofJapanese Americans: " From the day of the League's formation, May
14, 1905, until after the end of the Second World War, there was in

California an organized anti-Japanese movement that would eventually
draw support from all segments of the state's population .” 33
The next aim of the anti-Japanese activists, including the League,
was to segregate schoolchildren of Japanese ancestry. In May 1905 ,
the San Francisco School Board announced a policy of removing Jap
anese students to the one Oriental school so that “ our children should

not be placed in any position where their youthful impressions may
be affected by association with pupils of the Mongolian race .” On
December 11, 1906, under increasing public pressure spurred by a
coalition oflabor and politicians, the school board issued an order which
barred Asian children , including Japanese, from white primary schools.

To put the problem in perspective, only 93 Japanese students, 25 of
them born in the United States, were then in the San Francisco public
schools. 34

School segregation in San Francisco made discrimination against

the Japanese an issue of international diplomacy. The school board's
order caused serious embarrassment to President Theodore Roosevelt,
who learned of it through reports from Tokyo. Concerned about main
taining sound diplomatic relations with Japan, which had just dem

onstrated its military power by resoundingly defeating Russia in the

Russo -Japanese War, Roosevelt began negotiations with California.
After consultation, the President agreed that if the San Francisco School
Board rescinded its order and if California refrained from passing more

anti-Japanese legislation, he would negotiate with Japan to restrict
immigration in a manner which did not injure that country's pride.
Roosevelt also sent a message to Congress opposing school segregation
and supporting naturalization of the Japanese. Public opposition greeted
his views. Roosevelt did not press the naturalization legislation, and
his message was regarded as an effort to placate Japan in the face of
the school board order. 35

carry out President Roosevelt's part of the bargain with Japan ,
Secretary of State Elihu Root drafted , and Congress passed, legislation
generally authorizing immigration restriction from such intermediate
To

points as Hawaii. On March 14, 1907, the President issued an Exec

utive Order barring further Japanese immigration from Hawaii, Mexico
and Canada. 36

34

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

In 1907 the two countries entered into the “Gentlemen's Agree
ment” under which Japan agreed not to issue more workers' passports
valid for the continental United States, and to restrict issuance to
“ laborers who have already been in America and to the parents, wives

and children of laborers already resident there.” This agreement sharply
curtailed, but did not eliminate, Japanese immigration . Between 1908
and 1924, many Japanese men resident in the United States brought
to this country the brides of arranged marriages,37 creating an inac
curate public impression that Japan had deceived the United States in
implementing the agreement. Resentment was expressed as early as

1910, when campaign platforms of the Republican, Democratic and
Socialist parties all included exclusionist planks. 38
The next phase of anti-Japanese activity, again centered in Cali
fornia, was an effort to prohibit land ownership by Japanese immi
grants, a particularly harsh measure in light of the fact that aa very high
percentage of the immigrants were farmers. In 1913, the Democrats
and the Progressives, led by the Governor of California and supported
by some farmers who feared economic competition, pressed the Cal
ifornia legislature to enact such a law . President Wilson lobbied against
passage , as did major businesses interested in good relations with

Japan . After extensive politicking, however, the state legislature passed
the Alien Land Law of 1913 (the Webb -Heney Act), which barred
future land purchases by aliens ineligible for citizenship and forbade
such aliens to acquire leases for periods longer than three years.39 The

law was a particularly outrageous discriminatory measure aimed at the
Japanese, but it did not end anti -Japanese agitation because it was

easily avoided and largely ineffectual. Immigrant Japanese who had
citizen children could vest ownership in the children with a parent as

guardian ; for those without children, a bare majority of stock could be
transferred to a citizen as ostensible owner .40 Such groups as the Anti

Jap Laundry League attacked the legislation .
After the First World War, anti-Japanese activity in the United

States intensified . Over the next several years, it had two foci — a more
restrictive alien land law in California, and total prohibition of immi
gration from Japan . Four major organizations, reflecting the views of

labor, “ patriots ” and farmers, supported and led this anti-Japanese
movement: The Native Sons (and Native Daughters) of the Golden
West; the American Legion; the California State Federation of Labor

and the California State Grange. 41 The old Asiatic Exclusion League
was reorganized into the California Joint Immigration Committee. 42
Small businessmen also opposed continued Japanese immigration,43

BEFORE PEARL HARBOR

35

and the California Real Estate Association opposed land ownership by
Japanese aliens. 44 Big business, including the Chamber of Commerce ,

opposed aa prohibition on immigration as a possible interference with
trade, 45 and large -scale agriculture, interested in access to cheap labor,
took the same position .

The breadth of the anti-Japanese groups, and their unity, were
indeed effective. All united in adopting a five -point plan:
1. Cancellation of the “Gentlemen's Agreement ;”

2. Prohibition against the entry of “ Picture Brides;”

3. Rigorous prohibition against further immigration from Japan;
4. Confirmation of the policy that Asians should be forever barred
from American citizenship; and
5. Amendment of the federal Constitution to provide that no child
born in the United States should become an American 46
citizen

unless both parents were of a race eligible for citizenship. 40

In 1920 the groups in California succeeded in passing an initiative
which further restricted Japanese landholding in California. The Los
Angeles County Asiatic Association urged Californians to vote yes on
Proposition One to “Save California — Stop Absorption of State's Best
Acreage by Japanese Through Leases and Evasions of Law . ” 47 This
measure was an attempt to shore up the Alien Land Act of 1913. The

1920 law prohibited any further transfer of land to Japanese nationals,
forbade them to lease land, barred any corporation in which Japanese
held a majority of stock from lease or purchase of land, and prohibited
immigrant parents from serving as guardians for their minor citizen
children. 48

This law also proved largely ineffectual. The provision barring
Japanese parents from acting as guardians for their children was ruled

unconstitutional. 49 Because there were many citizen children by 1920,
avoiding the other new restrictions was not difficult. Nevertheless, the
law had some effect: in combination with the prohibition on immigra
tion, it reduced the number of acres held in California by persons of
Japanese ancestry.50 Similar anti-Japanese sentiment led to the enact

ment of parallel anti -alien land legislation in Arizona, Washington and
Oregon,51 even though by 1920 only 4,151 Japanese lived in Oregon
and owned only 2, 185 acres of land. 52
From 1908 to 1924 , while the Gentlemen's Agreement was in

36

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

effect, 159,675 Japanese immigrated into the continental United States.53
Many immigrants, however, returned to Japan with their children.
The 1910 census shows 72, 157 persons of Japanese ancestry in the
continental United States ; the 1920 census shows 111,010 and the 1930

census shows 138,834.54 Nevertheless, in large part because the
Gentlemen's Agreement had been represented to California as an ex
clusion act,55 many wrongly believed that Japan had breached the
Agreement.56 This mistaken view as well as the political and perceived
economic interests of the anti-Japanese groups aided the drive to end
all Japanese immigration. In 1920, the exclusionists ffrmed the japa

nese Exclusion League of California, organized under V. S. McClatchy
and State Senator Inman to seek passage of exclusion legislation.57
McClatchy was once publisher of The Sacramento Bee and a director
oftheAssociated Press; from 1920 to 1932 he represented the California
Joint Immigration Committee . Publicly adept, McClatchy was an un
tiring and successful advocate of Japanese exclusion — not on the basis

of prejudice, he claimed, but because the Japanese were superior
workers and thus an economic threat. 58 In 1924, at the culmination of

isolationist trends in the United States and particularly of the anti
Japanese movement , the federal immigration law was changed ex
pressly to exclude the Japanese. 59
After 1924, there were no major successful legislative initiatives

against the ethnic Japanese until after Pearl Harbor, but anti-Japanese
activity continued. For instance , there were repeated efforts to pass
statutes banning aliens not eligible for citizenship from employment
in the government and on public works projects, 60 and in 1938 the
California legislature defeated a bill which would have removed the
Issei from the tuna-fishing industry in San Diego and San Pedro. 61 The
Joint Immigration Committee worked to insure that the exclusion law

was not amended, aided in the passage of alien land laws in the interior
states and influenced the deletion of passages favorable to Japanese in
textbooks used in California and Hawaii. 62 Anti-Japanese agitation and

sentiment continued to be part of the public life of the West Coast.

THE ROOTS OF PREJUDICE - MYTHS, STEREOTYPES AND
FEARS

Stereotypes and fears mixed with economic self- interest, often growing
out of and contributing to racial antipathy, were the seedbed for the
politics of prejudice which bred discriminatory laws.

37

BEFORE PEARL HARBOR

“ The Yellow Peril”
Underlying anti -Japanese sentiment in the United States was fear
of the “ yellow peril.” The origin of the term is obscure, but in its
earliest forms the abstraction imagined a wave of “ coolie ” immigration ,

fed by a high birthrate and famine conditions in China, which would
engulf the whites of California and the Pacific Coast.63 This notion
stirred both fear and hatred, although at its peak in 1907 Japanese
immigration was less than 3% of immigration to the United States, and

in California the Japanese never reached 3% of the state's population. 64
This creature of propaganda was first turned upon the Chinese

and later the Japanese. American confusion between the Japanese and
the Chinese, and increasing Japanese immigration on the West Coast,
often led the public to view both groups as a single racial threat.
The unexpected military victories of the Japanese over the Rus
sians in 1904-05 added fuel to the fire . After the Russo -Japanese War,

rumors circulated in California that Japan would organize the wealth

and manpower of China to provide and equip armies that would revive
the power of Genghis Khan and create a real “yellow peril” -hordes
of Asians overpowering and subjugating a scattered white population
strung out along the immense Pacific Coast. Fear of possible war with
Japan , a now -powerful country, exacerbated these anxieties. Much

anti- Japanese activity in the United States, including the Alien Land
Law of 1920 and the Oriental Exclusion Act of 1924, provoked strong

protest from Japan and fostered fears of war. As Japan grew more
aggressive and hostile after 1931, anxiety revived. Japan's invasion of
Manchuria, its desertion of the League of Nations, its abandonment
of agreements on naval limitation, the further invasion of China, and
the bombing of the American gunboat Panay on the Yangtze River in

1937 fed public concern about war with Japan and, aided by the press ,
revived fear of the yellow peril. 65

Popular writing, the movies, and the Hearst newspapers in par
ticular, promoted the fear. 66 “ Patria ,” produced by Hearst's Interna
tional Film Service Corp. in 1917, and “Shadows of the West,” cir
>

culated by the American Legion, both portrayed Japanese immigrants

as sneaky, treacherous agents of aa militaristic Japan seeking to control
the West Coast.67 Two novels written by the respected Peter B. Kyne
and Wallace Irwin about dangers of Japanese land ownership were
serialized in the Saturday Evening Post and Hearst's Cosmopolitan. 68
Pseudoscientific literature began to discuss the inferiority of Eastern

and Southern European stock as well as the “yellow people .” 69 Madison
Grant's 1917 work The Passing of the Great Race argued that immi

gration was “mongrelizing ” America; Lothrop Stoddard published The

38

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

Rising Tide ofColorAgainst White World Supremacy in 1920; Stoddard
and Grant together were influential in expounding the new racism . 70

Purported espionage by those of Japanese ancestry in the United
States was advanced as one threat from the yellow peril. Allegations

that persons of Japanese descent were a “ secret army” for Japan and
the Emperor were constantly repeated by anti-Japanese agitators.

The “ Japanese Birthrate ”
Fears of Japanese expansionism and the “ yellow periſ” were fed

by wild overestimation of the birthrate among persons of Japanese
ancestry in the continental United States . When the 1920 Alien Land

Law was being considered, Governor William Stephens of California
asserted that the greatest danger to white Californians came from the

high birthrate of the Japanese. A state report sought to demonstrate
that the Japanese birthrate was three times that of white citizens of

the state . The report failed, however, to take account of the fact that
the pattern of Japanese immigration led to older husbands bringing to
the United States young brides who, married only a few years at the
time of the survey, were at the peak of their fertility. To compare that
sample to the birthrate among all women of childbearing age in Cal
ifornia was misleading. In fact, the long -range birthrate of the immi
grant generation fell below that of the contemporary European im
migrant groups and only slightly above that of native whites during
the 1920's and 1930's. By 1940 the birthrate among Japanese Americans
in every state on the West Coast was lower than the birthrate of the

general population. The “high Japanese birthrate ” was a myth.71
Education, Religion and Associations
The Issei left behind a country characterized by pride, strong
moral convictions, and community cohesiveness. Many cultural pat

terns were transplanted into Japanese community life in the United
States. Although the Issei were criticized for being clannish, early

discrimination reinforced the typically separate living patterns of non

English -speaking immigrants and delayed their cultural assimilation.
The Issei responded by trying to raise their children in a two -culture
environment. What resulted was a general acceptance among Nisei of
some traditional Japanese mores, and continuing criticism from anti
Japanese groups that the immigrants and their families were unassi
milable and pro -Japan .

Many Issei wished to prepare their children for life in either

country, fearing that future discriminatory laws would prevent them

BEFORE PEARL HARBOR

39

from continuing to live in the United States. Dual citizenship, pursued
actively or passively, was one contingency measure. Japan , as well as

several European countries, had traditionally followed the principle of
jus sanguinis, meaning that the children of Japanese nationals, re
gardless of country of birth , were citizens of Japan. Expatriation and
citizenship acts passed in Japan in 1916 and 1924 modified the jus
sanguinis principle, however, so that after 1924 ethnic Japanese born

in the United States had to be registered promptly with the Japanese
consul in order to obtain dual citizenship . The Japanese Association,

established on the West Coast to promote Japanese immigrants’ in
terests, encouraged Issei to expatriate their Nisei children and worked
to terminate dual citizenships. By the 1930's, only twenty percent of
the Nisei held dual citizenship. 72
Next to parental authority, education was the strongest molder of
values. To preserve their cultural heritage and to ensure their chil

dren's success in the Japanese community, or, if necessary , in Japan,
Issei stressed the learning of the Japanese language.73 Such language
instruction was not unusual among first-generation immigrant groups.

A large segment ofthe Nisei attended Japanese language school despite
the generation gap which developed between Issei and Nisei as the
young Japanese Americans came to identify more closely with American
values. These classes were held after school, which made for a very
long day of “ education ,” drawing resentment from many Nisei and
resulting in few ever truly mastering Japanese. 74 The education pro
gram of the schools was diverse but the lessons typically embodied
and taught respect for parents and elders, self -reliance, obligation,

hard work and other virtues believed to be inherently Japanese. 75 The
language schools also supplied a stage for Japanese folklore, plays,
songs, novels, and movies, all emphasizing Japanese ethics that in many
>

instances paralleled the “ Puritan work ethic . ” Although the schools
were much Americanized over time, their approach depended on the
teacher and the local community , and some schools stressed Japanese

nationalism and loyalty. Senator Daniel Inouye recounted his expe
rience in one such school in 1939:

Day after day, the (Buddhist] priest who taught us ethics and
Japanese history hammered away at the divine prerogatives of the
Emperor . . . He would tilt his menacing crew-cut skull at us and
solemnly proclaim , “You must remember that only a trick of fate

has brought you so far from your homeland, but there must be
no question of your loyalty. When Japan calls, you must know

that it is Japanese blood that flows in your veins.” 76

40

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

Eventually, Inouye was thrown out of the school in aa dispute about
religion. Inouye's own career is ample proof that even such emotional
instruction often had negligible effect. Nevertheless, the language schools
and the much -stereotyped and exaggerated code of the samurai were
viewed by many on the West Coast as threats to the American social
system .

A smaller number of children were sent to Japan for formal ed
ucation. These Kibei lived with relatives in Japan and returned with
an education designed to be the key to their success in a Japanese

community excluded from mainstream America. The length of time
spent in Japan varied a great deal, as did the age at which children
were sent; in consequence , the impact of the education varied consid

erably. A number of those who spent many of their formative years in
Japan found it somewhat difficult to identify and to communicate with
77
their American - educated peers, Nisei or Caucasian , " although they
had not become fully Japanese either. With such variation within the

group, calculating the total number of Kibei is not very illuminating,
but by 1940 several thousand Nisei had had substantial education in

Japan. 78
The Buddhist church was also an educational influence for the

Nisei. Although theologically different, Buddhism and Christianity shared
many ethical similarities, including values of honesty, charity and hard
work. But Buddhism was distrusted and largely misunderstood by
Caucasians,79 and even officials of Japan opposed the vigorous intro
duction of Buddhist missionaries into America . 80 Moreover, the Issei

believed that joining Christian churches would open more doors for
them in terms of employment and social acceptance. 81 By the 1930's
half the Nisei were Christians82 and, just before the war, in Seattle's

ethnic Japanese community, Christians outnumbered those subscrib
ing to Oriental religions.83
The Shinto religion had very few followers and was less understood
in America than Buddhism. 84 Village Shinto in Japan overlapped

Buddhism; state Shinto developed later and was less a religion than a
patriotic worship of the emperor used initially to overthrow the Jap

anese feudal system . This cult was dominated by highly nationalistic
fervor but its influence among Japanese in America was small, perhaps
because its peak of influence came only after most of the Issei gen
eration had left for the United States and reached adulthood . In fact,
criticism of some of the ultra- nationalistic aspects of Japanese life in
the 1930's led to the banning in Japan of some publications by Japanese
Americans. 85

BEFORE PEARL HARBOR

41

Excluded from politics and many social functions of the white
dominated social structure on the West Coast, Issei formed aa multi

plicity of ethnic organizations and associations. Initially associations
were established mainly for social purposes and were called kenjinkai,
since members of each association were from the same ken or province

ofJapan. These developed and perpetuated an inner community within
the entire Japanese community. The kenjinkais were mainly significant
to the immigrant generation and the Nisei showed little interest in
them . Other Issei associations sprang up as well. By 1905, in San
Francisco alone, fifteen ken societies; seven religious organizations;
and associations for tailors, cobblers, restauranteurs, barbers and
houseworkers; a students ' club; and a residence for women were es

tablished. 86 Politically strongest were the Japanese Associations, es

tablished in response to increased anti-Japanese activity. The most
important function of the Association was to serve as a legal adviser
and lobbyist. Critics among the white majority in California claimed
the Association was under the direct influence of Japan , and suspicion

of the Association and its leaders grew , peaking at the the start of the
war. 87

Nisei, seeking to assert their citizenship rights and to champion
the rights of Japanese Americans and Japanese immigrants, formed
two independent organizations immediately after World War I: The
American Loyalty League in San Francisco and the Progressive Citi

zens' League in Seattle. These groups had little influence until the
late 1920's, when many Nisei reached adulthood. The two merged into
a national organization , the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL ).
The League was too young and poorly organized to achieve much
success in improving the social and economic stature of the Nisei before

the war, but it did provide an association separate from the Issei. 88

All of these cultural patterns — dual citizenship; the language schools
and education in Japan; foreign religion, particularly Shinto; and ethnic
organizations, particularly groups of Issei veterans who had served in

Japan – became targets for the anti-Japanese faction on the West Coast.
They were viewed as proof that the ethnic Japanese would not or could
not assimilate to “ American ” life and represented an alien threat to
the dominant white society. It bore a kinship to the know -nothing
nativism that sprang up on the East Coast during the European im
migrations of the nineteenth century. The ethnic institutions were also
wrongly viewed as mechanisms through which the Japanese govern

ment could influence and control the Issei and Nisei. Unfortunately,

42

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

there was little informed American opinion to counter these exagger
ated, alarmist views.

ECONOMIC STATUS
The relative economic status of the Nikkei affected anti-Japanese ag
itation in the United States as did general economic conditions. Fre

quently, anti-Japanese activity increased during periods of recession if
competition from the ethnic Japanese was perceived as an economic

threat.89 This makes an understanding of the economic position of the
Nikkei important to comprehending both the prewar and wartime
history

Since most.of the Japanese who immigrated to the United States
had worked in agriculture in Japan, farming was by far the predominant
occupation among the Issei.90 Other early immigrants found work as
manual laborers for railroads, lumber companies, canneries or mines.

Initially, the Japanese concentrated in railroads, sugar beets and hop
harvesting. Both types ofagricultural work paid by the piece, so meager

incomes could be increased by hard work. The Japanese later moved
into a wide range of farming activities, growing and cultivating citrus

fruits, vineyards, berries and vegetables.92 When these immigrants
first arrived, many worked for $1 a day while other workers were
earning up to $ 1.65 for the same work .93 They took lower wages to
obtain work; even low pay in the United States was higher than what

they would have been able to earn in Japan. 94
About half the Japanese in California were engaged in agriculture.
Often , a Japanese immigrant would begin as a migrant laborer for a

year or two, then settle in one place to harvest for a single farmer .
The next step was sharecropping. After that, the worker would rent
land, either paying cash or, for the first year or two, clearing the land
in lieu of rent. The goal was ownership. 95 Land tenure statistics for
California illustrate the pattern:96

TABLE 1: Japanese American Land Tenure in California
Shared Crop

Leased

Owned

(in acres)

(in acres)

(in acres)

1904

19,57242

1909

59,00142

35,25842
80,232
383,287

2,422
16,44942
74,769

1919

BEFORE PEARL HARBOR

43

By 1910, 39,000 persons of Japanese ancestry were engaged in agri
culture; of these, 6,000 were independent, mostly tenant, farmers. 97
The skills of the Issei as intensive farmers were rewarded . In 1917,

for example, the average production per acre among all California
farmers was less than $ 42; for the average Issei it was $ 141.98 In 1920,

the market value of the crops produced by California Issei was $67
million, or over 10% of the total California value. They were able to
develop marginal areas effectively. In part because of the alien land
laws, the Japanese selected quick -growth crops which required min
imal capital investment; for instance, in southern California, they con
centrated on truck farming rather than citrus growing.99
In Oregon by 1940 the Nikkei grew an estimated $2.7 million
worth of produce. In Washington in that year, they raised more than
$4 million of produce. They also commenced farming in states where

they had come to work on the railroads: Utah, Wyoming, Montana,
Nebraska, Idaho, Colorado and Nevada. 100

After World War I, total acreage under Japanese cultivation de
clined. By 1941, the value of all crops from Nikkei farms in California
was $32 million ( compared to the World War I high of $ 55 million ).
The decline was brought about by reduced Japanese acreage as well

as plummeting crop values during the Depression. 101 Nevertheless,
the Nikkei were important to the California agricultural economy; they
were expected to produce 30-40 % of the state's truck crops in 1942. 102
Because of hostility and discrimination by whites, the Japanese
entered agricultural produce distribution, primarily in Los Angeles,
where they came to dominate the fruit and vegetable supply system

by 1940.103 The Japanese also entered produce marketing in Fresno,
Sacramento, Seattle and Salt Lake City; in San Francisco, however,

they were excluded from produce marketing. 104
The Nikkei were also shopkeepers, primarily serving their own
community. A detailed study of the Nikkei in Los Angeles ( about one
third of the Japanese in the United States) shortly before World War

II determined that most ofthose in business operated small enterprises
with low capital investment that survived because of the unpaid labor

of family members. 105 Before World War II, the Nisei were gradually
moving into clerical work, seeking the security ofjobs over the status

of independent enterprise. 106 Other occupations of Nikkei before World
War II included fishing, fish cannery work, housework and gardening.
Few were professionals. 107 This was so despite remarkable edu
cational achievements. In 1940, the median education for all people
of Japanese descent 25 years old and older was 8.6 years, compared

44

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

with 9.9 years for Californians and 8.6 years for the entire United

States population. But these numbers included the Issei, who typically
had few years of schooling; for Nisei 25 years old and older, the 1940
median education was 12.2 years in California. 108 Continuing discrim
ination made finding a job difficult for college -educated Nisei and
prevented a great many from entering higher professional, white collar
or skilled occupations. 109 By 1940, only 960 persons of Japanese an
cestry were employed as professionals in California, and the main
source of white collar employment was federal civil service. 110
The estimated median income for the Nikkei in California in 1940

was $622. This compares with a median income for the entire United
States labor force of $ 627 and for California of $ 852 in the same year.

In 1940, the Nikkei had high rates of employment: 96.7 percent of
those in the labor force were employed , compared to 85.6 percent for
the entire California population. 111 This higher rate may, however,

include a substantial percentage of low -paid family workers.
Economic advancement for the immigrants was built on hard work,

frugality and willingness to save and invest. Individual effort was aided
by stab family structure and by ethnic organizations such as credit
associations. Very few Japanese went on relief during the Depression.

But such self-improvement frequently brought resentment from eco
nomic competitors, so that laborers and later independent farmers grew
antagonistic to the Nikkei as their economic self- interest was af
fected . 112 V. S. McClatchy was particularly direct in expressing these
views, arguing that Japanese immigration should be cut off because

the immigrants were superior workers against whom West Coast whites
could not compete.

RACE RELATIONS IN THE UNITED STATES

The status and treatment of Issei and Nisei is best understood against
the background of the country's history on racial questions, posed most
often between blacks and whites. 113 In 1940, racial segregation by law

was still widespread and racial discrimination by custom and practice
was found everywhere, largely accepted as part of American life. The
Supreme Court still construed the constitutional promise of equal pro
tection of the law for all Americans regardless of race , creed or color

to require only that the states or the federal government provide equal
though segregated facilities for the separate races. The supposed test

BEFORE PEARL HARBOR

45

of equality, however, was rarely met. “ Scientific ” studies, based in
part on intelligence testing widely used by the military during World
War I and in part on views of evolution, kept alive the theory that

blacks were inferior and that there was a hierarchy of capability and
attainment among the races. Whatever the reasons or motives, much
of the country believed in fundamental racial differences and practiced
those beliefs through some form of discrimination or segregation.

While racial discrimination was most deeply entrenched in the

south, the problem was national. By 1940 , blacks were no longer so
heavily concentrated in the south. In the early 1900's mechanization
of agricultural production in the south destroyed the paternal debt
perpetuating sharecropping system and displaced many blacks. During
World War I, they had begun migration to the north and midwest,
some gaining employment in war industries. Since immigration was

restricted by law shortly after World War I, continued growth of in
dustry, particularly during the prosperous 1920's, drew upon increasing
black migration for unskilled labor. Although the Depression inter

rupted the process, the trend was fixed. Consequently, race relations
were no longer seen as simply a southern problem . 1942 opened with
race riots in Detroit, after an attempt to open a housing project for

blacks in a white neighborhood. 114
Particularly in the south, blacks, by law , learned in segregated

schools, worked at segregated jobs and went home to segregated neigh
borhoods. They were effectively barred from voting and political ac

tivity by poll taxes, literacy tests, and a system of carefully maintained
Jim Crow laws and practices. Elsewhere the color line was imposed

by custom , but it was found almost everywhere. Blacks were effectively

banned from most unions. In 1940 professional baseball was still a
segregated sport. The federal government did virtually nothing to in
terfere with these state systems and social customs. When America
entered World War II, blacks and whites did not mix in the armed

forces; blacks served in segregated units throughout the war . The
federal government accepted the predominant racial views and prej
udices of the American people . And , for all its economic liberalism ,
the New Deal had done very little to advance equal treatment of the
races.

By the time of Pearl Harbor, small signs of change could be dis
cerned. In 1938, the Supreme Court had held that Missouri could not
refuse to provide аa law school for the black people of the state . 115 The
case was the first on the long road to school desegregation, but Brown

v. Board of Education was still sixteen years away. And only when a

46

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

group led by A. Philip Randolph threatened to march on Washington
did President Roosevelt establish a Fair Employment Practices Com
mission in January 1941 to police the practices of contractors with the
federal government.
The inconsistent impulses of the nation's attitude toward blacks

at the time the United States entered World War II is effectively
captured in a diary entry of Henry L. Stimson, the Secretary of War.
He recounted his effort to dissuade Archibald MacLeish, then working

in the government's Office of Facts and Figures, from giving a speech
decrying Army discrimination against blacks. Stimson's account com

bines an appreciation of the injustice of past treatment of blacks and
the need for racial justice in the United States with the rarely-chal
lenged assumption of the society that racial differences will persist and
that whites retain inherent racial advantages. These were views born
not of animus but of a recognition of what Stimson and many, many

others believed was a realistic appraisal of the facts of life.
I gave [MacLeish ) my life history, so to speak, on the subject
because I have come in contact with this race problem in many

different ways during my life . I told him how I had been brought
up in an abolitionist family; my father fought in the Civil War,
and all my instincts were in favor of justice to the Negro. But I

pointed out how this crime of our forefathers had produced a
problem which was almost impossible of solution in this country
and that I myself could see no theoretical or logical solution for
it at war times like these, but that we should merely exercise the
utmost patience and care in individual cases. I told him of my

experience and study of the incompetency ofcolored troops except
under white officers, and the disastrous consequence to the coun
try and themselves which they were opening if they went into
battle otherwise, although we were doing our best to train colored

officers. I pointed out that what these foolish leaders ofthe colored
race are seeking is at the bottom social equality, and I pointed
out the basic impossibility of social equality because of the im
possibility of race mixture by marriage. He listened in silence and
thanked me, but I am not sure how far he is convinced . 116

2
Executive Order 9066
At dawn on December 7, 1941, Japan began bombing American ships

and planes at Pearl Harbor. The attack took our forces by surprise.
Japanese aircraft carriers and warships had left the Kurile Islands for
Pearl Harbor on November 26, 1941, and Washington had sent a war
warning message indicating the possibility ofattack upon Pearl Harbor,
the Philippines, Thailand or the Malay Peninsula. Nevertheless, the
Navy and Army were unprepared and unsuspecting. After a few hours
of bombing, Japan had killed or wounded over 3,500 Americans. Two
battleships were destroyed, four others sunk or run aground; a number
of other vessels were destroyed or badly damaged. One hundred forty

nine American airplanes had been destroyed. Japan lost only 29 planes
and pilots.

That night President Roosevelt informed his Cabinet and Congres
sional leaders that he would seek a declaration of war.2 On December
8 the President addressed a joint session of Congress and expressed

the nation's outraged shock at the damage which the Japanese had
done on that day of infamy. The declaration of war passed with one
dissenting vote.3 Germany and Italy followed Japan into the war on
December 11 .

At home in the first weeks of war the division between isolationists

and America Firsters, and supporters of the western democracies, was
set aside, and the country united in its determination to defeat the
Axis powers. Abroad , the first weeks ofwar sounded a steady drumbeat
47

48

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

of defeat, particularly as the Allies retreated before Japanese forces in
the Far East. On the same day as Pearl Harbor, the Japanese struck
the Malay Peninsula, Hong Kong, Wake and Midway Islands, and
attacked the Philippines, destroying substantial numbers of American
aircraft on the ground near Manila . The next day Thailand was invaded

and within days two British battleships were sunk off Malaysia. On
December 13 Guam fell, and on Christmas the Japanese captured
Wake Island and occupied Hong Kong. In the previous seventeen days,

Japan had made nine amphibious landings in the Philippines. General
Douglas MacArthur, commanding Army forces in the islands, evacu
ated Manila on December 27, withdrew to the Bataan Peninsula, and
set up headquarters on Corregidor. With Japan controlling all sea and
air approaches to Bataan and Corregidor, after three months the troops
isolated there were forced to surrender unconditionally in the worst
American defeat since the Civil War . On February 27 the battle of the
Java Sea resulted in another American naval defeat with the loss of

thirteen Allied ships.4 In January and February 1942, the military
position of the United States in the Pacific was bleak indeed . Reports

of American battlefield deaths gave painful personal emphasis to the
war news. *

Pearl Harbor was a surprise. The outbreak of war was not. In
December 1941 the United States was not in the state of war- readiness

which those who anticipated conflict with the Axis would have wished ,
but it was by no means unaware ofthe intentions of Japan and Germany.
The President had worked for some time for Lend -Lease and other

measures to support the western democracies and prepare for war. In

* Some have argued that mistreatment of American soldiers by the Jap
anese Army — for instance, the atrocities of the Bataan Death March — justifies
or excuses the exclusion and detention of American citizens of Japanese an
cestry and resident Japanese aliens. The Commission firmly rejects this con
tention. There is no excuse for inflicting injury on American citizens or resident
aliens for acts for which they bear no responsibility. The conduct of Japan and

her military forces is irrelevant to the issues which the Commission is consid

ering. Congressman Coffee made the point eloquently on December 8, 1941:
“ It is my fervent hope and prayer that residents ofthe United States ofJapanese
extraction will not be made the victim of pogroms directed by self-proclaimed
patriots and by hysterical self -anointed heroes. . . . Let us not make a mockery
of our Bill of Rights by mistreating these folks. Let us rather regard them with
understanding, remembering they are the victims of a Japanese war machine,
with the making of the international policies of which they had nothing to do . ”
Congressional Record , 77th Cong ., 1st Sess. (Dec. 8, 1941), p. A5554 .

EXECUTIVE ORDER 9066

49

1940, he had broadened the political base of his Cabinet, bringing in
as Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox, the publisher of the Chicago
Daily News who had been Alfred M. Landon's vice-presidential can
didate in 1936. Roosevelt drafted as Secretary of War one of the most
distinguished Republican public servants of his time, Henry L. Stim

son, who had served as Secretary of War under Taft and Secretary of
State under Hoover. Stimson , who brought with him the standing and
prestige of half a century of active service to his country, carried a
particularly impressive weight of principled tradition. He brought into

the War Department other, younger easterners, many of whom were
fellow lawyers and Republicans. John J. McCloy came from a promi
nent New York law firm to become first a Special Assistant and then
Assistant Secretary for War, and after the outbreak of war he was the

civilian aide to Stimson responsible for Japanese American questions.5
Roosevelt later named Francis Biddle, a Philadelphian who was a firm

defender of civil rights, as Attorney General when Robert Jackson was
appointed to the Supreme Court.
Ten weeks after the outbreak of war, on February 19, 1942, Pres
ident Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 which gave to the Sec
retary of War and the military commanders to whom he delegated
authority, the power to exclude any persons from designated areas in
order to secure national defense objectives against sabotage and es

pionage. The order was used, as the President, his responsible Cabinet
officers and the West Coast Congressional delegation knew it would
be, to exclude persons of Japanese ancestry, both American citizens
and resident aliens, from the West Coast. Over the following months
more than 100,000 people were ordered to leave their homes and farms
and businesses. “ Voluntary ” resettlement of people who had been

branded as potentially disloyal by the War Department and who were
recognizable by their facial features was not feasible. Not surprisingly,

the politicians and citizens of Wyoming or Idaho believed that their

war industries, railroad lines and hydroelectric dams deserved as much
protection from possible sabotage as did those on the Pacific Coast,
and they opposed accepting the ethnic Japanese. Most of the evacuees
were reduced to abandoning their homes and livelihoods and being
transported by the government to “ relocation centers” in desolate in
terior regions of the west.
As the Executive Order made plain , these actions were based

upon “ military necessity.” The government has never fundamentally
reviewed whether this massive eviction of an entire ethnic group was

justified . In three cases the Supreme Court reviewed the Executive

50

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

Order in the context of convictions for violations of military orders
issued pursuant to it, but the Court chose not to review the factual
basis for military decisions in wartime, accepting without close scrutiny

the government's representation that exclusion and evacuation were
militarily necessary. Forty years later, the nation is sufficiently con
cerned about the rights and liberties of its citizens and residents, that
it has undertaken to examine the facts and pose to itself the question
of whether, in the heat of the moment, beset by defeat and fearful of

the future, it justly took the proper course for its own protection, or
made an original mistake of very substantial proportion . “ Peace hath
her victories/No less renowned than war.

Was a policy of exclusion militarily justified as a precautionary
measure ? This is a core initial question because the government has

conceded at every point that there was no evidence of actual sabotage,
espionage or fifth column activity among people of Japanese descent

on the West Coast in February 1942. The Commanding General of
the Western Defense Command, John L. DeWitt, put the point plainly,

conceding in his recommendation to the War Department " [ t]he very
fact that no sabotage has taken place to date. ” The Justice Department,
6

defending the exclusion before the Supreme Court, made no claim
that there was identifiable subversive activity. The Congress, in pass
ing the Japanese -American Evacuation Claims Act in 1948, reiterated

the point:

[ D ]espite the hardships visited upon this unfortunate racial group
by an act ofthe Government brought about by the then prevailing
military necessity, there was recorded during the recent war not

one act of sabotage or espionage attributable to those who were
the victims of the forced relocation . 8

Finally, the two witnesses before the Commission who were most
involved in the evacuation decision, John J. McCloy and Karl R. Ben
detsen, who was first liaison between the War Department and the
Western Defense Command and later General DeWitt's chief aide for

the evacuation , testified that the decision was not taken on the basis

of actual incidents of espionage, sabotage or fifth column activity.º
One may begin , then , by examining the competent estimates of

possible future danger from the ethnic Japanese, citizen and alien , on
the West Coast in early 1942. This is not to suggest that a well -grounded
suspicion is or should be sufficient to require an American citizen or
resident alien to give up his house and farm or business to move
hundreds ofmiles inland, bearing the stigma ofbeing a potential danger
to his fellow citizens — nor that such suspicion would justify condem

EXECUTIVE ORDER 9066

51

nation of a racial group rather than individual review — but it does
address the analysis that should be made by the War Department
charged with our continental defenses.

INTELLIGENCE

The intelligence services have the task of alerting and informing the
President, the military and those charged with maintaining security
about whether, where and when disruptive acts directed by an enemy

may be expected. Intelligence work consists predominantly of analyt
ical estimate, not demonstrably comprehensive knowledge — there may
always be another, undiscovered ring of spies or a completely covert

plan of sabotage. Caution and prudence require that intelligence agen
2

cies throw the net of suspicion wide, and take measures to protect vital
information or militarily important installations. At the same time, if

intelligence is to serve the ends of a society which places central value
on personal liberty, even in time of war, it must not be overwhelmed
by rumors and flights offancy which grip a fearful, jittery public. Above
all, effective intelligence work demands sound judgment which is im
mune to the paranoia that treats everyone as a hostile suspect until his
loyalty is proven . In 1942, what credible threat did Japan pose to the
internal peace

and security of the United States ?

It was common wisdom that the Nazi invasions of Norway and
Western Europe had been aided by agents and sympathizers within
the country under attack — the so -called fifth column — and that the

same approach should be anticipated from Japan. 10 For this reason
intelligence was developed on Axis saboteurs and potential fifth col
umnists as well as espionage agents. This work had been assigned to

the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Navy Department but not

to the War Department. 11 The President had developed his own in
formal intelligence system through John Franklin Carter, a journalist,
who helped Roosevelt obtain information and estimates by exploiting
sources outside the government. None of these organizations operated
with the thoroughness of, say , the modern CIA , but they were the

best and calmest eyes and ears the government had .
Each of these sources saw only a very limited security risk from
the ethnic Japanese; none recommended a mass exclusion or detention
of all people of Japanese ancestry .

On November 7, 1941, John Franklin Carter forwarded to the

52

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

President a report on the West Coast situation by Curtis B. Munson,
a well -to - do Chicago businessman who had gathered intelligence for
Carter under the guise of being a government official: 12 Carter sum
marized five points in the report, which may be all the President read;113
14
the War Department also reviewed the report at Roosevelt's request.
Regarding sabotage and espionage, Munson wrote:
There will be no armed uprising ofJapanese. There will undoubt
edly be some sabotage financed by Japan and executed largely by
imported agents or agents already imported. There will be the
odd case of fanatical sabotage by some Japanese “ crackpot”. In
each Naval District there are about 250 to 300 suspects under
surveillance. It is easy to get on the suspect list, merely a speech
in favor of Japan at some banquet, being sufficient to land one
there. The Intelligence Services are generous with the title of
suspect and are taking no chances. Privately, they believe that

only 50 or 60 in each district can be classed as really dangerous.
The Japanese are hampered as saboteurs because of their easily

recognized physical appearance. It will be hard for them to get
nearanything to blow up if it is guarded . There is far more danger
from Communists and people of the Bridges type on the Coast
than there is from Japanese. The Japanese here is almost exclu
sively a farmer, a fisherman or a small business man . He has no
entree to plants or intricate machinery.

The Japanese, ifundisturbed and disloyal, should be well equipped
for obvious physical espionage. A great part of this work was
probably completed and forwarded to Tokio years ago, such as
soundings and photography of every inch of the Coast.

.

.

An

experienced Captain in Navy Intelligence, who has from time to
time and over a period of years intercepted information Tokio
bound , said he would certainly hate to be a Japanese coordinator
of information in Tokio. He stated that the mass of useless infor
mation was unbelievable. This would be fine for a fifth column in

Belgium or Holland with the German army ready to march in
over the border, but though the local Japanese could spare a man
who intimately knew the country for each Japanese invasion squad,
there would at least have to be a terrific American Naval disaster

before his brown brothers would need his services. The dangerous

part of their espionage is that they would be very effective as far
as movement of supplies, movement of troops and movement of

ships out of harbor mouths and over railroads is concerned. They
occupy only rarely positions where they can get to confidential
papers or in plants. They are usually, when rarely so placed, a

subject of perpetual watch and suspicion by their fellow workers.
They would have to buy most of this type of information from
white people .

Japan will commit some sabotage largely depending on imported
Japanese as they are afraid of and do not trust the Nesei (sic).

EXECUTIVE ORDER 9066

53

There will be no wholehearted response from Japanese in the
United States. They may get some helpers from certain Kibei.

They will be in a position to pick up information on troop, supply
and ship movements from local Japanese.
For the most part the local Japanese are loyal to the United
States or, at worst, hope that by remaining quiet they can avoid
concentration camps or irresponsible mobs. We do not believe

that they would be at least any more disloyal than any other racial
group in the United States with whom we went to war.
Munson sent three or four more reports to Carter between De
cember and February, including a long review of the situation in Ha
waii; he did not change his estimate of the West Coast situation. 16
Most of these reports found their way to Roosevelt's desk. After Pearl
Harbor, where Japan received no aid from fifth column activity or

sabotage, Munson pointedly noted that “ [a ] n attack is the proof of the
pudding,” 17 and remained firmly persuaded that the number of people
on the West Coast who could reasonably be suspected of a menacing
degree of loyalty to the enemy was small — and not demonstrably greater

among the ethnic Japanese than other racial groups. In addition, the
physical characteristics of the Japanese which made them readily iden
tifiable made it more difficult for them to engage in sabotage unnoticed
or to do any espionage beyond collecting public information open to
anyone .

Although Munson was an amateur at intelligence, he talked at
length to professionals such as the FBI agent in charge in Honolulu
and the people in Naval Intelligence in southern California. He was

also in touch with British Intelligence in California and reported that
they shared his principal views. The British intelligence officer made

one point, repeated by other professionals, which gave savage irony
to the exclusion program : “ It must be kept in mind when considering
1

the ‘Security' to be derived from the mass evacuation of all Japanese,

that the Japanese in all probability employed many more 'whites' than
‘Japanese for carrying out their work and this 'white' danger is not
eliminated by the evacuation of the Japanese.
Munson had also come to respect the views of Lieutenant Com
mander K. D. Ringle of the Office of Naval Intelligence in southern

California. 19 Ringle had spent much time doing intelligence work in
both Japan and southern California20 where he had assisted in breaking
a major Japanese spy ring through a surreptitious entry21 and developed
an effective system of Nisei informants (which he shared with the FBI).

When Ringle wanted the membership list of the “Black Dragon ” so
ciety, a super-patriotic Japanese group , for example, the society's orig

53-124 - 92 - 3
-

-

54

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

inal books for the western half of the United States were delivered to

him three days later. 22
In late January 1942, Ringle estimated that the large majority of
ethnic Japanese in the United States were at least passively loyal to

this country. There were both citizens and aliens who could act as
saboteurs or espionage agents, but he estimated the number to be 3%
of the total — or 3,500 in the entire United States who were identifiable

individually. Many Nisei leaders had voluntarily contributed valuable
anti-subversive information to federal agencies, said Ringle, and if
discrimination , firings and personal attacks became prevalent, that
conduct would most directly incite sabotage and riots.23 Ringle saw no
need for mass action against people of Japanese ancestry. It is difficult
to judge how far one should go in equating Ringle's views with those
of Naval Intelligence, since there is no single statement of their po
sition, but he claimed that Naval Intelligence sympathized with his
opinions. 24
The third major source ofintelligence was the FBI, which assessed
any danger to internal security and had plans ready in case of war.
Immediately after Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt signed Procla
mation 2525 pursuant to the Alien Enemy Act of 1798 , as amended ,

which gave the government the authority to detain enemy aliens and

confiscate enemy property wherever found. The Proclamation per
mitted immediate and summary apprehension of “ alien enemies deemed

dangerous to the public health or safety of the United States by the
Attorney General or Secretary of War.” On December 8, similar pro
clamations were issued for the summary apprehension of suspect Ger
mans and Italians.25

The FBI had already drawn up lists ofthose to be arrested — aliens
“ with something in their record showing an allegiance to the enemy.”
Three categories ofsuspects had been developed: “ A ” category_aliens

who led cultural or assistance organizations; “ B ” —slightly less suspi
cious aliens; and “ C ” —members of, or those who donated to, ethnic

groups, Japanese language teachers and Buddhist clergy.26 People in
the “ A ,” “ B ,” and “ C ” categories were promptly arrested in early
December. 27 Throughout the initial roundup, Attorney General Biddle
was concerned that arrests be orderly. He did not want citizens taking
matters into their own hands or directing hostility toward American
citizens on the basis of descent, and on December 10 issued a press
release stating these themes loudly and clearly 28 The Attorney General
was also firm from the beginning that citizens would not be arrested
or apprehended unless there were probable cause to believe that a

55

EXECUTIVE ORDER 9066

crime had been committed — the usual standard for arrest. Such arrests

were not to occur until the FBI was ready to initiate criminal charges,2
and the same standards applied to those of German, Italian and Jap
anese nationality or descent.

By December 10, 1942, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover reported
that “ practically all” whom he initially planned to arrest had been taken
into custody: 1,291 Japanese ( 367 in Hawaii, 924 in the continental

United States); 857 Germans; 147 Italians.30 In fact, however, the
government continued to apprehend enemy aliens. By February 16,
1942, the Department of Justice held 2, 192 Japanese; 1,393 Germans;
and 264 Italians31 and arrests continued even after that date. Many
arrested in the early sweeps were Issei leaders of the Japanese Amer
ican community and its organizations. 32
FBI views on the need for mass exclusion from the West Coast

were provided at the Attorney General's request shortly before the
Executive Order was signed , and must be read in that context. Hoover
did not believe that demands for mass evacuation were based on factual

analysis. Although he doubted Nisei loyalty in case of invasion and
grasped the obvious point that people excluded from the West Coast
could not commit sabotage there, he pointed out that the cry for
evacuation came from political pressure. The historical experience of
the FBI showed that Japan had used Occidentals for its espionage 33—

which Ringle had learned from his clandestine raid on the Japanese
consulate. 34 Hoover balanced his own opinions by sharing with the
Attorney General his West Coast field offices' views of evacuation,
which varied from noncommittal in Los Angeles to dismissive in San
Francisco to vehemently favorable in San Diego and Seattle. 35 Never
theless, Hoover's own opinion, and thus the Bureau's, was that the
case to justify mass evacuation for security reasons had not been made.
These mainland intelligence views were blurred by sensational
and inaccurate reports from Hawaii. On December 9, 1941 , Secretary
of the Navy Knox went to Hawaii to make the first brief examination
of the reasons for American losses at Pearl Harbor. He returned to the

mainland on December 15 and told the press, “ I think the most ef
fective Fifth Column work of the entire war was done in Hawaii with

the possible exception of Norway.” 36 This laid major blame for the
Pearl Harbor defeat at the door of the ethnic Japanese in the United
States. Knox's statement was not only unfounded: it ignored the fact

that Japanese Americans in large numbers had immediately come to
the defense of the islands at the time of the attack. 37

The Secretary raised the matter again at the Cabinet meeting of

56

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

December 19, when Attorney General Biddle noted that “Knox told
me,, which was not what Hoover had thought, that there was a great
deal of very active, fifth column work going on both from the shores
and from the sampans” in the Pearl Harbor attack.38 * John Franklin
Carter also disputed Knox in a memo to Roosevelt. 39 Nor were his

views supported by General Short,40 who had been in command at the
time of the Pearl Harbor attack, and they were contradicted aa few days

later by the new Commanding General in Hawaii, Delos Emmons,
who stated in a broadcast to the islands that there had been very few
acts ofsabotage at the time ofthe attack. 41 The basis of Knox's statement
has never been clear; he may have relied on rumors which had not

yet been checked, or he may have confused prewar espionage by
Japanese agents with fifth column activity.42 Nevertheless, because
military news from Hawaii was carefully censored and the Secretary

appeared to speak from firsthand knowledge, Knox's statement carried
considerable weight. His accompanying recommendation for the re
moval of all Japanese, regardless of citizenship , from Oahu is one of
the first calls for mass racial exclusion . The alarm Knox had rung gave

immediate credence to the view that ethnic Japanese on the mainland
were a palpable threat and danger. The damage was remarkable. When
Knox's official report came out on December 16, there was no reference
to fifth column activities; it described espionage by Japanese consular
officers and praised the Japanese Americans who had manned machine
guns against the enemy. Nevertheless, the story ran in major West
Coast papers headlined “ Fifth Column Treachery Told ,” “ Fifth Column
Prepared Attack” and “ Secretary of Navy Blames 5th Column for Raid . ” 43
Nothing was promptly done at the highest level of the government to
repudiate Knox's initial statement or publicly to affirm the loyalty of
the ethnic Japanese, even though Munson (through Carter) emphasized

* Hoover did not believe that fifth column activities were prevalent in
Hawaii, having heard from the FBI's special agent in charge in Honolulu as

early as December 8, that General Short had reported absolutely no sabotage
during the attack and, on December 17, he advised the Attorney General that

it was believed that the great majority of the population of foreign extraction

in the islands was law -abiding. Hoover directly questioned Knox's opinion,
but did not do so publicly, and it is unknown whether his views were heard

outside the Justice Department. Memo, Hoover to Tolson, Tamm and Ladd,
Dec. 8, 1941; Memo, Hoover to Attorney General, Dec. 17, 1941. FBI (CWRIC
5786–89; 5830 ).

EXECUTIVE ORDER 9066

57

Knox's inaccuracy and urged that such a statement be made by the
President or Vice President . 44

Much calmer (though opaque) views were reported by the first
official inquiry into the Pearl Harbor disaster. The Roberts Commis
sion, appointed by the President and chaired by Supreme Court Justice
Owen J. Roberts,45 issued a report on January 23, 1942, which never
mentioned sabotage, espionage or fifth column activity in its conclu
sion . Regarding such activity, the body of the report says in part:
There were, prior to December 7, 1941, Japanese spies on the
island of Oahu. Some were Japanese consular agents and other

[sic] were persons having no open relations with the Japanese
foreign service . These spies collected and, through various chan
nels transmitted, information to the Japanese Empire respecting

the military and naval establishments and dispositions on the is
land . . .

It was believed that the center of Japanese espionage in Hawaii
was the Japanese consulate at Honolulu . It has been discovered

that the Japanese consul sent to and received from Tokyo in his
own and other names many messages on commercial radio circuits.

This activity greatly increased toward December 7, 1941. The
contents of these messages, if it could have been learned, might
have furnished valuable information . In view of the peaceful re

lations with Japan, and the consequent restrictions on the activities
of the investigating agencies, they were unable prior to December
7 to obtain and examine messages transmitted through commercial

channels by the Japanese consul, or by persons acting for him .
It is now apparent that through their intelligence service the
Japanese had complete information. 46
Testimony at secret hearings lay behind the conclusions. General

Short, in command of the Army on Hawaii at the time of Pearl Harbor,
had misinterpreted the warning message of late November as an alert

against sabotage47 and so should have been particularly conscious of
it; Short testified that “ I do not believe since I came here that there
has been any act of sabotage of any importance at all, but the FBI and
my intelligence outfit know of aa lot of these people and knew they
probably would watch the opportunity to carry out something.
Robert L. Shivers , the FBI's Special Agent in Charge in Hawaii
(and a man Munson thought highly of)49 testified that Japanese espi

onage before Pearl Harbor “ centered in the Japanese consulate;" he
held responsible the 234 consular representatives who had not been
prosecuted in 1941 for failure to register as foreign agents.50 These

men were arrested immediately after Pearl Harbor and kept in custody.
Shivers offered documentary proof to support his views, and testified

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

58

that there were no acts of sabotage in Hawaii during the Pearl Harbor
raid . 51

Despite such telling testimony, the Roberts Report did not use

language designed to allay the unease spread by Knox. In fact the
Report tended to have the opposite effect; in March a House Com
mittee stated that public agitation in favor of evacuation dated from

publication of the Roberts Report. 52 Predictions which the Commission
heard in Hawaii may have caused this silence . Besides Roberts, the
Commissioners were high -ranking military officers who, at Secretary
Stimson's direction, used the Commission's inquiry to look into the
future defense of the islands. 53 They asked intelligence staff in Hawaii
about the prospects for future sabotage or fifth column activity and
received conflicting advice.
Shivers asserted that “just as soon as Japan achieves some tem
porary decisive victory, the old spirit will begin to bubble forth ” and
that:

[ IF] there should be an out-and -out attack on this island by the

Japanese Navy, reinforced by their air arm , I think you could
expect 95% of the alien Japanese to glory in that attack and to do

anything they could to further the efforts of the Japanese forces.
You would find some second- and third -generation Japanese,

who are American citizens but who hold dual citizenship, and you

would find some of those who would join forces with the Japanese
attackers for this and other reasons. Some of them may think they
have suffered discrimination, economic, social, and otherwise, and
there would probably be aa few of them who would do it.54
He also thought the Japanese community in the United States and
Hawaii was highly organized, and so in theory had the ability to assist

the Axis. Finally, Shivers believed only individuals, not the Japanese
in the United States collectively, would become potential saboteurs. 55

Angus Taylor, the United States Attorney for Hawaii, a man of

vehement and strident views, not directly engaged in intelligence work,
testified that in the event of subsequent Japanese attack, even the
third-generation citizens would “ immediately turn over to their own
» 56

race .

The Intelligence Officer of the 14th Naval District, Irving May
field , believed that the Japanese system of spies and saboteurs would

not rest on race or ethnicity.57 This point had, of course, been made
repeatedly by Hoover, Munson and Ringle. The professionals largely
agreed that the Japanese did not rely on Issei and Nisei for espionage,
and there was no reason to believe they would for sabotage. In a 1943
memorandum , Mayfield set out the logic of his position: it had to be

EXECUTIVE ORDER 9066

59

the operating premise of counterespionage that Japan's spying oper
ation might be made up of only ethnic Japanese, only non-ethnic Jap
anese or a combination of the two. A solely ethnic Japanese group

might be able to rely on people of known loyalty to Japan with close
ties to that country, but American suspicion of such people and the
possibility that they might be detained in time of war might well lead
Japan to rely entirely on people who were not ethnic Japanese. Var
iations of these extremes were equally possible :

For purposes of security, the vital core of the organization might
be composed of non -Japanese. ... On the other hand ,the nucleus
of the organization may be composed of Japanese, who will make
use of non-Japanese as the need and opportunity arises. This group
might even have available a non -Japanese whose sole function
would be to assume direction of the espionage organization in case
the members of the original core are immobilized or rendered

ineffective by security or counter -espionage measures.
Mayfield's thorough approach to the problem exposed the flimsy rea
soning behind the policy of exclusion — without evidence, there was

no sound basis for expecting the Japanese to employ any particular
ethnic group as spies or saboteurs. This proved true; in Hawaii one of

the few alien residents brought to trial for war-related crimes was
Bernard Julius Otto Kuehn, a German national in the pay of Japan,59

and on the mainland the few people convicted of being illegal agents
of Japan were predominantly not ethnic Japanese. 60
But these views did not reach the topmost level of the War De
partment. Secretary Stimson recorded in his diary a long evening with

Justice Roberts after his return from Hawaii, noting Roberts' expressed
fear that the Japanese in the islands posed a major security risk through
espionage, sabotage and fifth column activity. 61 Roberts also visited
General DeWitt and one may assume that he presented similar views
to the General. 62

Thus, in the early months of war, the intelligence services largely

agreed that Japan had quietly collected massive amounts of useful
information over recent years, in Hawaii and on the mainland, a great
deal of it entirely legally , and that the threat of sabotage and fifth
column activity during attack was limited and controllable. Signifi

cantly, the intelligence experts never focused exclusively on ethnic
Japanese in the United States: logically the Japanese would not depend
solely on the Issei and Nisei, and experience showed that they did not
trust the Nisei, employing Occidentals for espionage.

The prophecy about who might conduct future espionage and

60

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

sabotage was based on a number of factors. No significant sabotage or
fifth column activity had helped destroy Pearl Harbor. Insofar as the

Japanese would rely on the Issei or other Axis aliens' assistance , those
who were at all suspect had been interned by the Department of
Justice . Insofar as the Japanese would rely on the Nisei, there was no
knowledge or evidence of organized or individual Nisei spying or dis
ruption. Ringle and Munson did not believe there would be any greater

disloyalty from them than from any other American ethnic group;
Taylor, and perhaps Shivers in Hawaii, dissented. The course rec
ommended by Hoover (Ringle and Munson suggested similar
approaches63) was one of surveillance but not arrest or detention with
out evidence to back up individualized suspicion . Hoover recom
mended registering all enemy aliens in the United States; also, to
protect against fifth columnists, he wanted specific authority ( either

suspension of the writ of habeas corpus or a “so-called syndicalism
law”) to permit the apprehension of any citizen or alien “as to whom
there may be reasonable cause to believe that such person has been
or is engaging in giving aid or comfort to the enemies of the United
States;” and he backed Department of Justice evaluation of lists of
suspect citizens to determine who should be taken into custody under

any such extreme authority. 64

These restrained views did not prevail. Those with intelligence
knowledge were few , and they rarely spoke as a body. Navy Intelli
gence, for instance, felt it had enough on its hands without contra

dicting or challenging the Army. Whatever its intelligence officers
thought, the Navy was intent on moving the ethnic Japanese away
from its installations at Terminal Island near Los Angeles and Bain
bridge Island in Puget Sound, and Secretary Knox's support of stern
measures against the ethnic Japanese seemed unlikely to change.65
Few voices were raised inside the War Department, which was re
sponsible for security on the West Coast. Stronger political forces
outside the intelligence services wanted evacuation. Intelligence opin

ions were disregarded or drowned out.

THE GOVERNMENT'S INITIAL REACTIONS TO WAR

Action on the West Coast after Pearl Harbor lay immediately with
those dealing with the “ enemy alien problem .” This initially led the
Army down the road toward the Executive Order. The government

EXECUTIVE ORDER 9066

61

accepted that, in time of war, aliens of enemy nationality could be
controlled and interned without the need for any justification beyond
their status. Internment began immediately after December 7 and, as

FBI figures show , its weight fell disproportionately on the Japanese
against whom it was particularly effective since the ineligibility of Issei

for citizenship and the status of the ethnic Japanese as comparatively
recent immigrants allowed the government to round up most leaders
of the Japanese American community.
The government took other actions which affected the business
of
life the ethnic Japanese. 66 Earlier in 1941 the fixed deposits (similar
to savings certificates) which many ethnic Japanese maintained in the
Japanese banks which had branches on the West Coast were in effect

frozen when commercial relations with Japan were curtailed.67 At the
time of Pearl Harbor, all Japanese branch banks were immediately
closed and taken over by the state bank superintendent or the Alien

Property Custodian who called in all outstanding loans. 68 In addition,
approximately $27.5 million of business enterprises and real estate
owned by Japanese aliens was taken over by the Alien Property Cus
todian. 69 Finally, the Treasury froze the dollar deposits of both citizens
and aliens who had been dealing with Japan before the war, releasing
only small monthly payments to the account holders. 70 Cumulatively,
these measures affected not only most Issei and people in the import

export business but a very large proportion of the Japanese American
community .

Other steps were taken as well. Congress passed and the President

implemented a plan for censorship, primarily of the mail.71 Military
officials began to consider transferring American soldiers of Japanese
ancestry away from the West Coast. 72

Although many of these government measures were applied equally
to all aliens of enemy nationality , even in the early days after Pearl
Harbor, the military on the West Coast tended to single out ethnic
Japanese for harsher treatment. The Nisei reacted to these gathering
clouds by actions to persuade the country of their loyalty. In the San

Joaquin Valley, they enlisted as air raid wardens and helped guard the
water supply at Parlier against possible sabotage. In Seattle, the creator
of the Joe Palooka comic strip was persuaded to introduce some Nisei
GIs into the cartoon as loyal Americans. Other communities drew up

pledges of loyalty. 73 The Japanese Association of Fresno wired Con
gressman Gearhart offering its services against Japan, and the Con
gressman placed the message in the Congressional Record. 74 But these
efforts did not turn the rising tide of suspicion which became more

62

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

apparent with the development through December and January of two
programs run cooperatively by the Justice Department and the War
Department through the Western Defense Command: the seizure of

contraband from enemy aliens and the establishment of prohibited
areas .

As part ofthe Presidential Proclamations issued immediately after
Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt ordered confiscation of cameras, weapons,
radio transmitters, and other instruments of possible espionage and
sabotage belonging to enemy aliens. The War Department was con
cerned at the slow pace of the Justice Department's implementation

of the proclamations, including the portions relating to search and
seizure.75 The Army was particularly concerned that alien Japanese
inside the United States were making radio transmissions to Japanese
ships offshore.

In time, and clearly under pressure from the Army, the FBI and
Department of Justice cooperated to develop plans for search and
seizure in enemy alien homes. At first, search warrants were not issued
without probable cause.76 When the Attorney General insisted that
probable cause in the usual constitutional sense be found, DeWitt
pressed the proposition that merely being an enemy alien was sufficient

to constitute probable cause. The Justice Department at first rejected
the idea."? The FBI was not convinced that the perceived problem
was real; Hoover suggested that the Army submit any specific evidence
of disloyalty to the FBI.78 Later Hoover pointed out to Biddle that
reports in the San Francisco area about radios and weapons were often
unfounded ; in some instances only low -frequency shortwave radios had
been found, and the guns were small -caliber weapons such as any
person, especially a farmer, might possess.79 DeWitt continued to
stress the need for searches and arrests, including those of citizens,
without warrants.80 In early January, the Justice Department reached
an accommodation with the Western Defense Command. All enemy

aliens were to deposit prohibited articles with the local police within
a few days, and merely being an enemy alien would be sufficient cause
for a search.81

The Justice Department, firm that mass raids should not be con
ducted,82 gave in to multiple spot searches without a warrant. 83 The
compromise was important for government policy toward Japanese
Americans because the Justice Department was the crucial bulwark of
civil liberties and due process; yet, under military pressure, Justice

was gradually giving way to the Army's fear of espionage and sabotage.
This change of policy came despite reports from the Federal Com

EXECUTIVE ORDER 9066

63

munications Commission (FCC), which monitored all broadcasts, that
illegal transmitter operation was minimal. At the turn of the year, V.

Ford Greaves of the FCC in California guessed that, including the

records in Washington, “there would not be more than ten to twenty
five cases of reasonably probable illegal operation of radio sending sets

on the entire Pacific Coast. ” 84 Checking FCC records on the West
Coast and in Washington, Greaves found that there were “ no active

cases on file indicating the possession of radio transmitters by alien
enemies. Several active cases have been closed during the past few
months through court action .” 85 In short, the Army's fears were ground
less. In mid -January one reason became apparent: FCC staff on the
West Coast reported that the military was woefully deficient in radio
intelligence work , to the point where the Army and Navy were re

porting each other's broadcasts as Japanese.86
Similar discord arose between the Justice and War Departments
over Justice's power, exercised upon War Department request, to
prohibit enemy aliens from entering designated areas of military sig
nificance. As on the contraband issue, General DeWitt pressed for
broad powers in terms of both geographic area and affected persons.
The Army wanted the military commander in each theatre ofoperations
to be able to designate restricted areas;87 the Justice Department wanted

exclusive authority to name areas where civilian restrictions would
apply, although it agreed to designate any area specified by the mili
tary.88 By early January the Justice Department was prepared to make

any designations DeWitt wanted, on its understanding that areas would
be limited and carefully drawn. Although there was some confusion
on this point, 89 the Army appears not to have been contemplating a
mass exclusion from large areas.

At this point, on January 4, designation of restricted areas ap
peared to be a device to exclude only aliens, not citizens . 90 However,

as early as January 8, some military officers began to consider broad
ening the definition of “ enemy aliens.” Major Carter Garver, Acting
Assistant Adjutant General of the Army, wrote to General DeWitt:

Upon being consulted in this connection , Admiral C. S. Freeman,
Commandant 13th Naval District, recommended that all enemy
aliens be evacuated from the states of Washington and Oregon ;

that all American [sic] born of Japanese racial origin who cannot
show actual severance ofall allegiance to the Japanese government
be classified as enemy aliens; and lastly that no pass or temporary
permit to enter these states be issued to enemy aliens. He based
this recommendation on the fact that communications and industry
in these states are so vital to the operations of the Naval District

64

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

that any hostile activities in the two states will be a serious em
barrassment. This view is also held by this headquarters.

The reputed operations of Axis spies and Fifth Columnists in

Europe and the known activities of such elements during the
recent Japanese attack on Hawaii clearly indicate the danger of
temporizing with such a menace. It is deemed to be aa certainty
that any hostile operations against the Northwestern Sector will
be characterized by a similar treacherous activity. From what is

known of the Japanese character and mentality it is also considered
dangerous to rely on the loyalty of native born persons ofJapanese
blood unless such loyalty can be affirmatively demonstrated.91
Inaccurate reports from Hawaii and incongruous notions of Japanese
racial characteristics were causing these military officers to consider
extending their exclusion of aliens from restricted military areas to
include American citizens of Japanese ancestry.

The West Coast had been declared a theatre of operations — but

never placed under martial law — and, in the normal course, great
discretion was given the commanding general with field responsibility.
Exercising that discretion and directly confronting the issue of military
security was Lieutenant General John L. DeWitt, a lifelong Army man

who was , in 1942, in command of the Western Defense Command
(WDC ). DeWitt's approach was routinely to believe almost any threat
to security or military control; not an analyst or careful thinker who
sought balanced judgments of the risks before him, DeWitt did little
to calm the fears of West Coast people.

Major General Joseph W. Stilwell, who in the first month of the
war served under DeWitt in charge of southern California, recorded
in his diary that the San Francisco headquarters of the WDC contin
ually gave credence to every rumor that came in . No cool mind sifted

fact from fiction ; indeed, there was a willingness to believe the sky
was falling at every news report: “ Common sense is thrown to the
winds and any
any surdity is believed .” Stilwell summed up his view of

DeWitt's G-2, the Army intelligence branch, very succinctly:
The (Fourth] Army G-2 is just another amateur, like all the rest
of the staff. RULE : the higher the headquarters, the more im

portant is calm . Nothing should go out unconfirmed. Nothing is
ever as bad as it seems at first. 92

WDC's alarmism may have come partly from its inferior intelli
gence and information - gathering ability. In a February 1 memo to
Biddle, J. Edgar Hoover severely criticized the intelligence capability
of the Army on the West Coast, finding it untrained , disorganized,

incapable and citing instances where “ [h ]ysteria and lack of judgment”

1

EXECUTIVE ORDER 9066

65

were evident in the Military Intelligence Division.93 Hoover had earlier
sarcastically dismissed the Western Defense Command's gullible, in

temperate approach to internal security problems, noting “ that al
though the situation was critical, there was no sense in the Army losing
their heads as they did in the Booneville Dam affair, where the power

lines were sabotaged by cattle scratching their backs on the wires, or
the ‘arrows of fire' near Seattle, which was only a farmer burning brush
as he had done for years ." 94 The FCC found the same ramshackle

operation when helping the Army on radio interception : “ I have never
seen an organization that was so hopeless to cope with radio intelligence
requirements. . . . The personnel is unskilled and untrained. ... They

know nothing about signal identification , wave propagation and other
technical subjects, so essential to radio intelligence procedure. . . . As
a matter offact, the Army air stations have been reported by the Signal
Corps station as Jap enemy stations.” 95 Abysmal intelligence capability

was not conducive to any rational approach to military problems such
as sabotage or espionage.

General DeWitt appears not to have consulted the intelligence
services to correct his views or ask factual analysis. For instance, ig

noring FCC evidence, he reported to Stimson on February 3 that
“regular communications are going out from Japanese spies in those
regions (California cities and Puget Sound] to submarines off the coast

assisting in the attacks by the latter which have been made upon
practically every ship that has gone out.” 96 One finds no extended
examination of Munson's views , which were shared with the Western

Defense Command,97 and no interest was shown in consulting Ringle
who twice traveled to San Francisco in vain attempts to see Colonel
Bendetsen .

Given the speed with which the disgraced General Short and
Admiral Kimmel were forced out of the military after Pearl Harbor,99
it is not surprising that the Commanding General on the West Coast
would take a very cautious, even nervous, approach to any threat of

attack or disruption; as DeWitt himself put it, he was “ not going to be
a second General Short.” 100 But DeWitt's views had another aspect.

His opinions are remarkable even for the racially divided America of

1940. In January 1942 he personally gave James Rowe, the Assistant
Attorney General, his views on sabotage and espionage: “ I have little
confidence that the enemy aliens are law abiding or loyal in any sense
of the word. Some of them, yes ; many, no . Particularly the Japanese,

I have no confidence in their loyalty whatsoever. I am speaking now
ofthe native born Japanese_117,000 — and 42,000 in California alone. ”101

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

Five weeks later, recommending to Stimson the exclusion of Nisei
from the West Coast, DeWitt was direct indeed :

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 Ger
many 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.

A year later before a Congressional committee, discussing his
exclusionary policy, DeWitt reiterated his views:
Gen. DeWitt: ... I have the mission of defending this coast and
securing vital installations. The danger of the Japanese was, and
is now , if they are permitted to come back - espionage and sab
otage. It makes no difference whether he is an American citizen ,

he is still a Japanese. American citizenship does not necessarily
determine loyalty.

Mr. Bates: You draw a distinction then between Japanese and
Italians and Germans ? We have a great number of Italians and
Germans and we think they are fine citizens. There may be ex
ceptions.

Gen. DeWitt: You needn't worry about the Italians at all except
in certain cases. Also, the same for the Germans except in indi
vidual cases. But we must worry about the Japanese all the time
until he is wiped off the map. Sabotage and espionage will make

problems as long as he is allowed in this area — problems which I
don't want to have to worry about. 103

The General made the point again the next day in an off-the
record press conference. DeWitt condensed his opinion of a policy he
had opposed, allowing American soldiers of Japanese ancestry into the
excluded areas, by telling the reporters that “ a Jap is a Jap.

These declarations came at important moments when the General
could fairly be expected to speak his mind. Those who had agitated

against the Japanese in the forty years before the war could not have

given the racial argument more blood -chilling bluntness .
Under General DeWitt's guidance from the Presidio, the War
Department moved toward the momentous exclusion of American cit

EXECUTIVE ORDER 9066

67

izens from the West Coast without any thoughtful, thorough analysis
of the problems, if any, of sabotage and espionage on the West Coast
or of realistic solutions to those problems. In part there was an easy
elision between excluding Issei and Nisei. The legal basis for excluding
aliens was essentially unquestioned; no rigorous analysis military
necessity was needed because there were no recognized interests or

rights to weigh against the interest in military security that was served
by moving enemy aliens. The very word “ Japanese ,” sometimes used
to denote nationality and at other times to indicate ethnicity, allowed
obvious ambiguities in discussing citizens and resident aliens. The War

Department came toward the problem with a few major facts: the
Japanese were winning an incredible string of victories in the Far East;
the West Coast was lightly armed and defended, but now appeared
far more vulnerable to Japanese raid or attack than it had been before
Pearl Harbor — although General Staff estimates were that the Japanese
could not make a sustained invasion on the West Coast. But after the

surprise of Pearl Harbor, laymen, at least, doubted the reliability of
military predictions: it was better to be safe than sorry . 105 And laymen

had a great deal to say about what the Army should do on the West
Coast .

THE STORM OF WEST COAST REACTION
It was the voices of organized interests, politicians and the press on
the West Coast that DeWitt heard most clearly — and the War De
partment too . The first weeks after Pearl Harbor saw no extensive

attacks on the ethnic Japanese, but through January and early February
the storm gathered and broke. The latent anti -Japanese virus of the
West Coast was brought to life by the fear and anger engendered by
Pearl Harbor , stories of sabotage in Hawaii and Japan's victories in

Asia. Among private groups the lead was typically taken by people
with a long history of anti-Japanese agitation and by those who feared
economic competition. It is difficult forty years later to recreate the
fear and uncertainty about the country's safety which was generally
felt after Pearl Harbor; it is equally impossible to convey in a few pages
the virulence and breadth of anti-Japanese feeling which erupted on
the West Coast in January and February of 1942. 106

On January 2 the Joint Immigration Committee sent a manifesto
to California newspapers which summed up the historical catalogue of

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

charges against the ethnic Japanese. It put them in the new context
of reported fifth column activity in Hawaii and the Philippines and a
war that turned the Japanese into a problem for the nation , not Cal
ifornia alone. Repeating the fundamental claim that the ethnic Japanese
are " totally unassimilable,” the manifesto declared that “those born in
this country are American citizens by right of birth, but they are also
Japanese citizens, liable ... to be called to bear arms for their Em

peror, either in front of, or behind, enemy lines. ” Japanese language
schools were attacked as “ a blind to cover instruction similar to that

received by a young student in Japan — that his is a superior race, the
divinity of the Japanese Emperor, the loyalty that every Japanese,
107 In these
wherever born , or residing, owes his Emperor and Japan ".”107
attacks the Joint Immigration Committee had the support of the Native
Sons and Daughters of the Golden West and the California Department
of the American Legion, which in January began to demand that “all
Japanese who are known to hold dual citizenship .
be placed in
concentration camps. " 108 By early February , Earl Warren , then At
.

.

torney General of California, and U.S. Webb, a former Attorney Gen
eral and co-author of the Alien Land Law , were actively advising the
Joint Immigration Committee how to persuade the federal government
that all ethnic Japanese should be removed from the West Coast. 109
The Native Sons and Daughters of the Golden West saw the war
as aa fulfillment ofeverything they had feared and fought. In the January
1942 issue of The Grizzly Bear, the organization's publication, the
editor emphasized the consequences of ignoring past predictions:
Had the warnings been heeded — had the federal and state au
thorities been “ on the alert” and rigidly enforced the Exclusion

Law and the Alien Land Law ; had the Jap propaganda agencies
in this country been silenced; had the legislation been enacted
... denying citizenship to offspring of all aliens ineligible to cit
izenship; had the Japs been prohibited from colonizing in strategic
locations; had not Jap -dollars been so eagerly sought by White
landowners and businessmen; had a dull ear been turned to the
honeyed words of the Japs and the pro -Japs; had the yellow -Jap
and the white - Jap “ fifth columnists” been disposed of within the

law ; had Japan been denied the privilege of using California as a
breeding ground for dual-citizens (nisei); — the treacherous Japs
probably would not have attacked Pearl Harbor December 7,
1941 , and this country would not today be at war with Japan. 110
Through the first few weeks of 1942, local units of the Native Sons
passed resolutions demanding removal of the ethnic Japanese from the
coast. 111

EXECUTIVE ORDER 9066

69

The American Legion first demanded the removal of enemyaliens,

but by late January and early February the cry for removal of all ethnic
Japanese had spread through Washington and Oregon. The Portland
post of the Legion appealed for help in securing “the removal from
the Pacific Coast areas of all Japanese, both alien and native -born, to

points at least 300 miles inland ,” 112 and resolved that “ this is no time
for namby-pamby pussyfooting, fear of hurting the feelings of our ene
mies; that it is not the time for consideration of minute constitutional

rights of those enemies but that it is time for vigorous, whole -hearted
and concerted action . ...

At least 38 Legion posts in Washington

passed resolutions urging evacuation . 114

These traditional voices of anti-Japanese agitation were joined by
economic competitors of the Nikkei. The Grower- Shipper Vegetable
Association was beginning to find a voice in January, although its blun

test statement can be found in a Saturday Evening Post article in May:
We're charged with wanting to get rid of the Japs for selfish rea
sons. We might as well be honest. We do. It's a question of
whether the white man lives on the Pacific Coast or the brown

man . They came into this valley to work, and they stayed to take
If all the Japs were removed tomorrow , we'd never

over .

miss them in two weeks, because the white farmers can take over

and produce everything the Jap grows. And we don't want them
back when the war ends, either. 115

Through January and early February, the Western Growers Protective
Association, the Grower-Shippers, and the California Farm Bureau
Federation all demanded stern measures against the ethnic Japanese.

All assured the newspapers and politicians to whom they wrote that
the removal of the ethnic Japanese would in no way harm or diminish

agricultural production. 116
This wave of self-assured demands for a firm solution to the “Jap
anese problem ” encountered no vigorous, widespread defense of the
Issei and Nissei . Those concerned with civil liberties and civil rights

were silent. For instance, a poll of the Northern California Civil Lib
erties Union in the spring of 1942 showed a majority in favor of the
evacuation orders. 117

West Coast politicians were not slow to demand action against
ethnic Japanese. Fletcher Bowron , reform mayor of Los Angeles, went
to Washington in mid -January to discuss with Attorney General Biddle
the general protection of Los Angeles as well as the removal of all

ethnic Japanese from Terminal Island in Los Angeles Harbor. By Feb
ruary 5, in a radio address, the Mayor was unequivocally supporting

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

mass evacuation . In the meantime, all Nisei had been removed from

the city payrolls. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors fired
all its Nisei employees and adopted a resolution urging the federal

government to transport all Japanese aliens from the coast. 118 Following
Los Angeles, 16 other California counties passed formal resolutions
urging evacuation ; Imperial County required the fingerprinting, reg.
istration and abandoning of farming by all enemy aliens; San Francisco

demanded suppression of all Japanese language newspapers. Portland,
Oregon, revoked the licenses of all Japanese nationals doing business
in the city. 119 The California State Personnel Board ordered all “ de
scendants” of enemy aliens barred from civil service positions, and

Governor Olson authorized the State Department of Agriculture to

revoke the produce -handling licenses of enemy aliens. Attorney Gen
eral Warren found these measures unlawful, but he sympathized with
their basic aim , laboring to persuade federal officials that the military
should remove ethnic Japanese from what Warren thought sensitive
areas on the West Coast. 120

In Washington, most West Coast Congressmen and Senators be
gan to express similar views, Congressman Leland Ford of Los Angeles
taking the early lead . On January 16, 1942, he wrote the Secretaries

of War and Navy and the FBI Director informing them that his Cal
ifornia mail was running heavily in favor of evacuation and internment:

I know that there will be some complications in connection with
a matter like this, particularly where there are native born Jap
anese, who are citizens. My suggestions in connection with this
are as follows:

1. That these native born Japanese either are or are not loyal
to the United States .

2. That all Japanese, whether citizens or not, be placed in inland
concentration camps. As justification for this, I submit that if an
American born Japanese, who is a citizen, is really patriotic and
wishes to make his contribution to the safety and welfare of this

country, right here is his opportunity to do so, namely, that by
permitting himself to be placed in a concentration camp, he would
be making his sacrifice and he should be willing to do it if he is
patriotic and is working for us. As against his sacrifice, millions of

other native born citizens are willing to lay down their lives, which
is a far greater sacrifice,
of course, than being placed in a con
121
centration camp .

On January 27, Congressmen Alfred J. Elliott and John Z. An
derson met with officials of the Justice Department to press for evac

uation . 122 On January 30, House members from the Pacific Coast urged
the President to give the War Department “immediate and complete

EXECUTIVE ORDER 9066

71

control over all alien enemies, as well as United States citizens holding
dual citizenship in any enemy country, with full power and authority
to require and direct the cooperation and assistance ofall other agencies

of government in exercising such control and in effecting evacuation ,
resettlement or internment. ” The War Department in turn was urged
to develop and consummate “as soon as possible ... complete evac
uation and resettlement or internment” of all enemy aliens and dual
citizens. 123

This clamor for swift, comprehensive measures against the ethnic
Japanese both reflected and was stimulated by the press. In December
the West Coast press had been comparatively tolerant on the issue of
the Nikkei, but by January more strident commentators were heard .
John B. Hughes, who had a regular Mutual Broadcasting Company
program , began aa month -long series from Los Angeles which steadily

attacked the ethnic Japanese, spreading rumors of espionage and fifth
column activity and even suggesting that Japanese dominance of pro
duce production was part of a master war plan."
Nurtured by fear and anger at Japanese victories in the Far East
and by eagerness to strike at the enemy with whom the Nisei were

now identified, calls for radical government action began to fill letters

to the editor and newspaper commentary. Private employers threw
many ethnic Japanese out of their jobs, while many others refused to
deal with them commercially. 125 Old stereotypes of the “yellow peril”
and other forms of anti -Japanese agitation provided a ready body of
lore to bolster this pseudo-patriotic cause. By the end of January the
clamor for exclusion fired by race hatred and war hysteria was prom
inent in California newspapers. Henry McLemore, a Hearst syndicated
columnist, published a vicious diatribe:

The only Japanese apprehended have been the ones the FBI
actually had something on. The rest of them, so helpme, are 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 sit
uation doesn't exist. ...

I know this is the melting pot of the world and all men are
created equal and there must be no such thing as race or creed
hatred, but do those things go when a country is fighting for its
life ? Not in my book. No country has ever won a war because of
courtesy and I trust and pray we won't be the first because of the

lovely , gracious spirit. ...

I am for immediate removal of every Japanese on the West
Coast to a point deep in the interior. I don't mean a nice part of

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

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 ...

Personally, I hate the Japanese. And that goes for all of them . 126
By the end of January the western Congressional delegation and
many voices in the press and organized interest groups were pressing
for evacuation or internment of aliens and citizens . The Presidio at

San Francisco listened , and by January 31, General DeWitt had em

braced the Representatives’ view that all enemy aliens and dual citizens
should be evacuated and interned; action should be taken at the earliest

possible date “ even if they (the aliens and dual citizens) were tem
porarily inconvenienced .” 127

FEBRUARY 1942

The struggle within the government over the “ Japanese problem” crys
tallized by February 1. DeWitt was now expressing prevailing opinion

on the West Coast. War Department headquarters in Washington was
undecided . DeWitt was no longer satisfied with the Justice Department

program for excluding enemy aliens from carefully -drawn prohibited
areas, although it was now moving forward rapidly on the basis of
recommendations from the Western Defense Command and the War

Department. In a series of press releases between January 31 and
February 7, the Attorney General announced 84 prohibited areas in
California, 7 in Washington , 24 in Oregon , and 18 in Arizona — 135
zones around airports, dams, powerplants, pumping stations, harbor
areas and military installations . In most cases the areas were small,

usually circles of 1,000 feet or rectangles of several city blocks. The
Justice Department also announced “ restricted ” areas for enemy aliens,
including an extensive part of the California coast in which the move
ment of enemy aliens was very carefully controlled. But the Justice
Department balked at quarantining extensive populated areas such as
all of Seattle and Portland. 128

The Justice Department was unpersuaded of the military need for
a mass movement of aliens or citizens away from the coast, and it

opposed General DeWitt on those grounds. On February 3, J. Edgar
Hoover sent the Attorney General his analysis of the fervor for mass
exclusion :

EXECUTIVE ORDER 9066

73

The necessity for mass evacuation is based primarily upon public
and political pressure rather than on factual data. Public hysteria
and in some instances, the comments of the press and radio an

nouncers, have resulted in a tremendous amount ofpressure being
brought to bear on Governor Olson and Earl Warren, Attorney
General of the State , and on the military authorities. ...

Local officials, press and citizens have started widespread move

ment demanding complete evacuation of all Japanese, citizen and
alien alike. 129

Both on their reading of the facts from Hoover and by philosophical
inclination, top Justice Department officials — Biddle, James Rowe and
Edward Ennis , who ran the Alien Enemy Control Unit - opposed the
exclusion . The only major Justice Department figure not against it was
Tom C. Clark , later a Supreme Court Justice , who was West Coast

liaison with the Western Defense Command ; he was clearly ready to
go along with some form of mass evacuation .

Nevertheless, despite the urging of aides such as Ennis, the At

torney General was not prepared to argue that a mass exclusion was
illegal or unconstitutional under the war powers of the Constitution if
the War Department insisted on it as a matter of wartime necessity
based on military judgment. 131 It would have been acceptable to the
Justice Department at that point to have excluded all citizens and aliens

from designated areas, such as the vicinity of aircraft plants, and then
to allow back only those the Army permitted. 132 These views were no
doubt confirmed by a memorandum prepared for Biddle by Benjamin

Cohen, Oscar Cox and Joseph Rauh, liberal and respected Washington
lawyers, who opined that everyone of Japanese ancestry, both alien
and citizen, could constitutionally be excluded from sensitive military

areas without excluding people of German or Italian stock from similar
areas; although they argued for limited measures, they did not contend
that the facts of the West Coast situation failed to justify exclusion. 133
On February 1, the Justice Department drafted a press release
to issue jointly with the War Department in order to calm public fears

about sabotage and espionage, and to let the public know that the
government was working on the “ Japanese problem .” The draft set out

the extensive steps being taken to control any problem from enemy
aliens:

The Army has surveyed and recommended 88 prohibited areas in
California. Further areas have been studied by the Army and are

being recommended in California, Washington, Oregon and the
other West Coast states. The Attorney General designated these

areas immediately upon the recommendation of the War De

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

partment to be evacuated of all alien enemies, Japanese, German
and Italians.

All alien enemies in the Western Defense Command will be

registered between Feb. 2nd and February 7th . They will be
identified, photographed, fingerprinted and their residence and
employment recorded. These steps will insure compliance with
control over alien enemies exercised in the restricted areas .

The draft release tried to calm groundless fears of sabotage and to
address the situation of Nisei citizens:
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has charge of the investigation
of the [sic] subversive activities. To date there has been no sub
stantial evidence of planned sabotage by any alien . The FBI and

the other agencies of the Federal Government are , however, very
much alive to the possibility of acts of sabotage, particularly in
case of a possible attack on our shores by the enemy.
The government is fully aware of the problems presented by
dual nationalities, particularly among the Japanese. Appropriate
governmental agencies are now dealing with the problem . The

Department of War and the Department of Justice are in agree
ment that the present military situation does not at this time
134
require the removal of American citizens of the Japanese race .
As General Gullion , the Provost Marshal General, described it, the

meeting to discuss the press release between Stimson, McCloy and
Bendetsen from the War Department and Biddle, Hoover and Rowe
from Justice was heated indeed:

[ The Justice officials] said there is too much hysteria about this
thing; said these Western Congressmen are just nuts about it and

the people getting hysterical and there is noevidence whatsoever
of any reason for disturbing citizens, and the Department of Jus
tice, Rowe started it and Biddle finished it — The Department of
Justice will having [sic] nothing whatsoever to do with any inter
ference with citizens, whether they are Japanese or not. They
made me a little sore and I said , well listen Mr. Biddle, do you
mean to tell me that if the Army, the men on the ground , deter
mine it is a military necessity to move citizens, Jap citizens, that

you won't help me. He didn't give a direct answer, he said the

Department of Justice would be through if we interfered with
citizens and write [sic] of habeas corpus, etc. 135

The sticking point in the press release was the final statement that
the removal of Nisei was unnecessary. Secretary Stimson and Assistant

Secretary McCloy wanted DeWitt to consider the draft before they
responded. Later that day Bendetsen and Gullion read the release over
the phone to DeWitt. Gullion said he knew DeWitt now believed mass
evacuation of Japanese Americans, including citizens, was essential,

although Justice officials believed that DeWitt earlier had opposed

EXECUTIVE ORDER 9066

75

mass evacuation . Gullion reported the position he had outlined to the
Attorney General at the meeting: “ I suggested that General DeWitt
has told me that he has travelled up and down the West Coast, he has
visited all these sectors, he has talked to all the Governors and other
local civil authorities and he has come to this conclusion, it is my

understanding that General DeWitt does favor mass evacuation . ..." 136
This, of course , was not a persuasive military justification for mov

ing 100,000 people, but despite numerous conversations with DeWitt

it was all that Gullion and Bendetsen could report. This was probably
accurate: DeWitt favored moving the Japanese American community
on the basis of his own opinions and those of the politicians he had
consulted amid the flood of anti-Japanese rhetoric on the West Coast.
Both the Governor of California and the Mayor of Los Angeles met
with DeWitt, who was apparently interested primarily in their rec
ommendations for action rather than in communicating what the mil
itary situation required. 137 The General reiterated his conclusory views
about exclusion in the call about the press release: protection against

sabotage “ only can be made positive by removing those people who
are aliens and who are Japs of American citizenship. ... "138 Gullion
told DeWitt that he should put in writing his views and the justification
for them , so his arguments could persuade McCloy and the Justice
Department. DeWitt promised a memorandum for McCloy in the next
.

few days.

The instructions to DeWitt were sound, for Secretary Stimson
and McCloy were not yet persuaded . 139 In his diary for February 3,
1942, Stimson wrote that DeWitt was anxiously clamoring for evacu
ation of Japanese from the areas around San Diego, Los Angeles, San

Francisco and Puget Sound, where important airplane factories and
shipyards were located:
If we base our evacuations upon the ground of removing enemy
aliens, it will not get rid ofthe Nisei who are the second generation

naturalized Japanese, and as I said, the more dangerous ones. If
on the other hand we evacuate everybody including citizens, we
must base it as far as I can see upon solely the protection of

specified plants. We cannot discriminate among our citizens on
the ground of racial origin . We talked the matter over for quite a

while and then postponed it in order tohear further from General
DeWitt who has not yet outlined all of the places that he wishes

protected .140
McCloy also hesitated . On February 3, 1942, DeWitt and McCloy
spoke by phone, DeWitt reading to McCloy the memorandum he had
promised Gullion on the first. It was another installment in the Gen

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

eral's talks with the politicians. DeWitt urged deleting the line in the
press release stating that the military situation did not require removal
of American citizens of Japanese race . The reason ? DeWitt had con
ferred with California Governor Olson the day before and agreed that

all male adult Nisei should leave the California combat zone. The
General's military reasoning on this sweeping proposition defies par
aphrase:
[T]o protect the Japanese of American birth from suspicion and
arrest, they should also have to carry identification cards to prove

that they are not enemy aliens, as the enemy alien by not carrying
identification card on his person could claim to be an American
Japanese. In other words, all Japanese look alike and those charged
with the enforcement of the regulation of excluding alien enemies
from restricted areas will not be able to distinguish between them.
The same applies in practically the same way to alien Germans
and alien Italians but due to the large number of Japanese in the

State of California ( approximately 93,000), larger than any other
State in the Union,, and the very definite war consciousness of the
people of California, as far as pertains to the Japanese participation
in the war, the question of the alien Japanese and all Japanese

presents a problem in control, separate and distinct from that of
the German and Italian .

The general consensus of opinion as agreed to by all present at
this conference was that, due to the above facts, the removal of
all male adult Japanese, that is over 18 years of age, whether

native or American born, alien enemy or Japanese, from that area
of California defined as a combat zone (should be achieved ). 141

Governor Olson wanted to achieve this by “ voluntary” evacuation
and General DeWitt thought this excellent. * Not surprisingly, McCloy
was baffled , suggesting that dangerous people would not voluntarily
leave a sensitive military area. DeWitt, who described himselfas sitting
on the sidelines during the conference in Olson's office, replied that
he didn't know how Olson would handle that, but that if something
weren't done soon the public would take matters into its own hands

because “ Out here, Mr. Secretary, a Jap is a Jap to these people now .'
It is remarkable that McCloy did not press DeWitt in this conversation
for some military justification for moving the Nisei, but perhaps DeWitt's

*Olson's central role in devising this program is corroborated by one of
the group of Nisei with whom he met on February 6 to explain the plan and
to whom Olson stated that “ he has been asked by the Federal authorities to

recommend ” the best procedure to handle “ this complicated Japanese situa
tion . ” (Letter, Ken Matsumoto to Ringle, Feb. 7, 1942 (CWRIC 19547 ]).

EXECUTIVE ORDER 9066

77

assurance that the Governor thought only 20,000 would have to move

( and voluntarily) may have veiled the importance of what was afoot.
In any event, McCloy was most concerned about the legality of any

government action . He favored the procedure of designating restricted
zones and letting people back in by permit; he would allow in
“[e]veryone but the Japs.” The dictates of military necessity were not
part ofthe dialogue; McCloy, like the Justice Department, was satisfied

with a legalistic procedure which only masked exclusion on the basis
of ethnicity. 142

Public pressure, of course , continued. FBI officials reported that
the Los Angeles newspapers were carrying reports that Attorney Gen

eral Warren of California and “ approximately one hundred sheriffs and
district attorneys throughout the State of California have recommended
and demanded that all Japanese aliens be moved from all territories
of the State of California .” 143 But public opinion was not uniform .
Archibald MacLeish of the Office of Facts and Figures summarized for
McCloy a California opinion poll which showed that “ the situation in

California is serious; that it is loaded with potential dynamite; but that
it is not as desperate as some people are said to believe. . . . We can
be pretty definite in saying that a majority of people think that the
Government ( chiefly the FBI) has the situation in hand . ” Between 23
and 43 percent of the population felt further action was needed. The

report suggested that these people “ tend to cluster in the low income,
groups, and they are the ones who are most suspicious
poorly educated groups,
of local Japanese in general .”144
After the discussion of February 3, events moved quickly. On the
4th, McCloy met with Gullion, Rowe, Ennis and Ennis's assistant,

Burling, to discuss possible legislation that might be drawn up to
remove both citizens and aliens from parts of the West Coast. 145 On

the same day Bendetsen outlined his views and concluded that the
enemy alien problem was primarily a Japanese problem , encompassing
both aliens and citizens. He recommended the designation of military

areas surrounding all vital installations in the Western Defense Com
mand; all persons who did not have express permission to enter and
remain would be excluded. He rejected mass evacuation as unjustified
by military necessity and expected his recommendation to involve
moving approximately 30,000 people. Bendetsen's position rested on
his belief that “ by far the vast majority of those who have studied the
Oriental assert that a substantial majority of Nisei bear allegiance to
Japan, are well controlled and disciplined by the enemy, and at the

proper time will engage in organized sabotage, particularly, should a

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

raid along the Pacific Coast be attempted by the Japanese.” 146 It is
unknown who these Oriental experts were , but Bendetsen, the one
westerner close to War Department decision makers in Washington ,
may merely have repeated prejudices common on the West Coast.
On February 5, Rowe and McCloy discussed the alien problem
by telephone147 and Gullion gave McCloy his views ofwhat steps should

be taken about the “ Japanese problem .” This discussion shows that by
early February the focus was shifting from military necessity to op
erations, from the question of “ whether ” to “ how . ” The War Depart
ment draft proposal began:
The War Department recommends the following steps be taken
in connection with the “alien enemy-potential saboteur” problem
on the West Coast and elsewhere in the United States:
Step 1

The establishment ofmilitary areas surrounding all vital national
defense installations within the United States as designated by the
appropriate Commanding Generals and approved by the War De
partment. From these areas will be excluded all persons, whether
aliens or citizens, who are deemed dangerous as potential sabo
teurs, espionage agents and fifth columnists by the administering
military authorities.
Step 2

The continuation , vigorously, of the alien enemy apprehension
and internment program .

This approach still covered narrow geographic areas but it affected
aliens and citizens alike. Doubts of the necessity for evacuation were
drowning in details of how to accomplish it.
Then on February 7, Biddle had lunch with the President and
communicated his views about mass evacuation:
I discussed at length with him the Japanese stating exactly what
we had done, that we believe mass evacuation at this time inad
visable, that the F.B.I. was not staffed to perform it; that this was

an Army job not, in our opinion , advisable; that there were no

reasons for mass evacuation and that I thought the Army should
be directed to prepare a detailed plan of evacuation in case of an

emergency caused by an air raid or attempted landing on the West
Coast. I emphasized the danger of the hysteria, which we were
beginning to control, moving east and affecting the Italian and
German population in Boston and New York. Generally he ap
proved being fully aware of the dreadful risk of Fifth Column
149

retaliation in case of aa raid .
By the time he made his decision, therefore, Roosevelt knew Biddle's
views, 150 but it is important to note that, while the Attorney General

EXECUTIVE ORDER 9066

79

did not believe evacuation was necessary, he did not tell the President
that evacuation would fail to pass constitutional muster on the facts.

Stimson's diary entry for February 10, 1942, reiterates his previous
view that “ The second generation Japanese [Nisei] can only be evac
uated either as part of a total evacuation, giving access to the areas

only by permits, or by frankly trying to put them out on the ground
that their racial characteristics are such that we cannot understand or
trust even the citizen Japanese. This latter is the fact but I am afraid

it will make a tremendous hole in our constitutional system to apply

it. ” His concern was heightened by his view that Japan might try to
invade the United States; the Secretary mused on Homer Lea's pre
dictions twenty -five years earlier in The Valor ofIgnorance that in the
Pacific geopolitical forces were shifting so that Japan was capable of

invading a lightly populated and defended West Coast and holding the
Pacific slope to the crest of the Sierras: “ In those days [Lea's] book
seemed fantastic. Now the things that he prophesied seem quite pos
sible . " 151

At this point Stimson's mind was still not made up, at least about

the scope of evacuation , and he still wanted from DeWitt a specific
recommendation based on a careful review of military necessity. 152
There is no indication that Stimson received such a memo immediately,

but he must have been persuaded that the case had been or would be
made, for the next day his diary notes:

I then had a conference in regard to the west coast situation with
McCloy and General Clark who has been out there. This is a stiff
proposition. General DeWitt is asking for some very drastic steps,
to wit: the moving and relocating of some 120,000 people including
citizens of Japanese descent. This is one of those jobs that is so
big that, ifwe resolved on it, it just wouldn't be done; so I directed
them to pick out and begin with the most vital places of army and

navy production and take them on in that order as quickly as
possible. . .
I tried to get an interview with the President over these various

matters but was unable to do so. I then arranged for a telephone

call which finally came through about one thirty.
I took up with him the west coast matter first and told him the
situation and fortunately found that he was very vigorous about it

and told me to go ahead on the line that I had myself thought the
best. 153

Stimson may not have had in mind the massive evacuation ofall citizens
and aliens of Japanese descent; his description of what he supported

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

resembled most the designation of military areas and entry into them

by permit, which would be denied to Japanese citizens and aliens.
The first ten days of February had not yet produced a better
rationale for evacuation from General DeWitt than his fundamental

racial mistrust of the ethnic Japanese. Now , perhaps by dint of repe
tition or exposure to the anti- Japanese view of West Coast interest

groups and politicians, mistrust had taken hold at the top of the War
Department. Clamor from the press and politicians was relentless.
Incessant West Coast demands for evacuation were countered by no
one of stature who knew the Pacific Coast.

On February 12, Walter Lippmann, a prominent, intellectually
respected syndicated columnist, wrote of his serious concern about a
Japanese raid on the United States and potential sabotage. Because

Lippmann thought saboteurs would be native -born Nisei as well as
aliens, the procedure he recommended which “ought to be used for
all persons in a zone which the military authorities regard as open to

enemy attack ” was to compel everyone to prove that he had a good
reason to be there . “ Under this system all persons are in principle
treated alike.” 154 He recommended that the West Coast be made a

combat zone open only to those with a reason to be present. This was

the plan being discussed in the War Department; Lippmann had talked
over the issue with Attorney General Warren, who had spoken exten

sively to federal officials, and there is no reason to believe Lippmann
formed an opinion without knowing the basic issues the government
155
was looking at Lippmann's article was taken as a recommendation
to exclude all ethnic Japanese from the West Coast, and from the
strident right Westbrook Pegler popularized the suggestion a few days
later:

Do you get what (Lippmann) says? ... the enemy has been
scouting our coast. . . . The Japs ashore are communicating with
the enemy offshore and ... on the basis of “what is known to be
taking place” there are signs that a well-organized blow is being
withheld only until it can do the most damage.

