August 11th '81
San Francisco, Calif.

To Whom It May Concern:

I, Catherine Treadgold was hired by the U. S. Government, and sworn in as an employee and did work at the task of registering the Japanese Enemy Aliens, in the vicinity of Sacramento, California. Upon completion of the evacuation of the Japanese, I was retained by the U. S. Government to interview and secure as a result of the interviews, travel permits, or the rejection of travel permits as the case required. My job was strictly that of interviewing and the results of the interview were reviewed by Army representatives, who then gave permission for the travel permit, or rejected it and these were in regard to requests from German and Italian Enemy Aliens, in the vicinity of Sacramento, California.

In the process of interviewing and registering the Japanese, many unknown facts of their lives and activities came to light. I was provided with an interpreter and his name was George Shiragawa. I was clearly impressed by the following facts.

1. The culture of their native country remained their choice. Sons were sent each summer, when school let out here, to Japan where they were trained in the army of Japan. This was even though they were "born in America." Thus, they were not well spoken in English, having talked Japanese in their homes and Japanese during their school vacation period each year. One young American born Japanese was attending Harvard and he spoke so poorly that I asked him how he had failed to learn to speak English better and he became angry and stood up and said, "I am an officer in the army of the Emperor of Japan." He was immediately removed from the room by army men.

2. Sub-standard, even for that day and age in America, were the Japanese treatment of their own Japanese laborers. Many laborers had no passport and had been brought to this country with the promise of the better life in America only to find themselves working the strawberry ranches, almost as slave labor! It all came to light, when all of them came in to register. One method used to smuggle in these Japanese laborers was to bring them by boat and put them along the shoreline, out of the boat into the water. Japanese, already here would take small boats and row out and pick them up out of the ocean. This was told to me by a Government surveyor, who watched this happening in the Oregon woods, along the coast line, and this was confirmed to me by some of the Japanese young bachelor laborers. They had no passports.

3. Substandard living conditions were told to me repeatedly, and for this account this one condition will suffice. For bathing purposes, old cast-iron bath-tubs had been purchased and placed out in the open and underneath a fire would be kindled and built to heat the water which the wife and daughters had carried and poured into the tub. When the water was ready the father would take a bath. After him the elder son, and after him the next son and on down to the youngest child, bathe in that heated and re-heated water. A Japanese nurse who had come in to register told me, "This is the best thing that has happened to my people. Now, they will have to get rid of their old world ways." She was speaking of the evacuation about to take place.

4. Before my desk were three chairs and a man and his 23 children and expectant wife were there one morning. The man, as was the custom with them sat down in one chair and two sons took the other two. The young expectant mother stood. I motioned for him to get up and give her a seat but she was the first to insist that the husband and sons sit! I told him, that this young expectant lady could not possibly be the mother of his 23 children and he said, "Wife No. 1 sent back to Japan. She was ill." And then he told me of having sent to Japan for the second bride. Also, he claimed he did not own the ranch which he controlled but that he paid rent. It was difficult to get him to reveal to whom he paid rent. Finally he said, "In name of Wife No. 1," that he sent the money to her, in Japan. Only a few told accurately of owning property, and they were given time to dispose of or make secure, personal belongings. Some would advertise what they wished to sell. This was mainly car, refrigerator, etc. Small radios also.

5. After the Japanese had been moved to the houses built hastily on a large open acreage of land north of Sacramento, I was taken out there to sign up all those who would be willing to leave the relocation center and live free in the mid-west. The offer was written on thousands of sheets and stated that they would be in agreement with the U. S. Government to be free and to labor on farms or other employment in the mid-west at the regular wage price of that area if they would sign their name to the agreement. There would be no form of supervision. After eight hours of trying to talk to them regarding this offer, and toward the close of the day, I did sign two bachelor laborers. I asked them why the others could not see that this was a good offer and fair and they talked to each other and then told me through my interpreter that others said, "We do not know who will win this war. If the Japanese win we want to be here to greet them." Then the two bachelor farm laborers told me of the promises made to them to have a free life in America and how they were laboring on the ranch and not allowed to send for a bride and had worked very hard, since they were brought to America.

This account is written from memory but nothing is written herein that is not clearly in my memory and exact. At the relocation center which I visited, some modern, for that day, fixtures were provided which the Japanese had not ever had and an incident probably worth telling occurred in regard to this. A Japanese laborer was found, in what would be a laundry room, sitting in the cast iron sink. He thought those attached to the wall deep clothing sinks were for bathing. Actually showers had been provided.

Some of the Japanese had appeared to "settle in" and had planted little rows of flowers around their particular house. They did not trust the U. S. Government offer and at that time had decided to remain and wait.

