Historic Resource Study/Special History Study
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A prewar agreement made the Department of Justice responsible for controlling enemy aliens in the continental United States in the event of war. During 1941, this department, primarily through its Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), scrutinized the records of prospective enemy aliens and compiled lists of those against whom there were grounds for suspicion of disloyalty. [5] Three presidential proclamations of December 7 and 8, 1941, dealing with the control of Japanese and of German and Italian aliens, respectively, provided the basis for immediate action against those so suspected by the Department of Justice. The proclamations authorized the Army to co-operate with the FBI in rounding up individual enemy aliens considered actually or potentially dangerous, made enemy aliens subject to apprehension and internment, restricted them in traveling, prohibited them from possessing a large number of contraband items, and designated them for possible exclusion from military zones. By December 10, 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. In fact, however, the government continued to apprehend enemy aliens. By February 16, 1942, the Department of Justice held 2,191 Japanese; 1,393 Germans; and 264 Italians and arrests continued after that date. Many of the Japanese arrested in the early FBI sweeps were Issei leaders of Japanese American communities and their organizations. By specifically authorizing the exclusion of enemy aliens "from any locality in which residence by an alien enemy shall be found to constitute a danger to the public peace and safety of the United States," the presidential proclamations also provided a basis for evacuation on a larger scale. [6]

During the first few days after the Pearl Harbor attack a large number of reports — all later proven to be false — of enemy ships offshore surfaced on the west coast, fanning the fires of racial hysteria and wartime panic. In this atmosphere, the first proposal for mass evacuation of the Japanese developed. On December 10, a Treasury Department agent reported to Army authorities that "an estimated 20,000 Japanese in the San Francisco metropolitan area were ready for organized action." Without checking the authenticity of the report, the Ninth Corps Area staff hurriedly completed a plan for the evacuation of the purported subversives that was approved by the corps area commander. The next day the local FBI chief stopped further local action by characterizing the report "as the wild imaginings of a discharged former FBI man," but the corps area commander reported the incident to Washington and expressed the hope that "it may have the effect of arousing the War Department to some action looking to the establishment of an area or areas for the detention of aliens." His recommendation that "plans be made for large-scale internment" was forwarded to military leaders in Washington. [7]

When Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox returned to the mainland from a visit to Hawaii on December 15, he told the press, "I think the most effective Fifth Column work of the entire war was done in Hawaii with the possible exception of Norway." His accompanying recommendation for the removal of all Japanese, regardless of citizenship, from Oahu was another of a growing series of calls for mass racial exclusion. The basis of Knox's statement was never made clear, and his official report on December 16 contained no reference to fifth column activities. Instead, it described espionage by Japanese consular officers and praised the Japanese Americans who had manned machine guns against the enemy. Nevertheless, his earlier comments to the press received widespread attention in major west coast newspapers, and nothing was promptly done at the highest levels of government to repudiate Knox's initial statement or publicly to affirm the loyalty of persons of Japanese descent. [8]

In this charged atmosphere it is not surprising that General John L. DeWitt, a career soldier who had been placed in command of the Fourth Army and Western Defense Command (WDC) in 1939 with headquarters at the Presidio in San Francisco, would take a cautious, almost nervous, approach to any perceived threat of attack or disruption on the Pacific coast. Aware of the speed with which the disgraced Lieutenant General Walter Short and Rear Admiral Husband Kimmel were forced out of the military after being criticized for not adopting adequate defense measures at Pearl Harbor, DeWitt, anxious to preserve his position in the military, reacted to the rising hysteria on the west coast by recommending to General Headquarters on December 19 "that action be initiated at the earliest practicable date to collect all alien subjects fourteen years of age and over, of enemy nations and remove them to the Zone of the Interior." [9]

However, General DeWitt may have felt during December about the treatment of enemy aliens, he was firmly opposed to any evacuation of citizens. In a telephone conversation with Major General Allen W. Gullion. the Provost Marshal General, on December 26 he reacted to a recommendation by a representative of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce that all Japanese in the Los Angeles area should be rounded up:

. . . .if we go ahead and arrest the 93,000 Japanese, native born and foreign born, We are going to have an awful job on our hands and are very liable to alienate the loyal Japanese from disloyal m very doubtful that it Would be common sense procedure to try and intern or to intern 117,000 Japanese in this theater. . . . I told the governors of all the states that those people should be watched better if they were watched by the police and people of the community in which they live and have been living for years. . . . and then inform the F.B.I. or the military authorities of any suspicious action so we could take necessary steps to handle it . . . . rather than try to intern all those people, men, women and children, and hold them under military control and under guard. . . An American citizen, after all, is an American citizen. And while they all may not be loyal, I think we can weed the disloyal out of the loyal and lock them up if necessary. 10]

