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Senator O'MAHONEY. The point, Dr. Meyer, if I may interrupt you, is, by what degree of supervision is exercised to guard against the escape of Japanese evacuees who might desire to commit depredation against the Government or become involved in sabotage of any kind? Now, that is the central question. Is it protected against or is it not?
Senator GURNEY. I think that is the reason we are having this hearing, as to whether or not we are keeping the daily check or whatever check is necessary. But it does not seem that we have any check at all. That is the point I am making.
Mr. MYER. Every person who goes out of a relocation center has to present a pass to the military guard. That is the No. 1 check.
Senator WALLGREN. How does he get that pass? What determines his eligibility for a pass?
Mr. MYER. Our leave regulations on indefinite leave provide (1) that anyone may make an application for indefinite leave; (2) that he have a place to go and can take care of himself; (3) we check the community to be sure the community will accept him without a flare-up; and (4) we make an investigation in collaboration with the intelligence agencies by checking their records. We make our own checks on whether this person is safe to go.
Senator WALLGREN. If he were a good government agent for the Japanese Government he would certainly be able to get by all those points, else he just wouldn't be a good agent.
Mr. MYER. Then we still have Mr. Hoover.
Senator WALLGREN. Mr. Hoover won't be able to tell either.
Senator CHANDLER. Do you furnish Mr. Hoover with a copy of the list of all the fellows who leave the camp?
Mr. MYER. Yes. These people have the same surveillance that any other alien or any other citizen of the United States has. Let me point out again that it is my understanding that these are not prison camps we are running, they are simply places where these people can stay until they get located.
Senator WALLGREN. Are these aliens?
Mr. MYER. Some of them; not many. Most of them are citizens that are going out.
Senator WALLGREN. Do you know of any other country outside of this that is permitting such a program?
Mr. MYER. I don't think there is any country doing what we are doing.
Senator CHANDLER. That is the reason that makes it difficult for our people to understand it, because the messages we get from internment camps over there present a very different picture, and that is the reason our people are so very much concerned about the treatment these people are getting, and the apparent lack of check which this indicates.
Mr. MYER. Senator, I am afraid there is a misunderstanding there. These people are not prisoners of war, on the one hand. Neither are they proven enemies. Those are in internment camps.
Senator O'MAHONEY. Let me interrupt you to say that there is a question involved here for which the War Relocation Authority cannot be held responsible. Congress has not provided any law or any direction to the Army, to the Navy, or to the War Relocation Authority to govern the handling of American citizens of Japanese ancestry. They are, under our law and under the Supreme Court's interpretation of the Constitution, citizens, entitled to go and come just as the members of this committee are entitled to go and come. The War Department, because of the great danger involved, with the approval of the President, undertook to remove all of these Japanese, whether citizens or aliens, from the west coast and, not having any guidance from Congress as to what to do with them, not having any policy laid down by Congress, the War Relocation Authority was set up by the President to handle these Japs in relocation centers.
Now, I sympathize very much with the terrible problem that these men have on their hands to handle a very complicated situation. The facts before us indicate that two-thirds of these people are American citizens. A great number of them are youngsters under 21 years of age, and the question, it seems to me, is, To what extent has the War Relocation Authority undertaken the supervision of leaves of absence which are granted?
Now, we may have differences of opinion as to what the policy should be, but I submit that the War Relocation Authority cannot make prisoners of these people unless Congress, by law, takes away their rights as citizens.
Senator GURNEY. May I ask you, Senator O'Mahoney, there -- you say they cannot do it unless Congress authorizes them. Haven't they done it?
Senator CHANDLER. They have already done it. They have pulled them out of their homes.
Senator O'MAHONEY. The military did that.
Senator GURNEY. The President did it, under war power.
Senator O'MAHONEY. The military did it, and it was a very stringent act, no question about it, and I think a very desirable act, a thing that should have been done. Now, the policy was to take them out of the area where a danger was conceived to exist and remove them to an area in which a danger did not exist.
This bill is an effort to suggest a somewhat different policy from that which the W. R. A. has undertaken.
Senator WALLGREN. Not necessarily.
Senator O'MAHONEY. And it seems to me the question before this committee is not whether we should argue what the policy is or ought to be, as it is to find out just what they are doing.
Senator WALLGREN. Senator, I asked the question of Mr. Myer as to whether or not aliens were permitted leaves of absence as well.
Mr. MYER. Yes; they are, Senator.
Senator WALLGREN. See?
Mr. MYER. Some of them.
Senator WALLGREN. I think that is wrong.
Senator O'MAHONEY. I might agree with you.
Senator WALLGREN. Now, when it came to a matter of evacuating these Japanese from strategic areas in and along the west coast, the idea was to protect them as well as to protect our own Nation.
Senator O'MAHONEY. Sure.
Senator WALLGREN. I think they knocked off about 150 of these Japs out there, the Filipinos and the Chinese, up to the time that they put them into camps, and by the time a few more of these boys are brought back in baskets from the Solomons the people of this country aren't going to feel any too good about any Japanese they see.
Senator O'MAHONEY. But there are two things which are incomparable. There are Japs in the United States Army today who are loyal soldiers.
Senator ???. But we moved them away from the west coast.
Senator O'MAHONEY. But they are in the United States Army and they are soldiers. They are citizens. They are on an equal basis with any other citizen. So we can't blame the W. R. A. people.
Senator WALLGREN. Then let's draft every one of them of a certain age and put them in the Army and take care of them.
Mr. MYER. That is what I think we should do, under selective service procedures.
Senator O'MAHONEY. That is another policy.
Senator GURNEY. Mr. Chairman, may I make a point: After we brought them out of these three coastal States we bring them into the relocation camps. The we let them out on furloughs.
Mr. MYER. On leave.
