Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Bill Kubick Rest in Peace

Received this message today:

It is with sadness that I inform supporters of Americans For Historical Accuracy (AFHA) of the passing last week of WWII veteran Bill Kubick of Seattle Washington.

Bill, a "charter member" of AFHA, had worked closely with Lillian Baker, author/lecturer, and founder of the organization dedicated to challenging Pacific WWII historical revisionism by the Japanese-American Citizens League (JACL).

With limited funds and members, AFHA attempted to present the true facts re J-A relocation and internment issues.

Bill, a pioneering irrigation expert with a great sense of humor, had his serious side in outlining his 1980s political involvement with Mrs. Baker, David Lowman and others active in AFHA via articles and letters to the media, and Internet Blogs. For additional info, use Google to learn more about Bill Kubick, a great American.

He will be sorely missed by all who knew him.

PS: In 1989, Bill and I (man who sent the notice) were part of a small group of vets who traveled to Washington, D.C. led by Mrs. Baker and our AFHA attorney. We testified before a biased congressional subcommittee in opposition to PL 100-383, the unwarranted "Apology-Reparations Bill" promoted by Congressmen Mineta and Matsui and the Japanese American Citizens League. Bill assisted in lodging a formal protest with Chairman Neal Smith, against Mineta and Matsui's right to testify. They and their families were all to receive $20,000 each in the $2.5 Billion "unwarranted U.S. giveaway."

BainbridgeHistorians note: If you would like to send a message of condolence to Bill's widow please let me know at It would be preferable to to provide the information at this blog, but the foot stomping claques are still out there and we will not allow them to kick a widow when she's down....

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Lake Labish Japanese and the radio in the well

We're collecting further information regarding the the Lake Labish Japanese and the radio in the well.

As a matter of fact we're studying all the information sent to BainbridgeHistorians regarding this history and we thank you for sending us this history from so long ago. It needs to be documented for the record.

If you have an historical experience you wish to share please email it to

Upon learning Lake Labish did indeed have an ethnic Japanese farming community. I received a second correspondence:

"We lived in a cluster of homes five miles north of Salem, Oregon in a rural area called Hayesville. Ron ** and his family lived across the road from us, a road called Milton road. He moved into the neighborhood in the 1930s. Hayesville was very near the main railroad line between San Diego and Seattle.

Lake Labish is located about five miles north of Hayesville. Mr. ** told me that shortly after the war started, an Army officer came to his home to ask a favor. The government was picking up radio signals from the Lake Labish area after trains passed through. The officer said they did not have the man power to investigate where the radio signals were coming from. He ask Mr. ** if he would assemble some people to go to the Japanese village in Lake Labish at night and watch for any strange activity when trains passed though.

Mr. ** said that he got some of his neighbors: Mr. **, Mr. **, and Mr. ** (all men we knew when we were kids), they went to Lake Labish, found a spot in the fir trees over looking the Japanese village, and began to watch.

After a train passed though an old Japanese man came out from one of the small houses, went to a well, pulled up a package from the well, and took it back to his cabin. Mr. ** reported the incident to the officer in Salem. Some time later the officer came back to Mr. **'s house and told him that the Army found a radio tied to a rope in the well. The Army suspected that the old Japanese man was transmitting information about the trains to a submarine.

A couple years ago, I went into the FBI's website and found a link to their WWII investigation files for spies. There were quarterly reports completed by he FBI to the Justice Department signed by J. Edgar Hoover. I printed out several, including a last summary report in late 1945. The reports included all the investigation activities of all the FBI offices, including the office in Portland. I have since gone into the FBI website and I couldn't find the link as the website had been updated. I could fax the reports to you if you would like.

The summary report is probably the only one you would need. It is quite interesting. There was also a letter, with approval signatures, dated in 1968, saying that it had been approved to send the West Coast files to the University of Washington to be archived. Apparently, someone at the University was doing research on war time spying on the West Coast and made the request.