At this time, General DeWitt wanted the prompt issuance of clear instructions to FBI agents on the west coast that would enable them to take more effective steps to prevent sabotage and espionage. At his urging, Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson conferred with Attorney General Francis Biddle, and thereafter the latter speeded up the preparation of regulations to implement the presidential proclamations of December 7 and 8. Late in December, the Department of Justice announced regulations requiring enemy aliens in the Western Defense Command to surrender radio transmitters, short-wave radio receivers, and certain types of cameras to local police stations by January 5, 1942. On December 30, DeWitt was informed that the attorney general had also authorized the issuance of warrants for search and arrest in any house where an enemy alien lived upon representation by an FBI agent that there was reasonable cause to believe that contraband was on the premises. In addition, the Department of Justice and the provost marshal general arranged to send representatives to San Francisco to confer with DeWitt in order to work out more specific arrangements for controlling enemy aliens. To centralize and expedite Army action in Washington, General Gullion arranged for DeWitt to deal directly with the provost marshal general's office on west coast alien problems, and for the latter to keep General Headquarters informed of developments. [11]

The San Francisco conference took place on January 4-5, 1942. Before the meetings, the War Department's representative, Major Karl R. Bendetsen, Chief of the Aliens Division, Provost Marshal General's office, urged DeWitt to insist on the definition of strategic areas from which all enemy aliens were to be excluded and that authority to prescribe such areas be vested in the Army. In opening the conference, General DeWitt declared his serious concern over the alien situation and his distrust in particular of the Japanese population — both aliens and citizens. Although he opposed a mass evacuation of the Japanese, he wanted full implementation of the president's proclamations. The conference ended with agreement on a plan of action providing for alien registration with the least practicable delay, FBI searches of suspected premises without warrants under guidelines stating that merely being an enemy alien would be sufficient cause for a search, and the designation of strategic areas from which enemy aliens could be barred by the attorney general, who would "entertain" Army recommendations on this score if they were accompanied by an exact description of each area. [12]

At this point, designation of restricted areas appeared to be a device to exclude only aliens, not citizens. However, some military officers began to consider broadening the definition of "enemy aliens." Accordingly, Major Carter Garver, Acting Assistant Adjutant General of the Army, wrote to DeWitt on January 8:

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

Garver continued with language that demonstrated the increasing racial sentiments that would lead to mass evacuation:

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 a 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 of Japanese blood unless such loyalty can be affirmatively demonstrated. [13]

The arrangements agreed upon at San Francisco took longer to put into effect than either General DeWitt or the Justice representatives anticipated. The registration of enemy aliens was finally undertaken between February 2 and 9, and the large-scale "spot" raids that DeWitt was anxious to have launched did not get under way until the same week, so that both operations took place during the period when public agitation against the Japanese was rapidly mounting. Although DeWitt planned to fix the boundaries of restricted areas by January 9, it was January 21 before he sent the first of his lists to Washington for transmission to the attorney general. One of his principal difficulties was to reconcile the recommendations of the Navy, which by agreement were to be made through him, with the position of the Department of Justice Navy commanders wanted to exclude not only enemy aliens but also all American-born Japanese who could not show "actual severance of all allegiance to the Japanese Government." [14]

On January 21, General DeWitt recommended the exclusion of enemy aliens from 86 Category A zones in California and their close control by a pass and permit system in 8 Category B zones. Although many of the Category A areas were uninhabited or had no alien population, the implementation of this recommendation would have required the evacuation of more than 7,000 persons. Only 40 percent of these would have been Japanese aliens, and the majority would have been Italians. [15] In his letter forwarding this recommendation to Attorney General Biddle, Secretary of War Stimson observed:

In recent conferences with General DeWitt, he has expressed great apprehension because of the presence on the Pacific coast of many thousand alien enemies. As late as yesterday, 24 January, he stated over the telephone that shore-to-ship and ship-to-shore radio communications, undoubtedly coordinated by intelligent enemy control were continually operating. A few days ago it was reported by military observers on the Pacific coast that not a single ship had sailed from our Pacific ports without being subsequently attacked. General DeWitt's been confirmed by recent visits of military observers from the War Department to the Pacific coast. . . .

