Digital History>eXplorations>Japanese American Internment>The Decision to Intern>Attorney General Francis Biddle to Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson

Attorney General Francis Biddle to Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson
February 12, 1942

The question of whether or not Japanese should be evacuated, whether citizens or not, necessarily involves a judgment based on military considerations. This, of course, is the responsibility of the Army. 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 defense and protection of the area. No legal problems arise when Japanese citizens are evacuated; but American citizens of Japanese origin could not, in my opinion, be singled out of an area and evacuated with the other Japanese. However the result might be accomplished by evacuating all persons in the area and then licensing back those whom the military authorities thought were not objectionable from a military point of view. These suggestions are made to you for your careful consideration in view of your prior recommendations and of the probable necessity of your taking further vigorous action.

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