I had planned to make a request of the U of Washington library to see if they still had the files, and to research if the Lake Labish incident was included. Because I couldn't confirm any part of the story, I had lost interest. Your article has revived my interest. I suppose an e-mail inquiry to the school's library would get the investigation started. Do you have any interest in working together on it?

Thanks again for the article. It was damned exciting to get it."

You're welcome! The quest for historical accuracy is a slander against no person!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

More "Anecdotal evidence" from another historical experience

Got this response from a native Oregonian (a person, not the paper!)

I enjoy getting this type of correspondence at BainbridgeHistorians because some day these people won't be around to share their experiences...

Sure it's "anecdotal evidence" but that didn't stop the former mayor of Gresham, Oregon from being dragged through the mud 42 years after he was dead and buried....

Per the policy I have shortened the names provided for privacy.

"I grew up in a rural neighborhood north of Salem, Oregon. We lived about a mile west of the SP railroad tracks connecting San Diego and Seattle.

A neighbor, Ron ** (now deceased) told me that just after Pearl Harbor an Army officer came to his house. There was a small Japanese farming village nearby at an area called Lake Labish.

The officer said that they had picked up radio signals from the Lake Labish area soon after trains passed through but the Army did not have the staff to investigate.

He asked if Mr. ** could help observe the Japanese village. Mr. ** told me that he got some of the other men in the area, all men who I remember well as a youth, and they sat at night in the woods over looking the village.

He said that when a train went by an elderly Japanese man went to a well, pulled up a package and returned to his cabin. They reported the incident to the Army.

A few weeks later the Army officer reported to Mr. ** that the Army found that the package hidden in the well was a shortwave radio. The old Japanese man must have been reporting the directions of train, how many cars, passanger or freight, etc. to a submarine off the coast.

I grew up in the farming neighborhood until 1960 when I went into the service but remained unaware of a Japanese village in the Lake Labish area.

It was not an area that I did much exploring in so I cannot confirm that it ever existed. The story intrigued me because Mr. ** was known as a leader, and for his integrity, in our small neighborhood. He was respected by everyone."

UPDATE: Indeed there was an ethnic Japanese farming community at Lake Labish. Although this link isn't entirely historically accurate they mention the community. Perhaps they will include the story of the radio in the well on their site.

Another Oregonian piece...

Gresham tribute to mayor hits anti-Japanese question
Monument planned - The 1944 role of Herbert Hughes in a group against resettlement is debated
Tuesday, March 07, 2006

GRESHAM -- When Dr. Herbert Hughes stepped down as Gresham mayor, after serving the city from 1941 to 1956 and delivering thousands of local babies, the city declared it "Dr. Hughes Day."

That's how popular Doc Hughes was in this town.

Now it looks as though the City Council is about to honor him with a monument. Some, however, see a problem.

Back in November 1944, Hughes' name turned up in a local newspaper in connection with the Oregon Anti-Japanese Society, a group that opposed allowing people of Japanese ancestry to return to their Gresham-area homes during World War II.

At the time, Hughes was listed as one of a handful of temporary directors.

That information came to light in 2003 as the city considered renaming a park for Hughes. Since then, the park renaming idea died, but a monument idea surfaced. And concern about how complicit Hughes was in the anti-Japanese movement continues, despite an investigation that found he had little significant involvement.

"I hope the city has investigated this thoroughly," John Kodachi, president of the Portland chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League, said Monday after learning of the monument proposal. "I realize there was anti-Japanese sentiment at the time, but it appears Mayor Hughes took it to a different level -- that's certainly troubling."

The council is scheduled to vote on the monument at 7 tonight, as part of the "consent agenda" that typically includes items approved without debate.

Currently, scant information is available about the level of Hughes' involvement.

But the head of Gresham's Historic Resources Council Advisory Committee, which is proposing the memorial, reaches a different conclusion than Kodachi: that Hughes' association with the group was brief, that his contributions outweigh any perceived missteps and that a new effort to honor his service with a monument should move forward.

David Lindstrom, a retired school principal who serves as the advisory committee chairman, said he spent two months in 2003 researching Hughes' involvement with the group. He could find only a single reference to Hughes in newspaper stories about the group and also uncovered no further evidence of anti-Japanese sentiment by Hughes in talking to local residents who remember the era.

