...Lieutenant General John L. DeWitt, head of the Western Defense Command, entrusted by Roosevelt with the defense of the Pacific Coast. This elderly bureaucrat had more experience in supply than in combat and drew little respect from other army brass. He was cautious, indecisive, ...and panic stricken lest he suffer a fate similar to his Hawaiian counterpart, Lieutenant General Walter C. Short. Yet in the month after Pearl Harbor, DeWitt appeared content to leave the problem of enemy aliens to the Justice Department.
...As late as February 3, Stimson observed that "we cannot discriminate among our citizens on the ground of racial origin." These views soon became casualties in the battle for control of the issue between the War and Justice departments. In this contest DeWitt became an important pawn, a spokesman for Major Karl R. Bendetsen, chief of the Aliens Division, Provost Marshal General's Office, and the latter's superior, Allen Gullion,who strongly desired not only removal of the Japanese from the West Coast but also sought to wrest control of enemy aliens from Attorney General Francis Biddle.
...Bendetson, who with Gullion exerted strong pressure on McCloy and Stimson, felt certain that a Japanese invasion was possible... Stimson himself needed little prodding. Doubting the capacities and patriotism of brown, yellow, and black Americans, he noted in his diary on February 10 that "an invisible deadline was approaching" and the "racial characteristics" of the Nisei predisposed them to potential disloyal behavior.
Influenced by Bendetsen and Gullion, DeWitt reacted similarly. "In the war in which we are now engaged," he wrote Stimson on February 14, "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.... It therefore follows that along the vital Pacific Coast over 112,000 potential enemies of Japanese extraction are at large today." "A Jap's a Jap," he proclaimed later, "and that's all there is to it."1
WRA National Director Dillon Myer:
after the evacuation order was issued here on the mainland, he [Bendetsen] tried for weeks to get a large group of people evacuated from Hawaii with the idea, I am sure, of justifying their West Coast evacuation.2Bendetsen and Braun drafting comments for DeWitt regarding whether efforts to determine loyalty would expose the War Department to criticism, January 22, 1943:
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.Father Hugh T. Lavery of the Catholic Maryknoll Center in Los Angeles, protesting Bendetsen's imminent confirmation as Under Secretary of Army, September 24, 1949:
Bendetsen: And that will have to be answered.
Braun: It will have to be answered.
Bendetsen: ...the 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 Defense 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.5
Colonel Bendetsen showed himself to be a little Hitler. I mentioned that we had an orphanage with children of Japanese ancestry, and that some of these children were half Japanese, others one-fourth or less. I asked which children should we send... Bendetsen said: "I am determined that if they have one drop of Japanese blood in them, they must go to camp."2Major Bendetsen came up with the plan that would become Executive Order 9066, transforming the Japanese American issue under the Justice Department into a more legally-defensible military issue that made no mention of race. He was given two promotions in ten days and was made Director of the WCCA.2
To Roosevelt, February 17, 1942:
For several weeks there have been increasing demands for evacuation of all Japanese, aliens and citizens alike, from the West Coast states. A great many West Coast people distrust the Japanese, various special interests would welcome their removal from good farm land and the elimination of their competition... My last advice from the War Department is that there is no evidence of imminent attack and from the F.B.I. that there is no evidence of planned sabotage.5Recalling February 18, 1942, autobiography:
Rowe and Ennis argued strongly against [the Exective Order]. 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.5To Roosevelt, February 20, 1942, the day after 9066:
I thought that you might have questions asked you with reference to the Order at a press conference and that this memorandum would therefore, be convenient... The order is not limited to aliens but includes citizens so that it can be exercised with respect to Japanese, irrespective of their citizenship... The President is authorized in acting under his general war powers without further legislation.2To Roosevelt, April 17, 1942:
1. Whatever the military do, as Attorney General I should decide what criminal cases to bring and what not to bring. I shall not institute criminal proceedings on exclusion orders which seem to me unconstitutional.To Roosevelt, December 30, 1943:
2. You signed the original Executive Order permitting the exclusions so the Army could handle the Japs. It was never intended to apply to Italians and Germans. Your order was based on "protection against espionage and against sabotage." There is absolutely no evidence in the case of ADRIANO, who has been a leading citizen of San Francisco for thiry years, that he ever had anything to do either with espionage or sabotage. He was merely pro-Mussolini before the war. He is harmless, and I understand is now living in the country outside of San Francisco.