We are so dumb and considerate of the minute constitutional
rights and even of the political feelings and influence of people
whom we have every reason to anticipate with preventive action!
Pegler put his central point very simply: “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. ”156 The entire
spectrum of press opinion was uniting to advocate exclusion .

At the same time, Manchester Boddy, liberal editor and publisher

EXECUTIVE ORDER 9066

81

of the Los Angeles Daily News who had earlier written a book on the
ethnic Japanese in America, 157 sent first a telegram, then a letter, to
Attorney General Biddle warning that the “alien Japanese situation [is]

deteriorating rapidly .” To forestall irresponsible citizen action, Boddy
suggested prompt evacuation of alien Japanese who “have anticipated
evacuation and are in state of readiness ,” and placement into a con
centration camp now , with consideration of their ultimate disposition
later. Boddy found “no distinction in public mind regarding Japanese

aliens and their dual citizenship children ” and therefore expressly as
sumed that aliens and citizens would both be moved. 158

Fear of violence against Japanese Americans had grown markedly
among law enforcement officials in California.

At a conference of California district attorneys and sheriffs on
February 2, it was announced that various civic and agricultural

groups were actively fostering extra -legal action against the Jap
anese . Subsequently the sheriff of Merced County reported “ rum
blingsofvigilante activity”; the chiefofpolice of Huntington Beach
described anti -Japanese feeling as “ at fever heat”; the police chief

at Watsonville announced that “ racial hatred is mounting higher

and higher” and that Filipinos were “arming themselves and going
out looking for an argument with Japanese”; and Oxnard's police
chief reported that “ it has been planned by local Filipinos and
some so -called “200 percent Americans' to declare a local war'
against local Japanese, during the next blackout.” 159

Pressure for government action was also increasing in Congress.

On February 13 Congressman Clarence Lea, the senior West Coast
Representative, wrote to President Roosevelt on behalfofthe members

of Congress from California , Oregon and Washington :
We recommend the immediate evacuation of all persons of Jap

anese lineage and all others, aliens and citizens alike, whose pres

ence shall be deemed dangerous or inimical to the defense of the
United States from all strategic areas .

In defining said strategic areas we recommend that such areas
include all military installations, war industries, water and power

plant installations, oil fields and refineries, transportation and other
essential facilities as well as adequate protective areas adjacent
thereto .

We further recommend that such areas be enlarged as expe
ditiously as possible until they shall encompass the entire strategic
area of the states of California, Oregon and Washington, and Ter

ritory of Alaska.
We make these recommendations in order that no citizen, lo

cated in a strategic area, may cloak his disloyalty or subversive
activity under the mantle of his citizenship alone and further to

82

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

guarantee protection to all loyal persons, alien and citizen alike,
whose safety may be endangered by some wanton act of sabo

tage. 160
Roosevelt forwarded the letter to Secretary Stimson, 161 although the
views of the West Coast delegation were well known to the War De
162

partment, which had already briefed the Congressmen.

At this late date of February 14 General DeWitt finally sent to
the Secretary of War his final recommendation on the “Evacuation of
Japanese and Other Subversive Persons from the Pacific Coast .” Hav
ing estimated that the West Coast was open to air and naval attacks
as well as sabotage, but without suggesting that a Japanese raid or

invasion would land troops on the West Coast, the General set out his
military justification for requesting the power to exclude ethnic Jap
anese :

The area lying to the west ofCascade 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 strug

gle 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 extrac
tion, are at large today. There are indications that these are or
ganized and ready for concerted action at aa 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. 163
The only justification for exclusion here, beyond DeWitt's belief
that ethnicity ultimately determines loyalty , is the unsupported con
clusion that “indications” show that the Japanese “ are organized and

ready for concerted action.” The General's best argument for the truth
of this was the fact that it hadn't happened yet. It would be hard to
concoct a more vicious, less professional piece of military reasoning.
Perhaps DeWitt's final recommendation came too late to shock McCloy

EXECUTIVE ORDER 9066

83

and Stimson into demanding sound military arguments for what was
now rolling forward. Perhaps the poverty of DeWitt's position also

explains the growing emphasis on the danger of vigilantism , which
argued that the Nisei now must be moved for their own protection .
In the face of still- swelling demands for evacuation and the rec
ommendation of his Secretary of War, Roosevelt was not likely to
reconsider his decision. Nevertheless, on February 17 Attorney Gen
eral Biddle sent a memorandum to the President in the guise of a

briefing paper for a press conference. Biddle opposed evacuation once
again, elaborating the arguments he had made to Stimson :164

For several weeks there have been increasing demands for evac
uation of all Japanese, aliens and citizens alike, from the West

Coast states. A great many of the West Coast people distrust the
Japanese, various special interests would welcome their removal
from good farm land and the elimination of their competition,
some of the local California radio and press have demanded evac
uation , the West Coast Congressional Delegation are asking the

same thing and finally, Walter Lippman (sic) and Westbrook Pe
gler recently have taken up the evacuation cry on the ground that
attack on the West Coast and widespread sabotage is imminent.
My last advice from the War Department is that there is no evi
dence of imminent attack and from the F.B.I. that there is no
evidence of planned sabotage.

I have designated as a prohibited area every area recommended
to me by the Secretary of War, through whom the Navy recom
mendations are also made.

We are proceeding as fast as possible. To evacuate the 93,000
Japanese in California over night would materially disrupt agri
cultural production in which they play a large part and the farm

labor now is so limited that they could not be quickly replaced.
Their hurried evacuation would require thousands of troops, tie

up transportation and raise very difficult questions ofresettlement.
Under the Constitution 60,000 of these Japanese are American
citizens. If complete confusion and lowering of morale is to be

avoided, so large a job must be done after careful planning. The
Army has not yet advised me of its conclusion in the matter.

There is no dispute between the War, Navy, and Justice De
partments. The practical and legal limits of this Department's
authority which is restricted to alien enemies are clearly under
stood . The Army is considering what further steps it wishes to
recommend

It is extremely dangerous for the columnists, acting as “ Armchair
Strategists and Junior G -Men ,” to suggest that an attack on the
West Coast and planned sabotage is imminent when the military
authorities and the F.B.I. have indicated that this is not the fact.

It comes close to shouting FIRE ! in the theater; and if race riots

1

1
1

84

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

occur, these writers will bear a heavy responsibility. Either Lipp
man [sic] has information which the War Department and the
F.B.I. apparently do not have , or is acting with dangerous irre
sponsibility.
No minds were changed , and by this time the Attorney General

was taking coarse and threatening abuse for his unwillingness to join
the stampede to mass evacuation. Seven months later, Congressman
Ford recalled speaking to Biddle at this point:
I phoned the Attorney General's office and told them to stop
fucking around. I gave them twenty four hours notice that unless
they would issue a mass evacuation notice I would drag the whole
matter out on the floor of the House and of the Senate and give

the bastards everything we could with both barrels. I told them
they had given us the run around long enough
. and that if
they would not take immediate action , we would clean the god
.

damned office out in one sweep. I cussed at the Attorney General

and his staff himselfjust like I'm cussing to you now and he knew
damn well I meant business. 166
2

On February 17 Stimson recorded meeting with War Department
officials to outline a proposed executive order; General Gullion un
dertook to have the order drafted that night: “ War Department orders

will fill in the application ofthis Presidential order. These were outlined
and Gullion is also to draft them .” Further, Stimson said, “ It will
involve the tremendous task of moving between fifty and one hundred
thousand people from their homes and finding temporary support and
sustenance for them in the meanwhile, and ultimately locating them
in new places away from the coast.” 167 In short, whatever his views

during discussion with the President a few days before, Stimson now
contemplated a mass move.

On February 18, 1942, Stimson met about the executive order
with Biddle, Ennis, Rowe, and Tom Clark of the Department of Justice ;
and Robert Patterson , Under Secretary of War; McCloy; Gullion; and
Bendetsen from the War Department. Stimson wrote :

Biddle, McCloy and Gullion had done a good piece of work in

breaking down the issues between the Departments the night
before, and a draft of a presidential executive order had been
drawn by Biddle based upon that conference and the preceding

conference I had had yesterday. We went over them . I made a
few suggestions and then approved it. This marks a long step
forward towards a solution of a very dangerous and vexing prob
lem . But I have no illusions as to the magnitude of the task that
lies before us and the wails which will go up in relation to some
of the actions which will be taken under it . 168

85

EXECUTIVE ORDER 9066

The Attorney General remembered the tenor of the meeting
somewhat differently, but, writing in his autobiography, agreed about
the result:
Rowe and Ennis argued strongly against the Executive Or
der) . But the decision had been made by the President. It was,

he said, a matter of military judgment. I did not think I should
oppose it any further. The Department of Justice, as I had made
it clear to him from the beginning, was opposed to and would
have nothing to do with the evacuation. 169
In Los Angeles on the night of February 19, the United Citizens
Federation , representing a wide range of pro -Nisei interests, held its
first meeting of more than a thousand people. Plans were laid to per

suade the press, the politicians and the government that their attacks
upon the ethnic Japanese were unfounded. 170 It was too late.
Earlier in the day, President Roosevelt had signed Executive Or
der 9066. The Order directed the Secretary of War and military com

manders designated by him, whenever it was deemed necessary or
desirable, to prescribe military areas “ with respect to which, the right
of any person to enter, remain in, or leave shall be subject to whatever

restrictions the Secretary of War or the appropriate Military Com
mander may impose in his discretion . " 171 There was no direct mention

ofAmerican citizens ofJapanese descent, but unquestionably the Order
was directed squarely at those Americans. A few months later, when
there was talk of the War Department using the Executive Order to
move Germans and Italians on the East Coast, the President wrote

Stimson that he considered enemy alien control to be “ primarily a
civilian matter except of course in the case of the Japanese mass evac
uation on the Pacific Coast. " 172

The next day, to underscore the government's new -found unity
on this decision, Attorney General Biddle sent to the President's per
sonal attention a memorandum justifying the Executive Order and its
broad grant of powers to the military. Biddle's note paraphrased lib
erally from the memorandum he had received earlier from Cohen ,
Cox and Rauh:

This authority gives very broad powers to the Secretary of War

and the Military Commanders. These powers are broad enough
to permit them to exclude any particular individual from military
areas. They could also evacuate groups of persons based on a
reasonable classification . The order is not limited to aliens but

includes citizens so that it can be exercised with respect to Jap
anese, irrespective of their citizenship.

The decision of safety of the nation in time of war is necessarily

53-124 - 92 - 4

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

for the Military authorities. Authority over the movement of per
sons, whether citizens or noncitizens, may be exercised in time
of war. ... This authority is no more than declaratory of thepower
of the President, in time of war , with reference to all areas, sea
or land.

The President is authorized in acting under his general war
powers without further legislation. The exercise of the power can
meet the specific situation and, of course , cannot be considered
as any punitive measure against any particular nationalities. It is

rather a precautionary measure to protect the national safety. It
is not based on any legal theory but on the facts that the unrestricted movement of certain racial classes, whether American
citizens or aliens, in specified defense areas may lead to serious

disturbances. These disturbances cannot be controlled by police
protection and have the threat of injury to our war effort. A con
dition and not a theory confronts the nation. 173
After the decision, there was no further dissent at the highest levels

of the federal government. The War Department stood behind the
facts and the Justice Department stood behind the law which were the
foundation of the Executive Order.

JUSTIFYING THE DECISION

Any account which relies on finding documents forty years after a
decision may reasonably be questioned when it concludes that little
or nothing in the record factually supports the reasons given at the
time to justify the decision . For that reason , the two major justifications

of the exclusion composed during the war by the War Department
and the Justice Department must be considered : General DeWitt's
Final Report: Japanese Evacuation from the West Coast, 1942, which

he forwarded to the Secretary of War in June 1943, and the Justice
Department's brief in Hirabayashi v. United States, filed in the Su
preme Court in May 1943. *

* The House Select Committee Investigating National Defense Migration,
commonly known as the Tolan Committee, was the first official body to examine
the exclusion, holding hearings on the West Coast in late February and March
1942. It chose to treat the exclusion as a fait accompli, but in its reports it

noticeably failed to offer an effective defense of the exclusion. In the context
of the Germans and Italians, it emphasized “ the fundamental fact that place

of birth and technical noncitizenship alone provide no decisive criteria for

assessing the alinement (sic) of loyalties in this world -wide conflict.” The

EXECUTIVE ORDER 9066

87

DeWitt's Final Report bases the War Department decision on a
number of factors: signaling from shore to enemy submarines; arms
and contraband found by the FBI during raids on Nikkei homes and
businesses; danger to evacuees from vigilantes; concentration of the

ethnic Japanese population around or near militarily sensitive areas;
the number of Japanese ethnic organizations on the coast which might

shelter pro-Japanese attitudes or activities such as Emperor-worship
ping Shinto; the presence of the Kibei, who had recent ties to Japan .
“ It was, perforce, a combination of factors and circumstances with

which the Commanding General had to deal. Here was a relatively
homogenous, unassimilated element bearing a close relationship through
race, religion , language, custom and indoctrination to the en
emy. ”174 *

ties of

Two items in DeWitt's list stand out as demonstrable indications

of military danger: shore -to -ship signaling and the discovery of arms
and contraband . Reading the Final Report while preparing to defend
the exclusion in the Supreme Court, Justice Department attorneys

Committee did not doubt that fifth column elements were present among

Germans and Italians as well as Japanese but concluded, “Surely some more
workable method exists for determining the loyalty and reliability of these
people than the uprooting of 50 trustworthy persons to remove one dangerous

individual.” Moreover, in comparing German and Italian aliens to Japanese

aliens, the Committee found only two significant differences: the Japanese
tended to live in separate communities and an unusually high proportion were
engaged in agriculture and produce distribution . Neither has any obvious

military significance. Given this line of reasoning it is not surprising that in

its March report, the Committee reported “ [a] profound sense of certain in
justices and constitutional doubts attending the evacuation of the Japanese ,”
and in its May report stated, “ The Nation must decide and Congress must

gravely consider, as a matter of national policy, the extent to which citizenship,
in and of itself, is a guaranty of equal rights and privileges during time of war.'
Report of the Select Committee Investigating National Defense Migration,

House of Representatives, 77th Cong. , 2d Sess. , House Report No. 1911 , pp .
15, 21-22, 25; Fourth Interim Report of the Select Committee Investigating
National Defense Migration , 77th Cong. , 2d Sess . , House Report No. 2124,
pp. 11 , 25 .

* DeWitt also referred to three “ striking illustrations” of the need for
evacuation — shellings by the Japanese of Goleta, California, and Astoria , Or

egon , and a bombing of Brookings, Oregon. All three incidents took place
after the Executive Order was signed. Moreover, the military importance of
these episodes was clearly negligible. (Grodzins, Americans Betrayed , pp. 294
95.)

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

were drawn to the signaling contention . It was investigated by the
FCC and found to be so utterly unsubstantiated that, in its brief to
the Supreme Court, the Justice Department was careful not to rely
on DeWitt's Final Report as a factual basis for the military decision it
had to defend. 175 There simply had not been any identifiable shore
to -ship signalling
The Justice Department had dismissed the arms and contraband
argument earlier. By May 1942 the FBI had seized 2,592 guns of various
kinds; 199,000 rounds of ammunition ; 1,652 sticks of dynamite; 1,458
radio receivers; 2,014 cameras and numerous other items which the

alien Japanese had been ordered to surrender in January. But numbers
alone meant little; a truckload ofguns and ammunition had been picked
up in a raid on a sporting goods store and another large supply of

material was found in the warehouse of a general store owner. The
Department of Justice concluded that it all had negligible significance:

We have not, however, uncovered through these searches any
dangerous persons that we could not otherwise know about. We
have not found among all the sticks of dynamite and gun powder
any evidence that any of it was to be used in bombs.
We have not found a single machine gun nor have we found
any gun in any circumstances indicating that it was to be used in

a manner helpful to our enemies . We have not found a camera
which we have reason to believe was for use in espionage.

To the government's official military historian ofthe evacuation, Stetson
Conn, this was the most damaging tangible evidence against the evac
uees, and he clearly believed it was insubstantial. 177
The argument that the exclusion served to protect the Nikkei
against vigilantism had wide currency . The violence against ethnic

Japanese on the West Coast cannot be dismissed lightly. Between Pearl
Harbor and February 15, 5 murders and 25 other serious crimes ,

rapes, assaults, shootings, property damage, robbery or extortion
were reported against ethnic Japanese. 178 This was no lynch mob on
the loose, but it was serious and, in fact, more violence against ethnic

Japanese followed the signing of the Executive Order. tenBroek de
scribes it succinctly:

During March an attempt was made to burn down a Japanese
owned hotel at Sultana. On April 13 at Del Ray five evacuees

were involved in aa brawl with the local constable — following which
a crowd ofwhite residents, some armed with shotguns, threatened
violence to a nearby camp of Japanese Americans. On succeeding

nights the windows of four Japanese stores were smashed, and
similar incidents occurred in Fresno. In northern Tulare County,

EXECUTIVE ORDER 9066

89

a group known as the “Bald Eagles” described by one observer
as a “ a guerrilla army of nearly 1,000 farmers” -armed themselves

for the announced purpose of “guarding” the Japanese in case of
emergency. A similar organization was formed in the southeast
part of the county , where a large number of evacuees were con
centrated . 179

Protecting ethnic Japanese from vigilantes is a justification for the
exclusion which has been repeatedly emphasized over the years. Stim
son's autobiography relied on it as a principal reason :
What critics ignored was the situation that led to the evacuation .

Japanese raids on the west coast seemed not only possible but
probable in the first months ofthe war, and it was quite impossible
to be sure that the raiders would not receive important help from
individuals ofJapanese origin . More than that, anti-Japanese feel
ing on the west coast had reached a level which endangered the
lives of all such individuals; incidents of extra -legal violence were
increasingly frequent. 180

McCloy emphasized the same point in his testimony before the

Commission181 and it appears in his papers in 1942 as a subsidiary
reason for exclusion . 182 Tom Clark, writing long after the war, gave

protection against vigilantism as the reason he was willing to support
the exclusion . 183

This explanation sounds lame indeed today. It was not publicly
advanced at the time to justify the exclusion and, had protection been
on official minds, a much different post- evacuation program would have
been required. McCloy himself supplied the most telling rebuttal of
the contention in a 1943 letter to General DeWitt:

That there is serious animosity on the West Coast against all
evacuated Japanese I do not doubt, but that does not necessarily
mean that we should trim our sails accordingly . ... The Army,

as I see it, is not responsible for the general public peace of the
Western Defense Command. That responsibility still rests with

the civil authorities. There may, as you suggest, be incidents, but
these can be effectively discouraged by prompt action by law
enforcement agencies, with the cooperation of the military if they

even [sic] assume really threatening proportions. 184
That is the simple, straightforward answer to the argument of protec
tion against vigilantes — keeping the peace is aa civil matter that would

involve the military only in extreme situations. Even then, public
officials would be duty -bound to protect the innocent, not to order
them from their homes for months or years under the rubric of a

military measure designed to maintain public peace.
DeWitt's analysis in the Final Report of Japanese population con

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

centration and Japanese organizations is lifted, virtually verbatim , from
testimony by Earl Warren before a Congressional committee after the

Executive Order was promulgated. The pattern of land purchases near
"military ” areas means very little when one realizes that sensitive

military installations included aircraft plants, oilfields, dams, isolated
areas of the coast and powerlines as well as forts or Navy bases. The
fact that a number of Japanese ethnic organizations shared the same

post office box seems equally meaningless. A similar “analysis” of Ital

ians and Italian Americans who lived under dual citizenship laws more
strict than the Japanese in claiming the allegiance of children born to

Italian citizens, 185 would have produced an equally alarming and mean

ingless pattern. Morton Grodzins has neatly set out the usual indices
of probable Japanese disloyalty in terms of the Italians:
Because of their concentration in the fishing industry, Italians if

anything were located in more strategic coastal locations than the
Japanese . This was especially true of the San Francisco Bay area
and adjoining counties.
The Italians had their full quota of language schools and their
own churches. They and their children made numerous trips to
their home country. The Italian consuls were active and important
members of the community, and Fascist propaganda was reflected
in a vernacular press which supported Mussolini's domestic and

foreign policies. If naturalizationwere any indication of accultur
ation , then the single fact that more than half the foreign -born
Italians had not become citizens of the United States demonstrated

a low degree of Americanization . Educational achievement rates

of children of Italian ancestry were lower, and their delinquency
rates were higher, in comparison with those of Japanese ancestry.
Italians in California had contributed funds to the Italian relief

agencies following the conquests of Ethiopia and Albania. 186
For good measure, one might add the spectre of the Mafia as a well
organized force willing to resort to any illegal means to achieve its
ends. For " evidence” of this sort to be credible, one must be predis

posed to believe that aa well -organized conspiracy is in progress . The
development of such views is hindered when the alleged conspirators
are well-known, familiar neighbors. It is equally important to recognize
that the military would not usually be expected to have expertise about

these social and cultural patterns; on such issues, if anyone's judgment
deserves deference it would be that of sociologists, not generals.

The Justice Department did no better than the War Department
in producing a factual record to support the evacuation decision. It
made a virtue of necessity :

The record in this case does not contain any comprehensive ac

EXECUTIVE ORDER 9066

91

count of the facts which gave rise to the exclusion and curfew
measures here involved. These facts, which should be considered

in determining the constitutionality of the Act (prohibiting vio
lation of military orders issued under the Executive Order ), em

brace the general military, political, economic, and social condi
tions under which the challenged orders were issued. These historical
facts . . . are ofthe type that are traditionally susceptible of judicial
notice in considering constitutional questions, and in particular,
many of these facts appear in official documents, such as the con
temporary Tolan Committee's reports, which are peculiarly within

the realm of judicial notice . 187

The first point the Hirabayashi brief made about reasons to con
clude that the ethnic Japanese might be disloyal, reviewed the dis
criminatory history of the immigration and alien land laws as well as

economic discrimination in the west. The passage concludes by sug
gesting that such hostile treatment might well have caused an absence
of loyalty to the United States — in other words, the resident Japanese
ought to be disloyal. Next, the high percentage of aliens in the com

munity was stressed (though the relevance of this to a case involving
an American citizen is by no means clear). The remaining points repeat
the tired catalogue of West Coast anti -Japanese propaganda; the head
ings of the brief tell the story: Dual Nationality, Shintoism , Education
of American -born Children in Japan, Japanese Language Schools on

the West Coast, Japanese Organizations and, finally, Possibility ofCivil
Disorder.188 The argument cites a vast array of general articles and
books, refers liberally to Congressional committee hearings and quotes

newspaper articles. This matches the Department's position that the
facts of the case should be determined on judicial notice — in other
words, everyone knew that the Japanese were likely to be disloyal, so
all the government needed to show was that opinion's respectability
and near -universality. No particular facts were needed . And no par
ticular facts of probative force were supplied .
Unhappily, on the West Coast and across most of the country in

February 1942, these baseless canards made respectable opinion. The
old prejudicial propaganda of the anti-Japanese faction, unopposed,
had won the day. As a Joint Immigration Committee official put it in

early February, “ This is our time to get things done that we have been
trying to get done for a quarter ofa century." 189 The War Department
and the President, through the press and politicians with the aid of
General DeWitt, had been sold a bill of goods. In accepting the vicious
views of California's ugly past, they came to believe that the Issei and
Nisei represented a threat to the security of the coast. Perhaps only

92

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

later did John J. McCloy, an easterner with little experience of the

west before Pearl Harbor, 190 discover whose program he had been
carrying out on the Pacific Coast after the War Department had failed
to scrutinize General DeWitt's demands closely and critically. It was

certainly with an air of disgust that McCloy wrote to General DeWitt's
successor, introducing California after his transfer from Hawaii:
The situation in California is not the same (as in Hawaii ]. You
have no doubt become aware of the existence of active and pow

erful minority groups in California whose main interest in the war
seems to take the form of a desire for permanent exclusion of all

Japanese, loyal or disloyal, citizen or alien, from the West Coast
or, at least, from California. . . . This means that considerations

other than of mere military necessity enter into any proposal for
removal of the present restrictions. 191
The program could not be ended on the basis of “mere military ne

cessity ,” largely because it did not begin that way.

3
Exclusion and Evacuation
With the signing of Executive Order 9066 , the course of the President

and the War Department was set. American citizens of Japanese an
cestry would be required to move from the West Coast on the basis

of wartime military necessity, and the way was open to move any other
group the military thought necessary. For the War Department and
the Western Defense Command (WDC ), the problem now became

primarily one of method and operation, not basic policy. General DeWitt
first tried “ voluntary ” resettlement: the Issei and Nisei were to move
outside restricted military zones on the West Coast but were free to

go wherever they chose . From a military standpoint, this policy was
bizarre and utterly impractical besides. If the Issei and Nisei were
being excluded because they threatened sabotage and espionage, it is

difficult to understand why they would be left at large in the interior
where there were, of course, innumerable dams, power lines, bridges
and war industries to be spied upon or disrupted. For that matter,

sabotage in the interior could be synchronized with a Japanese raid or

invasion for a powerful fifth column effect. If this was of little concern
to General DeWitt once the perceived problem was removed beyond
the boundaries of his command, it raises substantial doubts about how

gravely the War Department regarded the threat. The implications
were not lost on the citizens and politicians of the interior western

states; they believed that people who were a threat to wartime security
in California were equally dangerous in Wyoming and Idaho.
93

94

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

For the Issei and Nisei, “ voluntary ” relocation was largely im
practical. Quick sale of a going business or a farm with crops in the
ground could not be expected at a fair price. Most businesses that
relied on the ethnic trade in the Little Tokyos of the West Coast could
not be sold for anything close to market value. The absence of fathers
and husbands in internment camps and the lack of liquidity after funds
were frozen made matters more difficult. It was not easy to leave, and

the prospect of aa deeply hostile reception in some unknown town or
city was a powerful deterrent to moving.

Inevitably the government ordered mandatory mass evacuation
controlled by the Army; first to assembly centers — temporary staging
areas, typically at fairgrounds and racetracks — and from there to re
location centers — bleak, barbed -wire camps in the interior. Mass evac
uation went forward in one locality after another up and down the
coast, on short notice, with a drill sergeant's thoroughness and lack of

sentimentality. As the Executive Order required, government agencies
made an effort, only partially successful, to protect the property and
economic interests of the people removed to the camps; but their loss

of liberty brought enormous economic losses.
Even in time of war, the President and the military departments

do not make law alone. War actions must be implemented through
Congress, and the courts may review orders and directions of the

President about the disposition of the civilian population. Finally, in
a democratic society with aa free press, public opinion will be heard
and weighed. In the months immediately following Executive Order
9066, none of these political estates came to the aid of the Nisei or

their alien parents. The Congress promptly passed, without debate on
questions ofcivil rights and civil liberties, aa criminal statute prohibiting
violation of military orders issued under the Executive Order. The
district courts rejected Nisei pleas and arguments, both on habeas
corpus petitions and on the review of criminal convictions for violating

General DeWitt's curfew and exclusion orders. Public opinion on the
West Coast and in the country at large did nothing to temper its
violently anti -Japanese rage of early February. Only a handful of cit
izens and organizations — a few churchmen , a small part of organized
labor, a few others — spoke out for the rights and interests of the Nisei.

Few in numbers, bereft of friends, probably fearful that the next
outburst of war hysteria would bring mob violence and vigilantism that
law enforcement officials would do little to control, left only to choose
a resistance which would have proven the very disloyalty they denied
the Nisei and Issei had little alternative but to go . Each carried a

EXCLUSION AND EVACUATION

95

personal burden of rage or resignation or despair to the assembly

centers and camps which the government had hastily built to protect
130 million Americans against 60,000 of their fellow citizens and their
resident alien parents.

CONGRESS ACTS

The Executive Order gave the military the power to issue orders;. it
could not impose sanctions for failure to obey them . The Administration

quickly turned to Congress to obtain that authority. By February 22,
the War Department was sending draft legislation to the Justice De
partment. General DeWitt wanted mandatory imprisonment and a

felony sanction because “ you have greater liberty to enforce aa felony
than you

have to enforce aa misdemeanor, viz. You can shoot a man to

1
prevent the commission of aa felony .”! On March 9, 1942, Secretary
Stimson sent the proposed legislation to Congress. The bill was intro
duced immediately by Senator Robert Reynolds of North Carolina,

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Military Affairs, and by Rep
resentative John M. Costello of California .2

The Executive Order was what the West Coast Congressional
delegation had demanded of the President and the War Department.
Congressman John H. Tolan of California, who chaired the House

Select Committee which examined the evacuation from prohibited

military areas, characterized the order as “the recommendation in
almost the same words of the Pacific coast delegation .” 3 With such
regional support and military backing, there were only two circum
stances under which one might have expected Congressional opposi
tion : if Tolan's Committee, which held hearings on the West Coast in
late February, immediately after the Executive Order was signed, had
returned to Washington prepared to argue against the Executive Order;
or if, given the fact that there was no evidence of actual sabotage or

espionage, members concerned with civil rights and civil liberties had
protested .

Members of the Tolan Committee did not openly abandon support

of the Executive Order after their West Coast hearings. They went

out persuaded that espionage and fifth column activity by Issei and
Nisei in Hawaii had been central to the success of the Japanese attack.
Censorship in Hawaii meant that the only authoritative news from the
islands was official. With regard to sabotage and fifth column activity,

96

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

activity, that version of events was still largely made up of two pieces:
Secretary Knox’s firmly -stated December views that local sabotage had

substantially aided the attack, and the Roberts Commission's silence
about fifth column activity . Thus there was no effective answer to be
made when Tolan challenged pro -Nisei witnesses:
We had our FBI in Honolulu , yet they had probably the greatest,
the most perfect system of espionage and sabotage ever in the

history of war, native -born Japanese. On the only roadway to the
shipping harbor there were hundreds and hundreds ofautomobiles
clogging the street, don't you see.5
Not privy to the facts in Hawaii, advocates ofJapanese American loyalty

such as the Japanese American Citizens League, were frequently re
duced to arguing lamely that the mainland Nisei were different from ,
and more reliable than , the residents of Hawaii.6 This view of Pearl

Harbor goes a long way toward explaining the argument, repeated by
the Congressmen , that the lack of sabotage only showed that enemy
loyalists were waiting for a raid or invasion to trigger organized activity .?7
The Nisei spoke in their own defense; a few academics, churchmen
and labor leaders supported them .8 Even much of this testimony,
assuming that a mass evacuation was a fait accompli, addressed sec
ondary issues such as treatment during evacuation . Traditional anti
Japanese voices such as the California Joint Immigration Committee
testified firmly in favor of the Executive Order, reciting again the
historical catalogue of anti- Japanese charges. 9

Earl Warren, then Attorney General of California and preparing
to run for governor, joined the anti- Japanese side of the argument.
One of the first witnesses, Warren presented extensive views to the

Committee; he candidly admitted that California had made no sabotage
or espionage investigation of its own and that he had no evidence of

sabotage or espionage. 10 In place of evidence Warren offered extensive
documentation about Nikkei cultural patterns, ethnic organizations and
the opinions of California law enforcement officers; his testimony was
illustrated by maps vividly portraying Nikkei land ownership. This was
nothing but demagoguery:

I do not mean to suggest that it should be thought that all of these
Japanese who are adjacent to strategic points are knowing parties
to some vast conspiracy to destroy our State by sudden and mass
sabotage. Undoubtedly, the presence of many of these persons in
their present locations is mere coincidence, but it would seem
equally beyond doubt that the presence of others is not coinci

EXCLUSION AND EVACUATION

97

dence . It would seem difficult, for example, to explain the situation
in Santa Barbara County by coincidence alone.
In the northern end of that county is Camp Cook where, I am
informed, the only armored division on the Pacific coast will be
located. The only practical entrance to Camp Cook is on the sec
ondary road through the town of Lompoc. The maps show this

entrance is flanked with Japanese property, and it is impossible
to move a single man or a piece of equipment in or out of Camp
Cook without having it pass under the scrutiny of numerous Jap

anese . I have been informed that the destruction of the bridges
along the road to Camp Cook would effectually bottle up that
establishment for an indefinite time, exit to the south being im

possible because of extremely high mountains and to the north
because of a number of washes with vertical banks 50 to 60 feet

deep. There are numerous Japanese close to these bridges.
Immediately north of Camp Cook is a stretch of open beach
ideally suited for landing purposes, extending for 15 or 20 miles,
on which almost the only inhabitants are Japanese.

Throughout the Santa Maria Valley and including the cities of
Santa Maria and Guadalupe every utility, airfield , bridge, tele
phone, and power line or other facility of importance is flanked
by Japanese, and they even surround the oil fields in this area.
Only a few miles south , however, is the Santa Ynez Valley, an

area equally as productive agriculturally as the Santa Maria Valley
and with lands equally available for purchase and lease, but with
out any strategic installations whatever. There are no Japanese in
the Santa Ynez Valley.

Similarly, along the coastal plain of Santa Barbara County from
Gaviota south, the entire plain , though narrow , is subject to in
tensive cultivation. Yet the only Japanese in this area are located
immediately adjacent to such widely separated points as the El
Capitan oil field, Elwood oil field, Summerland oil field , Santa
Barbara Airport, and Santa Barbara Lighthouse and Harbor en
trance, and there are no Japanese on the equally attractive lands
between these points.

Such aa distribution of the Japanese population appears to man
ifest something more than coincidence. But, in any case, it is

certainly evident that the Japanese population of California is, as
a whole, ideally situated, with reference to points of strategic
importance, to carry into execution a tremendous program of sab
otage on a mass scale should any considerable number of them
be inclined to do so. 11

As late as February 8, Warren had advised the state personnel

board that it could not bar Nisei employees on the basis that they were
children of enemy alien parentage; such action was a violation of con

98

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

stitutionally protected liberties. 12 This earlier stance must have given

his performance before the Tolan Committee special force and effect. *
At bottom, Warren's presentation had no probative value, and
calm reflection would probably have led many to question whether
people planning to blow up dams or bridges would have purchased
the surrounding land rather than masking their intentions more thor
oughly. But these were not weeks of calm reflection. The overpowering
mass of Warren's data - maps and letters and lists from all over Cali

fornia — gripped the imagination and turned the discussion to fruitless
argument about whether land was bought before or after a powerline
or plant was built; no one focused on whether there was reason to

believe that this “ evidence” meant anything at all. A similar “analysis”

of ethnic Italian land ownership would probably have produced an
equally alarming and meaningless pattern, and , as Governor Olson
testified to the Committee, there were many Italian language schools

which frequently inculcated Fascist values. 13 Of course, no such com
parison was made ; even Olson's shocked revelation failed to attract the

attention of the Committee. The fact that the first witness called by
the Tolan Committee was Mayor Rossi of San Francisco and that a
great deal of time was devoted to extolling the unquestionable Amer

icanism of the DiMaggio brothers (although their father and mother
were aliens), clearly brings home the advantages which numbers, po

litical voices and comparative assimilation provided in 1942's hour of
crisis. 14 Helpful, too, was the absence of an organized anti-Italian fac
tion and the patronizing ethnic stereotype of being, as President Roo
sevelt remarked, nothing but a lot of opera singers. 15

In late February and early March , the Tolan Committee assumed
that Secretary Knox knew what he was talking about and that the
President was acting on informed opinion. The views of anti-Japanese
witnesses added substance and confirmed what was already known or

suspected. Although the Committee was eager to see that the property

*It was certainly persuasive with the Western Defense Command. In
DeWitt's Final Report, much of Warren's presentation to the Tolan Committee
was repeated virtually verbatim , without attribution . Warren's arguments,

presented after the signing of the Executive Order, became the central jus
tifications presented by DeWitt for issuing the Executive Order (Compare
Final Report, pp. 9-10, to Tolan Committee, p. 10974 ). This quick reorgani

zation of history does little to enhance the reputation of the Western Defense
Command for candor and independent analysis, although Warren may well
have presented his views to DeWitt earlier in February.

EXCLUSION AND EVACUATION

99

of aliens was safeguarded by the government and wanted the Army to

be concerned about hardship cases in an evacuation , it returned to
Washington unwilling to challenge the need for Executive Order 9066
and the evacuation. Only in reports issued over the next few months
did the Committee begin to raise serious questions about the policy
underlying exclusion and removal. 16

There was no civil liberty opposition in Congress to making crim
inal any violation of the Executive Order. There were , of course, few
Nisei of voting age and they had no voice in Congress. No one publicly

questioned the military necessity of the action or its intrusion into the
freedom of American citizens . Such debate as there was focused on
the inclusive wording of the bill.
The language of the bill was loose indeed. Senator Danaher won

dered how a person would know what conduct constituted a violation
of the act, an essential requirement for a criminal statute. 17 Senator
Taft spoke briefly against the bill, although he did not vote against it:
ว

I think this is probably the “ sloppiest” criminal law I have ever
read or seen anywhere. I certainly think the Senate should not
pass it. I do not want to object, because the purpose of

is

understood . ...
[ The bill] does not say who shall prescribe the restrictions. It

does not say how anyone shall know that the restrictions are ap
plicable to that particular zone. It does not appear that there is
any authority given to anyone to prescribe any restriction. ...
I have no doubt an act of that kind would be enforced in war

time. I have no doubt that in peacetime no man could ever be
convicted under it, because the court would find that it was so
indefinite and so uncertain that it could not be enforced under
the Constitution . 18

1

The debate was no more pointed or cogent in the House, where there
seemed to be some suggestion that the bill applied to aliens rather
than citizens. 19 The bill passed without serious objection or debate,

and was signed into law by the President on March 21 , 1942.20
1

This ratification of Executive Branch actions under Executive Or

der 9066 was particularly important; another independent branch of
government now stood formally behind the exclusion and evacuation,
and the Supreme Court gave great weight to the Congressional action
in upholding the imposition of aa curfew and the evacuation itself. 21*

* The Administration also considered introducing other legislation which
would have affected Japanese Americans. For example, Secretary Stimson

wrote to the Director of the Bureau of Budget on February 24 about legislation

100

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

IMPLEMENTING THE EXECUTIVE ORDER

Executive Order 9066 empowered the Secretary of War or his delegate
to designate military areas to which entry of any or all persons would
be barred whenever such action was deemed militarily necessary or

desirable. 22 On February 20, 1942,Secretary Stimson wrote to General
DeWitt delegating authority to implement the Executive Order within
the Western Defense Command and setting forth a number of specific
requests and instructions: American citizens of Japanese descent, Jap

anese and German aliens, and any persons suspected of being poten
tially dangerous were to be excluded from designated military areas;
everyone of Italian descent was to be omitted from any plan of exclu
sion, at least for the time being, because they were “ potentially less
>

dangerous, as a whole.” DeWitt was to consider redesignating the
Justice Department's prohibited areas as military areas, excluding Jap
anese and German aliens from those areas by February 24 and ex
cluding actually suspicious persons “as soon as practicable ;” full ad

vantage was to be taken of voluntary exodus; people were to be removed
gradually to avoid unnecessary hardship and dislocation of business
and industry “ so far as is consistent with national safety ;” accommo
dations were to be made before the exodus, with proper provision for

housing, food, transportation and medical care . Finally, evacuation
plans were to provide protection of evacuees' property.23
Over the next month DeWitt began to implement Stimson's in
structions. On March 2, he issued Public Proclamation No. 1, an

nouncing as a matter of military necessity the creation of Military Areas
No. 1 and No. 2. Military Area 1 was the western half of Washington,
Oregon , and California and the southern half of Arizona; all portions
of those states not included in Military Area No. 1 were in Military
Area No. 2. A number of zones were established as well; Zones A-1

through A-99 were primarily within Military Area No. 1; Zone B was

to amend the Nationality Act of 1940. The proposed amendments would have
permitted those who did not speak English to apply for citizenship; at the
same time , it would have provided a process for cancelling citizenship for those
whose conduct established allegiance to a foreign government. (Memo, Stimson
to Smith, Feb. 24 , 1942 (CWRIC 2809 ]). In effect, the legislation would have

allowed naturalization of aliens from enemy countries in Europe and the can
cellation of citizenship of some persons, particularly ethnic Japanese — a step
never before provided, but one which the anti-Japanese faction on the West
Coast had pushed in the past and would continue to urge .

EXCLUSION AND EVACUATION

101

the remainder of Military Area No. 1. The Proclamation further noted
that in the future people might be excluded from Military Area No. 1
and from Zones A-2 to A - 99, and that the designation of Military Area

No. 2 did not contemplate restrictions or prohibitions except with
respect to the Zones designated. The Proclamation clearly foreshad

owed extensive future exclusions. It also provided that any Japanese,
German , or Italian alien , and any person (citizen) ofJapanese ancestry
residing in Military Area No. 1 who changed his residence, was re
quired to file aa form with the post office. Finally, the Proclamation

expressly continued the prohibited and restricted areas designated by
the Attorney General.24 A curfew regulation requiring all enemy aliens

and persons ofJapanese ancestry to be in their homes between 8 p.m.
and 6 a.m. was added by proclamation on March 24, 1942.25
In the press statement accompanying his first public proclamation,
DeWitt announced that Japanese — both aliens and citizens — would be
evacuated first (suspicious persons were, ofcourse, being apprehended
daily ); only after the Japanese had been excluded would German and
Italian aliens be evacuated . In addition, some German and Italian aliens

would be altogether exempt from evacuation.26

At this point “ voluntary” resettlement outside the designated zones
was contemplated; excluded people were free to go where they chose
beyond the prohibited areas. “ Voluntary ” evacuation actually began
before Executive Order 9066. Enemy aliens had been excluded from
areas designated by the Department of Justice as early as December
1941, and many had moved out of the prohibited areas voluntarily.

The Army had an interest in attempting to continue that system; Ben
detsen noted that many aliens ordered to move after Pearl Harbor had
1

found new places for themselves, stressing that the Army should not

advertise that it would provide food and housing for those it displaced
because numerous aliens might rush to take advantage of a free living.

He also thought the Army should not be responsible for resettlement,
since its job “ is to kill Japanese not to save Japanese;" devoting re
sources to resettlement would make the Army's primary task — that of
winning the war — more difficult. 27

In Seattle, optimism marked the voluntary evacuation program .
Local FBI agents informed J. Edgar Hoover in late February that
Japanese aliens were prepared to evacuate, and that the Japanese
American Citizens League, through the Maryknoll Mission, was at
tempting to secure facilities and employment for the Seattle Japanese
community — both citizens and aliens — in St. Louis, Missouri. 28 The

Seattle Chapter of the JACL passed and published a resolution that

102

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

its members would make every effort to cooperate with the government
to facilitate evacuation measures.29

More sober minds saw that the voluntary program could not work .
As early as February 21, the Tolan Committee was beginning to receive
complaints from areas to which the evacuees were moving; 30 fears of

sabotage and destruction were spreading inland.31 Both Earl Warren
and Richard Neustadt, the regional director of the Federal Security
Agency, saw that only an evacuation and relocation program run by
the government could work. 32
The reaction from the interior was direct and forceful. On Feb

ruary 21, 1942, Governor Carville of Nevada wrote to General DeWitt

that permitting unsupervised enemy aliens to go to all parts of the
country, particularly to Nevada, would be conducive to sabotage and

subversive activities:
I have made the statement here that enemy aliens would be ac
cepted in the State of Nevada under proper supervision. This
would apply to concentration camps as well as to those who might
be allowed to farm or do such other things as they could do in
helping out. This is the attitude that I am going to maintain in
this State and I do not desire that Nevada be made a dumping
ground for enemy aliens to be going anywhere they might see fit
to travel.333

Governor Ralph L. Carr of Colorado was characterized by many
contemporaries as the one mountain state governor receptive to re
location of the Issei and Nisei in his state . 34 His radio address of Feb

ruary 28, 1942, gives a vivid impression of how high feelings ran about
these unwanted people:
If those who command the armed forces of our Nation say that it
is necessary to remove any persons from the Pacific coast and call

upon Colorado to do her part in this war by furnishing temporary
quarters for those individuals, we stand ready to carry out that
order. If any enemy aliens must be transferred as a war measure,
then we ofColorado are big enough and patriotic enough to do
our duty. We announce to the world that 1,118,000 red -blooded
citizens of this State are able to take care of 3,500 or any number
of enemies, if that be the task which is allotted to us .

The people of Colorado are giving their sons, are offering their
possessions, are surrendering their rights and privileges to the
end that this war may be fought to victory and permanent peace.

If it is our duty to receive disloyal persons, we shall welcome the
performance of that task.
This statement must not be construed as an invitation , however.
Only because the needs ofour Nation dictate it, do we even consider
such an arrangement. In making the transfers, we can feel assured

EXCLUSION AND EVACUATION

103

that governmental agencies will take every precaution to protect
our people, our defense projects, and our property from the same
menace which demands their removal from those sections. 35

The government was also beginning to realize the hardship which
the “ voluntary ” program brought upon evacuees. For instance , Sec
retary Knox forwarded to the Attorney General a report that the sit
uation of the Japanese in southern California was critical because they
were being forced to move with no provision for housing or means of
livelihood.36 McCloy, still in favor of the voluntary program , wrote

Harry Hopkins at the White House that “ [o ]ne of the drawbacks they
have is the loss of their property. A number of forced sales are taking
place and, until the last minute, they hate to leave their land or their
shop. "37
Inevitably, the “voluntary” evacuation failed. The Army recog

nized this in Public Proclamation No. 4 on March 27, which prohibited
persons of Japanese ancestry in Military Area No. 1 from changing
their residence without instruction or approval from the Army. The
Western Defense Command explained that the Proclamation was “ to

ensure an orderly, supervised, and thoroughly controlled evacuation
with adequate provision for the protection . . . of the evacuees as well
.

as their property.” The evacuees were to be shielded from intense
public hostility by this approach.38 Full government control had ar
rived .

The change -of-address cards required by Public Proclamation No.
1 show the number of people who voluntarily relocated before March
29. In the three weeks following March 2, only 2,005 reported moving
out of Military Area No. 1; since approximately 107,500 persons of

Japanese descent lived there, these statistics alone showed that vol
untary migration would not achieve evacuation . Public Proclamation
No. 4 was issued on March 27 effective at midnight March 29. In the
interval the Wartime Civil Control Administration received a rush of

approximately 2,500 cards showing moves out of Military Areas No. 1
and 2.39 The statistics in General DeWitt's Final Report are not alto
gether consistent: they show that from March 12 to June 30, 1942,

10,312 persons reported their “voluntary” intention to move out of
Military Area No. 1. But a net total40 of less than half that number

4,889 — left the area as part of the “ voluntary ” program . Of these vol
untary migrants, 1,963 went to Colorado; 1,519 to Utah ; 305 to Idaho;
208 to eastern Washington; 115 to eastern Oregon ; and the remainder

to other states.41 The Final Report surmises that this net total “probably

104

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

accounts for 90 percent of the total number of Japanese . .

who

voluntarily left the West Coast area for inland points. ” 42
While the voluntary program was failing, government officials and
others began to propose programs designed for the evacuees. On Feb
ruary 20, 1942, Carey McWilliams, then a California state official and
later editor of The Nation, sent a telegram to Biddle recommending

that the President establish an Alien Control Authority run by rep
resentatives of federal agencies. The agency would register, license,
settle, maintain and reemploy the evacuees, and conserve alien prop
erty. Ennis forwarded the suggestion to McCloy, who thought it had

merit.43 During the first week of March 1942, the Commissioner of
Indian Affairs in the Interior Department, John Collier, proposed what
he considered to be a constructive program for the evacuees, including
useful work , education , health care and other services to be provided

to them , as well as a plan for rehabilitation after the war. Collier said
that the Department of the Interior would be interested in working
on such a program ifit were a meaningful one.44 The Tolan Committee

filed an interim report which showed great prescience about future
problems and considerable concern for the fate of the evacuees.
Whatever their individual merit, these proposals reflect genuinely

sympathetic interest in the evacuees. Unfortunately, much of the thought
and care that went into these programs was lost in the rush to evacuate
and relocate .

MANDATORY EVACUATION

Once the decision was made that evacuation was no longer voluntary,
a plan for compulsory evacuation was needed . * The core of this plan

* There is a continuing controversy over whether the Census Bureau
breached the confidentiality of census information in order to aid other gov

ernment agencies in locating ethnic Japanese. John Toland, in his recent book

Infamy: Pearl Harbor and Its Aftermath (Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co. ,
Inc. , 1982), pp. 269, 284–85, recounts an episode on November 26, 1941, in
which Henry Field, an anthropologist working as an aide to President Roo
sevelt, was called to the office of Grace Tully, Roosevelt's secretary:
She told Field that the President was ordering him to produce, in the

shortest time possible, the full names and addresses of each American
born and foreign -born Japanese listed by locality within each state . Field

EXCLUSION AND EVACUATION

105

was that evacuation and relocation could not be accomplished simul

taneously. 46 Therefore, sites had to be found for both temporary quar
ters and longer-term settlement.

During the period of the voluntary evacuation program , the Army
had begun a search for appropriate camp facilities, both temporary and
permanent. 47 Regarding the criteria for selection of assembly centers,
General DeWitt later wrote:

Assembly Center site selection was a task of relative simplicity.
As time was of the essence, it will be apparent that the choice

was limited by four rather fundamental requirements which vir
tually pointed out the selections ultimately made. First, it was
necessary to find places with some adaptable pre -existing facilities
suitable for the establishment of shelter, and the many needed

was completely bewildered and didn't know how to begin. She explained
it was to be done by using the 1930 and 1940 censuses.

Within one week, Field is said to have delivered to Grace Tully the names
and addresses of all the ethnic Japanese in the United States.
Calvert Dedrick, aa Census Bureau employee who became a consultant to
the Western Defense Command in late February 1942, testified to the Com
mission that to his knowledge the Census Bureau provided the Western De

fense Command with detailed tabulations ofthe location ofthe ethnic Japanese
population but did not provide the names or addresses of individuals. (Tes
timony, Dedrick, Washington, DC, Nov. 3, 1981, pp. 170-90 .) The Census
Bureau undertook an internal investigation after the publication of Toland's
book and concluded that the account to Toland was not accurate and that
names and addresses had not been released . (Bureau of the Census “ Statement
on Census Bureau Actions at the Outset of World War II as Reported in

Infamy: Pearl Harbor and Its Aftermath, by John Toland,” Oct. 1982 (CWRIC
2929–34 ].) A brief statement by the Census Bureau of its activities in connection

with the evacuation, written in 1946 , also states that names and individual
identifications were not provided to the Western Defense Command. (Roger

Daniels, “ The Bureau of the Census and the Relocation of the Japanese Amer
icans: A. Note and a Document,” Amerasia Journal, vol. 9, no. 1, 1982, pp.
101–05 .) In his interview for the Earl Warren Oral History Project, Tom Clark
mentioned the Census Bureau data in passing:

The Census Bureau moved out its raw files. . . .They would lay out on
tables various city blocks where the Japanese lived and they would tell
me how many were living in each block. ( Earl Warren Oral History
Project, Japanese American Relocation Reviewed , vol. 1 , Interview of
Tom C. Clark, p. 9. )
There is no direct evidence or testimony to the effect that the Westerr. Defense
Command was in possession of the names and addresses of individual ethnic
Japanese, as collected by the Census Bureau, at the time that mandatory
evacuation was carried out, but Field's story raises questions.

106

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

community services. Second, power, light, and water had to be
within immediate availability as there was no time for a long pre

development period. Third , the distance from the Center ofthe
main elements of evacuee population served had to be short, the
connecting road and rail net good, and the potential capacity suf
ficient to accept the adjacent evacuee group. Finally, it was es
sential that there be some area within the enclosure for recreation
and allied activities as the necessary confinement would otherwise

have been completely demoralizing. The sudden expansion of our
military and naval establishments further limited the choice. 48

Site selection did not proceed perfectly smoothly, however. After
Owens Valley in California was selected as a center, Congressman Ford
of California , who had been prominent in urging the evacuation , ob
jected. In a conversation with Gullion, DeWitt discussed Ford's ob
jection : “Well, they are going to Owens Valley, and that's all. I don't

care anything about the howl of these Congressmen or anybody else .” 49
The attitude was typical of DeWitt who, given authority, did not hes

itate to use it; but Ford continued to press his position, meeting with
Justice Department officials and planning to meet with Bendetsen and

possibly others.5 ° He was not successful, since Stimson stood behind
DeWitt, but it gave fair warning that many interested politicians who
had pushed to establish the evacuation program and exclude the Nikkei
from the West Coast retained a vital interest. As the months went by

the War Department in Washington was to learn what DeWitt may
have known all along: exclusion fulfilled the program of powerful or

ganized interests in California , and no part of it would be given up
without a fight.
In March work began at the first two permanent relocation centers,

Manzanar in the Owens River Valley and the Northern Colorado Indian
Reservation in Arizona; the sites served as both assembly and relocation
centers. 51 The other assembly centers were selected with dispatch .
The Final Report explains:
After an intensive survey the selections were made. Except at
Portland, Oregon, Pinedale and Sacramento, California and Mayer,
Arizona, large fairgrounds or racetracks were selected . As the
Arizona requirements were small, an abandoned Civilian Con
servation Corps camp at Mayer was employed. In Portland the

Pacific International Live Stock Exposition facilities were adapted
to the purpose. At Pinedale the place chosen made use of the

facilities remaining on a former mill site where mill employees
had previously resided. At Sacramento an area was employed
where a migrant camp had once operated and advantage was taken
of nearby utilities. 52

EXCLUSION AND EVACUATION

107

A major step toward systematizing evacuation at this time was the

establishment of the War Relocation Authority (WRA), aa civilian agency ,

to supervise the evacuees after they left Army assembly centers. The
War Department was eager to be out of the resettlement business,

and discussed with the Attorney General and the Budget Bureau the
mechanism for setting up a permanent organization to take over the
job. Milton Eisenhower, a candidate fully acceptable to the War De

partment, was chosen to head the agency; McCloy took him to San
Francisco to meet DeWitt before the Executive Order setting up the

WRA was promulgated. 53 By March 17, plans for the independent
authority responsible for the Japanese Americans were completed; the
next day Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9102 to establish the War
Relocation Authority,54 appointed Eisenhower Director,55 and allo
cated $ 5,500,000 for the WRA . 56

WRA was established “to provide for the removal from designated

areas of persons whose removal is necessary in the interest of national
security. ...” The Director was given wide discretion ; the Executive
Order did not expressly provide for relocation camps, and it gave the

Director authority to “[p]rovide, insofar as feasible and desirable, for
the employment of such persons at useful work in industry, commerce ,

agriculture, on public projects, prescribe the terms and conditions of
such public employment, and safeguard the public interest in the
private employment of such persons. "57 In short, the WRA's job would
be to take over the supervision of the evacuees from the Army's as
sembly centers. With that final destination put in the hands of a civilian

agency, the Army was ready to push firmly ahead with its part of the
evacuation .

Once Public Proclamation No. 4 took effect on March 29, and

persons of Japanese ancestry were barred from moving out of Military
Area No. 1 , systematic mandatory evacuation began. Both the evac
uation and the operation of the assembly centers were under the au

thority of the Army, by agreement with the War Relocation Authority.
Evacuation was under military supervision. The centers themselves
were operated by the Wartime Civil Control Administration (WCCA ),
the civilian branch of the Western Defense Command. Ninety -nine

geographic exclusion areas were established in Military Area No. 1;
an additional nine were specified later. The California portion of Mil
itary Area No. 2 was declared a prohibited area in June. 58 Areas re
garded as militarily sensitive were evacuated first. The order of eva
cuation was kept secret “ so that the information would not reach any
affected person within the area . ” Once announced, each evacuation

108

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

plan gave seven days from the date of posting the order until the
movement of evacuees. 59

The small- scale evacuation of Terminal Island was a precursor of

the mass evacuation of the West Coast and provides a vivid impression
of the hardship brought by evacuation. Roughly six miles long and a
half -mile wide, Terminal Island marks the boundaries of Los Angeles

Harbor and the Cerritos Channel. Lying directly across the harbor
from San Pedro, the island was reached in 1941 by ferry or a small

drawbridge.

The Japanese community on the island was isolated, primarily
occupied in fishing and canning. A half -dozen canneries, each with its
own employee housing, were located on the island. 60 In 1942 the

Japanese population of Terminal Island was approximately 3,500, of
whom halfwere American - born.61 Most ofthe businesses which served
the island were owned or operated by Issei or Nisei. The island econ
omy supported restaurants, groceries, barbershops, beauty shops and
poolhalls in addition to three physicians and two dentists.62
On February 10, 1942, the Department ofJustice posted a warning
that all Japanese aliens had to leave the island by the following Monday.
The next day, a Presidential order placed Terminal Island under the

jurisdiction of the Navy. By the 15th, Secretary of the Navy Knox had
directed that the Terminal Island residents be notified that their dwell

ings would be condemned , effective in about 30 days.63 Even this pace
was too slow : on February 25 the Navy informed the Terminal-Islanders
that they had 48 hours to leave the island. Many were unprepared for
such a precipitous move.

The FBI had previously removed individuals who were considered
dangerous aliens on December 7, 1941, and followed this by "daily
dawn raids ... removing several hundred more aliens.” 64 As a con
sequence, the heads of many families were gone and mainly older
women and minor children were left.65 With the new edict, these

women and children, who were unaccustomed to handling business
transactions, were forced to make quick financial decisions. With little

time or experience, there was no opportunity to effect a reasonable
disposition.
Dr. Yoshihiko Fujikawa, a resident of Terminal Island, described

the scene prior to evacuation:
It was during these 48 hours that I witnessed unscrupulous vul
tures in the form of human beings taking advantage of bewildered
housewives whose husbands had been rounded up by the F.B.I.
within 48 hours after Pearl Harbor. They were offered pittances

EXCLUSION AND EVACUATION

109

for practically new furniture and appliances: refrigerators, radio

consoles, etc. , as well as cars, and many were falling prey to these
people. 66
The day after evacuation, Terminal Island was littered with abandoned
household goods and equipment. 67 Henry Murakami's loss was typical.
He had become a fisherman after graduating from high school. After
gaining experience he leased a boat from Van Camp Seafood Company
and went out on his own, saving money to increase and to improve
his equipment :

By the time World War II had started, I was now the owner of 3

sets of purse seine nets. These nets were hard to get and the
approximate costs of these nets in 1941 were:
set of nets for Tuna

$ 10,000
$ 7,500
set of nets for Sardines
$ 5,000
When Pearl Harbor was attacked we were stopped from going

set of nets for Mackerel

out to fish and told to remain in our fishing camp.68

In early February, along with every alien male on Terminal Island who
held a fisherman's license, Murakami was arrested and sent to Bis
marck, North Dakota. His equipment lay abandoned, accessible for
the taking

The first exclusion order under the Army program was issued for

Bainbridge Island near Seattle in Puget Sound, an area the Navy re
garded as highly sensitive. It is illustrative of the Army's evacuation

process. The order was issued on March 24, 1942, for an evacuation a
week later69 that was carried out under the direction of Bendetsen,

who had been promoted to colonel and put in charge of the evacuation
by DeWitt as head of the WCCA, which operated in conjunction with
other federal agencies . 70

Tom G. Rathbone, field supervisor for the U.S. Employment
Service, filed a report after the Bainbridge Island evacuation , with
suggestions for improvement which give a clear picture of the govern
ment's approach. A meeting to outline evacuation procedures was called

on March 23; representatives of a number of federal agencies were
present. After setting up offices on the island, the government group
... for the purpose of conducting a
“ reported to Center at 8:00 a.m.....
complete registration of the forty -five families of persons of Japanese
ancestry who were residents of the Island . ” Rathbone suggested that
more complete instructions from Army authorities would clarify many

problems, including what articles could be taken, climate at the as
sembly centers and timing of evacuation. He also suggested better
planning so that the evacuees would not be required to return re

1

110

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

peatedly to the center: “ such planning would have to contemplate the

ability to answer the type of question [sic] which occur and the ability
to give accurate and definite information which would enable the evac

uee to close out his business and be prepared to report at the designated
point with necessary baggage, etc.” Further, Rathbone noted that

disposition of evacuees' property following relocation caused the most
serious hardship and prompted the most questions. He reported :
We received tentative information late Friday afternoon to the
effect that it was presumed that the Government would pay the
transportation costs of such personal belongings and equipment
to the point of relocation upon proper notice . When this word

was given to the evacuees, many complained bitterly because they
had not been given such information prior to that time and had,

therefore, sold, at considerable loss, many such properties which
they would have retained had they known that it would be shipped
to them upon relocation . Saturday morning we receive additional
word through the Federal Reserve Bank that the question had
not been answered and that probably no such transportation costs

would be paid. Between the time on Friday afternoon and Sat
urday morning some Japanese had arranged to repossess belong
ings which they had already sold and were in a greater turmoil
than ever upon getting the latter information . To my knowledge,

there still isno answerto this question , but it should be definitely
decided before the next evacuation is attempted. 71

After the Bainbridge evacuation , exclusion orders were issued for

each of the other 98 exclusion areas in Military Area No. 1 and areas
"were evacuated in theorder indicated by the Civilian Exclusion Order
number with but аa few exceptions. ”72 (A typical order, with map and
instructions attached , appears after page 111.)
Later evacuations were better organized, but difficulties persisted.
The handling of evacuee property presented a major problem for the

government; one to which considerable, only partially successful effort
was addressed. Congressman Tolan had sent a telegram to Attorney
General Biddle on February 28, first urging the appointment of an

Alien Property Custodian at the same time as an evacuation order was
issued and the appointment of a coordinator for other enemy alien

problems; Tolan did not address the problems of property protection
or relocation assistance for citizens.73 When McCloy informed Harry

Hopkins of evacuees' property problems, he asked that a property
custodian be appointed. 74 Hopkins replied that aliens' property could
already be protected through the Treasury Department; as to the prop
erty of citizens, if McCloy would draw up documents for the President
to sign, Hopkins thought a custodian for citizens' property was a good

EXCLUSION AND EVACUATION

111 i

idea.75 The War Department drew up the papers, 76 but the custodial
plan did not go through; instead the Treasury Department directed
the Federal Reserve Board to assist evacuees in disposing of their

property— “not a custodianship matter at all but a sort of free banking
service . ” 77 For years to come, problems of property disposal and pro
tection continued to haunt the evacuees and the federal government.
A minor but illuminating problem occurred when the Navy lan
guage school, which had Japanese personnel, realized it would have

to relocate from Monterey to a place inland. The Navy was not pleased,
but DeWitt prevailed once more, showing that he would enforce his
authority to the letter without regard to the consequences for other
government agencies or services. 78 There were no cases that merited
making exceptions.

On May 23, 1942, Bendetsen spoke to the Commonwealth Club

of San Francisco and reported that evacuation would be nearly com

pleted by the end of May.79 By June 6, all Japanese Americans had
been evacuated from Military Area No. 1 to the assembly centers. 80

On June 8, 1942, DeWitt issued Public Proclamation No. 7, which
provided “ should there be any areas remaining in Military Area No.
1 from which Japanese have not been excluded, the exclusion of all
Japanese from these areas is provided for in this proclamation .” 81 By
that proclamation, any ethnic Japanese remaining in the area and not
>

exempt were ordered to report in person to the nearest assembly
center.

In early June, the next stage of the evacuation occurred when, by
Public Proclamation No. 6, DeWitt ordered the exclusion of Japanese
aliens and American citizens of Japanese ancestry from the California
portion of Military Area No. 2 on the grounds of military necessity.882
Earlier the voluntary evacuees had been encouraged to move inland
with no suggestion that Military Area No. 2 in California or any other
state would be cleared of ethnic Japanese. 83 Indeed, in late April,
Bendetsen was still resisting the politicians and agricultural interests

who were pushing for expansion of the exclusion zone beyond Military
Area No. 1.84 The exclusion from the California portion of Military
Area No. 2 appears to have been decided without any additional evi

dence of threat or danger in the area. The Final Report lamely explains
this change :

Military Area No. 2 in California was evacuated because (1) geo
graphically and strategically the eastern boundary of the State of
California approximates the easterly limit of Military Area No. 1

in Washington and Oregon . . . and because (2) the natural forests

111-1

FIGURE A: An Exclusion Order

Hoadquarters
Western Defense Command
and Fourth Army
Prosidio of San Francisco , California

April 30 , 1942

Civilian Exclusion Order No. 27
1. Pursuant to the provisions of Public Proclamations Nos. 1 and 2, this

Headquarters, dated March 2, 1942, and March 16, 1942, respectively, it is
hereby ordered that from and after 12 o'clock noon , P.W.T., of Thursday, May
7 , 1942, all persons of Japanese ancestry, boch alien and non - alien, be acluded
from that portion of Military Area No. 1 described as follows:

All of that portion of the County of Alameda, State of California, within
that boundary beginning at the point at which the southerly limits of the
City of Berkeley meet San Francisco Bay ; thence easterly and following

the southerly limits of said city to College Avenue; thence southerly on
College Avenue to Broadway ; thence southerly on Broadway to the south
erly limits of the City of Oakland; thence following the limits of said city

westerly and northerly, and following the shoreline of San Francisco Bay
to the point of beginning.

2. A responsible member of each family, and each individual living alone,
in the above described area will report between the hours of 8:00 A. M. and
5:00 P. M., Friday , May 1, 1942 , or during the same bours on Saturday, May
2, 1942, to the Civil Control Station located at :

530 Eighteenth Street
Oakland, California.

3. Any person subject to this order wbo fails to comply with any of its
provisions or with the provisions of published instructions pertaining hereco
or who is found in the above area after 12 o'clock noon , P.W.T., of Thursday ,

May 7, 1942, will be liable to the criminal penalties provided by Public Law
No. 503, 77th Congress, approved March 21, 1942 entitled "An Act to provide

a Penalty for Violation of Restrictions or Orders with Respect to persons
Entering, Remaining in, Leaving, or Committing any Act in Military Areas
or Zones, ” and alien Japanese will be subject to immediate apprehension and in
ternment.
4.
All persons within the bounds of an established Assembly Center pur
suant to instructions from this Headquarters are excepted from the provisions

of this order while those persons are in such Assembly Center .
J. L. DE WITT
Lieutenant General, U. S. Army
Commanding

Source: J. L. DeWitt, Final Report: Japanese Evacuation from
the West Coast, 1942 (1943 ), p. 97.

111-2

FIGURE B: Map of a Prohibited Area
PROHIBITED AREA
EXCLUSION ORDER NO. 27

Western Defense Command and Fourth Army

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C. E. Order 27

This Map is prepared for the convenience of the public ; see the
Civilian Exclusion Order for the full and correct description.
Source: J. L. DeWitt, Final Report: Japanese Evacuation from
the West Coast, 1942 (1943), p. 98.

11143

C Instructions to Evacuees
FIGURE C:

WESTERN DEFENSE COMMAND AND FOURTH ARMY
WARTIME CIVIL CONTROL ADMINISTRATION

Presidio of San Francisco , California

INSTRUCTIONS
TO ALL PERSONS OF

JAPANESE
ANCESTRY
LIVING IN THE FOLLOWING AREA :

All of that portion of the County of Alameda, State of California, within
that boundary beginning at the point at which the southerly limits of
the City of Berkeley meet San Francisco Bay; thence easterly and following

the southerly limits of said city to College Avenue; thence southerly on
College Avenue to Broadway; thence southerly on Broadway to the south

erly limits of the City of Oakland; thence following the limits of said
city westerly and northerly, and following the shoreline of San Francisco

Bay to the point of beginning.

Pursuant to the provisions of Civilian Exclusion Order No. 27, this Head
quarters, dated April 30, 1942, all persons of Japanese ancestry , both alien and
non -alien, will be evacuated from the above area by 12 o'clock noon , P.W.T.,
Thursday May 7 , 1942.
No Japanese person living in the above area will be permitted to change
residence after 12 o'clock noon , P.W.T., Thursday, April 30, 1942 , without
obtaining special permission from the representative of the Commanding Gen
eral, Northern California Sector, at the Civil Control Station located at:
530 Eighteenth Street,
Oakland, California.

Such permits will only be granted for the purpose of uniting members of a
family , or in cases of grave emergency.

The Civil Control Station is equipped to assist the Japanese population
affected by this evacuation in the following ways:
1.

Give advice and instructions on the evacuation ,

2. Provide services with respect to the management, leasing, sale, storage
or other disposition of most kinds of property , such as real estate, business and
professional equipment, household goods, boats, automobiles and livestock .
3. Provide temporary residence elsewhere for all Japanese in family groups.

4. Transport persons and a limited amount of clothing and equipment to
their new residence.

111—4

THE FOLLOWING INSTRUCTIONS MUST BE OBSERVED :

1. A responsible member of each family, preferably the head of the family,
or the person in whose name most of the property is held , and each individual
living alone, will report to the Civil Control Station to receive further in
structions. This must be done between 8:00 A. M. and 5:00 P. M. on Friday,

May 1, 1942, or between 8:00 A. M. and 5:00 P. M. on Saturday, May 2, 1942.
2. Evacuees must carry with them on departure for the Assembly Center,
the following property :

(a) Bedding and linens ( no mattress ) for each member of the family ;
(b) Toilet articles for each member of the family;
( c) Extra clothing for each member of the family;

(d) Sufficient knives, forks, spoons, plates, bowls and cups for each mem
ber of the family;

(e) Essential personal effects for each member of the family.
All items carried will be securely packaged, tied and plainly marked with
the name of the owner and numbered in accordance with instructions obtained

at the Civil Control Station. The size and number of packages is limited to
that which can be carried by the individual or family group.

3. No pets of any kind will be permitted.

4. No personal items and no household goods will be shipped to the As
sembly Center.

5. The United States Government through its agencies will provide for
the storage at the sole risk of the owner of the more substantial household

items, such as iceboxes, washing machines, pianos and other heavy furniture.
Cooking utensils and other small items will be accepted for storage if crated,
packed and plainly marked with the name and address of the owner . Only one
name and address will be used by a given family.

6. Each family, and individual living alone will be furnished transportation
to the Assembly Center or will be authorized to travel by private automobile

in a supervised group. All instructions pertaining to the movement will be ob
tained at the Civil Control Station .

Go to the Civil Control Station between the hour of 8:00 A. M. and

6:00 P. M , Friday, May 1, 1942, or between the hours of
8:00 A. M. and 6:00 P. M., Saturday, May 2, 1942 , to receivo
further instructions.
J. L. DEWITT
Lieutenant General, U. S. Army
Commanding
April 30, 1942
See Civilian Exclusion Order No. 27 .

Source:: J. L. DeWitt, Final Report: Japanese Evacuation from
the West Coast, 1942 ( 1943 ), pp . 99–100.

1

112

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

and mountain barriers, from which it was determined to exclude
all Japanese, lie in Military Area No. 2 in California, although
these lie in Military Area No. 1 of Washington and Oregon.

It is hard to believe that this is a candid analysis of the decision. The
eastern boundary ofCalifornia lies more than 100 miles east of Military
Area No. 1 at the Oregon border. If there had been aa general decision
to exclude the ethnic Japanese from forests and mountains, why had
they been allowed to resettle in Military Area No. 2? Morton Grodzins

carefully analyzed this second exclusion decision and made aa persuasive
case that it was another example of the Western Defense Command
adopting an utterly unsound military rationale to carry out the program
of politicians, agriculturalists and agitators in eastern California who

were intent on removing all ethnic Japanese from the state.86
Whatever the motivation, there were two obvious results : the

" voluntary ” evacuees who had resettled in eastern California were
uprooted aa second time, and, by August 18, 1942, everyone ofJapanese
descent had been expelled from the entire state of California except

for those under guard at the Tule Lake and Manzanar camps and a
small handful under constant supervision in hospitals and prisons. 87

California's anti -Japanese faction had triumphed.

PUBLIC OPINION AND PROTEST

From March 28 to April 7, as the program evolved from voluntary to

mandatory evacuation, the Office of Facts and Figures in the Office
for Emergency Management polled public opinion about aliens in the

population. Germans were considered the most dangerous alien group
in the United States by 46 percent of those interviewed; the Japanese,
by 35 percent. There was virtual consensus that the government had

done the right thing in moving Japanese aliens away from the coast;
59 percent of the interviewees also favored moving American citizens
of Japanese ancestry. The answers reflected clear educational and geo

graphic differences. Relatively uneducated respondents were more
likely to consider the Japanese the most dangerous alien group , and
they were also disposed to advocate harsher treatment of the Japanese
who were moved away from the coast. The east considered the Ger
mans most dangerous, the west the Japanese. People in the south , in
particular, were prone to treat Japanese harshly . The Pacific Coast

EXCLUSION AND EVACUATION

113

public led all other regions in believing the evacuees should be paid
less than prevailing wages. 88

Despite the strong endorsement ofpublic opinion, protest against
the mass evacuation continued through a small but steady stream of
letters and public statements and through litigation which contested
the enforcement of the curfew and exclusion orders.

Protest was most common among church figures and academics.
The Federal Council of Churches and the Home Missions Council had

already made known their views that the evacuation of American cit
izens of Japanese ancestry was wasting a national resource.89 Mrs.
Roosevelt sent along to McCloy the objections of Virginia Swanson, a

Baptist missionary.90 Eric C. Bellquist, a professor of political science
at Berkeley, presented to the Tolan Committee a lengthy and re
markably well -informed analysis which forcefully dissented from the
policy ofexclusion and evacuation . 91 A few days later, Monroe Deutsch,
Provost of the University of California, sent a telegram to Justice Felix
Frankfurter protesting evacuation of people, including the Japanese,
identified only as members of a group. To Deutsch this struck “an

unprecedented blow at all our American principles. ” 92 He did not
receive any support in that quarter; an exchange between Frankfurter

and McCloy concluded with the Justice assuring the Assistant Secretary
that he was handling a delicate matter with both wisdom and appro
priate hard -headedness. 93

The second stream of protest came through court challenges to
the curfew and evacuation. Although the Japanese American Citizens

League firmly opposed test litigation,94 several individuals either brought
lawsuits challenging the government's actions or failed to obey re
quirements, thereby challenging the legality of curfew and evacuation .

On April 13, 1942, Mary Ventura, an American citizen ofJapanese
ancestry married to a Filipino, filed a habeas corpus petition in the
federal district court in the State ofWashington to challenge the curfew
and other restrictions imposed on her. The court denied the petition
on the ground that, because Mrs. Ventura had not violated the curfew

and was not in custody, she was not entitled to the remedy of habeas
corpus which provides release from custody. But, in addition, the judge

discussed the reasons why he would be likely to deny her petition on
the merits:

The question here should be viewed with common sense consid
eration of the situation that confronts this nation now — that con

fronts this coast today. These are critical days. To strain some
technical right of petitioning wife to defeat the military needs in

53-124 - 92 - 5

114

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

this vital area during this extraordinary time could mean perhaps
that the “ constitution, laws, institutions” of this country to which
her petition alleges she is “ loyal and devoted ” would be for a time
destroyed here on Puget Sound by an invading army.
The petitioners allege that the wife “has no dual citizenship , ”

that she is in no “ manner a citizen or subject of the Empire of
Japan .” But how many in this court room doubt that in Tokyo they

consider all ofJapanese ancestry though born in the United States
to be citizens or subjects of the Japanese Imperial Government?
How many here believe that if our enemies should manage to

send a suicide squadron of parachutists to Puget Sound that the
Enemy High Command would not hope for assistance from many
such American -born Japanese ?
I do not believe the Constitution of the United States is so

unfitted for survival that it unyieldingly prevents the President

and the Military, pursuant to law enacted by the Congress, from
restricting the movement ofcivilians such as petitioner, regardless
ofhow actually loyal they perhaps may be, in critical military areas
desperately essential for national defense.
Aside from any rights involved it seems to me that if petitioner

is as loyal and devoted as her petition avers she would be glad to
conform to the precautions which Congress, the President, the
armed forces, deem requisite to preserve the Constitution, laws
and institutions for her and all Americans, born here or natural
ized .85

Habeas petitions should have been a particularly attractive vehicle

for testing the military orders, since the Nisei would not have to come
into court under arrest in violation of the law as written , but even the

great writ was no help in the crisis of 1942; obviously the War De

partment would not be put through a critical review of its decision by
this judge. 96
The Nisei received no greater measure of relief in the criminal
test cases. Minoru Yasui was a member of the Oregon bar and reserve
officer in the Army who was working for the Consulate General of

Japan in Chicago at the time of Pearl Harbor. He immediately resigned
his consular position and sought to go on active duty with the Army,

which would not accept him . In March he decided to violate the curfew
regulations in order to test their constitutionality and was indicted by
a grand jury. Yasui moved to dismiss the indictment on the ground

that the curfew order was unconstitutional as applied to American
citizens. The district judge agreed, but found that Yasui by his work

for the consulate had renounced his citizenship, and proceeded to
convict him as an alien of violating the curfew order.97 Although sat

EXCLUSION AND EVACUATION

115

isfied with the result, the Justice Department did not support this
outlandish theory.
Gordon Hirabayashi, an American -born university student in Se
attle who was a Quaker and conscientious objector to military service,
declined to report to the WCCA evacuation center. Hirabayashi was
arrested for violating the curfew and failing to report and was convicted

on May 16, 1942. 98 His case and Yasui’s were decided by the Supreme
Court on June 21 , 1943; the Court restored Yasui's citizenship, but
upheld the convictions for violation of the curfew regulations.99
Other arrests resulted in convictions and sentences or in guilty

pleas and suspended sentences conditional upon compliance with the
curfew or evacuation orders. 100 Perhaps the clearest irony in the court

challenges was that of Lincoln Kanai, a citizen who failed to leave San
Francisco after the evacuation proclamation. While released following
his arrest, Kanai left the area, then presented a habeas petition to the

federal district court in Wisconsin . The judge held that he would not
substitute his judgment for that of the generals regarding the proper
extent of military areas. Kanai was brought back to San Francisco to

stand trial; he pled guilty, and on August 27, 1942, was sentenced to
six months' imprisonment. 101
This was an extreme example of General DeWitt's unbending
policy of making no exceptions to strict enforcement of the exclusion
and evacuation in order to help the government's legal posture. Apart

from his personal inclinations, DeWitt had been advised that “If we

should consent to the exemption in [one) particular case, we have
opened up the whole subject of the evacuation of citizen Japanese. We
would be extremely unfair to those who have cooperated by voluntary
movement and to those in similar circumstances, who have been evac
uated to Santa Anita and Manzanar.” He responded, “ No exemptions
"
of Japanese. ”102

It was not until later in 1943, after the Supreme Court decisions

in Hirabayashi and Yasui, that district courts critically examined claims
of military necessity as the basis for exclusion. Two orders individually
excluding Maximilian Ebel and Olga Schueller, naturalized American

citizens of German descent, from the Eastern Defense Command were
struck down by the courts. 103 In these cases the military was put to its
proof as to both the military importance of the eastern seaboard and

the threat posed by the excluded person. The evidence about the East
Coast is probably on a par with what could have been produced on
the West Coast:

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

The evidence introduced through officers of Military Intelligence
showed that the Eastern Military Area since the beginning of
hostilities and up to the present date is known as a “ sensitive area”

(an area in which are located large concentrations of war-time
installations or activities and also an area in which observation can

be made and information valuable to the enemy can readily be
obtained ); that the area is open to offensive action and maneuvers;
that it is exposed to direct attack by air and because of the tre
mendous amount of war installations and utilities exposed to sab

otage. The evidence further showed that the area covering less
than 14% of the land area of the United States includes about 40%

of the population and over 60 % of all plants manufacturing tools.
There is also contained in this area a major portion of war-time
installations and naval activities. It is the seat of the federal gov

ernment and installations of management over communications.
There are vast freight movements ofsupplies and equipment pass
ing over its transportation lines; ship movements of men and sup
plies with their convoys and naval activities are easily discernible
in this area .104

The government's evidence was clearly focused on the persons to
be excluded as it had never been in the Nisei cases. Ebel, for instance,

had served in the German Army in World War I, was president of the
Boston branch of the Kyffhaeuser Bund from at least 1939 to January
1942, when the group was disbanded. “ This Bund was one of the

foremost international German societies in America in its encourage

ment of the military spirit and keeping alive the love of Germany in
the hearts of former German soldiers and civilians.” 105
The courts did not in any way dispute the legal standards estab
lished in Hirabayashi. Nevertheless, in testing whether, under the
war powers, there was military danger on the East Coast in 1943

sufficient to justify depriving citizens of the right to live and conduct
business where they chose, the courts concluded that they had to

determine whether the degree of restriction bore a reasonable relation
to the degree of danger. In both cases the restriction was found ex
cessive and the exclusion order struck down.

Surely an impartial judge would have reached the same conclusion
on the West Coast in 1942 had the military been put to its proofagainst

Nisei with unquestionable records of loyalty to the United States. How
could a conscientious objector like Hirabayashi seriously be considered
a threat to the security of Seattle? But in the spring of 1942 on the
West Coast, not even the courts of the United States were places of
calm and dispassionate justice.

4
Economic Loss
Exclusion from the West Coast imposed very substantial economic
losses on the Nikkei. The complete picture of those losses is aa mosaic

of thousands of personal histories of individual families. Owners and
operators of farms and businesses either sold their income-producing
assets under distress-sale circumstances on very short notice or at

tempted, with or without government help, to place their property in
the custody of people remaining on the Coast. The effectiveness of
these measures varied greatly in protecting evacuees' economic inter
ests. Homes had to be sold or left without the personal attention that
owners would devote to them . Businesses lost their good will, their

reputation, their customers. Professionals had their careers disrupted .
Not only did many suffer major losses during evacuation , but their
economic circumstances deteriorated further while they were in camp.
The years of exclusion were frequently punctuated by financial trou
bles : trying to look after property without being on the scene when
difficulties arose ; lacking a source of income to meet tax , mortgage and

insurance payments . Goods were lost or stolen. Income and earning
capacity were reduced to almost nothing during the long detention in
relocation centers, and after the war life had to be started anew on
meager resources. War disrupted the economic well-being ofthousands
of Americans, but the distinct situation of the Nikkei — unable to rely

on family or, often, on close friends to tend their affairs — involved
demonstrably greater hardship, anxiety and loss than other Americans
117

118

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

suffered . Forty years after the events, a detailed reckoning of Nikkei
losses and suffering is difficult, as the postwar effort to calculate these
losses and to make partial recompense for them shows.

CALCULATING AND COMPENSATING FOR LOSS

In 1948 Congress passed the Japanese-American Evacuation Claims

Act! which gave persons of Japanese ancestry the right to claim from
the government “damage to or loss of real or personal property ,” not
compensated by insurance , which occurred as " a reasonable and natural

consequence of the evacuation or exclusion .” 2 The Act was amended

over the years but remained the central vehicle by which the federal
government attempted to compensate for the economic losses due to
exclusion and evacuation . There were many kinds of injury the Evac

uation Claims Act made no attempt to compensate: the stigma placed
on people who fell under the evacuation and relocation orders; the
deprivation of liberty suffered during detention in the assembly and
relocation centers; the psychological impact of evacuation and relo
cation; the loss of earnings or profits; physical injury or death during
detention ; and losses from resettlement outside the camps. The leg

islative history reflects that such claims were considered too specula
tive. 3

Twenty -six thousand, five hundred sixty -eight claims totaling $148
million were filed under the Act; the total amount distributed by the
government was approximately $37 million . It is difficult to estimate

the extent of property losses which were not fully compensated under
the Evacuation Claims Act, for the evidence is suggestive rather than
comprehensive or complete .
First, by the time the claims were adjudicated , most of the es
sential financial records from the time of the evacuation were no longer
available. When the Evacuation Claims Act was set in motion in 1948,

the Department of Justice discovered that the Internal Revenue Serv
ice had already destroyed most of the 1939 to 1942 income tax returns
of evacuees — the most comprehensive set of federal financial records.5
Nor was the situation better among the evacuees themselves. The

Japanese American Citizens League emphasized this problem in tes
tifying in favor of amending the Evacuation Claims Act in 1954:
It was the exception and not the rule when minute and detailed
records and documents were retained . In the stress and tension

ECONOMIC LOSS

119

of 1942, when one could only take to camp what could be hand
carried , when one did not know how long he would be detained
or whether he would ever be allowed to return , it would be

unreasonable to expect that emotion -charged men and women
would have chosen to pack books and records instead of the food,

the medicines, and the clothing which they took with them to war
relocation centers.

The whole community was moved, and so books and records
could not be left with neighbors or even with friends.

And, today 12 years later, with all the great changes that have
taken place particularly on the west coast, it is almost impossible
to secure even remotely accurate appraisals and evaluations of the

homes, the businesses, the farms and the properties of more than
a decade ago , a decade of war and upheaval.
To add further difficulties, under Federal and State codes, most

of the Government records of 1942 — which might have been of

value as cross-references have been destroyed pursuant to law.6
Thus the best evidence of economic losses no longer existed by 1954.
of another twenty -eight years, coupled with the deaths of

The passage

many Issei and witnesses, has only added to the difficulty .
One study of property and income losses due to evacuation was
done shortly after World War II, Broom and Riemer’s Removal and
Return. It focused on Los Angeles and the authors estimated that each
evacuated adult had aa median property loss of $ 1,000 and an income
loss of $ 2,5007 — which would have resulted in approximately $77 mil
lion in claims payments under the Evacuation Claims Act, rather than

the approximately $37 million actually paid. The Broom and Riemer
estimates are conservative. Replacement costs of 1941 were used to
estimate personal property losses. Estimates of real property losses

were not presented separately and it is not clear how they were cal
culated. In addition, Broom and Riemer did not distinguish between
income losses imputable to property and that part of income imputable
8

to labor and management components. In 1954 the JACL character
ized this study as authoritative to the Congressional subcommittee
considering amendments to the Act and it is certainly the most thor

ough analytical work that is even roughly contemporaneous with the
evacuation .

A second suggestive study by Lon Hatamiya, “The Economic
Effects of the Second World War Upon Japanese Americans in Cali
fornia, ” relies on Broom and Reimer's work but develops other data
in analyzing the income of the ethnic Japanese in California. Hatamiya

points out that Broom was already dealing with recollections which

were five years old and that the study was limited to Los Angeles, but

120

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

his analysis supports Broom on income figures and thus suggests the
general soundness of Broom's property loss figures. Hatamiya estimates
the 1940 median annual income ofJapanese (alien and citizen ) at $622.10
Broom had estimated the mean as $671-694. " Hatamiya argues that
since median figures are often less than mean figures, there is no major

discrepancy between these numbers. Hatamiya does not attempt to
estimate property losses directly.
For years, writers and commentators have cited an estimate by
the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco that evacuee property losses

ran to $ 400 million. 12 The Commission has inquired of the Federal
Reserve, which can find no basis in its records for such an estimate,
and the Commission can identify no known source for the number. In
short, the $ 400 -million figure appears to be unsubstantiated.
Consideration of how claims were disposed of under the Evacu
ation Claims Act allows one to judge further the fairness of its results.

The program moved very slowly in its first years, when the Attorney
General was required to adjudicate each claim presented to him. In
1949 and 1950 , only 232 claims were adjudicated out of more than
26,000 filed. 13 In 1951 the formal adjudication requirement was re
moved from the Act for claims settled for the lesser of $ 2,500 or 75%

of their value. 14 A rush of settlements followed : by the end of 1955
approximately 22,000 claims had been settled. 15 These limitations must

have operated as a forceful incentive to reduce claims in order to get

a quick resolution and cash payment. In 1956, with aa small number of
large claims remaining (approximately 2,000 claims for $55 million),
the Act was again changed to allow the Attorney General to settle for

up to $ 100,000 and to permit contested cases to go to the Court of
Claims. Thereafter, almost all claims were compromised and settled
only 15 cases were taken to the Court of Claims. 16
Regardless of the low level of litigation , the settlement procedure
was tilted in favor of the government. It was not until 1956 that the

Act was amended to provide for appeal past the Attorney General to
the Court of Claims. 17 Before 1956, decisions of the Attorney General

were final and, in approaching settlement, the Justice Department's

attitude, not surprisingly, balanced protecting the interests of the United
States with trying to give claimants such liberality as the Act provided. 18
In practice, the Department tried to reach the same result trial might
have produced. 19 “ Where the problem is created by failure to supply
information, the amount should be on the low side. ”20 Moreover, no
matter was too small for careful consideration by Justice Department

officers, and the rulings were published in a volume of “ Precedent

ECONOMIC LOSS

121

Decisions” to guide all future similar cases. For instance, a $ 7.50 claim
for Japanese phonograph records destroyed by the claimant because

it was rumored that anyone with Japanese records would be arrested,
was not allowed since the loss did not spring from the evacuation but
was caused by “the general hysteria among an alien people arising out
of the state of war;” 21 but aa $ 3.00 claim for the cost of advertising a
car for sale at the time of evacuation was thoroughly reviewed and

allowed.22 Thus the difficulty ofproviding persuasive evidence ofclaim
ants’ losses, the evidentiary standards followed by the Justice De
partment and a compromise authority which encouraged the reduction
of many claims, would tend to result in settlements well below the
actual value of losses.23 Recently released from camps, struggling to
survive and to reestablish their lives, the claimants badly needed fi
nancial resources to sustain themselves; this too played a part.

One cannot readily appraise how much below truly fair compen
sation were settlements under the Act, but evacuees' testimony before

the Commission drew a picture of economic hardship and suffering
that could not be fairly compensated by an amount close to $37 million.

THE IMPACT OF EVACUATION

Evacuees repeatedly pointed out that they had had little time in which
to settle their affairs:

We had about two weeks, I recall, to do something. Either lease
the property or sell everything. 24
While in Modesto, the final notice for evacuation came with a
four day notice . 25

We were given eight days to liquidate our possessions. 26
I remember how agonizing was my despair to be given only

about six days in which to dispose of our property and personal
possessions. 27

Testimony emphasized that the governmental safeguards were never
entirely successful; they began late, and information about the pro
grams was never widely disseminated among evacuees ; the evacuees

also distrusted even a quasi-governmental body. The protection and
management of the property and personalty many evacuees left behind
was inadequate. Businessmen were forced to dispose of their inventory

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

and business at distress prices. It was difficult for evacuees to get
reasonable prices in aa hostile marketplace. Individuals sold their per
sonal belongings in a buyer's market, realizing only a fraction oftheir
worth .

The makeshift warehouses which evacuees used - homes, garages
and other structures — were vandalized; the goods frequently stolen or
destroyed . Often those who had agreed to serve as caretakers for the

evacuees' property mulcted them in various ways. Some who had found
tenants for their property discovered, to their sorrow and financial loss,
that the promised rent never appeared or that tenants did not continue
the previous land use; many disposed of evacuees' property as their
own, or simply abandoned it.
The evacuees' losses mounted as their exclusion from the West

Coast lengthened. Some evacuees became aware of the destruction of

their property while they were still in relocation centers; others only
discovered the full extent of their losses upon their return home. The
loss of time, of potential and of property were to many of the evacuees
irreparable blows — financial blows from which many never wholly re
covered .

AGRICULTURE AND FISHING

The greatest impact of the mass exclusion and evacuation was felt in
agriculture, where the Nikkei's economic contribution was concen
trated . In 1940, 45 % of those gainfully employed among the 112,353

persons of Japanese descent living in the three Pacific Coastal states
were engaged in growing crops. Another 18% were employed in whole
saling, retailing, and transporting food products. Census figures show
that nearly two -thirds of the work force directly depended upon ag
riculture and that in the three West Coast states, the value of the 6,118

farms operated by Nikkei was $ 72,600,000 with an estimated $ 6 million
worth of equipment in use. 28
These farms represented 2.2% of the number and value of all

farms in the three West Coast states, but only .4% of all land in farms,

and 1.5% of all crop land harvested. The average farm was roughly 42
acres; 84 % were in California. 29 These figures give a misleading in
dication of the importance of Nikkei farming. The average value per
acre of all farms in 1940 was $ 37.94; that of Nikkei farms was $ 279.96 .

Three out of every four acres of evacuee farm land were under culti

ECONOMIC LOSS

123

vation, while only one out of every four acres of total farm land was
planted in crops.30 Fruit, truck and specialty crops predominated .
Much of their acreage was planted and harvested two or more times
a year .31

In California the Nikkei dominated the wholesale and retail

distribution of fruits and vegetables. In Los Angeles County $16 million
of the annual $ 25 million flower market business was in Nikkei hands. 32

When the Japanese arrived in the United States they were at the
bottom of the economic ladder. Gradually they saved money and were
able to rent or indirectly purchase cheap land. By working hard , living

frugally and with family cooperation, they were able to increase their
acreage. The impact of evacuation is made more poignant by the fact
that it cut short the life and strength of the immigrants, frequently

destroying the fruit of years of effort to overcome grindingly adverse
Depression conditions. Mary Tsukamoto described the yearly eco
nomic cycle many farmers followed, especially those around Florin,
California:

This was important, to have time to bring in their crops. The
money that they had borrowed from the stores and shipping com

panies was a tremendous burden. They had to depend on the crop
and the harvest to pay for their debts before they could be free
again. Each year this was the pattern.

They had struggled hard through the Depression to come out
of it, gradually some of them were beginning to pay off their
mortgages. Many people still had mortgages to pay. 33

Others also spoke of just beginning to recover from the effects of the
Depression at the time they were forced to leave the West Coast. The

west's expanding economy had enabled many to purchase new equip
ment or lease additional land and, in general, to raise their standard
of living. Henry Sakai's father had been a successful businessman :
He farmed during the Depression, and then he lost it all. [I]t was
too late to start over again . . . . 34

Clarence Nishizu told of the gains his father and family had made after
the Depression in which :

[the] farmer receive[ d ] 25 ¢ for a lug of tomatoes all packed, neatly
selected as to size and color. I had to stay on the farm and help
on the farm . I had to go through those days we were too poor to .
have tractors — we had only proud horses and mules. However,

toward the end of the thirties, I began to get [a] foothold ... I
had two tractors, several trucks and pickups and was just beginning

to make headway by using machinery in farming. I [had] just
bought a new K5 Internatkon Truck and a used 1941 Chevrolet

Sedan for $650.00 and loaded it on the new truck in Springfield ,

124

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

Ohio and arrived home on December 5, 1941. Two days later,
Pearl Harbor was bombed and the war started . 35

One evacuee had followed in his father's footsteps as a commercial
fisherman working the coastal waters off Monterey. He described their
struggle to keep their boat:
We built one of the first purse seiners .. . . in 1929 just prior to
the Great Depression ofthe 30's. My father retired and I struggled
during those years to keep the finance company from repossessing
our boat as not only our family but twelve crew members and

their families depended on the continuing operation of the boat.
Because of the changes in the industry, I sold the boat in 1935

and began to charter various vessels. The purse-seine net was my
investment in the business and at that time valued around $ 8,000.

Today the same net would cost in the neighborhood of $ 50,000.
Every cent I owned was invested in my fishing equipment,
it would de
and I had to store it in the family garage knowing
36
teriorate and be worthless within a few years .

For many evacuees the most immediate, painful loss was their
profit from what promised to be a bumper crop in 1942. The parents
ofJack Fujimoto lost the proceeds from an abundant crop of cucumbers
and berries which they were unable to harvest before evacuation in
May. Instead, the caretaker benefitted from the hard work of this
couple who had tilled the soil without much success until then . The
Fujimotos never heard from the caretaker. 37
Hiroshi Kamei recounted :

My family's greatest economic loss was loss of standing crops. We
had several acres ofcelery just about ready for harvest. . . . Several

weeks after our evacuation , the price of celery jumped up to about
$ 5 or $ 6 a crate . 38

Another described how he had worked on his farm until he was evac
uated, but his crop had been harvested by strangers and he himself
received no return for his labor and time .

The white growers and shippers who expanded in the wake of the
evacuation did very well in 1942. The managing secretary of the West
ern Growers Protective Association summed up matters at the end of
the year:

A very great dislocation of our industry occurred when the Jap
anese were evacuated from Military Zones one and two in the

Pacific Coast Areas, and although as shipping groups these dis
locations were not so severe the feeding of the cities in close
proximity to large Japanese truck farm holdings was considerable
and shortages in many commodities developed and prices sky
rocketed to almost unheard of values. This, coupled with increased

ECONOMIC LOSS

125

buying power in practically every district of the United States,
also brought to the growers and shippers most satisfactory prices

on almostevery
commodity shipped from California and Arizona.
40
For many families who owned nurseries, evacuation occurred near

one of the richest days in the flower business — Mother's Day, which
accounts for one -fifth of the annual sale of flowers. With the Mother's

Day crop about to be harvested, evacuation upon short notice caused
obvious financial hardship:
The hardest thing to lose was the full 1942 Mother's Day crop of
flowers which [had been) in process from Christmas time.41
When No. 9066 evacuation came, most of the nurseries, with
Mother's Day crop before them , were left with very precarious
arrangements , or abandoned. 42

Many evacuees who had been in the flower and nursery business
told similar stories. Heizo Oshima described the voluntary evacuation
ofone community of Japanese families in floriculture around Richmond,
El Cerrito and San Pablo :

The evacuation of the Japanese in the Richmond and El Cerrito
area came earlier than the Executive Order 9066. The Issei in

this area were ordered to leave in February of ’42 because they

were posed as a threat to the Standard Oil plant in Richmond.
Nisei children remained behind to tend the nurseries.

.

The Japanese in this community were very frightened and con
fused by the order to evacuate the Issei. 43

The Nisei children left in charge of the nurseries were untrained and
unaccustomed to handling financial details of the family business. They
were at a distinct disadvantage when they had to sell in a market of

rock bottom prices. Mary Ishizuka told of the heavy loss suffered by
her father, who in 1942 had one of the largest nurseries in southern
California :

He had 20 acres of choice land on Wilshire and Sepulveda. He
had very

choice customers (such) as Will Rogers and Shirley Tem

ple's parents ... because he had specimen trees. . . . But wealth
and standing did not save my father from being arrested ... on
the night of December 7 , 1941. When ... 9066 mandated that
all Japanese were to evacuate, we were faced with the awesome
task of what to do. And my mother on her own without father,
.

father taken to Missoula, was not able to consult him. We didn't
know what to do. You cannot getrid of large nurseries - nursery
stock — at this short notice. So what did she do but she gave all
of the nursery stock to the U. S. Government, the Veterans Hos

pital which was adjoining the nursery. It was written up in the

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

local newspaper along with the story of our evacuation. Itemized
piece by piece the dollar amount ... totalled $ 100,000 in 1942.44
The loss of hard - earned farm machinery was also very bitter; a
Los Angeles witness told his family's story:
The loss, not only in property, but also potential harvest was
considerable and all-important to our family. What I remember
most was my father who had just purchased aa Fordson Tractor for
.

about $750 a few months prior to the notice.