Senator GURNEY. On leave, all right; and then they don't report every so often. Somebody is responsible for them, but not too much so. Could they not come back into those coastal areas? What is to prevent a man from coming back into San Francisco or the Puget Sound area?
Senator CHANDLER. If you don't know where they are, how do you know they aren't there?
Mr. MYER. There is one thing I don't seem to be able to get clear. When the evacuation order, 9066, was issued, it was contemplated that there would be such things as relocation centers. It was contemplated that these people would simply move out of what were considered strategic areas on the coast and move inland. Eight thousand of them did it. I would like to make clear again that the relocation centers were established after it was found necessary to take care of these people who were moved out, until we could work out another program for them. [lined in margin]
Now, what I presented to you today on the leave policy is the next step, where these selections are being made, and once those people go out on indefinite leave we assume that they are on indefinite leave, and so far as we are concerned they operate like any other citizen or alien under the laws of the country, under the supervision of the F. B. I., the local police and others, and it is not our responsibility to follow them out.
Senator WALLGREN. Why not take the aliens and separate them then from the citizens, and then work out a program for them? Why take these Japanese citizens, then, and just throw them in with a great number of aliens?
Mr. MYER. I wish it were that simple.
Senator WALLGREN. It is because their mothers and fathers are aliens.
Mr. MYER. It is because most of them are citizens, and a great many of them are very useful young citizens who never saw Japan, who never expect to see Japan, who speak no Japanese, who are between the ages of 10 and 25 years of age. Now, if we are going to get our most useful service out of those people, if we are going to indoctrinate those young people as Americans, they have to have families to live with if they go outside. They should be putting in, we think, the most useful efforts in topping sugar beets, in doing such types of farm work and industrial work as they can well do. The manpower situation is such that we feel they should be utilized. It is a matter of a difference, I suppose, in philosophy.
(Mr. Myer's further comments at this point were off the record.)
Mr. MYER. Regarding supervision of those who go out on indefinite leave, there is one additional provision attached to citizens who go out of these centers that is not attached to other citizens, and that is, we must be notified every time they move.
Senator O'MAHONEY. You say you must be notified?
Mr. MYER. The Director of W. R. A.
Senator O'MAHONEY. Who is required to notify you?
Mr. MYER. The individual who comes out.
Senator CHANDLER. Have they notified you?
Mr. MYER. There have been very few of them to go out so far under that policy. Aliens are required by law to notify the proper officials. German aliens and Italians and any other aliens are so required. I would like to point out, gentlemen, that there are thousands and thousands of German and Italian aliens in this country.
Senator WALLGREN. But we lifted the laws so far as they are concerned.
Mr. MYER. We did on the Italians, but not on the Germans.
Senator JOHNSON. Do you consider those aliens in the same class as the Japanese?
Mr. MYER. I would say that first-generation people who come from a country we are fighting are likely to tie back in much the same way, as I would tie back to my country if I were in an enemy country in time of war. I am not going to argue that point.
Is that point clear regarding supervision? I don't feel it is our responsibility. I feel it is the responsibility from there on of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Army Intelligence, and Naval Intelligence.
Senator O'MAHONEY. Who decided the policy which permits Japanese to go out on indefinite leave?
Mr. MYER. We decided the policy, in collaboration and after consultation with the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the War Department, and the Manpower Commission from the standpoint of the manpower situation.
Senator O'MAHONEY. Did you get clearance from those agencies?
Mr. MYER. I have a letter here from both the Manpower Commission and the Justice Department regarding that.
Senator O'MAHONEY. Read the letter from the Justice Department.
Senator CHANDLER. Yes.
Mr. MYER. This letter is dated September 25.
Senator O'MAHONEY. What year?
Mr. MYER. 1942. It is addressed to Dillon S. Myer, Director, War Relocation Authority, Barr Building, Washington, D. C.
DEAR MR. MYER: I have your letter of September 24, 1942, enclosing a copy of your proposed leave regulations. Your letter requests this Department to check the names of Japanese who are released against the records of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Army and Navy Intelligence, and to make any further investigation this Department thinks desirable. Your letter also requests advice as to whether the proposed leave policy is sound from the internal security standpoint.This is signed by Francis Biddle, Attorney General.
Senator CHANDLER. He says it ought to be handled with the utmost care.
Mr. MYER. We are trying to do that.
Senator CHANDLER. Let's see if you are. We know you are trying. If you have 2,000 of them out now and you don't know where some of them are -- you don't know where some of them are; is that right?
Mr. MYER. We are not trying to keep track of these people who go out on indefinite leave.
Senator CHANDLER. Who is?
Mr. MYER. I assume the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the local police, or anyone else that is responsible for their conduct as any other person who goes out to work in a community.
Senator O'MAHONEY. But they make a report to you when they move?
Mr. MYER. That is correct.
Senator CHANDLER. Do they?
Mr. MYER. Yes.
Senator CHANDLER. Have they all done that?
Mr. MYER. So far as we know, they have. If they did not do that they will be immediately reported to the F. B. I. and we will ask them to check the case because they have broken the regulations of the W. R. A.
Senator CHANDLER. What disturbs me now is that the Department of Justice or the F. B. I. manifestly agree with this suggested program with the understanding that it be supervised with the utmost care, without saying who is going to exercise the utmost care, and I would like to be convinced, and I think perhaps you would, that the utmost care is being exercised. I have no objection to a Japanese who is a citizen of the country and who is loyal and who will contribute either to the Army or on the farm or in the factory or mill to the support of the Government of the United States and I would like to encourage that, but on the other hand I would not like to see a system set up that would permit numerous Japanese to be let out of this center where they have been placed, whether it was right or wrong. They have been put there, and that is not a debatable question. The Government put them there, and I would not let them out without having the feeling that the utmost care and check is being made on those fellows. I don't like to feel that they are at large in the country.
