to the Decision to Intern Japanese Americans
Articles on Japanese-American Internment
headlines of Japanese Relocation. FDR Library.
Francisco News, March 2, 1942: New
Order on Aliens Awaited
San Francisco News, March 2, 1942: Behind
the News With Arthur Caylor
March 3, 1942: Evacuation To Be Carried
Francisco News, March 3, 1942: Security
Committee Makes Recommendations
Francisco News, March 4, 1942: Japanese
on West Coast Face Wholesale Uprooting
Francisco News, March 4, 1942: Ban
to Force Farm Adjustments
Francisco News, April 21, 1942: ‘Manzanar
Nice Place — It Better Than Hollywood’
May 21, 1942: S.F. Clear of All But 6 Sick
ORDER ON ALIENS AWAITED
March 2, 1942
One State Set for Evacuees
new evacuation order which may affect 200,000 Pacific Coast enemy
aliens and their American-born children was awaited today as governors
of states between the Rocky Mountains and the Mississippi —
with one exception — announced they would permit Japanese
aliens to live only in concentration camps if they were moved
Gen. John L. DeWitt, commanding general of the Fourth Army and
the Western Defense Command, said a proclamation would be issued
“shortly” designating military areas from which the
exclusion of certain groups will be required.
Roosevelt has given the Army authority to designate certain vital
defense areas and exclude from them all persons, citizens and
John H. Tolan (D., Cal.), heading a House committee investigating
national defense migration, said he had polled the governors of
15 states west of the Mississippi River on proposals to send evacuees
from Pacific Coast states.
replied, in effect: “No Japanese wanted - except in concentration
Governor Ralph L. Carr of Colorado told General DeWitt his state
would receive evacuated aliens as a contribution to the war effort,
and General DeWitt telegraphed him the Army’s thanks.
final decision as to who will be excluded, from where and when
are “military decisions which must be based on military
necessity,” General DeWitt said.
was strongly critical of those who carried “unfounded rumors”
and “so-called official statements” regarding Pacific
Prepare to Go
executives of the Japanese-American Citizens League were preparing
their members for complete evacuation from the Coast. They pledged
wholehearted co-operation with the Army.
the Army knows where these evacuees will go, and General DeWitt
made plain that wherever they are moved, the public must accept
to Be Ignored
clamor for evacuation from non-strategic areas and the insistence
of local organizations and officials that evacuees not be moved
into their communities cannot and will not be heeded,” he
of national security come first.
appropriate agencies of the Federal Government are engaged in
far-reaching preparations to deal with the problem. A study is
in progress by those agencies regarding the protection of property,
the resettlement and relocation of those who are affected.
complete preparation will include measures designed to safeguard
as far as possible property and property rights, to avoid the
depressing effect of forced sales, and generally to minimize resulting
soon as these studies are concluded, definite designation of persons
to be affected willl be made.”
Tolan has asked President Roosevelt to appoint a Federal co-ordinator
to have charge of evacuees’ problems, and possibly an alien
property custodian for each of the Western states.
to Colorado Governor Carr’s offer to co-operate, General
DeWitt said: “I am hopeful that the governors of other states
in this region will take a similar position, as it will be most
helpful to me in solving the program [problem].”
the News With Arthur Caylor
March 2, 1942
in a way, may be an add on [Westbrook] Pegler’s Friday column,
in which, among other things, he made very clear the importance
of the Negro people’s attitude toward the war. My story
is that, whatever the philosophy involved, the enemy’s agents
in our town are not neglecting an attempt to create a Japanese-Negro
anti-white-race fifth column.
Japanese colony and the Negro colony in San Francisco are close
enough neighbors to provide many contacts. They share some things
in common. The color-line is not so noticeable as it is elsewhere.