Imagine his delight, after a lifetime of farming with nothing but
a horse, plow , shovel and his bare hands, to finally be able to use
such a device. He finally had begun to achieve some success. A
dream was really coming true.
He had much to look forward to . Then came the notice , and

his prize tractor was sold for a measley $ 75.45

The exclusion and evacuation seriously disrupted the agricultural
economy of California and led the government to exhort those sus
pected of disloyalty to produce food for war needs until the final mo
ment when they were thrown off their land. The Secretary of Agri
culture had established farm production goals for 1942, and the Japanese
farmers of California had been expected to produce over 40% of all
truck crops. 46 It was sufficiently critical to the government that the

evacuees produce as much as possible, that continued crop production

became a measure of loyalty. 47 Tom C. Clark, Chief of the Civilian
Staff, Western Defense Command, declared on March 10, 1942:

There can be no doubt that all persons who wish to show their
loyalty to this country should continue farming operation to the
fullest extent. 48

Three days later Clark was no longer equating crop production with
evacuee loyalty. Crop neglect or damage had been elevated to an act

of sabotage:
[I]t would be most helpful if you would advise the Japanese (in
Hood River County) that they are merely damaging themselves
when they fail to take care of their orchards. In addition to this,
any failure to do so might be considered as sabotage and subject
them to severe penalties. 4
Witnesses recalled the government's insistence that they continue
to farm (with evacuation imminent) or be charged with sabotage:
With the beginning of the war, we not only had to terminate
our basket business , but we lost all financial investments in the

asparagus farm as well. However, we were forced to continue
farming with no financial gain because the government stated that

any neglect on our part would be considered an act of sabotage.50

A gentleman ... wanted to harvest a small strawberry crop .

ECONOMIC LOSS

127

He wanted 24 hours. He came to me (a U.S. Employment Service

Employee assigned to the Federal Reserve Bank] and asked if I

could get some kind of time deferral. I could not. So another
frustration, he plowed his crop under. The following day I found
out that the FBI had picked him up and he had been jailed because
he had committed an act of sabotage. 51

Shigeo Wakamatsu told how the Issei truck farmers of the Puyallup
Valley in Washington responded to the regulation to continue crop
production :
By the middle of May, when the valley folks were sent to the
assembly center, the telephone peas were waist high and strung,
the pole beans were staked, early radishes and green onions were
ready for the market, strawberries were starting to ripen and the
lettuce had been transplanted.
Not much is known how the crops fared in the harvest nor what

prices were obtained, but the Issei farmers went into camp with
their heads held high, knowing that they had done everything
that was possible to help our nation face its first summer of World
War II . 52

SMALL BUSINESSES

Next to agriculture, major occupations of evacuees were in small shops
and businesses. Shops, hotels, restaurants and other service -oriented

businesses were common . Witnesses told how they were forced by

circumstances to accept low prices or abandon property or, with a
mixture of desperation and hope, to place the property in insecure
storage.

Seattle evacuees had two hundred hotels which were typically run
as family enterprises. 53 Shokichi Tokita's father had purchased aa hotel
in a prime downtown Seattle location after his health had been threat
ened by his original profession as a sign painter. As a painter the elder
Tokita had been acclaimed by the Seattle Art Museum as one of the
ten best artists in the Pacific Northwest. He made an equal success of
his hotel:

They did very well . . . saving over $ 16,000 over a five or six year
period before the war. This was all lost in the evacuation. 54
One evacuee with extensive property holdings was forced to sell his
forty-five room hotel for $ 2,500 to a buyer who was able to make only
a $500 down payment; the balance was sent to the evacuee in camp
.

128

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

two months later. The hotel owner's loss was accentuated by the fact
that he was denied the profits which would have accrued to him in a

defense boom town such as Seattle became during World War II. 55
A former interviewer with the U.S. Employment Service who had

been assigned to the Federal Reserve Bank cited a number of loss
cases; one woman had owned a twenty -six room hotel :
She came to me and said she was offered $ 500 and no more and

that she had three days in which to dispose of the property.
Three days later, she came to me in tears, frustrated and fright
ened. She told me that she had to sell it for the $ 500.56
Other instances of women who had built up businesses and lost

the fruit of years of labor were described . Widowed at age 32 with

four young children to raise, one had used the proceeds ofher deceased
husband's insurance policy to buy a hotel in Stockton, California. Her
son testified:

The hotel was a successful venture for [her]and then the war . .

[and] my mother was forced to sell the hotel for a piddling [amount]
the day before we left. 57

She had purchased the hotel for $ 8,000; it had been aa home for her
and her children . Now it was gone.

One Issei woman described taking over her husband's insurance
business after he was confined to a tuberculosis sanitarium . She built
up the business to the point where she had an average monthly income

of $ 300 to $ 400 to support herself and her children. She found herself,
her family and her northern California clients torn from their homes.
Many of her clients had no way to continue paying their policy pre
miums, nor could she effectively service their policies. 58
The owner of an Oakland Oriental art and dry goods store was
unable to dispose of his merchandise in the few weeks given him prior
to his evacuation . No one wanted to purchase “ Japanese products .”
He had to store an inventory worth more than $ 50,000 in a Japanese
Methodist Church which had been converted into a warehouse. 59

The Yoshida family, owners and operators of the Western Goldfish

Hatchery and Western Aquarium Manufacturing Company, gave away
their goldfish because they required constant care and feeding. Unable
to find someone to purchase the goldfish within the three weeks before
their evacuation, the Yoshidas had no other recourse . The hatchery
comprised six large fish hatching ponds on an acre of land; they stored
the aquarium inventory and personal property in the business sales
office. 60

Anti- Japanese sentiment caused financial problems for the owners

ECONOMIC LOSS

129

ofmany stores and restaurants. For example, at the Sukiyaki Restaurant
in Salem , Oregon, FBI visits heightened anti-Japanese feeling. Vandals

struck the restaurant and customers ceased to patronize it, afraid of
being viewed as unpatriotic.61 In short, the small businessman fared
no better than the farmer.

WHITE COLLAR WORKERS

The smaller numbers of salaried workers and professionals also testified
eloquently to the economic impact of evacuation ; their losses were less
tangible, but no less real than those of farmers and entrepreneurs.
Doctors, dentists and architects lost their homes, their practices, their

equipment and aa lucrative period of their careers. 62
Many businessmen and professionals couldn't collect outstanding

accounts and lost their accumulated charge account receipts.63 Mrs.
Mutsu Homma gave an example of the financial predicament of many
evacuee professionals:
[ Dr. Homma] after 10 years of dentalpractice in West Los Angeles

and several months of working on people preparing to leave for
relocation camps, had more than $ 20,000 uncollected bills . 64
The salaried worker in some instances found that the curfew restricted

his movements and prevented him from doing his job, or else he lost
his chance for economic advancement. 65

AUTOMOBILES

Cars and trucks were in demand during the evacuation period by both
the Army and the civilian population of the West Coast. In this post

Depression period of aa growing economy the automobile was a proud
symbol of economic advancement. The auto's importance to the way
oflife and economic well-being of evacuees can be seen in the frequency
and detail of car sales described by witnesses:
We had a 1939 car which I recall we sold for $ 100 and aa brand

new Ford pickup truck for $ 100.66
In 1941 we purchased a new Chevrolet which the Army took
and reimbursed us in the amount of $ 300.67

130

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

One man wanted to buy our pickup truck. My father had just
spent about $ 125 for a set of new tires and tubes and aa brand new
battery.
So, he asked for $ 125. The man " bought” our pickup for
$ 25.68
Evacuees were permitted to dispose of their vehicles by private
sale. The other option was to place the cars in government storage,
but the deterioration likely to result from long-term storage encouraged
evacuees to sell. General DeWitt's Final Report states that the majority
of cars in storage were “ voluntarily ” sold to the Army. 69
Cars driven to the assembly centers were automatically placed in
the custody of the Federal Reserve Bank. The vehicles were then

valued by two disinterested appraisers and the possibility of resale to
the Army or the civilian sector was considered. Those which qualified
for Army purchase were quickly bought up by the government. The
new 1942 models were sold only to auto dealers, so they would have
stock ; factories were being converted to wartime production.

Originally 1,905 vehicles were placed in the custody ofthe Federal
Reserve Bank; 1,469 were voluntarily sold to the Army and 319 were
released according to evacuee instructions. The remaining 117 re
mained in storage under Bank control.
In late fall 1942, the joint military authorities decided to requi
sition these vehicles “ in consideration of national interest during war

time, and in the interests ofthe evacuees themselves. "70 Justifying this
move, General DeWitt explained that only those vehicles in open
storage whose owners had refused to sell were requisitioned.71

PROPERTY DISPOSAL

It came to the attention of the Tolan Committee early in its West Coast
hearings that frightened, bewildered Japanese were being preyed upon
by second - hand dealers and real estate profiteers. On February 28 ,
the Committee cabled Attorney General Biddle recommending that

an Alien Property Custodian be appointed. 72
Before any such action was taken , however, evacuation was under
way. Spot prohibited zones had been cleared of Japanese by order of
the Department of Justice; the Navy had evacuated Terminal Island;

and the Western Defense Command had urged a number of West
Coast residents of Japanese ancestry to leave the military area vol

untarily. Whatever their good intentions, the military's primary con

ECONOMIC LOSS

131

cern was to remove evacuees from the designated areas, not to look
after their property .

In early March , the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco was

given responsibility for handling the urban property problems of the

evacuees; an Alien Property Custodian was appointed on March 11;
and on March 15 the Farm Security Administration assumed respon

sibility for assisting with farm problems. Each agency retained its ob
ligation until the WRA assumed total responsibility in August 1942.73
By this time, many abuses had already been committed. The Tolan
Committee gave a succinct example of what it discovered was going
on :

A typical practice was the following: Japanese would be visited by
individuals representing themselves as F.B.I. agents and advised
that an order of immediate evacuation was forthcoming. A few
hours later, a different set of individuals would call on the Japanese
so forewarned and offer to buy up their household and other
equipment. Under these conditions the Japanese would accept
offers at a fraction of the worth of their possessions. Refrigerators

were thus reported to have been sold for as low as $5.74
Property and business losses also arose from confusion among

government agencies. The military’s delay in providing reasonable and

adequate property protection and its failure to provide warehouses or
other secure structures contributed to initial evacuee losses. Confusion

existed among the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco , the Farm
Security Administration and the Office oftheAlien Property Custodian .
Not only did each agency have different policies; there was also con
fusion within each about how to implement its program . Dillon S.
Myer decried the result:

The loss of hundreds of property leases and the disappearance of
a number of equities in land and buildings which had been built
up over the major portion of a lifetime were among the most

regrettable and least justifiable of all the many costs ofthe wartime
evacuation . 75

In general people were encouraged to take care of their own goods

and their own affairs.76 Given the immense difficulties of protecting
the diverse economic interests of 100,000 people , it is not surprising

that despite the government's offer of aid it relied primarily on the
evacuees to care for their own interests . Conversely , it is not surprising
that, facing the distrust expressed in the government's exclusion policy,
most evacuees wanted to do what they could for themselves . Approx
imately 11% of their farms were transferred to non -Japanese (there

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

was a transfer of 3% to ethnic Japanese, probably the result of settle
ment of business affairs in anticipation of exclusion ). 77

Evacuees were vulnerable to opportunists. Droves of people came
to purchase goods and to take advantage of the availability of household
furnishings, farm equipment, autos and merchandise at bargain prices.
Our house was in from Garden Grove Boulevard about 200 yards
on a dirt driveway and on the day before the posted evacuation
date, there was a line up of cars in our driveway extending about

another 200 yards in both directions along Garden Grove Bou

levard, waiting their turn to come to our house . ... ?78
Swarms of people came daily to our home to see what they

could buy. A grand piano for $ 50, pieces of furniture, $50. ...
One man offered $ 500 for the house.79

It is difficult to describe the feeling of despair and humiliation
experienced by all of us as we watched the Caucasians coming to

look over our possessions and offering such nominal amounts knowing
we had no recourse but to accept whatever they were offering
because we did not know what the future held for us.
People who were like vultures swooped down on us going through

our belongings offering us a fraction of their value. When we
complained to them ofthe low price they would respond by saying,
“ you can't take it with you so take it or leave it .
” .. I was trying
to sell a recently purchased $ 150 mangle. One of these people
came by and offered me $ 10.00. When I complained he said he
would do me a favor and give me $ 15.00.81

The evacuees were angered by the response oftheir former friends
and neighbors; some attempted to strike back however they could. Joe

Yamamoto vented his feelings by
putting an ad in our local paper stating that I wanted to dispose
of a car, a 1941, which had three brand new tires with it. These

were premium items in those days. II gave an address that was
fictitious. They could go chase around the block for a few times . 82

Another evacuee related how he tried to destroy his house when
he abandoned his property and his business after evacuation notices
were posted on February 19 , 1942:

I went for my last look at our hard work . ... Why did this thing
happen to me now ? I went to the storage shed to get the gasoline
tank and pour the gasoline on my house , but my wife. ... said
don't do it, maybe somebody can use this house; we are civilized
people, not savages. 83
.

ECONOMIC LOSS

133

ORAL CONTRACTS AND CARETAKERS

The evacuees were unprotected and vulnerable. The prevalent use of
oral contracts created difficulties for many. The practice of regarding
a person's word as binding, a carryover from Meiji Japan reinforced
by dealing primarily within their own ethnic group, made it difficult
for many evacuees to document when, where, how and to what extent
financial loss occurred. Their verbal agreements with caretakers fre

quently brought theft, fraud or misappropriation .
Kimiyo Okamoto followed the prevalent practice of evacuees in
all walks of life and entrusted his property to a friend:
Prior to the evacuation we had a successful hotel business in
Sacramento. Because of the time that was allotted to us, we were

not able to sell our hotel . . . One of the trusted guests offered
to manage our hotel. He was inexperienced, but we had no other
choice . 84

Another Seattle witness asked Caucasian friends to take over the

property and financial management of their apartment house. Unfor
tunately, they returned from camp to discover the property faced
foreclosure due to three years' tax arrearage .
The daughter of concessionaires at Venice and Ocean Park Piers

and small carnivals throughout California spoke ofthe problems created
by FBI detention of her father. In desperation, her mother gave the
carnival equipment — truck, trailer, games — to one employee and turned

over the beach concessions to another who had agreed to act as care
taker until the evacuees returned. When the family did return , neither
the business nor the employee could be found.86
When the part -owner of a movie business was picked up by the
FBI, his business was hurriedly entrusted to the man who had handled
his business insurance. The eager caretaker visited the owners while

they were in camp to secure power-of-attorney from them so he could
handle corporate affairs. Having gained power-of-attorney, the care
taker moved to gain corporate ownership on the basis that all Japanese
members of the corporation were “ enemy aliens. ” 87
In sum , economic losses from the evacuation were substantial,

and they touched every group of Nikkei. The loss of liberty and the
stigma of the accusation of disloyalty may leave more lasting scars, but
the loss of worldly goods and livelihood imposed immediate hardships
that anyone can comprehend. Moreover, it was the loss of so much
one had worked for, the accumulated substance of aa lifetime - gone

just when the future seemed most bleak and threatening.

5

이

Assembly Centers

On May 16, 1942, my mother, two sisters, niece, nephew , and I
left ... by train . Father joined us later. Brother left earlier by
bus. We took whatever we could carry . So much we left behind,
but the most valuable thing I lost was my freedom . 1
On March 31, 1942, the evacuation began. Until August 7, 1942,

groups left their homes for assembly centers, directed by one of the
108 “Civilian Exclusion Orders .”2 About 92,000 people were evacuated
to the centers,"3 where they remained for an average of about 100 days.*
Some 70 % were citizens of the United States.5

Elaborate preparations had preceded their departure. Once a no
tice of evacuation had been posted, a representative of each family
would visit a control center where the family was registered and issued
a number, told when and where to report, and what could be taken
along.6 The numbering process was particularly offensive:

I lost my identity. At that time, I didn't even have a Social Security
number, but the WRA gave me an I.D. number. That was my
identification . I lost my privacy and dignity .?
Henry went to the Control Station to register the family. He
came home with twenty tags, all numbered 10710, tags to be

attached to each piece of baggage, and one to hang from our coat
lapels. From then on, we were known as Family # 10710.8
Baggage restrictions posed an immediate problem , for many evac
uees did not know where they would be going. They could take only
135

136

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

what they could carry ,' a directive that required much anguished sort
ing of aa lifetime's possessions.
On departure day, the evacuees, wearing tags and carrying their
baggage, gathered in groups of about 500 at an appointed spot. Al
though some were allowed to take their cars, traveling in convoys to

the centers, most made the trip by bus or train. The Wartime Civil
Control Administration (WCCA) had made an effort to foresee prob
lems during the journey. Ideally, each group was to travel with at least
one doctor and a nurse, as well as medical supplies and food. One of
every four seats was to be vacant to hold hand luggage. The buses were
to stop as needed, and those who might need medical care would be

clustered in one bus with the nurse. 10

Despite such plans, many evacuees experienced the trips differ
ently. In some cases, there was no food on long trips. 11 Sometimes
train windows were blacked out, aggravating the evacuee's feelings of
uncertainty. 12 The sight of armed guards patrolling the trains and bus
ses was not reassuring. 13 Grace Nakamura recalled her trip:
On May 16, 1942 at 9:30 a.m. , we departed . . . for an unknown
destination . To this day, I can remember vividly the plight of the
elderly, some on stretchers, orphans herded onto the train by
caretakers, and especially a young couple with 4 pre - school chil

dren . The motherhad two frightened toddlers hanging on to her
coat. In her arms, she carried two crying babies. The father had

diapers and other baby paraphernalia strapped to his back. In his
hands he struggled withduffle bag and suitcase. The shades were
drawn on the train for our entire trip . Military police patrolled
the aisles. 14

At the end of the trip lay the assembly center. Evacuees often
recall two images oftheir arrival: walking to the camp between a cordon
of armed guards, and first seeing the barbed wire and searchlights,
the menacing symbols of a prison. Leonard Abrams was with a Field
Artillery Battalion that guarded Santa Anita:
We were put on full alert one day, issued full belts of live am
munition , and went to Santa Anita Race Track ... There we

formed part of a cordon of troops leading into the grounds; busses

kept on arriving and many people walked along . . . many weeping
.

or simply dazed, or bewildered by our formidable ranks. 15

William Kochiyama recalled his entry into Tanforan:

At the entrance . . . stood two lines of troops with rifles and fixed
bayonets pointed at the evacuees as they walked between the
soldiers to the prison compound. Overwhelmed with bitterness
and blind with rage, I screamed every obscenity I knew at the
armed guards daring them to shoot me. 16

1

ASSEMBLY CENTERS

137

For many evacuees, arrival at the assembly center brought the
first vivid realization of their condition . They were under guard and
considered dangerous.
Once inside the gates, some evacuees were searched, finger
printed, interrogated, and inoculated; 17 then they were assigned to
quarters. Red Cross representatives who visited the centers described
some evacuees' reactions soon after arrival:

Many families with sons in the United States Army and married
daughters living in Japan are said to feel terrific conflict. Many
who consider themselves good Americans now feel they have been

classed with the Japanese....There is a great financial insecurity.

Many families have lost heavily in the sale of property.. . . Savings
are dipped into for the purchase of coupon books to be used at
the center store, and with the depletion of savings comes a mount
ing sense of insecurity and anxiety as to what will be done when

the money is gone. . . . Doubtless the greatest insecurity is that
about post -war conditions . Many wonder if they will ever be ac
cepted in Caucasian communities. 18

HOUSING AND FACILITIES

All sixteen assembly centers were in California, except Puyallup in
Washington , Portland in Oregon and Mayer in Arizona. The WCCA
had tried, not always successfully, to place people in centers close to
their homes. 19 Table 1 (page 138) summarizes basic information about
the centers . 20

Design and construction of the centers varied; most were located
at fairgrounds or racetracks. In Portland's Pacific International Live
stock Exposition Pavilion, all of the evacuees could be housed under
one roof because the pavilion covered eleven acres . Puyallup had four
areas; the first three were originally parking lots , the fourth was the

fairground itself.21 Existing facilities usually housed everything except

living quarters, and the WCCA sometimes added new buildings. 22
The WCCA reported that generally it had constructed living quar
ters for the evacuees, although in a few places existing facilities were
used. The basic community unit was usually aa “block," a group of units
housing 600 to 800 people. Each block had showers, lavatories and

toilets. Where possible each block had its own messhall, though some
larger groups were fed at a single place. 23
WCCA policy was to allot a space of 200 square feet per couple.

.

1

138

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

TABLE 1: Assembly Centers, 1942
Maximum

Dates

Population

Occupied
Date

From

To

Number

1942

1942

1942

Puyallup

7,390
3,676

July 25
June 6

April 28

Portland

Sept. 12
Sept. 10

Marysville

2,451

June 2

4,739

Tanforan

7,816
4,271
3,661
3,586

May 30
July 25

May 8
May 6

June 29

Sacramento

April 28
May 10
April 30

Oct. 13

Assembly Center

Stockton
Turlock
Salinas
Merced
Pinedale
Fresno
Tulare

Santa Anita
Pomona

Mayer
Manzanar1

4,508
4,792
5,120

4,978
18,719
5,434
245
9,837

May 21
June 2

June 23
June 3
June 29
Sept. 4
Aug. 11

May 2

April 27
May 6
May 7
May 6

June 26
Oct. 17

Aug. 12

July 4
Sept. 15
July 23
Oct. 30

April 20

Sept. 4

Aug. 23
July 20

March 27

Oct. 27

May 7

May 25

May 7

Aug. 24
June 2

March 21

June 2

1 Transferred to WRA for use as a relocation camp.

Family groups inside the centers were to be kept together and families
would share space with others only if it were unavoidable. To meet
these needs, units would be remodeled if necessary, and each was to

be furnished with cots, mattresses, blankets and pillows. Each was to
have electrical outlets. 24 But the speed of evacuation and the shortages
of labor and lumber25 meant that living arrangements did not always
conform to WCCA policy. At Tanforan , for example, a single dormitory
housed 400 bachelors.26

During the Commission's hearings, evacuees described typical

living arrangements that were far below the WCCA's Spartan stand
ards:

Pinedale. The hastily built camp consisted oftar paper roofed
barracks with gaping cracks that let in insects, dirt from the ...
dust storms . . . no toilet facilities except smelly outhouses, and
community bathrooms with overhead pipes with holes punched
in to serve as showers. The furniture was camp cots with dirty
straw mattresses. 27

Manzanar. [ The barracks were ] nothing but a 20 by 25 foot of
barrack with roof, sides of pine wood and covered with thin tar

ASSEMBLY CENTERS

139

paper... no attic, no insulation. But the July heat separated the
pine floor and exposed cracks to a quarter of an inch. Through
this a cold wind would blow in or during the heat of the day dusty
sand would come in through the cracks. To heat, one pot bellied
wood stove in the center of the barracks. 28

Puyallup (Camp Harmony ). This was temporary housing, and
the room in which I was confined was a makeshift barracks from
a horse stable. Between the floorboards we saw weeds coming up .

The room had only one bed and no other furniture. We were
given a sack to fill up with hay from a stack outside the barracks
to make our mattresses. 29

Portland . The assembly center was the Portland stockyard. It

was filthy, smelly, and dirty. There was roughly two thousand
people packed in one large building. No beds were provided, so
they gave us gunny sacks to fill with straw , that was our bed .30
Santa Anita . We were confined to horse stables. The horse
stables were whitewashed . In the hot summers, the legs of the
cots were sinking through the asphalt. We were given mattress
covers and told to stuff straw in them . The toilet facilities were

terrible. They were communal. There were no partitions. Toilet
paper was rationed by family members . We had to , to bathe, go
to the horse showers. The horses all took showers in there, re

gardless of sex, but with human beings, they built a partition . .

.

The women complained that the men were climbing over the top
to view the women taking showers. (When the women com

plained] one of the officials said, are you sure
you women are not
31
climbing the walls to look at the men. .

.

It had extra guard towers with a searchlight panoraming the
camp, and it was very difficult to sleep because the lightkept
coming into our window . . . I wasn't in a stable area, ... [but]
everyone who was in a stable area claimed that they were housed
.

in the stall that housed the great Sea Biscuit. 32

Despite these problems, the Red Cross representative who visited
the centers at the Army's request concluded, taking into account his
own experience in housing large numbers of refugees, that as a whole

the evacuees were “ comfortably and adequately sheltered :”
Generally, the sites selected were satisfactory with the possible
exception of Puyallup, where lack ofadequate drainage and sewage
disposal facilities created a serious problem . . . . In studying the

housing facilities in these centers, it is necessary to keep in mind

that the job was without precedent, and that the sites were se
lected and buildings completed in record -breaking time in the
face of such handicaps as material and labor shortages and trans
portation difficulties.

Evacuees immediately began to improve their quarters. One man
salvaged two crates that he redesigned into an armchair with a reclining

140

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

back. For a hammer he used a rock.34 Scrap lumber piles left over
from construction provided some wood , and government carpenters
still at work lost building materials regularly.35 Victory gardens were

planted beside the barracks, and Tanforan evacuees even built a min

iature aquatic park with bridge, promenade and islands. 36
One of the most severe discomforts of the assembly centers was
the lack ofprivacy. Overcrowding continued despite WCCA planning.

Eight-person families were placed in 20 by 20 foot rooms, six persons
in 12 by 20 foot rooms, and four persons in 8 by 20 foot rooms. Peggy
Mitchell described seven of her family in one compartment;37 Kazuko
Ige told of nine to a room . 38 Many smaller families had to share a single
.

room 39
.
James Goto and his wife lived with three other married couples;
they were separated by sheets hung on wires across the room . 40 Nor

did the partitions between apartments provide much privacy, for many
did not extend up to the roof, and conversations on the other side were
necessarily overheard .41 Nor were latrines properly partitioned. Elaine
Yoneda finally approached the Service Division Director to get toilet
partitions and shower curtains and was told that existing arrangements
conformed to Army specifications. Six weeks later , after much protest,
partitions and curtains were installed . 42

The weather often made conditions more oppressive. On hot days,
overcrowding and sewage problems made the heat seem unbearable. 43

At Pinedale Center, temperatures soared to 110 ° 44 and evacuees were
given salt tablets. 45 Puyallup had its own problem :
We fought a daily battle with the carnivorous Puyallup mud. The
ground was a vast ocean of mud, and whenever it threatened to

dry and cake up, the rains came and softened it into slippery
ooze . 46

FAMILY SEPARATION

Many families arrived at the assembly centers incomplete. In some

cases, family members, usually the father, had earlier been taken into
custody by the FBI.47 Peter Ota, 16, and his 13 -year -old sister travelled
without either parent. His father had been detained and his mother
was in a tuberculosis sanitorium , where he was allowed to visit her
only once in four and a half months.48 The Kurima family was forced

to institutionalize a mentally retarded son who had always been able
to live at home.49 The Shio family was separated from their father who,

ASSEMBLY CENTERS

141

because he had cancer, was not interned although he was directed to
move out of the evacuated area . 50

Another source offamily separation was the WCCA policy defining
who was “ Japanese .” Many individuals of mixed parentage had some
Japanese ancestors; others were Caucasian but married to someone of
>

Japanese ancestry. Many of these people went to the assembly centers
but had a particularly difficult time because they were not fully ac
cepted into the community. Those who were allowed to leave often
did so.51

Some families were separated after they reached the centers. A
seventeen -year-old who sneaked away from Santa Anita to go to the
movies one night was apprehended. He was sent to a different camp
and did not see his family again for three years. 52
Family separation probably occurred most often among those who

lived in different homes. Grown children were sent to centers different
from their parents if they lived in another community. There were,

of

course , no visiting privileges save for exceptional circumstances.

FOOD , SANITATION , CLOTHING AND MEDICAL CARE
[W]e stood two hours three times a day with pails in our hands

like beggars to receive our meals. There was no hot water, no
washing or bathing. It took about two months before we lived half
way civilized. 53

The assembly centers had been organized to feed the evacuees in
large messhalls.54 At Santa Anita, for example, one evacuee recalls
three large messhalls where meals were served in three shifts of 2,000

each.55 Where shift feeding was instituted, a system of regulatory badges
prevented evacuees from attending the same meal at various mess

halls.56 Lining up and waiting to eat is a memory shared by many:
We stood in line with a tin cup and plate to be fed . I can still

vividly recall my 85 -year-old grandmother gravely standing in line
with her tin cup and plate.57

The community feeding weakened family ties. At first families
tried to stay together;58 some even obtained food from the messhall
and brought it back to their quarters in order to eat together. In time,
however, children began to eat with their friends. 59
All who testified agreed that their food left much to be desired.
One remembered his first meal at Tanforan : two slices of discolored

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

cold cuts, overcooked Swiss chard and a slice ofmoldy bread. 60 Another
recalls: " breakfast consisted of toast, coffee, occasionally eggs or bacon.
Then it was an ice cream scoop of rice, a cold sardine, a weeny, or
sauerkraut.” 61 A third recollected: “ For the first few months our diet
consisted of brined liver - salted liver. Huge liver. Brówn and
bluish in color ..[that].. would bounce ifdropped. ... Then there was
rice and for dessert, maybe half a can ofpeach or a pear, tea and coffee.
Mornings were better with one egg, oatmeal, tea or coffee .” 62 In time
.

the kitchens were taken over by evacuees,63 and culinary style im
proved, but basic problems of quality remained.
The Red Cross reported that, given the inherent limitations of
mass feeding, menus “ showed no serious shortages in nutritive val
ues ,” 64 although several evacuees testified that food was a problem .
Many evacuees testified that there was enough milk only for babies
and the elderly, which contradicts the WCCA report that “per capita
consumption of milk by the population was higher than before evac
uation and that it was also higher than that of the American population
as a whole .” 65 At some centers, the problem was aggravated by a
prohibition on importing food into the center. 66
The WCCA had the same food allowance prescribed for the Army

50 cents per person per day. The assembly centers actually spent less
than that — an average of 39 cents per person per day.67 The outside
community pressed the government to cut expenses even more .
Food became controversial at Santa Anita, where a camp staff

member was apparently stealing food. A letterwriting campaign began 68
and, at one point, a confrontation with the guards was narrowly avoided
when evacuees tried to halt the car of a Caucasian mess steward whom

they believed was purloining food. Following an investigation , the

guilty staff member was dismissed. 69
Primitive sanitation arrangements are vividly remembered. Shower,
washroom , toilet and laundry facilities were overcrowded . “We lined
up for mail, for checks, for meals, for showers, for washrooms, for
laundry tubs, for toilets, for clinic service, for movies. We lined up
for everything.” 70 The distance to the lavatories, more than 100 yards
in some parts of Puyallup, posed a problem for the elderly and families
with small children. Chamber pots became a highly valued com
modity. 71 At some centers sewage disposal was a problem as well.72
“The plumbing was temporary and the kids played in the shower water
that overflowed from the plumbing." 73 To minimize health risks, WCCA
established a system of block monitors to inspect evacuee quarters74

ASSEMBLY CENTERS

143

and each barrack was inspected often by the assembly center housing
supervisor. 75
Securing everyday necessities was difficult. Most evacuees had

brought their own clothing but aa few , either because of poverty or
because they had not anticipated the climate, did not own appropriate
clothes. In these cases, upon application, the WCCA provided a cloth
ing allowance of between $ 25 and $42.19 a year depending on age and
sex.76 The centers had canteens, though often there was nothing to
buy.77 Everything else was ordered from mail order houses.?
Perhaps the greatest problem in the assembly centers was inad
equate medical facilities and care . Usually the medical problems were
not life -threatening, but most brought added fear, pain and inconven
ience.79 Medical care was under the jurisdiction of the Public Health
Service , which recruited evacuee doctors and nurses to staff infirmar
ies.80 An evacuee physician in each center was designated as chief
medical officer and dealt directly with the management.81 Upon arrival,

these recruits found minimal equipment and supplies.82 At Pinedale,
dental chairs were made out of crates and the only instruments were
forceps and a few syringes.83 At Fresno, the hospital was a large room
with cots; the only supplies were mineral oil, iodine, aspirin , Kaopec

tate, alcohol and sulfa ointment.84 Yoshiye Togasaki, a San Francisco
doctor, went early to Manzanar to prepare for the incoming evacuees:
The nurse and I had to set up the medical services and program
until additional staff arrived . At this time only one barrack was

available for medical “ clinic” living quarters. Construction was
going on , open trenches, gutters, etc. The usual camp structure
of bath facilities and kitchen were centralized but still unroofed .

Equipment sent in for medical care was the usual packaged unit
for a military emergency hospital. To obtain necessary supplies

such as vaccines for children, laboratory materials for tests, special
medication for pregnant women , I had to depend on the generous
contributions of a few friends until the government could set up
its usual channels. Problems offormula preparation, since barracks

had no water, no stove, only a single electric light in the center
ofa room , created much hardship for the mothers who had to care
for newborn infants and children .
In three weeks time we were faced with children ill with mea

sles, chickenpox, whooping cough, diarrhea. The only place we
had for care were barracks without heat, no stove, no water. In

due time the Military Emergency Hospital Unit (equipment] ar
rived as did medical staff among the evacuees. For me, it was a
matter of 14–16 hours per day of struggle and frustration.85

Some of the doctors who had not brought their instruments were sent

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

home to retrieve them 86 and all relied, to some extent, on donated
supplies.87 There were shortages of personnel as well. At Fresno, two
doctors had to care for 2,500 people.88 At Manzanar, high school stu
dents were trained as technicians and nurses` aides. 89

With a few exceptions, medical staff treated the normal range of

illnesses and injuries. There were, however, some special challenges.
At Fresno an outbreak of food poisoning affected over 200 people. At

Puyallup, there was a similar incident.90 At Santa Anita, hospital rec
ords show that about 75 % of the illnesses came from occupants of the
horse stalls. 91 More serious illnesses were treated at nearby hospitals
outside the camps and the Army reported that it paid for these services.
Some evacuees, however, recall paying for themselves. 92

LIFE IN THE CENTERS

Because the WCCA had planned only short stays in the assembly
centers, they paid little attention to how evacuees would spend their

time. As the move to permanent centers was further postponed the
WCCA and the evacuees together tried to restore a semblance of
normal life.

The educational program got off to a slow start but progressed

rapidly at most centers. The Red Cross reported that:
Because removal of Japanese families to the assembly centers
occurred near the end of the school term and because it was

contemplated that the centers would be only temporary, there
was no provision in the original plan for schools or educational
work . 93

The WCCA appointed a director of education at each center. Rudi
mentary classrooms were staffed by evacuee teachers, mostly college
graduates, a number of whom were certified.94 They were paid $16 a
month.95 At Manzanar, Frances Kitagawa began a preschool and kin
dergarten in May with 65 children . Three or four months later, it was
96

reorganized and expanded by the WRA .9 At Tanforan, schools opened
late97 but were well attended; of 7,800 evacuees, 3,650 were students
and 100 teachers. Merced had 110 students; Tulare 300.98 At Santa
Anita, there was no organized education. 99

The curriculum varied, but all the traditional subjects were taught
in elementary and high schools, and adult education offered English,
knitting and sewing, American history, music and art. Progress reports

ASSEMBLY CENTERS

145

were issued and work was exhibited regularly. Lack of textbooks and

supplies was a constant problem . Textbooks came principally from the
state and county schools the children had attended; supplies arrived

from outside, the gifts of interested groups and individuals. 100
Recreation was organized cooperatively between WCCA and the
evacuees. Scout troops, musical groups, and arts and crafts classes were

formed . Sports teams and leagues for baseball and basketball began.
A calisthenics class at Stockton drew 350. Donations helped remedy
equipment shortages. 101 Movies were shown regularly at many centers.
At Tanforan , the mess card served as an entrance pass; different nights

were reserved for different messhall groups. 102 Some centers opened
libraries to which both evacuees and outside donors contributed. 103
Virtually all had some playground area and some had more elaborate

facilities; one had a pitch -and -putt golf course.
Holidays were cause for elaborate celebrations. Sachi Kajiwara
described her preparation for the Fourth of July at Tanforan :

I worked as a recreation leader in our block for a group of 7-10
year old girls. Perhaps one of the highlights was the yards and
yards of paper chains we (my 7-10 year old girls) made from cut
up strips of newspaper which we colored red, white, and blue for

the big Fourth of July dance aboard the ship (recreation hall)
dubbed the S.S. -6 .

These paper chains were the decoration that festooned the walls

of the Recreation Hall. It was our Independence Day celebration ,
though we were behind barbed wire , military police all around
us, and we could see the big sign of “ South San Francisco ” on the

hill just outside of the Tanforan Assembly Center. 104
Some recreation was more ad hoc. At Tanforan, the camp police
raided several gambling games. 105 Goh and Shogi, Japanese games akin

to chess, were popular among the Issei, who ran frequent tournaments
and matches. 106 Knitting was a great pastime among the women. 107
The evacuees were predominantly Buddhist or Protestant. WCCA’s

policy allowed evacuees to hold religious services within the centers
and to request any necessary assistance from outside religious leaders.
The center manager arranged for services and designated facilities.
Caucasian religious workers were not allowed to live in the centers

and could visit only by invitation. 108 The services themselves were
monitored for fear they might be used for propaganda or incitement.

The use of Japanese was generally prohibited and written publications
had to be cleared. 109 The prohibition on speaking Japanese created
particular problems for the Buddhists, who had few English -speaking

53-124 - 92 - 6
-

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

priests; their services had to be restructured and service books re
written . 110

Control of publications extended to the mimeographed center
newspapers as well. There were fifteen of these, written in English
under the “ guidance ” of WCCA public relations representatives, who
confined news items to those of “ actual interest ” to the evacuees. 111

At some centers, evacuees began to organize a government. At
Tanforan, for example, the evacuees elected a Center Advisory Coun
cil. In August, however, the Army ended these efforts with an order
dissolving all self -government bodies. 112
Even though no evacuee was required to work, the WCCA had
planned that assembly center operations should be carried out prin
cipally by the evacuees. 113 There was “the standard round of jobs, from
doctor to janitor.” 114 Evacuees also assisted WCCA administrators. For
example, Yayoi Ono was a secretary to the public relations officer; her

husband was chief of personnel who oversaw movement to the “per
manent” relocation centers. 115 Over 27,000 evacuees — more than 30 %

of them- worked in center administration. 116
The appropriate payment for these services was a matter of some

difficulty. At first there was no pay. Eventually evacuees were nomi
nally compensated for work actually done, and given subsistence, shel
ter and a small money allowance. General DeWitt established the
following wage schedule: unskilled work, $8.00 per month ; skilled ,

$ 12.00 per month ; professional and technical, $ 16.00 per month . Sub
sistence, shelter and hospitalization , medical and dental care were to
be furnished without cost. 117 These low wages and allowances were a

source of continuing dissatisfaction among evacuees.
Two centers experimented with establishing enterprises for the
war effort. Manzanar evacuees tried to devise practical methods of
rooting guayule rubber cuttings, planting more than 230,000 seedlings.

The project was successful in exploring the potential ofguayule rubber,
but met market resistance. Santa Anita's camouflage net project pro
duced enough to offset the cost of food for the whole camp.118
118 Limited

to American citizens, the project attracted more than 800 evacuees.
The camouflage net factory was the site of the only strike in the as
sembly centers, a sit -down protest over working conditions, including
insufficient food . 119 At Marysville, in May 1942, a group of evacuees
was given leave to thin sugar beets. 120 This situation was exceptional;
from most assembly centers, there was no leave.

ASSEMBLY CENTERS

147

SECURITY

Day and night ... camp police walked their beats within the
center. They were on the lookout for contraband and for suspicious
actions. 121

Two groups were responsible for security at the centers. Military
police patrolled the perimeters and monitored entries and exits. The

internal police were responsible for security inside the centers; most
were deputized to handle violations of local and state laws. The FBI

had jurisdiction over suspected subversive activities and violations of
federal laws. 122
The Army police guarding the perimeters aroused substantial con
cern ; armed with machine guns, they appeared menacing. In some

cases, they propositioned and otherwise harassed female evacuees. 123
In general, however, they were rather remote from the life of the

centers, entering only at the director's request, but this is not to suggest
that they had no effect on the centers. As the Red Cross described it:
The high fences and the presence of the military police definitely
signify the loss of freedom and independence. Although there is
general group acceptance or rather compliance with evacuation,
many individuals reject it.
The internal police caused more hardship. Internal security meas
ures varied among centers, but curfews and rollcalls were common .

At Puyallup, curfew was at 10 p.m. 125 At Tanforan , rollcall was held
twice a day, at 6:45 a.m. and 6:45 p.m.126
Most centers held inspections as well, designed to search out and
seize contraband. The definition of “ contraband” changed as time went
on . Flashlights and shortwave radios that could be used for signalling

were always contraband.127 Hot plates and other electrical appliances
were usually contraband, although exceptions were sometimes granted.128
Alcoholic beverages were forbidden . 129 “ Potentially dangerous” items
were also prohibited; in addition to weapons, the “ potentially danger
ous” category sometimes included knives, scissors, chisels and saws. 130
At Tulare, inspection sometimes occurred at night. 131 At Tanforan , one

was conducted by the Army, which placed each “section ” under armed
guard while searching. 132 At Puyallup, evacuees were told to remain
in their quarters during the search. 133
Santa Anita evacuees vividly recall the “ riot ” of August 4, 1942.

The uproar began with a routine search for contraband, particularly
electrical hot plates, which had, in some cases, been authorized. Some

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

of the searchers became over -zealous and abusive. When the evacuees

failed for several hours to reach the chief of internal security, rumors

began to spread and crowds formed . The searchers were harassed,
although none was injured. 134 At this point, the military police were
called in with tanks and machine guns, ending the “riot. ”135 The “ over
zealous ” officers were later replaced.

Visits to the centers were tightly controlled . Visitors bringing gifts
watched packages being opened; melons, cakes and pies were cut in

half to ensure that none contained weapons or contraband. 136 At some
centers, evacuees might talk to visitors only through a wire fence. 137
Others designated special visiting areas. At Tanforan, a room at the

top of the grandstand was reserved for receiving visitors during certain
hours. 138 At Pomona, the arrangement was similar. 139 At Santa Anita,
each family was allowed only one visitor's permit a week, and visits
were limited to 30 minutes. 140

Evacuees endured the frustrations and inconveniences of the as

sembly centers for the most part peacefully and stoically. They believed

these centers were temporary and most hoped for better treatment at
the next stop on their journey — the relocation center .

6
The Relocation Centers
Near the end of May 1942, the first evacuees began to arrive at the

relocation centers. Most came directly from the WCCA assembly
centers, although a few arrived from other places, as shown in Figure
A. Evacuees had been assured that the WRA centers would be more

suitable for residence and more permanent than the hastily established

assembly centers . They also believed that at the new camps some of
the most repressive aspects of the assembly centers, particularly the

guard towers and barbed wire, would be eliminated.2 All things con
sidered, they were prepared for an orderly, cooperative move.
By June 30, over 27,000 people were living at three relocation
centers : Manzanar, Poston and Tule Lake. 3 Three months later, all the

centers except Jerome had opened, and 90,000 people had been trans
4

ferred. 4 By November 1, transfers had been completed and, at the
end of the year, the centers had the highest population they would

ever have — 106,770 people.5 Over 175 groups of about 500 each had

moved, generally aboard one of 171 special trains, to a center in one
of six western states or Arkansas . 6

The train trips, particularly the longer ones, were often uncom
fortable. Even on trips of several days, sleeping berths were provided
only for infants, invalids and others who were physically incapacitated. ?
Most evacuees sat up during the entire trip, 8 and mothers with small
children who were allowed berths were separated from their hus

bands.°9 Ventilation was poor because the military had ordered that the
149

150

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

FIGURE A: The Evacuated People
TO

FROM

90, 491

54,127

WCCA

Relocated to
West Coast
Evacuated

Assembly
Centers

Area

17,915

52,798

Direct
Evacuation

Relocated to
other sections of
United States
and Hawaii

5,981
Births

4,724

120, 313

To Japan

WRA
1,735

Custody

Dept. of Justice
Internment and
Detention Camps

( Includes 757 institu

3,121

tionalized cases and

Dept. of Justice

753 seasonal workers
released by WCCA

Internment

1,579

who were never as

Including Family

Seasonal
Workers

signed to nor inducted

Members

into a WRA center.)

(Released by WCCA)

2,355
U.S. Armed
Forces

1,275
Institutions

1,862

1,118
Hawaiian
Islands

Deceased
(Excludes 4
unauthorized
departures)

1,322
219
Voluntary

Institutions

Residents

Source : U.S. Department of the Interior, WRA , The Evacuated
People: A Quantitative Description (1946), p . 8 .

RELOCATION CENTERS

151

shades be drawn. 10 The toilets sometimes flooded, soaking suitcases

and belongings on the floor. 11 The trips were slow because the trains
were old, and sometimes they were shunted to sidings while higher

priority trains passed. Delays could be as long as ten hours. 12 Although
the WCCA reported that it had made provision for meals on the trains, 13
these arrangements were not always satisfactory. 14 Medical care was
sometimes poor; although the WCCA had ordered that trains be stopped
and ailing evacuees hospitalized along the route , 15

two evacuees tes

tified about separate incidents of infants dying during the journeys. 16
The military guards harassed some evacuees. 17 Two testified about
their experiences:
When we finally reached our destination , four of us men were

ordered by the military personnel carrying guns to follow them .
We were directed to unload the pile of evacuees' belongings from
the boxcars to the semi-trailer truck to be transported to the
concentration camp . During the interim, after filling one trailer

truck and waiting for the next to arrive, we were hot and sweaty
and sitting, trying to conserve our energy, when one ofthe military
guards standing with his gun, suggested that one of us should get
a drink of water at the nearby water faucet and18 try and make a

run for it so he could get some target practice.

The second evacuee reported :

At Parker, Arizona,we were transferred to buses . With baggage
and carryalls hanging from my arm , I was contemplating what I
could leave behind, since my husband was not allowed to come
to my aid . A soldier said , “Let me help you, put your arm out.
>

He proceeded to pile everything on my arm . And to my horror,
he placed my two-month - old baby on top of the stack.He then
pushed me with the butt of the gun and told me to get off the

train, knowing when I stepped off the train my baby would fall
to the ground. I refused. But he kept prodding and ordering me
to move. I will always be thankful [that] aa lieutenant checking the
cars came upon us . He took the baby down, gave her to me, and
then ordered the soldier to carry all our belongings to the bus and
see that I was seated and then report back to him. 19
At the end of these long train and bus rides were the new centers

and the “ intake ” procedure, which usually took about two hours. 20
Leighton described the process at Poston:
They begin to file out of the bus, clutching tightly to children and

bundles . Military Police escorts anxiously help and guides direct
them in English and Japanese . They are sent into the mess halls
where girls hand them ice water, salt tablets and wet towels . In
the back are cots where those who faint can be stretched out, and
the cots are usually occupied. At long tables sit interviewers sug

152

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED
Men
gesting enlistment in the War Relocation Work Corps. .
and women , still sweating, holding on to children and bundles,
try to think. ... Interviewers ask some questions about former

occupations so that cooks and other types ofworkers much needed

in the camp can be quickly secured. Finally, fingerprints are made
and the evacuees troop out across an open space and into another

hall for housing allotment, registration and a cursory physical ex
amination. . . . In the end, the evacuees are loaded onto trucks

along with their hand baggage and driven to their new quarters.
“Intake” was a focus of interest and solicitude on the part of the

administrative staff. The Project Director said it was one of the
things he would remember longest out of the whole experience
at Poston. He thought the people looked lost, not knowing what
to do or what to think .21

It was not an auspicious introduction to the War Relocation Authority.

THE WAR RELOCATION AUTHORITY

When evacuees stepped off the buses and began the “ intake” proce
dures, they left Army jurisdiction and came into the custody of a new

agency, the War Relocation Authority (WRA). Three months before,
the WRA had been created on March 18, 1942, by Executive Order
9102, to

formulate and effectuate a program for the removal, from [des
ignated areas) of the persons or classes of persons designated ...
.

and for their relocation , maintenance, and supervision .
To carry out this function , the Director was to

provide for the relocation of such persons in appropriate places,
provide for their needs in such manner as may be appropriate,
supervise their activities . . . provide . . . for employment ...
.

prescribe the terms and conditions of such employment.22
On the same day, President Roosevelt had appointed as the WRA's

first director Milton Eisenhower, brother of the general, who had
previously served as an official in the Department of Agriculture. By
his own account, Eisenhower knew little about the West Coast ethnic

Japanese, the deliberations that had preceded the decision to evacuate
them , or future plans for the evacuees. 23 He faced a mammoth task
building an agency to direct and supervise the lives of over 100,000
people and, at the same time, deciding what to do with them . He

RELOCATION CENTERS

153

quickly concluded that the evacuation would eventually be viewed as
" avoidable injustice. ”24

Eisenhower faced an initial decision that would shape the rest of

the WRA program — would the evacuees be resettled and placed in
new homes and jobs, or would they be detained, confined and super
vised for the duration ofthe war ? He had been given almost no guidance
on this crucial matter. Beyond the fact that the military would deliver
the evacuees to the WRA and thereafter wished no further part in the
“ Japanese problem , ” nothing had been decided.
The Tolan Committee had reported this major deficiency in plan
>

ning in March:

To date the committee has been unable to secure from anyone

charged with responsibility a clear-cut statement of the status of
the Japanese evacuees, alien or citizen , after they pass through
the reception center. 25

They also offered some guidance. The Committee was firmly opposed

to incarcerating the evacuees for reasons that proved remarkably
prophetic:

The incarceration of the Japanese for the duration of the war can
only end in wholesale deportation . The maintenance of all Japa
nese, alien and citizen, in enforced idleness will prove not only
a costly waste of the taxpayers' money, but it automatically implies
deportation , since we cannot expect this group to be loyal to our

Government or sympathetic to our way of life thereafter.
Serious constitutional questions are raised by the forced deten
tion of citizens against whom no individual charges are lodged.226

Instead, they favored a loyalty review at the assembly centers:
Presumably, the loyalty and dependability of all Japanese, alien
and citizen alike, would be examined at the reception center. This

would be followed by arrangements for job placement outside of
the prohibited areas of all persons certified. 2
Only when this process failed to resolve all questions did the Com
mittee envision the creation of resettlement communities .

Eisenhower and his lieutenants started from premises much like
those of the Tolan report; they believed that the vast majority of evac

uees were law -abiding and loyal and that, once out of the combat zone,
they should be returned quickly to conditions approximating normal
life. Believing WRA's goal should be to achieve this rehabilitative
measure, they immediately devised a plan to move evacuees to the
intermountain states.28 The government would operate “ reception cen
ters” and some evacuees would work within them, developing the land
and farming. Many more , however, would work outside the centers,

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

in private employment - manufacturing, farming or creating new self
supporting communities. 29

Mike Masaoka, National Secretary of the Japanese American Cit

izens League (JACL ), soon approached Eisenhower with a lengthy
letter setting out recommendations and suggestions for policies the

WRA should follow . This effort was grounded on the basic position the
JACL had taken on exclusion and evacuation :

We have not contested the right of the military to order this
movement, even though it meant leaving all that we hold dear
and sacred, because we believe that cooperation on our part will
mean a reciprocal cooperation on the part of the government.

Among the letter's many specific recommendations was the plea that
government pernut Japanese Americans to have as much contact
as possible with white Americans to avoid isolation and segregation . 30
the

The WRA's own plans were in sympathy with such an approach,
but the government's experience with voluntary relocation suggested
that the WRA would only be successful if it could enlist the help of
the interior state governors.31 WRA arranged a meeting for officials of
the ten western states for April 7 in Salt Lake City, the day after
Masaoka had sent Eisenhower his appeal for a cooperative relationship

with the government. From the federal side, the two principal rep
resentatives were Bendetsen and Eisenhower; from the states came

five governors and a host of other officials, as well as a few farmers

who were anxious to employ evacuees for harvesting.
Bendetsen made the first presentation, describing the evacuation
and the WDC's reasons for it. He argued that, although some evacuees

might be disloyal, once they were removed from the West Coast, the
danger would be minimal. There were two real problems, as he saw
it: possible fifth column activity in the event of an invasion and the
possibility of confusing the Japanese Americans with the enemy; both
problems were peculiar to the West Coast. Eisenhower then described
his planned program . He assured state participants that security pre

cautions would be taken. Evacuees would not be permitted to own
land against the wishes of the state, and the WRA would insure that

evacuees did not become permanent residents. He played down the
portions of the plan involving private employment.
The governors of the mountain states fully grasped the politics of
the situation , and they were unimpressed by both Bendetsen's so
phistry and Eisenhower's social engineering. They opposed any evac
uee land purchase or settlement in their states and wanted guarantees

that the government would forbid evacuees to buy land and that it

RELOCATION CENTERS

155

would remove them at the end of the war. They objected to California
using the interior states as a “ dumping ground ” for аa California “ prob
>

lem .” People in their states were so bitter over the voluntary evacu
ation, they said, that unguarded evacuees would face physical danger.
Governor Herbert Maw of Utah put forth a plan whereby the
states would run the relocation program with federal financing. Each

state would be given a quota of evacuees for which it “would hire the
state guards, and would set up camps of Japanese and would work

them under general policies and plans specified by the Federal gov
2

ernment.” The evacuees could not be allowed to roam at large, said
Maw , citing strategic works in Utah. Accusing the WRA of being too
concerned about the constitutional rights of Japanese American citi
zens, he suggested that the Constitution could be changed.
The Governor of Idaho agreed with Maw and advocated rounding
up and supervising all those who had already entered his state . Idaho,
he said , had as many strategic works as California. The Governor of
Wyoming wanted evacuees put in “ concentration camps.” With few
exceptions, the other officials present echoed these sentiments. Only

Governor Carr of Colorado took a moderate position . The voices of
those hoping to use the evacuees for agricultural labor were drowned
out. 32

Bendetsen and Eisenhower were unable or unwilling to face down

this united political opposition. Bendetsen briefly attempted to defend
the War Department's actions. Eisenhower closed the meeting: the
consensus was that the plan for reception centers was acceptable, as

long as the evacuees remained under guard within the centers. 33 As
he left Salt Lake City, Eisenhower had no doubt that “ the plan to
move the evacuees into private employment had to be abandoned
at least temporarily. ”34 Bendetsen, too, had received the same mes
sage. As he described it several weeks later: “You can't move people
across the street!The premise is that who you consider to be so dan
gerous, that you can't permit him to stay at point ‘ A ’ - point ' B ' will
not accept. " 35

Before it had begun, Eisenhower and the WRA thus abandoned
resettlement and adopted confinement. West Coast politicians had
achieved their program of exclusion; politicians of the interior states
had achieved their program of detention. Without giving up its belief

that evacuees should be brought back to normal productive life, WRA
had, in effect, become their jailer, contending that confinement was
for the benefit of the evacuees and that the controls on their departure
were designed to prevent mistreatment by other Americans.36

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

WRA had to move quickly in finding centers to house 120,000
people and in developing policies and procedures for handling the
evacuees soon to come under its jurisdiction. The President had stressed

the need for immediate action ;37 both the War Department and the
WRA were anxious to remove the evacuees from the primitive, make
shift assembly centers.
Selecting the sites for the relocation centers proved complicated.
Two sites had been chosen by military authorities before the WRA
was born . 38 Eight more locations were needed — designed to be “ areas
where the evacuees might settle down to a more stable kind of life

until plans could be developed for their permanent relocation in com
munities outside the evacuated areas.” 39 Site selection required the

War Department and the WRA to agree, although each had different
interests. 40 The WRA retained the portion of its early plan that called
for large -scale agricultural programs in which evacuees would clear,

develop and cultivate the land. Thus, the centers had to be on federal
land so that improvements would become a public benefit. The Army,
now face-to -face with the actual movement of people, no longer ad
vocated freedom of movement outside the Western Defense Com
mand. It became concerned about security and insisted that sites be
>

located at a safe distance from “ strategic installations, ” a term that

included power lines and reservoirs. The Army also wanted each camp
to have a population of at least 5,000 so that the number of guards
could be minimized. To be habitable, the centers had to have suitable

transportation, power and water facilities.41 By June 5, after consid

ering 300 proposed sites42 and negotiating with many potentially af
fected state and local government officials, the WRA chose the final
eight sites. 43

More than any other single factor, the requirement for large tracts
of land virtually guaranteed that the sites would be inhospitable. As
Roger Daniels explained it: “ That these areas were still vacant land in
1942, land that the ever -voracious pioneers and developers had either
passed by or abandoned, speaks volumes about their attractiveness. » 44
The sites were indeed unattractive. Manzanar and Poston, se

lected by the Army, were in the desert. Although both could eventually
produce crops, extensive irrigation would be needed ,45 and Poston's
climate was particularly harsh . Six other sites were also arid desert.
Gila River, near Phoenix, 46 suffered almost as severely from the heat.47
Minidoka and Heart Mountain , the two northernmost centers , were
known for hard winters and severe dust storms. Tule Lake was the

most developed site; located in a dry lake bed, much of it was ready

RELOCATION CENTERS

157

for planting.48 Topaz was covered in greasewood brush. 49 Granadawas
little better, although there was some provision for irrigation. 50 The
last two centers - Rohwer and Jerome in Arkansas — were entirely dif
ferent. Located in swampland, the sites were heavily wooded , with

severe drainage problems. 51 Table 2 lists the location and capacity of
each center .

TABLE 252: Relocation Centers

Location

Capacity
(in persons)

West -central Utah

10,000

Western Arizona
Western Arizona

10,000

Unit 2

Unit 3

Western Arizona

Name

Central Utah ( Topaz)
Colorado River (Poston )
Unit 1

Gila River (Rivers)
Butte Camp

Canal Camp
Granada (Amache)

Central Arizona
Central Arizona
Southeastern Colorado

Heart Mountain

Northwestern Wyoming

5,000
5,000

10,000
5,000
8,000
12,000
10,000

Jerome (Denson )

Southeastern Arkansas

Manzanar

East -central California

10,000

Minidoka (Hunt)

South -central Idaho

10,000

Rohwer

Southeastern Arkansas

Tule Lake (Newell )

North -central California

10,000
16,000

Having selected the sites, the WRA's second job was to develop
the policies and procedures that would control the lives of evacuees.
This was begun almost immediately, with help from the JACL. In his
April 6 letter to Eisenhower, Masaoka set forth a long list of recom
mendations for regulating life in the camps and stressed , among other
things, the importance of respecting the citizenship of the Nisei, pro
tecting the health ofelderly Issei, providing educational opportunities,
and recognizing that the evacuees were “ American ” in their outlook
and wanted to make a contribution to the war effort.53 The first set of

policies issued May 29 were labelled by the Director “ tentative, still
fairly crude, and subject to immediate change .” Further, they did not
reach the centers until three weeks after the first groups had arrived .
They were not clarified until August, when over half the evacuee

population had been transferred to the centers. Given the limited time
available and the novelty of WRA's task as both jailer and advocate for

the evacuees, it is not surprising that the agency was not fully pre

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

pared. 54 Still, the fact that WRA was not able to provide dependable
answers to basic questions about how the centers would be managed

probably fed the disaffection that increasingly characterized reactions
to the relocation centers.

The confluence of diverse political interests had again conspired

against the evacuees. The new centers at which they were arriving
were barely an improvement over the assembly centers they had left.
The increased freedom and possible resettlement they had anticipated
had been reversed in favor of confinement. And the rules that would
govern their lives were uncertain or non - existent.

LIFE IN CAMP
Housing and Facilities

Except at Manzanar, which was built as an assembly center and
transferred to the WRA for use as a relocation center, all the relocation
camps were built from scratch. Thus, the design and facilities were
relatively standard. By agreement with the WRA , the camps were built
by the War Department according to its own specifications.55 Barbed
wire fences, watchtowers, and armed guards surroundedthe residential
and administrative areas of most camps.56

The military police and adroinistrative personnel had separate
quarters, more spacious and better furnished. At most centers, evac
uees built the administrative housing, which had not been included

in the original construction contracts. At Topaz, Gladys Bell and her
family, who were with the administrative staff, had an entire four-room
barrack complete with piano. 57 At Manzanar, staff houses were painted
and had residential cooling systems, refrigerators, indoor toilets and
baths. 58

Arrangements for the evacuees were not comparable. The basic
organizational unit was once again the “block,” consisting of about 12

to 14 barracks, a mess hall, baths, showers, toilets, a laundry and a
>

recreation hall. 59 Each barrack was about 20 by 100 to 120 feet, divided
into four or six rooms, each from 20 by 16 to 20 by 25 feet. 60 Each
room housed at least one family, even if the family was very large.
Even at the end of 1942, in 928 cases, two families shared a 20 by 25
foot room . 61
Construction was of the kind used to house soldiers overseas
the so - called “ theatre of operations” type, 62 modified somewhat to
>

i

RELOCATION CENTERS

159

accommodate women and children.63 The barracks were built of planks
nailed to studs and covered with tarpaper.64 In some places the green

wood warped quickly, cracking walls and floors.65 Congressman Leland
Ford said of the Manzanar barracks that “ on dusty days, one might
just as well be outside as inside. ”66 “ So much of our work was done
sloppily,” Dean Meeker testified of Heart Mountain :
I can remember the foreman's comment when he found cracks in

the building. He said, “Well, I guess those Japs will be stuffing
their underwear in there to keep the wind out.

In my defense, I will say I applied a bit more diligence and
care to my work when I realized people would actually have to

survive a Wyoming winter in this housing. We all knew that there
was no way anyone accustomed to California weather could pos

sibly survive a Wyoming winter in those barracks. If they were
from California, they probably didn't even own the proper clothing
for a winter in Cody. 67

No inside walls or ceilings were included in the original plans. As part
ofa winterization program , however, evacuee construction crews even
tually added firboard ceilings and inside walls in many of the centers. 68
A visiting reporter from The San Francisco Chronicle described
quarters at Tule Lake:

Room size — about 15 by 25 , considered too big for two reporters.
Condition_dirty.

Contents — two Army cots, each with two Army blankets, one
pillow, some sheets and pillow cases (these came as a courtesy

from the management), and a coal-burning stove (no coal). There
were no dishes, rugs, curtains, or housekeeping equipment ofany
kind. (We had in addition one sawhorse and three pieces of wood,

which the management did not explain.)69
The furnishings at other camps were similar. At Minidoka, arriving
evacuees found two stacked canvas cots, a pot-bellied stove and a light
bulb hanging from the ceiling ;70 at Topaz, cots, two blankets, a pot
bellied stove and some cotton mattresses. 71 Rooms had no running

water, which had to be carried from community facilities.72 Running
back and forth from the laundry room to rinse and launder soiled
diapers was a particular inconvenience.?
For some evacuees the camps were an improvement over the
assembly centers.
At least there were flush toilets in the community bathrooms and
we were given two rooms instead of one . 74

The buildings were the same type of barracks, although they
had flooring. 75

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

Our new homes were better insulated from the dust and storm

and noise than those at the assembly center. 76
Others, however, found not even the minimal comforts that had

been planned for them. An unrealistic schedule combined with wartime
shortages of labor and materials meant that the WRA had difficulty

meeting its construction schedule. 77 In most cases, the barracks were
completed, but at some centers evacuees lived without electric light,
adequate toilets or laundry facilities. 78
When we first arrived at Minidoka, everyone was forced to use
outhouses since the sewer system had not been built. For about

a year, the residents had to brave the cold and the stench of these
accommodations. 79

Mess halls planned for about 300 people had to handle 600 or 900
for short periods. 80 Three months after the project opened, Manzanar

still lacked equipment for 16 of 36 messhalls.81 At Gila :
There were 7,700 people crowded into space designed for 5,000.
They were housed in messhalls, recreation halls, and even latrines.
As many as 25 persons lived in a space intended for four. 82

As at the assembly centers, one result was that evacuees were
often denied privacy in even the most intimate aspects of their lives.
Apartment is shared by married couple, age around 50 years, and
our family of four, one girl just nine and one ten years old, my

husband is out during the day on a job . ... The heat is terrific
and the lady in our apartment is very sensitive to heat, so whenever
her washing and ironing is done she is always taking naps — makes
it hard for children to run in and out — for fear it may disturb her.

She is an understanding person, but still there is time she wished
she could have slept just another ten minutes. 83
Even when families had separate quarters, the partitions between
rooms failed to give much privacy. Gladys Bell described the situation
at Topaz:

[T]he evacuees .

had only one room , unless there were around

ten in the family. Their rooms had a pot-bellied stove, a single

electric light hanging from the ceiling, an Army cot for each person
and a blanket for the bed . Each barrack had six rooms with only

three flues. This meant that a hole had to be cut through the wall
of one room for the stovepipe to join the chimney of the next
room . The hole was large so that the wall would not burn . As a

result, everything said and some things whispered were easily

heard by people living in the next room . Sometimes the family
would be a couple with four children living next to an older couple,
perhaps of aa different religion , older ideas and with a difference
in all ways of life — such as music. 84

RELOCATION CENTERS

161

Despite these wretched conditions the evacuees again began to
rebuild their lives. Several evacuees recall “ foraging for bits of wall
board and wood ” 85 and dodging guards to get materials from the scrap

lumber piles to build shelves and furniture. 86 Even the refuse of better
times was treasured in camp :

To aa friend who became engaged, we gave nails — many of them

bent - precious nails preserved in fruit wrappings, snitched from
our fathers' meager supply or found by sifting through the sand
in the windbreak wherescrap lumber was piled. 87

Eventually, rooms were partitioned and shelves, tables, chairs and
other furniture appeared. 88 Paint and cloth for curtains and spreads
came from mail order houses at evacuee expense .89 Flowers bloomed

and rock gardens emerged ;90 trees and shrubs were planted. Many
evacuees grew victory gardens. 91 One described the change:
[W]hen we entered camp, it was a barren desert. When we left
camp, it was a garden that had been built up without tools, it was
green around the camp with vegetation, flowers, and also with
2

artificial lakes, and that's how we left it. 92

The success of evacuees' efforts to improve their surroundings,
however, was always tempered by the harsh climate. In the western
camps, particularly Heart Mountain , Poston , Topaz93 and Minidoka,

dust was a principal problem . Monica Sone described her first day at
Minidoka:

[W]e were given a rousing welcome by aa dust storm. ... We felt
as if we were standing in a gigantic sand -mixing machine as the

sixty -mile gale lifted the loose earth up into the sky, obliterating
everything. Sand filled our mouths and nostrils and stung our
faces and hands like a thousand darting needles. Henry and Father
pushed on ahead while Mother, Sumi and I followed, hanging
onto their jackets, banging suitcases into each other. At last we

staggered into our room , gasping and blinded. We sat on our
suitcases to rest, peeling off our jackets and scarves. The window
panes rattled madly, and the dust poured through the cracks like
smoke . Now and then when the wind subsided, I saw other evac

uees, hanging on to their suitcases, heads bent against the stinging

dust. Thewind whipped their scarves and towels from their heads
and zipped them out of sight. 94
In desert camps , the evacuees met severe extremes oftemperature

as well. In winter it reached 35 degrees below zero95 and summers
brought temperatures as high as 115°. 96 Because the desert did not

cool off at night, evacuees would splash water on their cots to be cool
enough to sleep. 97 Rattlesnakes and desert wildlife added danger to
discomfort. 98

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

The Arkansas camps had equally unpleasant weather. Winters
were cold and snowy while summers were unbearably hot and humid,
heavy with chiggers and clouds of mosquitos:99
When the rains came in Rohwer, we could not leave our quarters.
The water stagnated at the front steps. ... The mosquitos that
festered there were horrible, and the authorities never had enough
quinine for sickness . . . Rohwer was a living nightmare. 100
Necessities: Food, Clothing and Health

The WRA walked a fine line in providing for evacuees' basic needs .
On the one hand was their genuine sympathy for the excluded people.
On the other was a well-founded apprehension that the press and the

politicians would seek out and denounce any evidence that evacuees
were being treated generously. 101 WRA's compromise was to strive for
a system that would provide a healthy but Spartan environment. They

did not always succeed, and it was usually the evacuees who suffered
when they failed .
The meal system was institutional — food served in messhalls at

designated times. Lines were long and tables crowded . Special ar
rangements were made for infants, the sick or elderly, but, as in most
institutions, they were developed from necessity, not convenience.

There were formula kitchens for the babies, to which their mothers
brought them at designated times; some mothers walked many “ blocks”
as often as six times a day to get their infants fed when the camps first

opened. 102 Others bought hot plates to make formula, but without
running water this system was almost as unsatisfactory. 103 The arrange
ments for those on restricted diets were difficult. The diet kitchens

were often located in the administration complex, far from the resi
dential area; the sick and the elderly had to walk as much as a mile
three times a day to get their special food. 104
Food quality and quantity varied among centers, generally im

proving in the later months as evacuees began to produce it themselves.
The WRA's expressed policy was that evacuees were entitled to the
same treatment as other American citizens: WRA was to provide an

adequate diet; foods rationed to the public would be available to evac
uees in the same quantities. 105 The reality, however, was very different.
Weiners, dry fish, rice, macaroni and pickled vegetables are among
the foods evacuees recall eating most frequently. 106 Meatless days were
regular at some centers — two or three times a week, 107 and many items
were unavailable. Continuing dairy shortages meant that, at most cen
ters, fluid milk was served only to those with special needs, 108 while

RELOCATION CENTERS

163

at others, there was watery skim milk. 109 In fact, no really appetizing

meals could be produced regularly under a requirement that feeding
the evacuees could not cost more than rations for the Army, which
were -set at 50 cents per person per day. 110 Actual costs per evacuee
were approximately 45 cents per person per day;"11 sometimes they
fell as low as 31 cents. 112

In January 1943, after accusations that evacuees were being cod

dled, the WRA adopted new policies which showed that their fear of

adverse publicity had overcome any humanitarian impulse. “ At no time
would evacuees' food have higher specifications than or exceed in
quantity what the civil population may obtain in the open market. ”

Centers were ordered to submit their planned menus for each 30 -day
period to Washington for advance approval to make sure that the public
was adequately informed of WRA feeding policies and procedures.113
Perhaps the best that can be said of the meal system is that no one
starved .

No one froze either. As winter approached , many evacuees were

unprepared, either because they had brought no warm clothing due
to baggage limitations or because they did not own such clothing, never
having needed it at home. In response, the WRA provided monthly

clothing allowances and distributed surplus clothing. Each employed
evacuee and his or her dependents were supposed to receive from $ 2
to $3.75 each month, 114 depending on the evacuee's age and the climate
of the center. The system , however, did not work well because the
shorthanded WRA assigned it to an inexperienced , overworked staff,

which was unable to handle the additional workload, 115 and delays
continually frustrated evacuees at the mercy of the WRA for their

survival. The surplus distribution became the principal source ofwarm
clothing during the first winter, when need was greatest. The clothes

were old GI peajackets and uniforms, sizes 38 to 44. However unat
tractive, they were warm and a source of great amusement. 116
The adequacy of health care in the camps has been a matter of

continuing debate. No issue was raised more frequently during the
testimony. The WRA itself readily acknowledged some of the system's
larger flaws. The hospitals that had been planned were behind sched
ule; some were not completed until the end of 1942.117 Equipment

shortages were constant and many supplies, including medicines, were
unavailable. 118 Evacuees were forced back on their own resources,

bringing their own equipment from home or making it from materials
found in camp. 119

By far the biggest problem , however, was too few medical per

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

sonnel, particularly nurses. 120 The result was overworked doctors and
nurses and delays in treatment. 121 At Jerome, for example, only seven
doctors were on hand to care for 10,000 people in October of 1942. 122
The only medical profession filled to capacity in the camps was dentists;
there were so many at some centers that not all could practice. 123 By

1943, the situation in most centers had grown worse as medical per
sonnel left to resettle . By the last half of 1943, not only were personnel

few , but hospital bed usage rose as older evacuees whose families had
resettled fell back on hospital rather than family care. 124 The shortage

of nurses was handled in part by training evacuees as aides. 125 Some
felt that their training was inadequate : 12
In Topaz, I took three weeks of instruction from one of the five

Registered Nurses assigned to Topaz and went on duty as a Nurse's
Aide. I didn't even know the names of the instruments — I felt

terribly inadequate to take care of some very sick people. 127
As aa result of nationwide medical personnel shortages, some staff
physicians were not the best. At Manzanar, for example, a Caucasian
doctor set strict limits on work by the evacuee doctors in his charge,

limiting the efficiency of the medical program for some time. 128 At
Tule Lake, the elderly physician in charge was not aware of and would
not allow newer medical procedures. After a great deal of protest from
the evacuees, he departed. 129

Caring for people with special medical needs was particularly
difficult. In a situation where running water was a luxury and normal

conveniences virtually absent, it was very difficult to provide special
care . Tuberculosis might well mean separation from one's family to
outside facilities for the duration of the evacuation . 130 Retarded chil

dren who could have been cared for by their families at home had to
be institutionalized . 131 Serious illnesses, such as mental breakdowns,
meant removal to state hospitals. 132

There were, however, some positive aspects to the system . Most
of the centers stressed preventive health care and set up immunization

programs as soon as possible. 133 The camp hospitals were nearby, al
though reaching them might be a problem with no transportation but
walking. 134 Care was free, and evacuees had time to attend to their
health .

Any real measure of the system's effectiveness would require a
statistical evaluation of the center's health records compared to the
records of a comparable group outside the centers. No such studies
exist. The WRA noted few problems. Epidemics of chicken pox and
respiratory tract infections were mentioned , 135 as were problems “ de

RELOCATION CENTERS

165

veloped in connection with the water supply at some centers .” 136 In
the Arkansas centers, there was malaria, which abated after a mosquito

eradication campaign, better public education and more screening. 137
The WRA asserted that evacuees' physical health remained satisfac
tory, 138 and, in a 1946 comparison of death rates in the camps to deaths
in the U.S. population as a whole, they found that death rates in the

camps were lower than those in the general population. 139
Testimony before the Commission, however, suggests aa different
story. The evacuees recall more than one problem caused by inade
quate sewage disposal. Epidemics of dysentery were reported at To
paz ,140 Minidoka, 141 and Jerome, 142 and a typhoid epidemic occurred
at Minidoka. 143

Evacuees testified about polio and tuberculosis as well. 144 The

polio problem was apparently quite severe at Granada during the latter
part of 1943. Some organized activities were cancelled , 145 and WRA
stopped giving passes to nearby towns. 146 At Poston , Rita Cates found

140 cases of tuberculosis in 8 months. 147 Several evacuees testified
about situations in which inadequate care led to death or disability that
might have been avoided. 148
Employment
One of the many unresolved issues for arriving evacuees was the

extent to which they would be required to support themselves. Were

they in fact prisoners for whom the state had an obligation to provide
continuing minimal help? Or were they simply to be regarded as people
who had moved, responsible for themselves, for whom WRA would

provide initial help and encouragement? Eisenhower's original plan
tended toward the latter view. The WRA would , in the main, help
provide or locate opportunities for the evacuees, not regard them as
indefinite dependents. Once the decision had been made that evacuees
were to be confined , however, WRA expectations had to change. Evac
uees confined to government camps would definitely have limited

career opportunities. Still, the WRA was not prepared to regard evac
uees as wards of the state. The WRA, determined to strive for com

munities that would be as self-sufficient as possible, 149 wanted to avoid
creating a permanently dependent population like the Indians. They

believed that prolonged idleness would deepen the evacuees' feelings
of frustration and isolation . Further, the war effort demanded that all
labor be used, and WRA believed constructive work would rehabilitate

evacuees in the eyes of their countrymen. 150 Therefore, the WRA
approach to employment (as to many other issues) became a compro

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

expecting and encouraging evacuees to work while denying them
mise
freedom of choice or incentives to perform . Needless to say, the result
satisfied no one .

The first plan to emerge from these conflicting objectives was the
notion of an evacuee work corps. Each working -age evacuee would be
given an opportunity to join the corps. Enlistment was voluntary but
the evacuee had to enlist to be eligible for work. The corps was to

develop land, build irrigation structures, produce food and turn out
war -related manufactured items. 151

By May 29, the WRA had refined its plan. Each center would be

a " partnership enterprise.” WRA would furnish the essentials of living
and try to develop work opportunities. Evacuee members of the work
corps were to work toward providing their own living requirements,
developing the center's land, and producing surplus goods for sale. At

the end of the year, any profits (the surplus of earnings over mainte
nance costs) would be distributed to work -corps members. Meanwhile,
evacuees would receive cash advances. Eligible residents who chose
not to join the corps would be charged $ 20 a month for themselves
and each dependent to cover subsistence costs. 152

This plan set the amount of “ cash advances,” which eventually
became “wages.” On March 23, before any policy had been adopted ,

a Hearst newspaper ran a story alleging that evacuees “will be paid
much more than the American soldiers fighting the country's battles

overseas.” The evacuees, it reported, would get $ 50 to $ 94 a month,
while the soldier's base pay was $21 a month. This misleading story

led to a Congressional investigation and attendant publicity that put
great pressure on Eisenhower. Eventually he agreed that evacuee pay
would not, under any circumstances, exceed the base pay of a soldier;
the scale adopted was $12 a month for unskilled labor, $ 16 for skilled
labor, and $19 for professional employees. 153 Congress and the press
had delivered a message parallel to that of the mountain states gov
ernors: the WRA might look on its work as returning to normal life a
group against whom there were no charges and most of whom were

concededly loyal to the United States, but a great many members of
Congress and the press saw WRA as warden of a dangerous group
whose subversive potential required stern control. As a result, most

of WRA's constructive programs were defeated by measures of com
pulsion or deprivation .
Despite elaborate planning, neither the work corps nor the “ part
nership” idea ever got offthe ground. The evacuees decisively rejected
the work corps by refusing to sign up in large numbers. The partnership

RELOCATION CENTERS

167

notion, with or without the work corps, was flawed . Some centers had
greater potential than others ; the accounting system would have been

extremely complex, and the whole scheme was subject to allegations
of “ unfair competition” from local interests. By August 1942, it was
dropped. The only element that remained was the schedule of “ cash

advances,” now known as “wages. "154
The new policy adopted in August remained substantially un

changed throughout the WRA program . Its principal elements were:
• Evacuees in centers would receive food, shelter, medical care and
education without charge.

• Evacuees working at the centers would be paid $12, $16 or $19
a month .

Unemployment compensation payments, at rates ranging from

$ 1.50 to $ 4.75 a month , would be paid to each employable evacuee
(and each dependent ) who was out of work through no fault of his
own. 155

The wage scale immediately became controversial and remained
so. Public opinion dictated that wages should be low . Evacuees de
manded a higher scale; they saw themselves as victims of a misguided,
hysterical war reaction and utterly undeserving of treatment different
from that of other Americans.

Moreover, the system caused severe financial hardship. Evacuees
could not afford to meet even their minimal needs inside the centers.

Sometimes the barest essentials in the Sears catalogue, such as shoes

for the children, were out of reach. Meeting their outside obligations,
such as mortgage payments, was impossible unless they already had

savings or income-producing property. And it was insulting. A WRA
librarian received $167 a month , while her evacuee staff received $16

a month. 156 Despite the agitation, the system was never changed. By
the time it might have been , the WRA was encouraging evacuees to
leave the centers and did not want to create an incentive to stay.

Opportunities for work were also the subject of continuing debate
and change. The WRA had promised jobs for those who wanted to
work, but meager opportunities led to overstaffing and encouraged
slack work habits. When the WRA decided to tighten up in 1943,

eliminating many jobs and much of the unemployment roll, there was
considerable protest. Labor grievances were widespread and motiva
tion was a real problem . Many evacuees saw no reason to devote their
best efforts to a system which displayed so little trust in them and held
out such demeaning rewards. 157

Despite these problems, the employment program was not a total

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

failure. The centers were staffed almost completely by evacuees, and
some agricultural efforts and war industries succeeded moderately.
At all centers; workers were most needed in operations — food
preparation,158
158 winterization, 159 health and sanitation , security160 and

the like. 161 Feeding the community was most labor-intensive.

Among

those who testified about their employment, by far the largest group
worked in center operations.

Although the centers never met WRA expectations for agriculture,
some did produce considerable amounts of food. Begun at Tule Lake

and Gila River, vegetable production later became substantial at other
centers as well. 163 By the end of 1943, WRA estimated that the centers
were producing 85 percent of their own vegetables and that 2.5 million
pounds had been sold. 164 In addition to vegetables, all of the centers

eventually raised hogs. 165 “The hogs ate everything we left and ulti
mately we ate the hogs. ”166 Most raised poultry as well. Four had beef
herds, and Gila River ran a dairy. 167

The first industry in operation was the camouflage net project at
Manzanar . From June to December 1942, nearly 500 citizen evacuees
garnished nets with colored fabric in summer, winter and desert pat

terns. Near the end of 1942, net factories operating under contract
began production at Gila River and Poston. They set up an incentive
system that allowed workers to make extra money by high production.
Not surprisingly, the incentive system was resented by those to whom
no incentives were offered. 168

During 1943, two other war-related industries were established :
a silk-screen poster shop at Heart Mountain and a model warship facility

at Gila River, both preparing Navy orders. 169 In 1943 sawmills began
at two centers. 170 Several other industries began to produce goods for
internal consumption. By the end of 1942, sewing projects to renovate
and repair work clothes; woodworking establishments to produce fur
niture; and projects to produce bean sprouts and soy sauce were under
way .171

In 1943 , others were added.172 Susumu Togasaki described the

growth of small-scale enterprise through the birth of his tofu (bean
curd ) factory :

We began manufacturing with a meat grinder and a washing ma
chine. I recruited my friends and acquaintances (Messrs . Yama

guchi, Shimizu, Asakawa, Harada, Tsuruoka, and Mrs. Umezawa).
There was some controversy regarding our spending too much
money. So we instituted an invoice system with the administra
tion . We invoiced all the tofu and bean sprouts delivered to the
mess halls in the three camps. We also contra -accounted the re

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169

ceipt of raw materials, and the salaries of the members of the tofu
factory. We showed a profit at the end of the first month.
Our invoices were later to be aa problem . The administration
made inquiries in various cities regarding the prices of bean sprouts

and tofu. They apparently felt our paper profits were too high.
However, complaints were voiced by civilians in the cities that
our prices were too low .

Once the tofu and bean sprout operations were running smoothly,
our group looked for other projects. In response to the unavail
ability of fresh flowers for funerals, weddings, and gatherings, we
decided to manufacture artificial flowers. We purchased crepe
paper and wire on a retail basis from Phoenix. We soon realized

the crepe paper prices were exorbitant, and wrote to the manu

facturer. We began buying enough crepe paper to be awarded
thesole distributorship for the Pacific Southwest. My friends later
sold crepe paper to the retail stores in the Phoenix area. We also
started a greeting card manufacturing business, using linoleum
block prints. The cards were designed and executed by artists
among the internees.

The majority of the people working these operations were paid
$ 19.00 per month . The administration felt some of the people
should be paid less, since that was a supervisorial wage rate. I

argued that each person on our staff was exercising independent
judgment. Thus the salary levels were justified and continued . 17

Finally, “ community enterprises” provided goods and services to
the evacuees beyond the WRA subsistence items—stores, hairdressers,

newspapers , theaters and the like . Most of these were begun under
WRA auspices; the plan, however, was to transform them into con
sumer cooperatives. 174 Many centers did in fact establish such coop
eratives, 175 purchasing goods on credit from wholesalers. Those not
set up as cooperatives were organized as trusts. 176 By the end of 1942,
there were 116 such enterprises doing over $ 700,000 worth of business
a month . 177

From Day to Day

Life begins each day with a siren blast at 7:00 a.m. , with breakfast
served cafeteria style. Work begins at 8:00 for the adults, school
at 8:30 or 9:00 for the children. 178

Camp life was highly regimented and it was rushing to the wash
basin to beat the other groups, rushing to the mess hall for break
fast, lunch and dinner. When a human being is placed in captivity,
survival is the key. We develop a very negative attitude toward
authority. We spent countless hours to defy or beat the system .
Our minds started to function like any POW or convicted crimi
nal . 179

Living in a relocation camp meant waiting, not just waiting for food

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

and facilities, but waiting to see what would happen next. There was
no way to prepare for the future — to plan for retirement or to choose

a career path. There was little reason to work, except to pass the time
or to fill immediate community needs. Choices were denied, from the
choice of where to live to the choice of what to eat. Merely surviving
was physically and psychically draining. Getting to the messhall on
time; finding an empty shower; keeping the diapers clean; coping with
the heat, the cold, insects or snakes were major tasks. Holding the

family together without privacy or authority required a full commit
ment. Yet the camps were busy places. Most of those who could work,

did so, and both WRA and the evacuees clearly tried to create the
illusion of a normal community with normal pastimes. Nowhere was
this more evident than in their efforts to set up community activities.
Yet the same contradictions within WRA applied here as in other
aspects of living. How could they provide enough without being ac

cused of providing too much ? How could they permit evacuees to
control their communities without compromising their responsibilities

as jailers? The illusion that the captive population controlled their own
lives could not be sustained. Once again , compromise satisfied no one.
Education . When the evacuees arrived at the relocation centers,

the education program was little more than a promise that schools
would be the first order of business. 180 School buildings and equipment
had not been part of the original construction , so classes were held in
barrack -like recreation halls. 181 The WRA described conditions as schools

opened somewhat later than usual between 1942 and January 1943:
With no exceptions, schools at the centers opened in unpartitioned
barracks meant for other purposes and generally bare of furniture.
Sometimes the teacher had aa desk and chair; more often she had

only a chair. In the first few weeks many of the children had no
desks or chairs and for the most part were obliged to sit on the
floor - or stand up all day. Linoleum laying and additional wall
insulation were accomplished in these makeshift schoolrooms some
time after the opening ofschool. At some centers cold waves struck
before winterization could be started.

By the [end of 1942] ... it was no longer necessary for many
pupils to sit on the floor, but seating was frequently of a rudi
mentary character. Text books and other supplies were gradually
arriving. Laboratory and shop equipment and facilities, however,

were still lacking. No center hadbeen able to obtain its full quota
of teachers. 182

At Minidoka, the “washroom became the biology and chemistry

laboratory." 183 At Tule Lake, students in the typing class never saw a

RELOCATION CENTERS

171

typewriter: “We drew circles on a sheet of paper, lettered the circles,
and practiced by pressing our fingers over the circles. " 184 The shortage
of textbooks and supplies was mitigated, though never resolved. States
donated old textbooks185 and other donations came through the Amer
ican Friends Service Committee. 186

Recruiting and training teachers was a constant problem . Few

evacuees were certified, because teaching opportunities before the war
were few for those of Japanese ancestry. It was difficult to recruit

outside teachers because of the centers’ harsh living conditions, 187 and
staff turnover was high. 188 Thus, many evacuees with two or more
years of college became “ assistant teachers” who in some cases assumed
a full teaching load. 189 Although an evacuee certification program was
established at each center, the shortage continued, particularly as the

resettlement effort quickened . 190 One evacuee described his chemistry
class:

I recall sitting in classrooms without books and listening to the
instructor talking about technical matters that we could not study
in depth . The lack of qualified evacuee teachers, the shortage of

trained teachers was awful. I remember having to read a chapter
a week in chemistry and discovering at the end of a semester that
we had finished one full year's course . There was a total loss of

scheduling with no experiments, demonstrations or laboratory
work . 191

Despite these problems, education began at four different levels:
nursery school, elementary school, high school, and adult education. 192
Limited vocational education was added. 193 School clubs and extra

curricular activities began. 194
The curriculum , set in consultation with state education author

ities, was consistent with the recognized standards of the state in which
the center was located, 195 although some evacuees recall aa dearth of
science, language, math and other college preparatory courses. 196 All

schools except Tule Lake were accredited . The children of families
leaving the centers could usually transfer to outside schools without
losing credit, 197 although some evacuees testified that some of their
camp credits were not accepted . 198

Education was a high priority in the centers, but adverse condi
tions took аa toll. Many evacuees believed that deficiencies in the ed
ucational program have handicapped them ever since, 199 both because

the physical environment was poor and because evacuees' attitudes
toward the centers colored their attitudes about education .

The education program , ironically, emphasized “Americanization ”

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

and inculcation of the country's values. The centers certainly provided
a new context for the precepts of the Founding Fathers:
An oft-repeated ritual in relocation camp schools . . . was the
salute to the flag followed by the singing of “ My country, 'tis of
thee, sweet land ofliberty” —aceremony Caucasian teachers found
embarrassingly awkward if not cruelly poignant in the austere

prison - camp setting. 200
The life of children is, of course, in many ways oblivious of the

fears and angers of adults, but experiences of childhood teach their
own lessons, and the half- free, half -prison world of the camps left its
mark:

In some ways, I suppose, my life was not too different from a lot

of kids in America between the years 1942 and 1945. I spent a
good part of my time playing with my brothers and friends, learned
to shoot marbles, watched sandlot baseball and envied the older
kids who wore Boy Scout uniforms. We shared with the rest of
America the same movies, screen heroes and listened to the same

heartrending songs of the forties. We imported much of America
into the camps because, after all, we were Americans. Through
imitation of my brothers, who attended grade school within the
camp, I learned the salute to the flag by the time I was five years
old. I was learning, as best one could learn in Manzanar, what it
meant to live in America. But I was also learning the sometimes

bitter price one has to pay for it. 201
Recreation . In the early months, the recreation halls often had to
be used for other purposes, equipment was minimal, and professionals
to organize the program were few . By the winter of 1942, however,
conditions were improving. Church groups loaned or gave equip
ment, 202 and supervisors were on the job in all centers but one .203
Athletics were a major recreation. While the preferences of Issei
and Nisei differed in most cases, baseball was a common denominator.
At some centers, there were as many as 100 teams active at one time,

ranging from children to Issei in their sixties. 204 Basketball and touch
football were popular as well. Indoor sports were limited to those that

took little space — primarily ping -pong, judo, boxing205 and badmin
ton . 206 Sumo wrestling bouts were given for those interested in the
traditional sports of Japan.207 By the end of 1943, evacuees were some
times allowed to leave the grounds, so that hiking and swimming
became popular pastimes. 208
The evacuees also diverted themselves with dancing, plays, con

certs, and gamescards, chess, checkers, Goh, Shogi and Mah-jongg 209
Some activities were underwritten by outside groups — an art com
petition in 1943, for example, was sponsored by Massachusetts Quak

RELOCATION CENTERS

ers.210

173

There were numerous art or craft exhibitions211 and films that

came to each messhall.212 At Manzanar, an outdoor walk -in theatre
was eventually built, where evacuees could see most current films. 213
Although there were few instruments, there was a good deal of music.

Dancing classes at Topaz, for example, included tap, ballet, toe and
Oriental, and there were two orchestras.214

Most of the centers had libraries. By 1943, the Manzanar library
had a staffof sixteen and five branches including a main library, a small
fiction branch, a high school and elementary branch and a teacher's
library.215 By the end of 1943, most of the libraries had Japanese
language sections as well. 216

Holidays remained important, as they had been in the assembly
centers . At Topaz, for example, Arbor Day was celebrated by distrib

uting small shrubs to each block ; at Christmas, there were decorated
trees, special food, and presents donated by the American Friends
Society ;217 New Year's was celebrated218 traditionally with mochi, a
kind of rice cake; at Easter, a large outdoor ceremony was planned;
and the Buddhists held a parade and folk dances to celebrate the
anniversary of the birth of Buddha. 219

The WRA encouraged the establishment of local chapters of na
tional organizations. 220 Ву the end of 1942, most centers had chapters
of the American Red Cross, YMCA, YWCA, Boy Scouts and Girl
Scouts.221 There were scrap metal drives, bond sales, Red Cross drives

and blood donations. 222 Ultimately, these organizations, particularly

the YMCA and YWCA, were active in helping evacuees to resettle. 223
Not all recreation, of course, was organized. At Topaz, women
created beautiful designs in seashells collected around the camp
ground, once the bottom of an ancient lake. Many of the men did

woodworking. At other centers doll-making, sewing, crochet, callig
raphy and flower -arranging were popular. 224
Religion. The WRA's policy was to allow complete freedom of
worship , except for barring State Shinto on the grounds that it involved

Emperor worship. 225 A building - generally the recreation hall — was
provided for services, and evacuees were permitted to invite outside
pastors if they wished .226 Pianos and organs were loaned or donated. 227

Originally, the WRA was willing to allow churches to be built,228 but

later reversed this plan because of materials shortages.229 The WRA
did not pay ministers, 230 so they were financed by their congregations
or the national churches. 231 Unlike the assembly centers, here the use
of Japanese was permitted. 2
Newspapers. All centers had community newspapers, published

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

in English with a Japanese language section . They were supervised by
the WRA center information officer but the editors and staff were

evacuees. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that there was no
censorship at Tule Lake and that the content was “ innocuous,"» 233 though

one must question whether censorship would be necessary where the
seat of power was so obvious and the effective paths of protest so few .
Most papers published two or three times a week, although some were

weekly and Poston's came out daily.234 Most were underwritten by the
WRA; at Manzanar, Minidoka and Heart Mountain, papers were printed
and managed by the community enterprise associations. 23
2355 The papers
were intended to keep the evacuees informed about the center and

outside. Camp administration used them for announcements, and re
settlement news appeared frequently once it was under way .236
Government. From the beginning, it was clear that aа channel of
communication between camp administrators and evacuees would be
needed . WRA planned a system of community government to meet
this need and also to function like a municipal government adopting
ordinances and policies on internal matters. 237 The form was to be an

elected community council of representatives from each block. For
legal and policy reasons, however, WRA held a veto over the legislative
activities of the governments and adopted policies describing how they
would be structured.238 Because of these restrictions, particularly one

barring Issei from holding elective office, many evacuees regarded the
system as a sham , further evidence that they were not trusted, and an
example of bad faith by the WRA . 239
Despite these problems, most centers eventually did have some
sort of government. By the end of 1942, eight centers had temporary
community councils. Eventually, all the centers had councils except
Manzanar, which continued to function through its system of elected

block managers . 240
At some centers, block managers were the real channels of com
munication . Generally appointed by the project director (except at
Manzanar, where block managers were elected) and usually a respected
Issei, the block manager had three specific responsibilities: to ensure
that evacuees had necessities; to supervise maintenance of grounds
and structures, and to transmit official WRA announcements and

reg

ulations. 241 They were paid the going wage of $16 a month .242 Many
of these individuals enjoyed a measure of patriarchal respect that gave

them authority243 within the community and allowed them to lead when
the community councils could not.
Security. The typical relocation center was surrounded by barbed

RELOCATION CENTERS

175

wire fences punctuated with guard towers. 244 At Topaz, the evacuees
themselves built the fences and towers after they arrived.245 By agree
ment between the Army and the WRA, the Army assumed responsi

bility for guarding the perimeter,246 controlling traffic in and out of the
centers and, within the Western Defense Command, inspecting parcels
for contraband. 247

I worked at the camp post office alongside American soldiers who
were to inspect packages for contraband. Although not all could
be described as such , most were callous, destructive in their in

spection of mail order packages, and insensitive. Clothing was cut
with their knives and intimate articles (including condoms, etc.)

were held up for all to see, causing great embarrassment to the
recipients. 248
The military police were solely for external guarding unless they
were called in by the project director to handle an emergency .249 Even

so, they created problems in several instances. A WRA investigation
of Manzanar in the summer of 1942 reported:
The guards have been instructed to shoot anyone who attempts
to leave the Center without a permit, and who refuses to halt
when ordered to do so . The guards are armed with guns that are
effective at a range of up to 500 yards. I asked Lt. Buckner if a

guard ordered a Japanese who was out of bounds to halt and the
Jap did not do so , would the guard actually shoot him. Lt. Buck
ner's reply was that he only hoped the guard would bother to ask

him to halt. He explained that the guards were finding guard
service very monotonous, and that nothing would suit them better
than to have a little excitement, such as shooting a Jap.

Some time ago , a Japanese [Nisei] was shot for being outside
of a Center . ... The guard said that he ordered the Japanese to

halt — that the Japanese started to run away from him, so he shot

him. The Japanese was seriously injured, but recovered. He said
that he was collecting scrap lumber to make shelves in his house,
and that he did nothear the guard say halt. The guard's story
does not appear to be accurate, inasmuch as the Japanese was
wounded in the front and not in the back . 250

There were shootings at other centers as well. At Topaz, an elderly
evacuee thought to be escaping was killed.251 Mine Okubo described
the incident:

A few weeks later the Wakasa case stirred up the center. An elderly
resident was shot and killed within the center area inside the

fence, by a guard in one of the watchtowers. Particulars and facts
of the matter were never satisfactorily disclosed to the residents.
The anti -administration leaders again started to howl and the rest

of the residents shouted for protection against soldiers with guns.

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

As a result, the guards were later removed to the rim of the outer
project area and firearms were banned .252

At Gila River, a guard shot and wounded a mentally deranged evac
>

uee .253

At Tule Lake, after segregation , an evacuee in an altercation

with a guard was shot and killed.254

Even when the guards were not shooting, their presence had a
lasting impact. As George Takei described it:
I was too young to understand , but I do remember the barbed

wire fence from which my parents warned me to stay away.
remember the sight of high guard towers. I remember soldiers

carrying rifles, and I remember being afraid .255
Internal security was the center manager's job. Generally, he
would appoint an internal security officer to supervise a police force
composed largely of evacuees. The internal security forces were to
make all arrests. Misdemeanors were handled at the center, and felony
suspects were turned over to outside authorities. The FBI was called

if intelligence or investigation of subversive activities was needed. 256
Generally , the crime record at the centers compared favorably
with that of an average American community of similar size. A 1944

survey of comparative crime rates indicated that the law was being
broken about aa third as often in relocation centers as in an ordinary

city. 257
Tensions and Crisis

Two -thirds — the younger , American -born and American -citizen
Nisei — are becoming increasingly bitter, resentful and even sul
len .

The camp is a mare's nest of rumors, of suspicion and distrust.
Many of the Japanese feel that the Government has not kept all
its promises — and the Government certainly hasn't — and they wait
apprehensively for the next blow to fall. 258

Discontent over camp living conditions was inevitable. Housing
and food were poor. Suspicion that staff was stealing and selling food
was widespread.259 Wages and clothing allowances were delayed. For
many older residents, there were no jobs. WRA had promised that
household goods would be brought to evacuees as soon as they arrived ;
months later, none had come. There were continual shortages of equip
ment and material for education and recreation. WRA had promised
that one of its first jobs would be to build schools and furnish school
equipment, but priority often went instead to improving quarters for
WRA personnel. 260

RELOCATION CENTERS

Fear, uncertainty and the monotony of enforced idleness

177

aggra

vated tension. At the older centers, WRA policies had not been set

when evacuees arrived, and there were no answers to many of their
questions.261 They feared the future — not only what would happen
after the

war , but also whether there would be enough food or quality
medical care at the centers. 262 Many had lost income and property,
which left them few resources to fall back on. They feared the “outside.”

Relations with outside communities were poor, and evacuees knew

that some towns had passed resolutions against the free movement of

evacuees. Local communities and politicians had investigated the camps
for evidence of “ coddling. " 263

Evacuees feared and resented the changes forced by life in the
centers, particularly the breakdown of family authority, created in part

by a situation in which children no longer depended so heavily on
their parents. Family separation was common , and mass living dis
couraged normal communication and family activity. 264 Perhaps most
difficult, the position of the head of the family had been weakened.
· No longer the breadwinner providing food and shelter, he had been

supplanted by the government; his authority over the family and his
ability to lead and discipline were diminished. Children unsettlingly
found their parents as helpless as they.265
At the root of it all, evacuees resented being prisoners against

whom no crime was charged and for whom there was no recourse .
Armed guards patrolled their community and searched their packages.
No evacuee could have a camera. Even beer was prohibited. For a
long time, no evacuee could leave the center, except for emergency
reasons, and then only in the company of someone who was not of
Japanese ancestry. 266 Evacuee positions were subordinate to WRA per
sonnel, regardless of ability, and wages were low.267 At some centers,

project officials actively tried to maintain class and role distinctions,
forbidding WRA personnel and evacuees to eat in the same messhall,

for example. 268
Not all hostility was directed at the WRA ; tensions among evacuees
also began to surface. Conflicts between Issei and Nisei arose . Most

difficult was coping with the WRA -mandated “self-government ,” which
specified that only citizens could serve on community councils. Parallel
organizations, like competing block manager groups made up ' largely
of Issei, heightened conflicts. 269
There were also conflicts between early and later arrivals. Early

arrivals tended to be young, aggressive people who had volunteered
to open the centers. They were accused ofhaving taken the best jobs , 27

52_121

92

-

7

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

often the level of administration just below WRA staff. Charges of
corruption , incompetence and, most divisive, collaboration began to
271

grow .

