NOTE: Sections blacked out in the original are noted by X's, with number of lines where applicable.This memorandum outlines pertinent information received in the recent past concerning the activities within certain War Relocation Centers and relationships of the Bureau with the War Relocation Authority. Of particular interest to you will be those portions dealing with the investigation at Manzanar, California, conducted by Senator A. B. Chandler for the Military Affairs Committee, it being noted that the Senator requested certain matters be brought to your attention in order that he could later confer with you concerning them.
JOHN EDGAR HOOVER
Federal Bureau of Investigation
United States Department of Justice
Washington, D. C.
March 23, 1943
MEMORANDUM FOR THE DIRECTOR
Re: WAR RELOCATION AUTHORITY
REGISTRATION FOR MILITARY SERVICE
During the first part of February, 1943, the Army, in conjunction with the WRA, undertook to register for military service the Japanese-Americans residing in the Relocation Centers. Prior to the time the registration was actually begun, representatives of the Army, War Relocation Authority and Selective Service met in Washington, D. C., where it was agreed that the registration was to be under the Selective Service regulations in order that any Japanese who failed to register would violate the Selective Service Act. The Bureau was not notified of this proposed procedure. After this meeting, the Director of War Relocation Authority, Mr. D. S. Myer, left Washington and another group of Army representatives studied the matter. This group decided that the registration should be voluntary and so notified Selective Service officials but failed to advise the first group of Army officials or the War Relocation Authority. At no time prior to the institution of the above program was the Bureau notified of the proposed registration by any of the agencies involved.
TULE LAKE RELOCATION CENTER
The confusion which the above procedure created is illustrated by the resulting consequences at Tule Lake Relocation Center, Newell, California. On February 17, 1943 Mr. Coverley, Assistant Director at Tule Lake, visited the San Francisco office concerning the trouble they were having with the registration inasmuch as certain groups of Japanese were opposed to the program and were persuading others not to volunteer. As a result, the War Relocation and Army authorities has removed 27 of the Japanese troublemakers from the camp and placed them in county jails at Alturas, California, and Klamath Falls, Oregon. The facts concerning this matter were immediately submitted to the Department to determine whether the Bureau would have jurisdiction under the Selective Service Act. Prior to the receipt of an opinion that no investigative jurisdiction under the Act was involved, it was learned at the Tule Lake center that an investigation was already being conducted by representatives of the WRA to determine whether there was a violation of the Selective Service Act, since the officials at Tule Lake were of the opinion that the Japanese had violated the Act by refusing to register for military service. It also appeared that investigation was being conducted to determine whether there had been a violation of the Sedition Statutes since a Mr. O'Brien, an attorney interviewing the Japanese incarcerated at Klamath Falls, Oregon, stated that he was employed by the War Relocation Authority and was conducting such an inquiry and intended to submit the facts to the U. S. Attorney. Mr. O'Brien withdrew from the case after Special Agents apprised Mr. Coverley of the Bureau's exclusive investigative jurisdiction under both the Selective Service Act and the Sedition Statutes.
GILA RIVER RELOCATION CENTER
The registration program has also been the cause of some difficulty at other Relocation Centers. On February 15, 1943 approximately 70% of the Japanese at the Gila River Center, Rivers, Arizona, indicated that they were not loyal to the United States and, therefore, would not be acceptable for military service. Fifteen aliens at this center have been apprehended as dangerous alien enemies for having interfered with the enlistments by advising men of military age against signing the required loyalty pledge. These apprehensions were authorized by the U. S. Attorney at Phoenix, Arizona, who apparently acted in conformance with the recently announced policy of the Department to accept for internment, Japanese aliens who render conditions at the centers unsafe. It should be noted, however, that since these apprehensions were authorized, the U. S. Attorney at Phoenix, Arizona has advised that it is no longer within his jurisdiction to authorize these apprehensions as the Attorney General will, upon application by the Project Director of a Relocation Center, remove these individuals to another camp. The Department has been requested to advise what procedure it is now desired the Bureau follow in cases involving aliens in this category.
CENTRAL UTAH RELOCATION CENTER
At the Central Utah Relocation Center, Delta, Utah, the Kibei Japanese reportedly held meetings in advance of Army groups promoting the registration. The Kibei are advising the Nisei not to join the United States Army and fight Japan, and that if they do enlist some reprisals may be made against their parents. This group consists of approximately 70 Kibei Japanese and the Department has been requested to advise whether they can be prosecuted for their activities.