This had made it possible, my agents learn from loyal Negro sources,
for Japanese to spread racial propaganda.
isn’t propaganda of the ridiculous Nazi kind, either. It
doesn’t tell the Negro people that they’re really
black Aryans. It points out subtly that their own experience should
teach the Negroes that there’s less difference between brown
and black than between black and white.
takes advantage of all the real discrimination that has gone on,
as well as the propaganda the Communists have used in past years
in their effort to grab off the Negro vote. It attempts to sell
the Negro on the idea that, although pacific by nature, he has
often been forced into American military enterprises—and
paid off in dirt.
not nice to think that Japanese agents should be trying to stir
up strife right in our own town—and at a time when the Japanese
problem may mean such tragedy for loyal Japanese-Americans. But
if you don’t think such things can go on, who do you suppose
is tearing down air-raid shelter signs and defacing other notices
designed to prevent confusion and save lives? Now is the time
for Jap spies to do their stuff.
TO BE CARRIED OUT GRADUALLY
San Francisco News
March 3, 1942
93,000 Nipponese in California Are Affected by Order
entire California, Washington and Oregon coasts, as well as the
Southern sections of California and Arizona along the Mexican
border, today were designated Military Area No. 1 by Lieut. Gen.
John L. DeWitt, commanding the Western Defense Command and Fourth
this vast area, General DeWitt announced “such persons or
classes of persons as the situation may require will by subsequent
proclamation be excluded.”
this vast area will be cleared of all alien and American-born
Japanese, as well as many Italians and Germans, but General DeWitt
emphasized there will be no mass evacuation of Japanese, as some
state and local officials have suggested. Mass evacuations, said
General DeWitt, would be “impractical.”
from military areas will be a continuing process,” he said.
“Japanese aliens and American-born Japanese will be required
by future orders to leave certain critical points within the military
areas first. These areas will be defined and announced shortly.
After exclusion has been completed around the most strategic area,
a gradual program of exclusion from the remainder of Military
Area No. 1 will be developed.”
estimates were that 93,000 aliens and American-born Japanese in
California would be affected by today’s orders and those
no immediate evacuation order was issued, General DeWitt suggested
all Japanese—alien and American-born—might do well
to get out of Military Area No. 1 as quickly as possible.
Japanese and other aliens who move into the interior out of this
area now will gain considerable advantage and in all probability
will not again be disturbed,” he said.
they might go, however, was uncertain. All portions of California,
Oregon, Washington and Arizona were designated Military Area No.
2, from certain portions of which enemy aliens and American-born
Japanese may be excluded.
DeWitt said “military necessity is the most vital consideration,
but the fullest attention is being given the effect upon individual
and property rights” and that “plans are being developed
to minimize economic dislocation and the sacrifice of property
of Military Area No. 1 eventually will clear all American-born
and alien Japanese and hundreds of other enemy aliens from the
coastal section of California in which are located the most important
military and industrial establishments.
area is divided into two zones, A1 and B1. Enemy aliens will be
completely barred from zone A1, and in zone B1 their movements
will be greatly restricted.
proclamation also imposed restriction on persons within the military
area and designated postoffices as places where enemy aliens must
register every time they change place of residence within the
area or by leaving the area. Forms are being prepared.
Aliens in Five Classes
aliens, for greater efficiency, have been classified into five
classes and proclamations affecting their future will be forthcoming
with these numbers, General DeWitt said.
1—All persons suspected of espionage, sabotage, fifth
column or other subversive activities. The FBI and intelligence
services are rounding them up daily.
the military areas are cleared of Japanese, the general indicated,
German and Italian aliens would be next in line for evacuation.
However, German and Italian aliens 70 years of age or over will
not be required to move “except when individually suspected.”
exempted will be “the families, including parents, wives,
children, sisters and brothers of Germans and Italians in the
armed forces,” unless such removal is required for specific
area of the four Western states named is divided lengthwise into
the two military zones. Fronting the ocean and from a distance
of three miles off shore to beyond the coast range mountain areas
is the prohibited zone “A-1.”
adjoining territory—which in Central California extends
as far east as Placerville, thereby slicing the Sacramento and
San Joaquin Valleys down the middle—comprises restricted
addition there are 97 specific localities and communities containing
military installations and utilities which are closed to non-citizens
and are marked “prohibited zones A2-A99 inclusive.”