The same kinds of problems developed between JACL leaders,
who were often favored by center administrators,272 and other evac

uees, particularly the Kibei, who were denied some of the rights (such
as student leave) that other evacuees received. 273 Some JACL leaders
blamed the Issei and Kibei for camp disturbances and charged them

with being “ disloyal." 274 In fact, Masaoka volunteered to Myer that
JACL leaders might identify the “ known agitators ” at the camps so
that the WRA could separate them from the rest of the evacuees.
Some evacuees felt that the JACL had sold out the cause of Japanese
Americans. 276

As tension grew , anyone perceived as close to the administration

became suspect as an inu or dog.277 At Manzanar, a group called the
Black Dragons surfaced, a handful of profascist enthusiasts for Imperial

Japan. Among other activities, the Black Dragons instigated rock-throwing
at the camouflage-net workers278 and beat those they considered inu .
Other

gangs, too, were involved in beatings. As the leave program got

under way, draining the centers of many of the most constructively
aggressive young men 27
, 9 the gangs grew .

Other signs of disaffection were emotional meetings and aa petition
in favor of better living and working conditions.280 Karl Yoneda testi
fied :

(We) formed the Manzanar Citizens Federation on July 20, 1942.

Some ofthe topics we discussed were : improved camp conditions,
education ofcitizens for leadership, participation in the war efforts
and postwar preparations. 281
Finally came the crises at Poston and Manzanar. Although these were

the only two major confrontations ( except at Tule Lake after the seg
regation ), beatings and hostilities continued.282
Incidents at Poston and Manzanar. At Poston on November 1,

1942, an evacuee who had cooperated with the WRA and was suspected
of being an “ informer ” was beaten by a group of unidentified men .
Evacuee police arrested two men on suspicion and held them at the

FBI's request while the beating was investigated. After the two had
been detained two days, a group of older evacuees asked their release;
the request was refused . The next day, a crowd of about 1,000 de
manded the release of the prisoners as did the community council.

When their request was refused, the council resigned. Although one

RELOCATION CENTERS

179

suspect was released after the FBI investigation, the other was held

to be tried in the county court. 283
The evacuees formed a leadership committee which decreed a
general strike284 and organized pickets surrounding the center’s jail to
prevent removal of the detained man. On November 23, an agreement
was finally reached in which the prisoner was released to custody of
two evacuee lawyers pending trial, and the emergency leaders agreed

to help stop the beatings and try to establish better rapport with the
administration. 285

On December 5, 1942, at Manzanar, a suspected “informer” was
assaulted by six masked men. From the hospital he said he could
identify one of the attackers, who was arrested and jailed outside the
center. The next day a mass meeting was held to protest the arrest.
The crowd decided to try to negotiate with the project director, ap
pointing a committee offive. Meanwhile, the project director had asked
military police to stand by. At first the director refused to negotiate.
Later he agreed to do so and thought he had reached aa compromise:
the suspect would be returned and tried at the center and evacuees
would cooperate on various future matters. Under the agreement, the
suspect was returned to the center jail. 286

Later that day, the crowd reassembled.287 They demanded the
suspect's release and made plans to get ten or eleven other suspected
“informers. ”" 288 At this point, the project director called in the military
police . When the crowd refused to disperse , the MPs threw tear gas.

The crowd formed again as soon as the gas had blown away. When a
person in the crowd started an empty car and headed it toward a
machine gun, the MPs opened fire. Two evacuees were killed and
nine wounded . 289

I ran and became one of the curious spectators. The MP fired
shots into the defenseless crowd. A classmate, Jimmy Ito, was
shot and killed . It was a terrifying experience. 290
The suspected “ informers,” a group who had cooperated with
WRA administrators, were removed for safety to the military police
barracks and later to an abandoned CCC camp, from which they re

settled. 291 Those whom the authorities believed to have been impli
cated in the mass demonstrations were sent either to Justice Depart
ment internment camps (ifaliens) or to a WRA isolation camp at Moab ,

Utah (if citizens) . Eventually the WRA isolation camp and its inhab
itants, now including dissidents from other centers as well, were moved

to Leupp, Arizona. From Leupp, some eventually returned to relo

180

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

cation centers or to internment camps; most, however, were removed
to Tule Lake after segregation, when Leupp was closed . 292
The allegations of “ informer ” and “ collaborator ” that underlie the
incidents at Poston and Manzanar touch nerves still sensitive today.

The same is true of the controversy over whether the WRA's com
munity analysts operated in good faith . In early 1943, the WRA had
established a Community Analysis Section designed to “assist in the

problems of administering the relocation centers, in the interests of
both administrators and evacuees.”
. 293 The analysts, many of whom
were sociologists and anthropologists, observed and interviewed WRA
staff and evacuees, then made recommendations to improve the WRA

program , yielding a substantial literature of over 100 reports. The
Commission heard some testimony, particularly that of Dr. Peter Su

zuki, 294 alleging that some of the analysts were not objective reporters
and problem -solvers, but informers for the WRA who suppressed im
portant information. Dr. Edward Spicer, formerly head of the com

munity analysts, offered a rebuttal of the Suzuki charges.295
The role of the analysts and the question of whether cooperation
with or resistance to the WRA , passive or active, was the better course

for evacuees, remain matters of intense , sometimes bitter controversy
among those who lived in the camps. There is no “right" answer to
the evacuees' dilemma; nor do isolated examples of informing prove
or disprove WRA's intentions. In both cases, the facts are almost im

possible to determine. For the Commission to delve into these matters,

attempting to settle old scores, would be inappropriate.
Leave

It was an opportunity for the farmers and hakujins (white folk]
out there because they were looking for cheap labor. Here was
this source , in this camp, for cheap labor and they said why not?
We saw it as an opportunity to get to go to the store and to buy

stuff to bring back to the family.296
Even as Eisenhower decided in April 1942 that the WRA would

plan primarily in terms of confining the evacuees, the process that
would secure their release was beginning. Before the first evacuees
reached the relocation centers, the WDC had begun to release a few

for one oftwo purposes: to continue their college education or to harvest
crops.

The evacuation meant that some 3,500 Japanese Americans would
be prohibited from attending colleges and universities on the West

Coast — an incalculable loss to both the nation and the ethnic Japanese

community. 297 First to recognize and confront the problem was a group

RELOCATION CENTERS

181

from the University of California at Berkeley led by Robert Gordon
Sproul, then president of the university. Sproul and his colleagues set
out to transfer as many students as possible to universities in the

interior. 298 Milton Eisenhower, also concerned about the problem , had
contacted Clarence Pickett, a prominent Quaker leader. Pickett re

cruited a group of educators, industrialists and cultural leaders to form

the National Student Relocation Council, which then set about trans
ferring students to other institutions . 299

Even with such impressive support, numerous kinds of resistance
to the program had to be overcome. Many institutions refused to accept
evacuee students because the university was involved in war -related
research. 300 The students themselves were sometimes harassed:
At my first opportunity, in March , 1943, I left camp to attend
school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. On my way to Milwaukee, I was
harassed by MPs checking for my ID number and pass many times.
I even got spat upon by some of the passengers on the train .
When I arrived in Milwaukee, I discovered that the engineering

school had misrepresented themselves and only wanted my money.
Then I moved to Chicago, Illinois and with the help of American

Friends Service Committee, found a job in a box factory. I worked
there for three months .

Then I tried to enroll in a school of engineering at the University

of Illinois, but when I told them I was an evacuee from camp,
they refused my admission . I told them of my WRA clearance,
but my protests went unheeded. Finally, I was accepted at the

University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, because I listed my Chicago
address and did not mention internment. 301

The federal government never supported these students, except
to subsidize travel. The majority were aided by private philanthropy,

most of it organized by various Christian groups . 302 Several evacuees
mentioned the efforts of the American Friends Service Committee;303

others depended on their parents' meager savings. 304
Nevertheless , some 250 students had left to attend one of 143

colleges and universities by autumn 1942.305 Eventually, the program
placed about 4,300 students . 306

The second escape from the camps was the seasonal leave program
for farm labor. As early as the beginning of April 1942, the WDC was
receiving requests to release evacuees for seasonal farm labor and trying
to construct a policy. 307 By early summer, the agricultural producers
had become increasingly concerned that, without help, the crops, par
ticularly sugar beets, would be lost. At the beginning of May, they
petitioned the White House for help, and the agricultural leave pro
gram began . 308

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

The first group of 15 evacuees was released on May 21 from the

Portland Assembly Center to help thin beets in eastern Oregon.309

The program had a number of requirements. Governors at the state
level; sheriffs, prosecuting attorneys, commissioners and judges at the
county level, were required to pledge in writing that labor was needed
and that workers' safety would be guaranteed; employers were required
to furnish transportation and had to pay prevailing wages; evacuees
could not be hired in place of available local labor. The U.S. Employ
ment Service in the affected counties agreed to provide housing in the

area of employment at no cost to evacuees. By the end of June, 1,500
workers had been recruited under the program . Incidents were few
and minor. Because the evacuees were efficient and well -liked, “ labor
pirating” by prospective employers occurred. Contracts between em

ployers and evacuee groups helped correct the problem . In September
the demand for seasonal workers from the centers increased enor

mously; by mid -October, 10,000 evacuees were on seasonal leave, and
the demand well exceeded the supply.310 When the harvest ended,
the Nisei were credited with having saved the sugar beet crops of
several western states.

Although the WRA tried to ensure that employers made clear the
conditions in which evacuees would be working,312 they were not al
ways successful.

[W]hen we arrived there, we were met by aa farmer supervisor

who led us to a large horse barn , one-third of which was filled
with hay. He told us this was where we were going to sleep. 313
Our living quarters was a shack without running water, heated
by a coal stove, and we had to bathe in a ditch that was on the
farm . 314

Despite the guarantees, some evacuees on agricultural work leave also

encountered hostility from communities in which they worked and
travelled . One evacuee was arrested and beaten by police while trav

elling back to Poston.315 Another describes how local toughs made

teenage evacuees crawl through the city park.316 A survey of Manzanar
returnees taken in Fall 1942 showed that the majority believed the
public was “ not yet ready to accept an Oriental as a U.S. citizen .” 317
Still, overall, the program was judged a success. For the farmers,

crops were saved . For the evacuees, it was a chance to get out of the
camp and to make more than camp wages, which was particularly
important for the many evacuees in increasing financial distress. 318
The success of the student and agricultural leave programs con

RELOCATION CENTERS

183

tributed to the decision to attempt resettlement on a larger scale.
Perhaps even more important was the appointment of a new director.
On June 17, 1942, Eisenhower resigned ;319 the President appointed a
new Director of WRA, Dillon Myer, who saw the program through to
its conclusion. Myer felt strongly that the evacuees should be released
and resettled, which led him to make resettlement aa WRA priority.
Myer did not, however, simply return to the position that the

evacuees were free to leave the camps when and how they chose. On
July 20, the WRA issued a carefully circumscribed relocation policy

statement, which permitted relocation by Nisei who had never studied
in Japan and who had a definite offer ofemployment outside the camps.
The clearance process, which involved the WRA, FBI and other federal

intelligence agencies, was lengthy, and often job offers were cancelled
because clearance took so long. As a result, few evacuees were able
to relocate. 321

In late July, the WRA established a staff committee to work out

a more comprehensive policy. Importantly, one possibility considered
was an all -out program permitting any evacuee to leave a center at his
or her own discretion. While this would have been ideal from aa civil

liberties standpoint, the lack of public understanding and the earlier
experience of the voluntary evacuees made such aa drastic policy seem
impractical both to WRA and to the Justice Department.
The new rules, which became effective on October 1, 1942,3323
over WDC objections,324 stopped far short of opening the center gates.
They allowed both Issei and Nisei to apply and provided three kinds
of leave: short-term leave for up to 30 days ( for example, for medical

purposes); work group leave (for seasonal employment); and indefinite
leave for employment, education or indefinite residence outside the
relocation area . To obtain indefinite leave, which was in fact relocation,
a person had to show that he had a means of support and that no
evidence in his files (either at the center or after aa check by the FBI)
showed that he might endanger national security. He needed to show

his presence was likely to be acceptable where he planned to live, and
to agree to inform WRA of any change of address. Special provisions
applied to aliens of enemy nationality who were issued leave permits.
In his autobiography, Myer states that when these relocation reg
ulations were issued, key WRA staff members were convinced that
such aa leave policy was essential for aa number of reasons : discriminatory
segregation would discourage loyalty; “wide and enforced deviation
from normal cultural and living patterns might very well have lasting
and unfavorable effects upon individuals, particularly children and young
people;” the WRA had an obligation to the evacuees and to the people

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

of the United States to restore loyal citizens and law -abiding aliens to
“ a normal useful American life” with all possible speed; confinement
in centers bred suspicion ofevacuees; and continued confinement would

help foster a new set of reservations similar to Indian reservations. 325
This was the voice of that side of WRA which saw itself as the advocate

of Japanese American interests, but, as usual, that voice did not speak
clearly. The program conveyed the message that all Japanese were

supposed to be under armed guard unless the government permitted
otherwise, and even those released were granted only “ indefinite leave.”

At least in theory, the government retained its control.
In mid -November 1942, WRA reorganized to reflect its increasing
emphasis on resettlement. It brought most of its functions into the
Washington office and established a series of field offices to expedite
the relocation process. Seven district offices had already opened in the

west; established at first to supervise the seasonal work program , they
began now to promote indefinite leave. Midwestern field offices were
also established, beginning on January 4, 1943, with an office in Chi
cago. By 1943, 42 field offices were scattered throughout the country.
Myer described their important job:
In the early months these offices were primarily concerned with

creating favorable community acceptance and in finding suitable
jobs for evacuees and in working closely with community reset
tlement committees. The officers gave talks to business, profes
sional, social, civic, church and fraternal groups. They met with
employers individually and in groups, enlisted the aid of unions,
and spoke to employees in plants where the employment of Jap

anese was contemplated. They supplied news to the press and
carried on a public relations job in general.326
Organizing support among community groups and citizens to form local

resettlement committees was also a WRA task during the fall of 1942.327
Church organizations in particular were involved, 328 as was the Pacific
Coast Committee on American Principles and Fair Play, organized in
1942.329

By the end of 1942, the WRA was firmly committed to a program
of leave and resettlement. Manpower demands were growing, and the
agricultural and student leave programs had gone well. Conditions in

the camps were deteriorating. The evacuees were becoming increas

ingly disaffected and the original plans for large -scale agriculture and
industry within the centers had been largely abandoned. Although the
indefinite leave programs had not been particularly successful in re

settling large numbers, the WRA was committed to getting evacuees
out of the camps and into the war effort.

17
Loyalty: Leave and Segregation
By October 1942, the government was holding over 100,000 evacuees
in relocation centers. Evacuation had been an emergency measure,

but politics and the chimera of a threat to military security had sen
tenced the evacuees to indefinite confinement. They were still detained

although no individual charges had been, or could have been, made
against them. Supported by neither statute nor explicit executive order,
the legal basis for confining evacuees was plainly suspect. The human
toll the camps were taking was enormous — physical hardship, growing

anger toward the United States and deteriorating morale. The tide of
war turned with the American victory at the battle of Midway in June

1942 and as the possibility of Japanese attack grew more remote, the
military necessity for detention and exclusion became increasingly dif
ficult to defend. Nevertheless, other than the WRA's ineffective leave
program , the government had no plans to remedy the situation and

no means of distinguishing the loyal from the disloyal — if it were in
clined to do so . Total control of these civilians in the presumed interest
of state security was rapidly becoming the accepted norm .

How would the government deal with this new status quo in the
fall of 1942? Having bowed to political pressure in deciding to control
and detain the ethnic Japanese, what standard or test or presumption
was to be established to return the evacuees to liberty ? Or would the
government embrace the proposition that, in wartime, total control of
suspect groups of civilians is justified and legally permissible ?
185

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

Commentators have characterized the exclusion and detention of

the ethnic Japanese as a triumph of military over civilian authority.1
As our account of the decisions to evacuate and detain makes clear,

this view is accurate to a limited degree since the military was carrying
out a program largely conceived and promoted by civilian groups and
politicians. The friction between military and civilian interests is more
clearly seen in the decision of whether and how to end the detention.
Some in the Western Defense Command argued that there was a
military interest in restricting the release of the evacuees to those who
posed no conceivable military threat and, ultimately, that the Army
should prepare through planning and intelligence work to control large

groups of suspect civilians in any future war. The security of the state
should be paramount. The civilians at the top of the War Department
understood their responsibility differently; returning the loyal evacuees
to normal life outside aa detention camp should be the touchstone of
government policy and, since exclusion and detention rested on a

military justification , the War Department had to play an active role
in that effort. The WRA shared this view and had more liberal opinions
on the indicia of loyalty. It is a bitter irony that the loyalty review
program , which the WRA and the War Department established as the
predicate for release from the camps — the first major governmental
decision in which the interests of the evacuees prevailed — was carried

out without sufficient sensitivity or knowledge of the evacuees. De
signed to hasten their release, the program instead became one of the
most divisive, wrenching episodes of the captivity.

McCLOY AND THE NISEI COMBAT TEAM

The government decision makers closest to the evacuees increasingly
believed that wholesale confinement was not justified or acceptable.

Dillon Myer strongly held this view and was already looking for ways
to achieve large -scale resettlement. Milton Eisenhower had never been
comfortable with the program . Now in the fall of 1942 John J. McCloy
also adopted this view as the matter was raised with him in the context
of whether evacuees should be permitted to serve in the Army.
Once the decision to evacuate was made and the WRA had taken

custody of the evacuees, Stimson and McCloy had largely left the
treatment of Japanese Americans to others. The Nisei in the Army,
their only immediate concern , were few because the Selective Service

LOYALTY : LEAVE AND SEGREGATION

187

had stopped induction at about the time of the evacuation.2 In Feb

ruary, making the decision to evacuate, Stimson and McCloy had relied
heavily on DeWitt, ignoring the contrary views of the FBI and failing
to seek other opinions. Since then McCloy had begun to study the
matter and to hear that most evacuees were loyal, that they wanted
to get out of the camps and prove their loyalty, and that they could
assist the war effort. " He was persuaded by what he heard and believed
it should be applied to War Department decisions.

Allowing the Nisei to serve would reverse a policy which had
evolved over the previous year. On December 7, 1941, about 5,000
young Nisei from Hawaii and the mainland were in the Army, the
majority having been drafted. 4 Immediately after Pearl Harbor, the

Selective Service delegated discretion for the induction of Japanese
Americans to local draft boards. Some Nisei volunteers were accepted,
but the induction of others was delayed .” During the late winter and
early spring of 1942, local draft boards became increasingly reluctant
to draft Nisei: The center ofdiscriminatory practice was again the West
Coast. A War Department order of March 30, 1942, discontinued the

induction of Nisei on the West Coast.6 Enlisted Japanese Americans
found themselves in a precarious situation. The personal attitude of
their commanding officer was decisive; some Nisei stayed in service,

while others were discharged without explanation .?
No clear-cut Selective Service policy was established to evaluate
the status of draft-age Japanese Americans until June 17, 1942, when
the War Department announced that it would not, aside from excep
tional cases , “ accept for service with the armed forces Japanese or
persons of Japanese extraction, regardless of citizenship status or other

factors.” 8 In July, a War Department Board convened to examine Nisei
induction, and “ no immediate change in War Department policy was

made except for selected individuals procurred [sic] for special pur
On September 14, the Selective Service adopted regulations

poses.." 9

prohibiting Nisei induction , and classifying registrants of Japanese an
cestry IV-C, the status of enemy aliens. Previously, many draft -age
Nisei had been reclassified from I- A to IV-F, unsuitable for military
service . 10

McCloy had favored using Nisei in the military since at least May
1942.11 By fall, opinions supporting his position were beginning to

trickle in. Delos Emmons, the commander in Hawaii, was particularly
persuasive, arguing that the Nisei would make “ grand soldiers .”12 His

opinion was substantiated by the excellent performance of the all-Nisei
Hawaii National Guard group then in training at Camp McCoy. 13 Nisei

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

in the Military Intelligence Service Language School were doing equally
well. Moreover, departmental officials involved in recruiting reported
that large numbers of Nisei were embittered by the denial of their
right to serve. 14 These voices inside the War Department were joined
by some influential voices outside. Dillon Myer pressed the point with

McCloy throughout the fall; 15 in November, the JACL passed a res
olution requesting that the Selective Service be reinstituted. 16

Perhaps because of the enlistment issue, McCloy was also begin
ning to ponder the plight of evacuees, locked up indefinitely in the
unhealthy atmosphere of the camps. McCloy was not entirely sure of
the ultimate loyalty of each ethnic Japanese, but he did not express
the belief that all evacuees were inherently dangerous; it was clear to
him that the evacuees could not be held in “ pens” forever and that
they should be released as soon as that was possible and safe. 17 In fact,
it was impossible to consider a Nisei combat team apart from the

exclusion and detention issue. Any discussion of whether the Nisei
belonged in the armed forces inevitably questioned whether they could
be trusted to bear arms— in other words, whether they were loyal.

And the question of loyalty inevitably focused on the presumption of
probable disloyalty which was inherent in the exclusion.
There were other reasons to link the combat team to the general
issue of release from detention. Recruiting for aa combat team without
loosening other restrictions would open the War Department to the

charge that the Nisei were being used as “ cannon fodder .”18 It would
be unfair to deny individuals barred from military service the oppor
tunity to participate in the war effort in some other way, and it would

be illogical to argue that loyalty should be tested only for those who
might serve in the Army. 19 Discussions began to focus on the combat
team as a way to get evacuees out of the camps and to rehabilitate

them in the eyes of the public. McCloy's assistant, Colonel Scobey,

explained bluntly that the need was “ to assist the release ofthese people
from the centers, to expedite the WRA mission. ”20
McCloy himself was convinced that change was needed, but his

advocacy alone did not make policy. A War Department study, com
missioned earlier in 1942 and approved on September 14, recom

mended that “the military potential of the United States citizens of
Japanese ancestry be considered as negative because of the universal

distrust in which they are held .” 21 Thus, by the end of September,
the career military opposed McCloy.
On October 2, Elmer Davis, Director of the Office of War Infor

mation (OWI), and Milton Eisenhower, now Davis's deputy, raised

LOYALTY: LEAVE AND SEGREGATION

189

the issue with the President. In order to establish the legitimate in
terest of the OWI, Davis characterized the issue as one of war pro

paganda and asked the President to intervene and authorize the en
listment of Japanese Americans. His memorandum also reflected the
debate's humanitarian overtones:
Loyal American citizens ofJapanese descent should be permitted,
after individual test, to enlist in the Army and Navy. It would

hardly be fair to evacuate people and then impose normal draft
procedures, but voluntary enlistment would help a lot.
This matter is of great interest to OWI . Japanese propaganda

to the Philippines, Burma, and elsewhere insists that this is a
racial war. We can combat this effectively with counter propaganda
only if our deeds permit us to tell the truth. Moreover, as citizens
ourselves who believe deeply in the things for which we fight, we
cannot help but be disturbed by the insistent public misunder
standing of the Nisei. ...22
As Davis and Eisenhower no doubt expected, the memorandum
was referred to Secretary Stimson for comment. McCloy set out to

persuade Stimson and General Marshall of the wisdom of his position.
Dismissing the War Department study as too narrow , McCloy made
three major points: almost everyone agreed that most Nisei were loyal;
citizens had a fundamental right to serve their country; and enlistment
would have an important psychological effect internationally.23 Stimson
took little convincing and sent Marshall a handwritten note which read
in its entirety:

I am inclined strongly to agree with the view of McCloy and Davis.

I don't think you can permanently proscribe aa lot of American
citizens because of their racial origin . We have gone to the full

limit in evacuating them . That's enough. 24
Meanwhile, the careerists were reviewing their previous findings.
Their September recommendations against Nisei combat service had
not been unanimous and, with indications that their civilian leadership

was tending in the other direction , they revised their conclusions. On
December 16, the general staff sent Marshall a memorandum advo
cating an all -Nisei combat team . 25

The new recommendations were approved by Marshall on January
1, 1943.26 In testimony before the Commission , McCloy recalled : “ I
encountered opposition from everybody except those on my immediate
staff and General Marshall. I went to General Marshall who then

ordered the unit formed .” 27

On January 2, 1943, a committee was convened by Deputy Chief
of Staff McNarney and told that some evacuees might be released. The

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

committee's job was to “ determine by what means Japanese- Americans
of the Nisei class may be released from war relocation centers, and, if
released, what disposition may be made of them .” 28 A week later, the

committee reported back, recommending the procedure that ulti
mately prevailed.
A questionnaire forJapanese Americans would be devised to reveal

“ tendencies of loyalty or disloyalty to the United States," 29 including
questions about the background and affiliations of the Nisei, and also
soliciting a pledge of loyalty to the United States. Teams of Army
personnel would supervise execution of the forms at the relocation
centers. Copies of the questionnaires for males within the

age limits

for military service would be sent to military intelligence to decide
who should be inducted. The remaining questionnaires would go to
the Provost Marshal General's office which would check with the FBI

and Naval Intelligence and evaluate the answers given. Then the ques
tionnaires would be shipped to the Western Defense Command for
investigation .

The second phase of the program would be handled by a Joint
Board, including representatives ofthe Navy, WRA, military intelli
gence and the Provost Marshal General, which would decide whether

the individual might be released from the relocation center and whether

he might be employed in a plant important to the war effort. 30 The
Board's mission was subsequently amended to make the Board's de
termination on release advisory to the WRA , which retained final au
thority: 31 The Joint Board retained power to decide whether an indi

vidual would be allowed to work in a war production facility .
The Joint Board was conceived as a way to avoid multiple inves
tigations. Individuals who had been investigated and released by the
WRA were being reinvestigated by the Army sector commander after

they reached their destination . This inefficient process also handi
capped the arriving evacuee by branding him suspicious. The Board
would now make the only investigation.32
The WRA had not been involved in the War Department's plan

ning 33 Upon learning ofthe forthcoming registration, early in January,
the WRA proposed that the process be enlarged to cover all persons
over 17 years of age, including the Issei. This step, they believed,
would expedite the existing leave clearance process which took so long
that promised jobs were sometimes gone before the evacuee was re
leased. By asking everyone to fill out the form , the WRA reasoned,
much of the investigative work could be done before the evacuee was

actually ready to leave. The WRA thus prepared a companion ques

LOYALTY: LEAVE AND SEGREGATION

191

tionnaire, titled “ Application for Leave Clearance,” to be filled out by
the Issei and Nisei females. 34 The entire review program was vehe

mently but unsuccessfully opposed by DeWitt and the Western De
fense Command, who remained firmly persuaded that the loyal could
not be distinguished from the disloyal. 35 The War Department rejected

these views and prepared to go forward with the WRA on the broad
program of loyalty review and release.
Secretary Stimson announced the new policy on the combat team :
It is the inherent right of every citizen , regardless of ancestry, to
bear arms in the Nation's battle. When obstacles to the free expres
sion of that right are imposed by emergency considerations, those

barriers should be removed as soon as humanly possible. Loyalty
to country is a voice that must be heard, and I am now able to
give active proof that this basic American belief is not a casualty
of war. 36

There was also a letter from the President, released the following week,

approving the combat team . With a fine disregard for past treatment
of the Nisei, Roosevelt proclaimed :
No loyal citizen of the United States should be denied the dem

ocratic right to exercise the responsibilities of his citizenship, re
gardless of his ancestry. The principle on which this country was
founded and by which it has always been governed is that Amer
icanism is a matter of the mind and heart; Americanism is not,

and never was, a matter of race or ancestry. A good American is
one who is loyal to this country and to our creed of liberty and

democracy. Every loyal American citizen should be given the
|

opportunity to serve this country wherever his skills will make
the greatest contribution — whether it be in the ranks of our armed
forces, war production, agriculture, government service, or other
work essential to the war effort. 37

The first significant steps to end detention had been taken .

REGISTRATION

By February 6, ten teams of Army officers, enlisted men and WRA
staff, trained for this assignment, were on the way to the relocation
centers. 38 The questionnaires they carried sought background infor
mation, but also asked two prospective questions. Question 27 asked
draft-age males: “Are you willing to serve in the armed forces of the
United States on combat duty, wherever ordered ?” For others, in

cluding the Issei and women , it asked whether they would be willing

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

to join the WACs or the Army Nurse Corps. Question 28 was the
loyalty question :
Will you swear unqualified allegiance to the United States ofAmerica
and faithfully defend the United States from any or all attack by
foreign or domestic forces, and forswear any form of allegiance or
obedience to the Japanese emperor, or any other foreign govern
ment, power or organization ?39

The registration teams arriving at the centers during the first
weeks of February 1943 found a hostile audience. In the past year,

evacuees had endured the evacuation , the assembly centers and the
relocation camps. Living conditions were poor, their lives outside the
centers had disintegrated, and the government had broken many prom

ises. Congressmen in Washington continued to agitate for stripping
the Nisei of citizenship. Disturbances at Poston and Manzanar during
the two previous months showed tensions that existed to some degree
at all the camps. It was not surprising that many were ready to question
any government action that might affect their future,40 and there was

considerable sentiment for putting the claims of family ahead of those
of country .

It became rapidly apparent that the government had not thought

through the implications of the loyalty review program . Not only was
the program forced on the evacuees with no notice and with few an
swers to important questions, but the documents themselves were

flawed. The evacuees did not know how their responses would be
used. 41 Particularly critical to the Issei was Question 28 on loyalty. The
question was both unfair and unanswerable because it called upon the
Issei to renounce their Japanese nationality, although they were barred

by law from becoming United States citizens. To answer it affirma
tively, they argued , would have made them “ men without a country. ”42
On the other hand, answering it negatively might well bring separation
from one's family and attract suspicion to oneself as a security risk.
The WRA quickly corrected the question to avoid forcing Issei to make
such a Hobson's choice,43 but suspicion and distrust lingered. There
was confusion about the program and its basic intent. The document
for Issei and women was titled “ Application for Leave Clearance.” Did
this mean, asked many, that they would be forced to leave the center?
They had lost their homes and property; with no assets were they now
to be abandoned by the government in hostile communities ? One
evacuee described this dilemma:
One can understand a situation of the head of a household, his

livelihood taken away, having to face the possibility of earning a

LOYALTY : LEAVE AND SEGREGATION

193

living for his family in some strange city. The temptation to declare

a “ no,” “ no ” position [to Questions 27 and 28] just to maintain the
dependent life style in the camps was very
strong indeed. In such
cases the issue is survival, not loyalty.444
The Issei were also bitter about their own treatment and that of
their citizen children. As a Naval Intelligence report stated, Issei op

position to enlistment was based less on reluctance to see their sons
fighting Japan than on losing faith in America:
[T]he parents have made quite an issue of the fact that the citizen
Japanese and the alien Japanese received identical treatment. This
indicates, they say, the American Government does not recognize
the nisei (sic) as full citizens.
The Nisei too doubted the government's good faith and were wary

of the program . The same Army and country confining them and their
families behind barbed wire now asked Japanese Americans to vol
unteer to fight for principles of liberty, justice and equal protection

under the law . To some, the segregated combat unit, although signi
fying the restoration of some of their rights as citizens, also continued
discrimination . 46 While German and Italian Americans were drafted

by normal procedures through the Selective Service System, Japanese
Americans were stigmatized by their classification as enemy aliens.

Others had different problems with Question 27. A “ yes” answer
might be interpreted as volunteering. 47 A number of those who were
loyal would stop short of enlisting in the military. With dependents at

home and perhaps relatives in Japan who might suffer reprisals if they
were known to have enlisted, some could not easily say “ yes” to Ques
tion 27 .

Finally, many were obligated to care for aging parents who were
becoming more dependent and fearful in the camps' isolated confine
ment. If they were separated on the basis of differing answers, who
would tend the Issei? Some felt they had to comply with parents who
demanded that they maintain family solidarity.48
My father was no longer willing to venture out from camp to a
society from which he had been expelled and whose business was
demolished . (To him, it was clear that] the questionnaire was to

be used to force him out of the camp. . . . The other, the bind
that I was in, was to try and make aa resolution in which I would

pay homage and honor my parents so that I would not break up
the family and yet try to figure out how to give expression to my
own future. 49

The Nisei, too, had problems with Question 28, the loyalty ques
tion. Some saw it as a trick question : " forswearing ” their allegiance to

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

the Japanese Emperor required admitting that they had once had such
an allegiance.50
Not only had our government disregarded our citizenship but put
us behind barbed wire, but now was asking these same citizens

to foreswear (sic) allegiance to the Emperor of Japan and to swear
allegiance to the United States as if at one time all of us had sworn
allegiance to the Japanese Emperor.5
Then, there was the insult of being asked to fill out another ques
tionnaire which implicitly doubted one's loyalty. To many, their earlier

compliance with the orders to evacuate and to be confined in the
relocation centers had sufficiently shown their loyalty.52
Still, despite reservations, most answered that they were loyal.
Some retained their faith in the United States; some felt that, whatever

happened, their future lay here; some simply wanted to leave camp.
[ M]y family all wrote “ yes, yes.” There is a Japanese saying, “ umi
no -oya -yori mo sodate no oya ,” meaning, “your adoptive parents

are your real parents.

[I]n my case I registered “ yes, yes” because I felt that this is
the only country I have.5
In those centers where good relations between government au
thorities and evacuees had fostered a sense of trust in the government,

a higher proportion of evacuees were willing to state their loyalty.
Minidoka, for example, had the highest number of positive responses.
There, the project director consulted with a number of Issei leaders

before any meetings on the loyalty questionnaire. Some of the Issei
participated in the meetings, and thorough discussion followed . 55
At the other extreme was Tule Lake. There, discussion was cursory

and no time was allowed for discussion from the floor. When registra
tion was to begin, many evacuees were unwilling to fill out question
naires. After the administration announced that registration was com
pulsory, there were still refusals and resistance. Gangs formed to prevent
others from registering and , eventually, a group of resisters were re
moved from the center. Finally, the community council and Issei plan
ning board resigned. 56 Frank Kageta described his experience at Tule
Lake:

The most tragic, as well as traumatic, event that happened during
my stay in Tule Lake that still remains with me is the questionnaire
with the loyalty oath that was required of all of us to answer. I
have never even mentioned this to my children . This, as you may
know , was a controversial document that affected each of us 17

years of age or older, in one way or another. We were forced into

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195

concentration camps by the government, and then we were being

forced into taking a loyalty oath . Furthermore, at this point there
was no indication as to what the consequences would be for re
fusing. We had area block meetings on the issue. Rumors were

numerous and sinister. We voted, at that time, as a block, not to
sign the loyalty oath . Soon after we voted not to sign this docu
ment, based solely on rumors, I was pointedly accused by.my
peers as having been seen going to the administration office to

sign the questionnaire. Our family got together after this ugly
incident and told them that I had not gone to sign the loyalty
oath . 57

Registration at Tule Lake was never completed ;58 approximately 3,000
ultimately refused to register.59

Despite the turmoil, the WRA judged the program a success. The
agency acquired the background data to expedite leave clearance, and

1,208 volunteers for the Army had been recruited.60 Although this was
a small proportion of the 10,000 eligible that the War Department had
estimated,61 and fell short of the 3,000 that it had expected to recruit,
the WRA judged that those who had volunteered represented “the
cream of the draft-age group." 63 By WRA's count, 77,957 residents had
been eligible to register, of whom 68,018 (87%) had answered the
loyalty question with an unqualified “ yes.” Of the remaining 9,939,

about 5,300 had answered “ no, ” and the rest had failed to register,
failed to answer the loyalty question, or qualified their loyalty in some

way. Relatively few were unwilling to profess their loyalty. Still, gov
ernment planners were disturbed to find that over 20 percent of the
Nisei males were in the negative category. Ofthe approximately 21,000
Nisei males eligible to register, about 4,600 answered the loyalty ques
tion with a “ no , ” a qualified answer or no reply. 64
Although the Western Defense Command interpreted the results
as a vindication of its position that there were many disloyal evacuees,65
other observers looked behind the responses for reasons. Certainly
some evacuees wanted to go to Japan and serve that country. 66 But,

for many, the reasons for answering “ no ” had little to do with loyalty.
As Dillon Myer explained it, the negative answers meant many things.
They were the answers of people unhappy at the way they had been
treated, enraged at the government, and discouraged about their future
in the United States. 67 Testimony before the Commission supports

Myer's conclusion — the loyalty questionnaire demanded a personal
expression of position from each evacuee , a choice between faith in
the future in America and outrage at present injustice. Most evacuees

probably had deeply :ambiguous feelings about a government in whose

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

rhetorical values of liberty and equality they wanted to believe, but
who found their present treatment a painful contradiction of those
values. The loyalty questionnaire left little room to express that am

biguity. Indeed, it provided an effective point of protest and organi
zation against the government, from which an increasing number of

evacuees felt alienated. The questionnaire finally raised the central
question underlying exclusion policy, the loyalty issue which had dom
inated the political and personal lives of the Nikkei for the past year.

Questions 27 and 28 forced evacuees to confront the conflicting emo
tions aroused by their relation to the government:
I answered both questions number 27 and 28 in the negative, not
because of disloyalty but due to the disgusting and shabby treat
ment given us. A few months after completing the questionnaire,

U.S. Army officers appeared at our camp and gave us an interview
to confirm our answers to the questions, and followed up with a
question that in essence was asking: “ Are you going to give up or

renounce your U.S. citizenship ?” to which I promptly replied in
the affirmative as a rebellious move. Sometime after the interview ,
a form letter from the Immigration and Naturalization Service

arrived saying if I wanted to renounce my U.S. citizenship, sign
the form letter and return . Well, I kept the Immigration and
Naturalization Service waiting.6

Well, I am one of those that said “no, no” on them , one of the
“ no, no ” boys, and it is not that I was proud about it, it was just

that our legal rights were violated and I wanted to fight back.
However, I didn't want to take this sitting down. I was really
angry. It just got me so damned mad. Whatever we do, there was
nohelp from outside, and it seems to me that we are a race that
doesn't count. So, therefore, this was one of the reasons for the
“ no, no” answer.69

Personal responses to the questionnaire inescapably became pub
lic acts open to community debate and scrutiny within the closed world

of the camps. This made difficult choices excruciating.
After I volunteered for the service, some people that I knew
refused to speak to me. Some older people later questioned my
father for letting me volunteer, but he told them that I was old
enough to make up my own mind. 70
[T]he resulting infighting, beatings, and verbal abuses left fam
ilies torn apart, parents against children, brothers against sisters,
relatives against relatives, and friends against friends. So bitter

was all this that even to this day, there are many amongst us who
do not speak about that period for fear that the same harsh feelings
might arise up again to the surface.71

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LOYALTY: LEAVE AND SEGREGATION

Because of the incarcerations, here I was, a 19-year-old, having
to make a decision that would affect the welfare ofthe whole family.
If I signed, “ no, no , ” I would throw away my citizenship and force
my sisters and brother to do the same. Being the oldest son and
being brought up in the Japanese tradition, it was up to me to
take care of my parents, sisters, and brother. It was about aa mile
>

to the administration building. I can still remembervividly. Every
>>

step I took, I questioned myself, shall I sign it “ no, no, or “ no,
yes ?” The walk seemed like it took hours and then when I got
there, a colonel asked me the first question and I cursed him and

answered, “ no . ” To me, he represented the powers that put me

in this predicament. I answered “yes” to the second question . In
my 57 years, I have never had to make such a difficult decision
as that. 72

The response to the call for Army volunteers in Hawaii, where

there was no substantial exclusion or detention, underscores the effects
of the exclusion program . There, nearly 10,000 Nisei volunteered—
one third of those of draft age, although the Hawaiian quota had been
set at only 1,500.73

The registration process, conceived by the War Department and

WRA as a dramatic step toward freedom , had become for many evac
uees their bitterest experience in the camps.

LOYALTY REVIEW

With the ambiguous results of the loyalty questionnaire in hand, the
government began to decide who should leave the camps. The WRA's
leave policies had been in effect for several months. It was now ready
to modify these. The War Department was not content to leave this

matter to the WRA . Despite the continuing protestations that evacuees
were a matter for the civilian WRA , the War Department plan of
January 1943 called for the formation of a Japanese American Joint

Board (JAJB )—a largely military body — which would also have aa hand
in deciding whom to release. While the WRA would retain ultimate
authority, the JAJB would recommend individual releases.
In devising a release policy after a year of war the justification for

the evacuation and detention - military necessity - required reexami
nation . Logic suggests that the appropriate course would have been
to have recognized that no threat to security existed in 1943 (whether

or not it ever had), and to have thrown open the gates of the camps.

No one, however, advocated this position. It would have created a

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

public relations problem and perhaps raised doubt about the original
decision to evacuate — both unpalatable. Two choices remained : one,
to determine that the security risk still outweighed the right to indi
vidual liberty and, thus, to release as few people as possible. This was,
in essence, the view of the WDC, which had never conceded the

validity of the loyalty program . The other alternative was to find a
compromise to balance the claims of security and liberty in individual
cases. This was the position adopted by the JAJB and WRA . But, lacking
common assumptions or precedent to guide their task, and having
differing views on the matter, the two agencies found actual decisions
about leave confusing, inconsistent and a cause of friction .
The Western Defense Command

On January 14, DeWitt first learned of theloyalty review program .
For months, he had argued that the War Department's responsibility
on Japanese American issues had ended with the exclusion from the

West Coast; now the loyalty review program undermined DeWitt's

fundamental premise that the loyal could not be separated from the
disloyal. Rejection of that premise implied that the War Department
was reversing DeWitt and his policy. Worse still from DeWitt's point

of view, it would be difficult to sustain the exclusion of certified loyal
evacuees from the Western Defense Command. DeWitt and Bendet

sen turned to defeating the plan. They failed , but they did not change
their minds . DeWitt and his associates remained firm in their belief

that the evacuees were a risk to security. As long as they believed that

the loyal could not be separated from the disloyal, they would find all
ethnic Japanese suspect. Far from rethinking their position, they worked
to substantiate it through a project designed to demonstrate “ danger ”
from the ethnic Japanese.
The WDC research project began in 1942 to remedy the dearth
of information on individual evacuees. 74 It was designed too to collect

adverse information on as many ethnic Japanese as possible . The proj
ect's approach was to collect masses of material on the Japanese Amer
ican community - newspapers, immigration records, magazines and
pamphlets of evacuee organizations — and to use it to identify dangerous

organizations and individuals. For example, four Japanese language
newspapers were analyzed from 1937 to 1942; information thus gained
about organizations and their members were noted in individual files.
Upon deciding that an organization was suspect, for example, because
it had sent money to Japan to support the Russo-Japanese War, the
WDC would identify all members of the organization and label them

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199

suspicious as well. From there, it might implicate their close relatives.

The idea was to investigate an entire population and to evaluate in
dividuals not by their statements or illegal acts but primarily by their
affiliations and travel patterns. From records of entirely legal prewar
activities, the WDC tried to evaluate an individuals potential risk to
military security. The task was mammoth, the method crude and, by
the WDC's own admission, fraught with error. After two and aa half
years, shortly after General Emmons took over the Western Defense

Command, the research project remained incomplete but was halted
due to insufficient manpower .

The most notable feature of the WDC project was the extraor
dinarily large effort it devoted to extracting a minimum of useful in
formation. There is no indication that it uncovered evidence of criminal

activity, much less espionage or sabotage. The entire project was based
on dubious assumptions. The finding that 40 % of adult Nisei had been

to Japan at some time is important only if one accepts the assumption
that those who went to Japan were potentially dangerous;75 that there
were 29,704 accounts of fixed deposits ( similar to savings certificates)
in Japanese banks is irrelevant unless fixed deposits are linked to se
curity risk . 76 The connection WDC attempted to make between care
fully researched material and security risk was simply not credible .
Nevertheless the WDC did not abandon its fundamental premise
that individuals could be judged by the organizations and programs in
which they participated. Rather, they concluded that more time and
planning should be devoted to the task. The WDC urged that the

military be better prepared for the next crisis and recommended, in
its postwar analysis of the program ,

That there be created a peacetime unit within the Federal gov
ernment charged with the continued study and research relative
to all organizations with foreign connections within the United
States. This unit should be small, but composed of highly trained
personnel who will have access to all intelligence information . In

wartime this personnel should form the nucleus of aа central or
ganization that would make security determinations.
That complete planning be instituted by the War Department
as to necessary civilian controls in the event of a future war, upon

the assumption that the next war will involve a large portion of
our civilian population from the outset. The planning should in

clude types of controls, the mechanics of putting the control into
force, the methods of notification , and the means ofenforcement.77

The WDC did not flinch from the conclusion that they were urging
abandonment in wartime of the normal protections of American con

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

stitutional government. In the view of the WDC, the review and

control of civilians who presented some security question might well
require other methods:

One of the most fundamental parts of the problem is that Amer
icans, having been trained under our Common Law system of
courts and juries, are strongly imbued with the idea that deter

minations by courts and juries are not only reasonably accurate
but also that they completely solve a specific problem , and that

a problem , having once been decided by a jury, cannot be re
opened under the double jeopardy theory of our law . This un
questionably is the reason so many people felt that hearing or
screening boards could easily have examined the records of the

members of the Japanese population and satisfactorily separated
the sheep from the goats. At the same time, they would be quite

undisturbed by the fact that possibly some who should have been
goats were labelled as sheep. It is a real question whether in
wartime we can afford to protect our peace and security by these

quite slipshod determinations. Ordinarily in peacetime, if a crim
inal, who has committed a theft or some crime of violence, has

been acquitted, there is little likelihood that the public as a whole
will be penalized for this inaccurate judgement of the court or
jury , for such a criminal will only again commit a crime probably
affecting one member of society; but in the case of one committing
espionage or sabotage, the effect upon the population as a whole

is quite different. The furnishing of a vital piece of information to
the enemy may affect thousands of lives, rather than just one
individual.
. . So the question has to be asked whether our
Common Law system of trial by jury for an individual crime is
sufficiently satisfactory in the situation under discussion here.
Another phase of our court system that works well enough in

the eyes of the majority in peacetime, but which has to be re
examined in time of war, is the theory that the jury can only be
composed of people who have formed no opinion about the trial
at issue, for otherwise a jury member either will be removed for

cause or pre - emptorily [sic] challenged by either side. ...

The theory that any reasonably honest and intelligent person is
capable of passing judgment upon many complex factors is cer
tainly open to severe question in the case ofmaking determinations
in the78 interest of the peace and security of the country in time of
war .

The WDC went the additional step of suggesting a citizen edu
cation program to condition the public to accept such deprivations of
due process in a future war.
In essence, the WDC was willing to advocate military control of
civilians in wartime unfettered by normal constitutional restraints. Having

prejudged the loyalty ofJapanese Americans on the flimsiest evidence,

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201

they also believed the United States should begin a continuing program
of domestic intelligence -gathering to make judgments about which
civilians should be “controlled” in future wars. The interests of state

security would predominate over the civil liberties of suspect citizens,
even if there were no basis for criminal charges against them. This
would truly exalt military authority in war over every traditional pro
tection of American government.

The Japanese American Joint Board
The JAJB, composed almost entirely of representatives of the
military intelligence agencies, had tremendous difficulties from the

start in administering the loyalty review. Indeed, in attacking the

loyalty program , General DeWitt had pointed out one omission in
planning symptomatic of JAJB's entire effort. If the Joint Board were
presented with an individual on whom it had no information, asked

DeWitt, would it presume loyalty and recommend release of that
individual, or presume disloyalty and recommend continued confine
ment? 79

Under normal circumstances, asking such a question about United
States citizens would be absurd, but the question was important now .
Whatever the original intent, the fact of exclusion and detention worked

as a presumption against Nisei loyalty and innocence. Ifthe Joint Board
presumed innocence, then the government would be reversing its
previous position, implicitly admitting that its earlier assumption of
potential danger had been wrong. As DeWitt put it:

If the presumption is favorable to loyalty then the federal gov
ernment would seem to be embarrassing its original position that
evacuation was a military necessity. This follows because it was
the fundamental premise that Japanese loyalties were unknown
or doubtful. 80

If, on the other hand , the Joint Board were to remain consistent

and presume probable danger, the procedure would become unwork
able. As DeWitt expressed it:
If the presumption is unfavorable to loyalty then the chances of
determining the loyalty of any substantial segment will probably
be low . This is because there is a great dearth of positive infor
mation on the majority of Nisei . There are two reasons for this:

(1) Only the Japanese themselves know the answers and (2) the
Nisei Japanese are mostly too young to have any records. ... The

resultant inability to establish the loyalty of any substantial seg
ment ofNiseimay unnecessarily embarrass the government. ... 81
In fact, the problem was even more difficult than DeWitt thought.

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

Proving loyalty would be impossible in any circumstances. Unlike prov
ing disloyalty, which involves showing only one disloyal act, proving

loyalty would require exploring a person's entire life to show the ab
sence of disloyal acts. Undertaking such aa task for even a small group ,
let alone tens of thousands, would be hopelessly expensive and time
consuming.

That the JAJB never answered this fundamental question speaks
volumes about its effort. Rather than face the hard questions, it floun
dered, trying various systems to determine the “dangerousness” of
each evacuee. A point system failed as did a system of assigning cases
to individual members of the Board. Finally, an ever -changing system
was adopted that would bring an adverse recommendation if any one
of a number of “factors” were present. The “ factors” included whether
the person was Kibei; whether he refused to register; whether he was
a leader in any organization controlled or dominated by aliens; and
whether he had substantial fixed deposits in Japan.82 By adopting this
approach, the JAJB was spared having to find an illegal or even disloyal
act as the basis of recommending continued confinement. Instead,

individual characteristics and legal acts became cause for aa finding of
“ dangerousness .”
After about a year of making such determinations as well as doing
its other work of clearing laborers for vital war plants (an equally
uncertain venture), the JAJB was finally terminated. It had handled
nearly 39,000 cases and made over 25,000 recommendations for leave
clearance. 83 Of 12,600 recommendations against release , the WDC
reported that the WRA ignored half and released the people anyway. 84

That no espionage or sabotage occurred among this group of over 6,000

released despite JAJB objection suggests the doubtful value of the
JAJB's work . Clearly, it erred on the side of security, once again to
the detriment of evacuees.
The WRA

Compared to the WDC or the JAJB, the WRA pursued a liberal
course , although its policies continued to compromise individual civil
liberties. At the beginning of 1943 WRA policy was a two -step process:
the evacuee needed both “leave clearance ” —which required a finding

that he was not a danger to national security — and a “ leave permit ”
which would be issued if WRA was satisfied with the resettlement

arrangements he had made. 85 The policy's central disadvantage was
the extended time it took to process individual evacuees.
With the results of the mass registration in hand, WRA moved to

LOYALTY : LEAVE AND SEGREGATION

203

simplify and expedite the procedure. Rather than requiring clearance
from Washington, it allowed project directors to grant leave to those
considered unquestionably loyal. 86 In March 1943, a financial aid sys
tem was instituted. Although the grants were minimal— about $ 25.00
per person plus transportation costs, they did provide some assist
ance . 87 A leave clearance review was established in the summer of
1943 for those who had some adverse information in their file. Prin

cipally these were cases in which Question 28 had not been answered
with an unqualified “ yes;” where repatriation or expatriation had been
asked, or there was an adverse report from an intelligence agency or
the JAJB.88 Using this system , 16,000 evacuees left the centers on
indefinite leave during 1943 in addition to 5,000 seasonal farm workers
and aa number of students. 89 Not one case of espionage or sabotage was
reported among these evacuees.
In early 1944, two changes in leave regulations were made, again
to encourage resettlement. Agricultural work leaves were restricted in
order to encourage indefinite leaves. Indefinite leave for aа four -month

trial period was made available, with no return to centers allowed
during that time. Return was permitted only during the two months
following the initial four.91 Before December 1944, 18,500 more evac
uees left the centers on indefinite leave.92

Despite the government's cautious leave decisions, WRA contin
ued to have political problems with relocation. In April, Mayor Fiorello
LaGuardia of New York objected to Under Secretary Fortas about the
number of Japanese Americans who could come into the city. Fortas
told LaGuardia that barring relocatees from New York would imme

diately become a nationwide issue and would be vigorously opposed
by organizations throughout the country which were interested in hu

mane, decent handling of these people. In addition, a prohibition
would adversely affect the fate of American citizens, including New

Yorkers, interned in Japan; it would also be used by the Japanese in
anti- American racial propaganda.93 LaGuardia raised the old cry to
haunt every government resettlement effort since the exclusion de
cision : “ Ifit was necessary to evacuate them from their homes originally
and put them in a concentration camp, what justification is there for
turning them loose in Eastern cities at this time? If Washington, Or
egon, and California do not want them , what right has the Federal
government in placing them in New York ? ” 94

Continuing public hostility was reflected in WRA policies. In Feb
ruary 1944, Dillon Myer wrote the Attorney General explaining WRA's
leave regulations; he stressed that the WRA had considered permitting

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

people with leave clearance to leave the centers at any time, instead
of requiring them to show some means of support and a good chance
of community acceptance :

We decided , however, that it was not administratively wise to
take that course . The enemies of the relocation program could

easily distort such an action on our part and picture it as a dan
gerous relaxation of controls in disregard of the national interest
in time of war .

If the Supreme Court should hold that detention of such an
evacuee under such circumstances is invalid , the very fact of the
Court's decision would serve to provide public justification for
such a change in the program . I believe, therefore, that com
munities generally throughout the Nation would continue to be
willing to receive evacuees after such a Court decision , whereas
the storm that might attend an administrative change of the Reg
ulations in this respect might very well seriously retard the re
location program .

This is onecase where I strongly believe that it is more desirable
to have the change made as a result of a Court decision than a
result of unforced administrative action.95

The Executive now hoped that the Supreme Court would kill the
monster it had created .

LEAVING THE CAMPS

Most evacuees found beginning a new life difficult; many were unen

thusiastic about the prospect. A mid - 1943 WRA survey gave the rea
sons: uncertainty about public reaction; lack of funds or information

about conditions ; fear of inability to support oneself and family; and
fear of failing to find adequate housing. 96 Many had come to view the
camps as refuges and would prefer to stay where their most basic needs
would be supplied. 97 The young were most willing to leave. Seven of

every ten individuals leaving the camps in 1943 and 1944 were between
15 and 35. Many were women . Those who came from the northwest
were more willing to resettle than the Californians. 98 Those who left

found that, while their experience was fundamentally peaceful, it was
not without incident and hardship.99 Some faced housing discrimination100
and cramped quarters. 101
[W]e could not get housing. It is critical for anyone, but for Jap
anese and someone with a child — we have walked miles and miles

LOYALTY : LEAVE AND SEGREGATION

205

every day, dragging Linda here and there, snatching a few hours

for a nap here ,carrying her there, looking for a place to stay. 102
Seeking work, many found discrimination against Japanese Americans103
and ended up working at menial or low -paying jobs, 104 depriving the
country of skills needed during the war. 105

The uncertain period of resettlement was not easy for my family.
My older sisters worked at low paying jobs. For four years, we
lived in a one bedroom apartment that housed five of us.
In a few places, there were incidents. In New York City, for example,

the establishment of a hostel in Brooklyn met local resistance that was

eventually overcome. 107 May Ichida described her experience in Cleve
land :

Our two sons were immediately placed in public schools and the
experience of being a resettled person was compounded with jeer
ing remarks and fights. 108

The WRA made some effort to help evacuees resettle, as did
several church groups. 109 The WRA opened field offices in key eastern
and midwestern cities designed to create community acceptance and
find jobs that evacuees might fill. They worked with resettlement
committees set up by concerned individuals and groups, particularly
the churches. 110 By mid - 1943, church groups were running hostels for
short -term living space in four midwestern cities. 111
Although the evacuees moved to many cities, particularly Denver
and Salt Lake City, 112 Chicago became the center of resettlement.

There was less discrimination there, integration into the larger Cau

casian community was easier, and jobs were plentiful. As word of
conditions in Chicago filtered back to the camps,, the midwest became

a favored area. When the exclusion ended, Chicago was the only re
settlement community from which there was no mass exodus to the
West Coast. 113

The evacuees leaving in 1943 and 1944 took all manner of jobs.
A few had enough capital to begin their own businesses, 114 although
not all were successful.

[W]e relocated to Brigham City, Utah, and worked at the Brigham

City Laundry and Dry Cleaning Company. Because my uncle
wanted to get back to farming which was his profession, we moved
to American Fork, Utah, in 1946, to try farming one more time.
That summer we planted onions, cabbage and celery. As it turned
out, this was a fiasco. In the fall, while we were still harvesting
the crops, heavy frost came early and destroyed the cabbage crop,

destroyed the celery crop. If it was not for the onions, we would
have come out of there poverty -stricken. The summer's hard labor

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

was all for naught. By Christmas 1946, we were back at Brigham
City, my uncle and mother going back to laundry jobs . Mother
and I lived in a one bedroom apartment in the heart of the city

above the J.C. Penney Company, rat infested, roach infested. We

lived like a poverty -strickendowntrodden ghetto dweller. Mother
cooked on a two burner kerosene stove. I had the bedroom and

mother slept on the couch.115
Most went to work for others. Seabrook Farms in New Jersey, the
largest single employer of ethnic Japanese, took 1,500 workers into
farming and processing food. 116 Several evacuees recalled the long
hours, camp-like conditions, and hostility from surrounding commu
nities that marked Seabrook. 117

Most who went to the larger cities were employed in industry,

although white -collar work was also available. 118 Departing from pre
war patterns, most evacuees did not work in jobs serving the ethnic
Japanese community. Following WRA advice, many resettlers avoided
associating exclusively with each other, working instead to become
integrated into the larger communities. 119
The loyalty program was partly responsible for allowing many to
leave the camps and resettle in the interior. For the many more left

in camp, the questionnaire was less benign. Now it would become a

tool to distinguish the loyal from the disloyal before moving all the
disloyal to Tule Lake.

SEGREGATION

The idea of separating evacuees into groups arose almost at once after

evacuation . The WDC, still protesting that it wanted nothing further
to do with the evacuees, interfered again . By August 1942, General

DeWitt was convinced that Nisei should be separated from Kibei and

advocated stripping the Kibei of their citizenship, interning and ex
patriating them (along with the Issei) to Japan as rapidly as possible. 120

DeWitt pressed his point with Chief of Staff Marshall in four letters
from September 8 through November 23; the Kibei were subverting
otherwise loyal Nisei and should be segregated. 121 By the end of Oc

tober, McCloy had come to believe the idea was worth considering, 122
and in November he wrote both DeWitt and WRA that he too favored

segregation , 123 although he was unwilling to impose his view on WRA.

By mid -December, DeWitt had developed a plan for the segre

LOYALTY : LEAVE AND SEGREGATION

207

gation. In extraordinary detail, his plan envisioned a surprise move in
which designated evacuees would be gathered, put aboard trains and
moved to the Poston camp , where evacuees not to be segregated would
then be removed . The people to be segregated would include those

who wished repatriation; parolees from detention or internment camps;
those with “ bad ” records during their confinement in assembly centers
or relocation camps; others whom the intelligence services thought
dangerous; and immediate families of segregants. The plan anticipated
about 5,600 segregants. 124

·As the War Department view of segregation evolved, WRA was
also considering the idea. WRA objected to DeWitt's early proposals
because they suggested segregating by category. As Myer explained
it:

The War Relocation Authority, after full consideration, rejected
the idea of segregating entire categories of the population. We
felt, and still feel, that while we should probably look with par
ticular care at the individuals who fall into certain specific cate

gories, the arbitrary removal of an entire class would be unjust,
unwise, and seriously damaging to evacuee morale. The evacua
tion process itself was such a categorical segregation involving, as
has been acknowledged , many injustices to individuals. The evac
uation was justified by military urgency, but military necessity
could not justify segregation on a categorical basis as proposed to
the Authority. The disloyal of the group were now in safe custody
under military guard.

Moreover, there were practical considerations. Removal of the
Issei en masse would have disrupted the majority of the families.
There are in the centers some 40,000 American citizens under 20
years of age, most of whom are sons and daughters of aliens. At

the time of evacuation General DeWitt had repeatedly reassured
the evacuees that family composition would not be disturbed; in
fact, the Western Defense Command put itself to great trouble

to unite families during and immediately following evacuation to
assembly centers. Removal of the Kibei, likewise, would have

penalized many loyal citizens. In this connection , it is relevant

that aа large proportion of the evacuees recruited for the special
Army school at Camp Savage, Minnesota, and for the Navy lan
guage school at the University of Colorado are Kibei. 125

WRA rejected the December plan for different reasons. It called for
secrecy, military control, cancellation of normal activities, and it raised

the probability of rioting and bloodshed - all entirely at odds with the
semblance of normality that WRA hoped to achieve. 126 Three steps

already under way would, WRA hoped, eliminate a need to segregatė:
the indefinite leave program ; Justice Department custody for aliens

208

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

whom WRA believed should be interned; and an isolation center at
Leupp for troublemakers. 127

During Spring 1943, however, pressure grew to segregate. Sen
ator Chandler's Senate Committee recommended segregation, which
McCloy publicly (and Secretary Stimson privately) endorsed. The JACL
favored it, and in May WRA project directors unanimously approved

segregation.128 Remarking that he still felt relocation was “ the only
civilized way” of separating the evacuees, Myer finally agreed. 129
Tule Lake was chosen as the segregation center because it was a
large facility and already housed many potential segregants. Five groups
would be segregated:

• those who had applied for expatriation or repatriation to Japan and
not withdrawn their application before July 1, 1943;
• those who answered “ no ” to the loyalty question or refused to

answer it during registration and had not changed their answers;
those who were denied leave clearance due to some accumulation
of adverse evidence in their records;

• aliens from Department of Justice internment camps whom that
agency recommended for detention; and
family members of segregants who chose to remain with the family. 130

On July 15, 1943, the WRA announced the policy of segregating per
sons who “ by their acts have indicated that their loyalties lie with Japan
during the present hostilities or that their loyalties do not lie with the
United States. " 131

Next came a series of rehearings for individuals selected because

of a “ wrong” loyalty answer. Despite the consequences, most evacuees
stuck by their original statements and the rehearing process registered
mostly grief, disappointment and anger. Numerous Issei professed
" disloyalty” as a way ofgetting back to California or ofavoiding release.
Many Kibei chose Tule Lake out of frustration with official distrust of
their group. Others had no choice; they were family members — el
derly, children or handicapped — who could not leave their relatives.
A number of evacuees already at Tule Lake embraced disloyalty to
avoid moving again. 132

Between mid-September and mid - October, thirty -three trips
transferred 6,289 people from Tule Lake and 8,559 to Tule Lake from
other centers; later transfers moved 249 more residents out and 3,614

additional segregants in. Six thousand old Tuleans stayed. Meanwhile,
Tule Lake was being transformed . A double eight-foot fence was erected ,

the guard increased to a battalion, and six tanks lined up conspicu
ously. 133
Tule Lake now had a more diverse population than any other

LOYALTY : LEAVE AND SEGREGATION

209

center. People had come from all over California, Hawaii, Washington
and Oregon. They were disproportionately rural people and unmarried
farm laborers. 134 Of 18,422 evacuees at Tule Lake between September

1943 and May 1944, 68 percent were citizens. Most were there because
they had requested repatriation or expatriation (39 percent), answered
the loyalty questionnaire unsatisfactorily (26 percent) or were family
of someone who was segregated (31 percent).
The arriving group immediately found themselves at a disadvan
tage. There was not enough housing, so segregants were squeezed into
quarters that did not give them even the usual small space, or they
occupied makeshift dormitories in recreation halls. Improvements by

former occupants were gone, for they had taken most oftheir handiwork
on leaving. Remaining furniture and shelves had been appropriated

by other residents before the segregants arrived ; even plasterboard
and wood had been ripped from the walls to make crates. The " old
Tuleans” had taken all the best jobs, too . Finally, many transferees

found the facilities, the food and the environment inferior to their
“ home” projects.

Tule Lake's population and restrictive policies guaranteed conflict
there. The first incident was a labor dispute when on October 7 the
administration fired 43 coal workers. No one would take the vacant

positions. On October 12, the administration reinstated the workers
and made other concessions. Three days later an accident touched off

a strike when a truck carrying a work crew to the project farm over
turned, killing one worker and injuring several. Dissident leaders used
the incident to begin a strike of agricultural workers for more safety
precautions. The next week a committee presented demands to the

project director including a demand for “ resegregation ” _separating
those who preferred the Japanese way of life from those at Tule Lake
for other reasons. The committee also requested physical improve
ments and staff changes. The work stoppage among the farm workers
was not resolved . On October 28, the administration announced it was

firing the farm employees and bringing in a group of “loyal” evacuees
from other camps. Compounding the insult, food from evacuee ware
houses was requisitioned to feed the new farm workers . 137
On November 1, while Myer was visiting the camp, a large group
gathered and the committee demanded to talk to him. During their
discussion, another group of evacuees had visited the hospital and
ended up beating the chiefmedical officer. Eventually, Myer addressed
the full group and the gathering dispersed. 138
Several days later, on November 4, the explosion came. A gang

53-124 - 92 - 8
-

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

moved into the administrative area to prevent the removal of food for
volunteer farm workers from other centers. They fought with the in
ternal security force and aa staff member was injured. When the rioters

moved toward the project director's house, the military guard was
called in. 139
Tokio Yamane described this incident from an evacuee's point of
view :

It was on November 4th , 1943, as I recall, that the Tule Lake
Food Warehouse Disturbances occurred. A Mr. Kobayashi, a Jap
anese American on security patrol, discovered several WRA Cau
casian personnel stealing food from the Internee Food Warehouse

during the night and loading the food on their own truck which
was parked alongside the warehouse. Mr. Kobayashi, who had the

authority of a warder, remonstrated with the WRA personnel
because they were taking the internees' food. Mr. Kobayashi was

3

attacked by the Caucasian WRA personnel and a scuffle ensued.
As the scuffle was going on, the Organization for the Betterment
of Camp Conditions, made up of representatives of the numerous
internee blocks, was holding a meeting. As soon as news of this

incident was brought to the Organization, Rev. Kai and Mr. Ku
ratomi, the heads of the Organization , asked Mr. Koji Todorogi
and me, who were attending the meeting, to go to the scene and

try to restore calm and keep the situation under control by bringing
back the internees who had gathered at the scene of the incident.
As Mr. Koji Todorogi and I were heading toward the warehouse
area , several Caucasian WRA personnel suddenly appeared out
ofthe darkness and attacked the two of us, without any provocation

on our part, with pistols, rifles, and bats, and finally took us to
the WRA office .

As the two of us were being interrogated, Mr. Kobayashi, the

warder, was brought in by another group of Caucasians. During
his interrogation Mr. Kobayashi was hit on the head with such
force that blood gushed out and the baseball bat actually broke in
two. I was a witness to this brutal attack and remember it very
vividly .

From about 9 P.M. that evening until daybreak, we were forced
to stand with our backs against the office wall with our hands over

our heads and we were continuously kicked and abused as we
were ordered to confess being the instigators of the disturbance .

We denied these accusations but our protestations of innocence
were completely ignored by our tormentors. The beatings con
tinued all night long and at day break the three of us were turned
over to the Military Police and we were thrown into the stockade
for confinement.

As if the camp authorities had been expecting this incident to
happen, the Military Police Detachment immediately entered the

LOYALTY: LEAVE AND SEGREGATION

211

detainee compound with tanks, machine guns, and tear gas, and
started their repressive measures to cow the detainees, and to
overwhelm the youth organization which was made up of unarmed

and defenseless teenagers. The repressive measures and the mar
tial law instituted by the camp authorities took the following forms:
1. The MP tanks and jeeps constantly patrolled the area in a
show of force designed to harass and frighten the detainees.
2. Unannounced and frequent inspections of the detainees' bar

racks in search ofalleged contraband such as kitchen paring knives,
sewing scissors, carpenters' and gardeners' tools.

3. Firing of tear gas at small groups of unarmed internees as
sembling at bath houses and bathrooms to get water for washing,
or standing at the coal pile to get coal or kindling for heating, or
standing at the shower area waiting to bathe, or at the laundry

area to do their laundry. These repressive measures lasted two or
three months and resulted in nightmarish fear, particularly among

the very young and the very old detainees. 140
Leaders of the demonstration were isolated in a detention center that
became known as “the stockade . " 141

The Army retained control of Tule Lake until January 15, 1944 .

The period was one of “turmoil, idleness, impoverishment, and un
certainty ." 142
I was thirteen years old when we were at Tule Lake, California.
The most upsetting experience happened to me when martial law
was declared throughout the camp because ofa food riot. We were
told that the military police would come to search each one of our
families in the barracks. The two MPs looked formidable as they

walked in with guns at their side and asked roughly if we had any
weapons, liquor or cameras. To be forced to let the MPs in our

small humble quarters seemed like such invasion of personal pri
vacy that the emotional effect of that search still haunts me . 143

The partial strike continued and the stockade's population grew . Al
though there were no more major outbursts, the distinction sharpened
between “loyal and disloyal,” and suspicion of collaborators and in
formers flourished.

The loyalty program pushed evacuees in opposite directions. Some
had been released and were heading toward a more normal, productive

life. To those who expressed their anger and frustration , however, the

loyalty program brought a more repressive, violent and frustrating

period at Tule Lake. The loyalty program is rightly remembered as
one of the most divisive events in the camp. It broke apart the com
munity of evacuees by forcing each to a clear choice - -аa choice that

could be made only by guesswork about a very uncertain future . It

212

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

was a choice that was hard to hedge, and it divided families and friends
philosophically, emotionally and, finally, physically, as some went east
to make new lives and others were taken off to the grimmer confine
1

ment of Tule Lake.

8
Ending the Exclusion
Historical writing about the exclusion, evacuation and detention of the

ethnic Japanese has two great set pieces — analysis of events which led
to Executive Order 9066, and life in the relocation camps. In large
measure, these events were accessible to historians from the moment

they took place; equally important events have remained obscure
most significantly, the end of the exclusion from the West Coast. Ex

amining how exclusion ended brings one full circle to a deeper under
standing of the forces and ideas behind Executive Order 9066 .

The ending of the exclusion should logically depend on its begin
ning: when the circumstances that justified exclusion no longer exist,
exclusion itself should cease . Three separate justifications for exclusion

suggested two distinct sets of circumstances in which it would end.
Through the first six months of 1943, a long struggle was waged in the
War Department to determine which of these theories and programs
would prevail .
General DeWitt and the Western Defense Command embraced

at one time or another two theories for exclusion. The first, which
DeWitt relied on in his final recommendation to Stimson urging ex

clusion, was that loyalty was determined by ethnicity . For that reason
the ethnic Japanese would ultimately be loyal to Japan . The second
theory employed the stereotype of the “ inscrutable Oriental;” it was

adopted by the Western Defense Command in its supplement to the
Final Report, the fully developed apologia for evacuation. The ethnic
213

214

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

Japanese were so alien to the patterns of American thought and be
havior, this theory suggested, that it was impossible to distinguish the

loyal from the disloyal.3 For the Western Defense Command, both
theories justified the exclusion of Nisei and Issei from the West Coast
for the duration of the war; in the first case , because they were pres

umptively dangerous and ultimately enemies and, in the second, be

cause no one could distinguish enemy from friend.

The third theory held that loyalty was a matter of individual cho
and that the loyal could be distinguished from the disloyal, but urgency
required exclusion because it was impossible to conduct individual

loyalty reviews in early 1942, under imminent threat of Japanese raids
or sabotage. The War Department in Washington, particularly McCloy
and Stimson, held this view.4 Its logical conclusion was that no good
reason existed to exclude from the West Coast at least those Issei and

Nisei who cleared a loyalty review. At root, this theory held that the
ethnic Japanese were a greater threat to security than ethnic Germans
and Italians, and it did not extend the presumption of loyalty to Amer
ican citizens of Japanese descent; but it also saw limits to the danger

they were believed to present— and made government responsible for
reviewing loyalty and reassessing the military position so as to return
people to normal life as soon as possible.
The intensity of the argument between the Western Defense

Command and the War Department over how and when to end the
exclusion demonstrated the truth of what the Tolan Committee sus

pected as early as March 1942: there had been no common under
standing of the basis of the original decision to exclude nor of how to

treat loyal ethnic Japanese after exclusion. 5" As McCloy told Bendetsen
in April 1943: “We never thought about it .” . In early 1943, debate
over ending exclusion ranged over a number of issues : starting a loyalty
review in connection with raising the volunteer combat unit (which
the Western Defense Command recognized as logically leading to the
end of exclusion for the loyal); the question of the conditions under

which Nisei soldiers and other classes ofethnic Japanese who presented
no obvious security risk could return to the West Coast; the language

for General DeWitt's Final Report justifying the evacuation ; and, fi
nally, the conditions under which the War Department would revoke
the exclusion orders .

The War Department recognized by early 1943 that military ne
cessity could not justify the exclusion from the West Coast of loyal
American citizens or resident aliens of Japanese ancestry, but it was

unwilling to force a revision of the exclusion orders or to make public

ENDING THE EXCLUSION

215

the opinions which Stimson, Marshall and McCloy then held. Only in
May 1944 did Stimson recommend to President Roosevelt and the

Cabinet the ending of exclusion, and only after the 1944 election did
the President act on the recommendation . Just as the exclusion was
born of political pressure, it was continued out of political considera

tions long after those who first believed it to be militarily justified had
abandoned that position .

THE WESTERN DEFENSE COMMAND VS. THE WAR
DEPARTMENT

On January 14, 1943, the same day that McCloy received word that
the project for raising the Nisei combat unit was launched, General
DeWitt first became aware of the full dimensions of the project, in
cluding the plan for a review and determination of loyalty. His reaction

was immediate and candid. DeWitt telephoned his old ally General
Gullion, the Provost Marshal General, and expressed his concern ,

reminding him that "[t]here isn't such a thing as a loyal Japanese and
it is just impossible to determine their loyalty by investigation — it just
can't be done .” ?7 DeWitt got the lay of the land at the War Department,

then cabled General Marshall asking an opportunity to comment before
the plan was put into operation.8
Between January 14 and 27, when DeWitt dispatched formal com
ments to Marshall, DeWitt and his aides (including Bendetsen) honed

their arguments. * By the time the comments were prepared, they

believed the loyalty review program would undermine total exclu
sion — first, by adopting a rationale for exclusion which included in

dividual review ofloyalty and, second, by permitting the loyal to return
to the West Coast. Both actions would expose the War Department

*Although it is difficult to distinguish the voices of DeWitt and Bendetsen
in the documents, it is clear their points of view differed . DeWitt was strident
and assured; he never hesitated to make racist remarks and never expressed
doubts about the wisdom of his position . Even after the War Department had

endorsed the loyalty questionnaire, DeWitt continued to assert that loyalty
could not be determined . Bendetsen was hesitant. Although the written doc

uments are undoubtedly the work ofboth men, final responsibility for positions
of the Western Defense Command was DeWitt's, and we have attributed them

to the Commanding General.

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

and the Western Defense Command to bitter criticism . The first issue
immediately drew everyone to reexamine the original decision to evac
uate. It had always been DeWitt's view , expressed often and publicly,
that the loyal could not be separated from the disloyal. The loyalty
review program , established to do exactly that, was, by its very exist
ence, a repudiation of DeWitt. As DeWitt described it to McCloy:

I feel that I wouldn't be loyal to you or honest to you if I didn't
say that it is a sign of weakness and an admission of an original
mistake. Otherwise — we wouldn't have evacuated these people at
all if we could determine their loyalty.9
While DeWitt was unwavering in believing the evacuation deci
sion sound, Bendetsen was sufficiently disturbed by the War Depart
ment's position that he apparently began to question the original de
cision . Discussing the issue with Captain John Hall, one of McCloy's
assistants, Bendetsen remarked:

Of course (the difficulty of determining loyalty ) is probably true
of white people, isn't it? You know that old proverb about “ not

beingable tolook into the heart ofanother ” ? And “ not even daring
to look into yourown” ... well maybe there's something in that.10
Both DeWitt and Bendetsen must have realized that their con

tention that loyal could not be separated from disloyal was unlikely to
prevail at the War Department strictly on the merits; the loyalty pro
gram was too far along for that. Instead, they argued that the public
would react badly to the Army's shift of position and the Department
would look foolish for changing its mind. Bendetsen mentioned this
several times in conversation with War Department staff:
[T]he record shows that (1) that it was a concentration of a large
number of persons ofJapanese ancestry in strategic areas near war
plants and all that. And that it could not be permitted. And (2)
That you couldn't determine loyalty and therefore you had to take
the wheat with the chaff. Not that there wasn't time, but that you

just couldn't. So that's what the original record shows. So whatever

you do, I think you ought to bear that pretty closely in mind.
That's what the record shows out here where the main record was

made . . . in the Press and the Periodicals.
.

*

*

*

I'm scared to death principally becauseof the public relations part
of it. That's it, to put it in a nutshell.11

DeWitt was somewhat more circumspect but raised essentially the
same issues in his formal comments. 12

The War Department hierarchy, however, was not persuaded.

ENDING THE EXCLUSION

217

Regardless of what DeWitt had said, for McCloy the issue was one of
timing. His view had never been that loyal could not be separated

from disloyal, but that they could not have been distinguished fast
enough. Now, McCloy argued, the Department was moving to deter
mine loyalty, as it had always planned to do.13 But Bendetsen and
DeWitt believed this would also expose the Department to criticism .
If the plan had always been to determine loyalty, why had it not en
done earlier, when evacuees were still in the assembly centers? If
loyalty review had only been postponed, then the government had

unnecessarily prolonged the confinement of 100,000 people and wasted
$80 million building relocation centers . Bendetsen and Braun, drafting

comments for DeWitt, explored this point:
Braun : You had them under control (in the assembly centers]
but you had not yet moved them inland — you had not yet spent
any 80 million dollars — you had accomplished the main thing as
to time and space. And at that point, if you could determine
loyalty, it should then have been done.
Bendetsen: And that will have to be answered.
Braun : It will have to be answered .

Bendetsen: ... [T]he answer may be that you could have, but
that's not such a hot public relations answer.
Braun : I've just been talking that over . . . and I said “If you

fellows were to say to me tomorrow , —that is the big rub, what

were we going to do about it?—because we're going thru with
this anyway, ” the best thing I had thought of up to this moment
was for us to be completely honest and say “well maybe we could,
though we didn't think so at the time.
Bendetsen: Right. We still don't think so (at the Western De

fense Command ).
Braun: No but I'm talking now about suppose we were told
" you gotta' do it ” and “ how are we going to do it ? ” That's the only
answer I could think of that would make any sense .
Bendetsen : Didn't think so then but we do now . Maybe our

ideas on the Oriental have been all cock-eyed.
Braun: We've got more information now than we had . . . and
than we thought we could get.

Bendetsen :That's right. Maybe he isn't inscrutable. 14
There is no record of how Stimson and McCloy would have ex

plained why they had waited so long to separate loyal from disloyal.
It may be that with the other massive problems of fighting the war,
this question had occupied little or none of their attention; there is no
evidence that, when they addressed it, they believed that detention
camps, at least for the loyal, could be justified. As Stimson said: “ We
have gone to the full limit in evacuating them .”15

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

The second and more vexing problem for DeWitt was the possible
effect of the loyalty program on the evacuated area. The plan itself was

silent on this point, but aa Nisei certified loyal by the government could
hardly be considered too dangerous to return to the West Coast. If

exclusion of the loyal were to end, DeWitt's judgment would be pub
licly reversed and, particularly on the West Coast, the War Depart
ment might look very foolish for spending millions of dollars on relo

cation camps and uprooting the lives of thousands of people. It would ,
as Bendetsen put it, be “ confess [ing] an original mistake of terrifically

horrible proportions.” Bendetsen was not prepared to make the confes
sion :

Even ifthe decision was wrong I wouldn't make it a practice gallop.
Even in that case . I would find it very hard to justify the ex

penditure of80 million dollars to build Relocation Centers, merely
for the purpose ofreleasing them again. That, I would find difficult
to do. 16

If, on the other hand, the exclusion policy were not ended , then
the loyalty review plan would be logically inconsistent. Bendetsen
discussed this with Captain Hall, McCloy's assistant:
Bendetsen : How could you keep him out of the evacuated zone,

if you said he was [ loyal enough ] to work in a war plant?
Hall: [ The program is) ... going to be limited to the areas
•

outside of the evacuated area.

Bendetsen: How can you be consistent - do one and say that he
can't come in the other ?

Hall: Simply sensitivity of the West Coast to enemy attack . The
reasons justifying the original evacuation still exist in certain de
gree .

Bendetsen: No, I don't see how they do ... [t]he plan says that
you assume that one of the reasons for evacuation was that there

was no time to determine loyalty. One of the primary reasons. So
that now that you decide that you can determine loyalty you've
erased that reason , haven't you?

Hall: Well not necessarily. As far as the loyalty of this fellow is
concerned, we feel that he is completely loyal. But because of

certain military considerations — partly responsible for the evac
uation , we feel at least for the present he should not go back into
the evacuated area.

Bendetsen: Kind of beats the devil around the bush , doesn't
it?17

In fact, in January, McCloy was not prepared to press this point
with the Western Defense Command . When McCloy first discussed
the loyalty program with DeWitt on January 14, he assured the General
that it would not affect exclusion from the West Coast. 18 McCloy did

ENDING THE EXCLUSION

219

not explain why he took this position. There are various possible ex
planations: he may have believed that continuing military necessity
required the exclusion of the loyal; the War Department may not have
wished or been able to overcome political opposition on the West Coast;

or McCloy may not have wanted to invite charges that the Department
had wasted money building relocation camps. Only military necessity
would provide a defensible explanation and, a few months later, McCloy

made clear that he could not find military reasons for excluding people
the government found loyal.
McCloy's assistant, Captain Hall, in discussing the matter with
Bendetsen, attempted to argue for such a course and merely succeeded
in demonstrating how hopeless the task was:

Bendetsen: ... when you come out with a plan and say that
you can determine loyalty for working in a warplant around high

explosives . . . you can hardly say that “well he can ” [ sic] go back
to San Francisco ... it will be difficult to say that he can't” and
.

when you do that you confess a very original, horrible mistake.

Hall: . . . confess an original horrible mistake. (What about] the
possibility of Fifth Column activity of landing of parachute troops
dressed as civilians, the possibility of confusion. I think those are
.

still very real factors. ...

Bendetsen: Suppose you drop white troops dressed as civilians.
You don't evacuate all the white folks. That's no point. Suppose
white people drop dressed as civilians. You don't evacuate all the
white people.

Hall: Your danger on the West Coast is ... Japanese .
Bendetsen : Well your danger on the East Coast is from Germans
and Italians, who are white.

Hall: Yes but there are too many of them out here.
Bendetsen : Too many what?

Hall: Far more assimilated than the Japanese population ever
have been .

Bendetsen : You mean too many white people on the East Coast.
That's not a point, because the enemy could drop white soldiers
dressed as civilians, and [who) could speak English. That ..
Hall: But that would be on the East Coast.

Bendetsen : Well, they could do it on either coast.
Hall: Not so easily on the West Coast.

Bendetsen : I'm just trying to give you my reaction to the point.
Hall: There is a logicality there, there's no doubt about it. But

I think it might be wise to take this as a first step, perhaps looking
toward (if this works all right) toward eventual return to the evac
uated area providing the military situation warrants it.
Bendetsen: Well I think that's certainly true, when the peace
comes . That's when I think the military situation would warrant

it with consistency.19

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

For the moment, the debate on lifting the exclusion order did not
move beyond McCloy's position of January 14; loyalty would be de
termined and loyal evacuees released, but exclusion would not be
terminated. But the argument could not and did not end, simply shift
ing to other issues, first to the question of exceptions to the universal
ban of ethnic Japanese from the West Coast.

During the early months of 1943 DeWitt fought an unrelenting
war of attrition with McCloy, who tried to persuade the General to
introduce some humane common sense by allowing some return to
the West Coast. DeWitt opposed every such effort. For instance, at
the WRA's urging,20 McCloy suggested that loyalty to the United States
would be a better standard than race for dealing with “mixed marriage ”
cases because, as part of the War Department's effort to solve the
“ Japanese problem ,” he wanted to recognize the loyalty of individuals
>

rather than to presume the disloyalty of the entire group . DeWitt did
21

not accept the suggestion.2
The breaking point came over the issue of letting Nisei soldiers
on furlough into the excluded area . DeWitt fought for months to pre
vent or encumber such entries, but McCloy drew the line at this and
was supported by Stimson and Marshall.22 Ifa Jap was a Jap to DeWitt,
a GI was a GI to McCloy. The War Department ordered that Nisei
soldiers be allowed onto the West Coast with a minimum of interfer
ence and control.

This argument clarified the connection between loyalty and ex
clusion and forced a conscious reassessment of the military justification

for exclusion . On April 8, 1943, McCloy set out the disagreements
between the War Department and the Western Defense Command
in a frank letter to General DeWitt . He first addressed the circum

stances that had changed since early 1942:
The threat ofJapanese attack is far from what it was. We are better
organized to meet such an attack if it occurred. And we know a
great deal more about our Japanese population. Furthermore, the

War Department has established a combat team for volunteer
American citizens of Japanese ancestry . This program has been

indorsed by the President who looks upon it as “ a natural and
logical step toward the reinstitution of the Selective Service pro
cedures, which were temporarily disrupted by the evacuation from
the West Coast. ” Similarly, the War Department has initiated a
process for loyalty investigations of all Japanese Americans to de
termine their eligibility for work in plants and facilities vital to

the war effort. In other words, in the face of manpower difficulties,
the policy of the national Government, as well as that of the War

ENDING THE EXCLUSION

221

Department, is presently looking toward the restoration to all loyal
persons of Japanese ancestry of all their normal rights and privi

leges, to the end that they may be able to make their maximum
contribution to the war effort. The very “ entering wedge” which
you appear to dread is precisely what must be accomplished.
McCloy next assailed the corrupt policy he believed the Army
acceded to on the West Coast:

That there is serious animosity on the West Coast against all
evacuated Japanese I do not doubt, but that does not necessarily
mean that we should trim our sails accordingly. The longer Cal
ifornia luxuriates in the total absence of the Japanese the more

difficult it will be to restore them to the economy of California.

They have a place in California as well as in any other state as
long as military considerations do not intervene. I cannot help but
feel that social considerations rather than military ones determine
the total exclusion policy. The Army, as I see it, is not responsible
for the general public peace of the Western Defense Command.
That responsibility still rests with the civil authorities. There may,
as you suggest, be incidents, but these can be effectively dis

couraged by prompt action by law enforcement agencies, with the
cooperation of the military if they even assume really threatening

proportions. I certainly deplore any policy which prohibits an
American soldier from entering areas in the United 23States for fear

of the consequences which may attend such entry .

McCloy concluded by urging on DeWitt the policy of gradual reset
tlement onto the Pacific Coast that had been debated all that spring.
McCloy suggested allowing the reentry of screened individuals in four
broad categories : wives, parents, brothers and sisters of soldiers; wives
of Caucasians; individuals whose employment on the coast would aid
the war effort; and veterans of the First World War and their families.

On April 13, 1943, DeWitt appeared before a House Committee
a

looking into the effect of large military facilities on local communities;

he used the occasion to answer McCloy publicly. Asked whether he
had any problems he would like to discuss, DeWitt fired both barrels:
I haven't any except one — that is the development of a false sen
timent on the part of certain individuals and some organizations
to get the Japanese back on the West Coast. I don't want any of
them here. They are a dangerous element. There is no way to
determine their loyalty. The West Coast contains too many vital

installations essential to the defense of the country to allow any
Japanese on this coast. There is a feeling developing, I think, in
certain sections ofthe country, that the Japanese should be allowed

to return. I am opposing it with every proper means at my dis
posal. 24

DeWitt did resist pointing the finger directly at McCloy and Stim

222

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

son in public. Asked whether “the element responsible for bringing
them back (was) the same one that wants them put in the Army,” the
General replied that he didn't know what element the Congressman
was referring to . Congressmen Izac, who had earlier claimed credit

for getting the evacuation ordered , and Mott opposed any such change
of policy and told the General they would watch the situation.25
The next day, for good measure , DeWitt once more aired his
differences with the War Department over allowing Nisei soldiers on
the West Coast. At an off-the -record news conference he told sym
pathetic reporters:
As I told the War Department, the Japanese Government finding
out we are bringing these men in, it is the ideal place to infiltrate
men in uniform . ... [A] Jap is a Jap . The War Department says
a Jap - American soldier is not a Jap; he is American . Well, all right.

I said, I have the Jap situation to take care of and I'm going to do
it .. 26

Ofcourse, DeWitt mixed this with avowals of being a loyal soldier
who did not oppose his superiors, but his conduct could not have been
more clearly calculated to sabotage any War Department effort to
achieve quiet, gradual resettlement of evacuees on the West Coast.
These episodes occurred while General DeWitt was preparing his

Final Report on the Japanese evacuation. The document was to be
both the Army's official explanation of the reasons for the exclusion

and evacuation and its account of this massive movement of people.
The Final Report was to be formally submitted to Secretary Stimson,
but there was an understanding that a draft would be reviewed and
discussed with McCloy beforehand. McCloy was surprised when it
came to him in printed form in mid -April, and livid after reading the

first few chapters. He found it “ too self-glorifying and too self -serving
for the type of document that I think should be perpetuated ,” 27 but
two statements particularly angered McCloy: first, that it was impos
sible to determine the loyalty of the ethnic Japanese and that this

impossibility, not urgency , was the “ military necessity ” on which ex
clusion rested; second, that the ethnic Japanese should not be allowed

to return to the West Coast until after the war, regardless of the
improved military situation. 28

McCloy plainly considered the printed report DeWitt's attempt
to talk past his War Department superiors to politicians and the public.
Because DeWitt's gambit put the War Department in a most uncom
fortable political position, a major negotiation between DeWitt and
McCloy over the Report's final language followed. First, Bendetsen

ENDING THE EXCLUSION

223

McCloy over the Report's final language followed . First, Bendetsen
was called to Washington to work on revisions and get McCloy's views
and objections firsthand. 29 He was then sent to DeWitt, who was in
Alaska, to discuss the changes McCloy wanted, though the General

would not be compelled to make them.30 At first the General was
adamant in opposing any changes,31 but after Bendetsen's visit to Alaska
DeWitt not only accepted McCloy's suggestions but set out to destroy
every copy of the April version.32 One can only speculate on what
persuaded DeWitt, but it may have been Bendetsen's memorandum

on the War Department's position about excluding loyal ethnic Japa
nese from the West Coast:

After an extended discussion, Mr. McCloy stated his conclusion
to be that there no longer existed any military necessity for the

continued exclusion of all Japanese from the evacuated zone. He
stated that the War Department, of its own motion, would not
take any action to direct or require the revision or revocation of
present restrictions in this regard. He did say, however, that if
the question were to be presented officially to the Secretary of

War by the White House or by any other official federal agency
having a legitimate interest whether from the viewpoint of the
War Department there is longer any military objection to the
return of those Japanese “ whose loyalty had been determined , ”
the answer had to be, "No. " 33

McCloy told Bendetsen that these views were shared by Stimson

and Marshall.34 Persistence by DeWitt might have resulted in a public
break with the War Department over exclusion. DeWitt was obviously
unwilling to press this far, and McCloy seemed remarkably determined
not to let their differences become a matter of public debate. This is

demonstrated by three incidents. After DeWitt's appearance before
the House subcommittee, Secretary Ickes wrote in sarcastic outrage
about press reports of the Generals testimony, but McCloy replied
merely that DeWitt had been inaccurately quoted and did not disclose
his disagreement with the General.35 *
Next, in late May, McCloy would not spread the public impression
that DeWitt was being relieved of his command and kicked upstairs,
as he was in Fall 1943, because of his stand on the exclusion policy.
The Assistant Secretary urged that DeWitt be kept on the West Coast
* The press had used DeWitt's off-the-record remark that “ a Jap is a Jap .”
Ickes repeated this in his letter to McCloy and the Assistant Secretary, no
doubt unaware of the press conference, denied that the General had made the

remark.

224 .

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

a short time longer to avoid this inference,36 and later he vetoed a
draft announcement by General Emmons, DeWitt's successor, iden
tifying the exclusion policy as DeWitt's rather than the War Depart
ment's. 37

Finally, McCloy and Stimson faced the problem of answering a
long letter from Dillon Myer of the WRA about plans for getting
evacuees out of the relocation centers. The letter fairly, though indi

rectly, asked the War Department's justification for continued exclu
sion from the West Coast.38 Stimson, in aa letter apparently drafted by
McCloy,39 commented only on the WRA's administrative problems
and avoided discussing the military justification for continuing exclu
sion , a matter plainly within the War Department's competence.40
This was extraordinary: the War Department no longer believed

that military necessity justified excluding loyal ethnic Japanese from
the West Coast, but it was unwilling to reverse its orders. What is
more , officials of the first rank consciously withheld their views from

others both in and outside the government although the context fairly

demanded some expression of opinion. Probably they feared a political
firestorm — the War Department was reluctant, or perhaps felt itself
unable, to face down strong political objection to returning Issei and
Nisei, regardless of loyalty, to the West Coast.
In the first half of 1943, anti-Japanese forces on the West Coast,
reacting to the leave program and loyalty review , were stirring again .
The first prominent group to act was the California American Legion

which, in January, began to pass resolutions urging deportation of all
ethnic Japanese, both citizens and aliens.41 Soon grand juries, local
governments, and state legislatures joined the crusade, while numer
ous civic groups were created expressly to voice anti-Japanese senti
ment . 42

The issue reached Washington in the form of a resolution to trans
fer the WRA to Army control, accompanied by allegations that evacuees
were being “ pampered ” and “coddled. ”43 The resolution was referred
to a Senate subcommittee headed by Senator A. B. Chandler of Ken
tucky, who, seeing an opportunity for headlines, determined to hold
hearings and visit four camps himself. His tour featured aa number of

sensational announcements. Chandler thought 60 percent of the res

idents at one center were disloyal, adding that “ in my mind there is
no question that thousands of these fellows were armed and prepared
to help Japanese troops invade the West Coast right after Pearl Har
bor. ”44 In May the committee released its report, with conclusions
that had little to do with the Senator's previous announcements but

ENDING THE EXCLUSION

225

recommended that the draft be resumed, that disloyals be segregated,
and that loyal ethnic Japanese be privately employed. 45
*
The committee had nevertheless again aroused people around the

country on the “ Japanese problem .” Seeing the agitation in California,
other states and local governments began to consider restrictive leg
islation . Arizona passed a bill curtailing the liberties of released evac
uees and Arkansas made it illegal for ethnic Japanese to own land
there. 46

General DeWitt's remarks before the House Naval Affairs Com

mittee in April had set the newspapers to editorializing against the
ethnic Japanese once again. The San Francisco Chronicle put its view
>

simply in the caption, “ DeWitt Is Right,” and, waving aside “the ethical
factors, the constitutional factors, the question of the Bill of Rights ,”
went on to announce that the return of ethnic Japanese cleared by the
loyalty review would mean riots. The Los Angeles Times summarized
its view of the possible end of exclusion in three words, “ Stupid and
Dangerous,” and concluded its lengthy editorial by underscoring the
political consequences:
How much of the recent smashing defeat for reelection of former

Governor Olson of California was due to his suggestion that the
Japs be recalled for agricultural work cannot be estimated, but it
was undoubtedly considerable. There are worse things than food
shortages.
As a race , the Japanese have made for themselves a record for

conscienceless treachery unsurpassed in history. Whatever small
theoretical advantages there might be in releasing those under

restraint in this country would be enormously outweighed by the
risks involved . 47

In April 1943, when the Western Defense Command announced
that Nisei soldiers on furlough would be allowed to return to the coast
and rumors circulated that General DeWitt might be relieved,48 anti
Japanese forces renewed their assault by urging the Dies Committee
on Un -American Activities to investigate. Even before the Committee

began its work, Representative J. Parnell Thomas visited Los Angeles
and, without touring a single camp, began to issue press releases about
the evacuees . He accused the WRA of pampering and overfeeding
them and declared that there had been an organized division of the
Japanese Army on the West Coast before Pearl Harbor. He called for
halting the “WRA policy of releasing disloyal Japs” until the Dies
Committee had completed its report. 49

Even the Pacific Coast Committee on American Principles and
Fair Play, a group of prominent citizens under honorary chairman Dr.

226

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

Robert Gordon Sproul, President of the University of California, ex
pressly took no position on the issue of whether persons of Japanese
ancestry should return to the Pacific Coast at that time, even though
the group had issued a statement in June favoring an “ opportunity for

loyal Americans of Japanese ancestry to resettle in the manner, which,
in the judgment of the federal government, is best designed to meet

the manpower shortage. ”50
Dies Committee hearings began on June 8, starting with the anti
evacuee group . The most sensational witness was H.H. Townshend,
a former WRA employee who claimed , among other things, that evac
uees cached food in the desert and that over 1,000 Japanese soldiers
lived in the Poston Center. 51 Throughout the hearings, committee staff
made other observations to the press, for example, that WRA was
releasing spies and saboteurs. 52

This time the WRA decided to fight back . Demanding to testify,
the agency prepared a strong statement in which the Committee was
accused of seeking publicity by making and soliciting “ sensational state
ments based on half- truths, exaggerations, and falsehoods.” 53 One WRA
document rebutted the Townshend testimony, pinpointing 42 lies or
misleading statements. In his autobiography, Myer recounts the re
action of Committee Chairman Costello to this document. After re

viewing it, the Chairman opened the session:

Mr. Myer we have reviewed your document on the Townshend
testimony in which you say there were 42 lies or half-truths, but
we find only 39.
Myer agreed to “ settle for 39. " 54

Once again, the final committee report of September 1943 was
extremely mild, advocating segregation , a new board to investigate
evacuees to be released, and an “Americanization” program in the
camps. For the first time the government had taken on the anti-Jap
anese groups, and it had won . Not only were the Committee's rec
ommendations consistent with WRA policy and planning, but, every

bit as important, the Committee was denounced by the national press
for its prejudice and procedure. 55

The tide had turned. The rest of the country no longer shared the
West Coast view. A Washington Post editorial responding to General

DeWitt's succinct analysis that “ a Jap is a Jap,” put the matter in simple
terms:

The general should be told that American democracy and the
Constitution of the United States are too vital to be ignored and
flouted by any military zealot. The panic of Pearl Harbor is now

ENDING THE EXCLUSION

227

past. There has been ample time for the investigation of these
people and the determination of their loyalty to this country on
an individual basis. Whatever excuse there once was for evacuating

and holding them indiscriminately no longer exists.56
President Roosevelt may have helped a little during the summer by
responding to a Senate request for Administration views on returning
ethnic Japanese to the West Coast; the President announced that while

there were no present plans to end exclusion, its continuation de

pended only on military considerations.57 It is unknown whether Roo
sevelt had in hand the War Department's opinion at that time on the
military necessity for continuing exclusion, but the President's state
ment certainly suggested that the government did not foresee exclusion
for the rest of the war .