3. KRAUS was connected before Pearl Harbor with German propaganda in this country. She turned state's evidence. The order of exclusion is so broad that I am of the opinion the courts would not sustain it. As I have said before to you, such a decision might well throw doubt on your powers as Commander in Chief.2
The present procedure 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.2Recalling the Cabinet meeting of May 26, 1944:
The Secretary of War raised the question of whether it was appropriate for the War Department, at this time, to cancel the Japanese Exclusion Orders and let the Japs go home. War, Interior, and Justice had all agreed that this could be done without danger to defense considerations but doubted the wisdom of doing it at this time before the election.5Postwar memoirs:
American citizens of Japanese origin were not even handled like aliens of the other enemy nationalities -- Germans and Italians -- on a selective basis, but as untouchables, a group who could not be trusted and had to be shut up only because they were of Japanese descent...Despite his department's seizure of Issei without cause and ever increasing restrictions of the rights of Japanese Americans, Biddle was critized for being too soft in his handling of enemy aliens. Although his aides such as Edward Ennis suggested that exclusion was illegal and unconstitutional, Biddle was not prepared to argue against the War Department.5 J.M. Burns wrote, "Only a great outcry of protest on the highest moral grounds would have stopped the drift toward evacuation, and Biddle was neither temperamentally nor politically capable of it." He eventually gave up control of enemy aliens to the War Department. On February 17, two days before it was issued, a draft of 9066 was given to Biddle at his home by Gullion. Biddle's aides were surprised when he accepted it without a fight.2
Their constitutional rights were the same as those of the men who were responsible for the program: President Roosevelt, Secretary of War Stimson, and the Assistant Secretary of War, John J. McCloy, Lieutenant General John L. DeWitt, commanding officer of the Pacific Coast area, and Colonel Karl Robin Bendetsen of the General Staff...2
Harold Ickes, December 2, 1947:
What the country demands from the Attorney General [Clark] is less self-serving lip-service and more action...
The Attoney General, in the fashion of the Russian Secret Police, maintains a top-secret list of individuals and organizations supposed to be subversive or disloyal. What are the criteria for judging whether a person is disloyal?...
I cannot begin... even to call the role of our maimed, mutilated, and missing civil liberties, but the United States, more than two years after the war, is holding in internment camps some 293 naturalized Peruvians of Japanese descent, who were taken by force by our State and Justice Departments from their homes in Peru.2
After retiring as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, 1966:
I have made a lot of mistakes in my life... One is my part in the evacuation of the Japanese from California in 1942... I don't think that served any purpose at all... We picked them up and put them in concentration camps. That's the truth of the matter. And as I look back on it -- although at the time I argued the case -- I am amazed that the Supreme Court ever approved it.2As Biddle's aide, Clark was sent to convince California officials that not all Japanese Americans needed to be evacuated. However, Earl Warren and others managed instead to convince Clark that it was impossible tell who was loyal and who was not. Biddle wrote in his memoirs, "The choice of Clark under the circumstances was not a fortunate one." After Roosevelt's death, Clark was appointed Attorney General by Truman on September 27, 1945. He oversaw the Justice Department's attempts at deportatation to Japan of both Nisei and Japanese Peruvians.2
To General Gullion, December 26, 1941:
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... I'm very doubtful that it would be common sense procedure to try and intern or to intern 117,000 Japanese in this theater... rather than try to intern all those people, men, women, and children, and hold them under military control and under guard. I don't think it's a sensible thing to do... 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.4Bendetsen to McCloy, May 11, 1942:
direct the Commanding General [DeWitt]... to rescind his curfew against German and Italian aliens as soon as Japanese evacuation is complete...2McCloy to DeWitt, May 20, 1942, after DeWitt continued to insist on a follow-up evacuation of German and Italian Americans:
I want to explain to you personally that in approving this program, both the President and the Secretary of War did so with the expectation that the exclusions would not reach such numbers... We want, if at all possible, to avoid the necessity of establishing additional relocation settlements...2Testifying before the House Naval Affairs Subcommittee, April 13, 1943:
You needn't worry about the Italians at all except in certain cases. Also, the same for the Germans except in individual cases. But we must worry about the Japanese all the time until he is wiped off the map...5Washington Post, responding to DeWitt's declaration "a Jap is a Jap," April 15, 1943:
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 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.5On February 2, 1942, DeWitt and Olson agreed to carry out only a partial evacuation of Japanese Americans, on a purely local basis. This decision alarmed Provost Marshal General Gullion, who was strongly in favor of a hard-line approach, and quickly led to Bendetsen's formulation of a mass detention plan. DeWitt was at first unenthusiastic with what he thought would be an administrative nightmare. However, after 9066 he would vigorously carry out the policy given to him.2
[Washington is] lax, tolerant, and soft toward the Japanese who have violated American hospitality; Shinto Temples still operate; propaganda outlets still disseminate propaganda material; and Japanese, both alien and American citizens, still spy for the Japanese government.1Dies was the conservative chairman of the House Un-American Activities Committee.1
To Agriculture Secretary Claude Wickard, April 1, 1942:
I feel most deeply that when the war is over... we as Americans are going to regret the avoidable injustices that may have been done.2To Roosevelt's secretary, May 15, 1942:
As you know, quite a little mail is being received by the President from liberal groups and kindhearted people protesting the evacuation. Much of it questions the military necessity of the programs... Since this Authority cannot appropriately speak on military questions, we have been forwarding it to the Assistant Secretary of War, John McCloy. May I suggest that such mail be sent directly to Mr. McCloy?2Interior Secretary Ickes to Roosevelt, June 15, 1942:
I have it from several sources that Eisenhauer is sick of the job.2To Roosevelt, April 22, 1943:
...My friends in the War Relocation Authority, like Secretary Ickes, are deeply distressed over the effects of the entire evacuation and relocation program upon the Japanese-Americans, particularly upon the young citizen group. Persons in this group find themselves living in an atmosphere for which their public school and democratic teachings have not prepared them. It is hard for them to escape a conviction that their plight is due more to racial discrimination, economic motivations, and wartime prejudices than to any real necessity from the military point of view for evacuation from the West Coast.Youngest brother of Dwight D. Eisenhower, he was appointed as the first Director of the WRA. He described conditions in the Arizona camps to be "as high as 130 degrees in summertime." Amid increasing doubts about the internment policy he was appointed to carry out, he resigned in June of 1942, telling his successor, Dillon Myer, "I can't sleep and do this job. I had to get out of it."2
Life in a relocation center cannot possibly be pleasant. The evacuees are surrounded by barbed wire fences under the eyes of armed military police. They have suffered heavily in property losses; they have lost their businesses and their means of support. The State Legislatures, Members of the Congress, and local groups, by their actions and statements bring home to them almost constantly that as a people they are not really welcome anywhere. States in which they are now located have enacted restrictive legislation forbidding permanent resettlement, for example. The American Legion, many local groups, and city councils have approved discriminatory resolutions, going so far in some instances as to advocate confiscation of their property. Bills have been introduced which would deprive them of citizenship...
Furthermore, in the opinion of the evacuees the Government may not be excused for not having attempted to distinguish between the loyal and the disloyal in carrying out the evacuation.