The alarming and dangerous situation just described, in my opinion, calls for immediate and stringent action. [16]

Actually, there had been no Japanese submarine or surface vessels anywhere near the west coast during the preceding month, and careful investigation subsequently indicated that all claims of hostile shore-to-ship and ship-to-shore communication lacked foundation. Similar recommendations for restricted areas in Arizona, Oregon, and Washington followed, and were forwarded to the Justice Department by February 3. By that date, the position of the Japanese population was under heavy attack as a result of the intensifying wartime racial hysteria, and in consequence the alien exclusion program was soon eclipsed by a drive to evacuate all people of Japanese descent from the west coast states. [17]

Me an time, racial hysteria was sweeping the Pacific states, fanned by newspaper sensationalism and nativist organizations. The Native Sons and Daughters of the Golden West, for instance, saw the war as a fulfillment of everything 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 authorities 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 citizenship; 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. [18]

Nurtured by fear and anger at Japanese victories in the Far East following the Pearl Harbor attack and by eagerness to strike at the enemy with whom the ethnic Japanese in the United States were now identified, calls for radical government action began to fill letters to the editor and newspaper commentary. Old stereotypes of the "Yellow peril" and other forms of historic anti-Japanese agitation provided a ready body of lore to bolster this "pseudo-patriotic" cause. By the end of January 1942, the clamor for exclusion fired by race hatred and war hysteria was prominent in California newspapers, particularly those owned by the Hearst family. Henry McLemore, an influential Hearst syndicated columnist, published a particularly vicious diatribe:

The only Japanese apprehended have been the ones the FBI actually had something on The rest of them, so help me, 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 situation 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 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. [19]

Thus, public agitation for mass evacuation of the Japanese from the west coast began to reach significant levels during mid-January 1942, and politicians soon responded to the rising tempo and volume of demands for federal and state action. Among the first of these was a letter dated January 16 addressed by Representative Leland M. Ford of Santa Monica, California, to the Secretaries of War and Navy and the FBI director informing them that his California 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 Japanese, 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 concentration camp. [20]

Behind this and similar suggestions lay a profound suspicion of the Japanese population, fanned by the nature and scope of Japan's military successes in the Pacific in the months following Pearl Harbor. For example, a General Headquarters intelligence bulletin of January 21 concluded that there was an "espionage net containing Japanese aliens, first and second generation Japanese and other nations . . . . thoroughly organized and working underground." DeWitt, who feared that an enemy raid on the west coast would probably be accompanied by "a violent outburst of coordinated and controlled sabotage" among the Japanese population stated on January 24 the disingenuous assertion that would become one of the principal arguments for mass evacuation:

The fact that nothing has happened so far is more or less . . . ominous, in that I feel that in view of the fact that we have had no sporadic attempts at sabotage that there is a control being exercised and when we have it will be on a mass basis. [21]

The first official inquiry into the Pearl Harbor disaster was conducted by the Roberts Commission, appointed by the President and chaired by Supreme Court Justice Owen J. Roberts. The Roberts Commission report, issued on January 23, 1942, had immediate effect both on public opinion and on government action. The report concluded that there had been widespread espionage in Hawaii before Pearl Harbor, both by Japanese consular agents and by Japanese residents of Oahu who had "no open relations with the Japanese foreign service." [22]

The latter charge, though proven false after the war, was especially inflammatory On January 27, General DeWitt reported after a lengthy talk with Governor Culbert L. Olson of California:

There's a tremendous volume of public opinion now developing against the Japanese of all classes, that is aliens and non-aliens, to get them off the land, and in Southern California around Los Angeles — in that area too — they want and they are bringing pressure on the government to move all the Japanese out. As a matter of fact, it's not being instigated or developed by people who are not thinking but by the best people of California. Since the publication of the Roberts Report they feel that they are living in the midst of a lot of enemies. They don't trust the Japanese, none of them. [23]

Led by representatives of the California congressional delegation who were reportedly "beginning to get up in arms" over the Japanese situation, an informal meeting that included Washington state congressmen and Justice and War Department personnel unanimously approved on January 30 a suggested program for action, which was a verbatim copy of a draft submitted by a representative of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce. The recommended action program called for an evacuation of enemy aliens and "dual" citizens from critical areas, but which made no specific mention of the Japanese. In presenting the congressional program to his chief, Major Bendetsen described it as "calling for the immediate evacuation of all Japanese from the Pacific coast strip including Japanese citizens of the age of 21 and under, and calling for an Executive Order of the President, imposing full responsibility and authority (with power to requisition the services of other Federal agencies) upon the War Department." [24] He also reported the recommendations as adopted to DeWitt, who expressed general approval of them despite some technical objections. After the congressional meeting, its chairman, Representative Clarence F. Lea of California, formally presented the recommendations to the War Department.