As his support at the top of the government ebbed , General DeWitt
did not stop trying to maintain complete exclusion. Alerted in early
July by Governor Warren that two ethnic Japanese were reported to

be on a fishing trip near Dinuba, California, DeWitt not only mounted
a thorough investigation but also wrote the Governor about his fears
of the future:

I am fully aware that persons released from the War Relocation
Authority Camps may in considerable numbers attempt to return
to the prohibited zones, perhaps as a trial effort to learn the official
reaction to their presence. It is only through the mutual efforts

of the military authorities and the Federal and State law enforce
ment officers that such plans will be defeated. 58

Given such constant effort to defeat any humane, orderly return
of ethnic Japanese to the West Coast, it was a palpable relief to McCloy
when, in Fall 1943, DeWitt and Bendetsen left the Western Defense
Command and General Delos Emmons took command at the Pre

sidio. 59 Emmons did not immediately urge that the exclusion be re

voked, but he began to review individual hardship cases more leni
ently, and cautiously prepared for ending exclusion before the war was
over . 60

WAITING FOR THE ELECTION

At the end of 1943, Attorney General Biddle returned to the fray. He
wrote the President about a group ofCalifornians and the Hearst press,
who continued to make trouble for people of Japanese ancestry, stress
ing that:

228

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

The important thing is to secure the reabsorption of about 95,000
Japanese, of whom two -thirds are citizens and who give every
indication of being loyal to the United States, into normal Amer

ican life. The present practice of keeping loyal American citizens
in concentration camps on the basis of race for longer than is

absolutely necessary is dangerous and repugnant to the principles
of our Government. It is also necessary to act now so that the
agitation against these citizens does not continue after the war.

Biddle, aware of the political problems from public hostility to reset
tlement on the West Coast, recommended that the WRA be made part
of a permanent cabinet agency, most likely the Interior Department,

to give it a more effective voice with the public and within the gov
ernment. “ Care should be taken to make it clear that any change of

administration is not a reflection upon the WRA relocation policy or
administration . ..

» 61

On January 5, 1944, President Roosevelt directed that an Exec

utive Order be prepared placing the whole of WRA under the In
terior,” 62

and on February 16, the President signed Executive Order
9423, transferring authority over WRA to the Department of the In
terior; the authority of the Director went to the Secretary of the In
terior, who retained Dillon Myer as operating head of the program .63

Harold Ickes, already a champion of the evacuees, was now their
spokesman .

In the spring of 1944, the War Department finally proposed to
the President that the exclusion be ended. Secretary Stimson took the
issue to the Cabinet on May 26 , 1944. Attorney General Biddle noted:

The Secretary of War raised the question of whether it was ap
propriate for the War Department, at this time, to cancel the
Japanese Exclusion Orders and let the Japs go home. War, In
terior, and Justice had all agreed that this could be done without

danger to defense considerations but doubted the wisdom ofdoing
it at this time before the election . 64

The fact that “military necessity ” no longer justified exclusion was
repeated often during the following months. In June, Secretary Ickes
bluntly urged the President to decide the issue:
[ T ]he continued retention of these innocent people in the relo

cation centers would be aa blot upon the history of this country.
Edward Stettinius, Jr. , the Under Secretary of State, summarized the
matter for the President: “ The question appears to be largely a political
one, the reaction in California, on which I am sure you will probably
wish to reach your own decision . ” 66

ENDING THE EXCLUSION

229

Roosevelt expressed his views to Ickes and Stettinius on June 12,
1944:

The more I think of this problem of suddenly ending the orders

excluding Japanese Americans from the West Coastthe more I
think it would be aa mistake to do anything drastic or sudden.
As I said at Cabinet, I think the whole problem, for the sake
of internal quiet, should be handled gradually, i.e. , I am thinking
of two methods:

a. Seeing, with great discretion, how many Japanese families
would be acceptable to public opinion in definite localities on the
West Coast.

b. Seeking to extend greatly the distribution of other families

in many parts ofthe United States. I have been talking to a number
of people from the Coast and they are all in agreement that the
Coast would be willing to receive back a portion of the Japanese
who were formerly there - nothing sudden and not in too great
quantities at any one time .

Also, in talking to people from the Middle West, the East and
the South, I am sure that there would be no bitterness if they
were distributed — one or two families to each county as a start.
Dissemination and distribution constitute a great method ofavoid
ing public outcry.

for a while at
Why not proceed seriously along the above line
least ?67

Whatever the military, legal or moral virtues of the evacuees' cause ,
the President would not do anything precipitous to upset the West
Coast. There would be an election in November.

In 1942 political pressures for exclusion came from the West Coast
and, somewhat transformed, wound through the War Department to

the President. In 1944 the President was plainly leading his subordi
nates by responding to political demands for which they could no longer
find military justification. Even the Western Defense Command was

to abandon the military rationale. The new Commandin
General, C. H. Bonesteel, wrote McCloy on July 3, 1944 :
My study of the existing situation leads me to a belief that the
great improvement in the military situation on the West Coast

indicates that there is no longer a military necessity for the mass

exclusion of the Japanese from the West Coast as a whole. There

is still a definite necessity for the exclusion ofcertain individuals.6.
Moreover, after a July courtesy visit to Roosevelt in San Diego, Bo
nesteel reported to McCloy that the President's plans for scattering
the Nikkei population lacked realism :
The solution envisaged by the President would be entirely sat
isfactory if the Japanese excludees would conform . However, al

230

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

though a few thousand will do so, it is my opinion and the opinion
of all of those who are closely connected with the problem that

the great majority of the Japanese will insist on going back to the
areas from which they were originally removed. There is more
than a question of obstinacy involved, for if one or two families

should be located in a single white community, they would be
isolated from their own people and would particularly be deprived
of the religious, social and cultural contacts to which they are

accustomed and which the Japanese particularly treasure. In ad
dition, it must be appreciated that the economic factor is an im
portant one. For example, a Japanese dentist or merchant will

have great difficulty in establishing himself in a white community.
I think that we must base our action on the fact that a major
portion of the excludees will wish to return to their original homes
and that if they are not returned a very large number of them will
bring legal action to accomplish it.69

Now that sobriety and sympathetic common sense were the order
of the day at the Presidio, the hollowness of the existing policy was
discussed more openly. McCloy began one meeting with the old Justice
Department adversaries of exclusion by remarking to J. L. Burling
that

it was curious how the two major cases in which the Army had

interfered with civilians had started out for serious military reasons

and had ended being required by wholly non -military consider
ations. For example, the Japanese were evacuated back in the
dark days before Midway when an attack on the Pacific Coast was
feared . Now the
exclusion is being continued by the President for
70
social reasons.

Finally, and importantly, in September 1944 even the Navy came
around. Admiral E. J. King, the Commander - in -Chief, United States
Fleet, concurred that “the military situation no longer justifies the

mass exclusion of persons of Japanese ancestry from the Western De
fense Command .”

Through 1944, the new guard at Western Defense Command had

been reexamining the mass exclusion orders. During the spring, Gen
eral Emmons suggested that the size ofthe prohibited area be reduced,
and that the War Department end the exclusion of individuals not

actually or potentially dangerous. 72 This position reversed DeWitt and
brought the WDC into line with the War Department. Despite the
lack of movement on this broad proposition, Emmons began issuing

Certificates of Exemption from the exclusion orders; these allowed
people who had passed security investigations to return permanently
to the West Coast. Other individual exemptions were granted as well :

for travel and temporary residence on business; for a serious illness

within the immediate family; for travel to relocation centers and public

ENDING THE EXCLUSION

231

institutions inside the exclusion zone (at WRA's request); or for in

duction into the armed forces. Applications were extremely low at first;
by April 1, 1944, 40 had been filed; by August 1 there were 235 and
515 by September 15. By the end of 1944, 1,485 ethnic Japanese were
residing in the Western Defense Command by special exemption. Most
were spouses of Caucasian residents.73 In a very quiet way, General
Emmons had begun the return of the Nikkei to the West Coast.
Emmons and Bonesteel were also concerned about lawsuits brought
by the ethnic Japanese. 74 Three cases were central: Shiramizu v. Bo
nesteel, Ochikubo v. Bonesteel, and Ex parte Endo. In Shiramizu, the

Nisei widow ofa sergeant in the 100th Battalion who had died ofcombat
wounds and against whom there was no evidence of disloyalty, chal
lenged the continued exclusion of such Japanese from the Western
Defense Command, and sought to restrain interference with her return

to California .75 Ochikubo, a dentist, sought similar relief.76 In Endo,

pending for some time in the courts and under review in the Supreme
Court, Mitsuye Endo, a concededly loyal American citizen, had been
granted leave clearance by the WRA, but was not permitted to reenter
the Western Defense Command .?

The government's lawyers, including the Judge Advocate of the
Western Defense Command, no longer believed that the exclusion
policy could be justified to a judge.78 They knew it would be difficult
to prevail on the two available grounds: the present possibility of es
pionage and sabotage, and the unrest which resettlement would cause
the so -called “ social resistance defense .” 79 To avoid a court ruling on
these questions, the government considered granting special exemp
tions to the plaintiffs. But exemptions might signal that anyone who
sued would receive an exemption, thereby forcing a flood of uncon
trolled reentries.

. When the government offered Mrs. Shiramizu an exemption, more
than a personal interest was at stake; “ she had brought legal action in
order to restore the rights of her race which she felt had been im

properly taken away . " 80 Nevertheless, the Department of Justice rec
ommended that the exemptions be granted and that the cases of Mrs.

Shiramizu and Dr. Ochikubo be rendered moot. The government needed
time to develop some administrative method for dealing with its in
creasingly untenable position . 81 In Ochikubo’s case an exemption was

not granted because he had been denied leave clearance by the Jap
anese American Joint Board,82 but the government was still able to
prevail because the court determined that Dr. Ochikubo was unlikely
to face immediate use of force if he returned; therefore an injunction
against the use of force was not appropriate.83 These cases showed the

232

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

government that it had to develop promptly a plan for orderly return

to the West Coast or the courts might well permit a less controlled
return .

The War Department now assumed that the exclusion would end
soon , and the Western Defense Command focused on maintaining the
power to exclude individuals and assure an orderly return . On August
8, 1944, General Bonesteel sent General Marshall a long, detailed

memorandum outlining reasons to terminate mass exclusion and in
stitute an individual exclusion program . Recognizing that public opin
ion against the ethnic Japanese might lead to unrest, Bonesteel thought
it could be confined ifdangerous individuals were excluded. A number
ofimportant groups stood ready to assist the returning Nisei, he noted,
because they “feel strongly that the Japanese who are citizens are
entitled to their rights as such . ” 84 The memorandum brought no re
sponse .

On September 19, 1944, Bonesteel wrote a rather alarmed fol

lowup memorandum . More requests for travel and residence permits
in the prohibited area, and more publicity about changes in the ex
clusion program suggested by the settlement ofsuits such as Shiramizu,

led Bonesteel to fear forced change by the courts if mass exclusion
were not lifted. 85 Two days later another Bonesteel memorandum re
peated that prompt action was essential and outlined the West Coast

publicity given to Shiramizu and Ochikubo; again he insisted “ [i]t
would be most unfortunate if the return of Japanese Americans should
be accomplished abruptly and without adequate controls .” 86
Bonesteel wrote again on October 24 , this time to McCloy, whom

he asked for a personal meeting. A week later McCloy at last began
to address the matter, revealing why the Department had been le
thargic:
[ F ]rom what I can judge to be the sense of those who will have
the ultimate decision on most of these questions, there is a dis

position not to crowd action too closely upon the heels of the
election . As many of the considerations will have to be dealt with
on high political rather than military levels, I am inclined to think

we shallhave a greater opportunity for constructive plans at a date
a

somewhat later than November 6th.87

THE END OF EXCLUSION

The presidential election brought matters to a head. At the first Cabinet
meeting after the election, on November 10, it was decided to lift the

ENDING THE EXCLUSION

233

exclusion. On November 13, a meeting in the Attorney General's office
discussed how to implement that decision, talking of plans and a ten
tative date for lifting the order. 88 Clearly, impending decisions in the
Supreme Court cases, which would address the legality of exclusion

and detention, were spectres harrying the decision makers.
On November 20, 1944, Attorney General Biddle wrote McCloy
that rumors of the proposed releases are “ about the West Coast” and
"

he emphasized “ utmost secrecy. " 89 The President didn't drop his guard
on the subject. At a press conference on November 21 he was directly
asked about ending the exclusion:

Q. Mr. President, there is a great deal of renewed controversy
on the Pacific Coast about the matter of allowing the return of

these Japanese who were evacuated in 1942. Doyou think that
the danger of espionage or sabotage has sufficiently diminished so
that there can be aa relaxation of the restrictions that have been
in effect for the last two years?

The President: In most of the cases. That doesn't mean all of

them. And, of course, we have been trying to — I am nowtalking
about. . . . Japanese Americans. I am not talking about the Jap
anese themselves. A good deal of progress has been made in
scattering them through the country, and that is going on almost
.

every day. I have forgotten what the figures are. There are about

roughly a hundred—a hundred thousand Japanese-origin citizens
in this country. And it is felt by a great many lawyers that under
the Constitution they can't be kept locked up in concentration

camps. And a good many of them, as I remember it - you had
better check with the Secretary of Interior on this — somewhere
around 20 or 25 percent of all those citizens have re-placed them
selves, and in a great many parts of the country.

And the example that I always cite, to take a unit, is the size

ofthe county, whether it's in the Hudson River valley or in western
“ Joe- gia” (Georgia) which we all know, in one of those counties,
probably half a dozen or a dozen families could be scattered around
on the farms and worked into the community. After all, they are
American citizens, and we all know that American citizens have

certain privileges. And they wouldn't — what's my favorite word ?
discombobolate— (Laughter) the existing population of those

particular counties very much. After all— what?—75 thousand
families scattered all around the United States is not going to
upset anybody. ... And, of course we are actuated by the - in
part by the very wonderful record that the Japanese in that bat
talion in Italy have been making in the war. It is one of the
.

outstanding battalions we have .
Q. Bui, sir, the discussion on the West Coast is more about the
relaxation of the military restrictions in that prohibited area, as to
whether they should be allowed in the areas from which they have
been excluded. It isn't about allowing them to go elsewhere in

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

the country. I was wondering if you felt that the danger of espi
onage had sufficiently diminished so that the military restrictions
that were passed could be lifted ?

The President: That I couldn't tell you, because I don't know . 90
Thus, the government entered December with the decision made but
not publicly announced.

By December 9, the government was establishing policies and
procedures for the “ final phase of the program ” and preparing press
statements to be issued when exclusion was lifted . The statement noted

that the WRA would extend its relocation program to cover the entire

country, but lifting the order did not mean that a hasty mass movement
would return all evacuees to the West Coast. “ One of the major WRA

aims, from the beginning, has been to encourage the widest possible
dispersal of evacuees throughout the Nation , and this will continue as
a prime objective during the final phase ofthe program .” By December

1944, 35,000 of the 110,000 persons originally evacuated had relocated
outside the Western Defense Command area. The statement also noted

that WRA would work toward early shutdown ofthe relocation centers,
with all to be closed within a year. 91
As an essential part of ending exclusion , the Departments of War

and Justice began to develop lists of individual evacuees. Separately
enumerated were Japanese aliens under segregation parole orders pro
hibiting them from leaving Tule Lake Segregation Center; ordinary
parolees at Tule Lake who might be excluded from military areas;
Japanese aliens paroled under Immigration Service safeguards that

forbade their return to the Coast; and individuals under ordinary parole
outside Tule Lake who might be excluded from the West Coast. The
Justice Department believed that being on parole was not a sufficient
basis for exclusion.92 On December 9 the Western Defense Command

delivered to the Chief of Staff aa list of persons it thought had to be

excluded from critical areas ofthe WDC and detained in a camp similar
to Tule Lake. 93 The list consisted of 4,963 persons , of whom 3,066

were in the Tule Lake Segregation Center; others were in a number
94

of other camps; 510 were unaccounted for.44 The Army suggested to
Dillon Myer that the number might grow to approximately 5,500.95

The standards by which excludees were selected were:
• Refusal to register on the Selective Service questionnaire.
• Refusal to serve in the United States armed forces.

• Refusal, without qualification , to swear allegiance to the United
States.

Voluntary submittal of aa written statement of loyalty to Japan.
Agents or operatives of Japan.

ENDING THE EXCLUSION

235

• Voluntary request of revocation of American citizenship.

Finally, after extensive preparation , the termination plan was pre
sented to Roosevelt for concurrence . On December 13, 1944, Secretary
Stimson told the President, yet again, that continued mass exclusion

was no longer a matter of military necessity — the loyal had been sep
arated from the disloyal and the morale of Japanese American soldiers
was suffering because of continued exclusion . Stimson worried about
sabotage and espionage, but was persuaded that return of most Japa
nese to the West Coast should nonetheless be carried out. He set forth

safeguards to assure that return would be gradual and that efforts would

continue to relocate those of Japanese descent in other parts of the
country. An individual exclusion program would be instituted. The

Department of Justice would ultimately take responsibility for deten
tion and for determining who should be released. Because it would be

announced that only persons cleared by the military authorities would
be permitted to return, Stimson was confident that any civil unrest
could be handled. Finally, Stimson noted that a system to permit

orderly return was much preferable to an unfavorable court decision
that might require sudden, unplanned return.97 In a cover memoran
dum to Roosevelt's secretary, Stimson noted that he wanted to be sure
the President had no objection, but that he was not asking Roosevelt
to make the decision. 98 The President did not object to the announce
ment . 99

Implementation remained. On December 15, Colonel William
Ryan of the Western Defense Command sent Dillon Myer the so
called “white list of 95,975 names of those who would not be excluded.

He noted that an additional 19,956 persons under age 14 were in the
same category ( totaling over 115,000 ). 100 On December 16, 1944, the

Solicitor General sent copies of correspondence about the rescission
of exclusion and a copy of Public Proclamation Number 21 to Chief
Justice Stone, presumably in the hope of mooting any decision in the
Endo case .

101

Finally, on December 17, 1944, Public Proclamation Number 21

was issued. General DeWitt's mass exclusion orders were rescinded,

and individual exclusions from “ sensitive” areas ofthe Western Defense
Command took their place. Even in the proclamation the federal gov
ernment worked to protect its political position on the West Coast by
stressing the care it took before restoring the ethnic Japanese to their
full rights:

The people of the states situated within the Western Defense
Command, are assured that the records of all persons of Japanese

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

ancestry have been carefully examined and only those persons

who have been cleared by military authority have been permitted
to return . They should be accorded the same treatment and al

lowed to enjoy the same privileges accorded other law abiding
American citizens or residents. 102

An accompanying press release rehearsed the history of the exclusion

order, then stated that persons of Japanese ancestry had their loyalty
investigated “ probably more thoroughly than any other segment of our

population .” 103 Another press release stressed that “ [t]hose persons
who will be permitted to return have been cleared by Army authori
ties . ” 104

Secretary Ickes marked the occasion by sending appropriate thanks
to the entire staff of the War Relocation Authority:
Behind you is a record of accomplishment of which you may all
be proud. You have efficiently and devotedly carried out one of
the most difficult and trying jobs that has been entrusted to an

agency of Government. You, and particularly Mr. Dillon Myer,

the Director oftheWar Relocation Authority, have been subjected
to a good deal of abuse from persons who could not or would not
understand the problem with which you were dealing. But in spite

of this, you have carried through a carefully devised program with

regard not only for the conditions imposed by military authority,
but also for the human values concerned. 105

THE SUPREME COURT RULINGS
Immediately after the announcement the Supreme Court handed down
opinions in both Korematsu and Ex parte Endo. 106 In Korematsu , a
divided court upheld the criminal conviction of Fred Korematsu for
failing to report to an assembly center in May 1942 pursuant to the
plan through which he would be excluded from California and sent to
a relocation center. Justice Hugo Black wrote a short opinion for the
majority which is remarkable in its treatment of both the facts and the
law . The Court did not undertake any careful review of the facts of

the situation on the West Coast in early 1942. It avoided this task by
choosing to give great deference to the military judgment on which

the decision was based . This approach of deferring to the military
judgment rather than looking closely at the record which the govern
ment had been able to pull together was the only plausible course for
the Court to follow if it were to conclude that exclusion was consti

ENDING THE EXCLUSION

237

tutionally permissible. If the Court had looked hard, it would have
found that there was nothing there — no facts particularly within mil
itary competence which could be rationally related to the extraordinary
action taken . Justice Murphy's vehement dissent made that plain as
he dissected and destroyed General DeWitt's Final Report. It is the
inevitable conclusion which the Commission has also reached after

extensive study of a very substantial body of facts. It was also the
conclusion of those who carefully studied the opinion, the briefs and

the record immediately after Korematsu was decided. Eugene Rostow
wrote the seminal article about the cases in 1945 and dealt pointedly
with the issue of factual proof of “ military necessity.” Rostow believed
a convincing and substantial factual case had to be made before civil

rights could be permissibly invaded as they were here, but he con
cluded that one did not have to insist upon that rule ofproofto conclude
that the Japanese American cases were wrongly decided:
No matter how narrowly the rule of proof is formulated, it could
not have been satisfied in either the Hirabayashi or the Korematsu

cases. Not only was there insufficient evidence in those cases to
satisfy a reasonably prudent judge or a reasonably prudent general:
there was no evidence whatever by which a court might test the

responsibility of General DeWitt's action, either under the statute
of March 21, 1942, or on more general considerations. True, in
the Hirabayashi case the Court carefully identified certain of Gen

eral DeWitt's proclamations as “ findings,” which established the
conformity of his actions to the standard of the statute the pro
tection of military resources against the risk of sabotage and es

pionage. But the military proclamations record conclusions, not
evidence . And in both cases the record is bare of testimony on

either side about the policy of the curfew or the exclusion orders.
There was every reason to have regarded this omission as a fatal
defect, and to have remanded in each case for a trial on the
justification of the discriminatory curfew and of the exclusion or
ders.

Such an inquiry would have been illuminating. General DeWitt's
Final Report and his testimony before committees of the Congress

clearly indicated that his motivation was ignorant race prejudice,
not facts to support the hypothesis that there was a greater risk

of sabotage among the Japanese than among residents of German ,
Italian, or any other ethnic affiliation . The most significant com
ment on the quality of the General's report is contained in the
government's brief in Korematsu v. United States. There the So

licitor General said that the report was relied upon “for statistics
and other details concerning the actual evacuation and the events

that took place subsequent thereto. We have specifically recited
in this briefthe facts relating to the justification for the evacuation ,

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

of which we ask the Court to take judicial notice, and we rely
upon the Final Report only to the extent that it relates such facts.

Yet the Final Report embodied the basic decision under review
and stated the reasons why it was actually undertaken . General
DeWitt's Final Recommendation to the Secretary of War, dated

February 14, 1942, included in the Final Report, was the closest
approximation we have in these cases to an authoritative deter
mination of fact. 107

We have already analyzed the conclusory beliefs about ethnicity de

termining loyalty which are central to DeWitt's final recommendation ,
and have pointed out the weakness of the government's case when it
was put to its proof on the facts in cases such as Ebel and Schueller.

No one reading the Supreme Court's opinion today with knowl
edge of the exclusion , evacuation and detention can conclude that the

majority opinion displays any close knowledge of the reasoning used
by the government in the momentous historical events under review .

The only concrete item pointed out to show disloyalty among evacuees
was the fact that approximately 5,000 American citizens in the relo
cation camps had refused to swear unqualified allegiance to the United

States, a fact that is meaningless without understanding conditions
within the camps.

What of the law on which the case was based ? There are two

principles in contention in the majority opinion; the presumption against
invidious racial discrimination whichrequires that racial classifications

be given strict scrutiny, and the deference to military judgment in
wartime based on the war powers of the Constitution and expressed
in the banal aphorism that the power to wage war is the power to wage

war successfully. In this case, of course , the Court found that military
interests prevailed over the presumption against racial discrimination.
Today the decision in Korematsu lies overruled in the court of
history. First, the Supreme Court, a little more than a year later in
Duncan v. Kahanamoku , reviewed the imposition of martial law in
Hawaii and struck it down, making adamantly clear that the principles
and practices of American government are permeated by the belief

that loyal citizens in loyal territory are to be governed by civil rather
than military authority, and that when the military assumes civil func
tions in such circumstances it will receive no deference from the courts

in reviewing its actions. 108 Korematsu fits the Duncan pattern — the
exclusion of the Nikkei not only invaded the recognized province of
government, it was based on cultural and social facts in which the
military had no training or expertise. General DeWitt had assumed
the role of omniscient sociologist and anthropologist. Duncan makes

civil

ENDING THE EXCLUSION

239

clear that no deference will be given to military judgments of that
nature .

The other legal leg of the opinion, the failure to strike down an
invidious racial discrimination, stands isolated in the law — the Japanese
American cases have never been followed and are routinely cited as

the only modern examples of invidious racial discrimination which the
Supreme Court has not stricken down. Typically, Justice Powell wrote
in 1980 :

Under this Court's established doctrine, a racial classification is

suspect and subject to strict judicial scrutiny. ... Only two of
this Court's modern cases have held the use of racial classifications

to be constitutional. See Korematsu v. United States, 323 U.S.
214 (1944 ); Hirabayashi v. United States, 320 U.S. 81 ( 1943).

Indeed , the failure of legislative action to survive strict scrutiny
has led some to wonder whether our review of racial classifications

has been strict in theory, but fatal in fact. 109
Moreover, the law has evolved in the last forty years and the equal
protection ofthe laws, once applicable only to the states by the language
of the Fourteenth Amendment, has now been applied through the due
process clause of the Fifth Amendment to actions of the federal gov
ernment.110 Thus the constitutional protection against federal discrim
ination has been strengthened. Korematsu is a curiosity , not a prec

edent on questions of racial discrimination .

Finally, insofar as Korematsu relied on the inherent authority of
an executive order from the Commander in Chief and not on a program

articulated and defined by statute, that precedent has been overruled
by the decision of the Court in the steel seizure case. 111
Korematsu has not been overruled — we have not been so unfor
tunate that a repetition of the facts has occurred to give the Court that
opportunity — but each part of the decision, questions of both factual

review and legal principles, has been discredited or abandoned.
The result in the companion case of Ex parte Endo was very

different. The Court unanimously reversed Endo and ruled that an

admittedly loyal American citizen could not be held in a relocation
camp against her will. But even this ruling was on the narrow ground
that no statute or even an explicit executive order supported this course

of conduct. The Supreme Court does not reach constitutional issues
unnecessarily, but the tone of Justice Douglas's writing in Endo was
nonetheless crabbed and confined. Even this very substantial and im

portant victory for the evacuees did not come with an air of generosity
or largeness of spirit. 112

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

GOING HOME

Resettlement now moved forward, although the government continued
to develop lists of individual excludees, with the WRA and the War
Department disputing how many were on the lists and whether new
persons could be added. For example, Dillon Myer was concerned
that the Western Defense Command continued to exclude those who

had been granted leave clearance by WRA , most Buddhist priests, and
other previously unlisted persons. 113 The Eastern Defense Command
was anxious about accepting people ofJapanese descent excluded from
the West Coast. 114 Governor Wallgren, newly -elected in the State of
Washington, continued to favor mass exclusion; he was “ extremely

antagonistic toward the Japanese and ... positive in his assertion that
a mistake had been made, from the point of view of the war effort, in
allowing any to return and that this mistake should be remedied ." 115
.

But generally the Army was pleased with the course of events on the
West Coast. General Pratt, now in charge of the WDC, wrote , “The

first reactions to the change in the policy with reference to control of
Japanese Americans has been even more favorable than I hoped. While
I anticipate that this favorable reaction will continue and will be a

strong factor in preventing the development of unfavorable agitation,
we should be prepared in case any untoward incident occurs.

Whether and how quickly to close the relocation centers was
another concern . Proclamation No. 21 indicated that the centers would

be closed within a year. WRA believed that such an announcement
was essential to assure that people in the centers would move out, and
that evacuees in the camps would not become a dependent group like

the American Indians. The public and some government officials, how
ever , expressed concern that some persons ofJapanese ancestry would
be left homeless and without livelihoods if the centers were perma

nently closed. 117 On the other side, Congressman May suggested in
troducing legislation to have the centers closed by June 30, 1945.
Secretary Ickes, sensitive to the need to provide for relocatees, opposed
the bill. 118 Indeed, all centers but Tule Lake were closed by January
1946. Tule Lake was kept open to permit the Justice Department to
complete its hearings on detainees there. 119

The end of mass exclusion did not spell the end of hardship for
the evacuees. Throughout 1945, evacuees returned to the West Coast,
not only from the camps but also from interior states where they had
been resettled . For many, leaving the camps was as traumatic as en
tering them . However unpleasant their lives in camp, it was preferable

ENDING THE EXCLUSION

241

to an unknown, possibly hostile reception on the West Coast. By
January 1945, only one of every six Issei had left. 120 Now they would

have to be persuaded to leave. 121 Suicides, especially among elderly
bachelors, were reported. 122 Many were frightened, particularly of
reintegrating with whites after the segregated life ofthe camps. 123 Some

came to resettlement lacking self-esteem , and perhaps identifying with
the stereotypes that had been projected upon them .124 Some felt shame
when they were let out of camp. 125 A great many felt the burden of
starting over, at an older age and for a second time. 126 After encouraging
everyone to leave and scheduling closing dates for each camp, the
WRA finally gave the remaining evacuees train fare to the point of
their evacuation, and made them leave. 127

They returned by the trainload to Los Angeles, San Francisco and

Seattle . Often elderly and infirm or burdened with heavy family re
sponsibility, the last evacuees to leave “ piled into temporary shelters,
hotels, converted Army barracks, and public housing. ”128 Each person

was given an allowance of $ 25.129 Very few could come back to their
prewar holdings. Only about 25 percent of the prewar farm operators,
for example, retained property.

Many testified that their stored possessions had been lost or stolen . 131
Sometimes taxes had not been paid, and special measures to keep
property from tax sales were required. 132 Others found their homes or
farms ill -cared -for, overgrown with weeds, badly tended or de
stroyed. 133 Furnishings, farm equipment and machinery were lost or

stolen. 134 One person reported finding strangers living in his former
home . 135

Almost uniformly, those who did not return to homes they owned
testified that housing was extremely hard to find because of postwar

shortages and discrimination against Japanese Americans. 136 The WRA
concluded that “ no other problem has provided so widespread an ob
stacle to satisfactory adjustment. ” 137 Families lived in a single room ,

sometimes with a common bathroom or kitchen down the hall, or they
lived in hotels or churches. 138 Some, particularly women , took room
and -board jobs — low -skilled and low -paying work — in order to have a
place to live. 139 Indeed, it was not uncommon that almost every family

member had to work in order to make ends meet.140 John Saito’s
experience typifies much of the testimony:
My father first came back to Los Angeles in July of 1945, and
worked as a dishwasher at a skid row restaurant on 5th Street. I

came back to Los Angeles after my father and stayed at his hotel
room in the skid row area. There was only one room , and only

53-124 - 92 - 9

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

one bed, he worked the graveyard shift and I went to school during
the day, therefore, we managed to use the same bed at different
hours of the day. My mother was still in Idaho working as a cook
at aa farm labor camp. My older brother was still overseas with the
442nd Regimental Combat Team . My mother had scrimped and

saved her salary as a cook for over three years, and finally had
enough money for aa down payment on a house. We purchased
the house in 1946, and tried to move in only to find two Caucasian

men sitting on the front steps with a court injunction prohibiting
us from moving in because ofa restrictive convenant. Ifwe moved
in, we would be subject to $ 1,000 fine and /or one year in the
County Jail. We were in a financial bind because we could not

afford both mortgage and rental payments. We had to sell our
house during a period of a housing shortage. 141
Housing was not the only problem during the first six months
of 1945, violence was relatively common . One of the first incidents
occurred on January 8, when someone tried to dynamite and burn an
evacuee's fruit packing shed . About thirty incidents followed, mostly
shots fired into evacuee homes. 142 Boycotts of evacuee produce were
threatened . 143 General harassment, such as signs announcing “ No Japs

allowed, no Japs welcome,” was widespread. 144
Although jobs on the West Coast were relatively plentiful, much
employment discrimination blocked evacuees,145 and many had to take
menial jobs. 146 Although they had little difficulty finding work as farm
laborers, 147 the number who ran their own establishments was much
lower than it had been before the war. Only a fourth as many were

farming now , which meant severely curtailed opportunities for whole
sale and retail operations. 148 So the majority moved into other fields,
scattered among many different jobs. Others were compelled to take
welfare payments. 149 Almost all worked long and hard to restore their
former status. The Issei were particularly burdened, for many would
otherwise have retired; but now they had to work. 150

Another matter of great concern during this period was reuniting
families. In many cases the younger, more employable members had
relocated to the east during 1943 and 1944. Their parents were likely
to return to the West Coast on leaving the camps. Thus the resettle
ment process was marked by much second -time resettling, as children

came from the east to join their parents or vice versa. 151
Despite the many problems faced by the returning evacuees, most
were successful in rebuilding their lives. The political leadership, both
federal and state , was working to expedite their return . The West

Coast was experiencing tremendous postwar growth and the ethnic

ENDING THE EXCLUSION

243

Japanese were becoming just one of many minority groups. Equally
important were the groups working for justice for the ethnic Japanese.
Many were church people, particularly Quakers and liberals, who worked

with the Army and WRA. They offered temporary shelter, provided
moral support, sponsored public talks about the Nisei military record
and tried to counteract anti -Japanese movements. 152 At long last the
Nikkei captivity was over; the arduous task ofcreating new lives had
begun .

9
Protest and Disaffection
The loyalty questionnaire brought each evacuee a choice: would he
believe the country's rhetoric and hope for his own future in the United
States, or protest the squalid injustice of camp life and the betrayal of
American promises? Rage and protest were deeply human reactions
to circumstances that often allowed no dignified response. But, inside
the camp, bitterness offered little on which to build a new and satisfying
life . As 1944 began , the energetic and optimistic were rapidly relo
cating, leaving behind in camp the old and hostile. Tule Lake was a

nightmare of strikes and Army occupation, for any progress toward
ending the exclusion had not touched these evacuees. They had lost
almost everything, even modest control of their own lives. And their
deepening sense of loss and frustration had virtually no outlet.

When the government forced choices upon them, by restoring
the draft and making it possible to renounce citizenship, many evac

uees, particularly those swayed by strong leaders, reacted with pre
dictable outrage. They would reject decisively the country that had
rejected them . Even those whose character forbade angry outbursts
could vent their anger in a quiet way — by asking to go to Japan . Draft
resistance and renunciation illuminated the darkest shadows of exclu

sion and detention, showing losses as painful as losing home or business:
the loss of confidence in American society and its moral values. Re
sistance and renunciation were all the more poignant because they
often seemed the only way to maintain one's dignity and self-respect.
245

246

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

THE DRAFT

In December 1943, the government announced that Selective Service

would begin to induct Nisei. The idea of drafting the Nisei was not
new . It had been discussed at least as early as October 1942, when
Elmer Davis argued to the President that “ it would hardly be fair to
1

evacuate people and then impose normal draft procedures.”? At that
time, Davis's view had prevailed. Now the War Department was chang
ing its mind, which Secretary Stimson attributed to the fine record of

Nisei volunteers. ? The need for manpower and the small number of
volunteers from the camps were undoubtedly factors as well.3 Sup
porting the decision as a return to normal nondiscriminatory citizenship
were the JACL and WRA, which had long been on record supporting
the draft. 4

Not until January 14, 1944, however, did Selective Service local

board regulations permit Nisei eligibility for the draft, subject to War
Department acceptability, principally a review of loyalty.5 Acceptable

registrants were reclassified I-A, the status of other eligible citizens.
Many of the 2,800 Nisei inductees from the camps welcomed the draft.
It reinstated their rights, offered a means to evade their parents' ob

jection to voluntary enlistment and produced a job as well as escape
from the debilitating idleness and confinement of camp. The draft
successfully solicited replacements for the 100th Battalion and the
442nd Regimental Combat Team .

For others, however, the draft was yet another humiliation . The
government that had already behaved so shabbily now was forcing its
prisoners to fight the war . About 300 refused to report for physicals
or induction on the grounds that their citizenship rights should be

fully restored before they were compelled to serve in the armed forces.
The most organized resistance came from Heart Mountain , although

Poston had a greater number of refusals. "In early 1944, Rocky Shimpo,
a Denver newspaper, ran a series of articles against the draft, and at

Heart Mountain, a “Fair Play Committee ” took over the resistance .
Although the newspaper was silenced, the Committee dissolved and
its leaders sent to Tule Lake, their work had effect: sixty -three Nisei
at Heart Mountain resisted the draft, fifty -one ofwhom said they would

serve if their citizenship rights were restored.8 The resisters argued
that their cases were test cases to clarify their citizenship rights. They
were tried, convicted, and sentenced to three years in federal prison;
appeals failed . 9
Three hundred fifteen young men refused to be inducted. Of

PROTEST AND DISAFFECTION

247

these, 263 were convicted. The rest were released, or volunteered , or

were in process at the time these statistics were compiled. 10 In 1947,

a Presidential pardon was granted to those who had been convicted. 11

RENUNCIATION

I think this was a program in the Department of Justice which
failed .

-Edward Ennis12

By mid - 1944, relations between the administration and the evac
uees were at a low ebb. Evacuees had been confined for two years and
their loyalty had been questioned while their sons were drafted. The
mood was particularly bleak at Tule Lake. The first six months of 1944

were highly emotional as the accommodationists struggled for power
in camp with more extreme pro -Japan forces. The extremists had poor
conditions on their side . Although the Army fully withdrew from the

camp in May, the stockade — the prison within a prison - established
after the November “riot” remained. Sanitation was primitive and food
inadequate. Mail was censored and visitors prohibited. 13 Tokio Yamane
described conditions in the stockade’s “ bull pen ."
Prisoners in the stockade lived in wooden buildings which, al
though flimsy, still offered some protection from the severe win
ters of Tule Lake. However, prisoners in the “ bull pen” were
housed outdoors in tents without heat and with no protection

against the bitter cold. The bunks were placed directly on the
cold ground, and the prisoners had only one or two blankets and
no extra clothing to ward off the winter chill. And, for the first
time in our lives, those of us confined to the “ bull pen” experienced
a life and death struggle for survival, the unbearable pain from

our unattended and infected wounds, and the penetrating De
cember cold of Tule Lake, a God Forsaken concentration camp

lying near the Oregon border, and I shall never forget that horrible
experience . 14

Appeals to the Spanish consul , acting as intermediary for the govern
ment of Japan , had been largely unsuccessful. 15 Although the stockade
was quickly abolished after ACLU Attorney Wayne Collins threatened
suit in August 1944,16 in June , after eight months of existence , it
appeared permanent.

Outside the camps, repercussions from the “ riot” of the previous
November continued . The old idea of stripping the Nisei of their
citizenship revived . Under Congressional pressure, Attorney General

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

Biddle finally agreed to compromise; he would support a new option
a statute permitting voluntary renunciation of citizenship. 17 A bill was
passed and signed into law on July 1, 1944, 18 designed primarily to

get the extremist group who demanded return to Japan out of Tule
Lake and into Justice Department internment camps. 19
After conferences between WRA and the Department of Justice,

a procedure to effect renunciation was announced in October 1944.220
The evacuee would make a written request to the Justice Department,
followed by a hearing. After the hearing and a formal renunciation ,
the Attorney General would grant approval. 21
At Tule Lake, the new renunciation process began just as the

strongly militant pro-Japan faction emerged in camp. From the begin
ning of Tule Lake's existence as a segregation center, some evacuees

(dubbed “resegregationists”) had asked for a camp composed solely of
people who preferred Japan and the Japanese way of life. 22 By mid

1944, this group generally dominated the camp, and the WRA seemed
unwilling or unable to restore balance to the community. In July a
moderate evacuee had been murdered, and the resegregationists were

implicated. There had also been a wave ofbeatings ofpeople who were
suspected inu - dogs, who collaborated with the authorities.23 Few

were willing to risk falling victim to this terrorist activity. 24 The re
segregationists had also begun a series of “ Japanese ” activities— lan
guage schools, lectures and athletics , 25 which attracted a wide follow

ing. 26 Soon morning outdoor exercises were added, which gradually

grew militaristic, complete with uniforms bearing emblems ofthe rising
sun.27 Taeko Okamura described her childhood experience of this time
at Tule Lake :

My sister and I were enrolled in a Japanese school in preparation
for our eventual expatriation to Japan. Our teachers were generally
pro - Japan and taught us not only how to read and write in Japanese
but also to be proud as Japanese . Their goals were to teach us to
be good Japanese so that we would not be embarrassed when we
got to Japan .
We were often asked to wear red or white headbands and do

marching exercises. We were awakened early, hurriedly got dressed

and gathered at one end of the block where a leader led us in
traditional Japanese calisthenics. As the sun rose, we bowed our
heads to the east. This was to show our respect to the Emperor.

We were also led in the clean -up of our block area before breakfast.
Our block was located on the southwest corner of the camp

grounds. The double barbed wire fence was just beyond the next
barrack from our compartment. A guard tower with uniformed
men and weapons were in view at all times. Search lights were

PROTEST AND DISAFFECTION

249

beamed onto the camp grounds at night. Uniformed men with
weapons driving around in jeeps was acommon sight. As a result
of this experience, I used to be afraid of any white adult male for
a very long time.

Demonstrations in protest of one thing or other were frequent.
We very often locked ourselves in our room to avoid participating
in these demonstrations . Physical violence and verbal abuses were
common at these demonstrations where feelings ran high. And
whenever a large demonstration took place, we could always ex

pect the camp authorities to send out soldiers to search our rooms
for contraband. These searches were very thorough and everything
was ransacked .

Life in Tule Lake Segregation Camp for children was not very
pleasant. There was very little to do for entertainment.Toys were

scarce. We often played hopscotch using the coal pieces from the
pile in front of the bathroom area. Coal was fed into the furnace
by a man to make hot water. Our mothers gave us outdated Wards
or Sears catalogues so we could cut out the models to use as paper
dolls. We also spent a great deal of time looking for tiny shells

which our mothers bleached and made into necklaces and pins. 28
Other witnesses recalled similar experiences:

It was almost mandatory for all Japanese students to attend Jap
anese Language School. The pressure of academic excellence was
stressed . 29

The militant group were the Kibei and they had control of the

people by strong arm tactics. They had military marching exercises
and attempted to make everybody get out and march around the
30

camp.

Now the resegregationists added renunciation of citizenship to
their program .

· As soon as official procedures for renunciation were established,
strong pressure was applied by the extremists. The resegregationists
stepped up militaristic activity, began to spread news of Japanese vic

tories, 31 and circulated rumors that those who did not renounce would
be drafted or ineligible for repatriation . Despite these tactics, however,
by mid-December only about 600 people had filed their applications. 32
On December 17, however, two announcements turned the tide
in favor of renunciation : the WDC's rescission of the mass exclusion

order and WRA's decision to close the camps within a year. 33 To the
segregees, alienated and distrustful, this meant destruction of the ref

uge of the camps and the synthetic world they had created there. 34
Communications from campmates who had left for the West Coast and

news reports then convinced the evacuees that their old neighborhoods
were more hostile and dangerous than before evacuation.35 Renuncia

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

tion seemed the best way to escape resettlement.36 The December 27
Justice Department roundup and removal to internment camps of a
number of the first group of renunciants seemed to confirm this. 37
Renunciation also seemed a way to keep the family together. Many

believed that disloyal Issei would be deported after the war; by re

nouncing, the Nisei could join them.38 Thus strengthened, resegre
gationists intensified their coercive tactics,39 including threats to beat
up families unless the Nisei renounced, 40 and WRA continued to allow

resegregationists to terrorize the camp. Finally, renunciation was one
more way to express resentment. As Edward Ennis described it, re
nunciants were “ obviously aa lot of people who were deprived of their
liberty and put into camps. This was a perfectly honest expression of
» 41

what they felt. They just threw back their citizenship at us.
By January, renunciation had become a mass movement, as 3,400
applied in that month alone. 42 Over a thousand applied in February.
In March , after four more transfers to internment camps, the WRA

finally decided to crack down. They decreed that Japanese nationalistic
activities were unlawful and began to step into the internal affairs of
the camp.43 At this point, the fervor declined. But by then over 5,000

citizens, including more than 70 percent of the Tule Lake Nisei, had
renounced their citizenship. 44
In the late spring of 1945, thousands ofrenunciants began to regret
their decisions. The success of the Nisei combat team was beginning
to turn the tide of public opinion, and relocation went more smoothly.

Japan was on the verge of defeat. The Justice Department had decided
to use Tule Lake to hold many renunciants while their Issei parents
were resettled. 45

The Justice Department, unmoved by the plight of Nisei who

wanted to regain their citizenship and leave camp with the rest of their
families, announced on October 8 that it would begin to send re
nunciants to Japan. 46 To fight the deportation, a group of renunciants
again called upon Wayne Collins, who filed in federal courts to release
the renunciants and void the renunciations. The suits charged that

these were not free acts and that the government had knowingly al
lowed the resegregationists to carry out their violent, seditious cam
paign.447 When the judge stayed the deportation , the Justice Depart
ment began individual hearings to determine whether internees should
be released. All but 449 were allowed to relocate.48 On June 30, 1947,

the court ruled that none could be held, and remaining renunciants
went free. In 1948, the same court ruled that all renunciations were
invalid. 49

PROTEST AND DISAFFECTION

251

In 1950, however, the later judgment was overturned by the Ninth
Circuit Court of Appeals, which decided that the District Court's find

ing of mass coercion was incorrect; coercion had to be shown in each
50 Collins continued the fight, filing over 10,000 affidavits on behalf

case .

of the renunciants . Not until 1968 was the last of these finally pro
cessed. 51

REPATRIATION AND EXPATRIATION

While the stories of draft resisters and renunciants dramatically reveal
the angry disillusion of the camps, a brief account of aliens or citizens
who filed for repatriation or expatriation to Japan shows with equal
force the disaffection caused by evacuation and prolonged detention .

During 1942, the year in which those who felt instinctively loyal to
Japan could have been expected to ask to go there, relatively few
applications were made. By the end of 1942, the WRA had only 2,255
applications from a possible group of about 120,000.52 About 58 percent
of these came from aliens; another 23 percent were citizens under 18,
many of whom were probably dependents of aliens. 53 In short, very
few adult American citizens had made an independent effort to express
allegiance to Japan by leaving the United States.
By the end of 1943, the situation had changed remarkably. There
were 9,028 applications on file, an increase of 6,673.54 Furthermore,
by more than two to one, applications came from American citizens.
What prompted this surge of feeling against the United States? The
loyalty registration was clearly one factor. Over 40 percent of the new
applications had been filed during approximately ten weeks of regis
tration.55 They came from all camps, but Granada and Minidoka, which
had little problem with registration, produced fewest applications. 56
Clearly, a request to leave for Japan had become one of the few outlets

whereby imprisoned evacuees could vent their anger about the loyalty
questionnaire, and perhaps escape it entirely. 57
In 1944, the numbers jumped again . The WRA records 19,014
applications in December 1944, an increase of 9,986 over the previous

year. Over 75 percent of these came from Tule Lake,58 where filing
an application made one less likely to face “ inu ” taunts from resegre

gationists. 59 By the end of 1945, over 20,000 requests had been made
through the WCCA and WRA - over 16 percent of the total number
of evacuees.

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

Most of the applicants never left for Japan. Only 4,724 travelled
directly to Japan from the WRA centers60 and, nationwide, only about
8,000 left. 61 When the exclusion order was lifted , many repatriate and

expatriate applicants were free to resettle; more were released after
their renunciation hearings. Apparently neither the government nor

the evacuees actively attempted to follow up after the war.
No other statistics chronicle so clearly as these the decline of
evacuees' faith in the United States. In the assembly and relocation
centers, applications to go to Japan had been one of the few nonviolent

ways to protest degrading treatment. During three years of rising
humiliation, 20,000 people chose this means to express their pain ,
outrage and alienation, in one of the saddest testaments to the injustice
of exclusion and detention . The cold statistics fail, even so, to convey
the scars of mind and soul that many carried with them from the camps.

10
Military Service
Since their words would not have been believed , especially in

wartime, (Japanese Americans) communicated by action and be

havior. “We are good Americans,” they said. “We are good neigh
bors. We are useful and productive citizens. We love America
and are willing to die for her. ” These messages were communi
cated by the industry of workers and businessmen and farmers,

by their service to the communities in which they live, by their
behavior as good citizens, and by the war record of the 442nd. It

was a form of communication for which there is no verbal or
symbolic substitute.

-S . 1. Hayakawa?

Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the War Department stopped
taking Japanese Americans into the military, and many already in ser
vice were released. Almost from the beginning, two institutions were
exempt: the Military Intelligence Service Language School (MISLS)

and the 100th Battalion. By early 1943, when Nisei volunteers were
again accepted, a new Nisei unit was formed, the 442nd Regimental

Combat Team . Many Nisei also contributed in other capacities throughout
the war.

Approximately 33,000 Nisei served in the military during World
War II.2 Although many had come from the camps where their families
were still detained, Nisei service was extraordinarily heroic. At war's
end, their valor and the public tributes heaped upon them did much
to hasten the acceptance of ethnic Japanese released from the camps:
253

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

the question of loyalty had been most powerfully answered by a bat
tlefield record of courage and sacrifice.

THE MILITARY INTELLIGENCE SERVICE
LANGUAGE SCHOOL

In the spring of 1941, a few alert Army intelligence officers realized
that, ifwar came, the Army would need Japanese language interpreters
and translators. After much delay, Lieut. Col. John Weckerling and
Capt. Kai Rasmussen won approval to start a small school for training

persons with some background in Japanese. On November 1, 1941,
the school opened at Crissy Field in San Francisco with four Nisei

instructors and 60 students, 58 of whom were Japanese Americans.3
The attack on Pearl Harbor confirmed the value ofthe program . During
the spring of 1942, while evacuation was proceeding, the school was
enlarged and transferred to Camp Savage in Minnesota.4 Meanwhile,

the first group had completed training, and 35 of its graduates went
to the Pacific - half to Guadalcanal and half to the Aleutian Islands.5

The school, now renamed the Military Intelligence Service Lan

guage School (MISLS) and officially part of theWar Department, began
its first class at Camp Savage in June 1942 with 200 students. By the
end of 1942, more than 100 Nisei had left for the Pacific .?7 By Fall 1944,

over 1,600 had graduated. 8 When the school closed in 1946 , after being
moved once more to Fort Snelling, Minnesota, it had trained 6,000

men . Of these, 3,700 served in combat areas before the Japanese
surrender. Ironically, the often -mistrusted Kibei— Japanese Americans
who had received formal education in Japan — proved most qualified
for the interpreter's task; most Nisei had too little facility with Japanese
to be useful. As Mark Murakami pointed out:

[On) the one hand the Japanese Americans were condemned for
having the linguistic and cultural knowledge of Japanese, and on
the other hand the knowledge they had was capitalized on and

used as a secret weapon by the Army and NavalIntelligence. 10
At the beginning, MISLS graduates were poorly used in the Pa
cific. A few ended up fighting rather than using their rare language
talent. Others were sent to remote, inactive outposts or were ineffec
tively employed by the Army."11 As the war went on, however, the
situation improved as the Army learned how to use this valuable spe
cialized resource .

MILITARY SERVICE

255

Many of the linguists worked in teams, translating captured doc
uments at intelligence centers around the Pacific. Large groups, for
example, were posted in Australia, New Delhi and Hawaii. 12 Their

assignments included battle plans, defense maps, tactical orders, in
tercepted messages and diaries. From these, American commanders

could anticipate enemy action, evaluate strengths and weaknesses,
avoid surprise, and strike unexpectedly. 13 The Nisei's first major ac
complishment was translation ofa document picked up on Guadalcanal;
it completely listed Imperial Navy ships with their call signs and code

names, and did the same for the Japanese Navy's air squadrons and
bases. 14 Among other accomplishments was translation of the entire
Japanese naval battle plan for the Philippines as well as plans for

defending the island. 15

In addition to rear-echelon duties, language school graduates took
part in combat, adding to their other duties interrogating enemy pris
oners and persuading enemy soldiers to surrender. The first Nisei to
help the Allies in actual combat through his language ability was Rich

ard Sakakida, who translated a captured set of Japanese plans for a
landing on Bataan early in the war; American tanks were able to move
up and ambush the invaders as they arrived. 16 One early group of
linguists in aa combat zone went to the Aleutian Islands . 17 The linguists

took part in every landing in the bitter island -hopping campaign through
New Guinea, the Marianas, the Philippines and Okinawa, and partic
ipated in surrender ceremonies in Tokyo Bay. 18 Nisei linguists served
with about 130 different Army and Navy units, with the Marine Corps,
and they were loaned to combat forces from Australia, New Zealand,

England and China. 19 Arthur Morimitsu's experiences make clear the
range of demands on the linguists:
This unit later joined other units to form the Mars Task Force, a
commando unit. The mission was to cut off the enemy supply and
reinforcements miles behind enemy lines along the Burma Road.

We served as interpreters, questioned prisoners, translated the
captured documents. We also worked as mule skinners, volun
teered for patrol duty with advanced units and brought down dead
and wounded soldiers from the battlefields.

After we completed our duties with the Mars Task Force, I was
sent back to New Delhi, India, assigned to the OSS , Office of
Strategic Services, as head of a detachment of Nisei MIS to in
terrogate Japanese prisoners in preparation for the invasion of
Japan.20

After the surrender, MISLS shifted to civil matters, and its grad
uates helped to occupy and reconstruct Japan. They interpreted for

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

military government teams, located and repatriated imprisoned Amer
icans, and interpreted at the war crimes trials.21 Despite their impor
tance — General Willoughby, MacArthur's chiefofintelligence, has said
that the work of the Nisei MIS shortened the Pacific war by two

years22_these accomplishments got little publicity; most were classi

fied information during the war. Instead, the highly -publicized exploits
of the 100th Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team in Europe
first helped to show where Nisei loyalty clearly lay.

THE 100TH BATTALION

The 100th Battalion began as part of the Hawaii National Guard. As

evacuation plans were formulated on the mainland, the War Depart
ment also debated the best way to handle ethnic Japanese in Hawaii.23

On February 1, 1942, Hawaiian Commander Lieut. General Delos
Emmons learned to his dismay that the War Department wanted to
release the Nisei from active duty. He needed the manpower and had

been impressed with the desire of many Hawaiian Nisei to prove their
loyalty. After much discussion, Emmons recommended that a special
Nisei Battalion be formed and removed to the mainland; General Mar

shall concurred. By June 5, 1942 , 1,432 men — soon to be known as
the 100th Battalion — had sailed. 24 The battalion went to Camp McCoy,

Wisconsin , for training and later to Camp Shelby in Mississippi. Over
a year later, the group finally was ordered to North Africa, arriving on
September 2, 1943.25
From North Africa, the 100th immediately went north to Italy,

promptly going into combat at Salerno on September 26.26 From then
until March 1944 , the 100th plunged into the bloody campaign which

moved the Allies slowly up the Italian peninsula. The 100th suffered
heavy casualties; 78 men were killed and 239 wounded or injured in
the first month and aa half alone.27 By the time the 100th finally pulled

out, its effective strength was down to 521 men.28 The battalion had
earned 900 Purple Hearts and the nickname “Purple Heart Battal
ion .” 29 As Warren Fencl, who fought near the 100th, said of it:

The only time they ever had aa desertion was from the hospital to
get back to' the front. 30
After aa brief rest, the 100th was sent into the offensive from the

Anzio beachhead, where it soon joined the other Nisei unit, the 442nd
Regimental Combat Team .

MILITARY SERVICE

257

THE 442ND REGIMENTAL COMBAT TEAM

While the 100th Battalion fought its way through Italy, the 442nd
Regimental Combat Team had been formed and trained in Camp Shelby.
Composed ofvolunteers from Hawaii and the mainland, many ofwhom
came directly from relocation centers, the team trained from October
1943 to February 1944. Small groups left regularly to replace men from
the 100th . On June 2, the 442nd landed at Naples and moved im

mediately to the beaches of Anzio. When the 442nd arrived, the 100th
had already pushed toward Rome and engaged in heavy fighting. On
June 15, the two came together and the 100th formally became part
of the 442nd. 31

The 442nd fought through Belvedere, Luciana, and Livorno dur
ing the first half of the summer, finally pulling back for rest in late

July. On July 27, Lieut. General Mark W. Clark, Commander of the
Fifth Army, awarded the 100th aа Presidential Unit Citation and com
mended the other units for their performance during the month, say

ing: 32

You are always thinking of your country before yourselves. You
have never complained through your long periods in the line. You
have written a brilliant chapter in the history of the fighting men

in America. You are always ready to close with the enemy, and
you have always defeated him . The 34th Division is proud of you,
the Fifth Army is proud of you, and the whole United States is
proud of you .33
On August 15, the 442nd went back into combat. Their first ob
jective, to cross the Arno River, was accomplished early in September.
Once again , the cost was great, for the unit's casualties totalled 1,272—
more than one-fourth of its total strength . 34

From the Arno the 442nd moved to France to join the attack on
the Vosges Mountains. 35 Its first assignment was to take the town of

Bruyeres, which was won after three days of bitter fighting. Describing
the encounter, the Seventh Army reported:
Bruyeres will long be remembered, for it was the most viciously
fought-for town we had encountered in our long march against
the Germans. The enemy defended it house by house, giving up
a yard only when it became so untenable they could no longer
hope to hold it.36
In the same month the 442nd encountered its bloodiest battle

rescue ofthe “Lost Battalion .” 37 Deep in the Vosges and meeting heavy
German resistance, the 442nd was ordered to find and bring back a
Texan battalion trapped nine miles away. For six days, the 442nd fought

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

enemy infantry, artillery and tanks through forests and mountain ridges
until it reached the Lost Battalion, suffering 800 casualties in a single
week. 38 They then pushed on for ten more days to take the ridge that
was the Lost Battalion's original objective.39 From Bruyeres through
the Vosges, the combat team had been cut to less than half its original

strength. The casualty list numbered 2,000, of whom 140 had been
killed .40 After another month of fighting, the 442nd finally came out

of the line to rest. 41 Sam Ozaki described arriving to join the 442nd
after this engagement:

The four others went overseas with the original 442nd . I joined
them later as a replacement. I remember November 1944, when

the replacements joined the 442nd, after they had pulled back
from the Battle of Bruyeres, the lost battalion . I went looking for

my buddies. I found one, Ted . Harry had been in a hospital, had
been sent back to a hospital with a wound. The two others had

been killed in action , saving the lost battalion .42
After aa relatively quiet winter of 1944-45 in the south of France,
the 442nd moved back to Italy in March 1945. During its first assign
ment, to take aa line of ridges, Pfc. Sadao Munemori took over his squad

from a wounded leader. After destroying machine guns twenty feet

ahead, he saw an enemy grenade fall into a nearby shellhole and dove
on top of it, dying while saving his comrades. For this heroism Mu
nemori received posthumously the Congressional Medal of Honor. 4
The 442nd now advanced into the rugged and heavily fortified Apen
nines. In a surprise attack following a secret all -night ascent through
the mountains, the 442nd took their assigned peaks, thereby cracking
the German defensive line. 44 A diversionary move had turned into a
full-scale offensive;45 from there, the unit continued northward until,
on April 25, German resistance broke. By May 2, the war in Italy was
over and, by May 9, the Germans had surrendered. 4
>

In seven major campaigns, the 442nd took 9,486 casualties — more
than 300 percent of its original infantry strength, including 600 killed.
More than 18,000 men served with the unit.47 Commenting on the
painful loss of many fellow Nisei in the European theater, Masato

Nakagawa admitted that “ it was a high price to pay,” but “ [i]t was to
prove our loyalty which was by no means an easy [task ].”» 48 The 442nd
was one of the war's most decorated combat teams, receiving seven
Presidential Distinguished Unit Citations and earning 18,143 individ
ual decorations — including one Congressional Medal of Honor, 47 Dis
tinguished Service Crosses, 350 Silver Stars, 810 Bronze Stars and
more than 3,600 Purple Hearts. As President Truman told members

MILITARY SERVICE

259

of the 442nd as he fastened the Presidential Unit banner to their

regimental colors, these Nisei fought “ not only the enemy, but prej
udice . "49

OTHER NISEI SERVICE

Although the 442nd's exploits are the most celebrated Nisei contri
bution to the war, many others played effective roles. FBI- trained
Nisei operatives in the prewar Philippines kept the Japanese population
under surveillance. Others escaped the Army's segregation policy and

served in other combat units. One Nisei even became an Air Force
gunner and flew bombing missions over Tokyo. A small group served
with Merrill's Marauders in Burma and a few were involved in the
surrender of China. 50

Numerous others served in less glamorous but equally critical jobs.
There were Nisei medics, mechanics and clerks in the Quartermaster
Corps and Nisei women in the WACs. Nisei and Issei served as lan
guage instructors, employees in the Army Map Service, and behind

the scenes in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and Office of War
Information (OWI). 51 In the latter groups were primarily younger Issei
who had fled Japan after World War I to avoid political persecution.
At OWI and OSS , some made broadcasts to Japan , while others wrote

propaganda leaflets urging Japanese troops to surrender or pamphlets
dropped over Japan to weaken civilian morale.5

IMPACT OF THE NISEI MILITARY RECORD

Although the exploits of the 442nd and 100th Battalion were publicized
during the war, returning veterans still faced harassment and discrim
ination . Night riders warned Mary Masuda, whose brother had earned
a posthumous Distinguished Service Cross, not to return to her home.
A barber refused to give Captain Daniel Inouye a haircut.53 Mitsuo
Usui's story is one that probably typifies the experiences of many
returning veterans:

Coming home, I was boarding a bus on Olympic Boulevard. A
lady sitting in the front row of the bus, saw me and said, “Damn
Jap .” Here I was a proud American soldier, just coming back with

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

my new uniform and new paratrooper boots, with all my campaign
medals and awards, proudly displayed on my chest, and this? The
bus driver upon hearing this remark , stopped the bus and said,
“ Lady, apologize to this American soldier or get off my bus ”
She got off the bus.

Embarrassed by the situation , I turned around to thank the bus
driver. He said that's okay, buddy, everything is going to be okay

from now on out. Encouraged by his comment, I thanked him
and as I was turning away, I noticed a discharge pin on his lapel.54
Men who had served with Nisei brought home stories of their
heroism , and War Department officials praised the valuable service of
the 442nd.55 The WRA sponsored speaking tours by returning veterans
and officers who had served with them.56 On July 15, 1946 , the men
of the 442nd were received on the White House lawn by President

Truman , who spoke eloquently of their bravery.57 In a few cases,
military service led directly to community acceptance. In August 1946 ,
The Houston Press ran a story about Sergeant George Otsuka, who
had helped rescue the Lost Battalion, a Texas outfit, and was now
being told to “ keep away” from a farm he planned to purchase. Public
response to the story was strong, and Sergeant
ant Otsuka had no further
trouble moving to his farm.58 Even on the West Coast, it was difficult
to continue abusing veterans with an excellent record .
The Nisei had indeed distinguished themselves. As the acerbic

and distinguished General Joseph Stilwell said of Japanese Americans:

They bought an awful hunk of America with their blood.
you're damn right those Nisei boys have a place in the American
heart, now andforever. We cannot allow a single injustice to be
done to the Nisei without defeating the purposes for which we
59
fought.5°

11
Hawaii
When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, nearly 158,000 persons of Japanese
ancestry lived in Hawaii — more than 35 percent of the population .

Surely, ifthere were dangers from espionage, sabotage and fifth column
activity by American citizens and resident aliens of Japanese ancestry,
danger would be greatest in Hawaii, and one would anticipate that the
most swift and severe measures of control would be taken there. Noth

ing of the sort happened.
Less than 2,000 Nikkei in Hawaii were taken into custody during

the war — barely one percent of the population of Japanese descent.
Many factors contributed to this reaction, so fundamentally different
from the government's alarmed activity on the West Coast.
Hawaii was more ethnically mixed and racially tolerant than the

West Coast. Race relations in Hawaii before the war were not infected
with the virulent antagonisms of 75 years of anti-Asian agitation . Anti
Asian feeling certainly existed in the territory — for instance, there had
been an attempt to suppress Japanese language schools, but it did not

represent the longtime views of well -organized groups as it did on the
West Coast and , without statehood, xenophobia had no effective voice

in the Congress. In Hawaii, the spirit of aloha prevailed, and white
supremacy never gained legal recognition.2
The larger population of ethnic Japanese in Hawaii mattered, too .
It is one thing to act the bully in venting frustration and historical

prejudice on a scant two percent of the population ; it is very different
to disrupt a local economy and tear aa social fabric by locking up more
261

262

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

than one-third of the territory's people. And, of course, in Hawaii the
half-measure of exclusion from military areas would have been mean
ingless.

Finally, in large social terms, the Army had much greater control

of day -to -day events in Hawaii. Martial law was declared in December
1941, suspending the writ of habeas corpus, so that through the critical

first months of war, the military's recognized power to deal with any
emergency was far greater than on the West Coast.

Individuals were also significant in the Hawaiian equation. The
War Department gave great discretion to the commanding general of

each defense area and this brought to bear in Hawaii and on the West
Coast very different attitudes toward persons of Japanese ancestry.
General DeWitt fixedly distrusted those ofJapanese descent and fought
even minor modification of the exclusion orders. General Delos Em

mons, who became commanding general in Hawaii shortly after Pearl
Harbor had retired General Short in disgrace, took a very different
view. Emmons restrained plans to take radical measures with the local

population, raising practical problems of labor shortages and trans
portation until the pressure to evacuate the Hawaiian Islands had sub

sided. Emmons does not appear to have been a man of dogmatic racial
views; in rather practical terms, he appears to have argued quietly but
consistently for treating the Issei and Nisei as loyal to the United States,

unless evidence to the contrary appeared. He urged the use of Nisei
in the Army's combat forces; his military intelligence officers scoffed
at the Western Defense Command's view that the loyal could not be
distinguished from the disloyal;3 and he firmly rejected the anti-Jap
anese stance of the United States Attorney in Hawaii, emphasizing to

the War Department that it was not backed by any evidence of espi
onage or sabotage. A few months after succeeding DeWitt as com
manding general on the West Coast, Emmons suggested to the War

Department that the size of the prohibited area be reduced and that
it end the exclusion of persons not actually or potentially dangerous;
in addition, Certificates of Exemption from the exclusion orders were
issued so that a program of gradual return to the West Coast was set
in motion .

JAPANESE IMMIGRATION TO HAWAII
The first Japanese arrived as contract laborers in 1868. Of the original
149 laborers, 92 stayed after their contracts expired and disappeared

HAWAII

263

into Hawaiian society. Japanese did not come again to Hawaii until

1885, when economic and social unrest in Japan's swiftly industrializing
economy attracted the Japanese government to exporting contract la
borers. 4

Between 1885 and 1894 , 28,691 Japanese contract laborers mi
grated to Hawaii, and most stayed on after completing their contracts.
In 1899, Hawaii was annexed to the United States but not yet a ter
ritory. Planters, fearing that the mainland ban on contract labor would

be extended to Hawaii, brought in 26,103 contract laborers. The fol
lowing year contract labor was outlawed by the Organic Act establishing
the Territory of Hawaii. Japanese businessmen also emigrated to Ha

waii in the 1890's and eventually became leaders of the emerging
Japanese community. The official number of immigrants from Japan

to Hawaii was high between 1900 and 1910, but a substantial propor
tion, mostly young single males, moved on to the mainland until this
migration was ended by the “Gentlemen's Agreement" of 1907–08 . By
1910, one-fourth of those of Japanese ancestry in Hawaii were native
born . A press, language schools and other elements ofJapanese culture
emerged in the islands.5
In 1940, nearly three -quarters of the ethnic Japanese population
of Hawaii was native -born . (In contrast, Californians of Japanese de

scent comprised less than 2 percent of the state's population, and 64
percent were American -born . ) Despite white fears that Hawaii would
be taken over by the Nikkei, race relations were far better than on the

mainland. By the outbreak of World War II, Nisei were becoming
integrated into the Hawaiian economy, earning places in the municipal
and territorial government, becoming schoolteachers and administra
tors, practicing law and medicine, and working in businesses owned

by old line haole (white) families.7

WAR BREAKS OUT

Following the Pearl Harbor attack, control of Hawaii was immediately
turned over to the military, and steps were taken at once to control

people who were believed to present real risks to wartime operations.
The territorial governor invoked the Hawaii Defense Act, suspended
the writ of habeas corpus, and, through Hawaii's Organic Act, placed
the territory under martial law “during the emergency and until the
danger of invasion is removed.” He relinquished all powers normally
exercised by the governor and by judicial officers and employees of

264

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

the Territory to the commanding general of the Hawaiian Department.8
Enemy agents and “suspicious characters ” were immediately rounded
up by Army Intelligence; by December 10, 449 Japanese, German and
>

Italian nationals were interned, along with 43 American citizens.9
Sabotage at the time of Pearl Harbor would have been easy, since

the city's utilities as well as the storage tanks of private oil companies
were concentrated in a limited area and were not adequately protected.
After the attack, rumors of sabotage and fifth column activities abounded.
People reported cars zig -zagging along highways or parking across roads
to block traffic, shots being fired from ambush or from cars, guiding

swaths cut in sugarcane or pineapple fields to point out important
installations, and signals to enemy planes. After investigation, Naval
Intelligence, the FBI and Military Intelligence all agreed that no sab

otage in fact took place. 10 At the time a quite different public impression
was created. We have already described the background and impact

of the reports made by Secretary Knox following his brief trip to Hawaii

in mid -December and the more extensive investigation of the Roberts
Commission. " It is sufficient here to emphasize that the Roberts Com
mission heard conflicting opinions from the intelligence services about
the security danger, if any, posed by the ethnic Japanese in the islands.
The Roberts Commission did not attempt to sift or evaluate these
opinions and make a judgment of future threats. It simply reported

that “ There were , prior to December 7, 1941, Japanese spies on the
island of Oahu . Some were Japanese consular agents and other [ sic]
were persons having no open relations with the Japanese foreign serv

ice . ” 12 The report did not assert that sabotage or fifth column activity
had been carried on to aid the Japanese attack; nor did it make clear
whether espionage had been carried on only by Japanese nationals or
also by other aliens or American citizens of any particular ethnic back
ground, but it was widely understood at the time to mean that Japanese
Americans had aided the attack. On his return to Washington, Justice

Roberts personally conveyed to Secretary Stimson his fear that ethnic
Japanese in the islands posed a major risk of espionage, sabotage and
fifth column activity. 13 These official reports, although based on the

divided opinions of intelligence officers, on rumors rife in the islands,
and on the Niihau Incident, 14 created doubts about the ultimate loyalty
of the Japanese Americans - doubts treated very differently in Wash
ington and in Honolulu .

At the December 19 Cabinet meeting, Knox recommended that
the Secretary ofWar remove all Japanese aliens in the Hawaiian Islands
and intern them on an island other than Oahu . 15 The unpublished

265

HAWAII

recommendations of Roberts and his fellow Commissioners may have
taken the same line. Such informal high -level advice combined with
anti- Japanese clamor from the West Coast to move Washington toward
stern measures to control the Hawaiian population ofJapanese descent.
In Honolulu the atmosphere was easier. On December 21st, in

his first radio address to the public as military governor and commander
of the Hawaiian Department, General Emmons stated that “there is
no intention or desire on the part of the federal authorities to operate
mass concentration camps. No person, be he citizen or alien , need
worry , provided he is not connected with subversive elements. ” With
out mentioning the Japanese or any other ethnic group by name in his
entire speech, Emmons assured the Hawaiian public:
[T]here have been very few cases of actual sabotage.

.

Addi

tional investigations and apprehensions will be made and possibly
additional suspects will be placed in custodial detention. . .
While we have been subjected to a serious attack by a ruthless
and treacherous enemy, we must remember that this is America

and we must do things the American Way. We must distinguish

between loyalty and disloyalty among our people. 16
These conflicting views were reflected in the Army's treatment of
the Nisei already in military service and those seeking to serve. When
war broke out, around 2,000 Nisei were serving with two infantry
regiments of the Army in Hawaii. 17 Japanese American soldiers from

these regiments helped to defend Pearl Harbor, making a commend
able showing. But post-Pearl Harbor rumors fed mistrust, and the

reliability of Japanese American soldiers was questioned by military
commanders, concerned whether Nisei and future Japanese invaders

would be distinguishable. 18 As a consequence, the Nisei were placed
in a segregated unit called the Hawaiian Provisional Infantry Battalion
and assigned limited roles in defense of the islands. Pressure from
civilians and soldiers brought in from the mainland caused the eventual
transfer of the Hawaiian Nisei battalion and Japanese American Na
tional Guardsmen to Camp McCoy in Wisconsin, in June 1942, with

the expectation that they would serve as a combat unit on another
front. 19 This battalion was redesignated the 100th Infantry Battalion .
After Pearl Harbor, draft -age Nisei particularly sought to prove

their loyalty to the United States. They resented being distrusted and
contributed actively to the war effort by purchasing war bonds, do
nating to blood banks, and volunteering for civil defense organizations.
This included service in the Hawaii Territorial Guard, established on

December 7 to employ the islands' manpower. The Guard was com

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

posed largely of draft-age men of Japanese ancestry enrolled in Hono
lulu high schools and ROTC at the University of Hawaii.20 Opposition
to Japanese Americans guarding public utilities and vital waterfronts,
however, caused the dismissal in mid -January 1942 of the 317 Nisei

members of the Guard , without explanation , on orders from Wash

ington.21 The excluded Nisei university students of the Hawaii Ter
ritorial Guard petitioned General Emmons to be allowed a productive
role in the war effort, and in February they were assigned to a regiment

of engineers as a 160 -man auxiliary unit called the Varsity Victory
Volunteers. 22

Suspicion and trust in the Nisei competed for the dominant po
sition in government policy during the next year, while Hawaii's day
to -day affairs were conducted under a regime of military authority
unknown on the mainland .

MILITARY RULE

After the declaration of martial law , Hawaii's civilians were ruled by

military order and proclamation. By the end of the war, the territorial
governor had declared -151 “defense act rules, ” the territorial director
of civilian defense had issued over 100 “directives ,” and numerous

other regulations had come from miscellaneous government execu
tives. In addition, 181 “ old series” general orders were issued by the

military governor (the Commanding General of the Hawaiian Depart
ment) before March 10, 1943; 70 “ new series” orders between March
1943 and October 1944; 12 “security orders ” and 12 “ special orders ”
from the Office of Internal Security after October 1944. Many orders

were worded to cover the territory , but in practice, they applied only
to Oahu unless reissued by authorities on each island. 23

Some orders were specifically directed at enemy aliens . No Jap
anese alien could travel by air, change residence or occupation, or
"otherwise travel or move from place to place ” without the approval

of the Provost Marshal General. Nor could Japanese buy or sell liquor ,
be at large during the blackout, assemble in groups exceeding ten
persons, or be employed in restricted areas without permission. On
December 8, aliens were required to turn in firearms, explosives,
shortwave receivers and numerous other items . 24 Two months
later, all American citizens of Japanese, German and Italian ancestry

cameras ,

HAWAII

267

were ordered to turn in firearms, explosives, ammunition and weap
ons. 25

Beginning December 7, the Army imposed a curfew applicable
to all residents, shut down bars and banned liquor sales, closed schools,
rationed gasoline, barred food sales in order to make a complete island

inventory, and supplanted the civil courts with provost courts.26 The

summoning of grand juries and trial by jury were prohibited, and
criminal law was administered entirely by the military.
Within two hours after the Pearl Harbor attack, censorship was

instituted to prevent information of military value from leaving the
islands. Mail was examined and censored , and censors listened to all
inter- island and trans-Pacific telephone calls. Only conversations con
ducted in English were allowed . Film developing was limited to those

with permits, and photographs in violation ofregulations were withheld
from the owners until the end of the war. All radio scripts were cen

sored in advance, although after March 10, 1943, voluntary censorship
replaced Army censorship of newspapers. Publication of Japanese ver
nacular newspapers was temporarily suspended and foreign language
broadcasts halted. Censorship in Hawaii finally ended on August 15,
1945. 27

The registration and fingerprinting of all civilians on Oahu over
the age of six was ordered on December 27, 1941, and in March 1942
the order was extended to include the other islands as well . Residents
of Hawaii were required to carry identification cards at all times . Cit

izens found without cards were fined $5 or $ 10 in police courts; aliens

were fined $ 25 to $50 in provost courts. 28
Hoarding immediately after Pearl Harbor threatened the currency
supply. To prevent large amounts of cash from becoming available to
foreign agents or invaders, after January 1942 no person was permitted

to hold more than $ 200 in cash and no business more than $ 500 except
to meet payrolls. New currency , good only in Hawaii, was issued,
replacing regular currency from July 1942 to October 1944.29

Under martial law , Hawaii's civil courts were replaced by a mil
itary commission which tried offenses punishable by more than a $ 5,000
fine and five years' imprisonment, and by several provost courts, each

with a single judge, which heard lesser cases. 30 On December 16,
1941 , the civil courts were permitted to function in certain uncontested
civil matters, and on January 27, 1942, they were further allowed to

entertain certain civil cases acting as agents of the military governor.
Jury trials, summoning grand juries, and issuing writs ofhabeas corpus,

however, continued to be prohibited.31

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

On July 23, 1942, United States District Judge Ingram M. Stain
back, a vocal critic of martial law , was appointed territorial governor,

replacing Joseph B. Poindexter, whom Interior Secretary Ickes felt
had not been aggressive enough in resisting the Army's encroachment
on civilian authority.32 On August 31, civil court jurisdiction was ex
tended to jury trials, and four days later the Army issued an order
listing the criminal offenses against the government or related to the

war effort over which the civil courts had no authority. 33 By mid - fall,
the Departments of War, Justice and Interior “ had agreed upon a
restoration of an appreciable number of civil rights to the civil admin
istration, but ... [( Judge Advocate] General Green had 'interpreted
.

all of these vital matters out by an order that he had issued subse

quently. "34 On December 10, Secretary Ickes announced that civilian
rule would be restored to Hawaii as soon as possible, and nineteen
days later the President approved a plan for restoration .
Civilian government was substantially returned to Hawaii on March
10, 1943. Martial law and the suspension of habeas corpus were still
in effect, however, and the military kept control of labor and certain
other matters. The civil courts were given jurisdiction over all violations

of criminal and civil laws except cases involving military personnel,
civil suits against them for acts or omissions in the line of duty, and
criminal prosecutions for civilian violations of military orders.

Presidential Proclamation No. 2627 formally ended martial law in
Hawaii on October 24, 1944. The territory was designated a “ military
area,” and a series ofsecurity orders and special orders replaced general

orders issued by the military, with all civilian violations of these orders
heard in the U.S. District Court. Few or no changes were made in

orders controlling the activities of enemy aliens, entry to restricted
areas, censorship, labor control or the curfew.3

THE QUESTION OF EVACUATION
The issue of evacuating Issei and Nisei from Hawaii is only partially
understood from a literal reading of memoranda between the War

Department in Washington and General Emmons in Hawaii. First,

the WestCoast evacuation was locally popular; in Hawaii the impetus
for evacuation or control of the ethnic Japanese came from Washington .
The uproar in California echoed from Washington to Honolulu . Second,
one can only conclude from his writing that General Emmons saw little

HAWAII

269

or no military necessity for action against Issei and Nisei not rounded

up in the first days after Pearl Harbor. General Emmons did not

directly oppose the evacuation ofIssei and Nisei from Hawaii, however.
Perhaps he preferred wearing down the War Department by attrition
rather than by a sharply focused resolution of opposing views; perhaps
his views of the danger of sabotage or fifth column activity adjusted
quickly to the changing fortunes of the Americans in the Pacific war.
Emmons emphasized the practical problems of any evacuation and

proposed using the program for the not -strictly-military goal of in
creasing war productivity in Hawaii by removing unproductive people
from the territory .

Just as General DeWitt largely succeeded in preventing the War
Department from humanizing and relaxing the exclusion program in
the Western Defense Command when the policy was reviewed in the
winter of 1942–43, so Emmons effectively scuttled the Hawaiian evac
uation program that Washington sought to pursue in 1942.
The question of evacuation from Hawaii was raised by Secretary

Knox's request to evacuate Oahu and the War Department's inquiry
General Emmons on January 10, 1942, asking his views on the

subject. Emmons responded that such a move would be highly dan
gerous and impracticable. Large quantities ofbuilding materials would
be needed at a time when construction and shipping were already

taxed to the limit; many additional troops to guard the islands would
be required, when the Hawaii garrison had less than half the troops

it needed for missions already assigned. Moreover, Emmons felt, a
mass evacuation of the ethnic Japanese, citizens and aliens, who pro
vided most of the island's skilled labor (including a great many Army

employees), would severely disrupt Oahu. Over ninety percent of the
carpenters, nearly all the transportation workers, and a high percentage
of agricultural workers were of Japanese ancestry. They were “abso
lutely essential” to rebuild defenses destroyed by the Pearl Harbor
attack unless they were replaced by equivalent labor from the main

land. If the War Department decided to evacuate any or all Japanese,
urged Emmons, such a move should be to the continental United
States. 36

In early February, General Emmons's view was again solicited.

He agreed with the desirability of evacuating to the mainland as many
Japanese Americans and aliens as possible, at the earliest date practical;
but he did not want to evacuate more than a few hundred until some

20,000 white civilian women and children had been removed. Although
all ethnic Japanese against whom there were specific grounds for sus

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

picion were already in custody, the commander of the Hawaiian De
partment informed the War Department that it would probably be
necessary to evacuate 100,000 Japanese from Hawaii to ensure re

moving all the potentially disloyal. 37 This was hardly a practical program
when transportation and shipping were in very short supply.

On February 9, the War Department ordered General Emmons
to suspend all ethnic Japanese civilians employed by the Army. Em
mons now returned to the argument that the Japanese were an irre

placeable labor force in Hawaii and that “the Japanese question ” was
both “ delicate and dangerous” and “ should be handled by those in
direct contact with the situation ." 38 In other words, he did not want

to follow the Department's anti-Japanese program . The War Depart
ment rescinded its order.

In mid - February 1942, the War Plans Division recommended that

General Emmons "be authorized to evacuate all enemy aliens and all
citizens of Japanese extraction selected by him with their families,
subject to the availability of shipping and facilities for their internment
or surveillance on the mainland”; it was discussing numbers in the
100,000 range. 39 Washington was moving toward a program ofcomplete
control of the Issei and Nisei population of Hawaii since, at the same
time, the Army suggested that the Joint Chiefs discuss establishing a
“concentration camp” on Molokai or preferably on the mainland be
cause it was “ essential that the most dangerous group, approximately

20,000 persons . . . be evacuated as soon as possible,”” and that “even
.

tually all Japanese residents will be concentrated in one locality and
kept under continuous surveillance. ” 40 On March 13, after Secretary
Stimson and the Joint Chiefs of Staff agreed that an ethnic Japanese
evacuation to Molokai, although desirable, was impractical, the Pres
ident reluctantly approved a mass evacuation of ethnic Japanese to the

mainland “ on the basis ... that evacuation would necessarily be a
slow process

and that what was intended, first, was to get rid of about

20,000 potentially dangerous Japanese. " 41

Despite consensus in Washington, it soon became apparent to
officials that the military authorities in Hawaii did not agree. On his
visit to the Territory, Assistant Secretary McCloy learned that the Army
and Navy in Hawaii were opposed to any large -scale evacuation to the
mainland or to Molokai and, at the March 23 War Council meeting,
he reported that they preferred to “treat the Japanese in Hawaii as
citizens of an occupied foreign country” —a reference that seems to
imply little more than the martial law already imposed.42 And in a
marked departure from the War Department's 20,000 -person figure,

HAWAII

271

on March 27 General Emmons made a “ present estimate ” of 1,500
men and 50 women as the number of dangerous Japanese aliens and
citizens, while conceding that “ circumstances may arise at any time

making it advisable to raise this estimate to much larger figures." 43

McCloy concurred with the Commanding General that, although
desirable, evacuating many Japanese from the Hawaiian Islands was
simply impractical due to shipping and labor problems Emmons had

cited; providing suitable facilities for relocated Japanese would also be
difficult, and there would be “ political repercussions on the West Coast
and in the United States generally to the introduction of 150,000 more
Japanese .” The General, moreover, opposed a substantial movement
of Japanese before receiving his requested complement of troops and
munitions. 44

To McCloy's legal mind, removal of the Issei and Nisei from

Hawaii presented troublesome problems. Unlike exclusion from the
West Coast, it was difficult to characterize such a program as simply
barring people from sensitive military areas. Here American citizens

would have to be transported several thousand miles from their homes,
across the Pacific, and through evacuated areas ofthe Western Defense
Command into the interior. Moreover, in this case the ultimate des
tination of detention camps was faced as the reality. At this point

McCloy did not oppose the Hawaiian evacuation, but he was uneasy
about it, stating in a memorandum to Eisenhower that “[t]here are
also some grave legal difficulties in placing American citizens, even of
Japanese ancestry, in concentration camps.”» 45 Stimson was somewhat
more blunt in his diary:

As the thing stands at present, a number of them have been
arrested in Hawaii without very much evidence ofdisloyalty, have
been shipped to the United States, and are interned there. McCloy
and I are both agreed that this was contrary to law ; that while we

have a perfect right to move them away from defenses for the
purpose of protecting our war effort, that does not carry with it

the right to imprison them without convincing evidence. 46
Stimson briefed the President on the “ really difficult constitutional
question ” of “the President's own attempt to imprison by internment
some ofthe leaders ofthe Japanese in Hawaii against whom we however
have nothing but very grave suspicions.” Moreover, the Hawaiian

Japanese interned on the mainland had applied for writs of habeas
corpus. There were, however, very practical limits to the concern at
the top of the War Department for this problem . Stimson and McCloy
gave an unassailable lawyer's answer to the “ Japanese problem” on

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

Hawaii; Stimson informed President Roosevelt that they were sending
the American citizens " back to Hawaii which is under a state of martial

law and where we can do what we please with them ."47
On April 20, Secretary Knox renewed his plea for “ taking all of

the Japs out of Oahu and putting them in a concentration camp on
some other island” because he was “ gravely concerned about security

in Oahu . ”48 The President supported Knox's solution at the April 24
Cabinet meeting,49 and four days later Stimson, Knox, McCloy, Ad
mirals Wilson , Wilkinson , Bloch and several others met to discuss

evacuating the Japanese from Hawaii. “ Everybody was agreed on the
danger” but not on the solution and, Secretary Stimson surmised, “ We

shall probably send a bunch of perhaps eight or ten or twelve thousand
of them to the United States and even without internment try to keep

them away from the islands.” 50 Later in the summer, General Marshall
and Admiral King told the President they supported such a plan limited

to 15,000 people, thus bringing top professional military opposition to
Knox's call for evacuation .

Meanwhile, the War Department had received support for its
views in a report from the Department of Justice warning of conditions

in Hawaii, but a counter-report from Emmons to McCloy discounted
this document as “ so fantastic it hardly needs refuting.” General Em

mons was particularly troubled by the statements of Angus Taylor,
Acting United States Attorney in Hawaii:
The feeling that an invasion is imminent is not the belief of most
of the responsible people. ...
There have been no known acts of sabotage committed in Ha
waii.

I talked with Mr. Taylor at great length several weeks ago at

which time he promised to furnish evidence of subversive or dis
loyal acts on the part of Japanese residents to me personally or to
my G-2. Since that time he has, on several occasions, furnished

information about individuals and groups which turned out to be
based on rumors or imagination . He has furnished absolutely no
information of value.

Mr. Taylor is a conscientious, but highly emotional, violently

anti-Japanese lawyer who distrusts the FBI, Naval Intelligence
and the Army Intelligence. ... I do not believe that he is suffi

ciently informed on the Japanese question to express an official
opinion. . .
As you well know , the Japanese element of the population in
Hawaii constitutes one of our most serious problems but, in my

judgment, there is no reason for you to change the opinions formed
on your recent visit.

HAWAII

273

The view Emmons and McCloy shared reverses the positions taken
by the War and Justice Departments on the mainland and underscores
that personal judgment was as important as institutional predisposition
in the decisions of 1942.

In May, McCloy advised Emmons to make an alternative evac
uation plan, and on June 20 the Hawaii commander proposed a vol

untary evacuation to the mainland of not only internees' families, but
also persons who were more aa drain than a benefit to Hawaii's economy
and war effort. By July 1 , again assessing the local situation , the Ha
waiian Department had determined that most of the Japanese popu

lation was “highly satisfactory” and therefore urged evacuating only
5,000 persons.53 On July 17, 1942, the President authorized resettle

ment on the mainland of up to 15,000 persons, in family groups, who
were “ considered as potentially dangerous to national security.
In October, while Knox was still writing the President that sterner,

more thorough measures were urgently needed for the ethnic Japanese
population in Hawaii,55 Emmons came forward with another evacuation

plan. It was essentially the same plan he had offered in June; now ,
though , evacuation would be compulsory not voluntary, with priority
to those who sapped Hawaii's resources, not to those considered “ dan
gerous .” Emmons proposed to send out 300 Japanese every two weeks
if berths were available, and more if space permitted .56
>

On October 12, Stimson designated General Emmons as a military

commander under Executive Order 9066 , giving him the authority to
exclude individuals from military areas within his command — not an
essential authority, since the writ of habeas corpus was suspended in
Hawaii, but for “ good public relations” and to add “another barrel” to
Emmons's gun.57
By this time the War Department's conviction that evacuation was

militarily necessary was ebbing, but Secretary Knox and President
Roosevelt remained uneasy. They still believed that “ a very large num
ber of Japanese sympathizers, if not actual Japanese agents, ( are) still
at large in the population of Oahu, who, in the event of an attack upon
these islands, would unquestionably cooperate with our enemies. ”58
Secretary Stimson tried to reassure the President:
[A]ll persons ofJapanese ancestry resident in the Hawaiian Islands
who are known to be hostile to the United States have been placed
under restraint in internment camps either in the islands or on

the mainland . In addition, many others suspected of subversive
tendencies have been so interned .

It is intended to move approximately five thousand during

53-124 - 92 - 10
-

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

the next six months as shipping facilities become available. This,
General Emmonsbelieves, willgreatly simplify his problem , and
considering the labor needs in the islands, is about all that he has
indicated any desire to move although he has been given authority
to move up to fifteen thousand.59

Stimson's letter, General Emmons wrote him , accurately por

trayed the Hawaiian situation, but Emmons wanted to clarify the def
inition of future evacuees:
This

group will comprise those residents who might be potentially

dangerous in the event of a crisis, yet they have committed no

suspicious acts. It is impossible to determine whether or not they
are loyal.

In general the evacuation will remove persons who are least
desirable in the territory and who are contributing nothing to the
war effort. 60

In other words, the field commander now saw less military justification
for any evacuation.
The President responded strongly to Stimson's letter:
I think that General Emmons should be told that the only con

sideration is that of the safety of the Islands and that the labor
situation is not only a secondary matter but should not be given
any consideration whatsoever.

Military and naval safety is absolutely paramount.61
Despite the President's opinion , Emmons's plan selectively to

evacuate Japanese residents of Hawaii remained unchanged, for the
Hawaiian Department did not consider the situation dangerous. The
move to the mainland was “ primarily for the purpose of removing non
productive and undesirable Japanese and their families from the Is
lands ” and “ largely a token evacuation to satisfy certain interests which
have strongly advocated movement of Japanese from the Hawaiian
Islands." 62

THE EVACUATION

Negotiation over the terms of evacuation went on and on , plainly
inconsistent with any pressing military necessity. A year after Pearl
Harbor, only 59 families had been evacuated from Hawaii. By design
or accident, General Emmons had succeeded in reducing Washington's

evacuation program to negligible numbers.
Following the early internees, the first two units ofevacuees were

HAWAII

275

transferred to the mainland in July and December 1942; 42 percent
were under the age of 19. Of the 59 families evacuated, 26 were headed
by aliens, 20 of whom were already interned on the mainland, with
17 requesting repatriation . The remaining 33 families were headed by
Americans interned on Sand Island, none of whom asked expatriation .
The first installment was hardly a roll call of dangerous persons; never

theless, evacuation planning continued. By December 1, 1942, pro

jections for the total number of additional Japanese available and on
evacuation order were : 6
Aliens

Repatriates

225

Relief

150

“ Voluntary”

50

Citizens

“ Voluntary”

350

Non - Internees
Fishermen

2000

Kibei

475

Total

3250

By mid-December 1942, the WRA had ascertained that:
During the next twelve months the maximum number ofevacuees
could be approximately 5,000; but I believe the actual number

will be no more than 3,000, and probably much less than that.
The maximum shipment will be 150 every two weeks, unless the
Western Defense Command succeeds in having the minimum

single shipment raised to 500. There are many reasons for such a
small evacuation , but the most tangible one is the lack of trans
portation. . . . I was assured . . . that no evacuees would be sent,
other than repatriates, who would not be eligible for indefinite
.

.

leave from our Centers. ...

After essential war construction has tapered off, the tempo of
the evacuation can be increased if transportation is available. It
is extremely important that no Hawaiian Japanese be repatriated,
at least for six months after they leave the Islands, nor should they

be permitted to talk to other Japanese being repatriated, because
most of the strategic and secret defense work in the islands has
been constructed by Japanese.

Influential white ... individuals fear that it may not be long
before the Japanese - Americans will have economic and political
control of the Territory of Hawaii. Men like J.A. Balch, Chairman

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

of the Board of Directors of the Mutual Telephone Company of

Honolulu , and Angus Taylor, U.S. Attorney, feel that this is the
time to rid the Islands permanently of this dangerous Japanese
influence.64

On August 25, 1942, the first party of island Japanese, about 40
families, left Hawaii in exchange for Americans in Japan.65 Since any
Japanese alien might be exchanged for an American held by Japan ,
the War Department tried to use internment and detention to assure
that no one recently familiar with Hawaii's defenses was returned to

Japan ; the Department favored repatriation from the mainland, not
Hawaii. 66 On March 30, 1943, the Secretary ofWar wrote the Secretary
of State:

There are ... 783 Japanese nationals now in the United States
who have been evacuated from Hawaii to the mainland prior to

January 11, 1943. All these you may treat as available for repa
triation subject to the right now exercised by intelligence agencies
to object to any particular alien. ...
.

[ T ]here are approximately 261 other Japanese nationals who
have been evacuated from Hawaii to the mainland since January

11 , 1943, and from time to time that number will probably be
increased . If there are any in this category whose repatriation you

particularly desire to effect, I suggest you furnish me their names
and such other identifying data as may be available and I will
undertake to give you a final decision in each case. 67

At the end of February 1943, Dillon Myer of the WRA requested
that further evacuation from Hawaii be suspended. At the Jerome
Relocation Center, Hawaiians were “unwilling workers, and half of
them had answered 'no' to the loyalty question number 28 in the
selective service registration form .” In the director's words, “They
definitely are not the kind of people who should be scattered among
the West Coast evacuees.” Also, the space they hoped to use for the
Hawaiians had not become available; and the removal of people likely
to be repatriated plus evacuees shifting from project to project was
obstructing proper relocation center administration . 68
By March “ everyone had agreed that this movement should cease ,
and on 2 April 1943 the War Department instructed General Emmons
to suspend evacuation to the mainland until and unless the number of

his internees exceeded the capacity ofthe Hawaiian Department's own
facilities for internment, which never happened .”
Beginning in February 1942 and continuing through December
1943, between 700 and 900 Hawaiian Japanese were removed to De

HAWAII

277

partment of Justice internment camps on the mainland. Families were
left behind. 70 Both aliens and Nisei departed , until it was determined
that on the mainland the Justice Department had no authority to detain

those who were citizens and therefore could not be classified as enemy
aliens. In August 1942, the first group of Nisei were returned to con
finement in Hawaii.71 Between November 12, 1942, and March 3,
1943, about 1,200 Japanese American aliens and citizens were evac

uated from Hawaii, including approximately 474 adult males. A large

proportion of the group was families of men previously interned. 72 By
the end of the war, a total of 1,875 Hawaiian residents of Japanese
ancestry had been removed to the mainland; 1,118 to WRA camps and

the remainder to Department of Justice internment camps. One hundred
forty of those originally assigned to WRA camps were later transferred

to Justice Department camps (some voluntarily to join their families),
and 99 persons originally interned entered WRA camps on their parole
or release. 73
Divergent policies toward ethnic Japanese in Hawaii and those

on the mainland began to create administrative problems in 1945. Many
Hawaiians who “ voluntarily ” evacuated to the mainland in 1943 agreed

to do so partly as a matter of patriotic cooperation with the military
authorities. But by mid -February 1945, reports had reached evacuees
on the mainland that some who had not accepted voluntary evacuation ,
staying in Hawaii, had been released from detention and allowed to
return home. The voluntary evacuees — still not permitted to go back
to Hawaii- naturally felt that cooperation with the Army had plunged
them into a worse situation . They were anxious to return . Secretary
Ickes felt that “relocation in non -restricted parts of the United States

... at best is a temporary expedient.” 74 The War Department soon
established a board of officers to review the case of each Hawaiian

evacuee to determine whether return would be permitted, and, if so,

to assign that person a travel priority group. Travel preference was
given to persons with children in the armed forces, to the aged, the

infirm , and others in special circumstances. 75
The first group of ten evacuees and their families returned to
Hawaii in July 1945. Nearly 1,500 evacuees eventually came home,
some bringing children born on the mainland. With them came 206
West Coast Japanese, most of whom were former residents of the
islands or those who had met and married islanders in camp. Only 241
Hawaiians elected to remain on the mainland, and only 248 Hawaiian
Japanese chose wartime repatriation to Japan . 76

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

THE INTERNEES

Out of nearly 158,000 ethnic Japanese in Hawaii, less than 2,000 were
taken into custody during the war. Approximately one -third were
American citizens, mostly Kibei. Several hundred ethnic Japanese were
released after investigation , and several thousand more were investi
gated and cleared without being taken into custody. 77

Who were these “ dangerous enemy aliens” picked up soon after

Pearl Harbor? To qualify as a blacklisted enemy alien, one merely had
to be a Japanese language teacher, a priest, a commercial fisherman,
a merchant in the export-import trade. One might have received an
education in Japan, sent contributions and Red Cross supplies for the
Japanese wounded in the China War, or have been one of the toritsugi
nin, the unpaid subconsular agents who helped illiterate island resi
dents prepare legal papers for the consulate. For others, grounds for
arrest were merely leadership in the Japanese community.
None of the internees was guilty of overt acts against American

laws; a few were investigated for espionage, but none for sabotage.
In nearly every instance, the internees were judged “ on person
alities and their utterances, criminal and credit records, and prob
able nationalistic sympathies.” 78

Some arrestees were locked up in a county jail, the immigration
station or an internment camp in Haiku, Maui, awaiting transfer to
the Army-administered Sand Island Detention Center across Honolulu

Harbor. From there some were sent to War Relocation Authority
camps on the mainland ; others were transferred to Camp Honouliuli
on Oahu .

