|Distributed by SD to:
Justice Kelly Ennis
War (PM G Inf. Bur)
Date: August 19, 1942
DEPARTMENT OF STATE
AUG 24 1942
COMMUNICATIONS AND RECORDS
Authority NN773 ON32?
By JCK NARA Date 9/3/92
REPORT ON THE RATON RANCH, CIVILIAN DETENTION STATION,
NEAR CAPITAN, NEW MEXICO, May 25, 1942.
I. IN CHARGE OF CAMP: Inspector William C. Wright and Inspector Griffin, Officers, of the Border Patrol, Immigration and Naturalization Service.
Spokesman: Miss Amy Ebihara.
II. CAMP VISITED BY: Mr. Francisco de Amat, Spanish Consul at San Francisco and Mr. Sanz, assistant to the Spanish Consul.
Accompanied by: Mr. P. W. Herrick, Special Division, Department of State.
III. PERSONS DETAINED IN CAMP
There were detained at the Raton Ranch camp 30 Japanese, formerly of Clovis, New Mexico. Of this number 17 were American born citizens children of the other detainees, the oldest being 21 years of age. These Japanese and their families were formerly workers on the Santa Fe railroad at Clovis and were removed to Raton for their own protection, since their safety had been threatened at that town. Detainment orders had been taken out against them so that they could be detained for their own protection. However, no case had been built up against any of them. This camp is more a place of refuge for persons threatened with mob violence than a detention camp.
IV. GENERAL DESCRIPTION
The camp is a former C.C.C. cantonment which is located about 15 miles from Capitan and some 10 miles from Fort Stanton, where members of the crew of the former S.S. Columbus are detained. It is situated in the heart of the Capitan mountains in a wooded grove at an elevation of 6000 feet above sea level and is reached by an almost impassible dirt road.
The camp is surrounded by a barbed wire fence which is not guarded and upon arriving at the camp the gates to the one entrance were opened by one of the detainees. Two Border Patrol Officers live within the enclosure of the camp with their wives. These are the only authorities at the camp.
The camp consists of five or six buildings that were erected a number of years ago by the C.C.C. In three of these the detainees are quartered in family groups. The other buildings include living quarters for the Border Patrol Officers and their wives, a food warehouse and office and camp headquarters. All these buildings are built of wood and covered with tar paper.
V. WASHING AND TOILET FACILITIES
These facilities are adequate and satisfactory.
VI. FOOD AND COOKING
Adequate supplies of food are carried at the camp and are taken care of by the Border Patrol Officers who issue whatever supplies the various family groups require. No special menu or diet has been set up for these detainees as there is no central mess hall where all eat at one time. The detainees cook and eat in family groups in their quarters when they want and decide for themselves what they wish to eat, depending, of course, on the supplies on hand. Their demands for supplies of food are never extravagant and it is therefore possible to give them practically whatever they request.
VII. MEDICAL FACILITIES AND SICKNESS
The general health of the detainees was good. None were ill at the time the camp was visited. In view of the small number detained, no hospital had been established. However, first aid equipment is available and the less seriously ill are taken care of by their families with the aid of the Border Patrol Officers and their wives. In case of serious illness the detainees would be transferred to the Marine Hospital at Fort Stanton.
All the detainees have their own clothing and have not requested that supplies be issued to them. In case they should need clothes the authorities could draw on the supplies that are available at Fort Stanton, since none are kept at the camp.
No canteen has been established and what necessities the detainees require are obtained from Fort Stanton.
The detainees can send and receive as many letters as they wish without restrictions. Their mail is handled through the facilities at Fort Stanton and is sent and received without censorship.
XI. RECREATION AND EXERCISE
There is ample room within the camp enclosure for the detainees to walk around and to play games if they so desire. Most of their time, however, is spent in planting small gardens, shrubs and improving the landscape around the camp. Radios are allowed and the detainees can listen to standard broadcasts. Short wave sets, however, are prohibited.
Detainees had no complaints whatsoever to make. They all stated that they were very happy and, with the exception of three who asked to be repatriated, wished to remain at the camp. One detainee by the name of Nakashima stated that if possible he would like his family, who are now with the Tulare Assembly Center, to join him at Raton, and if this were not possible he would like to be granted the privilege of joining them there.
XIII. GENERAL IMPRESSIONS
The Spanish representatives were most favorably impressed with the camp and the treatment accorded the Japanese. The camp itself does not resemble a detention station but rather a small country community. The detainees have more or less unlimited freedom within the enclosure and can do as they please. The officers and their wives are well liked by the detainees in whom they have taken a keen interest.
P. W. Herrick
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