Lindstrom said even though there isn't a lot of hard evidence, his personal belief is that "because the (anti-Japanese) movement became so nasty, and because his name does not appear later, and knowing he was a very humane person, I feel he saw the fact it was wrong and quietly dropped out."

Neither individual residents of Japanese ancestry nor members of the Japanese American Citizens League were specifically sought out for input during the review -- something Kodachi sees as a significant oversight. But Lindstrom said the members of two city advisory committees grappled with the question of Hughes' involvement, in the context of the overall hysteria of the times.

"In my mind, it was an unfortunate chapter in our history," Lindstrom said.

The proposed monument to Hughes would be in the location of his former office near Main Avenue and Powell Boulevard in Main City Park. At first, it would consist of a temporary wooden marker, to be replaced -- after about $2,500 is raised -- with a boulder with a brass plaque attached to it.

Gresham Mayor Chuck Becker said Monday he would support the monument, adding that he hoped the community would not raise the anti-Japanese issue again.

"I'm satisfied with recognizing that this is the location where Dr. Hughes had his medical offices," Becker said. "That's fine with me. . . . It's more a historical marker than anything else."
Councilor Paul Warr-King said Monday he is satisfied that Hughes had no direct involvement with the anti-Japanese group.

"Being a small town, I'm sure he was involved with everything that was going on," Warr-King said, but Warr-King believes it was "very minor involvement."

Original Oregonian piece that started it all..

Look, if in fact the mayor was involved he was wrong to resist the ethnic Japanese from returning to Gresham or any other community. Perhaps he didn't hold Japanese in high esteem.

The historical reality is after a bloody three and a half year war with Japan the feeling wasn't rare among Americans.

What is the Gresham City Council using as evidence? Old newpaper articles? Hearsay from AJA activists?

Apparently the comments of a couple AJA activists holds more weight than anybody else as far as the City of Gresham is concerned.

This shouldn't be an open invitation to deliberately distort the rest of the history of the evacuation. Pretty soon they'll be demanding the FDR presidential library and Washington Monument be dismantled, too...

That's my point.

Here's the original story if you missed it...

Gresham confronts pride and prejudice in recalling its past
Race - A monument for a former mayor is tabled because of his role in an anti-Japanese group

Sunday, March 12, 2006

GRESHAM -- Setsuko Okino's younger brother, a soldier in the U.S. Army, was killed fighting the Nazis in Europe. She and her family, meanwhile, spent three years at an internment camp in Idaho.

When she returned to Gresham, she encountered "No Japs Allowed" signs in storefronts. Others of Japanese descent struggled to reclaim farms that white Americans took over in their absence.

Worse, they learned their mayor, Dr. Herbert H. Hughes, was involved in a movement to keep them from returning. This was the same kindly physician who had come to Okino's unpainted cabin when she was 10 and treated her for scarlet fever. "Doc" Hughes, whom "we thought the world of," Okino says, had changed.

Last week, Okino, 82, and other Japanese Americans felt an old hurt return. As city officials considered erecting a monument to Hughes to note his service to the city, Japanese Americans were stung by a city process that excluded their opinions and ignored obvious references to a black mark on the late mayor's tenure.

The conflict has exposed the difficulty of reconciling how differing groups remember history. Although the city intended to boost civic pride by honoring the achievements of its longest-serving mayor, officials failed to recognize how deeply that would hurt a group its own country had banished during World War II.

"I'm going to be so upset if they put up a memorial to him," Okino said. "I'll cry every time I drive past it."

City officials knew they were dealing with a potentially sensitive situation, e-mails and memos show, but they pushed ahead.

For now, the issue of honoring Hughes, Gresham's mayor from 1941 to 1956, is in limbo. On Tuesday night, reacting to critics who learned of the plans at the 11th hour, Mayor Chuck Becker announced that the City Council would postpone acting on the proposal.

Afterward, two Gresham city councilors acknowledged that the matter was handled poorly.