Hearing boards were appointed on each island to try detainees,
and they had considerable procedural latitude. Hearings usually con

sisted of a summary of FBI evidence and questions about friends and
relatives in Japan : whether the detainee had ever visited there or had

donated food, clothing or money to that country's war effort. De
pending on who was in charge, cases were decided in 15 to 20 minutes,
or in three to four days. The boards' recommendations for release,

parole or detention were generally upheld by military authorities. 79
Internees paroled before the end of the war had to sign statements
releasing the government and all individuals involved from any liability
for their detention. 80
Some detainees felt that they had “pro forma” hearings:

[ The] FBI asked me to go with them to the Department of Im
migration for aa little while to answer a few questions. When we

HAWAII

279

reached the Department of Immigration building I was put behind
bars for several weeks and no questions were asked of me. We

had our meals out in the yard enclosed by walls under armed
guards with their rifles drawn . All the time I was there I was not
told why I was being held behind bars and neither the FBI nor

the Immigration officer asked me any questions. Afterthis I was
sent to Sand Island and remained there for six months . It was

during my stay at Sand Island [ that] the FBI ( took] me to the

Federal Building where the FBI and military officers question [ed]
me. They put their guns on the table in plain view , like aa threat.
I felt that they were interrogating me as though I were a spy
but I was not. The FBI and military officers told me that since

America was at war with Japan and because I was raised in Oki
nawa, Japan and regardless that I was an American citizen, I was
an internee (P.O.W.).81

A few weeks prior to December 20, 1942, the government
conducted two separate “ hearings” at Wailuku, Maui, to deter
mine the fate of the so -called “bad Japs.” The officer in charge
had already predetermined that we were not good American cit
izens and he would lock us up until the war was over. The hearings
were in reality, merely individual interrogation of suspected “bad

Japs.” The officer asked several pointed questions which required
a yes/no answer. If I answered affirmatively when asked whether
I am loyal to the United States, they would accuse me of being a
liar. But if I had said no , then I would be thrown in jail. I felt

there was no way I could be considered a loyal American. 82
Conditions and treatment varied among the islands; internees on
Maui probably fared best. There, families were allowed to visit and
bring in food daily. In contrast, internees at Sand Island on Oahu were
treated as criminals or prisoners-of-war until December 20, 1941, when
the newly -appointed commander of the Hawaiian Department stated
that the Japanese were “ detainees” and therefore not governed by
military regulations . At first, Sand Island internees were forbidden to
communicate with the outside. Incoming letters had to be in English

and were heavily censored. Starting in May 1942, newspapers and
pencils, pens and paper were allowed in the camp, and family inter
views were permitted. For six months internees lived in tents without

floorboards until barracks were completed in May 1942. The camp
office procured a radio in July, and loudspeakers were installed in each

barrack . The loudspeakers not only broadcast music; they also served
as receivers to monitor internees' conversations.83
Many detainees were eventually released or paroled without re
striction, mostly those who had been picked up for breaking curfew

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

or other regulations. The parole policy was colored by military concern
for public relations:

In carry [sic] out the parole policy the release of large numbers
at any one time is avoided so as not to create an inference that

the military authorities are relaxing their vigilance. Likewise the
release of prominent Japanese leaders of known Japanese ten
dencies is avoided although in the record of many of these cases

it appears that no overt acts have been committed by them . 84
Social shock waves from the sudden pickup and detention of com
munity leaders soon after Pearl Harbor spread beyond the individuals
themselves. Families who had once enjoyed prestige and social rec

ognition were suddenly outcasts, avoided by others who thought that
any signs of friendship would make them suspect, too. Remaining Issei
became reluctant to accept positions of leadership, lest they become
suspect to the authorities. 85 To emphasize the distance between them
selves and the enemy, 2,400 persons of Japanese descent in Hawaii
filed petitions to Anglicize their names in 1942, and decrees for that
year totalled more than all name-changes in the previous eight years.
On June 5, 1942, more than 1,700 Hawaiian Japanese presented a
check to the American government for “ bombs on Tokyo. "86

Despite these estrangements and hardships, it is to the Army's
credit that for most of the population in Hawaii it followed the precept
of General Emmons : “this is America and we must do things the
American Way.” His confidence in the people of the territory was

reciprocated in innumerable intangible ways, most obviously in the
superb record of military service by the Nisei of Hawaii. Hawaii's
experience was the mirror image of the West Coast, where the official
presumption of disloyalty bore bitter fruit in the alienation of the
camps.

The differences between the Hawaiians and their mainland coun

terparts reflected more than just their treatment since Pearl Harbor.
Their dissimilar attitudes appeared most clearly when the two groups
were thrown together in the military. Hawaiians felt that West Coast
Nisei lacked warmth , were not candid in their personal relationships,
and seemed to handle the relocation problem in a weak, passive way.

The mainlanders found the Hawaiians uncouth and too ready with their
fists. 87 At the same time, the mainlanders envied the Hawaiians' ability
" to take what comes their way with a smile . ” That the men from Hawaii
>

had not spent their lives in an atmosphere of anti-Asian prejudice was
reflected in their whole outlook . 88

Ironically, the Duncan case , which reached the Supreme Court

HAWAII

281

after the end of the war, challenged military rule in Hawaii. It also
produced a decision that contradicted the Korematsu case on the main
land. Two individuals who had been tried in the military provost courts,
a civilian shipfitter accused of assaulting Marine guards at the Pearl
Harbor Navy Yard in February 1944, and a stockbroker tried for em

bezzling from a civilian in August 1942, challenged the power of the
military to supplant the civil courts. 89 In the sense that the civil courts
were replaced by the military, intrusion into normal civil life was
greater than on the West Coast, but insofar as military courts operated

to find and punish personal guilt, the deviation from the constitutional
norm was less than in the exclusion . Hawaii had been attacked, so that

upholding military control over civilians on the basis of the war powers
of the Constitution should have been more compelling. Justice Black,

author of the Korematsu opinion, once again wrote the majority opin
ion . Although in the strictest sense limited to interpreting the power
of the governor of Hawaii under the Hawaiian Organic Act which
permitted him “ in case of rebellion or invasion or imminent danger
thereof, when the public safety requires it, (to) suspend the privilege
of the writ of habeas corpus, or place the Territory ... under martial
law ,” Black chose to interpret the statute by examining the historical
relation of civil to military power. The Court itself posed the central
>

issue by asking

Have the principles and practices developed during the birth and
growth of our political institutions been such as to persuade us
that Congress intended that loyal civilians in loyal territory should
have their daily conduct governed by military orders substituted
for criminal laws, and that such civilians should be tried and pun
ished by military tribunals ?
No extensive paraphrase is needed to transform this to the central issue
of the Korematsu case, in which military orders effectively became

laws which the courts were not to question if military judgments under
the war powers were given extensive deference.

No such deference was afforded the military in Hawaii. There was

no talk in Duncan of the war powers of the Constitution or emphasis
on Congressional authorization of extraordinary measures in wartime.
Justice Black followed his question with an historical essay in which
he found total military rule the antithesis of the American system of
government and held that “martial law ” in the statute could not have

been intended to authorize supplanting of the civil courts. Since the
statute directly spoke of suspending the writ of habeas corpus this
seems to be a disingenuous analysis indeed. Black's private remarks

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

to Chief Justice Stone in response to criticism of a draft of the opinion
are closer to the mark :

I think the Executive is without Constitutional powers to suspend

all legislative enactments in loyal, uninvaded states, to substitute
executive edicts for those laws, and to provide for their enforce
ment by agents chosen by and through tribunals set up by the
Executive. . . . In other words, the Constitution , as I understand

it, so far as civilians in legal uninvaded territory are concerned,
empowers the Executive to “execute” a general code of civil laws,
not executive edicts. 90

This decision in Duncan v. Kahanamoku is another lasting and
important way in which the experience in Hawaii rebukes events on
the West Coast. The case effectively overrules one major predicate of

the Korematsu decision by showing no deference to military judgment
when the control of civilians and civilian institutions in uninvaded
territory is at stake. In deciding Duncan, the Supreme Court relied
on the firm language of a similar case decided at the end of the Civil

War, Ex parte Milligan: “ civil liberty and this kind ofmartial law cannot
endure together; the antagonism is irreconcilable ." 91 The same is true
of Duncan and Korematsu . 92

12
Germans and German Americans
In the first six months of 1942, the United States was engaged in active
warfare along the Atlantic Coast with the Germans, who had dispatched
submarines to American Atlantic waters, where they patrolled outside
harbors and roadsteads. Unconvoyed American ships were torpedoed

and destroyed with comparative impunity before minefield defense
and antisubmarine warfare became effective several months later. In

the last weeks of January 1942, 13 ships were sunk totalling 95,000
gross tons, most of it strategically important tanker tonnage. In Feb

ruary, nearly 60 vessels went down in the North Atlantic and along
the American East Coast; more than 100,000 tons were lost. At the

same time, the naval war expanded to the east coast of Florida and
the Caribbean. March 1942 saw 28 ships totalling more than 150,000

tons sunk along the East Coast and 15 others, more than 90,000 tons,
lost in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean . More than half were

tankers. The destruction continued through April, May and June as
American defenses developed slowly; the peak came in May, when 41
ships were lost in the Gulf.

This devastating warfare often came alarmingly close to shore.
Sinkings could be watched from Florida resorts and, on June 15, two
American ships were torpedoed in full view of bathers and picnickers

at Virginia Beach.2 The damage done was described by the Navy:
The massacre enjoyed by the U -boats along our Atlantic Coast in
1942 was as much a national disaster as if saboteurs had destroyed
283

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

half a dozen of our biggest war plants. . . . If a submarine sinks
two 6000 -ton ships and one 3000 -ton tanker, here is a typical

account ofwhatwe have totally lost; 42 tanks, 8 six - inch Howitzers,
88 twenty -five -pound guns, 40 two-pound guns, 24 armored cars,
50 Bren carriers, 5210 tons of ammunition , 600 rifles, 428 tons of

tank supplies, 2000 tons of stores, and 1000 tanks of gasoline.
Suppose the three ships had made port and the cargoes were
dispersed. In order to knock out the same amount of equipment

by air bombing, the enemy would have to make three thousand
successful bombing sorties.3
Japanese attacks on the West Coast were insignificant by com

parison . The few shells lobbed ashore at Goleta, California , and the
incendiary balloons floated over the Pacific Northwest amounted to
little more than harassment. Yet the far more severe treatment which
Japanese Americans as a group -received at official hands, and less
formally from their fellow citizens, appears to suggest the opposite.
The wartime treatment of alien Germans and Italians, as well as the

German American experience of the First World War, lends new per
spective to the exclusion and detention of the ethnic Japanese.
The less harsh controls faced by German Americans in 1942 did
not emerge simply from a more benign view oftheir intentions. Samuel

Eliot Morison , the eminent historian of American naval operations in
World War II, firmly believed that disloyal elements along the Atlantic

Coast aided German submarine warfare: “The U -boats were undoubt
edly helped by enemy agents and clandestine radio transmissions from
the United States, as well as by breaking codes. " 4 Morison does not
support this conclusion with any evidence and, given the lack of cor
roboration for similar beliefs on the West Coast, one must view it

skeptically. Nevertheless, this view surely represents the beliefs of
responsible people at the time.

This destructive struggle, with its suggestions of active aid from
people on shore, produced no mass exclusion of German aliens or
German American citizens from the East Coast. The Justice Depart
ment interned East Coast German aliens it thought dangerous, and a

small number of German American citizens were individually excluded

from coastal areas after review of their personal records. Exclusion or
detention of some categories of German aliens was considered, but

rejected. Immediately after the Pearl Harbor attack, the FBI picked
up Axis nationals whom they suspected, frequently on the basis of

membership in suspect organizations.5 By February 16, 1942,the Jus
tice Department had interned 2,192 Japanese; 1,393 Germans and 264
Italians.6 For enemy aliens of all nationalities, internment differed

GERMANS AND GERMAN AMERICANS

285

markedly from the exclusion program on the West Coast. Hearings on
loyalty were held promptly, and release was very likely despite the

government's great advantages in the hearing process.
Those arrested were sent to the nearest regional headquarters of

the Immigration and Naturalization Service or, when such places were

filled, to other temporary sites. Eventually detainees were sent to
camps set up during 1941 and managed by the INS, where they re
ceived loyalty hearings. Citizens of different professions, including at

least one lawyer, sat on each hearing board, whose members served
for $ 1.00 a year plus travel expenses.

Hearings were adversarial. The government was represented by
the local United States Attorney's office, and FBI or INS agents gen
erally attended .? The detainee was not permitted to have a lawyer

present and could not object to questions put to him. He could present
through witnesses and affidavits evidence of law -abiding conduct and

loyalty to the United States. Hearing boards could recommend release,
parole or internment for the duration of the war. Doubts about loyalty
were to be resolved in favor of the government. The case record, with
the recommendation of the hearing board, was then forwarded to the

Attorney General for decision. In reality, the decision of the Alien

Enemy Control Unit of the Department of Justice governed. 9
Other impediments prevented full, fair hearings. Many cases had
to proceed through translators; hearing board members were busy and

wanted to proceed quickly; sessions frequently lasted until late at night.
Fundamentally, in the absence of evidence of particular acts, deter
mining loyalty by interrogation is speculative, and the boards could

not overcome that problem . The FBI and the Alien Enemy Control
Unit had a running conflict as to how strict a standard should be applied,
and the Justice Department obtained removal of hearing officers thought
too lenient. By August 1942, the Department of Justice began to rec
ognize that some of its decisions were arbitrary and organized an ap
peals system for internees. One ground for rehearing was lack of uni

formity in treatment between the earlier and later cases. 10 Nevertheless,
because the government had unquestioned authority to detain aliens
of enemy nationality in time of war, these procedures did represent

an effort to provide rough fairness in making individual determinations
of loyalty and security risk.
In the spring of 1942 the War Department seriously considered
whether the power of Executive Order 9066 should be used to exclude
from certain areas all German and Italian aliens or at least some cat
egories of such enemy aliens. Secretary Stimson, in his letter and

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

memorandum of February 20 delegating authority to General DeWitt,

had instructed the General to consider and develop plans for excluding
German aliens, but to ignore the Italians, at least for the time being. 11
A week earlier, the War Department had asked corps commanders for
recommendations on civilian control; it received suggestions for pro
grams which would supposedly provide increased security by excluding
large groups of enemy alien residents from extensive stretches of the
Pacific and Atlantic coastlines. 12 General DeWitt pressed for a program

that would have exempted a number of classes of German and Italian
aliens, but would still have removed several thousand Germans and

Italians from the West Coast. *13 There were no serious proposals for
the mass movement of categories of American citizens of German and
Italian descent, although local commanders sought the power to ex
clude individual citizens.

The mass movement of Germans and Italians was effectively op
posed. With about one million German and Italian aliens in the coun
try, it was quickly recognized that moving such a large group en masse
presented enormous practical difficulties and economic dislocations. 15

Moreover, exclusion would mean establishing relocation camps, for
excluded people would not be accepted in the heartland. 16 In addition,
to have detained many Germans who were already refugees from the
Nazis would have been bitterly ironic. 17

But most critical was the public and political perception of the
lesser danger presented by Germans and Italians. Within the govern
ment, there does not appear to have been much more detailed knowl
edge about German and Italian "individuals than there was about the
ethnic Japanese. Writing after the war, the Western Defense Com
mand summed up official ignorance:
It would be unbelievable to anyone not concerned with intelli

gence matters that there were not available anywhere prior to
Pearl Harbor, a record of German , Italian and Japanese organi
zations in the United States, with some knowledge of their struc

*In a rare open deviation from the views of his superior, Bendetsen gave
his personal recommendation to McCloy; he urged that there be no movement
of Italians by groups but only the individual internments that were already
being carried out by the Justice Department. Bendetsen wanted to exempt
from any move some classes of German aliens in addition to those DeWitt

suggested. Memo, Bendetsen to McCloy, May 11, 1942. NARS. RG 107 (CWRIC
287-89).

GERMANS AND GERMAN AMERICANS

287

ture, purposes, and connections with their homelands. The fact
remains that no such lists existed. ... 1

In this situation, for the Germans and Italians as for the ethnic Japanese,
public perceptions and their political implications were very important.
The Italians were virtually dismissed as a threat. In February, Stimson

told DeWitt to ignore the Italians for the time being because they

were “ potentially less dangerous, as a whole .”19 In May, Archibald
MacLeish, in the Office of Facts and Figures, and Alfred Jaretzki, Jr. ,
whom McCloy had brought in to help deal with German and Italian

aliens, proposed to exempt Italians from the restrictions on enemy
aliens.20 In the fall, after approval by Roosevelt, who dismissed the
Italians as “ a lot of opera singers ,”21 Attorney General Biddle an
nounced that they would no longer be considered “aliens of enemy

nationality. ” 22
There was greater feeling that there were possibly more sinister

German groups and individuals, but the political weight opposed any
mass movement or detention. In February, when the evacuation of
ethnic Japanese was about to start, Congressman Tolan telegraphed
Biddle about setting up boards to inquire into the individual loyalty

of Germans and Italians. 23 In March , Tolan's Committee published its
findings and recommendations and bluntly dismissed mass movement
of Germans and Italians: “ This committee is prepared to say that any

such proposal is out of the question if we intend to win this war. "24
There was no important Congressional support for such a program ,

and the Justice Department also opposed mass evacuation.25 The Pres
ident himselftold Stimson in early May, when he heard that evacuation
of East Coast Germans and Italians was under consideration, that alien

control was “ primarily a civilian matter except of course in the case of
the Japanese mass evacuation on the Pacific Coast.” The War De
partment was to take no action against Germans and Italians on the
East Coast without consulting the President first. 26
No effective , organized anti -German and anti - Italian agitation

aroused the public as it had against the ethnic Japanese on the West

Coast, and the War Department, although it considered moving some
classes or categories of Germans, was not sufficiently persuaded to
press the President to allow it . 27

On May 15, Stimson recommended to the President at a Cabinet
meeting that, under the Executive Order, area commanders be allowed

to exclude from militarily sensitive areas particular individuals, but not
classes of German or Italian aliens.28 Roosevelt approved the plan. On
the West Coast, DeWitt, having first demanded that the War De

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

partment absolve him of the consequences of not evacuating entire
classes of German and Italian aliens, 29 issued individual exclusion or

ders to a small number of Germans and Italians.30 On the East Coast,
General Drum followed the same course but also issued orders to dim

lights and to exclude all persons, aliens or citizens, from certain military
areas which had been narrowly defined to avoid requiring people to
relocate. 31 These East Coast orders differ from the Japanese exclusion

program because they did not discriminate among American citizens
on the basis of ethnicity or parentage.

Very few people suffered individual exclusion . For example, in
the Western Defense Command from August 1942 to July 1943, 174

persons, including native -born citizens and enemy aliens, received
exclusion orders. Many of those were German -born or Italian -born
American citizens. Similar action was taken in the same period by the
Eastern and Southern Defense Commands, which barred 59 and 21

persons respectively from coastal areas.

This individualized approach to determining loyalty was followed
despite visible, active pro -Nazi operations among German Americans
before the outbreak of war. As late as February 20, 1939, the Deut
schamerikanische Volksbund , popularly and simply known as the Bund,

brought more than 20,000 people to Madison Square Garden for a
rally to praise Hitler while denouncing Roosevelt and his administra
At that time the Bund was organized by chapters throughout

tion . 33

the United States and claimed aa membership of more than 200,000.34
This certainly exaggerated the numbers on which the Bund could rely
for active pro -Nazi sympathy, and the Bund itself, full of sound and

fury, frequently rang hollow — its leader, Fritz Kuhn, was sent to prison
in 1939, convicted of embezzling Bund funds after having led a dis
sipated life unsuited to his political mission.35 Nevertheless, at the

beginning of the war there were reasonable grounds for anxiety about
German - directed sabotage or fifth column activity, substantiated when
two groups of German saboteurs landed in New York and Florida from
submarines and were arrested in Fall 1942.36

Was there a coherent policy behind treating the German aliens
and German Americans on the East Coast differently from the Japanese
on the West Coast ? If one accepted the Western Defense Command's
view that ethnic groups remain loyal to their ancestral nation, and
further argued that mass measures were necessary only against Japa
nese Americans either because the loyal could not be distinguished

from the disloyal within Asian groups or because urgency did not permit
individual review , one would expect a careful official review of all

GERMANS AND GERMAN AMERICANS

289

German Americans in order to detain the disloyal. The government
made no such review. The opposing contention would be that German
Americans were so fully assimilated that there was no doubt of their
undivided loyalty. The prewar history of the Bund makes such an
explanation implausible. Equally significant, an analysis of voting pat
terns shows that, as Roosevelt moved toward an anti -German foreign

policy between 1936 and 1940, German American voters shifted away
from Roosevelt toward the Republicans.37 It might also be argued that,
with England unconquered, the threat ofinvasion and coordinated fifth
column activity was more remote . But this did not reduce the patent

danger of espionage or sabotage on the East Coast, where U -boats
were deployed with such devastating effect. The divergent treatment

of ethnic Japanese and Germans does not make a logical pattern; one
must look elsewhere to understand these events .

Two typical explanations of the divergent treatment of the two
ethnic groups have been numbers and political influence. 38 The Amer

ican population of German descent in 1940 was so large that any major
program of exclusion or detention would have been very difficult to
execute, with enormous economic and political repercussions. In 1940,

1,237,000 people ofGerman birth lived in the United States, the largest
foreign - born ethnic group except for the Italians. Further, if one con
sidered the children of families in which both parents were German
born, the number of Germans in the country reached 5 million and,
counting families with one German -born parent, the number rose to
6 million.39 A population of that size had political muscle; the industrial

northeast, the midwest and the northern plains states all had substantial
German American voting blocs. Radical measures such as exclusion or
detention would have carried a very heavy political cost.

Many believe that the explanation for treating German and Jap
anese Americans differently lies in nothing so mechanical as numbers
or votes, but in visceral reactions of prejudice. While this explanation
gives a particularly dark cast to events of 1942, it also holds out hope
that as the American people matures, the danger of similarly intolerant

actions diminishes . Insofar as reactions to the ethnic Japanese and
Germans were influenced by unreasoned , uninformed public percep
tions, this reading of history is persuasive, but the history of German
Americans over the last eighty years also underscores the importance
of war hysteria in 1942.

The German American experience after the United States entered
the First World War was far less traumatic and damaging than the
Nisei and Issei experience in 1942. Still, it makes clear that the emo

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

tional response to war , not racism alone, plays a significant part in the
vilification and deprivation of liberty suffered by any ethnic group
ancestrally linked to an enemy.

The positions of people of German descent in 1917 and of the Issei
and Nisei at the start of the Second World War were much different.

In 1917, more than 8 million people in the United States had been
born in Germany or had one or both parents born there.40 Although
German Americans were not massively represented politically, their
numbers gave them

notable political strength and the support of voices
outside the ethnic group, such as Senator Robert M. LaFollette of

Wisconsin.41 In fact, in some states, German immigrants were per

mitted to vote before becoming American citizens.42 German American
sympathy for the fatherland was firmly and publicly expressed during

the period of neutrality, when political German ethnic organizations
urged an embargo on shipping war materiel to England and France,
hoping to prevent war between the United States and Germany. 43 This
active support of the German cause occasionally reached the level of
sabotaging arms shipments to Europe.44

When America went to war in 1917, a steady stream of actions,
official and private, were taken against citizens of German descent and
resident German aliens. As in 1942, initial fears of sabotage and

espionage45 contributed to a broad range of restrictive government
measures. German aliens were excluded from the District of Columbia

and kept out of sensitive military areas such as wharves, canals, ships
and railroad depots; permission was required to change residence .
Several thousand German aliens were interned for minor violations of

these regulations.46 Numerous states disenfranchised aliens with voting
rights. 47 In what appears to be a prima facie violation of the First

Amendment, the German language press was smothered by requiring
that it print war news and comment on government actions in English

and have them reviewed by the post office.48 At the start of the war
more than 500 German language periodicals were published in the
United States ; almost half were gone at war's end.49

Vigorous and pervasive quasi -governmental groups also pursued
citizens of German ancestry. Supported and encouraged by the At
torney General, the American Protective League was organized ; its
200,000 untrained members, sworn in as volunteer detectives with

badges, set out to investigate spies and saboteurs.50 No actual spy was
ever apprehended by this semi-official network, but it harassed German

Americans through thousands of investigations. Informally, immense

GERMANS AND GERMAN AMERICANS

291

pressure was brought to bear through Liberty Loan drives and semi
vigilante activity that included one lynching in Illinois. 51

The history of these attacks in several aspects resembles events
of 1942: rumors in the press of sabotage and espionage, stereotypes of
the German as an unassimilable, rapacious Hun, and efforts to suppress
the institutions — the language and the churches — that were most palp

ably foreign and perceived as the seedbed of Kaiserism . This history
is all the more disturbing because there was no history of extensive

anti -German agitation before the war.
The rumors came in from every part of the country:

Allegedly, Germans posing as Bible salesmen tried to stir up the
Negroes in the South. In Dayton , the militia guarded the water

works against feared acts of German sabotage.German -speaking
Red Cross workers in Denver supposedly put glass in bandages
and bacteria in medical supplies. Cincinnati's meat packers were
rumored to be grinding glass into sausages. In South Dakota, a

Mennonite flourmill was closed when a customer reported finding
glass chips in the flour.52
2

The stereotypical description of ethnic Germans was well-devel
oped in its viciousness . The American Defense Society, with Theodore
Roosevelt as its honorary president, put out a tract attacking the Ger
mans as

the most treacherous, brutal and loathsome nation on earth.
The sound of the German language . . . reminds us of the murder
ofa million helpless old men, unarmed men, women, and children ;
(and the driving of about 100,000 young French , Belgian , and
Polish women into compulsory prostitution.

Others assailed Germans as barbarous Huns who could never be as
similated into American society. 54
This war on the domestic front focused first on stamping out the
German language. By 1918 approximately half of the states had cur
tailed or prohibited instruction in German; several, along with dozens
of cities and towns, had restricted the freedom of citizens to speak
German in public.55 German churches were investigated and de
nounced for their supposed allegiance to the German state .56
German culture had, ofcourse, seeped more deeply into American

life by 1917 than Japanese culture had in 1942, and First World War
chauvinism also sought to cleanse the United States of German cultural
influence: Bach and Beethoven were banned, German books were

burned, German names were changed.57 Defeating Kaiser Wilhelm,
newly -christened the “ Beast of Berlin ,” by denying the citizens of
Chicago or Pittsburgh access to Schubert or Goethe obviously promised
>

292

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

more emotional release in striking a blow against enemy symbols than
thoughtful analysis of how those blows could possibly hurt Germany
when they fell on other Americans.
The reaction of many German Americans was not unlike what the
Issei and Nisei did. Many ethnic organizations and clubs disappeared

or Americanized58 (though this was not true of the churches, partic

ularly separatist, pacifist sects such as the Mennonites and Hutterites,
many of whom left the United States for Canada under the barrage of
patriotic oppression59), and the loyalty of German Americans had to

be proven in the blood of European battlefields.60 General John J.
Pershing, who led American forces in Europe, was himself of German
descent, having Anglicized his name from Pfoerschin, 61 but even this
counted for little with those who demanded battlefield demonstration
of loyalty and reached shocking extremes ofdemanding military service
from the old pacifist sects, who were as adamantly opposed to bearing
arms for Germany as for the United States.

This earlier history of vilification hardly clarifies why there was
no massive outburst against resident German aliens and German Amer
icans in 1942. Perhaps one scapegoat is enough for aa nation's frustrated

anger; perhaps assimilation worked to blunt and blur hostilities; per
haps, for other reasons, Americans had come to make distinctions
within the German American community between “ trustworthy” and
“ untrustworthy ” Germans. In any case , the history of German Amer
icans in 1917 and Japanese Americans in 1942 reveals some basic ele
ments of the country's social structure . We are indeed a nation of

immigrants and, of course, virtually every immigrant ethnic group
carries some affection for and loyalty to the language, culture and
religion of its homeland. The strength of such ties varies depending
on whether the reasons for immigration are economic, or spring from

persecution due to religion, political views, race or some other factor.
Typically, in time ancestral ties are loosened, but in the first few
generations they are real and tangible, often more vigorously pursued
by aa third generation seeking its roots than by an Americanizing second
generation . War between the United States and the ancestral country

inevitably creates tension for those who, to some degree, wish to
maintain loyalty, if not to the political aims, at least to the cultural
values and social practices of both countries.
Outside the ethnic group, both world wars have stirred fear and
anxiety that the group's loyalty lay with the mother country, not the
United States. 62 To some extent Chinese Americans experienced sim

ilar reactions during the Korean War. 63 The risks and terrors of war

GERMANS AND GERMAN AMERICANS

293

stir deep emotion , and the impulse to act unreflectively is strong
but to do so is to give up one of the basic tenets of our nation by

placing ethnic ties above a free choice of citizenship made by the
individual. As early as May 1942, after listening to extensive testimony,
the Tolan Committee concluded that equating ethnicity with loyalty
was unsound: “This testimony has impressed upon us in convincing

fashion the fundamental fact that place of birth and technical nonciti
zenship alone provide no decisive criteria for assessing the alinement
[sic] of loyalties in this world -wide conflict .” 64 In both world wars we

failed to live by those precepts and, through that failure, brought
hardship and injustice to loyal citizens and resident aliens.
What remains particularly troubling is that after a quarter cen
tury — 1917 to 1942 — far from demonstrating that we learned from our
earlier mistreatment of another ethnic group , we unleashed summary
sanctions upon a small ethnic group on a scale unknown in our history;
and this course of action was officially sanctioned by the executive with

the formal cooperation of the legislature.
The United States has won the loyalty of millions who have chosen
to make it their home and country ; whatever other basis there may be
to suspect disloyalty in wartime, our history shows that ethnic ties to
an enemy people are not equivalent to political loyalty to an enemy
state . Nevertheless the First World War saw the invasion of First

Amendment rights and the development ofquasi-governmental groups
near vigilantism ; World War II brought exclusion and detention with

full governmental participation. Both of these invaded rights and lib
erties which , because they were protected by the Constitution, were
afforded the strongest shield available in American law .
Congress, urged by an anxious, angry public, has the power to
repeal peacetime prohibitions designed to reinforce those constitu

tional protections, and the courts can find ways to evade their respon
sibility. The Supreme Court, striking down the use of martial law in
loyal territory at the end of the Civil War, summarized the central
issue :

When peace prevails, and the authority of the government is
undisputed, there is no difficulty in preserving the safeguards of
liberty; . . . but if society is disturbed by civil commotion — if the
.

.

passions of men are aroused and the restraints of law weakened ,

if not disregarded — these safeguards need, and should receive,

the watchful care of those intrusted with the guardianship of the
Constitution and laws. In no other way can we transmit to posterity
unimpaired the blessings of liberty. 65

3

13
After Camp
More than forty years have passed since Americans and resident aliens
of Japanese ancestry were removed from their homes on the West

Coast to the barbed -wire camps of the interior. Forty years fade mem
ories and transform stereotypes. Today, Japanese Americans are not
often viewed as unassimilable aliens; since the racial turmoil of the

1960's, indeed, they have been portrayed as the “model minority,” a

group with high educational and professional achievements, model
citizens free of most social pathology who do not agitate or disturb the

status quo.' Has this once - vilified ethnic group managed to escape at
last the effects of its wartime incarceration ?

Certainly, Japanese Americans have displayed impressive resili
ence and fortitude in the face of unique adversity. Entrance and ac

ceptance into the mainstream of American society through the con

ventional modes of success have been largely accomplished. But success
is far from the whole story. Scars, even wounds from exclusion and
detention still remain . Relative economic affluence has been gained ,

but not without high psychic price.
After the release from camp, the Issei and Nisei attempted to

rebuild their disrupted lives, more often than not from scratch. Some
Issei, then in their late fifties or sixties, never regained lost momentum

and stayed impoverished, dependent on their children, for the rest of
their lives. Postwar inflation and the labor shortage helped them take
up occupations once again . Earnings that approached or exceeded
295

296

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

prewar wages provided a morale-boosting sense ofaccomplishment for
the ethnic Japanese
even though their earnings now purchased far
less — and the demand for services provided more job opportunities
than before the war . The acute postwar housing shortage, however,
sometimes forced ethnic Japanese to live in remote areas far from

desirable job markets.

Of course, some — the farmers and proprietors — who had most
before the war, also lost most. With their financial reserves gone or

depleted by the time they were released, many had little or no capital
with which to reestablish independent enterprise, particularly with the
postwar rise in prices. Most were forced to accept whatever jobs they
could find, often menial; others went into businesses that required
little start- up capital, such as contract gardening.
It has been argued that evacuation allowed Nisei students to lift
their sights beyond the parochial limits of the West Coast and go to
eastern and midwestern colleges which opened new doors to advance
ment for them . Some have contended that evacuation also removed
Japanese Americans from low -paying agricultural work, setting them
on the road to economic betterment in white collar and professional
occupations. But the prewar record of the Nisei indicates that, in a
society free of discrimination, Japanese Americans were likely to have
advanced rapidly in economic and material terms. The evacuation can
not be characterized as a necessary spur to success.

Both arguments suggest, however, that Japanese Americans should
not complain now about setbacks caused by their wartime exile, since

they have done very well economically since the war. But a closer look
a

reveals that this " fact” masks other circumstances that make the eco

nomic position of Japanese Americans less glittering than it appears.

*

*A study sponsored by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights discovered
that in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and Chicago, the income of
ethnic Japanese males with four or more years of college averaged only 83 %
and Japanese females 53 % of that of white males with comparable education
residing in the same area. Japanese males who had completed high school to
three years of college earned about 83 % of the income of white males, and
those with less than a high school education earned about 84 % that of white

males. In Honolulu, however, Japanese males and females with high school

and college educations surpassed their white counterparts. Citing a study by
Harold H. Wong, the report added that the earnings differential between
Japanese and white males in California could not be explained by taking into
account such factors as education , labor market experience , United States

citizenship, number of years in the United States, vocational training, disa

AFTER CAMP

297

More significant than economic loss was the destruction that knew
no boundaries between rich and poor - damage to the lives of Issei,
Nisei, and even Sansei. In city after city, the Commission heard tes

timony from former evacuees who for the first time openly expressed
pain and anger about evacuation and its aftermath . Many had never
articulated their feelings even to their children , or within the ethnic

community which shared their experience. It became obvious that a
forty- year silence did not mean that bitter memories had dissipated;
they had only been buried in a shallow grave..

For Japanese Americans, camp is a point of reference. As one
Sansei/Yonsei put it :

I can go anywhere in the United States today and ... talk to a
Nisei or Japanese American family and after the initial social amen

ities are taken care of ....
. . discussions ... without aa doubt ...
topic
camp.
will get to the
of
... People will ask, “Were you in
.

camp ? ” And of course I wasn't. And that doesn't end the questions

because then they ask, “ Were your parents in camp?” And if you
tell them what camp your parents were in, and if they were not
themselves in that camp, then they would ask if you knew so -and
so who was in that camp.

Despite its painful significance, Japanese American discussions about
camp ,

when they occurred at all, for a long time recounted only the

trivial or humorous moments . The Sansei sometimes found this trou

bling:

When I first learned of the internment as a youth, I found that it
was a difficult matter to discuss with my parents. My perception

of them was that they did not speak honestly about the camp
experience. Positive aspects were mentioned, if anything at all,
but there always seemed to be something that was left out. My
feeling was that there was much more to their experience than
they wanted to reveal. Their words said one thing, while their

hearts were holding something else deep inside.5
Dr. Tetsuden Kashima of the University of Washington calls this be
havior “ social amnesia ... a group phenomenon in which attempts
are made to suppress feelings and memories of particular moments or

bility, or labor market area . U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Success of Asian
Americans: Fact or Fiction ? (Clearinghouse Publication 64 , September 1980);
Amado Y. Cabezas, “ Disadvantaged Employment Status of Asian and Pacific

Americans,” in Civil Rights Issues of Asian and Pacific Americans: Myths and
Realities ( Paper presented at consultation sponsored by U.S. Commission on
Civil Rights, 1979), pp . 440-41.

298

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

extended time periods ... a conscious effort ... to cover up less than
pleasant memories.”

Why should these people experience such psychological trauma ?
They knew they were innocent and, in the opinion of the WRA , the
camps had been administered humanely. Dr. Philip Zimbardo, psy
chology professor at Stanford University, offers insight from his 1971
experiment designed to reveal the psychology of imprisonment:
[W]e populated a mock prison with a group of normal, healthy,

young men who had a history of being law -abiding citizens.
By a flip of the coin, these college student volunteers were ran
domly assigned to be inmates or jailers for the projected two -week
period of the study. Thus, it was a totally arbitrary decision that
determined the fate of the citizen who had done no wrong, but

was to be labelled a prisoner and then treated as if he had violated
the law of the land.

This Stanford prison experiment had to be terminated in less
than one week because it ceased being just a simulation and had

taken on all the worst aspects of a real prison. ... The prisoners
a

were constantly reminded of their loss of freedom and their pow

erless condition. ... The sense of helplessness that was evident
among the prisoners was reflected not only in their low self-es

teem ; some of them broke out in psychosomatic rashes ... and
evidenced genuinely disturbed mental functioning. Even though
these mock prisoners knew that they had done nothing to deserve
the kind of treatment they received , nevertheless, they reported
feeling shamed by the surrender of their autonomy to the guards
and humbled by a sense of being outcasts, misfits, and transgres
sors . 7?

The assembly and relocation centers were not prisons in the same
sense as Leavenworth or even the minimum -security institutions where

Watergate defendants served time . Nonetheless, all had armed guards
in sentry towers, and evacuees were not at liberty to come and go as
they pleased. As Dr. Zimbardo told the Commission, “ My research
forces me to conclude ‘prison’ is any situation wherein one person or
group's freedom and liberty are denied by virtue ofthe arbitrary power
of another person or group .” 8
According to Christie W. Kiefer in Changing Cultures, Changing

Lives, “ [ P ]ersons who have been tormented for some supposed error

or deficiency often end up agreeing with the definition of themselves
offered by their tormentors and trying to atone for their error.” After
the bombing of Pearl Harbor, many Issei thought that they, as aliens,
might be interned for the duration of the war; but they felt less certain
about their children, who, of course , were American citizens by birth .
>

AFTER CAMP

299

The Issei, Kiefer found, “felt that they had been deficient in feeling
and expressing loyalty to their host country” and are “ not inclined to

judge the relocation as unfair even when they recall the suffering and
loss it brought them .”10 Kiefer added that many Issei had chosen to
emigrate, sometimes against the warnings of kin, and had elected to

remain in this country after others had left in disgust. They were
reluctant to admit that their gamble was a serious mistake. Conse

quently, “ [a ]s long as they could see the evacuation as a natural disaster
like the typhoons and earthquakes of their homeland, impersonal and
therefore blameless, accidental and therefore unavoidable, they would
not have to feel the guilt of self-betrayal.” l1
The Nisei's social and psychological response to the wartime ex
perience differed significantly from the Issei's, largely because the
Nisei, while acknowledging their ancestral cultural roots, saw them

selves first as Americans with rights under the Constitution despite
prewar discrimination. Yet their government put them behind barbed
wire because of distrust based on their ethnicity. They learned that
Constitutional rights were not an individual and personal guarantee if
one were an American of Japanese ancestry.

The Nisei adjusted to this assault on their expectations and identity

as Americans in a variety of modes which are not mutually exclusive
and can change over time. Among the most common are :
Attempting to deny or avoid the experience and refusing to ac
knowledge the significance of losses. “ Let's forget about it; it is all
behind us. "

12

Losing faith in white America; maintaining a general distrust or
hatred toward white society and choosing to associate only with Jap
anese Americans . 13

Turning aggressions inward, as rape victims often do, by blaming
themselves for something over which they had little control.14 Anger

is internalized as feelings of guilt, shame, and racial inferiority; and
energy is focused on attaining economic success in order to prove that
one is not inferior:

Society has stripped a whole group of people of confidence. We
are afraid to speak out. We will try to keep peace at any price.
We will not make waves. It makes us uncomfortable to stand out .
We want to blend in . We want to be middle America .

Identifying with the aggressor by refusing to associate with other
Japanese Americans and proudly proclaiming ignorance of Japan, its
language and culture . 16 This attitude was encouraged by government
resettlement policies which stressed assimilation — the WRA admon

300

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

ished former evacuees not to congregate in public, that “ no more than
three Nisei should walk along the street together and that no more

than five should be together in a restaurant ,” and that it would be wise
to avoid living next door to another Japanese American family. 17 Not
unusual was the testimony that “ when I would see a Japanese American
approaching me on the street, I would turn and walk away or dash
into a nearby store .”18 This denial of who one was and how one looked

bred ethnic hate and, ultimately, self-loathing.

Evacuation dealt a major blow to the family as aа social institution .
In the camps, Issei lost their roles as family heads and breadwinners.
In the messhalls the evening meal, when values and manners were

traditionally taught, was no longer a family affair, and lack of privacy
even in living quarters made it difficult to discipline children. As a
result of WRA policies, Issei, particularly those who could not speak
English, could no longer be community leaders. Coming from aa culture

that values age and respects elders, they found themselves forced
prematurely to relinquish their power and status to the younger gen
eration . Even after the war, in many families, a Nisei, not his or her
parent, acted as the head.
The scars of wartime incarceration are not borne by the Issei and

Nisei alone. It shaped the way in which the Sansei were raised:
[ M]y father [a Nisei) always told us, “Get a good education, for
it is something no one could take away from you”. ... He said
we should assimilate, for any cultural deviation from the main
stream would only hold us back. 19
The Nisei told their children , “ Don't make waves . Don't stand out.

You are different enough anyway . ” Some would not pass on to their
children what they knew about Japanese culture. Some chose not to
tell their children of Japanese Americans' wartime suffering, because
they felt that ignorance would prevent bitterness and make them better
Americans .

The impact of the government's evacuation and resettlement pol
icies went beyond radically altering individual lives; it hastened change
in the ethnic communities. The problems of small proprietors in re

establishing themselves were felt widely, since many oftheir businesses
had been located in Japanese districts and depended on ethnic Japanese

clientele . Some Japanese proprietors were eventually successful in
displacing businesses that had moved in during their absence, but the
Japanese districts never quite regained their prewar vitality. The re

turning Japanese were no longer as geographically concentrated, and
the Nisei and Sansei ceased to patronize ethnic stores, preferring to

AFTER CAMP

301

buy from chain stores or other places that offered the best bargains,
continuing a process that had begun before World War II.20

After the war, ethnic Japanese communities were split by more
than geography. The residue of decisions and experiences surrounding
the “ loyalty ” questionnaire is so bitter that, four decades later, an ex
evacuee testified, “ [ E ]ven to this day, there are many amongst us who

do not speak about that period for fear that the same harsh feelings
might arise up again to the surface . ” 21 And although it has been many
years since they saw prominent community members arrested and

interned by the FBI, many remain fearful of taking leadership positions
in the ethnic community. 22 The wartime wounds have not entirely
healed.
>

“Before evacuation .” “ After camp. ” Words signifying the wa
tershed in the history of Japanese Americans in the United States.
Even after four decades, it is the mournful reference point from which

these Americans describe changes in their communities, their personal
lives, their aspirations. It is the central experience which has shaped
the way they see themselves, how they see America, and how they
have raised their children .

Appendix

APPENDIX : LATIN AMERICANS

305

Latin Americans
During World War II the United States expanded its internment pro
gram and national security investigations to Latin America on the basis

of “ military necessity .” On the government's invitation , approximately
3,000 residents of Latin America were deported to the United States

for internment to secure the Western Hemisphere from internal threats
and to supply exchanges for American citizens held by the Axis. Most
of these deportees were citizens, or their families, of Japan, Germany
and Italy. Although this program was not conducted pursuant to Ex
ecutive Order 9066, an examination of the extraordinary program of
interning aliens from Latin America in the United States completes
the account of federal actions to detain and intern civilians of enemy
or foreign nationality, particularly those of Japanese ancestry.
What began as a controlled, closely monitored deportation pro
gram to detain potentially dangerous diplomatic and consular officials
of Axis nations and Axis businessmen grew to include enemy aliens
who were teachers, small businessmen, tailors and barbers - mostly
people of Japanese ancestry. Over two-thirds, or 2,300, of the Latin
American internees deported to the United States were Japanese na
tionals and their families; over eighty percent came from Peru .1 About

half the Japanese internees were family members, including Nisei,
who asked to join their husbands and fathers in camps pending de
portation to Japan; family members were classified as “ voluntary in
ternees .”2

Underlying these deportations was fear of Japanese attack in Latin
America, particularly at the Panama Canal, which produced suspicion
of Latin American Japanese. But a curious wartime triangle trade in

Japanese aliens for internment developed, too. Some Latin American
countries, particularly Peru , deported Japanese out of cultural preju
dice and antagonism based on economic competition; the United States,
in turn , sought Latin American Japanese internees to exchange with
Japan for American citizens trapped in territories Japan controlled. The
same dynamic often affected Germans and Italians.

53-124

-

92 - 11

306

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

Deportees from Peru for internment in the United States domi
nated the Latin American deportation program and thus this discussion
centers on them . The history of the Japanese in Peru offers suggestive
parallels to West Coast history.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, expanding agriculture

in Latin America attracted surplus skilled farm labor from Japan; by
1923 almost 20,000 Japanese had settled in Peru alone.3 During the

1930's, economic depression in Japan and restricted immigration to
the United States* drew more Japanese to Latin America, where 23,000
entered Brazil in a single year.5 Worsening economic conditions in
Latin America, however, brought discriminatory legislation and busi
ness practices aimed at these immigrants.

Japanese in Peru inherited years of prejudice earlier directed
against Chinese immigrants. Many Japanese in Latin America had

migrated to urban areas where they built close -knit communities, opened
small businesses and gained economic independence. The Peruvian
Japanese formed ethnic business associations and social organizations,
and, although some Japanese married Peruvians and the typical family
joined the Roman Catholic church ,66 many kept aa love of Japan, nursed
feelings of cultural superiority and sent their children to Japan for

formal education . In Peru, most Japanese immigrants steadfastly re
fused Peruvian citizenship. This history fueled Peruvian resentment

against them ; economic competition , including fears of Japanese farm
ers and merchants monopolizing fertile land and some service indus
tries, aggravated prejudice. Peru severely restricted Japanese immi

gration in 1936 and followed up by restricting the right to citizenship
of some Peruvian Japanese, including Kibei. In 1940, when about
7
26,000 Japanese lived in Peru, including 9,000 Nisei , riots broke out.
Japanese businesses were destroyed and homes ransacked , and re
strictive laws muzzled the Japanese press .

By 1940, the United States had become directly involved with
security in Latin America. After the European war erupted in 1939,
the government posted FBI agents in United States embassies in Latin
America to compile information on Axis nationals and sympathizers.8

Following Pearl Harbor, the United States immediately moved to se
cure the Western Hemisphere against dangerous enemy aliens. For
the first time, Japanese -owned businesses in Latin America appeared
on the United States' Proclaimed List of Blocked Nationals and were
thus blacklisted through economic warfare. After a meeting of Western
Hemisphere nations early in 1942, the Emergency Advisory Commit
tee for Political Defense was created , composed of representatives from

APPENDIX : LATIN AMERICANS

307

the United States, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico , Uruguay and
Venezuela. The Committee forwarded to Latin American countries

recommendations to control subversive activities and to secure the
hemisphere, emphasizing internment of Axis nationals. Several Latin
American countries, severing ties with the Axis, imposed restrictions
against Axis nationals.
Acting on Emergency Advisory Committee recommendations or
in response to United States security efforts, sixteen Latin American

countries interned at least 8,500 Axis nationals during World War II. 10

Economic and political pressure from the Proclaimed Lists and the
Emergency Advisory Committee, coupled with Latin American na
tions' inability to establish costly security programs, encouraged the
United States to accept Latin American enemy aliens for internment.
Twelve Latin American countries — Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, the

Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Hon
duras, Nicaragua, Panama and Peru — deported some or all of their
enemy alien internees to the United States. 11 ( Brazil and Venezuela

did not. ) Once in the United States, the State Department had custody
and held internees in camps operated by the Justice Department's
Immigration and Naturalization Service ( INS).
The model of the Latin American deportation and internment
program was developed in Panama. Before the war, the United States

had agreed orally and informally with Panamanian officials to intern
Japanese nationals during wartime. After the Pearl Harbor attack, Pan
ama declared war on the Axis and froze Japanese assets. Japanese aliens

were arrested by Panamanian and American agents for security reasons
because they were near the Canal Zone. The War Department in

structed the Commanding General of the Caribbean Defense Com
mand to construct an internment camp in Panama for enemy aliens. 12
Panama later agreed to transfer internees to the United States to be

traded for Western Hemisphere nationals held in Japan. 13
In Peru, the State Department aimed to eliminate potential mil
itary threats and to integrate Peru's economy and government into the
war effort. After war broke out, Peru notified the War Department
that the United States could place military installations there; a small

military force eventually encamped near the oil fields ofnorthern Peru,
and the United States promised $ 29 million in armaments through

Lend-Lease agreements, the largest pledge to a Latin American state. 14
Peru moved quickly against its Japanese residents, whose newspapers,
organizations and schools were closed after December 7. Japanese
assets were frozen, and the Proclaimed Lists brought hardship to Jap

308

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

anese businesses; some Peruvian Japanese were asked to leave. Before
any deportations occurred, almost 500 Japanese registered repatriation
requests at the Spanish Embassy, which represented Japan's interests
in Peru . 15 This group was among the first to be deported. The initial
targets of the American - Peruvian deportation program were enemy
alien diplomatic and consular officials and some business representa
tives of Japan. Peru wished to deport all Japanese and other Axis
nationals as well, but the United States recognized its limited need of

Latin American Japanese for exchange with Japan; the problems of
limited shipping facilities; and the administrative burden of a full-scale
enemy alien deportation program . The United States limited the pro
gram to deporting officials and “dangerous” enemy aliens.
John K. Emmerson , Third Secretary of the American Embassy in
Peru, who had been a language student in Japan and could speak and
read Japanese fluently, was assigned to help the Peruvians identify
“ dangerous” aliens and compile deportation lists. 16 But deportations
were in fact planned with little coordination between the United States
and Peru, and Peru chose some deportees over others for no apparent
reason , although bribery may have been involved. Moreover, the in
accurate portrayal by Peruvian officials of Peruvian Japanese as de

ceptive and dangerous encouraged the United States to deport and
intern not only Japanese nationals, but some Peruvian citizens of Jap
anese descent. 17

During early 1942, approximately 1,000 Japanese, 300 Germans
and 30 Italians were deported from Peru to the United States, along

with about 850 German, Japanese and Italian aliens picked up in Ec
uador, Colombia, and Bolivia18 and an additional 184 men from Panama
and Costa Rica. 19 Normal legal proceedings were ignored and none of
the Peruvians were issued warrants, granted hearings, or indicted after
arrest. On entering the United States, officials of Axis nations were
placed in State Department custody and private citizens were sent to
INS internment camps in Texas. In most cases passports had been

confiscated before landing, and the State Department ordered Amer
ican consuls in Peru and elsewhere to issue no visas prior to depar

ture.20 Despite their involuntary arrival, deportees were treated by
INS as having illegally entered this country.21 Thus the deportees
became illegal aliens in U.S. custody who were subject to deportation
proceedings, i.e. , repatriation .

Most ofthe first group of deporteesfrom Peru were men, primarily
diplomatic and consular officials, representatives of Japanese business
interests, and private citizens targeted as community leaders and thus

APPENDIX : LATIN AMERICANS

309

“ believed to be dangerous.” Categorical classifications of some as “be
lieved to be dangerous” enabled the deportation of many private cit
izens because the United States was unwilling to investigate the need
to deport each individual. As John Emmerson later stated: “ Lacking
incriminating evidence, we established the criteria of leadership and
influence in the community to determine those Japanese to be ex
pelled . ”22
By June 1942, many Latin American countries had severed dip
lomatic relations with the Axis nations. Lend -Lease and trade con

signments between the United States and Latin America had strength

ened hemispheric unity. But the United States was not confident that
Latin America could control subversive activity and thus increased its
interest in the deportation and internment program . By this time traffic
in the exchange of Japanese and other Axis nationals for American

citizens was growing. By early 1942, aided by Swiss and Spanish in
termediaries, the United States and Japan had begun negotiating for
the exchange of nationals, both officials and private citizens . By July,

the United States had deported approximately 1,100 Latin American
Japanese and 500 Germans to their home countries.23 Enemy alien

citizens who threatened nothing were uprooted from their homes to
be used in the exchange. By August 1942, the State Department es
timated that, in addition to the Americans caught as Japan advanced
across the southwest Pacific, at least 3,300 Americans were trapped in

China and available for exchange with Japan.24 These considerable
numbers increased American interest in receiving Japanese deportees
from Latin America. But slow communications, problems in obtaining
assurances that repatriates could pass safely through the war zone,
shipping shortages, and Justice Department refusal to repatriate an
individual against his will, delayed further repatriations for over a year.
As a result, “ dangerous” enemy aliens were deported to the U.S. at a

comfortable pace for both Latin America and the United States, in
cluding INS administrators seeking to prevent overcrowding in the
camps.

In January 1943, after 200 more Japanese aliens had been deported
from Peru, the Justice Department refused a State Department request
for the deportation of another 1,000 Latin American Japanese.25 Un

satisfied with the screening procedures of the American embassy in
Peru as well as Peruvian practices in identifying dangerous individuals,

the Justice Department sent Raymond Ickes ofitsAlien Enemy Control
Unit to Peru to oversee the selection. Ickes, partially successful in
overcoming low-level Peruvian officials' obstructionism and indiffer

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

ence , entertained a novel idea shared by other American officials in
Peru and President Prado — to establish internment camps in Peru

financed by the United States. The Administration had already re
quested appropriations to establish an internment camp in Cuba.
Moreover, the State Department was reluctant to encourage Peru to

breach international law by sending all its Peruvian Japanese from a
nonbelligerent state directly to a belligerent one.26 But the American
embassy in Peru vetoed the Peruvian camp idea, distrusting Peruvian
officials' ability to intern dangerous individuals — a view supported by
Peru's record in the deportation. As Emmerson had reported earlier,

“ since local police and other officials are susceptible to Japanese bribes,
their alertness cannot be depended upon .” 27 Indeed, Arthur Shinei
Yakabi, a bakery worker deported from Peru, testified : “ I was asleep

in February 1943 when some Peruvian police came and arrested my
employer. My employer pulled a fast one by bribing the police, and
offered me as a substitute.” 28 In addition, the embassy's view of the

danger posed by Peruvian Japanese was changing by the end ofsummer
1943; Emmerson, now Second Secretary, was confident that the Jap
anese community no longer constituted aa threat to security.29 The Latin
American deportation program continued nevertheless.

In May 1943, the Emergency Advisory Committee adopted a
resolution that American republics intern and expel dangerous Axis
nationals. 30 Near the end of 1943, the Committee reviewed the Latin

American security situation and concluded that direct United States
involvement in securing the hemisphere was crucial. Except for Brazil,
no Latin American country had initiated security measures compatible
with United States standards. The Committee wanted agreements for

deportation programs from Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Venezuela and
Colombia.

The repatriation and exchange program proceeded slowly. In Sep
tember 1943, over 1,300 Japanese left New York for Japan , over half
from Peru , Panama, Costa Rica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Cuba,
El Salvador and Guatemala ; almost 40 percent of the entire contingent
was from Peru . 31

In the spring of 1944, the State Department realized that no more

Axis nationals would be repatriated until the war was over. Neverthe
less, from January to October 1944, over 700 Japanese men, women ,
children and 70 German aliens were deported from Peru to the United

States, along with over 130 enemy aliens from Bolivia, Costa Rica and
Ecuador. 32 Peru pushed for additio Japanese deportations, but the
United States could not commit the shipping and did not want to

APPENDIX : LATIN AMERICANS

311

augment the hundreds ofJapanese internees awaiting repatriation. The
State Department also decided not to repatriate Axis nationals against
their will, realizing that many internees might not want to return to a
devastated country. Thus deportation proceedings lagged and the INS
internment camps became overcrowded .

Internees at INS camps in Crystal City, Kennedy and Seagoville,
Texas, and Missoula, Montana, had two main concerns: having their
families join them in the United States and repatriation to Japan . Living
conditions at the camps were not unlike those in the war relocation

centers. Confinement's bad effects were evident: lack ofprivacy, family
breakdown, listlessness and uncertainty about the future. To safeguard
the internees from unhealthy conditions, the camps were inspected
routinely by Spain, the International Red Cross, the War Prisoners
Aid of the YMCA and the YWCA , the American Friends Service Com
mittee, and the National Catholic Welfare Conference. At the end of

the war, approximately 1,400 Latin American Japanese, mostly from
Peru, were interned in the United States, awaiting a decision on their
destiny . Some wished to return to Latin America, others to Japan. To
most it was a choice of the lesser of two evils: they had lost everything
in Latin America, but Japan , which they had left to pursue greater
economic opportunity, was devastated by the war. A number wanted
to remain in the United States and begin anew .

As the end of the war approached in Summer 1945, the United
States and other Western Hemisphere nations began to consider the
postwar fate of interned Axis nationals. President Truman issued Pro
clamation 2655 authorizing the United States to deport enemy aliens
deemed “ to be dangerous to the public peace and safety of the United
States. " 33 The Latin American Conference on Problems of War and

Peace passed a resolution recommending that persons deported for
security reasons should be prevented from “ further residing in the
hemisphere, if such residence would be prejudicial to the future se
curity or welfare of the Americas. ” 34

The State and Justice Departments disagreed about security mea
sures to take against interned enemy aliens. The Justice Department

wanted to remove internees from its jurisdiction and divorce itselffrom

the deportation and internment program ; the State Department wanted
to conclude the program by removing all dangerous Axis influences
from the hemisphere.35 As part of its long-term security strategy, in

September 1945 the State Department secured a proclamation from
President Truman directing the Secretary of State to remove any en

emy aliens in the United States from the Western Hemisphere, in

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

cluding those from Latin America, who were illegal aliens and dan
gerous to hemispheric security.

In December 1945, approximately 800 Peruvian Japanese were
voluntarily deported to Japan,36 but in general the internment ended
very slowly and tortuously. The United States sought to return intern
ees who were not classified as dangerous and who refused deportation
to Axis countries, to their points of origin in Latin America. 37 But the
common hemispheric interests that bred the deportation had dissolved,
and the government now had to negotiate about returning internees

to Latin America using weak, hastily -written wartime agreements, for
the United States had not exacted initial guarantees defining the de
portees' postwar fate. For the most part, the Central American and

Caribbean countries that had deported enemy aliens to the United
States had placed few restrictions on their disposition. Mexico, Co

lombia and Ecuador had required specific guarantees before releasing
enemy aliens to the United States. Peru, Ecuador and El Salvador
wanted jurisdiction over internees in order to obtain the return of some

German deportees, for many Germans in Latin America, unlike the

Japanese, had acquired economic and political influence as well as
greater social acceptance. Peru had sought no firm agreement from

the United States concerning final destination and wanted to restrict
the return of Japanese (but not German ) internees. The United States
wanted a consistent policy for the Latin American internees and gave

Peru the choice of accepting all non -dangerous internees or leaving
deportation control to the United States. So negotiations dragged on
for the return to Peru of Peruvian Japanese.

Meanwhile, the internees used litigation to block deportation to
Axis states. Some German internees filed habeas corpus petitions chal

lenging their detention by the United States, claiming that they were
not alien enemies as defined by the Alien Enemy Act of 1798, because
they were not natives or citizens of an enemy country. In January 1946,
this effort failed when a federal district court ruled that the Latin

American internees were “alien enemies ” who could legally be de
tained.38 After this decision, 513 Japanese (over ninety percent from
Peru ), 897 Germans and 37 Italians from Latin America in United

States internment camps were granted hearings pending deportation
to Axis countries.39 The hearings were a formality leading inevitably
to deportation to Axis countries, although most of the remaining Latin
American Japanese wished to return to Peru . Voluntary repatriation
continued into 1946 , with at least 130 Peruvian Japanese returning to
Japan by June. 4

APPENDIX : LATIN AMERICANS

313

The final destiny of the Latin American Japanese was placed in
the hands of the Justice Department after the State Department con
cluded that insufficient evidence existed to call the remaining Japanese
internees dangerous to the Western Hemisphere. 41 The State De

partment, although willing to proceed with deportations to Japan, hoped
the Justice Department would stop deportation proceedings against
Peruvian Japanese with families in Peru.42 The process moved very
slowly for those who wanted to remain in the United States or return
to Peru. Two Peruvian Japanese, Eigo and Elsa Kudo, remembered

their anxious waiting period:
There were several hearings to persuade these poor internees to
leave for Japan. We were one of those who asked, “Why are we
illegal aliens when we were brought under armed MPs and pro

cessed by the immigration officers upon arrival in New Orleans?”
... Again and again they repeated, “You are illegal aliens because
you have no passports nor visa. . . "43

In August 1946, Wayne Collins, an attorney who had often helped
Issei and Nisei over the years , arranged for some Peruvian Japanese
to be transferred from INS internment camps to a fresh produce pro

cessing plant in Seabrook, New Jersey, where Japanese Americans had
worked during the exclusion from the West Coast. The internees wel

comed Seabrook as an opportunity to escape camp life, restore tradi
tional family life , and earn relatively decent wages while awaiting word

of their ultimate fate; at the same time, it must be recognized that
conditions at Seabrook were far less attractive than those of ordinary
liberated life. Other internees were paroled from the INS camps under
sponsorship of American citizens .

To some extent, returning internees to Peru was further compli
cated during 1946 by a nationalistic pro -Japan underground movement,
the Aikoku Doshi-Kai, which sprang up in Peru and South America.
Both Peruvian and American officials overestimated the movement's
influence , but the United States accepted Peru's reluctance to bring

Japanese deportees back into a country inflamed by anti-Japanese sen
timent. Peru announced that it would allow only Peruvian citizens of

Japanese descent and Japanese related to Peruvian citizens to return, 44
and from May to October 1946, only about 100 Japanese internees
went back to Peru . 45 At the same time, almost 600 German nationals

were returned to Latin America in the year 1945-46.46

At the beginning of 1947, 300 Peruvian Japanese remained in the
United States, the majority at Seabrook. Those with family ties in Peru

entertained hopes of returning home. Talks between the United States

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

and Peru were stalemated during 1947; negotiations were renewed

with the Peruvian government which had come to power in a coup in
the winter of 1948–49, but it refused to accept any non-citizens.
In the spring of 1949, exasperated State Department officials con

cluded that the only solution to the Peruvian Japanese internee prob
lem was to give internees the status of “ permanent legally admitted
immigrants” who could remain in the United States. 47 Finally, in July
1952, the remaining Japanese Peruvian internees, having resided in
the United States for seven years or more , petitioned the Board of
Immigration Appeals to reopen hearings to suspend deportation orders,
and Congress approved the deportation suspensions in 1953. The war
time deportation and internment program was finally at an end. But,
for some, the emotional trauma of the program was endless. Peruvian

deportee Ginzo Murono stated: “ Some of the people from Peru who

were interned with me were separated from their families for many
years. In a few cases, the broken families were never reunited .” 48

Historical documents concerning the ethnic Japanese in Latin
ว

America are, of course, housed in distant archives, and the Commission

has not researched that body of material. Although the need for this
extensive, disruptive program has not been definitively reviewed by
the Commission , John Emmerson, a well - informed American diplomat
in Peru during the program , wrote more than thirty years later: “ Dur
ing my period of service in the embassy, we found no reliable evidence

of planned or contemplated acts of sabotage, subversion, or espio
nage. ”49 Whatever justification is offered for this treatment of enemy
aliens, many Latin American Japanese never saw their homes again
after remaining for many years in a kind of legal no -man’s - land. Their

history is one ofthe strange, unhappy, largely forgotten stories ofWorld
War II .

Part II
The Aleuts

War and Evacuation in Alaska

About 10,000 years ago migrants from Asia to North America settled
on the remote Aleutian Islands. These migrants were the Native Aleuts,
who proudly called themselves Unangan, “ we the people. ”
The Aleutian Islands form a chain strung across 900 miles from
the Alaska Peninsula to the island of Attu, 300 miles from the Kam
chatka Peninsula of the Soviet Union. The islands are treeless, blan

keted by soft tundra. Northward - flowing tropical air from Japan and
frigid, dry air from the Arctic clash there, leaving the islands hidden
in fog and swept by violent winds most of the year.

In the 18th century the Aleutian Islands and their 10,000 inhab
itants were “ discovered” by Russian entrepreneurs. After colonization,
the Aleut population was decimated by massacre and disease; when
the United States purchased Alaska from the Russians in 1867, only
about 2,000 Aleuts remained. The Russians removed several hundred

Aleuts to the uninhabited Pribilof Islands of St. Paul and St. George,
200 miles north of the island of Unalaska, to harvest the fur seals that

annually migrated there.
By 1867 the aboriginal Aleuts had largely assimilated the western
culture of the Russians and were converted to the Russian Orthodox

religion. Under American dominance the Aleuts’ subsistence economy
and aboriginal culture further eroded . The introduction of the Amer
ican wage -earning economy and educational system , which discouraged
traditional Aleut language, art and music, contributed to the attrition .
The irreparable loss of much traditional culture and the tragic
demise of the Aleut population was exacerbated by their removal from
the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands during World War II. The story of
what happened to the Aleuts during the war has, for the most part,
remained untold . Like the hard -fought battles of the Aleutian Cam

paign — the only campaign during World War II to be fought on Amer
ican soil — it remains a mystery to most Americans, the islands only
names in a crossword puzzle. But the Aleuts have never forgotten.
317

318

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

In the struggle for naval supremacy the Aleutian Islands were

strategically valuable to both the United States and Japan. Beginning
in March 1942, United States military intelligence repeatedly warned
Alaska defense commanders that Japanese aggression into the Aleutians
was imminent. In June 1942 the Japanese launched aa swift offensive,
bombing Unalaska, invading two other islands and capturing the Aleut
villagers on Attu . During this offensive, American military commanders
in Alaska ordered the evacuation of Aleuts on the remaining islands to
places of relative safety.
The Aleut evacuation and the removal of persons of Japanese

ancestry from the West Coast during the same period were separate
events - neither caused nor influenced the other. When speaking of
the two evacuations, common phrases such as “ military necessity ” do
not hold the same meaning, nor should they. The evacuation from the
Aleutian and Pribilof Islands, then under attack, was not a government
action influenced by wartime hysteria or fear of sabotage or espionage.

of evacuees suffered economic loss and personal hardship;
but the root causes of loss and damage are very different in the two
Both groups

cases.

The evacuation of the Aleuts was a reasonable precaution taken
to ensure their safety. But there was a large failure of administration
and planning which becomes evident when the central questions are
addressed : Why did the military and civilian agencies responsible for
Aleut welfare wait until Attu was actually captured before they evac
uated the islands ? Why were evacuation and relocation policies not

formulated by the government departments most knowledgeable about
the danger of an enemy attack they expected? And why was the return
of the Aleuts to their homes delayed long after the threat of Japanese
aggression had passed ?
The Aleuts were relocated to abandoned facilities in southeastern

Alaska and exposed to aa bitter climate and epidemics ofdisease without
adequate protection or medical care. They fell victim to an extraor
dinarily high death rate, losing many of the elders who sustained their
culture . While the Aleuts were in southeastern Alaska, their homes in
the Aleutians and Pribilofs were pillaged and ransacked by American
military personnel.

In sum, the evacuation of the Aleuts was not planned in a timely

or thoughtful manner. The condition of the camps where they were
sent was deplorable; their resettlement was slow and inconsiderate.

WAR AND EVACUATION IN ALASKA

319

The official indifference which so many Native American groups have
experienced marked the Aleuts as well.
The Aleutian Campaign

As global conflict spread during 1940, U.S. military leaders di
rected their attention to preventing attacks on our Pacific frontier. The

defense ofAmerica's western outposts, Alaska, Hawaii and the Panama

Canal, were strengthened. Although Alaska was low on the priority
list, by June 30, 1940, the Army had committed at least 5,000 troops
to its defense. 1

By the beginning of 1941, America's naval power in the Pacific
was weakening relative to Japan's, and the approaching Pacific war
increased the strategic value of the Aleutians. The westernmost Aleu

tian island , Attu, lay only 600 miles from Japan's northern flank in the
Kurile Islands. The Boeing plant and Bremerton Navy Yard in Seattle

were only eight hours’ bomber- flight from the Aleutians. The Aleutians
were stepping stones which either the United States or Japan could
use offensively. They were also important to the United States as
passage points on the shipping route for our Lend -Lease traffic to the
Soviet Union .

The Alaska Defense Command (ADC), with Brigadier General
Simon B. Buckner in command, was created in February 1941 as part
of the recently -formed Western Defense Command to raise Alaska's
priority in military operations. Earlier the Navy had established the
Alaska Sector under the Thirteenth Naval District commanded by Rear
Admiral Charles S. Freeman . Throughout the summer of 1941, gar

risoning accelerated. Army facilities were constructed on Unalaska
Island to defend the naval installations at Dutch Harbor, and approx
imately 5,500 troops were brought in.? Between June and September
1941, ADC strength tripled.3
During the fall of 1941, construction of air bases strategically lo
cated at Cold Bay on the Alaska Peninsula and Umnak Island in the

Aleutians moved ahead. They were secretly built under the names of
fish cannery companies. The Umnak airstrip was particularly essential

because it protected Dutch Harbor, which controlled Unimak Strait
and passage through the Aleutian chain, linking the Pacific Ocean and

the Bering Sea. Strategic use of the Aleutians hinged largely on pos
session of Dutch Harbor.

Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the ADC bolstered
the Aleutian bases in preparation for offensives against Japan. Since

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

naval bases in Alaska were still under construction and lacked adequate
air support, the ADC was concerned about possible Japanese attack .
As the Governor of Alaska, Ernest Gruening, pointed out to Secretary
of the Interior Harold L. Ickes: *

It is well known to the Japanese that the Alaska bases, while
designed ultimately to be used offensively, are still far from com
plete, and that ifattacked soon would probably be unable to defend

themselves adequately and could therefore be destroyed. ...
.

(Dutch Harbor) is the base at which the Japanese can strike
most easily and which they will probably select first since it is the
most difficult of all to defend. 4

In mid -March 1942, Army Intelligence reported that a Japanese
offensive could be expected at any time.5 As a result, by the end of
April 1942, garrisons in Alaska had doubled to 40,242.6

In late April 1942, Colonel Jimmy Doolittle successfully attacked

the coast of Japan, dropping bombs on Tokyo Harbor. The stunned
Japanese Imperial Staff acted swiftly to secure its newly -acquired pos
sessions and resources in the South Pacific; it believed the destruction
of U.S. naval forces was paramount to the further extension of Japanese
hegemony in the South Pacific . The Japanese believed, mistakenly,
that Doolittle had launched his attack from the Aleutians, so they also
acted to protect their exposed northern flank.
On May 5, in an effort to intercept Lend -Lease traffic to Siberia
and to cripple U.S. naval forces in the Pacific, Japan authorized the

“ M I Operation.” This two- phase operation involved establishing both
defensive and offensive strategic positions in the Pacific. The Japanese
planned to attack the Aleutian Islands as a diversion while simulta
neously attacking the more strategically valuable Midway Island. They

believed U.S. forces would concentrate on defending the Aleutians
while Japan's main thrust was directed toward Midway and the de
struction of the U.S. fleet that would be trapped between the Aleutians

and Midway. Japan would then control strategic Pacific waters from
the western Aleutians south to Midway.

The ensuing attack against the U.S. Pacific Fleet was the largest
8

naval operation in Japanese history . Having broken the secret Japa
nese naval code, the U.S. Navy knew the details of their plan . Ac

cording to Naval Intelligence reports, an attack force would be launched

* Since Alaska was a territory of the United States, the governor was

appointed by and reported to the Secretary of the Interior.

WAR AND EVACUATION IN ALASKA

321

from Japan around May 20, and sometime after May 24, the Aleutians

and Midway would be attacked.9 The Commander-in -Chief of the Pa
cific Fleet, Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, decided not to split his forces
and instead dispatched a small nine-ship force to Alaska. On May 25 ,
1942, Nimitz warned Rear Admiral Robert A. Theobald, Commander
of that North Pacific Force, that the “ Japanese have completed plans

for an amphibious operation to secure an advanced base in the Aleutian
Islands. ...” 10
Additional intercepted Japanese messages enabled the U.S. to
predict even more precisely when the attack would occur: “ [ B ]y 21
May the United States knew fairly accurately what the strength of the
[Japanese] Northern Area Force would be and when it would strike,

1 June or shortly thereafter .” ll Poor weather, however, made it im
possible to detect the enemy attack force until a Navy patrol plane
spotted the Japanese on June 2, 400 miles south of Kiska Island.

On the morning of June 3, 1942, the Japanese bombed Dutch
Harbor naval installations and the following day attacked Army facilities
at Fort Mears. Nearby Unalaska's air defenses were unable to prevent

the enemy attack. Squadrons coming from Cold Bay arrived too late,
and the radio communication systems were so inadequate that the
secret airfields at Umnak never received word of the Japanese attack.

Nevertheless, losses on both sides were minimal. At the same time,
the Japanese were suffering decisive defeat at Midway. But the Jap
anese commander ordered the Aleutian campaign to proceed as planned
in order to secure a defensive position in the northern Pacific and to
establish bases in preparation for future offensives. 12

Foggy weather and typically poor radio communications made the
roving Japanese fleet impossible to find. On June 7 and 8, while Admiral

Theobald was searching for the enemy fleet in the Bering Sea near the
Pribilof Islands, the Japanese Northern Force landed approximately
2,500 soldiers on Kiska and Attu, unopposed. Ten U.S. weather crew
men on Kiska were taken prisoner. The following day in Chicagof

village on Attu , 42 Aleuts and two non-Aleut Alaska Indian Service
employees were captured.

The absence of daily radio reports from Kiska and Attu aroused

suspicion that the Japanese had invaded the western Aleutians. This
was confirmed on June 10 when the weather cleared enough for an
American scouting plane to sight the Japanese occupation forces on
Kiska.

Long -distance bombings proved ineffective in dislodging the Jap
anese, so an airstrip and command post were constructed on Adak

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

Island in the western Aleutians. Throughout Fall 1942, continuous
bombing of enemy installations on Kiska contained the Japanese in a
defensive posture. Secret U.S. airfields on Umnak prevented the Jap
anese from patrolling the waters of the north Pacific from the Aleutians:

While enemy orders referred to Kiska as “the key position on the

northern attacking route against the U.S. in the future,” it is fairly
evident that the Japanese had no such design and were attempting
only to block the American advance . 13

During the fall, General Buckner garrisoned the islands by landing
small forces on Atka and other islands, including St. Paul. To Buckner,

the Japanese occupation of Kiska and Attu was the only obstacle to
launching an offensive against Japan from the Aleutians. By December
1942, Buckner had 150,000 troops in the Alaskan theatre14 and, in the
following month , Admiral Nimitz ordered the North Pacific Force to
clear the islands of Japanese troops. 15
During the winter of 1943 the North Pacific Force blockaded Attu

and Kiska to force Japan to surrender these outposts. The blockade
was effective, for the last Japanese supply ship reached Attu in March.

Equally devastating, the Japanese had to relinquish air power to the
U.S. by the middle of spring; losing more than 1,000 airplanes at
Guadalcanal, the Japanese had no replacements for the Aleutian cam

paign. 16 Finally, Japanese naval supremacy in the north Pacific ended
in March after the U.S. won the battle for the Komandorski Islands
west of Attu .

Fewer than 10,000 Japanese troops on Kiska and Attu awaited the
inevitable attack . On May 11, 1943, the U.S. invaded Attu, and for
19 days waged a successful but bloody battle that cost over 500 Amer
ican and 2,300 Japanese lives .

In July 1943, the U.S. successfully launched a bombing attack
from Adak to Paramushiro on the Kurile Islands, the base of the Jap
anese Northern Force. The Japanese, facing a weakened northern
flank, decided to withdraw their troops from Kiska. In late July, under
cover of fog, the Japanese evacuated the island, slipping through the
U.S. naval blockade. Almost three weeks later on August 15, 1943,

the Navy, Army and Air Force invaded Kiska; heavy fog provided the
only resistance. This marked the official end of the Aleutian campaign .

In September 1943, General DeWitt, head of the Western De
fense Command, submitted a plan to the Joint Chiefs of Staff for the

invasion of Japan by forces based partially on Attu and Kiska. The plan
was never used. Also in September, Admiral Nimitz placed the Aleu
tians in a “Non-Invasion Status’17 and the Eleventh Air Force was

WAR AND EVACUATION IN ALASKA

323

redesignated the Alaska Department and separated from the Western
Defense Command, reflecting a lower priority in defense operations.
By the end of 1943, Army forces in Alaska were reduced to 113,000
men .

U.S. military combat activity there did not completely cease.
Bombing attacks on Paramushiro were launched from Aleutian bases
from 1943 to 1945 to keep constant pressure on Japan's northern flank .
These attacks tied up one- sixth of Japan's Air Force. 18 By the fall of

1943, however, the threat of Japanese advances and occupation had
long since dissipated. 19

Considering Evacuation
Events between Pearl Harbor and the evacuation from the Aleu

tian and Pribilof Islands suggest that the government agencies (the

Department of the Interior and the military) responsible for protecting
the Aleut residents failed to coordinate their activities internally or
with each other. Interior officials, despite the growing threat of attack,

were unable to agree on the desirability of evacuation and lost valuable
planning time . As a result, the military was forced to evacuate the
islands without adequate guidance from the Interior Department.

The Interior Department exercised control over policy affecting
the Aleuts through three divisions: the Office of Indian Affairs (OIA ),
the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and the Division of Territories
and Island Possessions. On the Aleutian Islands, the OIA's involvement

with the Aleuts was limited to education. The OIA established primary
schools on the islands, and through its Alaska Indian Service appointed
a teacher to the larger villages. The FWS's relationship to the Aleuts
was based upon its responsibility to manage the profitable fur seal
harvest on the Pribilofs. Since the Aleuts provided the only source of

labor for this, the FWS maintained control over the Pribilof Aleuts

and assumed responsibility for their education and general welfare.
During World War II, the Division of Territories' major concern was
to coordinate efforts among the Territorial Government of Alaska, which

was under its jurisdiction, and federal war agencies on matters relating
to supplying Alaska and evacuating the Aleutians. The military offices
that established or carried out policies for civilian evacuation of the
islands were the Navy's Alaska Sector under Admiral Freeman , the

North Pacific Force under Admiral Theobald, and the Army's Alaska
Defense Command under General Buckner.

Fearing Japanese attack, Buckner ordered the evacuation of mil

itary dependents from Alaska immediately after Pearl Harbor. Dis

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

cussions about removing other Aleutian residents were begun by the

military and the Interior Department soon thereafter. The Navy De
partment contacted Paul W. Gordon of the Division of Territories on

January 17, 1942, expressing concern for civilians who lived near the
military installations at Dutch Harbor:
It is felt that the evacuation of all white women and children from

Unalaska would be to the best interest of the present military
situation . 20

The Army recommended to the Navy that Aleut women and children
also be removed in the event of an evacuation , and the Division of
Territories relayed this recommendation to Governor Gruening on
January 23. The Division concurred with an Army recommendation
that “ the activities of the Army and Navy connected with evacuation
be coordinated with the activities of the Governor's office. " 21 The Ter

ritorial Governor's office was a logical place to channel information in
order to coordinate planning, since it fell under Interior’s jurisdiction .
In the absence ofGovernor Gruening, Acting Territorial Governor
E. L. Bartlett called a meeting on March 13, 1942, to discuss plans
for evacuation in the event of enemy attack. Representatives of several
civilian agencies were present (including Claude Hirst, a junior OIA

officer from Juneau), but no military representatives attended the
meeting. One conclusion they reached was that
[N]o general attempt should be made even in the case of actual
enemy attack, to evacuate Eskimos or other primitive natives from
Alaska. It is felt these people could never adjust themselves to
life outside oftheir present environment, whereas they could “ take
to the hills ” in case of danger and be practically self sufficient for
a considerable period .22
It was decided that Aleut women and children who lived near Dutch
Harbor should be relocated to villages on Unimak Island and on the
Alaska Peninsula where they would be “ less exposed (to both military

and social dangers). ”23 The OIA chose relocation sites after conferring
with the Aleuts . Five of the nine possible villages were Aleut villages;
in three of these locations living quarters were available in closed fish
canneries.

At the meeting, officials recognized the need for further planning
to coordinate efforts between the military and civilian branches:

There is aa need for basic thinking and definite decisions on matters
of broad policy relating to evacuation, beyond what has been
evidenced to date.

A joint declaration of some kind might be prepared by partic
ipating agencies stating evacuation problems and recommending

WAR AND EVACUATION IN ALASKA

325

lines of procedure. This should be addressed to the Army and
Navy commands in Alaska and the Governor. 24
The meeting concluded with a sense of urgency , with agreement that

“ another meeting ofthe group (in the very near future) is desirable .” 25
In later discussions, high -ranking OIA and other Interior De

partment officials remained apprehensive about removing the Aleuts
from their homes. They feared that the Aleuts could not adjust easily
to a foreign environment. John Collier, Commissioner of the OIA, sent

a memorandum to Secretary Ickes on April 10, 1942, calling attention
to the OIA's responsibility in establishing plans for Aleuts on the Aleu
tian Islands. Commissioner Collier pointed out that the Navy said it
would not protect villages west of Dutch Harbor, and that Aleuts from
the westernmost inhabited islands of Attu and Atka showed no incli
nation to move . 26

The OIA faced aa difficult situation : it wished neither to evacuate

the Aleuts forcibly nor to leave them in a potentially dangerous area.
The Aleuts in Unalaska, Collier reported, were willing to be moved
eastward.27 The OIA was relatively free to relocate these people swiftly
to the preferred sites chosen at the March 18 meeting. A consensus

could not be reached , however, among the military, the OIA and the
Governor's office whether any Aleuts should be evacuated . As Collier
pointed out in the same memorandum to Ickes :

Our representative at Juneau, Superintendent Hirst, is in favor

of evacuation . Governor Gruening is opposed to it on the grounds
. [that] the dislocation resulting from aa forced evacuation would
be a greater damage and involve greater risks to the ultimate

welfare of the people than the probable risks if they remain where
they are . Admiral Freeman . . . has sent us a wire in response to

our request for advice which places the responsibility upon us.
His wire seems to say that evacuation is desirable but not man

datory. He does say that the Natives are “wholly unprotected from
enemy raiders. " 28
Collier warned Ickes that if Dutch Harbor were bombed and Aleut

residents of nearby Unalaska were injured, the Interior Department
might be criticized. But he cautiously concluded, “ I am inclined to
leave the Natives where they are , unless the Navy insists that they be
moved out. ”29 The OIA chose a course which left the Aleuts in their

villages; Claude Hirst dissented. It appears that although the Navy
had no desire to make the final evacuation decision , the OIA preferred

to leave this ultimate responsibility to the Navy. The OIA's position
was approved less than a week later by Secretary Ickes, with the

stipulation that the Aleuts would be moved if they wished.30

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

Sensing that the coordination of military and civilian operations
was not running smoothly, James C. Rettie, Counselor from the Alaska

Office of President Roosevelt’s National Resources Planning Board,
contacted the Director of the Bureau of the Budget, Harold D. Smith ,
on May 7, 1942, to register his complaints about Alaska's unprepared
ness :

I feel that it is my personal duty ... to express to you again my

grave concern about the present state of affairs in the Territory.
We shall be worse than fools if we do not anticipate an attack
in force against Alaska within the next two months. If nothing is

done to remedy the administrative paralysis and lack of clearly
defined responsibility now prevailing in Alaska and the inadequate
preparations to evacuate civilians, the confusion and loss of life
which will follow an attack may easily be worse than it was in
Hawaii. The record of inaction , delays, inter -agency squabbles

and bickering and lack of proper liaison with the armed forces will
be terribly ugly. There will also be the vital question of the need

for a unified militarycommand. An outraged publicopinion in
the United States will rightly insist upon a hard -boiled investi
gation which might easily shake this administration to its very
foundations.

I therefore plead for the utmost speed and resolution in the
issuance of whatever Executive Order the military authorities can

and will effectively use to achieve proper coordination between
military and civilian activities. 31

Smith forwarded Rettie's correspondence to Henry L. Stimson, the
Secretary of War, but it was not until June 11, 1942, after the Japanese
attack, that the President signed Executive Order 9181 to establish
the Alaska War Council chaired by the territorial governor with com
missioners drawn from civilian agencies. The Council was responsible
for maintaining close liaison with the military commanders and for
conforming civilian policy to military objectives, “relative to the safety
and security of the civilian population of Alaska.” 32

It appears that no coordinated government policy for developing
evacuation plans existed, even as the Japanese launched the M I Op

eration . The day after Dutch Harbor was bombed by the Japanese,
Governor Gruening wrote Secretary Ickes. Gruening doubted that an
evacuation of Attu and Atka was desirable and tried to dissuade Ickes

from forcibly evacuating those islands; moreover, the presence of Jap
anese vessels in the vicinity would have complicated any evacuation.
At this late date, Gruening sought a clear evacuation policy.33 He
pointed out that Admiral Freeman believed that the Japanese might
occupy one of the two westernmost islands, endangering the Aleuts

WAR AND EVACUATION IN ALASKA

327

there. Freeman had indicated to Gruening that “the Office of Indian

Affairs desired this evacuation ... [and ] ... the Navy had no special
wishes or desires in the matter. " 34 The OIA appears to have shifted
position regarding the desirability of evacuation, and the Navy seems
to have declined any decision -making responsibility.
According to Gruening, General Buckner, on the other hand,
clearly opposed the evacuation :
(Buckner) gave me his opinion that it would be a great mistake
to evacuate these natives.He said, in effect, that evacuating them
was pretty close to destroying them ; that they now live under

conditions suitable to them ; and that if they were removed they
would be subject to the deterioration of contact with the white

man , would likely fall prey to drink and disease, and probably
would never get back to their historic habitat.35
Gruening agreed with Buckner as did Superintendent Hirst, who re

versed his former position. Gruening went one step further: “ [ B ]efore
any decision could be made, a qualified representative of the Office
of Indian Affairs ( should] proceed to Attu and Atka ... [ to] discuss
the matter fully with the natives, and make the appropriate recom

mendations. ” 36 Gruening was concerned that the Aleuts understand
the full implications of being moved to a strange new environment,
although one relatively safe from enemy invasion .

Secretary Ickes responded on June 17, 1942, agreeing with Gruen
ing's recommendation, but ironically noting that:
[ R ]ecent events have eliminated this procedure. Attu is now oc
cupied by the enemy, and the Navy is in the process of evacuating
the natives of Atka and of the Pribilof Islands. Arrangements are

in progress for settling evacuees during whatever period may be
necessary in Southeastern Alaska. 37

Thus began the evacuation ofAleuts from the Aleutian and Pribilof

Islands, seemingly without well-developed plans and certainly without
a clear policy to define the division of responsibilities between the
military and civilian branches of government. The Department of the
Interior was unable to reach an internal consensus; the Navy passed

decision -making responsibility to Interior; and the Army, despite its
knowledge ofan inevitable Japanese attack, took a position which they,

like the others, would reverse when Japanese invasion became a reality.
Perhaps this unpreparedness can be partially explained by the lack
of coordination between the Army and Navy in Alaska. Their head
quarters were 300 miles apart, and the exchange of intelligence infor
mation was sometimes slow and inaccurate . The commanders of the

ADC and the North Pacific Force often clashed because of personality,

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

and this exacerbated difficulties of coordination . 38 Had the Alaska War

Council been established earlier, it might have provided an effective
focus for military and civilian evacuation planning. By the time the
Council was established in June, the ADC and OIA were searching

for a place to relocate villagers evacuated from Atka and the Pribilofs.
The Evacuation of Atka and the Pribilof Islands

Following the Japanese bombing of Dutch Harbor, the Navy dis
patched the seaplane tender U.S.S. Gillis to Atka to search for the

elusive Japanese fleet. One of the Navy patrol planes spotted the
Japanese invasion force on Kiska, and on June 11, 1942, the Navy
launched air raids on Kiska from Nazan Bay on Atka.

The Japanese responded by sending out scouting planes and on
June 12, a Japanese reconnaissance plane was sighted over Nazan Bay.
At approximately 8:00 p.m. , the Gillis received orders to evacuate Atka
and to apply aa scorched -earth policy before leaving. 39 The Commander
of the Navy Patrol Wing issued the order to evacuate, to relocate the
Atkans to a safe place and to prevent Japanese troops from using the
Atkans' housing. 40 The Gillis dispatched a unit of sailors to Atka village
and evacuated C. Ralph and Ruby Magee, who were employed by the

OIA's Alaska Indian Service, she as a schoolteacher and he as a general
maintenance man . They were the only people evacuated because,
according to the Magees, after eighteen hours of bombing raids on

Kiska and sighting a Japanese scout plane, “We had the people move
out to their fish camps about three miles from the village, thinking
that they might be safer out there in their tents ."41 The Magees were
given twenty minutes to pack ; then the detail of sailors burned the

village, including the Aleut church, leaving only four houses unscathed.
The Gillis set sail immediately for Dutch Harbor.
Later that evening, most of the Atka Aleuts returned to their
burning village. They were spotted by the crew of the seaplane tender
U.S.S. Hulbert and loaded aboard. The next day the Hulbert headed
for Nikolski village on Umnak Island, where it eventually dropped off
its 62 Aleut passengers to await transportation to Dutch Harbor. 42 On
the night of the 13th, Patrol Wing Four reported that a message from

Admiral Nimitz revealed that “ the Japanese commander in Kiska had
directed his aircraft to bomb Nazan Bay. By this time Nazan Bay had

been completely evacuated and our forces were safely away .” 43 In fact,
nineteen Aleuts were stranded at Atka until June 15, when two Navy
planes picked them up.

The evacuation of Atka was necessarily hasty, yet the scorched

WAR AND EVACUATION IN ALASKA

329

earth policy might have been implemented more carefully had planning
been coordinated properly between the Navy and OIA. The irony was
that the Atkans were prepared to evacuate before a Japanese attack,
and they could have been given time to take their belongings before
the village was destroyed . As the Magees described it:
[ Right after Pearl Harbor) we went to tell the villagers that they
ought to pack up and be prepared to leave at any time, for we

thought that surely the Coast Guard or someone else would come
to eyacuate us . However, it was not until six months later that we

were taken off the island . . . [also) a letter came from the Juneau
Alaska Native Service Office in April of 1942 requesting us to talk
over with the people the possibility of having to move to some
other part of the territory to be safe from any possible aggression
by the Japanese. . . . We were to be ready to go at a moment's
notice, so all packed up a few belongings to take with us.
After the Japanese attacked Dutch Harbor and captured Attu and
Kiska, Interior Department officials anticipated that if the Pribilofs
were threatened, those Aleuts would also be evacuated. At the end of
May, Admiral Freeman told the FWS that a scorched - earth policy

would be used in the Pribilofs if the Japanese attacked , and that seal

skins would be included in the destruction. 45 By June 5, the villagers
had been warned that an enemy attack was possible , and FWS agents

told them what civil defense precautions to take if this came.
The evacuation of the Pribilofs, begun immediately after Atka was
evacuated, was executed by the Army with little delay. The Navy's
U.S.S. Oriole arrived at St. Paul on June 14, with orders to evacuate
the island, but these plans changed when the captain of the vessel

learned that the Army's U.S.A.T. Delarof would arrive the following
day to evacuate St. Paul and St. George. The villagers were directed

to pack their belongings and, two days later on June 16, the 294 Aleuts
and 15 non - Aleut FWS employees departed for St. George aboard the
Delarof 47 Carl M. Hoverson , an FWS employee on St. Paul, recalled
that “Many personal belongings as well as government property had
to be left at the island because of the need for aa speedy evacuation. ”48
The Delarof's arrival at St. George was scheduled for June 16,
and villagers were notified on the night of June 14 to pack their be
longings. Daniel C.R. Benson, an FWS agent and caretaker of St.
George, prepared the village:

I was first instructed to prepare the village for destruction first
that night by placing a pail of gasoline in each house and building,
and aa charge of dynamite for each other installation such as storage
tanks, light plants, trucks, radio transmitters, receivers, antenna

330

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

masts, etc. The packing of everybody was to be very simple
absolutely nothing but one suitcase per person and a roll ofblan
kets. 49

Early in the evening of June 16, 1942, the Delarofleft St. George.

The entire population, 183 Aleuts and 7 non - Aleut FWS employees,
was evacuated .50 Only one person, a radio operator on St. Paul, re

mained on the Pribilofs. Four signal corpsmen were immediately sent
to the islands to set up two radio warning stations and remained in
isolation on round -the- clock watch from June to September. As part

of the plan to garrison the Aleutians before a U.S. offensive, a small
Army force was sent to the Pribilofs on September 19, billeted in the
departed villagers’ dwellings, and ordered to construct an airstrip .51
On June 17, 1942, the Delarof arrived at Dutch Harbor with the

Pribilof evacuees on board . While the ship was docked , the Army
ordered most of the medical supplies and equipment from St. Paul
aboard to be transferred to the Army Hospital at Fort Mears. Ward

T. Bower, Chief of Alaska Fisheries for FWS, later attempted to re
construct that incident:

[W]hen evacuation orders reached St. Paul Island in the previous
month, Dr. Berenberg packed eight sealskin barrels withmedical
supplies and equipment, and packed also the X -ray machine. . . .
.

At Dutch Harbor on June 25 , 1942, these eight barrels and one
opened package of X -ray film were turned over by Capt. Fred H.

Aves, Medical Corps Transport Surgeon of the USAT Delarof for
use at Fort Mears Hospital . . .52

These expensive supplies were scarce and, although the military hos
pital may have needed them , the Pribilovians were soon to need es
sential medical care in the relocation camps, but the St. Paul com
munity was not reimbursed, nor were the supplies replaced .
Meanwhile, additional evacuees from Atka and the Pribilofs were

creating aa food shortage in Unalaska. 53 A decision about permanent
relocation had to be made quickly. On June 18, 81 Atkan Aleuts and
the Magees were taken aboard the Delarofand set sail for an unknown
destination .

Conditions aboard the Delarof were crowded and unhealthy, for
space was inadequate to separate the sick from the well. The first
casualty during the Aleuts' evacuation was the infant daughter of In
nokenty and Haretina R. Kochutin of St. Paul, who died ofpneumonia.

Fredrika Martin, a nurse and the wife of aa FWS doctor, described the
tragedy:

Since once aboard the ship the St. George doctor felt completely
free of responsibility for his islanders and had no personal interest

WAR AND EVACUATION IN ALASKA

331

in any of these patients of his, he could not be coaxed into the
disagreeable hold even before all the Aleuts and many non - Aleuts
came down after our stay -over at Dutch Harbor with “ ship’s cold ,”
a serious grippe infection. He did not come to assist even at the

birth of aSt. George baby or its subsequent death of bronchial
pneumonia because of our inability (Dr. Berenberg's and mine)
to separate mother and child from other grippe -sufferers, and the
mother herself was ill. I think I recall this doctor attending the
midnight or after funeral of the poor little mite, such a tiny weighted

parcel being let down into the deep waters of the Gulf of Alaska
against a shoreline of dramatic peaks and blazing sunset sky.554
Six days later, on June 24, the Delarof landed at Funter Bay and
Killisnoo in southeastern Alaska. While the ship sailed, various divi
sions within the Department of the Interior frantically sought a place
to settle the evacuees.

Deciding on Camp Locations

Planning for relocation sites apparently started on June 15, 1942.55
As the Pribilofs were evacuated, General Buckner began working di

rectly with the OIA's Superintendent Hirst to choose relocation sites
for the Aleuts. The OIA was chiefly responsible, and they determined
that Killisnoo Bay village in southeastern Alaska was a potential site
for resettlement.56 Responsibility for settling the Pribilovians was as

sumed by Edward C. Johnston, Superintendent of the Seal Division
of the FWS, who contacted Fisheries Chief Ward Bower on June 15
to discuss available housing 57 First they tried to secure locations in
the Seattle, Washington, area. A large Civilian Conservation Corps
(CCC) camp and the Tulalip Indian Reservation were considered, but
the CCC camp was occupied and housing at the reservation would
have had to be built. Both sites were impractical since time was of the
essence; Johnston emphasized that the Pribilovians “must have [a]
location within [a] week . ” 58

The OIA in Washington, DC, decided that evacuees should stay

in Alaska, preferably southeastern Alaska.59 OIA Assistant Commis
sioner William Zimmerman contacted Superintendent Hirst on June

16 to report this decision and relay other plans for relocation centers.
The evacuation guidelines which had been established at Acting Gov

ernor Bartlett's conference in March were followed by a decision that
native Alaskans should be evacuated to other parts of Alaska. Appar
ently the OIA did not wish to relocate the Aleuts to the eastern part
of the Aleutian chain or the Alaska Peninsula.

The OIA also decided that Aleuts from the same village should

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

remain together in separate units. Local OIA and FWS officials were

asked to choose relocation sites; Assistant Commissioner Zimmerman
recommended the use of fish canneries that were either abandoned or

vacant during the off-season. 60 The school facilities at Wrangell Insti
tute on Wrangell Island in southeastern Alaska would be a temporary
location until such sites were found .

Seattle FWS Representative Donald Hagerty was apparently the
Interior official who made final decisions on specific sites. On June 16
Hagerty told Zimmerman that arrangements had been made to house

the Atkans at an abandoned fish cannery at Killisnoo on Admiralty
Island.61 The OIA was interested in locations where the Aleuts could

support themselves, so job opportunities in nearby canneries made
this location attractive. 62 On the same day, Hagerty assigned the Pri
bilof evacuees to another abandoned cannery at Funter Bay on Ad
miralty Island in southeastern Alaska.63 Across Funter Bay from the
cannery, abandoned facilities of the Alaska Mining Company were also
obtained . 64

Further Evacuation Along the Chain

Government agencies in Alaska disagreed about the need for fur
ther evacuation . By the end of June 1942, the Japanese were only

beginning their occupation ofthe Aleutians and it was not clear whether
they were entrenched in an offensive or defensive position. Governor
Gruening, as chairman of the Alaska War Council, contacted Secretary
Ickes on June 20 and reported that the Council feared the Japanese

planned to invade the U.S. mainland, using the Aleutians as a base.65
General Buckner advised the OIA that no more villages in the Aleutian
Islands should be evacuated,66 but Admiral Freeman felt that other
Aleutian villages were in danger. 67 On June 29, 1942, Freeman issued

an order “ directing the evacuation of all natives from the Aleutian
Islands . "68

In a sweep eastward from Atka to Akutan, the Aleut villages of

Nikolski on Umnak Island; Makushin, Biorka, Chernofski and Kashega
on Unalaska Island; and Akutan on Akutan Island were evacuated. One
week after Freeman issued the order, the first ofthe remaining villages,

Nikolski, was evacuated. Yet Aleut evacuees testified that they were

given only a few hours'notice. On July 5, two Navy and Army ships
arrived at Nikolski and evacuated the entire village of 70 Aleuts plus
Barbara Whitfield (the OIA teacher in the village), her husband Samuel
and the non-Aleut foreman ofthe 'Aleutian Livestock Company, a sheep
ranch on Umnak.