Under such circumstances it would be amazing if extreme bitterness did not develop.
...The director of the Authority is striving to avoid, if possible, creation of a racial minority problem after the war which might result in something akin to Indian reservations. It is for these reasons primarily, I think, that he advocates the maximum individual relocation as against the maintenance of all ten relocation centers...2
Recalling his February conversation with Biddle, September 26, 1942:
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 himself just like I'm cussing to you now and he knew damn well I meant business.5A month after attacking Mississippi Congressmember John Rankin for calling for the deportation of all Japanese Americans, Ford reversed his position and asked Stimson to put "all Japanese, whether citizens or not... in inland concentration camps."1
To General Mark Clark, describing a meeting between the War and Justice Departments, February 4, 1942:
[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 no evidence whatsoever of any reason for disturbing citizens, and the Department of Justice, Rowe started it and Biddle finished it -- The Department of Justice will having [sic] nothing whatsoever to do with any interference 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, determine 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.5As Major Bendetsen's superior, Gullion pushed the exclusion policy and eventually convinced Stimson and McCloy.
Memo to Tolson, Tamm, and Ladd, December 17, 1941:
...although 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.5Memo to the Attorney General, February 2, 1942:
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 announcers, have resulted in a tremendous amount of pressure being brought to bear on Governor Olson and Earl Warren, Attorney General of the State, and on the military authorities...Hoover criticized the Army's Military Intelligence Division as untrained, disorganized, hysterical, and lacking in judgment.5 He felt the FBI had already identified possible Japanese agents and had eliminated the threat. He opposed mass removal of Japanese Americans, but nevertheless ordered the seizure of contraband.1
Local officials, press and citizens have started widespread movement demanding complete evacuation of all Japanese, citizen and alien alike.5
To Roosevelt, April 13, 1943:
Information that has come to me from several sources is to the effect that the situation in at least some of the Japanese internment camps is bad and is becoming worse rapidly. Native-born Japanese who first accepted with philosophical understanding the decision of their Government to round up and take far inland all of the Japanese along the Pacific Coast, regardless of their degree of loyalty, have pretty generally been disappointed with the treatment that they have been accorded. Even the minimum plans that had been formulated and announced with respect to them have been disregarded in large measure, or, at least, have not been carried out. The result has been the gradual turning of thousands of well-meaning and loyal Japanese into angry prisoners. I do not think that we can disregard, as of no official concern, the unnecessary creating of a hostile group right in our own territory consisting of people who are engendering a bitterness and hostility that bodes no good for the future.2To Roosevelt, June 2, 1944:
I again call your attention to the urgent necessity of arriving at a determination with respect to revocation of the orders excluding Japanese Americans from the West Coast...In the New York Post, (as reported in the Pacific Citizen, June 29, 1946):
1. I have been informally advised by officials of the War Department who are in charge of this problem that there is no substantial justification for continuation of the ban from the standpoint of military security.
2. The continued exclusion of American citizens of Japanese ancestry from the affected areas is clearly unconstitutional in the present circumstances. I expect that a case squarely raising this issue will reach the Supreme Court at its next term. I understand that the Department of Justice agrees that there is little doubt as to the decision which the Supreme Court will reach in a case squarely presenting the issue.
3. The continuation of the exclusion orders in the West Coast areas is adversely affecting our efforts to relocate Japanese Americans elsewhere in the country. State and local officials are saying, with some justification, that if these people are too dangerous for the West Coast, they do not want them to resettle in their localities.
4. The psychology of the Japanese Americans in the relocation centers becomes progressively worse. The difficulty which will confront these people in readjusting to ordinary life becomes greater as they spend more time in the centers.
5. The children in the centers are exposed solely to the influence of persons of Japanese ancestry. They are becoming a hopelessly maladjusted generation, apprehensive of the outside world and divorced from the possibility of associating -- or even seeing to any considerable extent -- Amercians of other races.