"I blame myself," said Councilor Paul Warr-King, liaison to the city's historic resources advisory committee, which proposed the monument. Warr-King took office after the monument project was inching ahead and said he assumed that Hughes' background had been fully investigated. "I should have asked the question."

Warr-King said he was even more dismayed when he heard one report that Hughes refused to treat a pregnant Japanese woman.

Yoji J. Matsushima, president of the Japanese Ancestral Society of Portland, said that his mother-in-law, who is now deceased, told him Hughes refused to treat her in late 1941 because he "didn't take Jap patients."

"That would kill it right there, as far as I'm concerned," Warr-King said.

A time of hysteria, fear

After the outbreak of the war, 120,000 West Coast residents of Japanese descent, most U.S. citizens, were ordered to internment camps, including about 2,000 from the Portland area.

In November 1944, with the war winding down, Hughes and 12 other Gresham men formed Oregon Anti-Japanese Inc. The local group flared for several months then faded, reflecting and inspiring similar efforts in other West Coast agricultural communities.

The movement grew in a time of hysteria, fueled by fear of economic competition and losses during a war that was not over yet.

At one event, nearly 1,000 people crowded Gresham High School for an anti-Japanese conclave. An organizer from Seattle congratulated Gresham for launching a national effort to expel the Japanese.

"You folks are making history here tonight," he was quoted in The Oregonian as declaring.

The anti-Japanese agitators called for a constitutional amendment to revoke the citizenship of all people of Japanese ancestry. A local paper defended Hughes and other group leaders as "able, clear thinking, sound businessmen, farmers and community leaders," the kind of people who wouldn't "foster a program that smacks in any way of un-Americanism."

Not everyone was swept up in that sentiment, however.

Gresham minister John L. Magoon began telling what he called the "other side" of the issue. Working with former Gov. Charles Sprague and an influential Portland banker, E.B. MacNaughton, they called on residents to support the rights of all Americans, "irrespective of ancestry or extraction." The safety of business and institutions depended on citizens refusing to ostracize Japanese Americans, they said at a March 1945 meeting in Gresham, attended by about 1,000 residents.

"That's exactly what happened in Germany," said MacNaughton, president of First National Bank of Portland, "and it can happen here."

The depth of Hughes' involvement at the time is unclear. He does not appear to have been quoted about his feelings about Japanese Americans, leading some to conclude he might have quietly dropped out of the group after deciding it was wrong.

For many local residents, Hughes has remained a beloved figure. Today, some call the small-town doctor a "humanitarian." He delivered more than 5,000 babies, often making house calls. When people couldn't afford his services, he was known to barter or extend credit. He grew prized roses and chrysanthemums. When he retired as mayor, the city declared "Dr. Hughes' Day," and when he died in 1964, the business district closed out of respect.

But Hughes hadn't been officially recognized since, and that, in retrospect, should have raised red flags, Councilor Shane Bemis said Wednesday.

"It seemed odd that nothing was done," Bemis said. "Was there more involvement (in the anti-Japanese movement) than we know about?"

Bemis said he'd raised the question every time a Hughes monument was discussed at public meetings and had been assured "they didn't think there was anything there."
Only last week did 87-year-old Jim Onchi learn that Hughes was identified as a director with Oregon Anti-Japanese Inc. Onchi grew up in Gresham and enlisted in the Army's 442nd regimental combat team when war broke out. His family was shuttled off to an internment camp.

"If he was that way, I would oppose him getting a monument," said Onchi, who now lives in Portland. "I can't help it."

A flawed investigation

The idea to honor Hughes had been kicked around by various citizen committees since 2003 but had languished, partly because of concerns about his membership in the anti-Japanese group. Then in fall 2005, two city councilors directed parks division manager Robb Courtney to get the issue before the City Council for a vote.
Courtney asked an employee in a Jan. 6 e-mail to write a report for the council agenda, which is available to the public, "sans any reference" to the former mayor's "possible discriminatory behavior." In an earlier e-mail, he had suggested calling it a "historic monument" rather than a "memorial" to possibly "make it less contentious."