Francisco and the entire Bay Region as far as Vallejo and Tracy
are within the prohibited zone. To the north Highway 101 in general
follows the contours of the line dividing the prohibited zone
from the contiguous restricted zone.
restricted zone extends approximately from Highway 101 to Highway
99E to the vicinity of Fresno, thence along 99 to where it joins
California Highway 198, eastward near the towns of Johannesburg,
Daggett, and Cadez, along Highway 66 to Topock, Ariz., past Mathia,
Hot Springs Junction, Phoenix, and more or less to the Arizona-New
Mexico state lines to Mexico via the towns of Superior, Bowie
and San Simon.
DeWitt has announced creation of a special civilian staff headed
by Tom C. Clark, Federal alien co-ordinator, to assist the Army
in the economic planning made necessary by the evacuations.
that governors of nine interior states were protesting any resettlement
of Japanese in their areas, General DeWitt said military necessity
must take precedence over civilian wishes.
proclamation and the specific evacuation orders which are to follow
“shortly” are culmination of an alien control policy
the Government instituted immediately after the attack on Pearl
agents seized key Japanese, German and Italian leaders in nationwide
raids. Then aliens were ordered to turn in cameras, shotguns,
short wave radio sets, binoculars and other materials usable for
spying or sabotage. Next all enemy nationals were ordered to register
so the Government could check identities and residences.
January the policy of excluding enemy aliens from strategic areas
was developed. The Army and the FBI cleared 147 such districts
in the four Western states on Feb. 15 and Feb. 24. FBI agents
instituted wholesale raids to seize contraband and “potentially
dangerous enemy aliens” including leaders of Japanese, Italian
and German labor, military and naval societies.
approximately 15,000 enemy aliens were brought into custody or
removed from vital areas.
DeWitt’s proclamation seeks to bring all remaining enemy
aliens on the Coast—closes area to possible Japanese attack—under
M. Masaoka, national secretary and field executive of the Japanese
American Citizens League, said today:
are instructing the 65 chapters of our organization in 300 communities
to call meetings immediately in their locality to discuss methods
by which they can correlate their energies and co-operate extensively
in the evacuation process.”
COMMITTEE MAKES RECOMMENDATIONS
San Francisco News
March 3, 1942
Committee on National Security & Fair Play, headed by Dr.
Henry F. Grady, former assistant secretary of state and president
of the American President Steamship Lines, today urged that care
of evacuated persons be committed to civilian government agencies
experienced in social welfare.
is said there “appear to be only three methods of caring
for evacuees"—allow their settlement whereby they can
work freely and produce for the war or civilian needs; set up
supervised work projects or support them in part or whole at public
committee warned that “indiscriminate removal of citizens
of alien parentage might convert predominately loyal or harmless
citizens into desperate fifth-columnists.”
far, it said, 9000 have been evacuated.
JAPANESE ON WEST COAST FACE WHOLESALE UPROOTING
San Francisco News
March 4, 1942
greatest forced migration in American history was getting under
the entire Pacific Coast, and from the southern half of Arizona,
some 120,000 enemy aliens and American-born Japanese were moving,
or preparing to move, to areas in which the threat of possible
espionage, sabotage or fifth column activities would be minimized.
None of the Japanese had actual orders to get out of the coastal
military area designated yesterday by Lieut. Gen. John L. DeWitt,
Western defense and Fourth Army commander, but all had his warning
that eventually they must go.
deadlines are set for clearing of the area—twice as large
as Japan itself—there is much to be done by the Army and
by governmental agencies co-operating with it in working out a
program that will call for the least possible economic confusion.