Senator O'MAHONEY. There was one possible loophole that was developed in the answers to my questions. As I understood Mr. Myer, when a Jap is permitted to leave on this indefinite permission you check first with the person to whom he is going.
Mr. MYER. That is right.
Senator O'MAHONEY. And then you have an obligation upon the part of the Jap to report to you if he changes.
Mr. MYER. That is correct.
Senator O'MAHONEY. Do you have any obligation on the part of the person to whom he goes to report to you if the Jap disappears?
Mr. MYER. No; I don't think we do, Senator. I would have to check our regulations to be sure of that, but I am quite sure that we don't.
Senator O'MAHONEY. If in the first instance you feel it necessary to be satisfied that the person to whom the Jap is going ought to meet certain specifications, ought it not follow that you would feel that any other person or employer to whom he might remove should also meet those specifications?
Mr. MYER. That is correct.
Senator O'MAHONEY. But nothing is done to bring that about?
Mr. MYER. If we find that a person goes out and they are not meeting the specifications, we have requested that they go back to the center, and they have gone back to the center.
Senator GURNEY. You say you "have requested." Can't you demand?
Mr. MYER. Yes; we can. We haven't had to, yet.
As part of our investigation we get references from people in the territory, reputable people in the communities where these people have lived and worked. In the usual case we will have five or six letters in addition to our own records in the centers, all of the records on employment, as a background, plus the F. B. I. check and the G-2 and O. N. I. check. If there is any question, they don't go out.
Senator O'MAHONEY. Do you want to put that Manpower letter in?
Mr. MYER. I will be very glad to do that:
NOVEMBER 27, 1942.Senator CHANDLER. I would like to have special attention called to the letter of the Attorney General, Mr. Biddle, in which he says, in response to the request of Mr. Myer about the policy and the wisdom of the policy proposed leaves for these Japanese evacuees---
It is believed that the program outlined by you, if administered with the utmost care, is sound from the internal security standpoint.Mr. MYER. I might say I would be very glad to submit my letter of September 24 as part of the record, because I did write the Attorney General and outlined the program to him.
(The letter is as follows:)
SEPTEMBER 24, 1942.Senator GURNEY. I feel that the Government of the United States has taken quite a step in telling 70,000 citizens and, say, 36,000 aliens, "You can't live here; you have got to move out of this area," so, to follow through, in my opinion, it is more serious for us to keep a daily check on them, and it might be well, for the duration, when you give a man a furlough, to also give him a book, where he has got to appear at a police station, if you will, or some other similar place, and have an entry made in that book that he is in Sun Dance, Wyo., as of a certain date, and that that police officer shall, at that time, take a post card from him, a form post card, and mail it in to the relocation center from which he was originally furloughed. I believe that would come under the belief of what may be the Attorney General had in mind when he said "close supervision."
Mr. MYER. I'm sorry; I am quite sure it wasn't, because I discussed it in detail with the Attorney General. I hope if you have any question you will call the Attorney General and Mr. Hoover, and inquire from them, because I would rather have them make their statements than for me to make a statement for them, but I think their statement is that these people are in much the same category as all other aliens or citizens.
Senator GURNEY. I don't think they are, because you have separated them and said they were of such danger that you have pulled them out of an area and you didn't pull the Italians and Germans out of that same area.
Mr. MYER. Well, in the first place, I didn't pull them out. In the second place, if there hadn't been such large concentrations in certain of the coast areas, there might be a great deal of question whether they would have been pulled out.
Now, Mr. Chairman, I don't think it is within my province to argue either for or against the evacuees. I am trying to give you the facts as to how we are running our program and why we are running it that way. I have my personal views about it, of course, but I don't think they are relevant to the situation here. I would like, if I might, to get certain things clear that I don't think are clear.
You made a point a little while ago that I would like to come back to. You made a comparison between these centers, I thought, and prison camps abroad.
Senator CHANDLER. That was off the record, I think. It was not on the record, although I have no objection to it being in the record.
Mr. MYER. All right. I would like to clarify, though, what the comparable situation is. I have talked with a number of people who came back on the Gripsholm, some of whom were American citizens who never were incarcerated in any place, some of whom were incarcerated in jails for a short period for questioning. As a general thing, at least up to the time I talked to these people, people who were in the same category as people in our relocation centers were not jailed, but they were limited to a certain area in the town and allowed to go about their business so long as they stayed within those limits.
Now, there were some who were pretty badly treated, particularly newspapermen who before the war were highly critical of Japanese policies. This latter situation is not a comparable situation to what we have in the centers. So, excepting perhaps at Manila and other places of more recent developments, Japan has not had the same policy that we have had here.
If you are going to compare policies between internment camps, you would have to make your comparison between internment camps in both countries, and not between Japanese internment camps and relocation centers.
I would like to point out again something that I think is tremendously important in this hearing. It is a matter of Federal policy generally, and I think it is important to us now and after the war. I sincerely believe, gentlemen, that if we don't handle this problem in a way to get these people absorbed as best we can while the war is going on, we may have something akin to Indian reservations after the war, which will be a problem that will be with us for years and years. We will have a racial issue which I don't think we need to have, and I am frankly hoping that quite a number of these people will get established in positions in different parts of the country other than on the Pacific coast, where they can be accepted as part of the population, where they can gradually be absorbed as American citizens, and thus dispose of a racial problem that has been a pretty tough one for the coast people and for the United States.
I furthermore think that what we are doing in this program is very closely related to what we are fighting for. The Japanese militaristic government has been trying to prove for some time that this is a racial war, that it is the orientals against the whites. I don't think that we should contribute to their theory by making this a racial issue. [lined in margin]
We are hoping that with the help of the other Federal agencies and local agencies we can let those who are good citizens, or those aliens who associate with good citizens, even though it may be taking some chance, make their contribution during this wartime, always assuming that they are going to continue to live here.