The next day, in reflecting on these recommendations as well as a conversation he had conducted on January 29 with Earl Warren, the Attorney General of California who supported Governor Olson's proposals for removal of all Japanese from the state, General DeWitt recorded his opinion that gave evidence of his hardening attitude toward mass evacuation. He noted:

As a matter of fact, the steps now being taken by the Attorney General through the F.B.I. will do nothing more than exercise a controlling influence and preventive action against sabotage; it will not, in my opinion, be able to stop it. The only positive answer to this question is evacuation of all enemy aliens from the West Coast and resettlement or internment under positive control, military or otherwise.

DeWitt not only wanted the removal and internment of German and Italian aliens and all Japanese residents, including both aliens and dual citizens, but he also wanted all evacuees from a particular area to be moved at the same time. Action should be taken at the earliest possible date "even if they [the aliens and dual citizens] were temporarily inconvenienced." He also expressed his willingness to accept responsibility for the enemy alien program if it was formally transferred to him. [25]

In the meantime, the Department of Justice had agreed informally to accept General DeWitt's initial recommendation for restricted areas in California, and it was preparing to carry out this and other aspects of the alien control program. On January 28, it announced the appointment of Thomas C. Clark as Co-ordinator of the Alien Enemy Control Program within the Western Defense Command, and Clark commenced work the next day. On January 29, the Justice Department made its first public announcement about the restricted Category A areas that were to be cleared of enemy aliens by February 24. 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 twelve "restricted" areas for enemy aliens, eleven being small zones surrounding hydroelectric plants in California, but the twelfth encompassed the entire coastal strip from the Oregon border south to a point approximately 50 miles north of Los Angeles and extended inland for distances varying from 30 to 150 miles. Regulations for these restricted areas required that (1) enemy aliens remain within their places of residence between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.; (2) at all other times during the day they be found only at their place of residence or employment or traveling between those two places, or within a distance of not more than five miles from their place of residence; and (3) if found disobeying the regulations they were to be subject to immediate apprehension and internment. But the Justice Department balked at quarantining extensive populated areas, such as all of Seattle or Portland. [26]

As a result of the congressional recommendations and related developments, Attorney General Biddle asked War Department representatives to attend a meeting at his office on February 1. There he presented a draft press release to be issued jointly by the Justice and War departments, indicating agreement on all alien control measures taken to date and including the statement: "The Department of War and the Department of Justice are in agreement that the present military situation does not at this time require the removal of American citizens of the Japanese race." In the meeting, Biddle, a member of a wealthy eastern establishment family who had little sympathy for a mass evacuation program, stated that Justice would have nothing to do with any interference with citizens or a suspension of the writ of habeas corpus. The War Department representatives — Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy, General Gullion. and Major Bendetsen — agreed to the wording of the press release except for the sentence quoted. The meeting then adjourned, the War Department representatives withholding approval of any press release until DeWitt's views could be obtained, and until they learned the outcome of a conference at Sacramento that had been arranged for February 2 between General DeWitt, Clark, Governor Olsen, and other federal and state officials. Major Bendetsen informed the chief of staff's office that the Justice Department's proposal had also been held up because DeWitt had been provisionally recommending the evacuation of the entire Japanese population from the Pacific coastal area. In the meantime, the provost marshal general's office had formulated plans for mass evacuation and nontroop shelter for all of the west coast Japanese. In a telephone conversation immediately after the meeting with Justice representatives, Major Bendetsen reported, General DeWitt agreed to submit a recommendation for mass evacuation in writing. [27]

ore DeWitt could report the outcome of the Sacramento meeting, Secretary of War Stimson met on February 3 with McCloy, Gullion, and Bendetsen to confer about the proposed press release and the Japanese problem in general. They discussed a proposal under which military reservations would be established around large aircraft factories and some port and harbor installations, and from which everyone could be excluded at the outset until they were licensed to return. In practice, licenses would not be issued to Japanese residents or to other groups or individuals under suspicion. It appeared that under this plan citizens as well as aliens could be excluded legally without overt discrimination. [28]

During the discussion, Stimson received a record of a telephone conversation between General George C. Marshall and DeWitt in which the latter reported on the meeting in Sacramento. DeWitt stated:

I had a conference yesterday with the Governor and several representatives from the Department of Justice and Department of Agriculture, with a view to removal of the Japanese from where they are now living to other portions of the state. And the Governor thinks it can be satisfactorily handled without having a resettlement somewhere in the central part of the United States and removing them entirely from the state of California. As you know the people out here are very much disturbed over these aliens, the Japanese being among them, and want to get them out of the several communities. And I've agreed that if they can solve the problem by getting them out of the areas limited as the combat zone, that it would be satisfactory That would take them 100 to 150 miles from the coast, and they're working on it. The Department of Justice has a representative here and the Department of Agriculture, and they think the plan an excellent one. I'm only concerned with getting them away from around these aircraft factories and other places. [29]