C. Clark, alien control co-ordinator, said in Los Angeles he hoped
Japanese might be removed from coast prohibited areas within 60
days, but that “we are not going to push them around.”
are going to give these people a fair chance to dispose of their
properties at proper prices,” Mr. Clark said. “It
has come to our attention that many Japanese farmers have been
stampeded into selling their properties for little or nothing.”
chapters of the Japanese-American Citizens League, which claims
a membership of 20,000 American-born Japanese, will hold meetings
soon in 300 communities “to discuss methods by which they
can correlate their energies and co-operate extensively in the
Masaoka, national field secretary of the league, said its members
“realize that it was the necessity of military expediency
which forced the Army to order the eventual evacuation of all
Japanese,” and that he “assumed” the classification
of Americans of Japanese lineage “in the same category as
enemy aliens was impelled by the motives of military necessity
and that no racial discrimination was implied.”
those who must move, after the Army swings into its plan for progressive
clearing of the 2000-mile-long military area (Japanese and Japanese-Americans
will be affected first) are more that 400 University of California
students - 315 American-born Japanese, 11 alien Japanese, 75 Germans
and six Italians.
DeWitt gave no indication when the first deadline for Japanese
in the coastal area would be set.
was continued action, however, against “Class 1” persons
listed in General DeWitt’s announcement of the military
area. This class includes persons definitely suspected of sabotage
and espionage, of which several thousand already have been taken
into custody by the FBI on presidential warrants accusing them
of being potentially dangerous aliens.
the most important arrests during the past 24 hours was that of
George Nakamura, an alien Japanese living close to the Santa Cruz
shoreline. In his possession FBI agents and police said they found
69 crates of powerful fireworks of the signal type - rockets,
flares and torches.
Ban to Force Farm Adjustments
San Francisco News
March 4, 1942
of Japanese from California’s agricultural areas will necessitate
serious adjustments in farming and marketing of fruits and vegetables
in this state farm spokesmen said today. Officials of the California
Farm Bureau estimated that 40 per cent of all California’s
vegetables were raised by Japanese, with the percentage of fruit
lands under their control running somewhat less.
types of agricultural produce are practically dominated by Japanese
labor or control.
100 Per Cent’
are nearly 100 per cent under the control of Japanese,”
one farm authority said. “The work requires the most arduous
form of ‘stoop labor’ and much of it must be done
on hands and knees. It is impossible to get any other type of
labor than Japanese to stand the pace of the nine-month season.”
plantings in celery, tomatoes, peppers, are important and it is
estimated that they likewise are responsible for nearly 75 per
cent of the state’s acreage in cucumbers, onions and spinach.
officials of the Farm Bureau point out that white farmers can
handle the planting of tomatoes this year, the problem of their
harvest later will create a real problem.
has been proposed to close rural schools earlier this year as
a potential source of labor for harvesting tomatoes,” one
bureau official said.
proposals under considerable by farm groups include shutting down
relief projects to provide more farm workers, and possible use
of Mexican labor.
harvests around the Salinas Valley are not expected to be affected
where an ample of supply of Filipino labor is available. The valley
supplies 90 per cent of the lettuce to the entire country when
the flow of “green gold” is at its seasonal peak.
watch is also being kept on the possible movement of Italians
from the coastal belt, particularly in the artichoke industry
which they dominate from Colma to Monterey County. The harvest
season is just reaching its peak and will last about another month.
impending evacuation of Japanese “makes possible a return
of the Chinese to the good earth,” The Chinese Press, only
all-English Chinese paper in America, said today.
Charles Leong said:
few Chinese remember that their parents labored on farms in
the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys and all along coastal
farm areas. Many owned potato and asparagus ranches. In farm
centers like Watsonville and Santa Cruz, Chinese at one time
owned all the strawberry business.
when the old-timers passed on, it seems that the ranch life,
a hard life, did not appeal to the second generation. As a result
the Japanese today have a monopoly on an industry when the Chinese
could have continued to develop... .”
faces the major problem with the Japanese on farm lands on the
West Coast, the census figures reveal, as they are listed as owning
68 million dollars worth of farm lands here and only an additional
two million dollars worth of farm lands in Oregon and Washington
three major clusterings of Japanese in rural areas are in the
Sacramento River delta regions, the lower San Joaquin Valley district
and the country around Santa Maria and Santa Barbara.
the Bay Area the number of farms owned by Japanese are listed
as follows: Alameda County, 130; San Mateo County, 71; Contra
Costa County, 70; Marin, 4, and Santa Clara, 390.