Senator WALLGREN. That has nothing to do with this bill, especially. This bill here is just asking for a better policing of these evacuees, more than anything else, during this war period. That is all we are asking for.
Mr. MYER. Mr. Chairman, may I continue my statement?
I am sorry, Senator; I will have to take issue with you, because I think it does have something to do with it.
Senator WALLGREN. You realize we are at war, don't you?
Mr. MYER. I do, certainly.
Senator WALLGREN. And you realize we are at war with Japan?
Mr. MYER. Let me make my point, if you will. It depends on how you approach this thing. There is a gentleman sitting back there; I hope he gets a chance to tell his story, which I think is important. There are 127,500 people of Japanese ancestry in the United States. They are not all in relocation centers. Many of them never were in relocation centers. Now it is a question whether we are going to make more fifth columnists by one kind of treatment or whether by another type of treatment we are going to make more good citizens.
Senator WALLGREN. Then, are you in favor of just abolishing these relocation centers and then just taking care of the aliens?
Mr. MYER. I am in favor of abolishing them just as fast as we can move these people whom we think are sound out into the public in collaboration with the Intelligence agencies, putting the rest of the people, as we sort them out, into internment camps as fast as we can get the job done.
Senator WALLGREN. That goes for aliens as well as Japanese?
Mr. MYER. That is correct, because the families are tied together. I believe that we have got to take some chance if we are going to solve this problem, just as we have taken it with other aliens and with other people. And I believe definitely and sincerely that there is a contribution to be made by these forty or fifty thousand people to the manpower situation in winning this war.
Senator CHANDLER. You think it could be made with safety to the country?
Mr. MYER. Yes.
Senator CHANDLER. I would like you to say that. You believe so.
Senator WALLGREN. I believe they can be policed and yet not be persecuted.
Mr. MYER. I believe, furthermore, that a very large percentage of these people will not only make a constructive contribution, but if given reasonable treatment will collaborate with us in every way.
Senator WALLGREN. We had some of those collaborators picked up by the F. B. I. in Seattle, outstanding citizens, outstanding students in the University of Washington. They were picked up with plenty of evidence to prove that they were tied up directly with the Government of Japan.
Mr. MYER. Mr. Chairman, there are now between five and six thousand of these boys in the Army. It is my frank opinion that we ought to get more of them in the Army, and by so doing I think you begin to indoctrinate their parents. They know which side they are fighting for then. I think it is important that we understand that. [lined in margin]
Now, it is a question as to which policy we are going to follow. It is important, I think, Senator Wallgren, that we make a determination on policy, because if we are off on the wrong foot, we need to be put straight by Congress.
I want to repeat that we are going on the assumption that these people are going to continue to live in this country. We not only have about 20,000 of them outside of centers that never were in centers -- but we have 160,000 in Hawaii, nearly 40 percent of the population, that are not going to be evacuated. So I think we ought to tie them down as best we can by giving them as good an opportunity to make their contribution to this country during the war period as we can.
Now, we will be taking a little chance. There is always chance in a population of that kind. There is a chance in a population, any population, of 110,000 people, whether they are white, black, or yellow. I think you will note that of 3 agents that pleaded guilty recently of being Japanese agents, 1 was English and 2 were Caucasian Americans. I am not saying that that is generally true. I am simply pointing out that we have the danger in the total population as well as in this group. I am having to assume also that we are not expected to develop, through a period of months, the same type of ability to sort out people that J. Edgar Hoover and his group have developed throughout the history of their organization.
Senator CHANDLER. Have you made as much progress since you have undertaken it, in segregating these people, as you had hoped to make? How are you getting along with that?
Mr. MYER. I think we are getting along very well. We are making very fast progress right now. It was slow at first; we had to find out first what our problem is. I told Senator Wallgren earlier in the day that we have pretty much of a general cross-section of people in these centers. However, we have different problems in different centers, depending on where the people came from, what their background is, and their personal history.
I would like to point out to this committee that in shaking this population up it was shaken about 40 ways. The mere matter of getting a sound census is no small problem with 110,000 people, especially with Japanese names, which most of us don't know too well. There were some arrests made at Manzanar on mistaken identity. We have records come back from Mr. Hoover almost weekly, saying, "We have this, this, this. This may be so and so." There may be four or five names on the list. We have to check very carefully.
So I don't want you to misunderstand the assumptions under which we are operating. If we are wrong, that is something for somebody else to decide. I don't make the laws of the land.
Senator O'MAHONEY. Or the Executive orders.
Senator JOHNSON. Is it your underlying idea that the Jap, no matter how long he is here, will finally merge with our citizenship the same as any white man?
Mr. MYER. My underlying idea is that since these people are going to continue to be American citizens, they will have to merge into our economy and be accepted as part of it, otherwise we are always going to have a racial problem.
Senator JOHNSON. Of course, you know that no Pacific States allow intermarriage. They are always going to be brown men. Do you think they will finally merge and just be accepted in every way like a white man?
Mr. MYER. Well, I can't predict that. I can say this, that there are a good many hundreds of the youngsters of college age and many who have gone to college in the past who have been accepted in the professions and otherwise. [PHOTO: "Lucy Yonemitsu, former student from Los Angeles, California, is shown in the barrack apartment home of her parents. Note titles of books in bookcase." (Manzanar, 02/12/1943)
Now, I think you will find, other than color, that after about four or five generations these people will be living under the same standards as any other American citizens. They won't know anything else. I don't know what ancestry of all the people around the room is. I know what my own is. We have been the melting pot of the nations here and we have accepted these people.
Senator O'MAHONEY. The policy which you have outlined, generally speaking, is the policy which was set forth in the Executive order, is it?