JEROME RELOCATION CENTER
At the Jerome Relocation Center, Jerome, Arkansas a negligible number of Japanese have registered for military service. A group of about 30 persons in this center have been antagonistic toward the program. On February 12, 1943, it was reported to XXXXX who is assisting the Army, that threats of violence were being made against him. Information has recently been received that on March 6, 1943 a committee of six evacuees appeared at the office of Mr. Paul Taylor, Project Director at Jerome, Arkansas, protesting the registration program and stating they refused to register since they were loyal to Japan. Approximately 100 evacuees were waiting outside Taylor's office at the time the committee was inside. Subsequently the entire group of Japanese mentioned above held a meeting in one of the mess halls and protested the registration, announcing that they preferred to be repatriated. Simultaneously with this incident two groups of unidentified Japanese attacked and assaulted Dr. XXXXX and Rev. XXXXX at the camp hospital and the latter person's residence. Both victims are said to have been active participants in the Japanese-American Citizens League, which has aroused the enmity of pro-Japanese evacuees. Reportedly the victims were not seriously hurt but both are confined to the hospital under military protection. It is not known at this time whether the victims were promoting the registration program or whether the assaults were connected with the mass meeting protesting the registration. It should be noted that information regarding this disturbance first came to the attention of the Little Rock office through a source of information not connected with the WRA. When the Project Director was contacted by a Bureau Agent he informed that there had been a disturbance but related none of the facts set forth above. The above details were secured from other WRA officials in the regional office at Little Rock and Jerome, Arkansas.
XXXXX of the Public Works Division at Jerome had advised that the feeling has been running very high among the evacuees and that the situation is tense. According to XXXXX the administrative personnel at the center feel unsafe and have expressed an intent to resign unless something is done immediately to rectify existing conditions.
Project Director Taylor has written personal letters to approximately one thousand evacuees, including 250 male citizens who had failed to register advising them that they must register prior to 5 p.m. March 10, 1943, or be subject to arrest and punishment for violating rules and regulations of the War Relocation Authority. The procedure under which the evacuees would be arrested and punished is not known, but arrangements have been made by War Relocation officials with county officials in Drew, Chicot and Desha counties for jail facilities in the towns of Monticello, Lake Village and Arkansas City, Arkansas.
It is to be noted that one of the committee of six appearing before Project Director Taylor to protest the registration was the Captain of the Japanese evacuee police department. His services have been terminated along with six other evacuee policemen who have declared their intention not to register.
The facts concerning existing conditions at Jerome have been brought to the Department's attention and advice requested as to whether prosecution of any of the individuals concerned would be authorized.
INVESTIGATION OF WRA BY THE MILITARY AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
The inquiry into WRA for the Senate Military Affairs Committee is headed by Senator A. B. Chandler. Senator Chandler advised that the investigation was being conducted to determine if control of the Japanese evacuees should remain with the WRA or should be transferred to the Army. At the time of his visit to the Manzanar, California Relocation Center, the Senator was accompanied by his wife; Colonel Aird, Commander of the Los Angeles Port of Embarkation; Major Smith of the Judge Advocate General Staff and George Malone, Special Consultant for the Military Affairs Committee. At Senator Chandler's request, two Bureau Agents accompanied the group and an interpreter was also made available by the Los Angeles Office. At the Manzanar Center the group met the Project Director, Ralph P. Merritt, and questioned him regarding the administrative setup, asked about the recent riots, and requested the names of the leaders. Upon being advised by Merritt that XXXXX mainly caused the riot, the Senator inquired if the FBI had any knowledge of XXXXX activities. He was advised that reports on him had been submitted and were available in Washington. The Senator indicated that he would check that later with you. In view of this, the activities of XXXXX are being summarized in a separate section of this memorandum.
After this initial conference the party visited various points of interest on what was obviously a planned tour. XXXXX indicated a very hostile attitude toward the WRA administration, referring to it as "a bunch of social workers." During the tour the Senator availed himself of the services of the translator to question the Japanese and was very impressed with the fact that the Bureau had someone that could speak Japanese.
On the following day the Senator returned to the camp and requested that a list of the Kibei as well as those Japanese who had requested repatriation be furnished to the Military Affairs Committee and to the Bureau. He then requested the WRA officials to leave the room as he wanted to discuss something confidential with the Army. The Senator requested the Bureau Agents to remain in the room. He then talked to Lt. Beaugard, who has been registering the Japanese at the camp for military service.