Japanese exodus also will hit the lawns and gardens of thousands
of Bay Area residents, particularly those on the Peninsula, for
there seems no substitute labor supply to replace the hundreds
of Japanese gardeners. Fast and efficient workers, some of the
Japanese have been caring for from 40 to 50 gardens each.
entire problem is being studied closely by officials of the California
State Chamber of Commerce, the Farm Bureau, and other state and
Federal agencies interested in agricultural questions.
study locally was the matter of the eventual clearing out of the
Japanese section roughly bounded by Geary, Pine, Octavia and Webster-sts,
in which several hundred homes and shops are occupied by Japanese.
1940 census listed 5280 Japanese—2004 citizens and 2276
aliens—in San Francisco. The majority of them live in the
Japanese section. Some have been interned and many more already
have moved inland. But possibly 4000 still are there.
will become of the homes and shops they eventually will vacate
is under discussion by real estate organizations. No decision
has been reached.
FE, N.M., March 4.—In the wake of reports that “nearly
3000 Japanese” being evacuated from the Pacific Coast would
be interned in New Mexico, Governor John E. Miles today announced
his state would co-operate fully. He urged strict methods to safeguard
New Mexico citizens.
CLEAR OF ALL BUT 6 SICK JAPS
May 21, 1942
the first time in 81 years, not a single Japanese is walking the
streets of San Francisco. The last group, 274 of them, were moved
yesterday to the Tanforan assembly center. Only a scant half dozen
are left, all seriously ill in San Francisco hospitals.
night Japanese town was empty. Its stores were vacant, its windows
plastered with "To Lease" signs. There were no guests
in its hotels, no diners nibbling on sukiyaki or tempura. And
last night, too, there were no Japanese with their ever present
cameras and sketch books, no Japanese with their newly acquired
furtive, frightened looks.
colorful chapter in San Francisco history was closed forever.
Some day maybe, the Japanese will come back. But if they do it
will be to start a new chapter - with characters that are irretrievably
changed. It was in 1850 - more than 90 years ago - that the first
Japanese came to San Francisco, more than four years before Commodore
Perry engineered the first trade treaty with Japan. The first
arrival was one Joseph Heco, a castaway, brought here by his rescuers.
What happened to Heco is, apparently, a point overlooked by historians.
He certain came and probably went – but nobody seems to
know when or where.
for another 11 years did the real Japanese migration begin. In
1861, the second Japanese came here. Five years later, seven more
arrived. The next year there were 67, and from then on migration
boomed. By 1869 there was a Japanese colony at Gold Hill near
Sacramento. In 1872 the first Japanese Consulate opened in San
Francisco – an office that passed through many hands, many
regimes, and many policies before December 7, 1941. On that fateful
day, according to census records, there were 5,280 Japanese in
left San Francisco by the hundreds all through last January and
February, seeking new homes and new jobs in the East and Midwest.
In March, the Army and the Wartime Civil Control Administration
took over with a new humane policy of evacuation to assembly and
relocation centers where both the country and the Japanese could
be given protection. The first evacuation under the WCCA came
during the first week in April, when hundreds of Japanese were
taken to the assembly center at Santa Anita. On April 25 and 26,
and on May 6 and 7, additional thousands were taken to the Tanforan
Center. These three evacuations had cleared half of San Francisco.
The rest were cleared yesterday.
last Japanese registered here last Saturday and Sunday. All their
business was to have been cleaned up, all their possessions sold
or stored. Yesterday morning, at the Raphael Weill School on O'Farrell
Street, they started their ride to Tanforan. Quickly, painlessly,
protected by military police from any conceivable "incident,"
they climbed into the six waiting special Greyhound buses. There
were tears – but not from the Japanese. They came from those
who stayed behind – old friends, old employers, old neighbors.
By noon, all 274 were at Tanforan, registered, assigned to their
temporary new homes and sitting down to lunch.
Japanese were gone from San Francisco.