Mr. MYER. Not only set forth in the Executive order, Senator O'Mahoney, but I think it is the policy of the democracy of the United States.
Senator O'MAHONEY. I am trying to make it specific. That is the policy of the Executive order?
Mr. MYER. That is right.
Senator O'MAHONEY. You had nothing to do with the drafting of the Executive order?
Mr. MYER. I did not.
Senator O'MAHONEY. If you should come to the conclusion that the policy ought to be changed, what would you do?
Mr. MYER. I would make a recommendation to the President of the United States, who drafted this Executive order, and I would assume that he would take the matter up with Congress.
Senator O'MAHONEY. Of course it wasn't taken up with Congress in the first place.
Mr. MYER. I mean if it was a policy that involved legal action.
Senator O'MAHONEY. Do you know who was consulted in drafting this policy in the first instance?
Mr. MYER. No, I don't; I'm sorry. It was 3 months before I came there.
Senator O'MAHONEY. When you were appointed Director, from whom did you receive the indication as to what the policy should be?
Mr. MYER. The Director of the Bureau of the Budget, acting for the President, interviewed me for the position, outlined the general program, and then of course I secured---
Senator O'MAHONEY. Did he outline to you the ideas which you have stressed here today?
Mr. MYER. Yes, sir. I discussed those with him in detail.
Senator O'MAHONEY. So that when you were appointed to discharge the function of Director of W. R. A. it was with the direct instruction from the Bureau of the Budget that you were to follow this sort of policy?
Mr. MYER. I wouldn't say from the Bureau of the Budget; it was from Director Smith, who was acting for the President. We didn't go into the detail we have gone into here today, because policies had not been developed to that detail, but in the interim period, as policies have developed, I have reported to him and checked with him and checked with other governmental agencies concerned.
Senator O'MAHONEY. To what extent have these citizens of Japanese ancestry controlled their own affairs in these relocation centers, if at all?
Mr. MYER. We have tried to work out a program of local government which would provide for a representative council made up of citizens of the United States, voting to be done by everyone above the age of 18. Permitting only citizens to hold elective office has been a bone of contention, incidentally, and I am not sure but what we made a mistake, for the reason that the older people in the group feel it is discrimination. However, that is the policy.
The director of the project reserves the right to veto any plans or ordinances that may be presented by the council. We have planned, and in some cases have set up, mixed judicial councils, made up of administrative employees and evacuees.
Senator O'MAHONEY. Do you follow the municipal law of the State or do you have a general charter system of your own?
Mr. MYER. We are developing a general charter system of our own for all minor incidents below the felony level.
Senator O'MAHONEY. I wasn't referring to criminal offenses, misdemeanors or otherwise. I was talking about your public government.
Mr. MYER. Projects are gradually developing a set of laws of their own, because we have a different status from municipalities. They don't have the same facilities for disciplinary action and punishment that you have in a normal community in the courts.
Senator O'MAHONEY. But the superintendent of each camp has veto power over any act of this council?
Mr. MYER. That is correct. We are trying, however, to get the evacuees to accept the major responsibility.
The reason for that is evident. When you don't have any civil laws, civil courts through which to operate, you have got to have the collaboration and cooperation of your evacuee population in maintaining law and order. If you don't have this cooperation there is just one recourse, and that is to put a guard over the whole group.
Senator O'MAHONEY. To what extent have the local police, civil authorities, exercised jurisdiction?
Mr. MYER. They come into the picture whenever we request them to. Our own internal security officers in most cases are deputized sheriffs so that they may make arrests without necessarily calling on the local civil authorities for cases that need to be taken to the courts outside.
We are working out and have worked out in most cases a pretty satisfactory relationship between the local authorities and ourselves in that connection. However, they prefer not to take any responsibility regarding who should be arrested. There are a number of reasons for that, as you may know. One of them is the matter of the cost of courts and policing. It could be a very burdensome thing.
Senator O'MAHONEY. Suppose there should be a case of assault and battery between a Jap evacuee and a citizen of the local community.
Mr. MYER. That would go into the civil courts in every case.
Senator O'MAHONEY. Whether it took place in the camp or outside the camp?
Mr. MYER. That is correct.
Senator O'MAHONEY. And the civil jurisdiction would be complete there?
Mr. MYER. That would be complete; yes.
Senator GURNEY. Mr. Chairman, I have a few questions, if I may.
Senator CHANDLER. All right.
Senator GURNEY. I am foggy on a lot of regulations that must be in force. What happened to the property of these evacuees when they were taken away from their homes in Los Angeles? Who is controlling and handling the administration of those individuals' property?
Mr. MYER. In most cases the individual has control, the evacuee himself. At the time of the evacuation the War Department asked the Federal Reserve bank and the Farm Security Administration to give assistance to evacuees in either disposing of, leasing, or handling property such as real property. The Farm Security Administration assisted with the farm property in particular. The Federal Reserve bank assisted with their personal property and city properties. They provided storage if the evacuee cared to have thing stored. They gave them any other assistance they could in finding buyers or lessees. We thought, up until about the middle of July, that the majority of these people had utilized the services of those two agencies. When W. R. A. began to take over these responsibilities, in August, we found that about one out of ten utilized the services of the Federal Reserve bank and the Farm Security Administration. Most of the evacuees made their own arrangements with individuals. They had leased their properties and stored their goods with a neighbor or in a house or church. Personal property was left scattered all over the west coast in all kinds of states and conditions. [PHOTO: "Baggage of evacuees of Japanese ancestry ready to be loaded on moving van." (Hayward, 1942)]
We now have a Property Division in the War Relocation Authority, with the main office at San Francisco, with offices at Seattle and Los Angeles, to assist in servicing that property.