WAR AND EVACUATION IN ALASKA

333

The Aleutian Livestock Company, completely dependent on Aleut
labor due to the wartime labor shortage, had been assured by the
Alaska Defense Command on May 22, 1942, that “ no evacuation had

been ordered. ” 69 It had expected to produce 130,000 pounds of wool
during 1942, and the Army thought the company's operation necessary
to the war effort. On August 5, 1942, Carlyle Eubank, the company

president, protested to the Western Defense command about losing
his ranch's work force. 70 Prior to the evacuation , the Navy had tele

graphed Nikolski that:
Nikolski sheep ranchers and four unmarried Aleuts may remain
shear sheep inform that they do so at own risk and thereby forfeit
government transportation .71

The message, however, arrived too late to prevent evacuation of ranch
workers, and, stated Eubank, “ Under such instructions the natives
would not return and we cannot blame our Foreman for not return
ing. "72 The livestock company later obtained permission from the Army

to return to Nikolski, even though the Japanese still occupied Attu
and Kiska. That December the foreman came back to the ranch and,
for the two following summers, three Aleuts also returned .
The evacuation ofthe small villages on Unalaska Island and Akutan

is not well documented except by personal recollection ofthe evacuees.
According to their testimony, the Nikolski Aleuts — together with vil
lagers from Chernofski, Kashega, and Makushin — departed for south
eastern Alaska from Chernofski on the S.S. Columbia, an Alaskan

Steamship Company vessel. The OIA reported on August 31 that 72
Aleuts from Nikolski (including the Whitfields), 41 from Akutan , 20
from Kashega, 18 from Biorka, and 9 from Makushin (including one
white) had arrived at Wrangell Institute on July 13, 1942.73 The entire
population of these villages was evacuated, Aleut and non -Aleut. The
evacuees, who remained at Wrangell Institute for several weeks until

the OIA located a place to resettle them , eventually were moved to a
CCC camp administered by the OIA at Ward Lake near Ketchikan.

In Unalaska village, confusion and anger spread because of an
alleged statement by Assistant Commissioner Zimmerman that the
Aleuts in Unalaska had been offered transportation off the island,74
when in fact they had not. The Mayor of Unalaska, John W. Fletcher,
in a telegram to Secretary Ickes on July 7, 1942, urged that transpor
tation to evacuate the Aleuts be made available, claiming that they

were “ desparate [ sic] to be taken out.” 75 Fear of Japanese invasion
occupied the minds of many Aleuts in Unalaska. Some were able to
adjust to new dangers because of the sense of security U.S. military

334

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

forces brought to the islands, but others took the first opportunity to

leave. Philemon Tutiakoff expressed some of these feelings:
[W]e had been notified prior to the bombing (of Dutch Harbor]
that we may be evacuated . Naturally, listening to the radio people
were alarmed. They became afraid. The most affluent Aleuts and

civilians bought their way by Alaska Steamship to places of safety .
The Unalaska Aleuts felt that with the presence of the military

and the preparations we could see them taking, (we) thought and
hoped that the U.S. military would protect us in case of what we
all thought was direct assault on the town of Unalaska. 76

By July 12, 1942, Secretary Ickes had arranged with the Navy to
evacuate Unalaskans.77 A week passed before the Aleuts were evacu

ated , yet, according to their testimony, the Aleuts were usually given
less than twenty -four hours to prepare.
On July 19, 1942, the S.S. Alaska docked at Unalaska to evacuate
the Aleuts. Commander William N. Updegraf, captain of the Naval
station at Dutch Harbor, issued the orders, including the provision
>

that:

All natives, or persons with as much as one eighth ( 78) native blood
were compelled to go. . . . Only such portable baggage as the

people could carry was permitted.
No employee, native or
white, of Siems-Drake Puget Sound Company was to be carried. 78
This order had an obviously unequal effect among Unalaskans. For
example, Charles Hope, a white man , remained in Unalaska, while
.

.

his Aleut wife was required to evacuate . 79
Although no clear contemporaneous rationale explains why only

Aleuts were compelled to leave Unalaska village, several factors suggest
partial explanations. The evacuation order may have come literally from
Secretary Ickes' request to the Navy to evacuate the Aleuts in Unalaska
village. 80 Since these evacuees were taken at once to Wrangell Insti

tute, operated by OIA , the evacuation and relocation may have been
limited to persons for whom the OIA had some responsibility. Ac

cording to Fred Geeslin, a former OIA officer, the agency's respon
sibility and authority extended to persons of one -eighth Native Amer
ican blood, and its evacuation and relocation efforts would consequently
be limited to that group and its own employees.81 This does not explain,
however, why all non -Aleuts residing in the Dutch Harbor -Unalaska
area were not evacuated by the military to locations other than OIA
evacuation camps. Some non -Aleuts were evacuated from Dutch Har

bor after the June bombings. James I. Parsons, a businessman in Dutch

WAR AND EVACUATION IN ALASKA

335

Harbor, and his family were evacuated to Juneau on June 6 by Army
order; his facilities were used by the Army to house wounded soldiers. 8

Many non -Aleuts probably were not evacuated because of the
demand for defense construction workers reflected in the specific ex
emption of Siems- Drake Company employees. Siems-Drake had con
tracted to handle most of the defense construction work in Alaska for

the Navy83 and, at one point during the war, it employed almost 3,000
civilian construction workers in Dutch Harbor. 84 The shortage of labor

was severe. In August 1942, Admiral Freeman complained to General
DeWitt that " it has been practically impossible ... to complete work
promptly. At Dutch Harbor, it has been impossible to maintain even
"
the former low level working force. ”85
The Navy may have been con
cerned about the labor shortage and so prevented defense workers

from leaving the village. At least one Aleut, John Yatchmanoff, was an
employee of the Siems-Drake Company not evacuated for this reason .

The order preventing the evacuation of Siems-Drake employees from
Unalaska was issued by the Navy even though the workers were not

employed by the government, and the Navy's responsibility was limited
to processing their applications for work permits.86
According to Captain Hobart Copeland, who directed the Una

laska evacuation, some Aleuts protested being moved . 87 Copeland re
quested permission from Commander Updegraf to compel the Aleuts
to go , but Updegraf would not forcibly evacuate them , and Copeland
let them stay, thus limiting the impact of Updegraf's expulsion order.
The OIA reported that 111 Unalaskans arrived at Wrangell Insti
tute aboard the S.S. Alaska on July 26, 1942.88 They remained in

Wrangell until late August, when the OIA rented an abandoned can
nery at Burnett Inlet on Annette Island in southeastern Alaska.

After the Unalaska evacuation , Admiral Freeman decided that
further removal of Aleut villages east of Akutan Island was unneces

sary. 89 A total of 881 Aleuts had been evacuated by the military from
all Aleut villages west of Unimak Island, including the Pribilofs.90 The

entire population of each village, except Unalaska, was evacuated ,
including at least 30 non -Aleuts. All but 50 Aleuts were relocated to
southeastern Alaska. The remainder were evacuated to the Seattle area
by the Army and Navy after the bombing of Dutch Harbor on June 3;
ten were hospitalized in the Indian Hospital at Tacoma, Washington ;91
others were military dependents.

Because the evacuation was inadequately planned, the Aleuts lost
the personal possessions they reluctantly left behind. Testimony from
the evacuees established that in most cases they were given unneces

336

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

1

sarily short notice. They were forced to leave behind most personal
belongings — including clothing, family albums, musical instruments (a
mainstay of Aleut culture), priceless icons of immense religious sig
nificance, unique craftwork , boats and essential hunting and fishing

equipment. No provision was made by OIA or the military to care for

these possessions. They were left unpacked and secured only by locks
on the front door or boards nailed across the windows of Aleut homes ,
vulnerable to theft and the deterioration which followed .

The Attuans' Experience
The story of the Attuans' capture and removal to Japan is perhaps
the most tragic of all Aleut experiences during the war. Official failure
to warn the Attuans before the Japanese attack about the danger of

remaining on the island carried a painful cost: approximately half of
the Attuans perished during their captivity.

In May 1942 the Navy attempted to evacuate the islanders. A
team of sailors was sent to set up a radio station on Attu , but they
failed to land on the island because of adverse weather; the skiffs loaded

with radio equipment crashed onshore in the surf. Mike Hodikoff, the
Attuan Aleut chief, reached the Navy vessel from shore and, informed

of the Japanese threat, was asked if he wanted his people to be evac
uated at that time; he declined. 92
This evacuation offer was not made in a manner that allowed the

Attuans to make an informed decision about leaving their island. Gov
ernor Gruening had wanted the OIA to discuss these options with the

Attuans, and had pointed out to Secretary Ickes on June 4 that
“ [p ]resenting this matter to the ... Attuites involves something of a
problem since it could not be done by a mere radio message. The pros

and cons to them [ of] so momentous a decision, the possible risks and
alternatives, would have to be presented to them understandingly,
sympathetically and clearly ." 93 Gruening’s recommendations to Ickes
came too late, and no attempt was ever made by the Interior De
partment to discuss evacuation possibilities with the Attuans .
When Attu was invaded on June 8, 1942, an Aleut was wounded

by Japanese gunfire and the OIA radio operator, Foster Jones, died
after being captured. The Japanese began immediately to garrison the
island and to construct housing for their troops. Shortly thereafter, the
Japanese eased restraints on movement of the Aleuts, who then fished

and went about their daily work almost normally. In September 1942,
the Japanese changed their Aleutian strategy and decided to abandon
Attu (only to return in October). 94 The troops were moved temporarily

WAR AND EVACUATION IN ALASKA

337

to Kiska. The Japanese feared the Attuans could reveal military strength
and other intelligence secrets to invading American forces, so the 41
Aleuts (one had died in August) were taken to Otaru on Japan's north
ernmost island of Hokkaido.95 The non - Aleut schoolteacher, Etta Jones,
was taken to Yokohama. Three Attuan evacuees recalled their living
conditions in Japan , and reported that they were adequate:

(We) were housed in a large building, supervised by a Japanese
policeman , who lived in partitioned rooms in the same building.

The Aleuts had no freedom , (and were] held in the same building
for the entire war, except the ones who worked in a clay pit near
by. The buildings were heated by coal stoves in winter. Hot baths
were available whenever the Aleuts wanted them . They slept on

the floor on the Japanese standard mats “Tatami” and they had
plenty of blankets.96
Tuberculosis later spread widely among the Attuans, despite monthly
visits to their camp by aa doctor who gave routine examinations and
inoculations. At one time as many as ten to fifteen Attuans were in
patients at the National Tuberculosis Center in Minamoto -cho,97 but
despite hospitalization many Aleuts died in Japan. The loss of their
high -protein diet and fresh food, aggravated by short rations, caused
malnutrition and starvation during the last year of their captivity. As

the war dragged on, Japan was starved for resources; Japanese troops
and the Attuans' guards alike faced shortages.

Half of the Attuans died in Japan and the surviving 21 Aleuts and
one newborn baby left Japan in September 1945.98 Upon reaching
Seattle on November 20, the Attuans were informed that they would
not be returned to Attu . The reason for this decision is not clear because

government documents about their resettlement were destroyed by

the OIA in the 1960's.99 Attu evacuees claim that the government did
not allow them to return to Attu because there were too few to sustain

a viable community.100 Instead they were offered transportation to Atka
Island. The Atkans and Attuans, however, were traditional rivals, so
several Attuans decided against resettling at Atka. To this day, Attu
remains uninhabited .

THE EVACUATION CAMPS

Funter Bay

The Aleuts from St. Paul and St. George in the Pribilofs arrived
at Funter Bay on Admiralty Island on June 24, 1942. They found the

53-124 - 92 - 12
-

-

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PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

mountains and forests of southeastern Alaska a sharp contrast to the
flat, treeless Pribilofs.

The General Living Conditions. Close to 300 Aleuts and FWS

personnel from St. Paul found themselves housed at a fish cannery
where many buildings, unoccupied for aa dozen years, were only used

for storage. They were inadequate housing, particularly in winter. Only
a few cottages were available to accommodate the many families; most

evacuees were forced to live in two dormitory -style buildings where
groups of six to thirteen people slept in areas nine or ten feet square..
Until fall, many Aleuts had to sleep in relays in these cramped con

ditions. Lumber to build partitions and walls was scarce , and they hung
blankets between families for privacy. Meals for the entire group were
prepared and served in a common kitchen and messhall.

The quarters were as rundown as they were cramped:
The only buildings that are capable offixing is the two large places
where the natives are sleeping. All other houses are absolutely
gone from rot. It will be almost impossible to put toilet and bath
into any of them except this one we are using as a mess hall and
it leaks in thirty places. ... No brooms, soap or mops or brushes
to keep the place suitable for pigs to stay in . 101 .
.

People fell through the rotten wooden floors. A single toilet on the
beach just above the low water mark served ninety percent of the

evacuees, whose clothes were laundered on the ground or sidewalks. 102
Agent McMillin's first evacuation report to the Superintendent of the
Sealing Division ended with these words:

It seems funny if our government can drop so many people in a
place like this then forget about them altogether. . . . Ifyou think
that this is any fun, you should be here. 103
A mile away on the other side of Funter Bay, the 180 Aleuts and
FWS employees from St. George had been evacuated to the Admiralty
.

Alaska Gold Mine, also known as the Funter Bay Mine, which had not
been worked for several years. The mine was little better than the

cannery. One two - story unpartitioned building housed ten families, a

total of 46 people. A new mess house was used as a storeroom , canteen
and church. Above the messhall, the 26 single men were housed in a
low loft accessible only through an outside entrance. The other Aleuts

occupied another two -story dormitory similar to the one at the cannery,
but the 20 families living there had no heat. In the words of FWS
Agent Benson, “The crowded , dark and unheated quarters for the
natives are definitely out of the question for the winter.” 104 Benson

WAR AND EVACUATION IN ALASKA

339

recommended that 32 apartments or two-room cottages be built, with
separate facilities for everything except sleeping.
Cookstoves, plumbing fixtures, water tanks and other equipment
and supplies proved difficult to procure and, on July 2, on behalf of
the evacuees, Alaska Fishing News initiated an appeal to canneries and
fishermen for all types of gear.105 Nonetheless, on the same day, As

sistant Fishery Supervisor Frank W. Hynes wrote Alaska Fisheries
Chief Ward T. Bower:

We feel that Mr. Johnston has the situation well in hand insofar
as the Pribilof natives and whites are concerned and predict that

his Funter Bay camp will serve as a model for others to be estab
lished later. 106

By September , apart from local materials, no supplies had arrived . 107
In early October, the Aleut women ofSt. Paul submitted a petition
protesting their living conditions:

We the people of this place wants a better place . . . to live. This
. is no place for a living creature. We drink impure water and
then get sick the children's get skin disease even the grown ups
are sick from cold .

We ate from the mess house and it is near the toilet only a few
yards away. We eat the filth that is flying around.
We got no place to take a bath and no place to wash our clothes
or dry them when it rains. We women are always lugging water
up stairs and take turns warming it up and the stove is small. We
live in a room with our children just enough to turn around in.
We used blankets for walls.just to live in private. We need clothes
and shoes for our children how are we going to clothe them with

just a few dollars. Men’s are working for $20 a month is nothing
to them we used it to see our children eat what they don't get at
mess house and then its gone and then we wait for another month
to come around .

Why they not take us to a better place to live and work for
ourselves and live in a better house. Men and women are very
eager to work. When winter come it still would be worse with
water all freezed up. ... Do we have to see our children suffer.
We all have rights to speak for ourselves. 108

The complaints in the petition were discussed with the presenting
committee by both Agent McMillin and Superintendent Johnston. In
his letter forwarding the petition to Chief Bower, Johnston stated:
The women were told that under war conditions they could not
expect to enjoy the comforts and conditions as they existed on the
Pribilof Islands.. . . . Analysis of water samples by the Territorial
Department of Health indicates the water to be potentially unsafe.
Sickness mentioned in the petition is not due to drinking

340

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED
>

water . Some of the children have "fish poisoning,” which Dr.
Smith states is common at this time of the year and will clear up
when the salmon runs are over.

.

The toilet which has been

in use is over tide water and is farther from living and eating
quarters than any on the Pribilofs was.. ...
. . . The men are satisfied

with the food furnished, but the women do not like the community
mess. They refuse to help with the cooking, which is done by the
men.
The foodmentioned in the petition which is bought for
the children from the canteen is principally candy. 109
The superintendent also described what he had done to alleviate the
lack of privacy, water, plumbing and laundry facilities, clothing and
food .

A year later in Fall 1943, the camps at Funter Bay were visited
by numerous government officials, including John Hall of the U.S.
Public Health Service, Governor Ernest Gruening, Alaska Attorney

General Henry Roden , FWS Director Ira Gabrielson, and Dr. Berneta
Block of the Territorial Department of Health. Conditions were little
improved. No description is more graphic than the account submitted
by Dr. Block after her four- day visit to Funter Bay:
As we entered the first bunkhouse the odor of human excreta and
waste was so pungent that I could hardly make the grade.

The buildings were in total darkness except for a few candles here
and there which I considered distinct fire hazards. ... [A] mother
and as many as three or four children were found in several beds
The garbage cans
and two or three children in one bunk.
.

.

were overflowing, human excreta was found next to the doors of
the cabins and the drainage boxes into which dishwater and kitchen

waste was to be placed were filthy beyond description. .. I
realize that during the first two days we saw the community at its
.

worst. I know that there were very few adults who were well. .

.

The water supply is discolored, contaminated and unattractive.
[ F ]acilities for boiling and cooling the water are not readily
available. . . . I noticed some lack of the teaching of basic public
health fundamentals. Work with such aa small group of people who
have been wards of the government for a long period of time
should have brought better results. It is strange that they could
O

have reverted from a state of thrift and cleanliness on the Islands

to the present state of filth, despair, and complete lack of civic
pride. I realize, too, that at the time I saw them the community
was largely made up ofwomen and children whose husbands were
not with them. With proper facilities for leadership , guidance and
stimulation ... the situation could have been quite different. 110
Assistant Supervisor Hynes made a grim report to his Division
Chief, Ward Bower:

[W]e are convinced that unless adequate measures are taken to

WAR AND EVACUATION IN ALASKA

341

improve conditions before the arduous winter months begin there

is more than a possibility that the death toll from tuberculosis,
pneumonia, influenza, and other diseases will so decimate the
ranks of the natives that few will survive to return to the islands. 111
But conditions did not substantially improve at Funter Bay until
the winter of 1943–44, a year and a half after the Aleuts had been
evacuated .

Medical Care and Education . In Fall 1942, the only full-time
medical care at Funter Bay came from a white nurse assisted by an
Aleut nurse. They served both the mining and the cannery camps,
crossing Funter Bay each day, but doctors were only temporarily as
signed to the camp, often remaining for only a few days or weeks. The

infirmary at the mining camp was a three -room bungalow ; the cannery's
was a room twenty feet square . Medical supplies were scarce.
Epidemics raged throughout the Aleuts’ stay in southeastern Alaska.
The Aleuts suffered from influenza, measles, and pneumonia along
with tuberculosis. 112 Twenty -five died in 1943 alone, and it is estimated
that at least 40 people died at Funter Bay.
Because of a lack of space and supplies, school began only in
January 1943 for children who were not sent to Wrangell Institute, an
OIA school. OIA provided no textbooks; later, reading books were

loaned, but only $ 100 was appropriated for supplies. The 55 St. Paul
children were taught in the cannery kitchen by teachers who, when
weather permitted, crossed the bay to the mining camp to work with
the 34 children from St. George. When the cannery crew returned in
March , school shut down entirely. Absences due to illness shortened

this haphazard school year even further, and the students' progress
was negligible . Education in the camps somewhat improved during
the second year, when classes were conducted from December until
April.

Communication, Transportation and Censorship. These small en
campments of evacuees were extremely isolated in their hardship. At
Funter Bay, communication with the outside world was limited to a
weekly mail service; there was no two -way radio. Timely treatment of

the seriously ill was unavailable because the hospital in Juneau had a
two -week waiting period for admittance, and prompt response to other
emergencies was impossible .

Transportation was whatever arrangements could be made with
supply ships or the weekly mailboat. Moreover, Aleuts were required
to obtain the FWS agent's permission before they could leave Funter
Bay.

342

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

In addition, under the First War Powers Act, mail between the
Territory of Alaska and the continental U.S. , the “ Lower 48,” was
censored . As Hynes acknowledged in 1943:

Censorship has kept the press off our necks thus far but this line
of defenseis weakening rapidly. A few days ago we were advised
by one of the physicians who had inspected the camps ... that
he was preparing a report to the Surgeon General of the United

States and also to Secretary Ickesand had no intention of “pulling
any punches”. He warned that it was only a question of time until
some publication, such as Life Magazine, would get hold . of the

story and play it up, much to the disadvantage of the Service and
the Department of Interior as a whole. 113
Defense Employment, Selective Service and the Fur Seal Industry.
The fur seal herd in the Pribilof Islands grows 80% of the world's

supply of this luxurious fur. 114 Since 1910, the federal government has
fully controlled the harvest of seals and the fur marketing; in 1941, the
annual seal slaughter contributed nearly $2.4 million to the U.S. Treas
ury. 115 The Pribilovian Aleuts were the primary seal harvesters; after
evacuation, only 127 seals were taken in 1942, in contrast to over 95,000
in 1941. For the Interior Department, anxious to resume sealing op

erations in 1943, projected revenue was a major, ifnot the predominant
consideration , in its policy decisions.
The war had created a labor shortage in Alaska and, by the end

of June 1942, the U.S. Employment Service was prepared to place a
number of Aleut men in suitable jobs. 116 Seal Superintendent Johnston
and a few other officials had a different program in mind: they wanted
to protect the government's “ investment ” in the Aleuts and their seal
ing operation. Assuming that seal harvesting would resume after the
war, these officials wished to avoid the inconvenience of locating and
collecting Pribilovians scattered to distant parts of Alaska. 117 For this
reason the FWS sought to keep the Pribilovians together as a unit and
to “ pay them a nominal salary to keep them satisfied .”118 Johnston
recommended to Bower that :

No individual should be permitted to take his family and leave
camp unless he insists on doing so. In that case he should lose all
rights as a Pribilof Native and should not be allowed to return to

the Pribilofs at any time except as an ordinary visitor. 119
Bower replied :

[W]e have no definite hold on the Pribilof natives who are evac
uated to Funter Bay. With regard to employment elsewhere, the
rules concerning these natives can be effective only while they
are directly connected with the evacuation camp. While there,

WAR AND EVACUATION IN ALASKA

343

they are subject to the jurisdiction, care and support of the Gov
ernment. If they go away from Funter Bay for aa while to engage
in other work , there is nothing that we can do to stop them . .

In my opinion, very few will stay away for any length of time, and
when conditions permit them to return to the Pribilof Islands,
practically all will be on hand ready and anxious to go. Perhaps
experience might give a better appreciation of the excellent care
.. there. 120

By Fall 1942, Johnston and the local agents stopped trying to keep
the Pribilovians at Funter Bay. More than 100 men and their families

left, including 27 children who departed for Wrangell Institute. 121
In addition to losing men to more lucrative employment, the FWS

lost other able -bodied sealers to the draft. While on the Pribilofs, the
Aleuts had not been registered for Selective Service because the FWS
assumed that, as wards of the government, the Aleuts were ineligible
for the draft. 122 At Funter Bay the FWS learned differently, and during

1942 all eligible men were registered. 123
On November 23, 1942, Secretary of the Interior Ickes wrote
Secretary ofWar Stimson urging “that arrangements be made to return
the natives and supervisory personnel . . . to the Pribilof Islands next

April or May to resume sealing and other operations.” 124 At first, the
War Department refused Ickes' request, 125 but on January 2, 1943,
Stimson notified Ickes that the Pribilof Aleuts and FWS supervisors

had been given permission to “ return for the sealing season only in

order to direct the pruning of the seal herds by military personnel.”
He added that “ [w ]ith respect to St. George Island, I have no objection
to the return of the natives of that place for rehabilitation . ” 126
Few men were available to harvest seals that summer of 1943. By
March, seventeen Aleuts had been inducted and another four were

subject to immediate induction . The FWS sought four-month furloughs
for the draftees and deferments for those not yet inducted. By May,
seven of the seventeen servicemen had been granted furloughs, and
the other four received deferments for the sealing season .

As plans got under way to resume sealing and to rehabilitate St.
George, it was discovered that some Aleuts did not want to return to
the islands until the war was over.127 Superintendent Johnston began
to realize that men with good jobs in Juneau might not wish to leave
them . He proposed measures to control the situation:
If any workman remains in Juneau or deserts his post during the

summer ... [he] will forfeit any share of the sealing division.
Also, I will seriously consider recommending that he be denied

return to St. Paul for residence. As St. George is being rehabil

344

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

itated, any workman who refuses to return this spring will not
share in the sealing division and will not be allowed to return at
any later date if I can help it. This will include his immediate

family (wife and children). Such a man will not receive assistance

in any way from the Fish and Wildlife Service at any time and
lose all privileges as an island resident. 128
These recommendations went to Ward Bower, 129 who once again had

to direct his subordinates toward a more temperate attitude:
In view of war conditions, the forced evacuation of the islands,
and the designation ofthe area as a war zone, it is scarcely possible
or equitable to require complete forfeiture of all rights of return
to the Pribilofs. Present conditions just do not warrant such ac
tion . 130

In April, Johnston came up from Seattle to meet with the Pribi

lovians. The Aleuts wanted better wages and worried about their safety
in the Pribilofs that summer. The St. George men asked that their
women and children remain at Funter Bay and that the sealers be
returned at the end of the season . Johnston conveyed this to Bower
as well as a local agent's opinion that all the women wanted to return

to St. George. 131 Bower immediately telegraphed back that the “ St.
George women and children should be left [ at] Funter and St. George
workmen returned there at end [of] season same as St. Paul work
men ." 132 It is not clear who made the decision not to repopulate the
island — Bower, the FWS director, or the Secretary of the Interior. In
any case , Johnston was relieved :

From the standpoint of safety I am glad the change was made; if
we had rehabilitated St. George and afterward a single bomb had

been dropped there our whole course of action would have been
open to criticism . The men are going up for the sealing season in
a much better state of mind now that they do not have to worry
about their families. 133

Despite Chief Bower's moderating words to Superintendent John
testimony before the Commission and informal interviews by

ston , 134

Commission staff indicate that the Pribilovian men felt compelled to

leave their jobs to harvest the seals; they were told that if they did
not, they would never see their homeland again .135
When the sealers went up to the Pribilofs that summer, they left
behind at Funter Bay 281 women and children and 32 older men . The
FWS agents and a doctor accompanied the men, leaving a school

teacher and a storekeeper to manage the camp. Neither had borne
such responsibilities before, and they were further hampered by a

WAR AND EVACUATION IN ALASKA

345

shortage of men to perform the necessary work. Even worse, a measles

epidemic swept Funter Bay that summer — and they had no doctor.
The Aleuts harvested over 117,000 seals during the summer of
1943, a record take which reaped over $ 1.58 million in fur and seal

byproduct sales for the United States Government. 136 The approxi
mately 100 Pribilovian Aleut workers were paid from a pool that gave
them close to $ 1 per skin, and the 13 non - Pribilovian Aleut sealers
were paid a salary of $150 per month. 137

Later in the summer, Bower broached the subject of Johnston's
harsh approach with FWS Director Ira Gabrielson , suggesting that
some Aleuts might not wish to return to the islands , but would prefer
to try their luck in the Lower 48:

He stated that this was perfectly all right, but that in his opinion
most of them had a pretty soft life at the Pribilofs and after working
outside for a year or two would be anxious to get back there. .

I further said to Dr. Gabrielson that in my opinion it would be

of doubtful legality to say to a native of the Pribilof Islands that
if he did not go back when we resumed sealing operations, he
could never do so. Dr. Gabrielson concurred in this thought.
Dr. Gabrielson said that if some of the natives desired to remain
in Alaska or wanted to go to the States to be on their own , they
could do so , but of course with the beginning of such departure

from our jurisdiction, they would receive no benefits or funds
from this Service. 138

Bower tried to make sure that these views reached Johnston, but he
may have been aware of the damage already done. In the end, only a
handful of Aleuts remained in Juneau and did not return with the
others to the Pribilofs.
Killisnoo

The people hated this tiny tree-covered island with poor, rocky
beaches. There was no place to go hiking, as on large, grassy Atka.
Many of the older men became sick and passed on . The younger

people became acquainted with the Angoon Indians on Admiralty
Īsland. Drinking became excessive and this led to much trouble.
We did our best to keep up the morale. 139
The 83 Aleuts from Atka were evacuated to Killisnoo Island, three

miles from Angoon, opposite the southern tip of Admiralty Island. The
closest post office and radio facility was in Angoon, and a weekly boat
delivered mail and supplies. The Aleuts arrived on June 25, 1942, with
little more than the barest personal possessions . Their new home was

a herring cannery which had not been occupied for ten years .
From his ship’s stores, Captain Downey of the Delarof gave evac

3

346

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

uees a four -day supply of food, cooking supplies, a mattress for each
adult, and blankets, as he had for the Pribilovians evacuated to Funter
Bay. Health officials soon arrived to give inoculations and checkups,
and more food and clothing came from Juneau. Killisnoo was managed
by schoolteachers employed by the Office of Indian Affairs; Ralph and
Ruby Magee accompanied the Atkans to Killisnoo and stayed for a year

until they were replaced by Joe and Vivian Kaklen, a native Alaskan
non -Aleut couple, followed by Mr. and Mrs. Beebe. 140

Cabins and houses at the cannery were old and flimsy, but most
had stoves and cots or beds. 141 Driftwood to heat the buildings was

abundant. A laundry and one bathtub were also available. A small

spring yielded very little water, and rain became their major source
of supply. There were three privies for more than 80 people. An old
messhall was converted into a schoolroom whose desks and benches

were built by the best Atkan carpenter, supplies came from Juneau
and, in September, school opened. But the winter of 1942 was the
coldest in 50 years. Food froze solid and meat was scarce . Many of the
older people died .
A doctor and a nurse visited once during the Atkans' three -year
stay in southeastern Alaska. The doctor stayed four months, the nurse

only two weeks. According to the Atkans, “ Dr. Bauer did not ask any
questions, but he treated everyone in the camp for V.D. without
verification . All that time, the people were not aware that he was
treating them for V.D." 142

After six months at Killisnoo, most ofthe able -bodied men secured

work at Excursion Inlet repairing boats for the government. Others
worked near Juneau for the forestry department, on Japonski Island
in construction or in the canneries. The young men were drafted. Once
the Aleuts obtained employment they no longer received free food and
clothing, and the OIA schoolteachers began charging them for items
at the store :

This change did not go over so well with the people. They seemed
to think that they should continue to receive the food and clothing

free so they could use their money for mail order business and

the many drinking parties they felt they owed the Angoon Indians.
It was some time before they became reconciled to the change.
Wrangell Institute

Wrangell Institute was the stopover site for Aleuts evacuated from

the villages of Nikolski, Akutan, Biorka, Kashega and Makushin until
they could be moved to permanent evacuation camps at Ward Lake

WAR AND EVACUATION IN ALASKA

347

and Burnett Inlet. The Institute was an OIA boarding school whose

principal, George Barrett, was instrumental in selecting the Aleuts’
eventual evacuation sites.

For two weeks the Aleuts camped in Army tents on the school
grounds. They were given three meals a day, primarily dog salmon ,
tea and bread . Men and women , young and old, were assigned chores
in the Institute's kitchen , laundry and bakery. 144 They also built a barge
to transport lumber and other materials to Ward Lake.

Army, Navy and civilian doctors examined the Aleuts; yet, ac
cording to one evacuee, they were not treated for tuberculosis, pneu
monia, viruses or shock. Head lice were treated, however, and some
children and adults were close - cropped, their scalps doused with ker
osene to exterminate the parasites. 145
Wrangell Institute provided sixth through twelfth grades for chil
dren covered by the OIA. A former pupil informed the Commission

that the school had a capacity of 350 children, but, after evacuation,
Aleut children from the camps swelled its ranks to 750. Classrooms
were so crowded that eighth graders with the highest grades were
skipped to ninth grade. Food remained insufficient, and a year after
the influx of new students, the school's health center was still under
staffed . 146
Ward Lake

“ My first impression ... was that of being put in prison ."147

After their stopover at Wrangell Institute, approximately 200 Aleuts
were taken to Ward Lake, sometimes called Ward Cove, an old Civilian
Conservation Corps camp eight miles from Ketchikan . Not all were

strangers. Some had met while working outside their villages; others
had married from one village into another. 148
The government “officials” at Ward Lake were Barbara and Samuel
Whitfield — an OIA schoolteacher and her handyman husband who later
left to join the Coast Guard. The Whitfields, who had been stationed
with the Aleuts on Nikolski before evacuation , were joined by Fred
Geeslin , an OIA resettlement officer.

The CCC camp was nine small cabins and four communal build
ings. Each cabin had aa small kitchen and a bedroom with two bunk
beds. With lumber brought from Wrangell Institute, the Aleuts built
additional housing and furniture. Scrap cardboard was used for insu
lation . Each household was issued a wood burning stove. 149 Shared

facilities for the nearly 200 evacuees included an outhouse; a school;
a church; and a laundry with a large tin basin , four cold -water faucets

348

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

and two shower stalls. Water was hauled in buckets from an outside

hydrant to each cabin , heated , then taken to the laundry. The village
outhouse was a long open trough without seats, and insects were thick,
despite the toilet's constant flow of water. 150
Not everyone lived at the Ward Lake settlement, however. One

woman and her family, who thought the Ward Lake houses “ shacks,”
moved into Ketchikan, as did two or three others. Two girls roomed
in the Ketchikan hospital where they worked . 151
Neither the OIA nor any other government agency provided the
Aleuts with transportation into town. Taxis could be called but the

only telephone was at the OIA school— and the teacher would not let
the Aleuts use it.152 The evacuees were saved from complete isolation

by aa local entrepreneur, Eugene Wacker, who drove evacuees to Ket
chikan for 35 cents each way:

Now we were able to shop and ride into town to our jobs. . .
He charged us fare between points, but without his consideration
and care we would not have done well for jobs and supplies we
needed in town. 153

Wacker also helped the Aleuts find jobs; whenever he heard of an
opening,

[H]e came to our camp to tell us about it and drove those who
wanted the job into town . He then would also drive us back to
the camp after work . . . . Most of us might have had to go to other

communities seeking jobs, but because of him we were near our
families at camp.
Eugene Wacker did this for the three years
.

we were at Ward Lake. 154

The men found employment at the canneries and sawmills of Ketchi
kan, in commercial fishing at Sitka, and in construction at the Army
base at Metlakatla. 155 Some were in Alaska Sea Scouts, and during the
summers of 1943 and 1944, several went up to work for the Aleutian
Livestock Company, a sheep ranch near Nikolski. 156 As at Killisnoo,

the Aleuts at Ward Lake no longer received free food and other supplies
after the men found work .

Health . Not long after they had come to Ward Lake, the Aleuts
were visited by at least one doctor and nurse who found many ill and
quarantined those with infectious diseases. Yet, after being diagnosed,
the Aleuts say they never received treatment. 157 Generally the OIA
schoolteacher, Mrs. Whitfield , acted as the camp's health aide. Harry
C. McCain , Ketchikan's Chairman of Police, Health and Sanitation ,
wrote Governor Gruening on May 19, 1943, that the medical situation
was very poor:

WAR AND EVACUATION IN ALASKA

349

[W]e have recently been forced to quarantine their camp in order
.to . . . catch up to their venerealdisease situation. ... These

people are also badly honeycombed with tuberculosis, from which
disease a considerable number have died since they were placed
at Ward Cove . 158

McCain was concerned for the townspeople:
There are a large number of service men in and near Ketchikan
and neither they nor the civilians should be infected with their
diseased conditions. .
the proprietor of the Totem Lunch in
quired whether or not she could refuse their patronage for the
reason they were unsanitary and diseased and thus obnoxious to

her regular customers besides requiring an unusual amount of
trouble in sterilizing of their dishes
[E]ven the bars would

much prefer not to have their patronage. . . . Therefore we desire
to protest their being kept quartered at Ward Cove and to suggest
they ought to be moved to some suitable location where they
would not have immediate contacts with large numbers of peo

ple. 159
Ketchikan’s city council became increasingly involved with the
problem . Barbara Whitfield appealed to the city council on behalf of
the Aleuts , and the Akutan village chief, Mark Petikoff, wrote a letter

to the Alaska Fishing News protesting that the Aleuts had been “made
a football;" they demanded “ the same treatment as any other group of

citizens” but were “ not asking any special favors.” It would have been
more useful, he said, to have prevented characters like the whiskey
bootleggers from exploiting the Aleuts in the first place. 160
Sentiment in Ketchikan grew more sympathetic toward the Aleuts
as some of the townspeople gradually began to recognize the plight of
these war refugees: uprooted from their homes, in less than a year at
Ward Lake, 20 out of less than 200 people had perished and another
half dozen had been sent out for tubercular care . The death rate at

Ward Lake was one of the highest of all the Aleut evacuation camps.
On May 27, 1943, Mayor J. A. Talbot of Ketchikan wrote Super
intendent Claude Hirst of the Alaska Indian Service protesting the
poor medical care given the Aleuts. Hirst responded that the Indian
Service had operated a clinic before the city started one and was paying

half the expenses of the city's new clinic. The superintendent also
added that before the war a tuberculosis sanitarium had been rec

ommended for southeastern Alaska and that “we are doing everything
we possibly can with the facilities that have been furnished us.” 161
The Adjustment to Ketchikan. Many Aleuts found the adjustment
to southeastern Alaska difficult, if not fatal:

The older people, especially, said they did not like the trees,

350

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

which hemmed them in so that they could not see nor breathe
freely. ... Another big complaint was the forced change in econ
omy. Legal restrictions upon hunting and fishing were imposed ,
and natural food was simply not available . . . The large number

ofpolicemen , and their readiness to arrest on the slightest pretext,
was also remarked upon more than once.
once . ...
i .. Ridicule , to which
the Aleuts were subjected by whites, increased their sensitivity
to their status as “natives” and made them more secretive about
their customs.

According to Gerald Berreman , an anthropologist who studied
Nikolski in the early 1950's:
Not everything in Ward Lake was unpleasant to these people,
however. The company of other Aleuts was generally enjoyed..
Schooling was also easier to obtain . . . . The most enjoyed
aspects ... were the blessings of western urban society, which
money, earned at numerous available jobs, could buy. These were
.

•

primarily liquor, dancing, and movies. 163

Nonetheless, Berreman concluded that most villagers were very un
happy:

Everything they were used to was left behind. . . . Money, liquor,
and movies were hopeless substitutions for the security of old and
familiar ways. . . . Even those who enjoyed “Southeast” welcomed

the anticipated return . Those who were offered permanent jobs
chose to go back to the old life instead . 164

Burnett Inlet
The Unalaska evacuees were moved in August 1942 from their
temporary quarters at Wrangell Institute to Burnett Inlet, which be

came their home. They remained at the abandoned cannery on Etolin
Island until April 1945. Like Killisnoo and Ward Lake, Burnett Inlet

was managed by an OIA schoolteacher and her husband, Edythe J.
and Elmer D. Long.

Conditions at Burnett Inlet, although difficult, were not as severe

as in the other camps. While the facilities were poor when evacuees
arrived , cannery buildings were reconditioned, roughly winterized and

converted into small apartments for single people and small families.
In addition , four small family houses, a school, teachers' quarters, and
a church were built. 165

In May 1943, Edythe Long wrote that it was “ discouraging to ...
hear remarks made to the effect that people are hungry ” and that there
was “ practically no limit to the amount and variety of food furnished
these people. ... With the exception of aa few hard to secure items

WAR AND EVACUATION IN ALASKA

351

which we divide and ration there has been no limit to the amount of

food the evacuees have been issued or allowed to purchase. ”166
As with the evacuees at Killisnoo and Ward Lake, the Aleuts at
Burnett Inlet were encouraged to become “as self -sustaining as pos
sible, in accordance with instructions from our Chicago headquar
ters ." 167 While the Aleuts reconditioned some cannery buildings and
built others, they were not compensated for their labor beyond “nec
essary subsistence and other supplies.” 168 After the housing was com
pleted, the Aleuts were expected to find jobs and were thereafter
charged for supplies. 169
Health care at Burnett Inlet was poor, but fortunately the death

toll was not as high as in other camps. An Aleut midwife delivered
babies for mothers who were unable to reach Wrangell in time, and

evacuees also sought her help in treating cuts, bruises and illnesses.
One Evacuee's View of Life at Burnett Inlet. Martha Newell was
part Aleut and, because she did not wish to accompany her husband
when he left for the Lower 48, she was evacuated with the other Aleuts
from Unalaska. In March 1943, she wrote her husband, Kenneth, that

“[W]e're all anxious to go home. I can't stand thinking ofstaying another
winter, and most of the folks feel the same as there's no work and we

are paying for our food ," 171 and “ I can't say we are living in good
houses. They are all warehouses ... "172 She encouraged her husband
to write their friend, Congressional Delegate Anthony Dimond.
Kenneth Newell's April letter of complaint to Dimond was promptly

brought to the attention of Claude Hirst and Fred Geeslin ofthe Alaska
Indian Service. According to the Indian Service’s reply:
In general the people there (Burnett Inlet] are satisfied and ap
preciate the efforts being made by the personnel of this office to
accommodate them .

The complaint of Mrs. Newell is the first

to our knowledge. . . . Naturally these people hear of thePribiloffs
[sic] going back, and think they should go back also ... Even
though these evacuees may be receiving less than Japs in con
centration camps , as stated by Mrs. Newell, I am sure that the

large majority of them are satisfied under the present conditions,
and they have expressed that they wish to be self -supporting as
they were at their original homes where there are wage earners
in their families. 173

Burnett Inlet schoolteacher Edythe Long also responded to Mrs.
Newell's complaints:
Mrs. Newell has aa firm conviction that the more complaints she
registers and the more dissatisfaction and discontent shecan arouse
amongst the evacuees here the sooner the Authorities will be

352

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

obliged to move her back to Unalaska. Her entire being is centered
on that one purpose—to go back to her home this spring, and it
seems she will go to any lengths even of gross misrepresentation
refuses to face the fact that Unalaska
to attain this end. She .
is in the war zone and that no women or children can be returned

there at present regardless of anyone's views or wishes. She not
only complains for herself but goes from house to house spreading
discontent . . . Several people have expressed disgust at her un
.

reasonable talk and refuse to listen to her. 174
Martha Newell died at Burnett Inlet and was returned home to
Unalaska for burial. 175

RETURN TO THE ISLANDS

The Pribilof Islands

After visiting Funter Bay in September 1943, FWS Director Ira
Gabrielson was convinced that the Aleuts should be returned to the

Pribilofs that fall, and FWS received War Department approval for a
return to St. George and tentative approval for St. Paul. 176 But, as
local agent McMillin emphasized, there were no furniture and cook
stoves on St. George, nor would present supplies last beyond the end
of October. He reported that the Aleuts refused to remain under those

conditions. 177 He emphatically outlined his views in a telegram to
Assistant Superintendent Morton :
WHOEVER PUSHING FANTASTIC IDEA REHABILITATE

PRIBILOFS NOT ACQUAINTED WITH CONDITIONS THIS
TIME OF YEAR IN BERING SEA LANDINGS HERE FROM

NOW ON VERY UNCERTAIN FOR ANY AMOUNT CARGO
WORK AND FOR CONVEYING WOMEN CHILDREN AND
SICK PEOPLE STOP CRIMINAL CHARGES SHOULD BE
PREFERRED UPON PERSON RESPONSIBLE UNLESS RE
HABILITATION PLANS DROPPED FOR PRESENT UNTIL

SUPPLIES AND EQUIPMENT OBTAINED TO PROPERLY
EQUIP STATION . 178
The FWS officials were surprised :
YOUR WIRES THIS DATE FIRST INFORMATION REGARD
ING TRUE CONDITIONS PRIBILOFS . 179

WE HAVE ASSUMED ALL ALONG THAT JOHNSTON AND
BENSON CONCURRED IN REHABILITATION ST. GEORGE

NATIVES THIS FALL AND THAT ONLY QUESTION WAS
REGARDING ST . PAUL . THIS OFFICE DOES NOT UNDER

WAR AND EVACUATION IN ALASKA

353

STAND WHY PLANS FOR ST. GEORGE NEED CHANG

ING . 180
FWS Director Gabrielson was reluctant to decide on the Aleuts'

return to the Pribilofs solely on the basis of Agent McMillin's opinion.
Johnston was scheduled to return shortly from a trip to the islands,

and Gabrielson was anxious to learn the superintendent's views before
coming to aa final decision. 181 The superintendent, however, arrogated
the authority ofhis superior; without conferring with Gabrielson, John
ston decided that “ neither island would be rehabilitated this fall” and
issued orders to that effect before leaving the Pribilofs.

Despite Johnston's orders to the contrary, however, plans moved
forward to rehabilitate St. George Island partially. One dozen married
and three single men were to remain on the island, where their families

would join them. 183 In the end, the Aleut families “declined their
return ” to St. George that fall, and the men on the island finally
departed for Funter Bay on November 11, 1943. 184 The FWS was
forced to prepare for another winter at the evacuation camp, and Chief
Bower wired Gabrielson suggesting that a Public Health nurse and
doctor should be detailed to Funter Bay. 185 It is unclear why the Aleuts

chose not to return then – because of poor health, inadequate supplies
on the island, the lateness of the season and likelihood of poor travel
conditions, or for other reasons. The Commission found no documents
that cast light upon the Aleuts' decision .

By mid -March 1944 , arrangements had been made for an Army
transport to return the Pribilovians about May 1, and this time the
plans went ahead . No earlier return was possible because drift ice

surrounded the Pribilofs, and approximately 4,000 tons of supplies and
equipment had to be purchased after appropriations became avail
able . 186
Funding the Return

As the evacuated Aleuts faced another southeastern Alaskan winter

of continuing decimation from disease, the Interior Department ne
gotiated with the War and Navy Departments for funds and services
to meet the expense of return and rehabilitation . Interior had been

using its Civilian Food Reserve Funds, but it was “very questionable
whether these emergency funds will continue to be available after July
1, 1944, for the care of these Aleut refugees. " 187
On May 23, 1944, the Army, Navy and OIA jointly concluded
that the OIA should administer the resettlement. The Army agreed to
make an initial allotment of $ 58,000 and the Navy $ 129,000 to finance

354

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

the return and rehabilitation of the islands, with the understanding

that both would make subsequent allotments if required. In addition ,

the Army and Navy were to transfer to the OIA surplus materials and
supplies for resettlement. 188
On August 7, 1944, President Roosevelt approved an allocation

of $ 200,000 from his “ Emergency Fund for the President, National
Defense, 1942-45” to be used by the Interior Department for reha
bilitation of the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands. This sum was for res

toration, repair, reconstruction and equipment of public and private
buildings and other property, as well as for subsistence of the Aleuts.
The allocation included a maximum of $ 25,000 in aggregate payment
of claims for damages suffered by Aleut and white inhabitants, but it
excluded claims ofcommercialor business firms. 189 Because losses were
greater than originally anticipated, on July 21, 1945, the OIA requested
an additional allotment of $ 45,000 in order to cover expenses, 190 and
a transfer of $51,725 was made from the President's Fund. According

to federal budget figures, the actual obligations for “ refunds, awards
and indemnities ” eventually totalled $ 31,441. For “ equipment,” “ sup
plies and materials ” the total was $ 177,081. 191
The Aleutian Islands

Return to the Aleutians proved more difficult than returning to
the Pribilofs. In April 1944, Navy and OIA officials met and OIA then
authorized the Commander of the Alaska Sector to send the following
message to the Chief of Naval Operations:
In view of impracticability of obtaining school teachers who can
act as Bureau of Indian Affairs representatives the difficulty of
supplying the villages and impossibility of prevention of inter
mingling with military personnel they are not desirous of returning

Aleuts to the Aleutian Chain .192
The OIA officials sent similar messages to their superiors, 193 and pro

posed moving the Aleuts at Ward Lake to Funter Bay when the Pri
bilovians had left.
Within the next two weeks, the Alaska Indian Service changed
its position. On April 26 , B. W. Thoron , Director of the Interior

Division of Territories, radiogrammed Governor Gruening seeking his
views on the Aleuts' return to the islands that spring. Thoron believed
that early resettlement was desirable despite the lack of teachers. 194
Gruening agreed , and stated that the OIA superintendent in Juneau
concurred . 195
Interior assumed that the Aleuts' return was imminent . 196 The

status of the village of Unalaska, however, remained unsettled because

WAR AND EVACUATION IN ALASKA

355

of its proximity to Dutch Harbor; accordingly, the OIA was authorized
to defer return by the Unalaskans if no teachers could be found. 197

On May 13, the War Department directed the Commanding Gen
eral of the Alaska Department to take necessary action to return the
Aleuts to the islands and rehabilitate their homes. By May 23, the

Army, Navy and Office of Indian Affairs had jointly concluded that the
great variety of local problems meant that OIA's Alaska Indian Service
was best qualified to administer the project. Neither the Army nor the
Navy would undertake any aspect of rehabilitation beyond handling
local relations between Aleuts and military personnel. 198
Despite apparent agreement, a commitment to move ahead, and

funds to finance rehabilitation , no Aleutian islanders were returned to
the islands that summer, that fall, or at any time during 1944. They
did not leave southeastern Alaska until nearly a year later, April 17,

1945. This delay remains unexplained; it is possible that Lt. General

Delos Emmons wished to reevaluate the situation after replacing Simon
Buckner as commanding general in June 1944. The Commission was
unable to locate any documents beyond those describing the inter
agency agreement of May 1944 and the Aleuts' arrival on the islands
in April 1945.

RESETTLEMENT

Although the Aleuts were delighted to return to their island homes
after years in southeastern Alaska, they found communities that had

been vandalized and looted by occupying American military forces.
Rehabilitation assessments made for each village only a year after the

Aleuts were evacuated describe disturbingly similar conditions. Re
ports on Unalaska were typical:
All buildings were damaged due to lack ofnormalcare and upkeep.

. . The furnishings, clothing and personal effects remaining in
the homes showed, with few exceptions, evidence of weather
damage and damage by rats. Inspection of contents revealed ex
tensive evidence of widespread wanton destruction of property

and vandalism . Contents of closed packing boxes, trunks and cup

boards had been ransacked . Clothing had been scattered over
floors, trampled and fouled. Dishes, furniture, stoves, radios,
phonographs, books, and other items had been broken or dam

aged. Many items listed on inventories furnished by theoccupants
of the houses were entirely missing. ... It appears that armed

356

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

forces personnel and civilians alike have been responsible for this
vandalism and that it occurred over a period of many months. 199

Perhaps the greatest loss to personal property occurred at the
time the Army conducted its clean up of the village in June of
1943. Large numbers of soldiers were in the area at that time

removing rubbish and outbuildings and many houses were entered
unofficially and souvenirs and other articles were taken.200

Many items had been “ borrowed ” and misplaced:
Sergie Savaroff said that a new range that he had bought, a coal
range — wood range — was gone from his house, a big heavy thing.
It was found at an officers' quarters in Umnak; that is about eighty
.

miles north of Nikolski. And his dory that he had left there with
an outboard motor — was found in Chernofski, that had been used
and not returned.2

Many of the Aleuts were forced to camp outdoors at first because
their old homes had not yet been repaired and many proved unin

habitable. The Unalaskans were provided with 16 by 20 Army cabanas,
two or three for the larger families and “ [e ]veryone seemed to be
contended [ sic] with that. ” 202 Later, it was discovered that the cabanas
had to be chained down because of the 90 mph Aleutian winds . Until
their village (which had been burned to the ground by the Navy) could

be rebuilt, the Atkans lived for a year in Quonset huts shared by as

many as nine people in " conditions worse than the camps. "203
The Aleuts repaired and rebuilt their homes themselves. They
received free groceries until their homes were ready. The food, build
ing and repair supplies were procured locally — mostly military surplus,

and otherwise purchased primarily from the Northern Commercial
Company in Unalaska. 204
Their losses and resettlement costs were higher than what was
originally estimated by the April 1944 survey of evacuated villages. By

the time the Aleuts actually returned to the islands, a year had elapsed

and very few of the items previously listed as intact could be found in
their homes. All household effects and equipment the Aleuts had left
behind were missing. 205
The evacuated Aleuts suffered material losses for which they were
never fully recompensed, either in kind or in cash . As devout followers
of the Russian Orthodox faith , the Aleuts treasured religious icons
brought from czarist Russia and other family heirlooms that represented
their greatest spiritual as well as material loss. They were priceless to
the Aleuts. Possessions such as houses, furniture, boats and fishing
gear were either never replaced or replaced by markedly inferior goods,
testified the Aleuts. Some shipments of goods intended for the islands

WAR AND EVACUATION IN ALASKA

357

never arrived, they say, speculating that the merchandise was diverted
to stores on the mainland. The OIA itself found that its first resettle

ment officer was not competent to the task of supplying and resettling
the Aleuts. 206 His more effective replacement, Fred Geeslin, could
not recall filing claims for lost goods or waiting for freight that never
arrived , although the deputy United States marshal who eventually
took over as resettlement officer testified before the Commission that
Geeslin had made a list of items stolen or taken from homes and had

turned over a large sheaf of freight bills consigned to various people
that had “ lost stuff, ” that “ probably five or six ” ever received freight,
and that OIA had never responded to letters about the loss offreight.207
Geeslin said that all supplies were purchased locally, and he did not
recall any expectation that the Aleuts' personal possessions would be

replaced or that some type of monetary compensation would be re
ceived . 208

The federal budget indicates that $ 31,441 was spent for “refunds,
award and indemnities” to Aleut and white evacuees from the Aleutian

and Pribilof Islands; $130,719 was spent for “ supplies and materials;”
and $ 46,362 for “equipment.” 209 The Commission has been unable to

recover any further details of these expenditures, the disposition of
claims filed , shipping lists, or other documents to verify or disprove
the Aleuts' allegations.

World War II Remains Still on Islands. U.S. and Japanese military
debris from World War II still litters the Aleutians. Most of it is

unsightly; some is hazardous or polluting. Dilapidated military struc
tures such as Quonset huts and hangars, leaky oil and chemical drums,
boilers, diesel engines, generators, partially destroyed vehicles, weapon
magazines, live munitions and various other pieces of debris are con

stant, ugly reminders that World War II touched the islands. Large
concentrations of debris remain at twelve sites of major military op

erations or installations during and shortly after World War II; lesser
quantities litter sixteen other sites. Ten of the 28 sites are in inhabited
210
areas .
On Atka, children used to entertain themselves by placing
the powder from unused 50 -caliber machinegun shells in empty beer
cans and igniting them.211 As recently as 1979, nine cases of exposed
TNT were discovered . 212

There is so much debris that to remove safety hazards, pollutants
and standing structures from areas within existing road networks, i.e. ,

from half the sites, would require approximately 24,260 person -days
of direct labor at a total cost of approximately $98 million 1979 dollars.
а

A cleanup limited to hazardous and polluting debris from inhabited

358

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

areas, ignoring aesthetic considerations, would require 3,272 person
days at a total cost of about $ 28 million. 21:

EFFECTS OF EVACUATION

Removing the Aleuts from their island homes caused irrevocable change.
in their way of life. Some may contend that change was inevitable, and
that evacuation merely accelerated the process of assimilating “ Amer

ican ” culture. Such an argument, however, ignores the way change
came about: the Aleuts had their culture snatched from them ; they
had no choice.

One of the most disturbing consequences of evacuation was the

high mortality rate among Aleuts, particularly the elders. Sporadic
medical care in the camps no doubt contributed to many deaths. Ad

mittedly, doctors and nurses were no more available in the Aleutians
( except Unalaska) than in southeastern Alaska.214 But the need in
“Southeast” was greater. For the Aleuts, often substandard, unsanitary

and crowded living conditions deepened the psychological trauma of
losing all their possessions after a sudden uprooting and a voyage in
the holds of ships. Adaptation to a foreign, heavily-forested environ
ment followed; all these experiences together imposed stresses greater
than many people could withstand, and many perished .
The loss of a generation of village elders has had aa cultural impact

far beyond the grief and pain to their own families. Among those who

died were most of the last people on earth who knew the old Aleut
ways, how to make the skin boats, traditional clothing or local styles

of basketry. The deaths of younger people, in a population with an
historically low birth rate, further endangers the Aleuts’ survival as a
distinct group.

The government's island resettlement policies further eroded the
traditional

way

of life. Not all Aleuts who were evacuated returned to

the islands; many had died, some chose greater economic opportunities
on the outside, others outmarried. The government, in addition, for

bade any return to certain islands. After a wage-earning economy evolved
on the islands during the 1900's the Aleuts grew sensitive to industry
and government actions that affected employment, education and gov

ernment expenditures. Economic pressures to locate in areas of broader,
more stable economic opportunity prompted substantial migration from
smaller to larger villages and beyond the Aleutian chain as well.215

WAR AND EVACUATION IN ALASKA

359

Evacuation accelerated these migration patterns and centralized the

population. The villages of Makushin , Biorka, Kashega and Chernofski
disappeared after the war , their few surviving villagers never returning
to those outposts .

Finally, the American military presence on the islands left a heavy
mark . Foxes, a cash "crop ," and subsistence animals such as seals and
caribou, were slaughtered in great numbers as a pastime by bored
servicemen and ship crews. Military builders filled in the rich herring
spawning lagoons of Unalaska; pond and tidal -harvest foods were nearly
destroyed by oil spills from military vessels.216 Military debris remains
to endanger and pollute many sites.

Through the insult ofmassive looting and vandalism oftheir homes

and places of worship by American military forces, the Aleuts lost
invaluable tangible ties to their past. Houses can eventually be rebuilt
and refurnished, but stolen family mementos, heirlooms and religious
icons brought from czarist Russia in the early 1800's cannot be re
covered .

Removal from their homeland permanently changed nearly every

aspect of Aleut life. The many who died in the camps were a huge loss
to both family and community which also endangers the future of the
Aleuts as a distinct people. Evacuation meant irreversible cultural
erosion , destroying their means of pursuing a traditional subsistence
way of life. They lost artifacts, but also the ability to recreate them .

They lost (or found much reduced) the animals and sea creatures that
had been essential to traditional subsistence. The evacuation also de

stroyed many of the Aleuts' ties to their personal and religious pasts.
America, proud of its cultural diversity, thereby lost a distinctive part
of itself.

.

Notes

NOTE ON ABBREVIATIONS

The Commission's report is based upon hearings, archival research
and secondary sources. Some of the more than 750 witnesses composed

written testimony to augment their oral statements; other persons
submitted written statements but did not testify. Notes therefore cite

personal statements and materials under three heads: “ testimony” ( for
oral statements before the Commission ), “ written testimony” and “ un
solicited testimony ."
Abbreviations that designate material from major archives and

research libraries appear below . The thousands of documents and sec

ondary sources assembled by the Commission required an internal
locator system indicated by “CWRIC ” followed by a page number. In
the Aleut chapter, some CWRIC citations refer to separate files on the
war and evacuation in Alaska, cited as “ CWRIC AL ”. At this writing,

it is anticipated that, no matter which archive houses Commission files,
the locator system will be useful, so it has been included. Other ab
breviations include:

Bancroft Library: University of California, Berkeley; collection
on Japanese American evacuation and resettlement. To locate individ
ual documents see catalog of this material by Edward N. Barnhart

(Berkeley: University of California General Library, 1958 ).
DOJ: Department of Justice records, Washington, DC; subse
quent numbers indicate DOJ files.

FBI: Federal Bureau of Investigation records, Washington, DC .

FDRL: Franklin Delano Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, NY.
HR: U.S. House of Representatives reports.

LC: Library of Congress, Washington , DC, all divisions .
NARS . RG: National Archives and Records Service, Washington,
DC ; Record Group.

Sterling Library: Yale University , New Haven , CT; Henry L.
Stimson Papers, Manuscript Group No. 465.

1
Before Pearl Harbor

1. For historical background on the pertinent application of the natural

ization laws, see Ozawa v. United States, 260 U.S. 178 (1922); Stefan Thern
strom , ed. , Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups ( Cambridge
and London : Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1980), pp. 734–48.
2. In re Ah Yup, 1 Fed . Cases 223 (Cir. Ct. , D. Calif. 1878) (decision of
Circuit Judge Sawyer).
3. Ozawa v. United States, 260 U.S. 178 (1922).
4. At the time of the First World War, it appeared that citizenship was
promised to aliens who volunteered to serve in the American military forces;
although Japanese aliens volunteered , they were not given citizenship when
the courts came to review the law . Bill Hosokawa, Nisei: The Quiet Americans
(New York: William Morrow & Co. , 1969), p. 91; see In re Charr, 273 Fed.
207 (W.D. Mo. 1921) .

5. Roger Daniels, The Politics of Prejudice (Berkeley: University of Cal
ifornia Press, 1962 ), pp. 16–19.
6. In 1849, the Supreme Court decided in the Passenger Cases that

regulation of immigration was the exclusive domain ofthe federal government.
Smith v. Turner and Norris v. The City of Boston, 48 U.S. 282 (1849).
7. Daniels, Politics of Prejudice, p. 18.
8. 22 Stat. 58 (May 6, 1882 ); 27 Stat. 25 (May 5, 1892 ); 32 Stat. 176 (Apr.
29, 1902).

9. Act to repeal the Chinese Exclusion Acts, to establish quotas, and for
other purposes, 57 Stat. 600 (Dec. 17, 1943).

10. William Langer, An Encyclopedia of World History,,4th ed . (Boston:
Houghton Mifflin , 1968 ), pp. 815, 919.
11. Daniels, Politics of Prejudice, pp. 1-3.
12. Ibid ., pp . 2-4 .

13. Robert A. Wilson and Bill Hosokawa, East to America (New York:
William Morrow & Co. , 1980), p . 141.
14. Daniels, Politics of Prejudice, pp. 3–5 .

15.
16.
17.
18.

Ibid. , pp . 6–7.
Wilson and Hosokawa, East to America , p . 116 .
Daniels, Politics of Prejudice, p. 1 and Appendix A.
Thomas Sowell, Ethnic America (New York: Basic Books, Inc. , 1981),

p. 157; Yasuo Wakatsuki, “ Japanese Emigration to the United States, 1866–
1924 ” in Perspectives in American History, vol. 12 ( 1979 ), p. 465.

19. Daniels, Politics ofPrejudice, p. 13; see also Leonard Broom and Ruth
363

364

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

Riemer, Removal and Return (Berkeley: University of California Press , 1949),
p. 7.

20. Carey McWilliams, Prejudice (Boston : Little, Brown and Co. , 1945 ),
pp. 77–80 .

21. Sowell, Ethnic America, pp . 155-79.
22. Daniels, Politics of Prejudice, p. 1 .

23. Bureau of the Census, Census of Population 1970, vol. 1, Character
istics of the Population, part 6 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing
Office, 1973 ), p. 86 .

24. McWilliams, Prejudice, pp. 81-83; see also Jacobus tenBroek, Edward
N. Barnhart and Floyd Matson, Prejudice, War and the Constitution (Berkeley :
University of California Press, 1954 ), p. 12.
25. McWilliams, Prejudice, pp. 77–80 .

26. Daniels, Politics of Prejudice, pp. 21–22.
27. Remarks quoted from the San Francisco Examiner and San Francisco
Chronicle , both for May 8, 1900, set out in Daniels, Politics of Prejudice, p.
21 .

28. Daniels, Politics of Prejudice, pp. 22–23. This was the beginning of
significant labor activity against the Japanese in the United States.
29. Tamotsu Shibutani, The Derelicts of Company K (Berkeley: University
of California Press, 1978 ), p. 22.

30. Daniels, Politics of Prejudice, pp. 24–27. The resolution asked Con
gress to limit and diminish the further immigration of Japanese, and set forth
ten points against the Japanese which were insulting and inaccurate.
31. Ibid. , pp. 27–29.

32. Shibutani, Derelicts of Company K , pp . 21–22.
33. Daniels, Politics of Prejudice, pp. 27–28. The executive committee of

the Socialist Party in California also resolved , in 1906 , to oppose Asiatic im
migration . Two small organizations, also of laborers, worked with the League:
the Anti-Jap Laundry League, and the Anti-Japanese League ofAlameda County
(a largely fictitious organization ). Ibid ., pp . 28–30.
34. Ibid. , pp. 32–40.
35. Ibid. , pp. 34–43; Hosokawa, Nisei, p. 89.

36. Daniels, Politics ofPrejudice, pp. 33–34; Executive Order 589 (March
14, 1907 ), revoked by Executive Order 10009 (October 18, 1948) .
37. ten Broek, Prejudice, War, p. 65 ; see generally Daniels, Politics of
Prejudice, pp. 50–64 .
38. Shibutani, Derelicts of Company K , p. 23.
39. Daniels, Politics of Prejudice, pp. 61-64, regarding the inefficacy of

the Webb-Heney Act; see also ten Broek, Prejudice, War, p . 51; McWilliams,
Prejudice, p. 49.

40. Daniels, Politics of Prejudice, pp. 61-64, 79; tenBroek, Prejudice,
War, pp. 41-42.
41. The Native Sons of the Golden West was an exclusive organization of

men born in California, dedicated to preserving the state “as it has always
been and God himself intended it shall always be theWhite Man's Paradise. ”
>

Anti-Japanese activity was a focus of the Native Sons for years. The American
Legion has a long history of anti- Japanese activity. At its first convention , in

NOTES: BEFORE PEARL HARBOR, PAGES 27-37

365

November, 1919, it adopted an anti -Japanese policy. Labor continued to be
anti-Japanese, although moving the Japanese from the land, which the policies
of some labor groups supported, would most quickly cause cheap labor com

petition . The California State Grange and the California State Farm Bureau
Federation initiated organized anti -Japanese activity in 1920. Their goals were
ouster of the Japanese from the state's farmlands, and eventually, their total
exclusion. tenBroek, Prejudice, War, pp. 32–57; Daniels, Politics ofPrejudice,
pp. 85-87.

42. Shibutani, Derelicts of Company K, p . 24.

43. tenBroek, Prejudice, War, pp. 59–62.
44. Audrie Girdner and Anne Loftis, The Great Betrayal: The Evacuation
of the Japanese -Americans During World War II (London: The Macmillan
Company, 1969), pp. 92–93.
45. From the Exclusion League's letterhead , cited by Daniels, Politics of
Prejudice, p. 85.
46. Daniels, Politics of Prejudice, p. 88.
47. Girdner and Loftis, Great Betrayal, p. 61 .
48. Initiative No. 1, Statutes and Amendments to the Codes of California,
1921 , p. xxxvii.

49. Daniels, Politics of Prejudice, p. 88; see also McWilliams, Prejudice,
p. 65 .

50. Masakazu Iwata, “ Summary of Planted In Good Soil: Issei Agriculture
in the Pacific Coast States,” testimony of Japanese American Citizens League
National Committee for Redress, Dec. 23, 1981, p. 257. The statistics were :
Acres held in California
by Ethnic Japanese
Year
1905
1908

1918
1929

62,048

134,057
390,635
328,350

51. Daniels, Politics of Prejudice, p. 1.
52. Wilson and Hosokawa, East to America, p . 71 .

53. Harvard Encyclopedia ofAmerican Ethnic Groups, p. 563.
54. Ibid. , p . 562.

55. Daniels, Politics of Prejudice, p. 44.
56. Ibid. , pp. 41 , 91 .
57. Ibid. , p. 91 .

58. Hosokawa, Nisei, p. 45; Girdner and Loftis, Great Betrayal, p. 66 .
59. tenBroek, Prejudice, War, p. 25.
60. Frank F. Chuman, The Bamboo People: The Law and Japanese Amer
icans (Del Mar, CA: Publisher's Inc. , 1976), p. 111 .
61. Bill Hosokawa, JACL In Quest of Justice (New York: William Morrow
& Co. , 1982) , p . 105 .

62. Morton Grodzins, Americans Betrayed: Politics and the Japanese

Evacuation (Chicago and London : University of Chicago Press, 1949), p . 11.
63. McWilliams, Prejudice, p. 40 .

64. Sowell, Ethnic America, p. 65.

366

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

65. McWilliams, Prejudice, pp. 26-29.

66. Daniels, Politics of Prejudice, pp. 69, 76–77; ten Broek, Prejudice,
War, pp. 27, 29-32.
67. Hosokawa, Nisei, p. 108.

68. Ibid ., p. 108; Girdner and Loftis, Great Betrayal, p. 61 .
69. See generally Daniels, Politics of Prejudice, p. 89; Ruth E. McKee,
Wartime Exile : The Exclusion of the Japanese Americansfrom the West Coast
(Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, 1946 ), pp. 23–29; Wilson
and Hosokawa, East to America, p. 133.
70. Wilson and Hosokawa, East to America , p. 133.

71. ten Broek , Prejudice, War, p. 67; McWilliams, Prejudice, pp. 90–91.
72. Girdner and Loftis, Great Betrayal, pp. 72–73; Wilson and Hosokawa,
East to America, p. 67.
73. Hosokawa, Nisei, pp. 158–59.

74. Shibutani, Derelicts of Company K , p. 31; Wilson and Hosokawa,
East to America, p. 166 ; Hosokawa, Nisei, p. 159.
75. Shibutani, Derelicts of Company K, p. 25 .

76. Daniel K. Inouye with Lawrence Elliott, Journey to Washington (En
glewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice -Hall, 1967), pp. 36–37.
77. Hosokawa, Nisei, p. 178 .

78. U.S. Department of the Interior, The Evacuated People: A Quanti
tative Description (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1946 ),
pp . 83–88 .

79. Girdner and Loftis, Great Betrayal, pp. 45–46 .
80. Hosokawa, Nisei, pp. 129–30.

81. Ibid ., p. 129; Girdner and Loftis, Great Betrayal, p. 46.
>

82.
83.
84.
85.
86.

Sowell, Ethnic America, p. 170 .
Hosokawa, Nisei, p. 128 .
Girdner and Loftis, Great Betrayal, p. 46.
Sowell, Ethnic America, p. 157.
Wilson and Hosokawa, East to America , pp. 60, 111 .

87. Girdner and Loftis, Great Betrayal, pp. 44-45 .
88. Wilson and Hosokawa, East to America, pp. 166–87.

89. Broom and Riemer, Removal and Return , p. 7.
90. Idem .

91. McKee, Exclusion, pp. 62–65; Iwata, “ Planted in Good Soil,” pp. 246–
47 .

92. McKee, Exclusion, p. 8.

93. Daniels, Politics of Prejudice, p. 8.
94. McKee, Exclusion, p. 65 ; Iwata, “ Planted in Good Soil ,” p. 247;
Sowell, Ethnic America , p. 161 .

95. Daniels, Politics of Prejudice, p. 9.
96. Iwata , “ Planted in Good Soil,” p. 258 .

97. Lon Hatamiya, “ Economic Effects of the Second World War Upon
Japanese Americans in California, ” testimony of the Japanese American Citi
zens League National Committee for Redress, Dec. 23, 1981 , p. 161 .

98. Daniels, Politics of Prejudice, p. 10. Cf. Iwata, “Planted in Good Soil,”

NOTES: BEFORE PEARL HARBOR , PAGES 37-46

367

p. 254, which states that in 1917 Japanese Americans raised crops worth $55
million , or about 10 percent of the California production.
99. See generally Iwata, “ Planted in Good Soil,” pp. 267–73.
100. Hosokawa, Nisei, pp . 68–69.

101. Iwata, “ Planted in Good Soil,” p. 258.
102. Grodzins, Americans Betrayed , pp. 23, 74–75.
103. Iwata, “ Planted in Good Soil, ” pp. 260-63.
104. Daniels, Politics of Prejudice, p. 12; Hatamiya, “ Economic Effects, ”

p. 152. Cf. McWilliams, Prejudice, p. 88 , which notes that by 1941, many of
these small retail businesses were going bankrupt because of their narrow
economic base.

105. Broom and Riemer, Removal and Return , pp . 27–31.
106. Hatamiya, “ Economic Effects,” pp. 152-54; Broom and Riemer,
Removal and Return , pp. 27–31.
107. Hatamiya, “ Economic Effects,” p . 162.
108. McKee, Exclusion, pp. 92–93.
>

109. Hatamiya, “ Economic Effects, ” pp. 154–70.
110.
111.
112.
113.

Shibutani, Derelicts of Company K , p. 26 .
Hatamiya, “ Economic Effects, ” pp. 161–70 .
Sowell, Ethnic America, pp. 162–70.
Sources for this section are Thomas Pettigrew , ed ., The Sociology

of Race Relations and Reform (New York: The Free Press, 1980), p. xvii; J.
R. Pole, The Pursuit of Equality (Berkeley: University of California Press,
1978 ), pp . 221–92.

114. Facts on File, vol. 2, no . 70 ( 1942), p. 72.

115. Missouri ex rel Gaines v. Canada, 305 U.S. 337 (1938).
116. Stimson Diary, Jan. 24, 1942. Sterling Library, Yale University.
(CWRIC 19609-10 ).

2
Executive Order 9066

1. Samuel Eliot Morison, Oxford History of the American People (New
York: Oxford University Press, 1965 ), pp. 1001-03. Three other aircraft carriers
were at sea, and therefore unaffected. These carriers and their airgroups con

stituted a striking force far more valuablethan the lost battleships. The per
ception of the destruction , however, did not account for this fact.
2. See, e.g. , Notes of Cabinet meetings, Francis Biddle, Attorney General,

Dec. 7, 1941. FDRL. Biddle Papers (CWRIC 3790–91).
3. Jeannette Rankin , a pacifistRepresentative from Montana, voted against
the declaration with tears streaming down her face. Francis Biddle, In Brief
Authority (Garden City , NY : Doubleday & Co. Inc., 1962), pp. 206–07.
4. Morison, Oxford History of the American People, p. 1003.

5. James MacGregor Burns, Roosevelt: The Soldier of Freedom (New York:
Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1970), pp. 38-39.
6. J. L. DeWitt, FinalReport:Japanese Evacuation From the West Coast,
1942 (Washington , DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1943), p. 34. [here
after Final Report ].
7. Brief for the United States, Korematsu v. United States, No. 22, Oct.
Term 1944, pp. 11-12.

8. House Report No. 732, 80th Cong ., 1st Sess. , reprinted in Hearings
before Subcommittee No. 5 of the Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. House
of Representatives, 83rd Cong., 2d Sess. , on HR 7435 (Serial No. 23), p. 60a.
9. Testimony, John J. McCloy, Washington, DC, Nov. 3, 1981, pp. 45–
>

66; testimony, Karl Bendetsen, Washington, DC, Nov. 2, 1981, p. 32. Like
McCloy, Bendetsen believes the evacuation decision was right in the context
of the time:

Senator Brooke: One final question . Looking back in hindsight now , do
you still think that the decision that was made in 1942 to place the Japanese
Americans in camps was the right decision ?
Mr. Bendetsen : Viewing it in the circumstances of the time and not from
today's time, yes; I think it was. ( Testimony, Bendetsen , Washington , DC,
Nov. 2, 1981, p. 71).

10. Brief for the United States, Hirabayashi v. United States, No. 870,
Oct. Term 1942, pp. 16–17 .

11. Proposal for Coordination of FBI, ONI and MID, June 5, 1940, ap
proved and signed by Louis Johnson, Acting Secretary of War on June 28,
1940. NARS. RG 107 (CWRIC 7362–63); memo, signed by G - 2, ONI and
FBI, Feb. 9, 1942, approved and signed by Henry L. Stimson , Secretary of
368

NOTES: EXECUTIVE ORDER 9066 , PAGES 47-54

369

War. NARS . RG 107 (CWRIC 7366–73 ). This document indicates that ONI

and FBI had joint coverage of “Japanese activities.'
12. Kenneth Ringle, Jr. , “What Did You Do Before The War, Dad?,”
Washington Post Magazine, Dec. 6, 1981 ; report by Curtis B. Munson, “ Jap
anese on the West Coast ,” attached to Nov. 7, 1941 memo from John Franklin
Carter to the President. FDRL. PSF 106 Stimson (CWRIC 3672–89 ).

13. Memo, Carter to Roosevelt re Munson report, “ Japanese on the West
Coast,” Nov. 7, 1941. The five points certainly suggest that sabotage and
espionage by Japanese Americans may occur but conveyed the opinion that
there was not very much to fear from the Nisei. The one point that Roosevelt

marked for Stimson's attention spoke generally of the fact that key points such
as dams and bridges were unguarded and vulnerable. In the text of Munson's

report, it was clear that he did not perceive danger from the ethnic Japanese
in this situation as much as from the Communists and Nazis, but this may not
have been clear if only Carter's brief cover note were read. Memo, FDR to

the Secretary of War, Nov. 8, 1941. FDRL. PSF 106 Stimson (CWRIC 3672;
3671) .
14. Letter, Stimson to Roosevelt, Feb. 5, 1942. FDRL.. PSF 106 Stimson
(CWRIC 3670 ).
15. Report by Curtis B. Munson, “ Japanese on the West Coast, " attached
to memo from Carter to Roosevelt, Nov. 7, 1941. FDRL. PSF 106 Stimson

(CWRIC 3673–89 ).
16. Cover note, Carter to Roosevelt, Dec. 22, 1941, enclosing Munson

report of Dec. 20, 1941 (CWRIC 19480–90); cover note, Carter to Roosevelt,
Dec. 13, 1941, enclosing Munson update of Jan. 12, 1942 (CWRIC 19495–97);

cover note, Carter to Roosevelt, Jan. 28, 1942, enclosing letter with enclosures
from Munson (CWRIC 19518–20); memo, Munson to Grace Tully, with en

closures, about Feb. 21, 1942 (CWRIC 19539–50 ); “Report on Hawaiian Is
lands ,” by Munson , attached to memo from Carter to Roosevelt, Dec. 8, 1941.
FDRL. PSF Carter (CWRIC 19499–516 ).

17. Report by Munson, “ Report and Suggestions regarding Handling Jap
anese Question on the Coast,” Dec. 20, 1941. FDRL. PSF Carter (CWRIC
19483).

18. E.g., Letter, Bob Alexander to Lloyd Wright, Feb. 18, 1942. FDRL.
PSF Carter (CWRIC 19543-46 ). Nor was the threat limited to coastal areas.
German saboteurs landing from submarines had instructions to destroy many
inland installations . Letter, Hoover to McIntyre, Secy . to President, with

attached memo, June 27, 1942. FDRL. PSF 77 (CWRIC 3691-93).
19. E.g. , Memo, Carter to Roosevelt, Jan. 28, 1942. FDRL. PSF Carter
(CWRIC 19518 ).

20. Memo, Lieut. Cmdr. K. D. Ringle to Chief of Naval Operations, Jan.
26 , 1942. NARS . RG 107 (CWRIC 275–84 ). Ringle had three years' study of

the Japanese language and people during a tour at the embassy in Tokyo, a
year as Assistant District Intelligence Officer in Hawaii; from June 1940 he
had directed Naval Intelligence in Los Angeles. Ringle, Report on Japanese
Question, Jan. 26, 1942. NARS . RG 107 (CWRIC 277).
21. Ringle, Washington Post Magazine, Dec. 6, 1981 .
22. Letter, Ringle to Edward N. Barnhart, Mar. 23, 1951 (CWRIC 19567).

53-124 - 92 - 13

370

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

23. Ringle, Report on Japanese Question , Jan. 26, 1942. NARS. RG 107
(CWRIC 277).

24. Letter, Ringle to Barnhart, Mar. 23, 1951 ( CWRIC 19566 ).
25. The Proclamation is reproduced at U.S. House of Representatives,
Select Committee Investigating National Defense Migration ( Tolan Commit
tee ), 77th Cong. 2d Sess. , 1942, HR Report 2124. Proclamation 2526 applied

the promulgated rules and regulations to German aliens; Proclamation 2527
applied them to Italian aliens. Both Proclamation 2526 and 2527 were issued
on Dec. 8, 1941.

26. Paul Clark, “ Those Other Camps: Japanese Alien Internment during
World War II ,” unpublished manuscript, no date, p. 7, and materials cited
(CWRIC 4409 ).

27. Telegrams, J. Edgar Hoover to All Special Agents in Charge, Dec.
7, 1941. FBI (CWRIC -5826, 5827, 5828 ); Dec. 8, 1941. FBI (CWRIC 5784
85 ).
28. Press release, Department of Justice statement of policy, released by
Attorney General Francis Biddle, Dec. 10, 1941. FBI ( CWRIC 5814–15 ).
29. Memos, L. L. Laughlin to D. M. Ladd, Dec. 8, 1941. FBI (CWRIC

5781); Francis M. Shea to Hoover, Dec. 10, 1941. FBI (CWRIC 5780).

30. Memo, Lemuel B. Schofield to Edward J. Ennis, Director, Alien
Enemy Control Unit, Dec. 10, 1941. FBI (CWRIC 10373).
31. Clark, “ Those Other Camps,” p. 9, refers to Department of Justice
press release , Feb. 16, 1942. (CWRIC 4411).
32. Jacobus ten Broek, Edward N. Barnhart and Floyd W. Matson , Prej

udice, War and the Constitution (Berkeley: University of California Press,
1954 ), p. 101 .
33. Memo, Hoover to Attorney General, Feb. 2, 1942. FBI (CWRIC
5794803 ).

34. Ringle, Washington Post Magazine, Dec. 6, 1981.

35. Memo, Hoover to Attorney General, Feb. 2, 1942. FBI (CWRIC
5794-803 ).

36. Report by Munson , Dec. 20, 1941. FDRL. PSF Carter ( CWRIC
19481).

37. Bill Hosokawa, Nisei: The Quiet Americans (New York: William Mor
row & Co. , Inc. , 1969), pp . 463–64 .

38. Notes of Cabinet meetings, Biddle, Dec. 19, 1941. FDRL. Biddle
Papers (CWRIC 3793–94); memo, Hoover to the Attorney General, Dec. 17,
1941:

With reference to the statement made by the Secretary of Navy to the
effect that the Fifth Column activities in Hawaii were exceeded only by
the Fifth Column activities in Norway, I wanted to make the suggestion
that you might wish to keep in

mind the desirability of askingthe Secretary

of Navy for any specific evidence which he has supporting this statement.

I have already addressed a memorandum to you outlining directly what
the scope of the so -called Fifth Column activities in Hawaiihas been, and
while there no doubt have been agents ofthe Japanese government active,
it is very definitely the opinion of the intelligence officers of the various
services in Hawaii that there is no such widespread activitysimilar to that

NOTES : EXECUTIVE ORDER 9066 , PAGES 54-60

371

which occurred in Norway. In fact, it is believed a great majority of the
population in Hawaii of foreign extraction is law -abiding and is not in

dulging in any such activities. If the Secretary of Navy has any specific

information of the magnitude that he has indicated by his press statement,
it might be desirable for you to make inquiry of him for it. FBI ( CWRIC
5830 ).

39. Memo, Carter to Roosevelt . FDRL. PSF Carter (CWRIC 12006 ).
40. Memo, Hoover to Tolson, Tamm and Ladd, Dec. 8, 1941. FBI (CWRIC
5786).

41. Honolulu Advertiser, Dec. 22, 1941, pp. 1 , 6 (CWRIC 29567–69).
42. Report by Munson , Dec. 20, 1941. FDRL. PSF Carter (CWRIC
19481-82).

43. Morton Grodzins, Americans Betrayed (Chicago: University of Chi
cago Press , 1949), p . 399.

44. Cover note, Carter to Roosevelt, Dec. 22, 1941; report by Munson,
Dec. 20, 1941. FDRL . PSF Carter (CWRIC 19481-90).
45. Report of Roberts Commission, Jan. 23, 1942, contained in Hearings
before the Joint Committee on the Investigation of the Pearl Harbor Attack,
79th Cong. , Part 39, 1946 (Washington, DC : U.S. Government Printing Office,
1946) (hereafter “Pearl Harbor Investigation” ).
46. Pearl Harbor Investigation , Part 39, pp. 12–13.

47. Elting E. Morison, Turmoil and Tradition (Boston : Houghton Mifflin
Co. , 1960 ), pp. 527–34.
48. Pearl Harbor Investigation , Part 22 , p . 86.

49. Report by Munson , Dec. 20 , 1941. FDRL. PSF Carter (CWRIC
19483).

50. Pearl Harbor Investigation, Part 23, p. 867 and preceding pages.
51. Ibid . , pp . 872–73.

52. Report of the Select Committee Investigating National Defense Mi
gration, HR Report No. 1911 , 77th Cong. , 2d Sess. , March 19, 1942, p. 2.
53. Diary, Stimson, Jan. 20 , 1942, p. 3 , Sterling Library, Yale University
(CWRIC 19598) .

54.
55.
56.
57.

Pearl Harbor Investigation , Part 23 , p . 874 .
Ibid . , pp . 879–80.
Ibid. , p . 884.
Ibid. , pp . 642-43, 651 .

58. Pearl Harbor Investigation , Part 35, p . 559.

59. Gordon W. Prange, At Dawn We Slept (New York: McGraw -Hill Book
Co. , 1981), pp. 310–12, 650.
60. Carey McWilliams , Prejudice: Japanese -Americans, Symbol of Racial
Intolerance (Boston : Little , Brown and Co. , 1945 ), pp . 110–11.

61. Diary, Stimson, Jan. 20, 1942, p. 3. Sterling Library, Yale University
(CWRIC 19598) .

62. Telephone conversation , DeWitt, Gullion and Bendetsen, Feb. 1 ,
1942. NARS . RG 389 (CWRIC 4316 ).

63. Memo, Carter to Roosevelt, Dec. 19, 1941. FDRL. PSF Carter (CWRIC
12007).

64. Memo, Hoover to Shea, Dec. 17, 1941. FBI (CWRIC 5777–79 ).

372

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED
1

65. Letter, Ringle to Barnhart, Mar. 23, 1951 (CWRIC 19566 ).

66. In June 1940, Congress passed the Alien Registration Act (Smith Act),
54 Stat. 670. Registration began under the supervision of the Department of

Justice on Aug. 27, 1940. Aliens had to register, be fingerprinted , answer 42
questions and reregister annually. A total of 4,921,452 aliens registered. (Don
ald R. Perry, "Aliens in the United States, " Annals of the American Academy

of Political and Social Science, vol. 223 (September 1942), pp. 1–9).
67. WDC, Supplemental Report on Civilian Controls Exercised by the
Western Defense Command, Jan. 1947, pp. 440-41. NARS. RG 338.
68. Ibid ., pp. 441-42. In Los Angeles and San Francisco , over $3 million
oflocal commercial and savings accounts were immediately frozen. The amount

frozen in Seattle is unknown; the President appointed an Alien Property Cus
todian in the Department of Justice on Dec. 12, 1941. See Notes on Cabinet
Meetings, Biddle, Dec. 12, 1941. FDRL. Biddle Papers (CWRIC 3792).
69. WDC , Supplemental Report, pp . 442-43.
70. Ibid ., p. 443.
71. Biddle , Notes on Cabinet meetings, Dec. 12, 1941. FDRL. Biddle
Papers (CWRIC 3792 ).

72. Telegram , Marshall to Commanding General, Western Defense Com
mand, Jan. 2, 1942. NARS . RG 338 (CWRIC 3176 ).

73. Bill Hosokawa, JACL In Quest of Justice (New York : William Morrow
& Co. , 1982 ), pp. 140–41.
74. Congressional Record, p . 9630, 77th Cong. , 1st Sess . , Dec. 10, 1941 .

75. Telegram , Robinett, GHQ Army War College, to G - 2 Western De
fense Command, Dec. 19, 1941 (CWRIC 3146 ).) See, e.g. , memo, Lt. Col.
L. R. Forney to Lt. Col. D. A. Stroh , Dec. 22, 1941 (CWRIC 3161); telegram ,
Lt. Gen. John L. DeWitt to Commanding General of Field Forces, GHQ
Army War College, Dec. 22, 1941 (CWRIC 3173) ; telegram , DeWitt to Ad
jutant General, Dec. 23, 1941 (CWRIC 3174 ); telegram , Marshall to DeWitt,

Dec. 25 , 1941 (CWRIC 3157); telegram , Maj. Gen. E. S. Adams, Adjutant
General, to DeWitt, Dec. 25, 1941, suggesting the Secretary of War should

consider asking the President to transfer to the War Department the respon
sibility and authority for control of enemy aliens (CWRIC 3158); telegram ,

DeWitt to Commanding General of Field Forces, GHQ Army War College,
Dec. 26 , 1941 (CWRIC 3156). All in NARS. RG 338.
Instructions for arrests of alien enemies were also sought. Those instructions
were issued after the first wave of arrests. Memo, Hoover to All Special Agents
in Charge, Dec. 27, 1941. FBI (CWRIC 5808–10 ). Individual determinations
about arrest were to be made, with review by the appropriate United States
Attorney, then review and decision by the Department ofJustice, except where

activities of the alien enemies were imminently dangerous.
76. Memo by Forney on conversation with N. J. L. Pieper, FBI, SAC,

Jan. 1, 1942 (CWRIC 3167); see also memo, Pieper to DeWitt, containing a
telegram from Biddle, Jan. 1, 1942. NARS. RG 338 (CWRIC 1331-32).
77. Memo, Pieper to DeWitt, Jan. 1 , 1942. NARS . RG 338 (CWRIC
1331) .

78. Telegram , Hoover to James Rowe, Assistant Attorney General, Jan.
7, 1942. NARS . RG 338 (CWRIC 1246–47).

NOTES : EXECUTIVE ORDER 9066 , PAGES 60-62

373

79. Memo, Hoover to Attorney General, Feb. 2, 1942. FBI (CWRIC
5798).

80. Transcription of meeting in DeWitt's office, Jan. 4, 1942. NARS. RG
338 (CWRIC 1250–57).

81. Summary, Rowe to DeWitt, Jan. 4, 1942. NARS . RG 338 (CWRIC

1258–59). As a guideline, the pertinent parts of the memorandum are worth
reviewing in their entirety:
This is the summary by Assistant Attorney General ROWE to General
DE WITT of a conversation with the Attorney General of the United States,

and Mr. ROWE's understanding ofwhat the Department ofJustice is prepared
to do on questions of Alien Enemy Control referred to him by General DE
WITT and his staff. ...
2. RESTRICTED AREAS .

The Department of Justice tonight will by wire direct the United States
Attorneys in the Western Theater of Operations, with particular emphasis on

Washington, Oregon , and California, to telephone Major General BENEDICT
for recommendations as to what areas should be regarded as restricted. The

U.S. Attorney will automatically accept the General's recommendations, and
these areas will immediately become restricted areas pending confirmation by
the Attorney General. As soon as possible , a press release ordering all enemy
aliens to evacuate restricted areas by a certain date and hour will be issued.

Any release by the Department of Justice will specifically state that the At
torney General has designated these restricted areas at the specific and urgent
request of General DE WITT. The Army will request the Navy to submit its

recommendations through General DE WITT. It is believed several days will
elapse before the Army will be ready to submit its recommendations.
3. SEARCH WARRANTS .

New forms for search and seizure ofprohibited articles in homes controlled
by, or inhabited by, alien enemies, are to be received tomorrow morning by
FBI teletype. The question of probable cause will be met only by the statement
that an alien enemy is resident in such premises . It is Mr. ROWE's under

standing that the local United States Attorney's interpretation that more in
formation is necessary to show probable cause is incorrect. The U.S. Attorney
will issue a search warrant upon a statement by an FBI Agent that an alien

enemy is resident at certain premises. It is not necessary that the Department
in Washington be consulted .
4. ALIEN ENEMY REGISTRATION .

The Department feels it can conduct an alien enemy registration in the
Western Theater of Operations within aa week or ten days. Tomorrow morning

by FBI teletype a statement will be sent from Washington outlining a procedure
ofwhat the Department is prepared to do . The Department feels it can conduct
such a registration, through the local police authorities, much faster than the
Army itself. ..

5. The Department is willing to make spot-raids on alien enemies to
morrow or at any time after the registration, anywhere within the Western
Theater of Operations. Mr. ROWE emphasized that such raids must be con
fined to premises controlled by enemy aliens, or where enemy aliens are

resident. In other words, the Department cannot raid a specific locality, cov

374

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

ering every house in that locality, irrespective of whether such houses are
inhabited by enemy aliens or citizens . The Attorney General requested Mr.
ROWE to make clear to General DE WITT that under no circumstances will

the Department of Justice conduct mass raids on alien enemies. It is understood
that the term “mass raids” means, eventually a raid on every alien enemy

within the Western Theater of Operations. The Attorney General will oppose
such raids and, ifoverruled by the President, will request the Army to supersede
the Department of Justice in the Western Theater of Operations.

See also confirmation of“ a more expeditious legal method ... in con
nection with the search and seizure of enemy aliens and their property ” in
letter from Stimson to the President, Feb. 5, 1942. FDRL. PSF Stimson
(CWRIC 3670 ).

82. See, e.g., memo, Pieper to DeWitt, Jan. 1, 1942. NARS. RG 338
(CWRIC 1331). That the Army favored mass raids is reported in a memo,
Hoover to Tolson, Tamm and Ladd, Dec. 26 , 1941. FBI (CWRIC 5834_37 ).

83. See, e.g., memo, Pieper to DeWitt, Jan. 22, 1942. NARS. RG 338
(CWRIC 3120) .
84. Memo by Forney, conversation with V. Ford Greaves, Federal Com
munications Commission , Dec. 31 , 1941. NARS . , RG 338 (CWRIC 3164 ).
85. Letter, Greaves to DeWitt, Jan. 1 , 1942. NARS . RG 338 (CWRIC
8606-07b ).

86. Report ofconference with General DeWitt, by George Sterling, FCC,
Jan. 9, 1942. NARS. RG 173 (CWRIC 8598-602 ).
87. Memo, Bendetsen to DeWitt, Jan. 3, 1942. NARS . RG 338 (CWRIC
1248 ).

88. Summary, Rowe to DeWitt, Jan. 4, 1942. NARS . RG 338 ( CWRIC
1258–59).

89. Memo summarizing Attorney General's message, Jan. 5, 1942. NARS .
RG 338 (CWRIC 1595).
90. See , e.g. , memo, W. K. Kilpatrick, Chief of Staff, Pacific Southern
Naval Coastal Frontier to DeWitt, Jan. 7, 1942, re “ Exclusion of Enemy Aliens
from Designated Areas.” NARS . RG 338 (CWRIC 3121).
91. Memo, Major C. O. Garver. to DeWitt, Jan. 8, 1942. NARS . RG 338
(CWRIC 3122–25 ).
92. Joseph Stilwell, The Stilwell Papers (New York: W. Sloane Associates,
1948 ), pp. 5–8 .

93. Memo, Hoover to Attorney General, Feb. 1 , 1942. DOJ 146–42-012
(CWRIC 10447–56 ).
94. Memo, Hoover to Tolson, Tamm and Ladd, Dec. 17, 1941. FBI
(CWRIC 5831-33 ).

95. Report by Sterling of conference with DeWitt, Jan. 9, 1942. NARS .
RG 173 (CWRIC 8598-602).
96. Diary, Stimson , Feb. 3, 1942, Sterling Library, Yale University (CWRIC
19632 ).

97. Memo, Munson to Carter, Jan. 12, 1942. FDRL . PSF Carter (CWRIC
19496–97).

98. Ringle, Washington Post Magazine, Dec. 6, 1981 .

NOTES: EXECUTIVE ORDER 9066, PAGES 62-68

375

99. Prange, At Dawn We Slept, p. 605; Short stopped at the Presidio in
San Francisco on his way home from Hawaii.

100. Grodzins, Americans Betrayed, p. 278. (Mayor Fletcher Bowron of
Los Angeles reported this remark .)

101. Transcript of meeting in DeWitt's office, Jan. 4, 1942. NARS. RG
338 (CWRIC 1250–57 ).

102. DeWitt, Final Report, p. 34. The 112,000 included, of course , a very
substantial number of women and children .

103. Testimony before House Naval Affairs Subcommittee, April 13, 1943.

NARS. RG 338 (CWRIC 1725-28 ).
104. Transcript ofconference, DeWitt and newspapermen , April 14, 1943.
NARS . RG 338 (CWRIC 26565 ).

105. Roger Daniels, Concentration Camps, USA: Japanese- Americans and

World War II (New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1972), p. 63; tenBroek,
Prejudice, War, p . 86 ; Report No. 13, Grodzins in Washington, Oct. 12, 1942.

Bancroft Library: A 12.04. (CWRIC 11326–27). The West Coast apparently
sustained only two minor Japanese submarine attacks during the war; the first
was directed by Kozo Nishino, a submarine commander who in the late 1930's
had been taunted by oil rig workers while the tanker he commanded was
loading at the Ellwood oilfield near Santa Barbara:

[ O]n Feb. 23, 1942 ... from 7:07 to 7:45 p.m. , he directed the shelling
of the Ellwood oil fields from his submarine, the 1–17 . Though about 25

shells were fired from a 5.5 inch deck gun , little damage was done. One
rig needed a $500 repair job after the shelling, and one man was wounded

while trying to defuse an unexploded shell. U.S. planes gave chase ...
but Nishino got away ... the mainland suffered only one more submarine
attack by the Japanese during the war, at Fort Stevens in Oregon. (Irving
Wallace et al., “Delayed Revenge ,” Parade, Nov. 21 , 1982, p. 18 ).

106. The atmosphere after Pearl Harbor and its relationship to security
on the West Coast is particularly well conveyed by James Rowe, Assistant
Attorney General, who opposed exclusion and evacuation and was later in
terviewed with Dillon Myer by the Earl Warren Oral History Project:

Myer: Everybody got scared.

Rowe: Everybody was. I mean we took an awful beating at Pearl Harbor

and it caught everybody unawares and then all the news that followed was the
Japanese moving, moving, moving. They just had one victory after another.
Myer: They sure did .

Rowe: And the British were not doing well. Hell, the whole world might
have come crashing down. And the first requirement of the government was

order. Law comes after order. ( The Earl Warren Oral History Project, Jap
anese-American Relocation Reviewed , vol. 1 , 1969, p. 38.)

107. ten Broek , Prejudice, War, pp. 78–79.
108. Ibid . , p . 79.

109. Grodzins, Americans Betrayed, pp. 44-47. In his memoirs at the

end of his life, Warren rendered his personal verdict on this part ofhis history:

I have since deeply regretted the removal order and my own testimony
advocating it, because it was not in keeping with our American concept

offreedom and the rights of citizens. Whenever I thought of the innocent

376

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

little children who were torn from home, school friends, and congenial
surroundings, I was conscience -stricken. It was wrong to react so impul
sively, without positive evidence of disloyalty, even though we felt we
had aа good motive in the security of our state . It demonstrates the cruelty
of war when fear, get-tough military psychology, propaganda, and racial
antagonism combine with one's responsibility for public security to pro

duce such acts. I have always believed that I had no prejudice against the
Japanese as such except that directly spawned by Pearl Harbor and its
aftermath . As district attorney, I had great respect for people of Japanese

ancestry, because during my years in that office they created no law
enforcement problems. Although we had aa sizable Japanese population ,
neither the young nor the old violated the law . (Earl Warren, The Memoirs
of Chief Justice Earl Warren (Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co. , Inc.,
1977 ), p. 149. )

110. Grizzly Bear, Jan. 1942, reprinted in Morton Grodzins, Americans
Betrayed, p. 48.
111. Grodzins, Americans Betrayed, pp. 49–50 .
112. Ibid. , pp. 42-43.
113. Resolution of Federal Post No. 97, Dept. of Oregon , American Le

gion, Portland, OR. , reprinted in Hearings before the Select Committee In
vestigating National Defense Migration , U.S. House of Representatives, 77th
Cong. , 2d Sess. , p. 11389.
114. Grodzins, Americans Betrayed, p. 43.