As I mingled with them and tried to discuss the offer with them, I was followed by groups of Japanese men. After several hours of this, I asked my interpreter to listen and tell me what they were saying as they stood around. I thought they were watching to intimidate anyone who might want to sign up to go to the mid-west. My interpreter told me that the young Japanese men were divided on a subject and were discussing it among them and that subject was whether or not my hair, which was light colored, had been bleached or if I were a natural blond.

My interpreter, a Japanese man, well educated, married and the father of small children, was to go to a relocation center but he had a sudden attack and collapsed, the day before he was to go and was instead taken to a hospital to determine what was wrong with him. I never knew if this delayed his own family evacuation or not.

Signed (Catherine Treadgold)


MS. TREADGOLD: My name is Catherine Treadgold. At this time I want to lay a few ground rules. When we talk I want to talk and and be responded to in words that make sense. If you are in Texas you say "hep," and it is understood it means "help." And to say "concentration camp" is not accurate. They are internment centers. They are relocation centers and they are assembly centers.

My job was interviewing, registering the Japanese at Sacramento. At that time I was in my 20's. The others were in their forties and they are not available; and there was not any form of racism. Now, if anyone --

{Someone apparently trying to interrupt}

They stepped right in my trap and show their intelligence. In San Francisco and Los Angeles you had a woman evicted who was trying to defend when a Japanese held up a paper and read a lie quoting her on something she had not said, and I say don't time me -- we are laying the ground rules -- until I start to give my talk. Now then, you had that woman evicted. Evict these people if they interfere with my testimony. It is within your right to do it, and if you don't do it, you will be proceeding as you have so far with nothing but sneak and orchestrated attacks into every city. This is nothing but an attempted rape on the treasury of the United States Government, and not one person here who called it a concentration camp termed it accurately, and I submit from the Archives of Washington the pictures from the relocation centers and also pictures from the concentration camps.

Now then, if you want to refer me to the dictionary as you have done in other places, let me call your attention to the fact that when men who love men came out of the closet and said "We are gay, I am a gay," this changed the dictionary and Webster can't come out of the grave and change it. The dictionary gives you "gay" as an adjective, and today it is a noun. And when Adolf Hitler tied the legs of women giving birth to babies so that they would die with their child, he changed concentration into a noun with a capital "C." And you Japanese had nothing to do with anything like that in America.

Now then, when I interviewed the Japanese the reason I was chosen to handle the German and Italian enemy alien travel permits, and I have here from the Secretary at that time a paper that I will submit, in which he tells of the Italians and the Germans which were taken away. When I had that to do I came face to face with the American born soldiers of the Emperor.

A VOICE: Get out of here.

CHAIRMAN MITCHELL: Ladies and gentlemen, she has the time and right to give testimony to the Commission.

MS. TREADGOLD: This is my experience. And at that time I had been raised in Missouri. I had never seen a Japanese, nor a Chinese.

CHAIRMAN MITCHELL: Will you sit down so that you can use the microphone.

MS. TREADGOLD: I hadn't seen them and I wasn't sure when they entered and came before me whether they were Chinese or Japanese. There was not any form of racism. And for racism to be named, you are attacking President and Mrs. Roosevelt, and she was voted for years the most beloved woman not only in America but of the world. No racist gets a compliment like that. The most beloved woman in the world. You go into some of the southern states and they accuse her of advancing the blacks, and I mention the blacks now because you are asking the Congress of the United States to sign a blank check.

In the San Francisco hearings the Japanese got up and said, "This is only the beginning of what we are going to ask for." They want the blacks to come forward because of the slave days. So I will tell it, because they are following the Samurai sword, which a minister in Japanese, asked he to return to them, but Rev. Sato said they want the Samurai sword back. And by the way, you of the cloth should have corrected him when he misquoted Jesus Christ, because Jesus Christ isn't on your agenda.

I will bring it down to this. I will tell you that I have already written charges against this for being an orchestrated commission and I think the words of Edward Brooke brought it out a moment ago when he was trying to help the press continue to orchestrate it, and I think that possibly, Marutani, I don't know quite how you say your name -- I don't believe that you should be on the Commission. Now, you are on my taxes, this Commission, I am paying you to be here and you have already indicated and stated in San Francisco that your minds are made up. Now I have told you that we had along our borders at that time officers in the Army of the Emperor. There were no goosestepping Germans on the California coast. None. And that's according to Colonel Pash of San Francisco, records, those that were suspected were removed. And the Italians --

{Someone apparently indicating time limit}

Others went over.

Now you did not enforce this rule and others talked over.