Our general policy in that respect is that since the evacuee cannot get back to look after his own property, he may designate anyone he wished to assist him. If he requests service, we try to serve as his agent and carry out his requests in protecting his interests, or in servicing the property. We are beginning to meet real headaches in that program. There is about $200,000,000 worth of property located in the 4 States out there, in the evacuated area, consisting of all kinds of property -- personal, real estate, all types. For example, there are 258,000 acres of farm land. There are approximately 700 hotels. A good many of them are in Seattle, ranging in size from 20 rooms to 400 rooms. There are 14 liquor stores. There are florists' shops and greenhouses. Well, I could go on indefinitely.
Senator GURNEY. And fishing boats.
Mr. MYER. Yes.
Senator GURNEY. A little further on that. After they get into those camps, is there any censorship of their mail?
Mr. MYER. None, except as it goes outside of the country.
Senator GURNEY. Is there any supervision of their bank accounts?
Mr. MYER. Not so far as we are concerned.
Senator GURNEY. They handle their own bank accounts and write a letter and send a check to anybody they want to?
Mr. MYER. That's right.
Senator GURNEY. Can they make telephone calls, local or long-distance?
Mr. MYER. If they can find any place to make them. Our communications facilities at these centers are very limited. They have very limited phone service. We try to make provision for urgent long distance calls where they may have the opportunity to utilized phones for doing business.
Senator GURNEY. Can they have visitors?
Mr. MYER. Nobody can enter the center, of course, without a permit from the Director.
Senator GURNEY. But you do give permits and they do have visitors? They have many of them, I expect.
Mr. MYER. It depends on what you call "many." At certain times there is quite a large number of visitors. I would say that our largest number of visitors are soldiers visiting their parents.
Senator GURNEY. But a man who came to the gate and produced a power of attorney where he was handling a hotel in Seattle for an evacuee could talk to that man, couldn't he -- the owner of the property?
Mr. MYER. If he got permission of the Director to come into the center.
Senator GURNEY. He would naturally get permission, wouldn't he, with that power of attorney?
Mr. MYER. Yes; sure.
Senator GURNEY. He probably wouldn't be turned down at all?
Mr. MYER. I wouldn't think so. I certainly wouldn't turn him down, and I am sure none of the directors would. After all, these people are pretty handicapped in carrying on their business as it is, and we are trying to give them an opportunity to conduct their business.
Senator GURNEY. I was trying to find out exactly how many rules applied to these people so they couldn't keep in contact with their old property, with their investments.
Mr. MYER. There is no bar on correspondence unless the correspondence is going out of the continental United States. Then, as I understand it, all mail is censored. They can correspond with people back and forth. They correspond between centers.
(Further comment on this point was off the record.)
Mr. MYER. There is no censorship so far as we are concerned on the mails.
Senator GURNEY. Then it is entirely possible, isn't it, that a man in a camp could keep up a regular correspondence with a Japanese agent?
Mr. MYER. It is possible; yes; just as anyone else might keep up a regular correspondence with a Japanese agent. That is not true, Senator, in internment camps and detention camps.
Senator GURNEY. I am just talking about these relocation camps.
Mr. MYER. I want to make clear again that we do not consider these relocation centers in any sense a prison, or anything other than a place for these people to live until we can find some place else for them to live.
Senator CHANDLER. Although you agree that you have some fellows in there that maybe ought to be more closely guarded than a lot of others, and if they were let out they might be dangerous to the country.
Mr. MYER. I think so. If I didn't think so I wouldn't be going to all the trouble of checking and making an investigation of all cases that are brought before us.
Senator CHANDLER. Let me ask you to say this, if you can say it: Do you consider the way you are operating these camps now, that the security of the people who are near them is reasonably taken care of under the circumstances?
Mr. MYER. I believe it is more than reasonably taken care of.
Senator CHANDLER. I want at least that much, because if I can get that statement generally to the people of the country, and if they believe it, and they ought to believe it if the facts justify it---
Mr. MYER. There is no question.
Senator CHANDLER. I would like for you to say that you think you are handling it so that the people who live in the neighborhood and their installations are reasonably secure from sabotage and destruction.
Mr. MYER. There is no question in my mind but what that is being done. I think the military police are doing a very satisfactory job of policing these centers.
"Evacuees are shown returning to the center for lunch after clearing the land of brush and weeds around the boundary of this War Relocation Authority center. Army Military Police guard these boundaries." (Manzanar, 04/02/1942)
Senator CHANDLER. Have you had adequate numbers of military police to handle any disturbance, in your opinion?
Mr. MYER. I think we either have adequate numbers there or in immediate reserve.
Senator CHANDLER. Where they can be called in time to be effective if necessary?
Mr. MYER. I do.
Senator GURNEY. May I ask this: In bringing these people into these camps originally, I expect all of them were searched for firearms of all kinds?
Mr. MYER. Oh, yes. That was handled by the military at the time of the evacuation, and as their baggage went into the centers it was rechecked for contraband.
Senator GURNEY. These evacuees on furlough, when they come back in, are they actually checked by the military there, as to what kind of goods they are bringing into the camp?
Mr. MYER. In most cases, yes; in all of the four western centers. In military areas 1 and 2 General De Witt has issued an order that all packages shall be checked.
Senator GURNEY. Let's say in the Colorado area. Is there any check being made by the military police at the gate?
Mr. MYER. Not excepting for baggage that comes in when new evacuees come in.
Senator GURNEY. They don't search them to see that they have no revolver, or box of shells, or anything?
Mr. MYER. No.
Senator CHANDLER. Mr. Myer, with the committee's permission I will thank you, and indicate to you that we may call you again, and sort of give you some temporary relief so that we may hear from Colonel Scobey. Do you want to appear, Colonel, or would you like to have Commander Coggins appear?