Lt. Beaugard stated that all male American-born Japanese over the age of 17 residing at Manzanar had been interviewed. Of the 1,900 persons in this group, 91 were willing to volunteer for Army service. Of the remainder, 980 refused to swear allegiance to the United States. Lt. Beaugard stated that out of 4,815 other Japanese, both male and female, citizen and alien, 2,260 had refused to swear allegiance, 322 qualified their answers and 312 failed to answer. The Lieutenant then produced a document which he claimed to be a copy of a letter written on March 2, 1943 by Project Director Merritt to Mr. Myer, Director, WRA, in which Merritt stated he was attempting to persuade the evacuees who had answered the loyalty question in the negative to change their answer to yes, and that he has sworn to accomplish this under threat of curtailing their privileges and advising the evacuees that their property might be taken over by the Alien Property Custodian. Senator Chandler was very much incensed over this letter and stated it was purely a job-saving gesture on the part of Merritt. He asked that all this information be brought to your attention in order that he might later discuss it with you on his return to Washington.
In this connection it was noted in an article in the Washington Post on March 9, 1943 that the Senator deplored the high number of Japanese who, by their own admission, were disloyal to the United States. The article quoted the Senator as stating that it was fortunate the FBI had picked up so many of these dangerous individuals since the outbreak of war.
Senator Chandler suggested that the complete results of the registration program be obtained by the Bureau from the War Department, in order that he might discuss the matter with you upon his return to Washington. It was learned from Major F. C. Broadbent, G-2, on March 20, 1943 that the results have not yet been compiled but that from unofficial estimates it could be stated that in some of the camps, as many as 40% answered the allegiance question in the negative. The Bureau is to receive the complete results of the registration when the Army has correlated and compiled the information.
Senator Chandler, while in Arizona, indicated to Bureau Agents that the Senate Subcommittee on Military Affairs will probably make the following recommendations:
1. Reduction of the number of Japanese camps.The Senator stated that the Bureau's prompt action in rounding up dangerous alien enemies after Pearl Harbor was the only thing that saved this country from lots of trouble.
RIOTS AND DISTURBANCES AT RELOCATION CENTERS
There have been numerous disturbances at the Relocation Centers which may or may not have been caused by extraneous forces. In a phone call to military authorities, Ralph P. Merritt, Project Director at Manzanar, California, made the following statement, "there are troubles of pro-Axis, troubles that rise out of the old political relationship in the Japanese-American League, local troubles that happen in the camp when the FBI have come in and used certain loyal, faithful people, and they are charged as being 'stool pigeons' and 'rats' and the FBI, of course, goes away without giving protection for these fellows and they are now taking the rap." It would appear from this statement that Mr. Merritt overlooks the fact that the War Relocation Authority is responsible for the safety and protection of the population in each camp. It is to be noted that Mr. Merritt's allegations are not founded in fact.
As of December 6, 1942, the date of the riot at Manzanar there had been 25 assault cases reported to the internal security section of the center. Of these victims only one, XXXXX can be considered as an individual who had given information to the Bureau on conditions at Manzanar. XXXXX background would appear to have made him the object of physical violence rather than his cooperative attitude toward the Bureau. He was formerly XXX-2 lines-XXX and has been very outspoken in proclaiming his loyalty to the United States.
Merritt claimed that as a result of the riot it had been necessary to remove informants of this Bureau from the camp. A list of these individuals was obtained and of 66 persons removed, only two can be considered as having given information of value to the Bureau. These are XXXXX previously referred to, and XXXXX had been prominently associated with the XXXXX and had been outspoken in his loyalty to the United States. Several of the remaining individuals had been interviewed in connection with the investigations but could in no sense be considered as confidential informants. These are XXXXX at Manzanar, XXXXX both XXXXX.
It was pointed out to Mr. Merritt that regardless of the causes of the riots, if the administration at Manzanar was failing to protect the Japanese who were cooperative to the Government, that they and the U. S. Government were failing in their duty to these individuals.
Merritt stated that if a Congressional Committee were to come into the camp and ask him the cause of the riot of December 6, he felt he would have to say that the FBI was responsible. It is interesting to note that Merritt, in effect, followed that course at the time of Senator Chandler's visit to Manzanar. Merritt advised Senator Chandler, who was accompanied by Bureau Agents, that a feeling of unrest was developing at the camp since the Senator's arrival and gave as a reason the fact that the evacuees did not like the FBI coming in and talking to people. The Senator stated that it was just too bad if they didn't like it, and asked Merritt if he didn't feel that the government, through its agencies such as the Bureau, had a right to know what was going on. Merritt answered yes and stated he wanted to show what they were up against and just wanted to tell them so if they read in the papers of another riot there, they would realize it was as a result of the investigation. The Senator "blew up" at this, stating it was too bad about the residents resenting any investigation and wanted them to start a riot right then and he would take care of it. He stated if Merritt couldn't handle it, he would take the Army in there to take care of it.