In subsequent exchanges General DeWitt explained the details of the California officials' proposals, particularly those of Governor Olson who had been asked by federal authorities to recommend the best procedure for handling the situation. According to DeWitt, the state officials proposed to move both citizen and alien Japanese (voluntarily if possible, and in collaboration with American-born Japanese leaders) from urban areas and from along the coast to agricultural areas in the interior of the state. They wanted to do this to avoid having to replace the Japanese with Mexican and Negro farm laborers who might otherwise have to be brought into California in considerable numbers. The California officials felt they needed ten days to study the problem and develop a workable plan. By February 4, DeWitt was convinced that they could produce a plan that would be satisfactory from a defense standpoint. [30]

After the meeting with Stimson, McCloy called General DeWitt to tell him about the licensing plan and caution him against taking any position in favor of mass Japanese evacuation. The next day General Gullion told Clark that Stimson and McCloy opposed mass evacuation of the Japanese and interfering with citizens unless such action could be done legally While admitting that this point of view represented the War Department position for the moment, General Gullion offered his personal view that he did not think the proposed licensing action was going to solve the situation. On this same day, February 4, Lieutenant Colonel Bendetsen, who had just been promoted to that rank, remarked to DeWitt that he was sure that American citizens of Japanese extraction would have to be excluded from some areas. In response DeWitt remarked:

You see, the situation is this: I have never on my own initiative recommended a mass evacuation, or the removal of any man, any Jap, other than an alien. In other words, I have made no distinction between an alien as to whether he is Jap, Italian, or German — that they must all get out of Area A, that is the Category A area. The agitation to move all the Japanese away from the coast, and some suggestions, out of California entirely — is with the State, the population of the State, which has been espoused by the Governor. I have never been a body [sic] to that, but I have said, if you do that, and can solve that problem, it will be a positive step toward the protection of the coast.... But I have never said, "You've got to do it, in order to protect the coast"; ... I can take such measures as are necessary from a military standpoint to control the American Jap if he is going to cause trouble within those restricted areas. [31]

Two days earlier, on February 2, members of Congress from the Pacific states had organized informally under the leadership of their senior Senator, Hiram Johnson of California. He had appointed two subcommittees, one headed by Senator Rufus C. Holman of Oregon to consider plans for increased military strength along the Pacific coast, and the other by Senator Mon C. Wallgren of Washington to deal with questions relating to enemy aliens and the prevention of sabotage. On February 4, Brigadier General Mark W. Clark of General Headquarters and Admiral Harold R. Stark, the Chief of Naval Operations, offered testimony on the west coast military outlook at a meeting of the first of these subcommittees. At the hearings, Senator Holman summed up the situation by observing that the people of the Pacific coast states were alarmed and horrified as to their persons, their employment, and their homes. Clark observed that he thought the people were unduly alarmed. While both he and Stark agreed the west coast defenses were not adequate to prevent the enemy from attacking, they felt the chance of any sustained attack or of an invasion was nil. They recognized that sporadic air raids on key installations were a distinct possibility, but they also believed that the west coast military defenses were considerable. From the military point of view the Pacific coast had a necessarily low priority as compared with Hawaii and the far Pacific. These authoritative Army and Navy views were passed on to the Wallgren subcommittee, but they appear to have made little impression on the western congressional leaders. [32]

On the same day as the hearing, February 4, the federal government's Office of Facts and Figures completed an analysis of a hasty survey of public opinion in California. The report, written by Archibald MacLeish, concluded that "Even with such a small sample," one can infer the situation in California is serious; that it is loaded with potential dynamite; but that it is not as desperate as some people believe." The report noted that "a majority of people think that the Government (chiefly the FBI) has the situation in hand," but it did concede that 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, poorly educated groups, and they are the ones who are most suspicious of local Japanese in general." [33]

A contemporary Navy report described what was happening to the Japanese population in the Los Angeles area: ". . . loss of employment and income due to anti-Japanese agitation by and among Caucasian Americans, continued personal attacks by Filipinos and other racial groups, denial of relief funds to desperately needy cases, cancellation of licenses for markets, produce houses, stores, etc., by California State authorities, discharges from jobs by the wholesale, [and] unnecessarily harsh restrictions on travel including discriminatory regulations against all Nisei preventing them from engaging in commercial fishing." While expressing opposition to any mass evacuation of the Japanese, the report concluded that if practices such as those described continued there would "most certainly be outbreaks of sabotage, riots, and other civil strife in the not too distant future." [34]

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Last Updated: 01-Jan-2002