The War Relocation Authority is an independent establishment created within the Office for Emergency Management by Executive Order No. 9102 signed by the President March 18, 1942. The Authority was established for the primary purpose of relieving military establishments of the burden of providing for the relocation of persons excluded from military areas by order of the Secretary of War or by designated military commanders acting pursuant to Executive Order No. 9066, dated February 19, 1942. M. S. Eisenhower was the first Director of the Authority. At the time of his appointment as Associate Director, Office of War Information, I succeeded him. My appointment became effective June 17, 1942.
The major part of the program for which the War Relocation Authority is responsible has been the relocation of approximately 110,000 people of Japanese ancestry who were evacuated from the State of California and portions of the States of Washington, Oregon, and Arizona. The first phases of this evacuation were initiated previous to the establishment of the War Relocation Authority. On March 2, 1942, certain areas on the west coast were ordered to be evacuated of all people of Japanese ancestry. The persons evacuated were allowed to move to points outside the evacuation area at will. During a period of approximately 1 month, nearly 8,000 persons moved voluntarily out of the restricted areas, most of them into eastern California and the Intermountain States. As voluntary movement progressed, the evacuees began to encounter local opposition. It soon became apparent that serious trouble might result if more than 100,000 persons were required to relocate themselves voluntarily and without organized planning, supervision and assistance. Military authorities responsible for the evacuation had recognized that some of the population would lack the means to relocate voluntarily. They had, therefore, planned to establish one or more assembly centers to which evacuees who chose could go to be housed, fed, and otherwise cared for. As it became evident that voluntary evacuation should not be continued, it was decided to provide sufficient assembly-center capacity to care for the entire evacuee population, to suspend voluntary evacuation and to develop the entire evacuee population under Government supervision. On March 29, 1942, the commanding general, Western Defense Command, issued a so-called "freezing" order prohibiting persons of Japanese ancestry from leaving the restricted areas voluntarily.
The War Relocation Authority, which had been established during the period of voluntary evacuation, concurred in the issuance of the freezing order. It participated thenceforth in the development of the evacuation and relocation program. An understanding was reached that the Western Defense Command should retain responsibility for the evacuation process, and have responsibility for the evacuee population until its delivery to relocation centers. Jurisdiction over the reception centers already planned was assigned to the War Relocation Authority. The Army undertook to construct necessary additional centers on sites to be selected jointly by the Army and the War Relocation Authority. To facilitate the speedy evacuation of the restricted areas, the Army also established a number of temporary centers in converted race tracks, fair grounds, and similar locations within the evacuated area. These were called assembly centers, as distinguished from the relocation centers which were located in areas where, if necessary, the evacuee population could live and work for the duration of the war.
On April 7, 1942, the Director of the War Relocation Authority and Col. Karl R. Bendetsen, representing the Western Defense Command, met in conference with the governors of the Western States at Salt Lake City, to discuss with them the feasibility of assisting the people who were being evacuated to relocate in relatively small groups throughout the intermountain and Western States. The Governors, with one exception, opposed the idea and indicated generally that the evacuees could come into the States only under military guard. Following this meeting, a general memorandum of agreement was drawn up between the War Department and the War Relocation Authority and was signed by the Director of the War Relocation Authority and J. J. McCloy, Assistant Secretary of War, on April 17. This agreement outlines the general understanding between the War Department and the War Relocation Authority as to the responsibilities of the respective agencies for evacuation, management of assembly centers, selection of relocation sites, land acquisition, construction of initial facilities, transportation of evacuees, designation of military areas, and provision of military police patrol and protection. The text of this agreement follows:
During April and May and the first half of June 1942, sites of the 10 present relocation centers were selected. These 10 centers are located as follows:
The first of the evacuees to come under the administration of the War Relocation Authority were received at Tule Lake, Calif., and Poston, Ariz., during the latter part of May. The Manzanar Assembly Center was taken over by the War Relocation Authority as a relocation center as of June 1, 1942. Movement of evacuees from assembly centers administered by the War Department and from military area No. 2 in California proceeded week by week throughout the summer and fall of 1942. The last evacuees removed from west coast areas were received in Arkansas relocation centers approximately November 1, 1942. From the beginning the relocation centers have been looked upon as a temporary residence for evacuees. While some of the population may remain in the centers for the duration, it has been expected that a large proportion will remain only until they can relocate outside the military areas in places where their most effective service can be rendered.
The major effort of the War Relocation Authority until about August 15 was devoted to the recruitment and training of staff, organization of centers, and establishment of procedures having to do with their physical operation. This involved making provision for transportation, warehousing, feeding, sanitation and medical care, housing, and organization of all other types of services such as are required in any city. All of these operations were proceeding while the centers were still under construction. In no case was the basic construction completed at the time the centers were required to begin their reception of evacuees.
GENERAL PROBLEMS RESULTING FROM THE EVACUATION
Evacuation of the Japanese-American population from their homes and occupations on the west coast, and their relocation in 10 newly established wartime communities is a movement without precedent in the United States. Inevitably such an undertaking has created problems, not all of which could be foreseen. The size of the task, involving more than 100,000 men, women, and children, as well as its unprecedented character, has contributed to the complexity of the undertaking.
At the present time the responsibilities of the War Relocation Authority, in dealing with these problems, fall into three main categories. First, and at the present time most important, are those problems arising in the administration of relocation centers. While we do not consider the centers as permanent places of residence and do not feel that the maintenance of evacuees in relocation centers represents the most constructive solution to the over-all problem, we do realize that the great majority of evacuees are now in the centers, and that their proper maintenance there must be our first concern.
Second, and of increasing importance, are the problems arising from the release of evacuees for work outside the centers and for other purposes. Even before the evacuation from certain of the restricted areas had been initiated, the Army and the War Relocation Authority were forced by the demands in many of the Western States for agricultural labor to develop a program for releasing large numbers of evacuees for outside employment. Throughout the summer and autumn of 1942, the number of evacuees released on temporary work leave reached nearly 10,000.