The Italians, that's what I am here to speak of, they made a rule that any who had a son or grandson in the service was exempt from suspicion because they hated Mussolini falling for Hitler's flattery, that he was the last of the great Romans. They didn't like that and, furthermore, none of them had sent any children ever to Italy to be trained in the army of Mussolini. We had the enemy among us and today in America -- this is my last statement. I won't give an opinion, I've given all facts -- here in America today we have armed Ku Klux Klan. They are not sent over from South Africa, they were born and raised in this country. We have armed Arabs, they are right in our midst, some of them coming over under Mohammed and they have declared war on America. A holy war was declared two weeks ago on America by the Mohammeds. This is the situation we are under today and we have armed Nazis. Now, you cannot guarantee me how many of these are again Black Dragons. That is my conclusion, and I give you the only opinion that I am giving today, I don't think that they stand a Chinaman's chance of getting it. That is all.

SENATOR BROOKE: Mr. Chairman, I have no questions.

I would, however, like to put into the record a report from a research staff that was sent to our Executive Secretary with the subject "Concentration Camps," with a citation from President Roosevelt and the Presidential press and radio. "It is felt by a great many lawyers that under the Constitution today persons of Japanese ancestry can't be kept locked up in concentration camps." And that is November 21st, 1944. Other quotes from President Roosevelt, in which he used the same term, and the Attorney General of the United States, Department of Justice, letter to the President where he uses the same term, Assistant Secretary of War, John McCloy, and former Assistant to Director of the Alien Enemy Control Unit of the Justice Department [John Burling] used the same reference, "concentration camp." And there are pages after pages where this term has been used by Federal authorities and state authorities, and by county authorities.

My question is directed to you, Mr. Gross. You sincerely can't believe that inductees and draftees are to be compared to the Japanese Americans who were incarcerated in concentration camps?

MS. TREADGOLD: I will not --

SENATOR BROOKE: I am not addressing you. Mr. Gross, would you answer my question.

MR. GROSS: Yes, Mr. Brooke, in my opinion, there were many, many tragedies that occurred during World War II. I will not compare in identity, but there were many tragedies that occurred to our servicemen who were inducted. I know in many cases persons lost property, not vast amounts, such as I have heard from testimony here today, but some amounts were lost.

SENATOR BROOKE: On this occasion, Mr. Gross, property confiscated?

MR. GROSS: Can you identify the term "confiscated?"

SENATOR BROOKE: Property, probably, that could be taken by anyone.

MR. GROSS: Not by the United States Government, sir.

SENATOR BROOKE: We have testimony to document that there was confiscation of Japanese American property in World War II.

MR. GROSS: Testimony by whom, sir?

SENATOR BROOKE: By various witnesses who have...

{Pages 145-147 missing}

MR. GROSS: Precisely. We didn't know what to expect and we were frightened. This is my basic point.

SENATOR BROOKE: And the same racism did not exist with the Italian Americans or German Americans?

MR. GROSS: That's true.

SENATOR BROOKE: We can conclude that they may have been the reason why there was no incarceration of Italian Americans or German Americans?

MR. GROSS: Undoubtedly.

MS. TREADGOLD: They were incarcerated. That's a lie. There were some that were taken away.

SENATOR BROOKE: Are you referring to me, Ms. Treadgold?

MS. TREADGOLD: Yes, I am. And if you don't like it, have me evicted.

CHAIRMAN MITCHELL: Thank you very much.

MR. GROSS: Is it possible to make one request, sir?


MR. GROSS: My one concern, and probably my basic reason for being here, this has been, I feel, basically a one-sided presentation by one facet of the situation. I must tell you that I am thrilled and pleased to have learned as much as I have learned regarded what has transpired this past two weeks and I feel that it would benefit the entire country were more information to be presented. Unfortunately, this has not been presented ahead of time. I had very short notice and unfortunately, as the agenda shows, there were very few persons who actually were prepared to testify other than the Japanese Americans. My concern is that I would like to see more publicity for public information and more education on all standpoints. I was impressed and I welcome Father Gromoff to our area and I was not aware until three or four days ago that the Aleuts were interned also during World War II.

CHAIRMAN MITCHELL: As I said earlier, the record of this Committee is open for anyone who wants to send testimony. We have depended upon press releases to the newspapers to inform people who want to testify and we are sorry that you did not see the press releases and other people did not, but that does not close the record. The record is still open.

MS. TREADGOLD: The agenda was full before it was in the paper AND I have all the phone calls long distance to prove it.

SENATOR BROOKE: We thank you. I think the Commission agrees with you. We want all the testimony we can possibly get. If you were here earlier when Mr. Todd testified, we want the testimony, we want to hear, because we know there are people out there who believe that they were properly treated. Anyone who has testimony contrary to the other testimony, we want to sift through the testimony and come to a conclusion, we don't want to take testimony in hysteria. That's the basis of this whole Commission to start with, acting in hysteria. We don't want that before...

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