6. The retention of Japanese Americans in the relocation centers impairs the efforts which are being made to secure better treatment for American prisoners-of-war and civilians who are held by the Japanese. In many localities American nationals were not interned by the Japanese government until after the West Coast evacuation; and the Japanese government has recently responded to the State Department complaints concerning treament of American nationals by citing, among other things, the circumstances of the evacuation and detention of the West Coast Japanese Americans.
I will not comment at this time on the justification or lack thereof for the original evacuation order. But I do say that the continued retention of these innocent people in the relocation centers would be a blot upon the history of this country.2
...the immediate problem is one of halting the brutal deportation of alien Japanese who have suffered so much at the hands of "free and democratic" America.2In the Washington Evening Star, September 23, 1946:
As a member of President Roosevelt's administration, I saw the United States Army give way to mass hysteria over the Japanese... it lost its self-control and, egged on by public clamor, some of it from greedy Americans who sought an opportunity to possess themselves of Japanese rights and property, it began to round up indiscriminately the Japanese who had been born in Japan, as well as those born here. Crowded into cars like cattle, these hapless people were hurried away to hastily constructed and thoroughly inadequate concentration camps, with soldiers with nervous muskets on guard, in the great American desert. We gave the fancy name of "relocation centers" to these dust bowls, but they were concentration camps nonetheless...2On February 16, 1944, Executive Order 9423 transferred jurisdiction of the WRA to the Interior Department. Both Ickes and Myer often spoke out against the administration's unjust treatment of Japanese Americans.2
To DeWitt, February 3, 1942:
...in spite of the Constitution you can eliminate from any military reservation, or any place that is declared to be in substance a military reservation, anyone -- any American citizen, and we could exclude everyone and then by a system of permits and licenses permitting those to come back into that area who were necessary to enable that area to function as a living community. Everyone but the Japs... you can do that on a military reservation without suspending writs of habeas corpus and without getting into very important legal complications...2To Bendetsen, shortly before 9066, February, 1942:
We have carte blanche to do what we want to as far as the President is concerned.2State Department memo, Harold B. Hoskins to Adolph Berle, April 6, 1942:
Mr. McCloy advised that every effort is being made to handle this problem as a "regional" one, and is anxious to have as little publicity or instructions emanate from this end as possible.2Memo, Bendetsen to DeWitt, May 3, 1943:
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.5To Bendetsen, July 10, 1943:
I want to give you another strong warning... I certainly don't want to have the Chief's [Roosevelt's] name in any way tied up with this whole business out there.2Letter to Gen. Delos Emmons (who replaced DeWitt in the fall of 1943 at the Western Defense Command), November 5, 1943:
The situation in California is not the same [as in Hawaii]. You have no doubt become aware of the existence of active and powerful 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.5McCloy was given direct authority over the West coast "situation" by Stimson.
One year anniversary statement of the WRA, March, 1943:
Life in a relocation center is an unnatural and un-American sort of life. Keep in mind that the evacuees were charged with nothing except having Japanese ancestors; yet the very fact of their confinement in relocation centers fosters suspicion of their loyalties and adds to their discouragement. It has added weight to the contention of the enemy that we are fighting a race war; that this nation preaches democracy and practices racial discrimination...At a Los Angeles luncheon meeting, January 21, 1944:
It is not the American way to have children growing up behind barbed wire and under the scrutiny of armed guards. Living conditions in the centers almost preclude privacy for individuals, and family life is disrupted. Family meals are almost impossible in the dining halls, and children lack the normal routine home duties which help to build good discipline. One of the major worries of parents in the relocation centers is the way the children are "getting out of hand" as a result of the decrease in parental influence and the absence of the normal regimen of family economy and family life.6
During the question-and-answer period a gentleman arose and rather belligerently said, "Mr. Myer, if the things that happened at Tule Lake had happened in Japan, what do you think the Japs would have done with the troublemakers?" I replied that they would have shot them, but that I thanked God we were living in a country that does not believe we should shoot people for what we think they are thinking. I received a hand on my reply, and the tensions eased.6Testifying on the Evacuation Claims bill:
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 of the wartime evacuation.5After becoming WRA Director following Milton Eisenhower's resignation, Myer had to walk the line between anti-Japanese congressmen on the outside and anti-establishment resisters on the inside. In January, 1944, 22 of 33 West Coast congressmen petitioned FDR to fire him.6
To Roosevelt, requesting federal subsidies for Nisei whose education had been terminated, April 25, 1942: (His request was ignored.)