Problems arising in the management of property owned by evacuees in the evacuated areas constitute the third major category of problems with which the War Relocation Authority is concerned. Under plans developed by the Army as a part of the evacuation program, evacuees were offered assistance through the medium of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and the Farm Security Administration in the leasing, sale, or management of their property. In August 1942 responsibilities in this field were transferred, at the request of the cooperating agencies to the War Relocation Authority.
THE NATURE OF THE EVACUATED POPULATION
The present population of the 10 relocation centers is approximately 106,000. Roughly two-thirds of these people are American citizens by virtue of birth in this country. The remaining one-third are aliens, whose naturalization is not permitted under the laws of the United States. The distribution of this population by age and sex is suggested by the following table, based upon the United States census of 1940:
As this table indicates, the bulk of the alien male population averages more than 60 years of age. The bulk of the alien female population averages about 48 years of age. The bulk of citizens falls below 25 years of age. The column in this tabulation headed "Average population" is introduced to indicate what the distribution, by age and sex, of the Japanese-American population in the Pacific Coast States in 1940 would have been had it conformed to the distribution by age and sex of the general population in the area.
Distribution of Japanese Population by age and sex groups compared to average groupings total population, States of Arizona, California, Oregon, and Washington, 1940
(Source: Bureau of Census)
In addition to the wide and distinct difference in age between the citizen and alien groups in this population, probably its most important characteristics from the point of view of relocation center administration are (1) the relative lack of persons in age groups of 25 to 50, which generally constitutes the most productive part of the working population; and (2) the relatively high proportion of high-school students in the school population.
EVACUATION FROM HAWAII
Although no wholesale evacuation of the Japanese-American population such as occurred on the Pacific coast has been ordered in Hawaii, the Army has notified the War Relocation Authority that there will be some evacuation of persons of Japanese descent to the continent of the United States, and that the Authority should prepare to care for these evacuees in relocation centers. No estimate has been given of the total evacuation now contemplated although we have been given to understand that it probably will not involve many thousands of persons.
The first evacuees from Hawaii were received in relocation centers on November 24, 1942. Since that time 443 Hawaiian evacuees have been received in centers, and 250 are now en route. Most of the Hawaiian evacuees are women and children or old men who are not able to support themselves in Hawaii. All, up to the present, have participated voluntarily in the evacuation. Judging from the present limited experience, if the numbers of evacuees from Hawaii should increase substantially, they will become a special and distinct problem in the relocation program.
BASIC POLICIES OF CENTER ADMINISTRATION
The War Relocation Authority has undertaken to provide all evacuees residing in centers the following essentials: Housing, food, medical care, and education through the high-school level. In each of these categories the facilities provided are the minimum necessary to meet reasonable American standards.
All evacuees in centers are housed in barracks, which are divided into 4 or more 1-room apartments. The barracks are grouped in blocks, each of which is made up of 14 barracks, a central toilet and bathhouse, a laundry room, mess hall, and a recreation hall.
This housing for evacuees is part of the basic center construction, which was designed and built by the United States Army Engineers. The Army's original plan, which was agreed to by the War Relocation Authority, contemplated that a minimum of one room would be made available to each family, and that no family would be required to share its one-room apartment with anyone else. At the present time, in order to make barracks space available for schools, church services, and other community purposes, the War Relocation Authority is unable to meet this standard. Many families are, at the present time, required to share barracks space with outsiders. Similarly, few recreation halls are available for the block uses for which they were constructed. The War Relocation Authority's program for the construction of schools and other facilities is intended to remedy this situation.
All center construction is of a temporary character, similar to the Army's theater of operations type of construction. While the centers differ from each other in minor details, the most common type of building is a frame structure covered with plain sheathing lumber and tar paper. Because of the heat, the Arizona centers have double roofs; because of the cold, some of the more northern centers have finished interior walls. None of the barracks have running water; all have electric lights, and some sort of heating stove for each apartment.
FOOD AND MESS OPERATIONS
All evacuees eat in mess halls operated by the Authority. In each center, mess operations are directed by a chief steward, who is a member of the administrative staff. He has not more than two appointed assistants. Under the direction of the chief steward and his immediate assistants, all work connected with requisitioning, receipt, warehousing, issue, preparation, and serving of food, and the maintenance and operation of subsistence warehouses is performed by evacuee personnel. Recognizing the importance of mess operations to the morale of the centers, the stewards undertake to provide good, wholesome food, selected and prepared to the taste of the evacuees. Because of the varied nature of the population, which includes some peoples whose tastes are very largely Japanese, along with others whose tastes are almost wholly American, it is not easy to prepare menus which will satisfy the entire population. Experience seems to indicate that the best way to deal with this situation is to alternate oriental and American types of foods.
It is the policy of the Authority to provide only simple, substantial foods. All rationing regulations and recommendations applicable to the civilian population of this country are observed in the administration of center mess operations. At the present time, the following rationing regulations are in effect:
1. Meat is rationed in the following manner:All food for relocation centers is purchased through the Quartermaster Corps of the United States Army, except under special circumstances, when by agreement with the Army, purchases are made directly by the centers. Generally speaking, all staples are purchased through the Quartermaster General, and all perishables through the Army marketing centers. Arrangements were made to buy food through the Army both to give the War Relocation Authority the advantage of Army experience and facilities, and to give the Army an opportunity to prevent competition by the War Relocation Authority in certain markets for food needed for the armed forces.
War relocation centers are operating under a cash ration allowance of 45 cents per person per day. This cost includes the cost of feeding special diet cases, infants, and pregnant women. Currently the average cost of feeding is about 40 cents per person.