115. Frank J. Taylor, “ The People Nobody Wants, ” The Saturday Evening
Post, May 9, 1942, p . 66 .

116. Grodzins, Americans Betrayed , pp. 22–23.
117. William Petersen , Japanese Americans: Oppression and Success (New
York: Random House, 1971), pp. 77–78. Petersen also points out that as late
as September 1942, Carey McWilliams, who before the end of the war wrote

a volume entitled Prejudice that opposed the exclusion and detention , pub
lished an article in Harper's suggesting that the exclusion and detention were
perhaps all for the best. Norman Thomas was one of the few well -known figures

who spoke out against exclusion and detention ; he recognized that his position
was a lonely one :

In an experience of nearly three decades I have never found it harder to
arouse the American public on any important issue than on this. Men and
women who know nothing of the facts ... hotly deny that there are
concentration camps. Apparently that is a term to be used only if the
guards speak German and carry a whip as well as a rifle. (Ibid ., pp. 75–
77. )

118. Grodzins, Americans Betrayed, pp. 101–03. In 1954, testifying before
a Congressional subcommittee considering the Japanese American Evacuation
Claims Act, Mayor Bowron summed up the atmosphere of the time and his

later judgment on the actions that were taken :
I know of my own knowledge something of the circumstances surrounding

the making of the order and the forceful evacuation of the Japanese pop
ulation of this area, and I know of the hysteria, the wild rumors, the

reports, that pervaded the atmosphere and worried a great many of us in

NOTES: EXECUTIVE ORDER 9066, PAGES 68-73

377

responsible positions. We were quite disorganized. Our civil defense
organization was not in effect, and with all due respect, the means of

making investigations from Federal sources was rather disorganized at
times .

There were many rumors floating around, as a result of which,, this
order of evacuation was made.

I rather hold myself somewhat responsible, with others, for the con

dition or the representation that possibly brought about that order. I
realize that great injustices were done.

Well, personally, I thought it was the right thing to do at the time; in
the light of after events, I think it was wrong, now. (Hearings Before

Subcommittee No. 5 of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Rep
resentatives, 83rd Cong. , 2d Sess. , on HR 7435 to amend the Japanese
American Evacuation Claims Act of 1948 ( 1954 ), pp. 231-32 ).
119.
120.
121.
( CWRIC
122.

Grodzins, Americans Betrayed, pp. 111-14.
Ibid. , pp . 92–100 .
Letter, Leland M. Ford to Stimson , Jan. 16, 1942. NARS . RG 107
4376 ); Grodzins, Americans Betrayed, pp. 64–65.
Grodzins, Americans Betrayed, p . 67.

123. Recommendations by Pacific Coast Delegation (U.S. House of Rep
resentatives), “ Suggested Program ” to the President following delegation meet
ing, Jan. 30, 1942. Bancroft Library. A12.07 (CWRIC 11334 ).

124. “ News and Views by John B. Hughes ,” radio transcripts, Jan. 5, 6,
7, 9, 15, 19, and 20, 1942 (CWRIC 8707-18 ).

125. Grodzins, Americans Betrayed, pp. 384–86; Alexander H. Leighton ,
The Governing of Men (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1945), pp . 15
23.

126. ten Broek, Prejudice, War, p.
p 75 .
127. Memo by JLD (DeWitt) , “Action of Congressional Committee on

handling enemy aliens on the West Coast ,” Jan. 31 , 1942. NARS . RG 338
(CWRIC 1321-23). In this memo, DeWitt rejected the suggestion that enemy
aliens be interned in Civilian Conservation Corps camps because, in his view,

those camps would require troops for guards to the detriment of military
functions.

128. Grodzins, Americans Betrayed, pp . 241–42.

129. Memo, Hoover to Attorney General, Feb. 2, 1942. FBI (CWRIC
5794 , 5796 ).

130. Testifying before the Commission in 1981, Rowe maintained his
position opposing the exclusion, stating that he had never seen any military
necessity for it. He also reviewed the performance of the Justice Department

in making as strong a case as possible to the President in opposition to the
evacuation :

I think we could have done it much better; we were always on the run ,
I would say; I don't know how you could be on the run and up against

the wall at the same time, but that's where we felt we were. The press
was after us , Congress was after us, the mail was after us, and we were
sort of reacting to all of this.

Now I think in looking back, and we were tired too, we were up all

378

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

night, I think we could have done aa hell ofаa lot bettter job , and we didn't
do it. But we were all they had . ( Testimony, James Rowe, Washington ,
DC, July 14, 1981, p. 72 ).
Ennis also reviewed his own role and the impact of the evacuation decision
in testifying,

[ N ]ow when I look back on it I don't know why I didn't resign , I did
represent as a member of the Department of Justice, I did represent the
defendant government in evacuation actions and indeed wrote the briefs,
argued the cases in the lower courts, and wrote the briefs for the Solicitor

General for the Supreme Court of the United States. I think I should
confess that.

But in sum, all I can say for that is that the Constitution not only gives
great power to the military in time of war, but it appears that it gives
them power to make very serious mistakes, and I think the only defense
that can be made of the evacuation in legal terms is that the power to

control includes the power to control mistakenly and make mistakes as

great as was made here. ( Testimony, Edward Ennis, Washington, DC,
Nov. 2, 1981, pp . 140-41).

Tom Clark recalled his views and passed judgment on the evacuation decision
in 1976, after he had left the Supreme Court:

I served during the hectic days during which the ultimate governmental
policy was formulated ... I found the final decison for removal of the
Japanese to be based upon the physical dangers then facing 110,000 people
of Japanese descent then living in California, Oregon, and Washington.
I did not expect any sabotage from Japanese residents; there had been
none in Hawaii where the opportunity was greater; the ONI and FBI had
a tight oversight of all nationality groups, especially the Japanese. The
Department of Justice was poised for individual action that would have
controlled any recalcitrant Japanese, as it had those of German and Italian

origin who had defied authority. There was little strategic justification for
the evacuation; these people ofJapanese descent, many ofthem American
citizens, did not pose a substantial military threat.
As Civilian Coordinator, however, I received hundreds of threatening
messages against the Japanese community every day. This led to the
curfew orders promulgated by General DeWitt. ... The Congress then

authorized exclusion, and the agitation was such that the Western Defense
Command decided upon a policy of evacuation . Looking back on it today,
this was, of course , a mistake. Although the Supreme Court held the
action constitutional, one must remember that even the Court's judgment
can be no better than the information on which it is based. In my view ,
the military necessity for the action taken was lacking. ( Frank F. Chuman ,

The Bamboo People (Del Mar, CA: Publisher's Inc., 1976 ), preface by
Tom C. Clark, p. vii).

131. Testimony, Edward Ennis, Washington, DC , Nov. 2, 1981, pp . 139–
41 .

132. Telephone conversation , DeWitt, Gullion and Bendetsen , Feb. 1 ,
1942. NARS. RG 389 (CWRIC 4314-18 ).

133. The memo presented a number of options including special defense

NOTES : EXECUTIVE ORDER 9066 , PAGES 73-75

379

areas into which ethnic Japanese would be allowed only under special license,
special reservations on the West Coast for the ethnic Japanese and curfews.

These are close to the conceptual plans that the Justice and the War Depart
ments developed. The memo also argued that the precautionary measures

taken should be reasonably adapted to need and that every effort should be
made to relieve unnecessary hardship . Memo, Cohen, Cox and Rauh, about
Feb. 10, 1942. DOJ 146–13–7–2–0 (CWRIC 12682–89). In writing to the
Commission, Rauh remembers the three attorneys pressing for a compromise
>

between the War and Justice Departments which would have involved “ curfew

and other limited measures ." Letter, Rauh to Bernstein , May 21 , 1982 (CWRIC

14435–40). The memorandum can fairly be construed to support the legality
and propriety of broader measures. Rauh also set out his later views on the
evacuation and Cohen's reaction to these events :

I want to record how deeply Mr. Cohen felt against the evacuation . When
I went into his office one night a couple of months later, he showed me

a newspaper picture of a little Japanese American boy leaning out the
evacuation train window and waving an American flag. Mr. Cohen had
tears in his eyes.

I suppose it does not do much good to try and explain historical decisions
many years after the event, but I did try this in an essay on civil liberties
for the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council back in
1969:

[ U ]ndoubtedly the cruelest inroad on civil freedom during World War
II was the exclusion of the entire population of Japanese ancestry from
the Pacific Coast and the detention of most of them in relocation camps.
This incredible tragedy resulted, I believe, more from the rigidity of

honorable men within the Administration who failed to recognize the
need for some post-Pearl-Harbor action to offset Pacific Coast fright of
near hysterical proportions (as, for example, the temporary nighttime
curfew suggested by some) than from the weakness or venality of the

Administration in the face of tremendous military and political pres
sures .

That was the best I could do then to explain how this tragedy could happen
and it is the best I can do now. (Idem .)

134. Telephone conversation , DeWitt, Gullion and Bendetsen, Feb. 1,
1942. NARS . RG 389 (CWRIC 4314–18 ).

135. Telephone conversation, Gullion and Gen. Mark Clark, Feb. 4, 1942.
NARS . RG 389 (CWRIC 5936–40 ).

136. Telephone conversation , DeWitt, Gullion and Bendetsen, Feb. 1 ,
1942. NARS . RG 389 (CWRIC 4314-18 ).

137. Telephone conversation , DeWitt and McCloy , Feb. 3 , 1942. NARS .

RG 107 (CWRIC 135–37) (Gov. Olson); Grodzins, Americans Betrayed, pp .
277–78 (Mayor Bowron ).
138. Telephone conversation, DeWitt, Gullion and Bendetsen, Feb. 1,
1942. NARS . RG 389 (CWRIC 4314-18 ).

139. Telephone conversation, Gullion to Clark, Feb. 4, 1942. NARS . RG

389 (CWRIC 5937) (“ Yesterday Secretary Stimson, McCloy, Bendetsen and I
talked for an hour and a half on the situation and I can tell you that the two

380

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

Secretaries are against any mass movement. They are pretty much against
it.”); Undersecretary of War Patterson apparently supported mass evacuation .

McCloy's diary of February 16 records a meeting between McCloy and Pat
terson in which Patterson “ strongly urged immediate and thorough action .'
Interview of McCloy, Oct. 16, 1942. Bancroft Library. A 5.02 (CWRIC 4491).
140. Diary, Stimson , Feb. 3, 1942. Sterling Library, Yale University

(CWRIC 19632 ). There were , of course, no naturalized Americans of Japanese
ancestry; the Nisei were Americans by birth.

141. Telephone conversation, DeWitt and McCloy, Feb. 3, 1942. NARS.
RG 107 (CWRIC 131-40 ).
142. Ibid . Given McCloy's concern for the legality of the government's

conduct, one must also note the account of the meeting of February 4 between
the War Department and the Justice Department which General Gullion gave
to General Clark on February 4: “Well, I think McCloy did say this to Biddle
you are putting a Wall Street lawyer in a helluva box, but if it [is] a question

of safety of the country, the Constitution of the United States, why the Con
stitution is just a scrap of paper to me. That is what McCloy said . But they

are just a little afraid DeWitt hasn't enough grounds to justify any movements.”
Telephone conversation , Gullion and Clark, Feb. 4, 1942. NARS. RG 389
(CWRIC 5937). McCloy testified to the Commission that he had not made this
statement. ( Testimony, John J. McCloy, Washington , DC, Nov. 3, 1981, pp .
17-18 , 33–34 .)

143. Memo, Strickland to Ladd , Feb. 3, 1942. FBI (CWRIC 5807).
144. Memo, Bureau of Intelligence to Director, Office of Facts and Fig

ures, Feb. 4, 1942; letter, MacLeish to McCloy, Feb. 9, 1942. NARS. RG
107 (CWRIC 124 ; 117–18 ).

145. Interview of McCloy, Oct. 16, 1942. Bancroft Library. A5.02 (CWRIC
4491).
146. Memo, Bendetsen to Provost Marshal General, Feb. 4, 1942. NARS .
RG 389 (CWRIC 6622–26 ).

147. Interview of McCloy, Oct. 16, 1942. Bancroft Library. A5.02 (CWRIC
4491).

148. Office of Provost Marshal General proposal, Feb. 5, 1942. NARS .
RG 107 (CWRIC 120).
149. Memo, Biddle, “Luncheon Conference with the President ,” Feb. 7,

1942. FDRL . Biddle Papers (CWRIC 5750 ).

150. On Feb. 17, 1942, Biddle sent the President an analysis of why the
evacuation should not be undertaken. FDRL. PSF Confidential File (CWRIC
5754–55 ). In fact, that memorandum arrived after the President had told Stim

son to go ahead. FDRL. Biddle Papers (CWRIC 5756–58 ).

151. Diary, Stimson, Feb. 10, 1942. Sterling Library, Yale University.
(CWRIC 19649).
152. Memo, Bendetsen to DeWitt, Feb. 10, 1942. NARS. RG 338 (CWRIC
12003–05 ).

153. Diary, Stimson, Feb. 11 , 1942. Sterling Library. Yale University,
(CWRIC 19651-52).

154. Walter Lippmann, “The Fifth Column on the Coast,” Washington

NOTES: EXECUTIVE ORDER 9066 , PAGES 75-85

381

Post, Feb. 12, 1942.NARS. RG 107 (CWRIC 1401). Lippmann's biographer
reports the columnist's view of this incident in later life :
In the early 1970s, when Earl Warren publicly recanted, a frail and failing

Lippmann kept returning to the issue in conversation. “You know , I still
think it was the right thing to do at the time, ” he told his friend Gilbert
Harrison , editor of the New Republic. “ Not for security reasons, mind

you, but because it was necessary to protect the Japanese- Americans from
the hysterical mobs on the West Coast .” Although he would not admit
he had been wrong, neither could he put the issue out of his mind. (Ronald
Steel, Walter Lippmann and The American Century ( Boston : Little, Brown
and Co. , 1980]), p. 395.
155. Grodzins, Americans Betrayed, pp. 92–100.
156. Westbrook Pegler, “ Fifth Column problem on Pacific Coast very
serious — Japs should be under guard , ” Feb. 16, 1942. DOJ 146–13–7–2–0
(CWRIC 13333).

157. Manchester E. Boddy, Japanese in America (Los Angeles : Man
chester E. Boddy, 1921).

158. Telegram , Boddy to Biddle , Feb. 16, 1942; letter, Boddy to Biddle,
Feb. 16, 1942. Boddy proposed a “secret defense project” of using the evac

uated Japanese to erect a rehabilitation center in a place ten to twelve hours
from Los Angeles. NARS . RG 107 (CWRIC 107; 105–06 ).
159. tenBroek, Prejudice, War, pp. 88–89.
160. Recommendations of the Pacific Coast Subcommittee on Alien Ene
mies and Sabotage (stamped received in the Assistant Secretary's Office, War
Department, Feb. 15, 1942 ). NARS . RG 107 (CWRIC 128); see also letter,
Rufus B. Holman to Roosevelt, and attachment, Feb. 13, 1942. NARS . RG
407 (CWRIC 1605-07 ).

161. Memo, Roosevelt to Secretary of War, Feb. 16, 1942. NARS. RG
407 (CWRIC 1604 ).

162. Grodzins, Americans Betrayed, pp . 73–75.
163. DeWitt , Final Report, pp . 33–34 .

164. Letter, Biddle to Stimson , Feb. 12, 1942. NARS. RG 407 (CWRIC

5752–53). The letter states in part: “ I have no doubt that the Army can legally,
at any time, evacuate all persons in a specified territory if such action is deemed

essential from a military point of view for the protection and defense of the
area . ”

165. Memo, Biddle to President, Feb. 17, 1942. FDRL. PSF Confidential
File (CWRIC 5754–55 ).

166. Report No. 6, Grodzins in Washington , Sept. 26 , 1942. Bancroft
Library. A 12.04 (CWRIC 11313-14 ).

167. Diary, Stimson, Feb. 17, 1942. Sterling Library, Yale University
(CWRIC 19684 ).
168. Ibid . , Feb. 18, 1942. (CWRIC 19686–87 ).

169. Biddle, In Brief Authority,p. 219; James Rowe recalls that the Justice
Department reviewed the Executive Order and that he hand -carried it to
Harold Smith, the Director of the Budget, who in turn presented it to Roose
velt. Interview , James Rowe, Washington, DC , Nov. 23, 1982.

170. Grodzins, Americans Betrayed, pp. 187–88.

382

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

171. Executive Order No. 9066, Feb. 19, 1942. Federal Register, vol. 7
no . 38 , Feb. 25 , 1942 ( CWRIC 4481).

172. Memo, Roosevelt to Stimson, May 5, 1942. NARS. RG 107 (CWRIC
196 ).

173. Letter, Biddle to Roosevelt, Feb. 20, 1942, and memorandum re
Executive Order of Feb. 19, 1942. FDRL. OF 4805 (CWRIC 5756-58); com

pare language of final paragraph quoted with memo by Cohen, Cox and Rauh,
“ The Japanese Situation on the West Coast, ” no date. DOJ 146–13–7–2–0
(CWRIC 12682–89 ).
174. DeWitt, Final Report, p. 15.
175. Brief for the United States, Korematsu v. United States, No. 22, Oct.

Term 1944, p. 11, n. 2 (CWRIC 15760 ):
The Final Report of General DeWitt (which is dated June 5, 1943, but

which was not made public until January 1944 ), hereinafter cited as Final
Report, is relied on in this brief for statistics and other details concerning

the actual evacuation and the events that took place subsequent thereto .
We have specifically recited in this brief the facts relating to the justifi
cation for the evacuation , ofwhich we ask the Court to take judicial notice,

and we rely upon the Final Report only to the extent that it relates to
such facts.

The Justice Department's internal memoranda dealing with the Final Report
in the process of preparing the Korematsu brief are scathing:
Weare now therefore in possession of substantially incontrovertible evi

dence that most important statements offact advanced by General DeWitt
to justify the evacuation and detention were incorrect, and furthermore
that General DeWitt had cause to know , and in all probability did know ,
that they were incorrect at the time he embodied them in his final report
to General Marshall. (Memo, Burling to Solicitor General, April 13, 1944 .
DOJ 146–42–7 (CWRIC 5759–64 ]).

176. Grodzins, Americans Betrayed, pp. 134-136; Biddle , In Brief Au
thority, 1962, p. 221.
177. Stetson Conn, Rose C. Engelman and Byron Fairchild , The United

States Army in World War II, The Western Hemisphere: Guarding the United
States and Its Outposts (Washington , DC: Office of the Chief of Military
History, United States Army, 1964 ), p. 147.

178. Grodzins, Americans Betrayed, pp. 138–43.
179. tenBroek, Prejudice, War, p. 91 ..
180. Henry L. Stimson and McGeorge Bundy, On Active Service In Peace

and War (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1947), p . 406. Stimson's brief account
of the exclusion and evacuation must be given in full so that his final reckoning
of the events can be understood:

[ M ]indful of its duty to be prepared for any emergency , the War De
partment ordered the evacuation ofmore than a hundred thousand persons
of Japanese origin from strategic areas on the west coast. This decision

was widely criticized as an unconstitutional invasion of the rights of in
dividuals many of whom were American citizens, but it was eventually
approved by the Supreme Court as a legitimate exercise of the war powers
of the President. What critics ignored was the situation that led to the

NOTES: EXECUTIVE ORDER 9066 , PAGES 85-92

383

evacuation . Japanese raids on the west coast seemed not only possible
but probable in the first months of the war, and it was quite impossible
to be sure that the raiders would not receive important help from indi
viduals of Japanese origin . More than that, anti -Japanese feeling on the
west coast had reached a level which endangered the lives of all such

individuals; incidents of extra -legal violence were increasingly frequent.

So, with the President's approval, Stimson ordered and McCloy super
vised a general evacuation of Japanese and Japanese Americans from stra
tegic coastal areas, and they believed in 1947 that the eventual result of
this evacuation , in the resettlement of a conspicuous minority in many

dispersed communities throughout the country, was to produce a distinctly
healthier atmosphere for both Japanese and Americans.
It remained a fact that to loyal citizens this forced evacuation was a

personal injustice, and Stimson fully appreciated their feelings. He and
McCloy were strong advocates of the later formation of combat units of
Japanese -American troops; the magnificent record of the 442nd Combat

Team justified their advocacy. By their superb courage and devotion to
duty, the men of that force won for all Japanese -Americans a clear right

to the gratitude and comradeship of their American countrymen. (Idem .)
181. Testimony , John J. McCloy, Washington, DC , Nov. 3, 1981, p. 8.
182. Letter, McCloy to Gen. H. A. Drum , Commanding General, Eastern

Defense Command, Nov. 16, 1942. NARS. RG 107 (CWRIC 26742-43).
183. Chuman , Bamboo People, preface by Tom C. Clark , p. vii.
184. Letter, McCloy to DeWitt, April 8, 1943. NARS . RG 165 (CWRIC
26369–71).

185. Grodzins, Americans Betrayed, pp. 152–53.
186. Ibid ., pp. 172–73.

187. Brief for the United States, Hirabayashi v. United States, No. 870,
Oct. Term 1942, pp. 10–11 (citations omitted) (CWRIC 14953–54 ).
188. Ibid ., pp. 24–31 (CWRIC 14967–74).
189. ten Broek, Prejudice, War, p. 78.
190. Testimony, John J. McCloy, Washington, DC , Nov. 3, 1981, p. 49.
191. Letter, McCloy to Emmons, Nov. 5, 1943. NARS . RG 107 (CWRIC
26605–07 ). In reviewing the matter forty years later, McCloy told the Com
mission the wartime decisions should be defended :

My belief and hope is the Commission will conclude, after an objective
investigation, that under the circumstances prevailing at the time and
with the exigencies of wartime security, the action of the President of the

United States and the United States Government in regard to our then
Japanese population was reasonably undertaken and thoughtfully and hu
manely conducted . There has been, in my judgment, at times a spate of
quite irresponsible comment to the effect that this wartime move was
callous, shameful and induced by racial or punitive motives. It was nothing
of the sort.

I know of the decisions that were made, and I think I know who made
them , and I think I know generally what the motivation was of those
individuals who made them . One fact I would urge the Commission to

refer to if any report is made in connection with its examination of the

384

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

relocation program is the role which the 442nd Combat Team played in

establishing once and for all the fundamental loyalty of our Japanese
population.

I therefore believe in the interests of all concerned, the Commission
would be well advised to conclude that President Roosevelt's wartime

action in connection with the relocation of our Japanese -descended pop
ulation at the outbreak of our war with Japan , was taken and carried out
in accordance with the best interests of the country, considering the

conditions, exigencies and considerations which then faced the nation .
( Testimony, John J. McCloy, Washington, DC, Nov. 3, 1981, pp . 13-14 ,
16 ).

3
Exclusion and Evacuation

1. Letter, McCloy to Biddle, Feb. 22, 1942; memo, Bendetsen to McCloy,

with attachment, Feb. 22, 1942. NARS. RG 107 (CWRIC 100; 97–99).
2. Congressonal Record, March 9, 1942, p. 2071 ; March 10, 1942, p.
2230 .

3. Hearings before the Select Committee Investigating National Defense
Migration (hereafter “ Tolan Committee” ], U.S. House of Representatives, 77th
Cong. , 2d Sess. (Washington, DC : U.S. Government Printing Office, 1942 ),

p. 11010; Cong. Sparkman expressed the same view , p. 11018.
4. Tolan Committee, p. 11226 .

5. Ibid ., p. 11181 .

6. Ibid ., pp. 11141 (Masaoka ), 11153 ( Tatsuno); but see Louis Goldblatt,

Secretary, California State Industrial Union Council, p. 11181.
7. E.g., Tolan Committee , p. 11012.
8. Tolan Committee, pp. 11137 (Masaoka), 11148 (Tani), 11153 ( Tatsuno),
11220 ( liyama and Kumitani), 11240 (Bellquist ), 11203 (Chapman ), 11207 (Smith ),
11178 (Goldblatt).
9. E.g. , Tolan Committee, p. 11068 .
10. Tolan Committee, pp . 11011-12.

11.
12.
13.
14.

Ibid .,
Ibid .,
Ibid .,
Ibid. ,

p. 10974..
p. 11247.
pp. 11636–37.
pp. 10965–70.

15. Francis Biddle, In Brief Authority (Garden City, NY: Doubleday &
Co. , Inc. , 1964 ), p. 207.

16. Cable, Tolan to Biddle , Feb. 28, 1942. NARS . RG 107 (CWRIC 92).
Fourth Interim Report of the Select Committee Investigating National Defense

Migration , U.S. House of Representatives, 77th Cong. , 2d Sess . , HR Report
No. 2124 .

17. Congressional Record, March 19, 1942, p . 2726.
18. Idem .

19. Ibid ., pp . 2729_30.
20. Morton Grodzins provides a comparatively thorough account of what

Congressional discussion there was. Americans Betrayed (Chicago: University
of Chicago Press, 1949), pp. 331-44.
21. Korematsu v. United States, 323 U.S. 214 (1944 ).
22. Executive Order 9066, Feb. 19, 1942. 3 CFR, 1938–1943 Comp. , pp.
1092-3 .

385

386

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

23. Letter and memorandum outline, Stimson to DeWitt, Feb. 20, 1942.
NARS . RG 338 (CWRIC 4643–44 ); NARS . RG 107 (CWRIC 298–304); Roger

Daniels, The Decision to Relocate the Japanese Americans (New York : J. B.
Lippincott, 1975 ), pp. 116–21.

24. Public Proclamation No. 1, and accompanying material, March 2,
1942. NARS. RG 107 (CWRIC 255–59). The accompanying press release em
phasized the military necessity argument: “ Military necessity is the sole yard
stick by which the Army has selected the military areas announced. Public
clamor for evacuation from non -strategic areas and the insistence of local or
ganizations and officials that evacuees not be moved into their communities
>

cannot and will not be considered .

25. J. L. DeWitt, Final Report, Japanese Evacuation from the West Coast,
1942 (Washington , DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1943 ), pp . 297–98 .
26. Public Proclamation No. 1 , and accompanying material, March 2,
1942. NARS . RG 107 (CWRIC 255–59).

27. Telephone conversation , Bendetsen and Gufler, Feb. 21, 1942, State
Department Records (CWRIC 2806-07).
28. Memo, Hoover to Attorney General, Feb. 27, 1942. NARS . RG 107
(CWRIC 90 ).

29. Letter, Hosokawa to Secretary ofState, Jan. 25 , 1942, with attachment,

statement by general chairman of JACL Emergency Defense Council of Se
attle. NARS . RG 59 (CWRIC 5386–87 ).
30. Tolan Committee, p. 11061.

31. Memo, Ringle to District Intelligence Officer, March 3, 1942 (CWRIC
19530-34 ).

32. Tolan Committee, pp. 11020, 11054 .

33. Letter, Carville to DeWitt, Feb. 21 , 1942; Compton White, a Rep
resentative from Idaho, forwarded similar views of the Idaho American Legion
to Stimson by letter, March 16, 1942. NARS . RG 338 (CWRIC 767; 5241).

34. Frank J. Taylor, “ The People Nobody Wants ,” Saturday Evening Post,

May 9, 1942, p. 66; Tolan Committee, p. 11639 (Olson).
35. Tolan Committee, p. 11276 .

36. Letter, Knox to Biddle, Feb. 22, 1942. NARS . RG 107 (CWRIC 93 ).
37. Letter, McCloy to Hopkins, Feb. 21 , 1942. NARS . RG 107 (CWRIC
101) .
38. DeWitt, Final Report, p. 105 .

39. Ibid ., pp. 107–09.
40. “ Net total” is persons who migrated out of the area but did not return
to be evacuated with their families, or did not otherwise join families in as
sembly centers or relocation centers prior to Oct. 31, 1942.
41. DeWitt, Final Report, p. 109.

42. Ibid ., p. 111. DeWitt estimated that the remaining ten percent prob
ably left before change -of-residence requirements took effect, or simply did
not report. An example of a successful voluntary migrant is Ken Matsumoto,
National Vice President of the JACL, about whom K. D. Ringle wrote to
Milton Eisenhower on April 13, 1942: “ He left here (California ) ahead of the
evacuation order to accept a very good job with the Mayor Jewelry Company,
5th and Vine Streets, Cincinnati, Ohio .” NARS . RG 210 (CWRIC 3591).

NOTES: EXCLUSION AND EVACUATION , PAGES 93–105

387

43. Telegram , McWilliams to Biddle, Feb. 20 , 1942; letter, McCloy to
Ennis, Feb. 25 , 1942. NARS. RG 107 ( CWRIC 103; 95).
44. Letter, Collier to Walker, copy to McCloy, March 6, 1942. NARS .
RG 107 (CWRIC 79–80 ).

45. Report of the Select Committee Investigating National Defense Mi

gration, U.S. House of Representatives, 77th Cong ., 2d Sess. , HR Report No.
1911 , pp. 15–19.
46. DeWitt, Final Report, p. 78.

47. Recognizing that, from the time the Executive Order was promul
gated, some saw that voluntary evacuation could not work, it is not surprising

to find that War Department planning for mandatory evacuation began early.
On February 26 , General Gullion , the Provost Marshal General, wrote to

McCloy about the site selection for evacuation centers.* On March 5, an official
in the Judge Advocate General's Office responded to a request from Gullion
about legal authority to acquire land by condemnation for use in the resettle
ment of Japanese citizens and aliens.b In a memorandum of March 6, 1942,
McCloy gave Stimson information for a Cabinet meeting, noting that the public
proclamation designating a military area had been issued, and that places were

being surveyed where Japanese Americans could be placed: “ In the first in
stance, we will probably put them in tents though the shortage of canvas may

affect this .” c McCloy had also asked to have construction expedited so " the
Japs” could be moved “as fast as possible.” d Several other documents show
early attention to a search for assembly and relocation centers. On March 2,
1942, Charles Burdell, Special Assistant to Attorney General Biddle, wrote
Tom Clark that he planned to attend a meeting with county prosecutors in

the State of Washington , and that he would ask them to make a survey of all
fairgrounds, ballparks, and other camp facilities in each county, and aa further
survey of trucking facilities. He suggested using the survey results for evac
uation of aliens. Burdell also noted he was having a similar survey made for
the State ofOregon .' On March 6, Burdell (under Tom Clark's name) forwarded

the information about Oregon to Colonel Joseph Conmy of the Army, who
seems to have been responsible for some site selection . ' Then on March 7,
Tom Clark wrote to Laurence Hewes of the Farm Security Administration in

the Department of Agriculture, asking Hewes to develop a list of “all sites
available within the limits of the Western Defense Command as resettlement

areas where facilities may be established for the persons so evacuated .” h Focus
was on sites which could be developed within aа year and which would support
agriculture. Clark noted that two sites had already been selected: Owens River
Valley, California , and the Northern Colorado Indian Reservation at Parker,
Arizona. In short, two weeks after Executive Order 9066 was issued, consid

eration and planning for aa mandatory evacuation and resettlement program
was well under way.

Memo, Gullion to McCloy, Feb. 26, 1942, and attached draft of letter to
Morgenthau from Stimson; Memo, Rand to Provost Marshal General, March
5, 1942; «Memo , McCloy to Stimson, March 6, 1942; dMemo, McCloy to

Somervell, March 4, 1942. NARS . RG 107 (CWRIC 390–91, 85–6, 77–78, 87);
•Letter, Burdell to Clark, March 2, 1942; flbid .; Letter, Clark (by Burdell)

388

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

to Conmy, March 6, 1942; " Letter, Clark to Hewes, March 7, 1942; Ibid .
DOJ 146–13–7–2–0 (CWRIC 12147–48, 12149, 12150–51).
48. DeWitt, Final Report, p. 151 .
49. Memo, telephone conversation , DeWitt and Gullion , March 8, 1942.
NARS . RG 338 (CWRIC 2345 ).

50. Letter, Ford to McCloy, March 12, 1942. NARS . RG 107 (CWRIC
76 ).
51. Letter, Stimson to Ickes, March 12, 1942. NARS. RG 107 (CWRIC
75 ).

52. DeWitt, Final Report, p. 151 .

53. Memo, McCloy to Stimson, March 6, 1942. NARS . RG 107 (CWRIC
77–78 ).

54. Executive Order 9102. 3 CFR, 1938–1943 Comp. , pp . 1123–25 .
55. Letter, Roosevelt to Eisenhower, March 18, 1942. FDRL. OF 4849
(CWRIC 3708 ).
56. Memo to Secretary of the Treasury. FDRL. OF 4849 (CWRIC 3966–
>

67 ).

57. Executive Order 9102. 3 CRR, 1938–1943 Comp. , pp. 1123–25.
58. Ninety-nine Exclusion Orders, each directed to a particular exclusion
area , were issued for Military Area No. 1. Jacobus ten Broek , Edward N.
Barnhart and Floyd Matson , Prejudice, War and the Constitution (Berkeley:
University of California Press, 1954 ), pp. 124–25 .
59. Ibid ., p. 92.
60. Tolan Committee, p. 11663.

61. Report prepared by Counter Intelligence Section , ONI, “ The Japanese
Menace on Terminal Island, San Pedro , California ,” Jan. 18, 1942. NARS . RG
80 (CWRIC 11925–28 ).

62. Written testimony, Yoshihiko Fujikawa, Los Angeles, Aug. 5, 1981 .

63. Ruth E. McKee, Wartime Exile: The Exclusion ofthe Japanese Amer
icans from the West Coast (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior,
1946 ), p. 124 .

64. Ruth E. McKee, History of WRA : Pearl Harbor to June 30, 1944,
unpublished manuscript, p. 11 .
65. Alexander Leighton, The Governing of Men ( Princeton: Princeton
University Press, 1946 ), p. 38.

66. Written testimony, Yoshihiko Fujikawa, Los Angeles, Aug. 5, 1981 .
67. Tolan Committee, p. 11667.

68. Testimony, Henry Murakami, Los Angeles, Aug. 6, 1981, p. 41 .
69. DeWitt, Final Report, p. 49.
70. Memo, Bendetsen to Hewes, March 20, 1942. NARS . RG 338 (CWRIC

2087 ); documents in DeWitt, Final Report, Appendix One, pp. 519–21.
71. Report, Rathbone, U.S. Employment Service, June 19, 1942. NARS.
RG 338 (CWRIC 2205-08 ).
72. DeWitt, Final Report, p. 91 .
73. Telegram , Tolan to Biddle, Feb. 28, 1942. NARS. RG 107 (CWRIC
92 ).

74. Letter, McCloy to Hopkins , Feb. 21 , 1942. NARS . RG 107 (CWRIC
101) .

NOTES: EXCLUSION AND EVACUATION , PAGES 106–114

389

75. Memo, Hopkins to McCloy, Feb. 23, 1946. NARS. RG 107 (CWRIC
96 ).

76. Memo, Gullion to McCloy, Feb. 26 , 1942, and attached draft letter,
Stimson to Morgenthau. NARS. RG 107 (CWRIC 390–91).

77. Memo, McCloy to Secretary of War, March 6, 1942. NARS. RG 107
(CWRIC 77–78 ).
78. Memo, Marshall to DeWitt, May 28, 1942. NARS . RG 107 (CWRIC
2172) .

79. Karl Bendetsen, “ The Story of the Pacific Coast Japanese Evacuation ,”
address before the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco, May 20, 1942.
NARS . RG 338 (CWRIC 1861–68 ).

80. tenBroek, Prejudice, War, p. 126.

81. Public Proclamation No. 7, June 8, 1942, quoted in tenBroek, Prej
udice, War, p. 125 .
82. DeWitt, Final Report, pp. 15, 105 .

83. Grodzins, Americans Betrayed, pp. 304–05.
84. Ibid ., pp. 312–13 .
85. DeWitt, Final Report, p. 15.

86. Grodzins, Americans Betrayed, pp. 303–22.
87. tenBroek, Prejudice, War, p. 133.
88. Office of Facts and Figures, the Office for Emergency Management,
April 21 , 1942, and transmitting letter, Kane to Kimmel, May 13, 1942. NARS .
RG 210 (CWRIC 4126_69).

89. Telegram , Federal Council of Churches and Home Missions Council
to Biddle , March 3, 1942. NARS . RG 107 (CWRIC 389 ).
90. Letter, McCloy to Eleanor Roosevelt, March 26, 1942. NARS . RG
107 (CWRIC 70) .

91. Tolan Committee, p. 11240.

92. Telegram , Deutsch to Frankfurter, March 28, 1942. NARS. RG 107
(CWRIC 3077 ).

93. Letter, Frankfurter to McCloy, April 2, 1942. NARS . RG 107 (CWRIC
1740 ).

94 Bulletin 142, JACL, April 7, 1942. Bancroft Library (CWRIC 11938a
40a ).

95. Ex parte Ventura, 44 F. Supp. 520 (W.D. Wash ., 1942 ). Ventura's

husband had earlier written the Justice Department in the hope that some
exception could be made for his wife, either by making him responsible for
her acts or by his volunteering for military service. The request was forwarded
to the War Department and must have been refused. Letter, M. S. Ventura

to Charles [ sic] Biddle, March 14, 1942; Letter, Edward J. Ennis to M. S.
Ventura, March 24, 1942 (CWRIC 24540; 24539).
96. On April 20, 1942, Ernest Wakayama and his wife, Toki Wakayama,

American citizens, brought habeas corpus cases challenging imprisonment in
an assembly center. Before the cases were decided , however, they were dis

missed because the Wakayamas decided to seek expatriation to Japan , and
their attorney felt that decision would adversely affect their claims. “ History

of Litigation Involving Western Defense Command . ” NARS. RG 338 (CWRIC
1628 ).

390

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

97. United States v. Yasui, 48 F. Supp. 40 (D. Ore. 1942).

98. United States v. Hirabayashi, 46 F. Supp. 657 (W.D. Wash . 1942).
99. Hirabayashi v. United States, 320 U.S. 81 ( 1943 ); Yasui v. United
States, 320 U.S. 115 (1943 ).
100. “ The Legal Phases of the Exclusion Program and Other Controls
Imposed Pursuant to Executive Order No. 9066,” p. 13, in Supplemental

Report on Civilian Controls Exercised by the Western Defense Command .
NARS . RG 338. Richard Doi was convicted and sentenced to five months; he

did not appeal. “ History of Litigation Involving Western Defense Command . ”
NARS. RG 338 (CWRIC 1628 ). The famous case of Fred Korematsu , an Amer

ican citizen who attempted to have his facial features surgically changed so
that he would not be recognized as an ethnic Japanese and thus be able to
remain in California with his non -Japanese fiancee, does not properly fit the
category of protest. The appeal of his conviction for violating the exclusion
orders was the occasion for the Supreme Court's major review of the consti

tutionality of the exclusion program and is discussed later.
101. Ex parte Kanai, 46 F. Supp. 286 (E.D. Wisc. 1942); see also “ History
of Litigation Involving Western Defense Command , " p. 1. NARS . RG 338
(CWRIC 1627–53).

102. Memo to Watson and attached comments, April 17, 1942. NARS .
RG 338 (CWRIC 2193 ).
103. Ebel v. Drum , 52 F. Supp. 189 (D. Mass. 1943 ); Schueller v. Drum ,
51 F. Supp. 383 (E.D. Pa. 1943).

104. 52 F. Supp. 189 at 192 (D. Mass. 1943).
105. 52 F. Supp. 189 at 193 (D. Mass. 1943 ).

4
Economic Loss

1. 50 U.S.C. App. 81981 et seq .

2. 50 U.S.C. App. 1981(a).
3. 1948 U.S. Code Cong. Serv. 2297.

4. Testimony, William Lengacher, Washington, DC , July 14, 1981, pp.
153–54; Department of Justice, unpublished internal report of the Japanese
Claims Section on the administration of the Japanese Evacuation Claims Act,

undated (circa 1959) and unpaginated ( the Commission has numbered the pages
27017–279) (hereafter “ DOJ Report"] (CWRIC 27105 ).
5. DOJ Report (CWRIC 27098-100).

6. Hearings before Subcommittee No. 5 of the Committee on the Judi
ciary, U.S. House of Representatives, on HR 7435 , (83rd Cong., 2d Sess.
( 1954 ), Serial No. 23 (hereafter “ 1954 Hearings” ), p. 18a.

7. Leonard Broom and Ruth Riemer, Removal and Return (Berkeley:
University of California Press, 1949), pp . 202-04. Broom changed his name
from “ Bloom ;" for the sake of consistency, he is referred to here solely by the
name of his choice.

8. F. G. Mittelbach, “ Concepts and Methods in a Potential Study ofLosses
Among Japanese American Evacuees in 1942 and Later, ” paper prepared for
the Commission, 1982 (CWRIC 26051–71).
9. 1954 Hearings, p. 42a.

10. Lon Hatamiya, “ The Economic Effects of the Second World War
Upon Japanese Americans in California ,” testimony of the Japanese American
Citizens League National Committee for Redress, Dec. 23, 1981, p. 168 .
11. Ibid ., p. 172
12. E.g., Roger Daniels, Concentration Camps USA : Japanese Americans
and World War II (New York : Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1972), p. 168.
13. HR Report No. 1809, 84th Cong ., 2d Sess. (1956 ), p. 5.
14. DOJ Report (CWRIC 27144 ).
15. HR Report No. 1809, 84th Cong ., 2d Sess. (1956 ).
16. DOJ Report ( CWRIC 27278 ).
17. 50 U.S.C. App. $ 1984.

18. DOJ Report (CWRIC 27211).
19. Ibid . (CWRIC 27160 ).
20. Ibid . (CWRIC 27162).

21. Claim of George Tsuda, Adjudications of the Attorney General of the
United States, Precedent Decisions Under the Japanese Evacuation Claims
Act, 90 ( 1950 ).
391

392

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

22. Claim of Shigemi Orimoto, Adjudications of the Attorney General of
the United States, Precedent Decisions Under the Japanese Evacuation Claims
Act, 103 ( 1950 ).
23. DOJ Report (CWRIC 27144 ).
24. Testimony, Mitsuo Usui, Los Angeles, Aug. 5, 1981, p. 26 .
25. Testimony, Elsie Hashimoto, Los Angeles, Aug. 5 , 1981, p. 139.
26. Testimony, George Matsumoto, San Francisco, Aug. 13, 1981, p. 112.
27. Testimony, Tom Hayase, San Francisco, Aug. 11, 1981, p. 127.

28. U.S. Department of the Interior, People in Motion: The Postwar

Adjustment of the Evacuated Japanese Americans (Washington, DC: U.S.
Government Printing Office, undated ( circa 1947 ]), pp . 57–59.
29. Ibid ., Adon Poli, Japanese Farm Holdings on the Pacific Coast (Davis,
CA: University of California at Davis, College of Agriculture, December 1944)
(CWRIC 14405_34 ).

30. Laurence I. Hewes, Jr. , Final Report of the Participation of the Farm
Security Administration in the Evacuation Program of the Wartime Civil Con
trol Administration , Civil Affairs Division, Western Defense Command and
Fourth Army, March 15, 1942 through May 31 , 1942 [hereafter “ Final Report
of FSA ”) (CWRIC 4540–74 ).

31. Laurence I. Hewes, Jr. , Supplemental Report of the Participation of
the Farm Security Administration in the Evacuation Program of the Wartime
Civil Control Administration , Civil Affairs Dvision , Western Defense Com
mand and Fourth Army in Military Area Number 2, June 1 , 1942 through

August 8, 1942 (hereafter “ Supplemental Report of FSA”) ( CWRIC 11594
608 ).

32. Masakazu Iwata, “The Japanese Immigrants in California Agriculture,”
Agricultural History, vol. 36, Jan. 1962, pp . 33–34 .

33. Testimony, Mary Tsukamoto, San Francisco, Aug. 12, 1981, p . 79.
34.
35.
36.
37.
38.
39.

Testimony, Henry Sakai, Los Angeles, August 4, 1981, p. 234 .
Written testimony, Clarence Nishizu , Los Angeles, Aug. 4, 1981 .
Unsolicited testimony, Fred Manaka, Long Beach, CA.
Testimony, Jack Fujimoto, Los Angeles, Aug. 5, 1981, p. 60.
Testimony, Hiroshi Kamei, Los Angeles, Aug. 6, 1981, p. 243.
Testimony, Mike Umeda, San Francisco, Aug. 12, 1981, p . 124.

40. Report of managing secretary of the Western Growers Protective

Association, Dec. 1942, reprinted in Morton Grodzins, Americans Betrayed
( Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 1949), p. 59.
41. Testimony, Vernon Yoshioka, Los Angeles, Aug. 6, 1981, p. 111 .
42. Testimony, Heizo Oshima, San Francisco , Aug. 13, 1981, p. 122 .
43. Ibid . , pp. 120–21.

44. Testimony and written testimony, Mary Ishizuka, Los Angeles, Aug.
5, 1981, p. 231.
45. Testimony and written testimony, Jack Fujimoto, Los Angeles, Aug.
5, 1981, p . 59.

46. Final Report of FSA, pp. 5–6.
47. Memo, James F. van Loben Sels to Tom C. Clark, Coordinator, Enemy
Alien Control, WDC , Feb. 23, 1942; letter, Clark to T. M. Bunn, Salinas

Valley Exchange, March 12, 1942; letter, Clark to Harold J. Ryan , Agricultural

NOTES: ECONOMIC LOSS, PAGES 117-133

393

Resources and Production Committee, Los Angeles County Defense Council,
March 10, 1942, DOJ 146–13–7–2–0 (CWRIC 12067; 12078; 12075 ).

48. Letter, Clark to Ryan , March 10, 1942, DOJ (CWRIC 12075).

49. Letter, Clark to C.D. Nickelsen , County Judge, Hood River, Oregon,
March 13, 1942, DOJ (CWRIC 12086).
50. Testimony, Dick Nishi, San Francisco, Aug. 12, 1981 , p. 121 .
51. Testimony, Ben Yoshioka, Chicago, Sept. 22, 1981, p. 128.

52. Testimony, Shigeo Wakamatsu, Chicago, Sept. 23, 1981, p. 68 .
53. Hearings before the Select Committee Investigating National Defense
Migration, statement by Emergency Defense Council, Seattle chapter, Jap
anese American Citizens League; U.S. House of Representatives, 77th Cong. ,
2d Sess. 1942, p. 11454.

54. Testimony, Shokichi Tokita, Seattle, Sept. 10, 1981, p. 185.
55. Testimony, Shuzo Kato, Seattle, Sept. 9, 1981, p. 199.
56. Testimony, Ben Yoshioka, Chicago, Sept. 22, 1981, pp. 127–28.

57. Testimony, Hosen Oshita, Chicago, Sept. 22, 1981, p. 355.
58. Testimony, Elaine Hayes, Seattle, Sept. 9, 1981, p. 224.
59. Testimony, Kinnosuke Hashimoto, New York, Nov. 23, 1981, p . 123.

60. Unsolicited testimony, George Yoshida, Los Angeles.
61. Testimony, Henry Tanaka, Chicago, Sept, 22, 1981, p. 155 .
62. Testimony, Lillian Hayano, Chicago, Sept. 22, 1981 , p. 325; Teru
Watanabe, Los Angeles, Aug. 6, 1981 , p. 246 .
63. Unsolicited testimony, George J. Kasai, San Antonio , TX .
64. Testimony, Mutsu Homma, Seattle, Sept. 9, 1981, p. 171.
65. Testimony, William Kika, San Francisco , Aug. 12, 1981 , p. 139.
66. Unsolicited testimony, Susumu Myose , Northridge, CA.

67. Unsolicited testimony, Shizuka LaGrange, Seattle, WA.
68. Testimony, Hiroshi Kamei, Los Angeles, Aug. 6, 1981, p . 241.
69. J. L. DeWitt, Final Report: Japanese Evacuation from the West Coast,

1942 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1943), p. 135.
70. Evacuation Operations, Pacific Coast Military Areas, The Federal
Reserve Bank of San Francisco , Dec. 31 , 1942, pp. 17–18.
71. DeWitt, Final Report, p. 135 .

72. Report of the Select Committee Investigating National Defense Mi
grations, HR Report No. 1911 , 77th Cong. , 2d. Sess. (March 19, 1942), pp .
19–20; Cable, Tolan to Biddle, Feb. 28, 1942. NARS . RG 107 (CWRIC 92 ).
73. DeWitt, Final Report, pp. 127–29, 136–38.

74. Report of Select Committee (March 19, 1942), p. 19.
75. Dillon S. Myer, Uprooted Americans: The Japanese Americans and

the War Relocation Authority During World War II (Tucson, AZ: University
of Arizona Press, 1971) , p. 253 .

76. Dillon S. Myer testimony on Evaucation Claims bill, reprinted in
Broom and Riemer, Removal and Return , p. 129.

77. Poli, Japanese Farm Holdings, p. 17.
78.
79.
80.
81.

Testimony, Hiroshi Kamei, Los Angeles, Aug. 6, 1981 , p. 241.
Unsolicited testimony, Henry Yoshitake, Montebello, CA.
Testimony, Yasuko Ito, San Francisco, Aug. 13, 1981, p. 52.
Unsolicited testimony, Roy Abbey, San Francisco , CA.

394

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

82.
83.
84.
85.

Testimony,
Testimony,
Testimony,
Testimony,

Joe Yamamoto, Los Angeles, Aug. 4, 1981, p. 239.
John Kimoto, Chicago, Sept, 23, 1981, p. 85.
Kimiyo Okamoto, San Francisco, Aug. 12, 1981, p. 220.
Murako Kato, Seattle, Sept. 10, 1981, p. 40 .

86. Testimony, Esther Takei Nishio, Los Angeles, Aug. 6, 1981, p. 115.
87. Unsolicited testimony, Henry Hayashino, French Camp, CA.

5
Assembly Centers

1. Testimony, Teru Watanabe, Los Angeles, Aug. 6, 1981, p. 246.
2. Raymond Okamura and Isami Arifuku Waugh, “ The Temporary De

tention Camps in California,” written for the Ethnic Minority Cultural Re
sources Survey, State of California, manuscript, p. 7. The earlier evacuation

of Terminal Island was conducted under separate authority. (CWRIC 26778
800 ).

3. War Relocation Authority, The Evacuated People: A Quantitative De
scription (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1946 ), p. 8. In
addition , the WCCA had control of 1,022 persons remaining in institutions in
the evacuated area.

4. Okamura and Waugh, “ Temporary Detention Camps ,” p . 10.
5. Dillon S. Myer, Uprooted Americans: The Japanese Americans and the
War Relocation Authority during World War II (Tucson, AZ : University of
Arizona Press, 1971) , p. 30 .

6. J. L. DeWitt, Final Report: Japanese Evacuation from the West Coast,
1942 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1943), pp. 89-93 .
Some evacuees recall that they learned where and when to evacuate and what

baggage could be carried from posters in the neighborhood rather than from
the control station .

7. Testimony, Betty Matsuo, San Francisco , Aug. 11 , 1981 , p. 273.
8. Monica Sone, Nisei Daughter (Seattle and London : University ofWash
ington Press, 1953), p. 166 .

9. DeWitt, Final Report, p. 100.
10. Ibid. , pp . 125–26 .
11. Testimony, Grace Nakamura, Los Angeles, Aug. 6, 1981, p. 252.

12.
13.
14.
15.

Testimony, Ben Kasubachi, Seattle, Sept. 11, 1981, p. 163.
Written testimony, Shigeo Nishimura, Los Angeles, July 23, 1981.
Testimony, Grace Nakamura, Los Angeles, Aug. 6, 1981, p. 252.
Unsolicited testimony, Leonard Abrams, Philadelphia.

16. Testimony, William Kochiyama, New York, Nov. 23, 1981, p. 97.

17. Okamura and Waugh, “ Temporary Detention Camps,” p. 8.
18. American National Red Cross , “ Report of the American Red Cross
Survey of Assembly Centers in California , Oregon, and Washington,” August

1942, unpublished manuscript, pp. 18–19. NARS . RG 200 [hereafter “ Red
Cross Survey of Assembly Centers”) .
19. DeWitt, Final Report, pp. 152, 158–59.
20. Ibid. , pp. 158–59.
395

396

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

21. Testimony, Sally Kazama, Seattle, Sept. 11, 1981, p. 39; DeWitt,
Final Report, p. 152.
22. DeWitt, Final Report, p . 183.

23. Ibid ., p. 184.
24. Ibid. , pp. 184, 186 .

25. Michi Weglyn, Years of Infamy: The Untold Story of America's Con
centration Camps (New York: William Morrow & Co. , 1976 ), p. 79.

26. Mine Okubo, Citizen 13660 (New York: Arno Press, 1978 ( 1946 ]), p.
63.

27. Testimony, Ken Hayashi, Los Angeles, Aug. 4, 1981, p. 222.

28. Testimony, James M. Goto, M.D. , Los Angeles, Aug. 5, 1981, p. 212.
29. Testimony, Toshiko Toku, Seattle, Sept. 10, 1981, p. 39.
30. Testimony, James T. Fujii, Los Angeles, Aug. 6, 1981, p . 80.

31. Testimony, Thomas M. Tajiri, Chicago, Sept. 22, 1981, p. 293.
32. Testimony, Marshall M. Sumida, San Francisco, Aug. 11 , 1981 , p.
102.

33. Red Cross Survey of Assembly Centers, p. 37.

34. Testimony, Grace Nakamura, Los Angeles, Aug. 6, 1981, p . 253.
35. Okubo, Citizen 13660 , p. 50.

36.
37.
38.
39.

Ibid ., pp . 97, 99.
Testimony, Peggy Nishimoto Mitchell, Seattle, Sept. 9, 1981, p. 220..
Testimony, Kazuko Ige, Chicago, Sept. 22, 1981, p. 313.
Testimony, Kinya Noguchi, San Francisco , Aug. 11 , 1981 , p . 107 .

40. Testimony, James M. Goto, M.D. , Los Angeles, Aug. 5, 1981, p. 213.
41. Written testimony, Bill Nakagawa, Los Angeles, Aug. 5, 1981.
>

42. Testimony, Elaine Yoneda, San Francisco, Aug. 12, 1981, p. 46.
43. Okubo, Citizen 13660, p . 106 .

44. Testimony, George Kawachi, Seattle, Sept. 9, 1981, p. 236 .
45. Written testimony, Bill Nakagawa, Los Angeles, Aug. 5, 1981 .
46. Sone, Nisei Daughter, p. 180.
47. Testimony, Patsy Saiki, Seattle, Sept. 9, 1981, p. 36 .
48. Testimony, Peter Ota, Los Angeles, Aug. 6, 1981, p. 98. See testi
mony, Suzu Kunitani, San Francisco, Aug. 13, 1981, p. 62, for another de

scription of a tuberculosis case . Those whom the WCCA considered too sick
to move, who resided in institutions, or who were in prison , received exemp
tions or deferments until they were able to travel. (DeWitt, Final Report, p .
145.)
49. Testimony, Mary Tsukamoto, San Francisco , Aug. 12, 1981, p . 81 .
50. Testimony, Mitzi Shio Schectman, Chicago, Sept. 22, 1981,
186 .
Their father eventually joined them at Puyallup and died at Minidoka.
51. DeWitt, Final Report, p. 145.

52. Testimony, Sumiko Seo Seki, Los Angeles, Aug. 5, 1981, p. 79.
53. Testimony, Misao Sakamoto, Seattle, Sept. 9, 1981, p. 177.
54. DeWitt, Final Report, p. 186. There were apparently some exceptions
to the rule. Rachel Kawasaki recalls that her baby's 2:00 a.m. feeding was
delivered to her door by jeep. Unsolicited testimony, Rachel Kawasaki, Los
Angeles.
55. Unsolicited testimony, Hideo Furukawa, Palo Alto.

NOTES: ASSEMBLY CENTERS , PAGES 135–148

397

56. Weglyn, Years of Infamy, p . 82.
57.
58.
59.
60.

Testimony, Haru Isaki, Seattle, Sept. 9, 1981, p . 266.
Testimony, Sally Kazama, Seattle, Sept. 11 , 1981, p. 39.
Testimony, Yasuko Ito, San Francisco, Aug. 13, 1981, p. 52.
Testimony, Tsuyako Kitashima, San Francisco, Aug. 13, 1981 , p . 167 .

61. Testimony, Shizuko Tokushige, San Francisco, Aug. 12, 1981, p. 227.
62.
63.
64.
65.

Testimony, James M. Goto, M.D. , Los Angeles, Aug. 5, 1981, p. 213.
Testimony, Masaaki Hironaka, Los Angeles, Aug. 5, 1981, p. 129.
Red Cross Survey of Assembly Centers, p. 4 .
DeWitt, Final Report, p. 193.

66. Santa Anita Assembly Center, Arcadia, CA, Administrative Notice No.
4, May 12, 1942.
67. DeWitt, Final Report, p . 186 .

68. Testimony, Tetsu Saito, Los Angeles, Aug. 6, 1981 , p. 18.
69. Testimony, Hiroshi Kadokura, Chicago, Sept. 23, 1981 , p. 177.
70. Okubo, Citizen 13660 , p . 86 .

71. Letter, Bill Hosokawa to Angus Macbeth, Commission staff, Sept. 14,
1982 (CWRIC 8800–16 ).
72. Okubo, Citizen 13660 , p . 78 .

73.
74.
75.
76.

Testimony, Kinya Noguchi, San Francisco, Aug. 11 , 1981 , p. 107.
Testimony, Misao Sakamoto, Seattle, Sept. 9, 1981, p . 177.
DeWitt, Final Report, p . 186 .
Ibid ., p. 188.

77. Okubo, Citizen 13660, p. 84 .

78. Testimony, Masaaki Hironaka, Los Angeles, Aug. 5, 1981 , p. 129.
79. “ No sharp increase in the number of deaths occurred as a result of
the evacuation program .” (DeWitt, Final Report, p . 190.)
80. Idem .

81. Red Cross Survey of Assembly Centers, p. 28.
82. Testimony, Yoshiye Togasaki, M.D. , San Francisco, Aug. 11 , 1981 ,
p. 227.

83. Unsolicited testimony, George M. Suda, D.D.S. , Fresno.

84. Testimony, Kikuo H. Taira, M.D. , San Francisco, Aug. 11, 1981, p.
223.

85. Written testimony, Yoshiye Togasaki, M.D. , San Francisco, Aug. 11,
1981 .

86. Unsolicited testimony, George M. Suda, D.D.S. , Fresno .
87. Testimony, Yoshiye Togasaki, M.D. , San Francisco, Aug. 11 , 1981,
p. 227 .

88. Testimony, Kikuo H. Taira, M.D. , San Francisco, Aug. 11 , 1981, p.
223 .

89. Testimony, Tom Watanabe, M.D. , Los Angeles, Aug. 4, 1981 , p . 231.
90. Sone , Nisei Daughter, p. 178 .

91. Weglyn, Years of Infamy, p . 81 .
92. DeWitt, Final Report, p . 192; testimony, Susumu Sato, Seattle, Sept.
9, 1981, p. 115.
93. Red Cross Survey of Assembly Centers, p. 52.
94. DeWitt, Final Report, p. 207 .

398

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

95. Okubo, Citizen 13660, p. 92 .

96. Testimony, Frances C. Kitagawa, Los Angeles, Aug. 6, 1981 , p. 122.
97. Okubo, Citizen 13660 , p. 92.

98. DeWitt, Final Report, p. 209.
99. Unsolicited testimony, Hiroko Azuma Miyakawa, Matawan, NJ.
100.
101.
102.
103.
104.

DeWitt, Final Report, p. 208 .
Ibid ., pp. 209–10.
Okubo, Citizen 13660, p . 88.
Ibid ., p. 93.
Unsolicited testimony, Sachi Kajiwara, Dayton , OH .

105. Okubo, Citizen 13660, p. 103.

106. Ibid ., p. 105 .
107. Ibid. , p. 104.
108. DeWitt, Final Report, pp. 211-12.
109. Idem .

110. Unsolicited testimony, A. Arthur Takemoto, Encinitas, CA.
111. DeWitt, Final Report, p . 213.
112. Okubo, Citizen 13660, p. 91 ..

113. DeWitt, Final Report, p. 205.
114.
115.
116.
117.

Testimony, Masaaki Hironaka, Los Angeles, Aug. 5, 1981 , p. 129.
Testimony, Yayoi Ono, Los Angeles, Aug. 5, 1981 , p. 257.
DeWitt, Final Report, p. 205.
Memo, DeWitt to McCloy, May 2, 1942. NARS. RG 107 (CWRIC

215–17 ).

118. DeWitt, Final Report, pp. 205–06 .
119. Testimony, Masaaki Hironaka, Los Angeles, Aug. 5, 1981 , p. 130;

Weglyn, Years of Infamy, p. 81.
120. Testimony, Wilson H. Makabe, San Francisco , Aug. 11, 1981 , p.
78 .

121.
122.
123.
124.

Okubo, Citizen 13660, p. 60 .
DeWitt, Final Report, p. 218.
Testimony, Lillian Kiyota, San Francisco, Aug. 11, 1981 , p . 271 .
Red Cross Survey of Assembly Centers, p. 22.

125. Minoru Masuda, “ Injury and Redress,” Rikka, vol. 6, no. 3 (Autumn
1979 ), p. 20; Sone, Nisei Daughter, p. 176.
126. Okubo, Citizen 13660 , p. 59.

127. Testimony, Ruby Okubo, Los Angeles, Aug. 6, 1981, p. 288.
128. DeWitt, Final Report, p. 218.
129. Santa Anita Assembly Center, Regulations, April 12, 1942.

130. Okubo, Citizen 13660, p. 108; Sone, Nisei Daughter, p. 187.
p . 249.
131. Testimony, Yoshio Nakamura, Los Angeles, Aug. 6, 1981 , .
132. Okubo, Citizen 13660 , p . 108 .
133. Sone, Nisei Daughter, p. 187.

134. DeWitt, Final Report, p. 218.
135. Testimony, Sumiko Seo Seki, Los Angeles, Aug. 5, 1981, p . 79.
136. Testimony, Kay Yamashita , Chicago, Sept. 22, 1981, p. 213.
137. Testimony, Thomas M. Tajiri, Chicago, Sept. 22, 1981, p. 294; tes
timony, Louise Crowley, Seattle, Sept. 9, 1981, p. 69 (Puyallup ).

NOTES: ASSEMBLY CENTERS, PAGES 135–148

399

138. Okubo, Citizen 13660, p. 79.
139. Unsolicited testimony, Jack Oda, Chicago.
140. Santa Anita Assembly Center, Administrative Notice No.5, May 14,
1942.

6
The Relocation Centers

1. The Manzanar evacuees did not move; Manzanar was transferred by
the WCCA to the WRA to become a relocation center on June 1 , 1942.

2. Michi Weglyn , Years of Infamy: The Untold Story of America's Con
centration Camps (New York: William Morrow & Co. , 1976 ), p. 89.
3. Report of the WRA, March 18- June 30, 1942, p. 8. NARS . RG 210.

The War Relocation Authority, first under the Office for Emergency Manage
ment and later under the U.S. Department of the Interior, issued quarterly
reports covering 1942, and thereafter semiannual reports until the agency
disbanded in 1946 .

4. Report of the WRA , July 1-September 30, 1942, p. 1 .
5. Report of the WRA, October 1 - December 31, 1942, p . 2 .
6. J. L. DeWitt, Final Report: Japanese Evacuation from the West Coast,

1942 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1943), pp. 282–84,
288 .

7. Ibid ., p. 289.

8. Unsolicited testimony, Chebo Toshitaka Sakaguchi.
9. Testimony, Shizuko S. Tokushige, San Francisco, Aug. 12 , 1981, p.
227.

10. Testimony, Henry Sugimoto, New York , Nov. 23, 1981 , p. 208; tes
timony, Hideko Sasaki, Los Angeles, Aug. 6, 1981, p. 134; testimony, Mark
Murakami, Seattle, Sept. 9, 1981, p. 38.
11. Testimony, Henry Sugimoto, New York, Nov. 23, 1981 , p. 208 .
12. Testimony, Dick Nishi, San Francisco, Aug. 12, 1981 , p. 121 .
13. DeWitt, Final Report, p. 289.
14. Unsolicited testimony, George J. Kasai; testimony, Elsie Hashimoto,

Los Angeles, Aug. 5, 1981, p. 140; testimony, Shizuko S. Tokushige, San
Francisco, Aug. 12, 1981, p. 227; testimony, Kikuo H. Taira, San Francisco ,
Aug. 11, 1981, p. 225; but see Monica Sone, Nisei Daughter (Seattle, WA:

University of Washington Press, 1953), p. 190; Mine Okubo, Citizen 13660
(New York: Arno Press, 1978 ( 1946 ]), p . 118.
15. DeWitt, Final Report, p. 289.

16.
timony,
17.
18.
19.

Testimony, Kiyoshi Sonoda, Los Angeles, Aug. 5, 1981 , p. 222; tes
Shizuko S. Tokushige, San Francisco, Aug. 12, 1981, p . 228.
Testimony, Dick Nishi, San Francisco, Aug. 12, 1981, p. 121 .
Unsolicited testimony, George J. Kasai.
Testimony, Shizuko S. Tokushige, San Francisco , Aug. 12, 1981, p .
>

228 .

400

NOTES: RELOCATION CENTERS, PAGES 149–156

401

20. Report of the WRA, July 1-September 30, 1942, p. 6.
21. Alexander H. Leighton, The Governing of Men (Princeton: Princeton
University Press, 1945 ), pp. 64-66 .

22. Executive Order 9102, March 18, 1942. FDRL (CWRIC 6197–99).
The WRA, which was established as an agency under the Office for Emergency
Management in the Executive Office of the President, was transferred to the

Department of the Interior in February 1944.
23. Milton S. Eisenhower, The President Is Calling (Garden City, NY:
Doubleday & Co. , 1974 ), p . 96 .

Eisenhower, analyzing the evacuation and detention, concluded that no one

was solely responsible because no one could see the “ over-all pattern that was
emerging ." He also concluded:

The evacuation of Japanese Americans from their homes on the coast to

hastily constructed assembly centers and then to inland relocation centers
was an inhuman mistake. Thousands of American citizens of Japanese
ancestry were stripped of their rights and freedoms and treated almost
like enemy prisoners of war. Many lost their homes, their businesses,
their savings. For 120,000 Japanese the evacuation was a bad dream come

to pass. (Eisenhower, The President Is Calling, p . 125 ).
24. Roger Daniels, Concentration Camps USA : Japanese Americans and

World War II (New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston , 1972), p. 91, quoting
letter from Eisenhower to Wickard , April 1 , 1942.

25. Report of the Select Committee Investigating National Defense Mi
gration , “ Preliminary Report and Recommendations of Evacuation of Citizens

and Aliens from Military Areas ,” March 19, 1942, U.S. House of Represent
atives , 77th Cong. , 2d Sess. , HR Report No. 1911 , p. 17.
26. Ibid ., p . 16.
27. Ibid . , p. 18.

28. Eisenhower, The President Is Calling, p. 117.
29. WDC summary and WRA report of meeting with governors and other

officials regarding relocation of Japanese, Salt Lake City, Utah , April 7, 1942 .
NARS. RG 338 (CWRIC 4188-216 ).
30. Letter, Mike Masaoka to Eisenhower, April 6, 1942. NARS . RG 210
(CWRIC 3734–51).
>

31. Eisenhower, The President Is Calling, pp. 116–17.
32. The account of the meeting is taken from the WDC summary, above;
Eisenhower, The President Is Calling, pp. 117–19; and testimony, Karl Ben
detsen , Washington, DC, Nov. 2, 1981 , p . 40 .

33. WDC summary of April 7, 1942 meeting.
34. Eisenhower, The President Is Calling, p. 119.
35. Telephone conversation between Bendetsen and Alfred Jaretzki, April
27, 1942. NARS . RG 338 (CWRIC 5226–32).

36. Statement of Philip M. Glick (formerly Solicitor for the War Relocation
Authority ), Hearings before the Committee on Internal Security, U.S. House
of Representatives, 91st Cong. , 2d Sess. , March 19, 1970, pp. 3045–47. Two

exceptions to the decision for confinement were already in progress, student
leave and agricultural leave. A later section describes these programs.
37. Eisenhower, The President Is Calling, p. 95 .

53-124 - 92 - 14

402

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

38. Ibid ., p. 122.
39. Report of the WRA, March 18 June 30, 1942, p. 6.
40. Idem . The War Department had retained an approval right to ensure

that “ large numbers of evacuees might not be located immediately adjacent
to present or proposed military installations or strategically important areas."
DeWitt, Final Report, p. 248.
41. U.S. Department of the Interior, WRA : A Story of Human Conser

vation (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1947), p. 20 (here
after “WRA Story ” ).

42. Report of the WRA, March 18

June 30, 1942, p. 7.

43. WRA Story , p. 20 .

44. Roger Daniels, Concentration Camps USA , p. 96 .
45. DeWitt, Final Report, p. 263; WRA Story, p. 20 .
46. Report of the WRA , March 18 June 30, 1942, p. 10 .

47. Dorothy S. Thomas and Richard S. Nishimoto, The Spoilage: Japanese

American Evacuation and Resettlement During World War II ( Berkeley: Uni
versity of California Press, 1969 ), p. 28.
48. DeWitt, Final Report, p. 264; Report of the WRA, March 18
30 , 1942, p. 9.

June

49. DeWitt, Final Report, pp . 249–50.
50. Idem .

51. DeWitt, Final Report, p. 263; Thomas and Nishimoto, Spoilage, p.
28 .

52. WRA Story , p. 22 .

53. Letter, Masaoka to Eisenhower, April 6, 1942. NARS. RG 210 ( CWRIC
3734 51).
54. WRA Story, p. 75 .

55. DeWitt, Final Report, pp . 248, 264.
56. Unsolicited testimony, George G. Muramoto .

57. Gladys Bell, “ Memories of Topaz ,” unpublished manuscript.
58. Testimony, Elizabeth Nishikawa, Los Angeles, Aug. 4, 1981, p. 210;
interview , Aiko Herzig- Yoshinaga, Washington, DC, July 20, 1982.
59. Report of the WRA, March 18 June 30 , 1942, p. 12; Thomas and
Nishimoto, Spoilage, p. 29.

60. Report of the WRA, March 18 June 30, 1942, p. 12; Okubo, Citizen
13660, p. 124 .

61. Testimony, Elizabeth Nishikawa, Los Angeles, Aug. 4, 1981, p. 209;

Report of the WRA, October 1 — December 31, 1942, p. 7.
62. Dillon S. Myer, Uprooted Americans: The Japanese Americans and
the War Relocation Authority During World War II ( Tucson, AZ : University
of Arizona Press, 1971), p. 31 ; Report of the WRA , March 18 June 30, 1942,
p. 12 .

63. DeWitt, Final Report, p. 264.

64. Thomas and Nishimoto, Spoilage, p . 29; letter, Bill Hosokawa to Angus
Macbeth , Commission staff, Sept. 14, 1982 (CWRIC 8800–16 ).
65. Unsolicited testimony, Susumu Togasaki.

66. “ Report on Visit to Japanese Evacuation Camps ,” undated , cited in
Thomas and Nishimoto, Spoilage, p. 39.

NOTES: RELOCATION CENTERS, PAGES 156–162

403

67. Unsolicited testimony, Dean Meeker, Dane, WI.
68. Thomas and Nishimoto, Spoilage, p . 29.
69. San Francisco Chronicle, May 26, 1943, quoted in Lillian Baker, The
Concentration Camp Conspiracy (Glendale, CA: AFHA Publications, 1981),
p. 258 .

70. Minoru Masuda, “ Japanese Americans: Injury and Redress, ” Rikka,
vol. 6, no. 3 (Autumn 1979), p. 20 .

71. Okubo, Citizen 13660, pp . 129-31, 146.

72. Bell, “Memories of Topaz;" testimony, Haru Isaki, Seattle, Sept. 9,
1981, p. 346 .

73. Interview , Aiko Herzig - Yoshinaga, Washington , DC, July 20, 1982.
74. Testimony, Ken Hayashi, Los Angeles, Aug. 4, 1981, p. 222.
75. Written testimony, Kikuo H. Taira, San Francisco, Aug. 11, 1981, p.
9.

76. Testimony, Frank M. Kajikawa, Chicago, Sept. 22, 1981 , p. 339.
77. Edward H. Spicer, Asael I. Hansen , Katherine Luomala and Marvin

K. Opler, Impounded People: Japanese -Americans in the Relocation Centers
( Tucson , AZ : University of Arizona Press, 1969), p . 66.
78. Report of the WRA, July 14Sept. 30, 1942, pp. 45; unsolicited
testimony, Dean Meeker, Dane, WI .

79. Testimony, Shuzo C. Kato, Seattle, Sept. 9, 1981, p. 201.

80. Report of the WRA, July 1-September 30, 1942, p.

4.

81. Thomas and Nishimoto, Spoilage, p. 39.
82. Idem .

83.
84.
85.
86.

Spicer, Impounded People, p . 99.
Bell , “Memories of Topaz."
Testimony, Tom Misawa, San Francisco , Aug. 13, 1981, p . 182.
Okubo, Citizen 13660, p. 137; Rikka , vol. 6, no. 3 (Autumn 1979), p.

20 .

87. Written testimony, Noriko S. Bridges, San Francisco, Aug. 11, 1981.

88. Testimony, Henry Sugimoto, New York, Nov. 23, 1981, p. 209; Okubo,
Citizen 13660, p. 138; Sone, Nisei Daughter, pp. 195–96.

89. Sone, Nisei Daughteſ, p. 196; Rikka, vol. 6, no. 3 (Autumn 1979), p.
20 .

90. Weglyn , Years of Infamy, p. 83.
91. Okubo, Citizen 13660, pp. 149, 192.
92. Testimony, Tsuyako Shimizu , New York, Nov. 23, 1981 , p. 129.

93. Unsolicited testimony, Mary Tonai (Heart Mountain ); unsolicited tes

timony, Olive Ogawa Hall (Poston) ; testimony, Lillian K. Hayano, Chicago,
Sept. 22, 1981, p. 327 (Poston); Okubo, Citizen 13660, p . 184 ( Topaz ).
94. Sone , Nisei Daughter, p . 192.
95. Testimony, Eiichi E. Sakauye, San Francisco, Aug. 12, 1981, p. 226 .
96. Testimony, George Matsumoto, San Francisco , Aug. 12, 1981 , p. 113.
97. Testimony, Kiyo Sato -Viacrucis, San Francisco, Aug. 12, 1981, p. 73.
98. Unsolicited testimony, Ben T. Kawashima.

99. Unsolicited testimony, Sueko Yamasaki Kawamoto; testimony, Tom

404

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

Shimasaki, San Francisco, Aug. 11, 1981, p. 117; testimony, Mary F. Odagiri,
Los Angeles, Aug. 6, 1981, p. 130.
100. Testimony, Betty Matsuo, San Francisco, Aug. 11, 1981, p. 275.
101. WRA Story, pp. 100-02.

102. Interview , Aiko Herzig - Yoshinaga, Washington, DC, July 20, 1982.
103. Unsolicited testimony, Nobu Kajiwara.
104. Testimony, Yasuko Ito, San Francisco, Aug. 13, 1981, p. 54.
105. WRA Story, p. 102.

106. Testimony, Mamoru Ogata, Los Angeles, Aug. 6, 1981, p . 31 ; un
solicited testimony, Susumu Togasaki and George J. Kasai.
107. San Francisco Chronicle, May 26, 1943, quoted in Baker, Concen
tration Camp Conspiracy, p. 259 .
108. Report of the WRA, July 1 - September 30, 1942, p . 35 .
109. Unsolicited testimony, George G. Muramoto.
110. DeWitt, Final Report, p. 186 .

111. Report of the WRA , July 1 - September 30, 1942, p. 35.
112. Okubo, Citizen 13660, p. 143.

113. WRA Story, p. 102.

114. Ibid ., p. 80.
115. Report of the WRA , October 1 - December 31 , 1942, p. 24.
116. Okubo, Citizen 13660, p. 151 ; Sone, Nisei Daughter, p. 197.
117. Report of the WRA , October 1-December 31 , 1942, p. 8.

118. Idem ; Report of the WRA, July 1 - September 30, 1942, p. 32;
testimony, Tamotsu Tsuchida, San Francisco, Aug. 12, 1981, p . 203; testimony,

Harold Ouye, San Francisco, Aug. 12, 1981, p . 85 ; written testimony, Kiyoshi
Sonoda, Los Angeles, Aug. 5, 1981 , p. 223.
119. Testimony, Emi Somekawa, Seattle, Sept. 10, 1981, p. 93; Report

of the WRA , March 18 - June 30, 1942, p. 29; testimony, Kiyoshi Sonoda, Los
Angeles, Aug. 5, 1981, p. 223; Ruth E. McKee, History ofWRA :Pearl Harbor
to June 30, 1944, unpublished manuscript, 1944, p. 119.

120. Myer, Uprooted Americans, pp. 52–53; McKee, History ofWRA , p.
120 :

121. Testimony, Miyo Senzaki, Los Angeles, Aug. 5, 1981 , p. 154.

122. Testimony, Yoshihiko F. Fujikawa, Los Angeles, Aug. 5, 1981, p.
67.

123. Testimony, Kiyoshi Sonoda, Los Angeles, Aug. 5, 1981, p . 223.
124. Report of the WRA, July 1-Dec. 31, 1943, p. 70.

125. Testimony, Tom Watanabe, Los Angeles, Aug. 4, 1981, p. 231 .
126.
127.
128.
129.

Testimony, Suzu Kunitani, San Francisco, Aug. 13, 1981, p . 63.
Unsolicited testimony, Sachi Kajiwara.
Testimony, Tsuye Nozawa, Los Angeles, Aug. 5, 1981, p.. 39.
Testimony, Yoshiye Togasaki, San Francisco , Aug. 11, 1981, p. 228.

130. Testimony, Elaine Ishikawa Hayes, Seattle, Sept. 9, 1981, p. 223;
testimony, Richard Aoki, San Francisco, Aug. 13, 1981 , p. 85 .
131. Testimony, Samuel T. Shoji, Seattle, Sept. 9, 1981, p. 212.
132. Unsolicited testimony, Rae Ota Yasumura .
133. Report of the WRA , October 1 - December 31 , 1942, p. 19.

134. Interview , Aiko Herzig -Yoshinaga, Washington , DC, July 20, 1982.

NOTES :: RELOCATION CENTERS, PAGES 162–168

405

135. Report of the WRA, January 1– June 30, 1943, p. 32.
136. Report of the WRA, October 1-Dec. 31 , 1942, p. 7.
137. McKee, History of WRA , p. 122.

138. Ibid. , pp. 105–07.
139. U.S. Department of the Interior, The Evacuated People: A Quan
titative Description (Washington, DC : U.S. Government Printing Office, 1946 ),
p. 150 .

140. Okubo, Citizen 13660 , p . 142.

141. Testimony, Peggy Nishimoto Mitchell, Seattle, Sept. 9, 1981, p. 221.
142. Unsolicited testimony, Carolyn Abe Kanaya; Report of the WRA,
October 1-December 31 , 1942, p . 19.

143. Written, testimony, Peggy Nishimoto Mitchell.

144. Testimony, Y. Shiomoto, San Francisco, Aug. 12, 1981, p. 70 (polio );
testimony, Alice Okazaki, San Francisco, Aug. 13, 1981 , p. 32 (tuberculosis ).
145. Report of the WRA, July 1–December 31 , 1943, p. 87.
146. Letter, John Rademaker to Frank L. Sweetser, WRA , Sept. 24, 1943.
NARS . RG 210 (CWRIC 3211-21).
147. Rita Takahashi Cates, Comparative Administration and Management

of Five War Relocation Authority Camps, unpublished doctoral dissertation,

University of Pittsburgh, September 1980, p . 134.
148. Testimony, Noboru Morimoto, San Francisco, Aug. 13, 1981, p. 144;
testimony , Richard Yoshikawa, San Francisco, Aug. 12, 1981 , p. 166 .
149. Report of the WRA , March 18 June 30, 1942, p . 15.
150. WRA Story, p . 76.
151. Ibid ., p. 76.

152. Ibid . , pp. 78–79.

153. Ibid . , pp. 77–79.
154. Ibid . , pp. 77, 79–80.
155. Ibid ., p. 80 .
156. Testimony, Ruth Colburn , San Francisco, Aug. 11, 1981 , p. 277.
157. WRA Story, pp . 81–82.

158. Testimony, Nellie Sakakihara, San Francisco, Aug. 12, 1981, p. 127;
testimony, Soto Yoshida, San Francisco , Aug. 12, 1981 , p. 212; testimony,
Katsuyo Oekawa, Los Angeles, Aug. 4, 1981 , p . 113.
159. Testimony, Tom Hoshiyama, San Francisco , Aug. 13, 1981, p. 49.
160. Testimony, Bert Arata, Chicago, Sept. 23, 1981 , p. 174 .
161. Testimony, Akira Arai, Chicago, Sept. 22, 1981 , p. 428.
162. Report of the WRA, October 1 - December 31 , 1942,

p . 9.

163. Report of the WRA , January 1 - June 30 , 1943, p. 25; Report of the
WRA, October 1 - December 31 , 1942, pp. 16–17.
164. Report of the WRA , July 1-Dec. 31 , 1943, p. 62.
165. Ibid . , p . 62 .
166. Okubo, Citizen 13660, p . 196.
>

167. Report of the WRA, July 1–December 31 , 1943, p. 63.
168.
169.
170.
171.

McKee, History of WRA , pp. 101–02.
Report of the WRA , January 1- June 30, 1943, p. 27.
p 67.
Report of the WRA, July 1 - December 31 , 1943, p.
Report of the WRA , October 1-December 31 , 1942, p. 18.

406

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

172. Report of the WRA, January 1– June 30, 1943, p. 27.
173. Unsolicited testimony, Susumu Togasaki.
174. Report of the WRA , March 18 June 30, 1942, pp. 24–25.

175. Report of the WRA , October 1 - December 31, 1942, p. 20.
176. Report of the WRA, January 1– June 30, 1943, p. 29.
177. Report of the WRA , October 1 - December 31 , 1942, p. 21.
178. San Francisco Chronicle, May 26, 1943, quoted in Baker, Concen
tration Camp Conspiracy , p . 258 .
179. Testimony, Kinya Noguchi, San Francisco, Aug. 11 , 1981, p. 108 .
180. McKee, History of WRA, p. 111 .
181. Myer, Uprooted Americans, p. 49.

182. Report of the WRA, October 1 - December 31 , 1942, pp . 14–15 .
p 201.
183. Testimony, Shuzo C. Kato, Seattle, Sept. 9, 1981, p.
. 261.
184. Testimony, James Hirabayashi, San Francisco, Aug. 11, 1981, p.
185. Report of the WRA , July 1–September 30, 1942, p. 30.
186. Written testimony, Grace Nakamura, Los Angeles, Aug. 6, 1981.

187. McKee, History of WRA, p. 112.
188. Report of the WRA , July 1 - December 31 , 1943, p. 74.
189. Myer, Uprooted Americans, p. 51 ; Unsolicited testimony, Rae Ota
Yasumura; testimony, Allan Hida, Chicago, Sept. 22, 1981, p. 124.
190. McKee, History of WRA , p. 113; testimony, Hiroshi Kamei, Los
Angeles, Sept. 6, 1981, p. 244 .

191.
192.
193.
194.

Testimony, Bruce Kaji, Los Angeles, Aug. 6, 1981, p. 272.
Report of the WRA , October 14 December 31 , 1942, p . 15.
Myer, Uprooted Americans, p . 51 .
Reports of the WRA, October 1-December 31 , 1942, p. 15.

195. Report of the WRA, March 18- June 30, 1942, p. 27; Report of the
WRA, July 1 – December 31 , 1943, p. 75.
196. Testimony, Mary Sugitachi, San Francisco, August 12, 1981 , p. 219;
Report of the WRA , July 1 - September 30, 1942, p. 30.
197. Myer, Uprooted Americans, p. 48.
198. Unsolicited testimony, Carolyn Abe Kanaya; written testimony, Mary
Sugitachi, San Francisco, Aug. 12, 1981 .

199. Unsolicitied testimony, Hiroko Azuma Miyakawa; unsolicited testi
mony , Roy Mike Hamachi.

200. Weglyn, Years of Infamy, p. 92.

201. John Tateishi, “ Remembrances of Manzanar, ” Rikka, vol. 6, no. 3
(Autumn 1979), p. 61 .

202. McKee, History, of WRA , p. 133.
203. Report of the WRA, October 1 - December 31 , 1942, p. 48.
204. Myer, Uprooted Americans, p. 56; WRA Story, p. 108.
205. Report of the WRA , October 1-December 31 , 1942, p. 48.
206. Okubo, Citizen 13660, p. 170.
207. Ibid ., p. 171 .

208. Written testimony, Mitsuru Sasahara, Los Angeles, July 20 , 1981.

209. Report of the WRA, October 1 — December 31, 1942, p. 49.
210. Report of the WRA , January 1- June 30, 1943, p. 27 .
211. Unsolicited testimony, Kin Ikeda.

NOTES : RELOCATION CENTERS, PAGES 168–175

407

212. Written testimony, Mitsuru Sasahara, Los Angeles, Aug. 5, 1981.
213. Idem .

214. Bell, “Memories of Topaz ,” p. 8.

215. Testimony, Ruth Colburn, San Francisco, Aug. 11, 1981, p. 276 ff.
216. Report of the WRA , July 1–December 31 , 1943, p. 87.
217. Okubo, Citizen 13660, pp. 150, 156 .

218. Ibid . , p . 157; testimony, Tsuyako Shimizu, New York, Nov. 23, 1981,
p. 129.

219. Ibid ., pp. 182, 187.
220. Report of the WRA , January 1 - June 30, 1943, p. 36.
221. Report of the WRA , October 1 - December 31 , 1942, p. 49.

222. Okubo, Citizen 13660 , p . 174 .

223. Report of the WRA, January 1– June 30, 1943, p . 36.
224. Testimony, Sam Shoji, Seattle, Sept. 9, 1981, p. 277.
225. WRA Story, p . 107.

226. Bell, “Memories of Topaz;" Report of the WRA, July 1 – September
30, 1942, p . 38.
227. Report of the WRA , October 1 - December 31 , 1942, p. 27.

228. Report of the WRA, July 1-September 30, 1942, p. 38.
229. McKee, History of WRA , p. 135 .
230. Report of the WRA , July 1 - September 30, 1942, pp. 38-39.

231. Report of the WRA , January 1 - June 30, 1943, p. 38.
232. Testimony, Elizabeth Nishikawa, Los Angeles, Aug. 4, 1981, p. 213.
233. San Francisco Chronicle, May 26, 1943, quoted in Baker, Concen
tration Camp Conspiracy, p. 258 .

234. McKee, History of WRA, p. 136 .
235. Myer, Uprooted Americans, p . 57.
236. McKee, History of WRA, p. 138.
237. Myer, Uprooted Americans, pp. 38-40.

238. Report of the WRA, July 1 – September 30, 1942, p. 23 ff.
239. WRA Story, pp. 86–87.

240. Myer, Uprooted Americans, pp. 39-40.
241. WRA Story, p. 90 .
242. Myer, Uprooted Americans, p. 40.

243. Letter, Hosokawa to Macbeth, Commission staff, Sept. 14, 1982
(CWRIC 8800–16 ).

244. McKee, History of WRA , p. 104; unsolicited testimony, Y. Florence
Kubota.

245. Okubo, Citizen 13660, p . 155 .

246. McKee, History of WRA , p. 104 .
247. Thomas and Nishimoto, Spoilage, p . 27; San Francisco Chronicle,
May 26, 1943, quoted in Baker, Concentration Camp Conspiracy, p . 258.

248. Unsolicited testimony, Suenari Koyasako.
249. Thomas and Nishimoto, Spoilage, p. 27.
250. Report by Philip Webster, WRA , August 31 - September 2, 1942,
quoted in Weglyn , Years of Infamy,p. 91; see also testimony, Teru Watanabe,
Los Angeles, Aug. 6, 1981, p. 246, shooting at Manzanar.

408

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

251. Bell, “ Memories of Topaz;" testimony, Vernon Yoshioka, Los An
geles, Aug. 6, 1981, p. 110.
252. Okubo, Citizen 13660, p. 180.
253. Testimony, Linda Morimoto, Los Angeles, Aug. 6, 1981, p. 104.
254. McKee, History of WP4, p. 105 .
255. Testimony, George Takei, Los Angeles, Aug. 4, 1981, p. 201.

256. Myer, Uprooted Americans, p. 36 .
257. WRA Story, p . 93.

258. San Francisco Chronicle, May 25, 1943, quoted in Baker, Concen
tration Camp Conspiracy, p. 256.
259. Unsolicited testimony, Harry Y. Ueno, “ I was a captive of the U.S.
Government.

260. Thomas and Nishimoto , Spoilage, p. 40.

261. Report of the WRA , July 1 - September 30, 1942, p. 53 .
262. Ibid ., pp. 58 , 60 .
263. Cates, Management of Five Camps, p. 576 .

264. Report of the WRA , July 1 - September 30, 1942, pp. 59–60.
265. Letter, Hosokawa to Macbeth, Commission staff, Sept. 14, 1982
(CWRIC 8800–16 ).

266. Spicer, Impounded People, p. 84.
267. Myer, Uprooted Americans, p. 60.

268. Cates, Management of Five Camps, p. 579.
269. Thomas and Nishimoto, Spoilage, p. 45; Myer, Uprooted Americans,
p. 40; Cates, Management of Five Camps, p. 589.
270. Spicer, Impounded People, p. 82 .
271. Ibid ., p. 82.
272. Weglyn , Years of Infamy, p. 119; Thomas and Nishimoto, Spoilage,
p. 73 .

273. WRA Story, pp. 46–47.

274. Weglyn, Years of Infamy, pp . 119–20.
275. Masaoka to Myer, January 14, 1943. NARS. RG 210 (CWRIC 3758 ).
276. Cates, Management of Five Camps, p. 572, quoting Myron E. Gur
nea, FBI Report – Survey - Part I, Confidential Report, p. 7. NARS. RG 210.
277. Cates, Management of Five Camps, p. 570 .

278. Testimony, Elaine Yoneda, San Francisco, Aug. 12, 1981, p. 47.
279. Myer, Uprooted Americans, p. 61 .
280. Thomas and Nishimoto, Spoilage, pp. 43-44; Report of the WRA ,
July 1 - September 30, 1942, pp . 51–54.
281. Testimony, Karl Yoneda, San Francisco, Aug. 11, 1981, pp . 91–92.

282. Unsolicited testimony, Susumu Togasaki, reporting a beating in one
section of Poston .

283. Report of the WRA , October 1 - December 31 , 1942, pp . 31-33.

284. Thomas and Nishimoto, Spoilage, p. 46 .
285. Report of the WRA, October 1 - December 31 , 1942, p. 33 .
286.
287.
288.
289.

Ibid . , p. 34.
Ibid ., p. 36 .
Thomas and Nishimoto, Spoilage, p. 50 .
Report of the WRA, October 1 - December 31, 1942, p. 37.
.

NOTES: RELOCATION CENTERS, PAGES 175-184

409

290. Testimony, Grace Nakamura, Los Angeles, Aug. 6, 1981, p. 253.
291. Thomas and Nishimoto, Spoilage, p . 52.
292.
293.
294.
295.

McKee, History of WRA , pp. 154–55 .
Unsolicited testimony, Edward Spicer, Chicago, Sept. 1981.
Testimony, Peter Suzuki, Chicago, Sept. 23, 1981 , pp. 142–44 .
Unsolicited testimony, Edward Spicer, Chicago, Sept. 1981.

296. Written testimony, Walter Funabiki, San Francisco, Sept. 29, 1981.
297. Eisenhower, The President Is Calling, p. 120.
298. McKee, WRA Story, p. 30 .

299. Eisenhower, The President Is Calling, p. 120.
300. Daniels, Concentration Camps USA , p. 99.

301. Testimony, Dick Nishi, San Francisco, Aug. 12, 1981, pp. 121–22.
302. Daniels, Concentration Camps USA , p. 100.
303. Testimony, Sally Kazama, Seattle, Sept. 11, 1981, p. 52.

304. Testimony, Mary Sakaguchi Oda, Los Angeles, Aug. 4, 1981, p. 97.
305. Report of the WRA, July 1 – September 30, 1942, p . 18.
306. Daniels, Concentration Camps USA , p . 100 .

307. Telephone conversation , DeWitt and Bendetsen , April 4, 1942. NARS.
RG 338 (CWRIC 13046 ).
308 WRA Story, p. 31 .
309. Daniels, Concentration Camps USA , p. 101 .

310. Myer, Uprooted Americans, pp. 129–30 .
311. Weglyn, Years of Infamy, p. 98.
312. Report of the WRA, July 1 - September 30, 1942, pp. 11-12.
313. Testimony, George Taketa, Chicago, Sept, 22, 1981 , p. 269.
314. Testimony, John Takashi Omori, Chicago, Sept. 23, 1981, p . 62.
315. Unsolicited testimony, George Ikeda.

316. Testimony, George Taketa, Chicago, September 22, 1981, p . 270.
317. Weglyn, Years of Infamy, p. 100.
318. Written testimony, James Hirabayashi, San Francisco, Aug. 11, 1981,
p. 3.

319. Letter, Eisenhower to the President, June 17, 1942. FDRL. OF
4849 (CWRIC 3972 ).
320. Myer, Uprooted Americans, pp . 67–68.
321. tenBroek, Prejudice, War, p . 147. WRA Administration Instruction
No. 22, July 20, 1942. “ Temporary Procedure for Issuance of Permits to In
dividuals or Single Families to Leave Relocation Centers for Employment
Outside Such Centers and the WDC . ”

322. Myer, Uprooted Americans, pp. 132–33.
323. tenBroek, Prejudice, War, p. 147. WRA, “ Issuance of Leave for

Departure from a Relocation Area.” 7 Fed. Reg. , 7656 (September 26, 1942).
These appeared in greater detail in WRA Administrative Instruction No. 22
(Revised), November 6, 1942.
324. Memo, Bendetsen to Commanding General of Western Defense
Command, Oct. 3, 1942, NARS . RG 338 (CWRIC 5081).
325. Myer, Uprooted Americans, p. 134 .

410

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

326. Ibid ., p. 135 .
327. Ibid ., pp. 135–38 .
328. WRA Story, p. 42.

329. Myer, Uprooted Americans, p. 138.

1

17
Loyalty: Leave and Segregation
1

1. E.g. , Eugene Rostow , “The Japanese American Cases — A Disaster ,”
54 Yale Law Journal 489 (1945 ).
2. Bill Hosokawa, Nisei: The Quiet Americans (New York: William Morrow
& Co. , 1969), p . 397.
3. For instance, McCloy visited the West Coast in March 1942, and met

with Ringle, later writing Biddle that he was “ greatly impressed” with Ringle's
knowledge. Letter, McCloy to Biddle, March 21, 1942. NARS. RG 107 (CWRIC
12862). He met with the JACL leaders at an emergency National Council

meeting called in early March and took the trouble to meet with them socially
as well as discussing the Army's program . Bill Hosokawa, JACL in Quest of
Justice (New York: William Morrow & Co. , 1982), pp. 166–67.
4. Ruth E. McKee, History of WRA : Pearl Harbor to June 30, 1944,
unpublished manuscript, 1949, p . 164 .
5. Tamotsu Shibutani, The Derelicts of Company K ( Berkeley: University
of California Press, 1978), p. 49.

6. Memo, DeWitt to Chief of Staff (Marshall), Nov. 20, 1942; memo,
DeWitt to McCloy, Nov. 21, 1942; memo, Dedrick to WDC Assistant Chief
of Staff, Civil Affairs Division (Bendetsen), Nov. 20, 1942. NARS . RG 107
(CWRIC 5686 , 5687, 5680–85 ).

7. McKee, History of WRA , p . 165.
8. Idem .

9. Memo, Brigadier General M. G. White, G- 1 , to McCloy, April 19,
1943. NARS . RG 107 (CWRIC 5665–66 ).
10. Hosokawa, Nisei, p . 397.

11. Memo, McCloy to Eisenhower, May 20 , 1943, RG 107, quoted in
Roger Daniels, Concentration Camps USA: Japanese Americans and World
War II (New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1972), p . 145.
12. Memo, Colonel M. W. Pettigrew to McCloy, Nov. 7, 1942. NARS .
>

RG 107 (CWRIC 13780 ); memo, Pettigrew to McCloy, Nov. 17, 1942. NARS .
RG 407 (CWRIC 13765–70 ); telephone conversation, DeWitt and McCloy,

Jan. 18, 1943. NARS. RG 338 (CWRIC 13210–14 ).
13. Michi Weglyn, Years of Infamy: The Untold Story ofAmerica's Con
centration Camps, (New York: William Morrow & Co. , 1976 ), footnote 4, p.
305.

14. Edward H. Spicer, Asael T. Hansen , Katherine Luomala and Marvin
Opler, Impounded People: Japanese-Americans in the Relocation Centers ( Tuc
son, AZ : University of Arizona Press, 1969), p. 142.
411

412

PERSONAL JUSTICE DENIED

15. Dillon S. Myer, Uprooted Americans: The Japanese Americans and

the War Relocation Authority During World War II (Tucson, AZ : University
of Arizona Press, 1971), p. 144.
16. Letter, Mike Masaoka to Stimson , Jan. 15, 1943. NARS. RG 147
(CWRIC 11920 ).
17. Telephone conversation , McCloy and DeWitt, Jan. 18, 1943. NARS .
RG 338 (CWRIC 13210–14 ).

18. Telephone conversation , DeWitt and McCloy, Jan. 18, 1943. NARS.
RG 338 (CWRIC 13210–14 ); memo, Colonel John J. Bissell to General Strong,

Jan. 8, 1943. NARS . RG 319 (CWRIC 14102–03); telephone conversation,

Bendetsen and Colonel William P. Scobey, Jan. 18, 1943. NARS. RG 338
(CWRIC 13194–208 ).
19. Telephone conversation, DeWitt and McCloy, Jan. 18, 1943. NARS.
RG 338 (CWRIC 13210–14 ).
20. Telephone conversation , Bendetsen and Scobey, Jan. 18, 1943. NARS.
RG 338 (CWRIC 13194–208 ).
21. Draft memo to Stimson , Oct. 28 , 1942. NARS . RG 407 (CWRIC
13756–60 ).
22. Memo, Elmer Davis, Director of Office of War Information, to the

President, Oct. 2, 1942. NARS . RG 407 (CWRIC 13755 ).
23. Memo, McCloy to Stimson , Oct. 15, 1942. NARS . RG 107 (CWRIC
13779); draft memo to Stimson, Oct. 28, 1942. NARS . RG 407 ( CWRIC 13756–
60 ).
24. Memo, Stimson to Chief of Staff (Marshall), no date . NARS . RG 407
(CWRIC 13753 ).

25. Thomas D. Murphy, Ambassadors in Arms: The Story of Hawaii's

100th Battalion (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1954 ), pp. 109–10.
26. Idem .

27. Testimony, John J. McCloy, Washington, DC, Nov. 3, 1981, p. 25.
The War Department position stands in sharp contrast to that of the Navy.

Responding to Davis's memo, Navy Secretary Knox not only did not agree
with Davis's suggestion but also suggested that everyone's time could be better

spent handling the “ problem ” ofJapanese sympathizers in Hawaii; letter, Knox
to the President, Oct. 17, 1942. NARS. RG 107 (CWRIC 565 ).
28. Memo for the record, Office of Provost Marshal General, Jan. 9, 1943.
NARS. RG 210 (CWRIC 12795–97).
29. Idem .
30. Idem .

31. Memo, DeWitt t