THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF WAR
19 November 1943
Dear Mr. Myer:
Mr. McCloy is temporarily absent from Washington. Before he left he asked me to send to you excerpts from General Emmon's confidential letter to him of 10 November commenting on your letter of 16 October. Mr. McCloy stated that he was generally in accord with what General Emmons has to say.
JOHN M. HALL
Captain, F. A.
Mr. Dillon S. Myer, Director
War Relocation Authority
Room 822, Barr Building
Washington, D. C.
Excerpts of ltr.
EXCERPTS FROM CONFIDENTIAL LETTER FROM GENERAL EMMONS TO MR. McCLOY DATED 10 NOVEMBER 1943:
I have read Mr. Myer's letter to you with a great deal of interest. He stated to me that the Army's prestige is such that we could do things that he could not do and suggested that we were in a good position to handle public relations matters bearing on this subject. I recommend that the War Department confine its interest in this matter to military security. That we do not enter into any joint policies or agreements reference the return of the Japanese to the West Coast but that we do retain veto power. It is true that the Army evacuated the Japanese from the Coast but they did it because there was no other agency that could do it. In the meantime, the WRA has been organized and, as I understand it, it is their job to relocate evacuated Japanese and our job to determine what Japanese may be brought back into critical areas.
On the first of November the West Coast ceased to be classified as a theater of operations. That, coupled with the President's statement which you quoted, leaves us in a very weak legal position and that is the reason why I am going through all the individual exclusion cases, except Japanese, with a view to permitting the return to the Coast of a large proportion of non-Japanese evacuees. I am also going through the mixed Japanese marriage cases. I can't give you a policy covering these cases as I think each one of them, and there are not very many, has to be handled on its merits, giving due consideration to humane reasons. Incidentally, instructions have been issued which will enable the wife of Tomeo Takayoshi to return to Seattle.
This Tule Lake situation has aroused a tremendous amount of anti-Japanese feeling on the West Coast. Newspaper reporters are concocting the wildest kind of stories and the papers are giving wide publicity to them because it is a popular issue. Of course, the politicians are riding along at full speed. I think it would be very good policy, therefore, to let this feeling subside before any considerable number of Japanese are returned to the Coast. I would like to suggest to Mr. Myer that it would be good policy for him to endeavor to obtain the support of Governor Warren and other Western States governors on a sound plan for relocating Japanese in these areas, both during and after the war. I am quite sure that if we ram down their throats any plan to return Japanese to the Western States, such political opposition would be aroused as to completely nullify even a perfectly sound plan.
Mr. Myer also suggested that he would like several officers detailed to the WRA to work with them in the solution of this problem. I would like to repeat my recommendation that the War Department take the attitude that this relocation problem is purely a civil matter and a responsibility of the WRA and that our only interest in the matter is that of military security.
On the matter of military security, I think the danger of plant sabotage has been over-emphasized at the expense of espionage. The danger of sabotage has been greatly reduced by reason of barbwire fences, plant guards, etc., and by the fact that most Japanese will be under constant surveillance by other races. Espionage, however, is still serious because knowledge of fleet and ship movements would be of real interest to the Japanese. Because of our proximity to the Mexican border, it would be easy to get this information to Japan.
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