if any financial payment is to be made to individuals who are to be moved, would it not be possible, and wise, to allow the payment of like amounts to students of college and university standing who wish to enter institutions who will accept them?2Stimson to Roosevelt, July 7, 1942:
Now Governor Olson has discovered that the harvesting season is coming for some of the California fruits and that it may be profitable for Californians to keep these Japanese huddled up in these assembly camps to be used cheaply on this harvesting.2Before the Pearl Harbor attack, Olson, a liberal, insisted that even in case of war, Japanese Californians must be given constitutional equal protection. The day after the attack, Olson suggested that Japanese Californians observe house arrest "to avoid riot and disturbance." A few weeks later, he approved the firing of Nisei from hundreds of civil service jobs and called for evacuation. Earl Warren, running on an anti-Japanese American platform, defeated Olson and became the next California Governor.
Similar views were shared by other "liberals" such as Earl Warren, New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, and Michigan Congressmember John Dingell (who, before Pearl Harbor, had suggested incarcerating 10,000 Japanese Hawaiians as hostages to ensure Tokyo's behavior).1
Once a Jap always a Jap. You cannot change him. You cannot make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.1Congressional Record, December 15, 1941:
The white man's civilization has come into conflict with Japanese barbarism [and] one of them must be destroyed.1
I'm for catching every Japanese in America, Alaska, and Hawaii, now and putting them in concentration camps... Damn them! Let's get rid of them now!2Tennessee Senator Tom Stewart and Congressmembers William F. Norrell (Arkansas), Jennings Randolph (West Virginia), Schuyler O. Bland (Virginia), and Martin Dies (Texas) shared Rankin's opinions. Rankin, a conservative, was known since the 1930s for holding views against Jewish and African Americans.1
Dissenting in Korematsu v. U.S.:
...a cleverly designed trap to accomplish the real purpose of military authority, which was to lock him [Korematsu] in a concentration camp.2Roberts led an official committee of inquiry shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor and filed a report that included unfounded accusations that Japanese secret agents had facilitated the attack. The Roberts Commission report also suggested that the FBI had been hampered because it was too concerned with civil liberties.1
[The Japanese] whose skull pattern being less developed than that of the Caucasians, might be responsible for their aggressive behavior.1To Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau:
...you either have to castrate the German people or you have to treat them in a manner that they can't just go on reproducing people who want to continue the way they have in the past.1On military service, February 1, 1943, two days before the WRA began processing the loyalty questionaire:
No loyal citizen of the United States should be denied the democratic right to exercise the responsibilities of his citizenship, regardless of his ancestry... Americanism is not, and never was, a matter of race or ancestry.5To New York Governor Herbert H. Lehman, June 3, 1943:
...please be assured that I am keenly aware of the anxiety that German and Italian aliens living in the United States must feel as the result of the Japanese evacuation from the West Coast.Memo, J. L. Burling to Edward Ennis, July 18, 1944:
Will you assure Mr. Antonini that no collective evacuation of German and Italian aliens is contemplated at this time?2
[McCloy remarked] 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 considerations. 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 social reasons.5In a press conference soon after reelection, November 21, 1944:
...it is felt by a great many lawyers that under the Constitution they can't be kept locked up in concentration camps.Roosevelt was known to share in a joke against Jews with the anti-Semitic Undersecretary of State Breckinridge Long. Roosevelt had asked Dr. Ales Hrdlicka (a Smithsonian anthropoligist with some extreme racial views) to study the possibility of crossbreeding Asian and European stocks in order to eliminate the aggressive characteristics of the Japanese. D.W. Brogan observed, "in the years between the wars, the United States was only outdistanced by Germany as a market for race theories, some of them crude enough to have suited Hitler." On one occasion, Roosevelt joked that the Puerto Rican birthrate could be solved with "the methods which Hitler used effectively," an electric current, "very simple and painless," which would "sterilize subjects in about twenty seconds."1 In the fall of of 1942, he dismissed Italian Americans as "a lot of opera singers".5
While public opinion called on Roosevelt to concentrate on the war in the Pacific before the one in Europe, his alliance with Churchill necessitated a Europe-first policy. Nevertheless, in order to strike symbolically at Japan, he sent supplies to Chiang Kai-shek, bombers to Tokyo, and MacArthur to Australia. Four days after the fall of Singapore, Executive Order 9066 was signed, but he warned the army "to be as reasonable as you can." He knew it would be a popular election-year move and help placate "Asia Firsters."1
Their racial characteristics are such that we cannot understand or trust even the citizen Japanese.2Recalling his attempt to persuade Archibald MacLeish not to speak out against the Army's discrimination against blacks, diary, January 24, 1942:
I pointed out that what these foolish leaders of the colored race are seeking is at the bottom social equality, and I pointed out the basic impossibility of social equality because of the impossibility of race mixture by marriage. He listened in silence and thanked me, but I am not sure how far he is convinced.5February 3, 1942:
If we base our evacuations upon the ground of removing enemy aliens, it will not get rid of the Nisei who are the second generation naturalized Japanese, and as I said, the more dangerous ones. If on the other hand we evactuate 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.5To Secretary of State Cordell Hull, February 5, 1942:
General MacArthur has reported... that American and British civilians in areas of the Philippines occupied by the Japanese are being subjected to extremely harsh treatment. The unnecessary harsh and rigid measures imposed, in sharp contrast to the moderate treatment of metropolitan Filipinos, are unquestionably designed to discredit the white race.Diary, April 7, 1942:
I request that you strongly protest this unjustified treatment of civilians, and suggest that you present a threat of reprisals against the many Japanese nationals now enjoying negligible restrictions in the United States...2
As the thing stands at present, a number of them have been arrested in Hawaii without very much evidence of disloyalty, 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 effor, that does not carry with it the right to imprison them without convincing evidence.5To Roosevelt, July 7, 1942:
These assembly centers are merely improvised structures where there is considerable danger of overcrowding and epidemics. I do not think that he [Olson] should be allowed to blow first hot and then cold without any reference to the safety or welfare of these unfortunate people... I suggest that you keep this situation in mind in case the Governor approaches you on the subject.2To Roosevelt, March 31, 1943:
The Attorney General should not be permitted to thwart the military commanders... I request that you direct the Attorney General to enforce these orders in accordance with the provisions of Public Law 503...2Myer reacting to Stimson's May 10, 1943 refusal of Myer's request to end exclusion:
In view of previous developments and the condescending tone of the secretary's reply, we always had a feeling that the secretary relied rather heavily on the Western Defense Command for preparation of the reply. We also felt that the secretary, in view of his excellent record as a statesman and public servant over many years, would have used a somewhat different approach if he had been as close to the problem as some of the rest of us were.6To Cordell Hull, January 18, 1944:
Japanese in the stockade, so-called, are not being inhumanely treated... No person in the stockade or elsewhere has been forced to labor at the point of a gun... No internee in the stockade or elsewhere has been brutally beaten by any representative of the United States Government.2As head of the War Department, Stimson was a staunch defender of his department's internment policy, despite initial doubts.