XXXXX AND OTHERS PRECIPITATING THE RIOTS AT MANZANAR
Inasmuch as Senator Chandler indicated that he would discuss with you, the case of XXXXX and others who precipitated the riot at Manzanar Relocation Center, the following is summarized for your information:
XXXXX was born in Hawaii on XXXXX and was educated at XXXXX. He is reportedly a XXXXX but has worked as XXXXX. He gives his occupation as XXXXX claims service XXX-1 line-XXX.
When interviewed in October, 1942, XXXXX freely stated that he was bitter toward the United States and 100% loyal to Japan. His reasons for this viewpoint are that he had proved his loyalty to the United States in the last war and did not believe it was necessary that he be evacuated. It was his opinion that Japan had already won the war and he had no desire to be released from the camp and was surprised that he was not taken into custody at the conclusion of the interview. XXXXX has openly boasted that he will continue interfering with anything that aids the United States until he is apprehended by the FBI or the Army.
XXXXX a case opened in August, 1942 bearing the character Internal Security - J, Sedition, Public Law 503. The basis for this investigation was a meeting held at the Manzanar Center on August 8, 1942 attended by about 500 evacuees. At this meeting, XXXXX made a speech in which he is quoted as saying, "I have never been in Japan but in my veins flows Japanese blood, the blood of Yamato Damashii (the Japanese National Spirit). We citizens have been denied our rights. We have no U. S. citizenship. We are 100% Japanese. If the FBI or Army take me into custody, I will remain Japanese. I don't get scared. Look at those Japanese in Japan who are making great sacrifices. Let's follow suit." These remarks reportedly brought forth thunderous applause. The following Japanese also made speeches at this meeting which were also inflammatory in a greater or lesser degree:
XXX-7 lines-XXXProsecution of this case under Public Law 503, which would punish violations of a proclamation issued in the Western Defense Command against holding meetings in the Japanese language, was declined by Assistant U. S. Attorney Attilio Di Giralamo on August 15, 1942. The facts were brought to the attention of the Department for possible prosecution of the Sedition Statutes, however, on November 10, 1942 Mr. Wendell Berge advised that although persons confined to Relocation Centers can be technically charged with a violation of the Sedition Statutes, it was the opinion of the Criminal Division that the facts disclosed in this case do not warrant prosecution. In view of this the case was closed.
It should be noted that one XXXXX has made similar remarks to those attributed to XXXXX. These two individuals are reported to be responsible for most of the unrest and disturbances at the Manzanar Relocation Center.
On December 5, 1942 at 9 p.m., five or six masked men attacked XXX-1 line-XXX and outspokenly anti-Axis. He had XXX-1 line-XXX prior to the war. XXXXX mentioned above, was immediately picked up as a suspect and taken to the county jail. The WRA authorities on the following day sought XXXXX for questioning and found him running a meeting attended by a crowd of several hundred people. Thereafter, XXXXX acting as a spokesman for a committee of five Japanese representing a mob of from 1,000 to 2,000 people which had gathered at the camp headquarters, demanded the release of Uyeno. XXXXX this committee consisted of XXX-1 line-XXX. Ralph Merritt, the Project Director, promised to return Uyeno if the mob would disperse and it was purportedly so agreed. Reportedly, however, XXXXX merely spoke to the mob in Japanese telling them to disperse and reassemble at 6 p.m. and then force Merritt to release Uyeno from the camp jail.
Uyeno was thereupon returned to the camp jail. At the appointed time a crowd gathered before the jail proceeding to break in and release Uyeno. The mob then decided to compel Mr. Merritt to release Uyeno. The Military Police were thereupon called to assist and after unsuccessful attempts to disperse the mob with tear gas, fired on the mob killing one person and wounding ten.
As of December 9, 1942 the following Japanese were in military custody in jail at Lone Pine, California as a result of the disturbances:
In view of the situation existing at the Manzanar Camp and inasmuch as the camp was placed under complete military control during the time of the riots and for a period of days thereafter, no investigations were conducted at the camp by the Bureau. All Japanese implicated in the riot were held in military custody.
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