The employee was also instructed to write a separate memo recapping the allegations against Hughes and efforts to investigate his past. That memo, dated Feb. 7 and distributed to the council, referred to the allegations against Hughes as "rumors."

The report the public saw at Tuesday's council meeting contained only a footnote to the controversy -- indicating it had been "satisfactorily resolved." And the item was on the consent agenda, which is reserved for issues not warranting council debate or public testimony.

Courtney said he now agrees the city should have done better, but says he didn't seek to downplay concerns about Hughes. Elected officials, he said, had expressed no lingering doubts about Hughes after receiving the Feb. 7 memo, so he felt, "if they are OK with it, I'm going to move this forward."

Courtney said he hadn't personally supervised the investigation of Hughes -- that had been handled by a city employee laid off during budget cuts last year. And he said that the project had the backing of a historic resources volunteer, David Lindstrom, who had done some of the early research and was convinced all the good the former mayor had done tipped the balance in his favor.

"Our feeling was, Dr. Hughes' work and life was so overwhelmingly positive," Lindstrom said.

The council says it is committed to making sure nothing like this happens again. It's creating a task force to set criteria for honoring community leaders or citizens.
Bruce Robnett, a Sam Barlow High School history teacher whose classes cover the local impact of internment, agrees more discussion is warranted.

"I think there needs to be more awareness of the people who had this happen to them," Robnett said. "Before we honor the mayor."

(BainbridgeHistorians note: Agreed Mr. Robnett. There needs to be an entire overhaul of your current curriculum so students get the full story of why the evacuation happened, who it happened to, and including those who resisted ethnic Japanese returning to their pre-Pearl Harbor properties and businesses.)

Portland Oregonian joining in the slimefest...

The Portland Oregonian has about as much credibility as the Seattle P.I. these days so it's natural to take their editorials with a grain of salt....

From my understanding the evidence for all this is past issues of the Portland Oregonian? Oh yes, and don't forget the "anecdotal evidence".

Gresham blunders in proposing honor for racist mayor

Dr. Herbert H. Hughes appears to have reflected the worst anti-Japanese prejudices of his time
Wednesday, March 15, 2006

A botched attempt to honor Gresham's longest-serving mayor, while ignoring his malevolence toward a minority group, has reopened an excruciating chapter in Gresham's history. Make that: Oregon's history.

And the simplest way to handle it is to forget it ever happened.

Forget how Gresham city officials glossed over some disturbing evidence in Mayor Herbert H. Hughes' career, dismissing it as "rumors."

Forget, as fast as we can, Hughes himself. Scrap, as well, of course, all further misguided attempts to memorialize him. Or maybe there's a better way. We'll get back to that in a second.

A country doctor who lived with his mother and sisters most of his life, Hughes served as Gresham's mayor from 1941 to 1956. He grew roses and chysanthemums, freely dispensed medical advice, delivered 5,000 babies and, in his time, was a beloved civic leader.

He was also, apparently, a bigot.

As we all know from our own experience, those things are not mutually exclusive. Babies -- roses -- beloved -- bigoted. Still, the virulence of Hughes' hatred towards Japanese Americans stands out even by the standards of his own time. As The Oregonian's Robin Franzen and Eric Mortenson reported Sunday, Hughes helped ignite a hate-mongering campaign that flared briefly in late 1944, aimed at stripping Japanese Americans of everything they had left, which in many cases wasn't much.

When 120,000 Japanese Americans were forced to relocate to internment camps during World War II, some lost everything they owned. But then-Mayor Hughes and a dozen other men formed Oregon Anti-Japanese Inc., apparently to ensure they would never get it back. Some in Hughes' group favored expulsion of Japanese Americans, or a constitutional amendment to revoke their citizenship. Thanks to some courageous leaders, including the Rev. John L. Magoon, Gresham came to its senses.

Did Hughes come to regret his involvement in this group? Some believe he did, but no one has substantiated that claim. "We certainly would love to see evidence that he had a change of heart," says Chip Larouche, with the Portland chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League.

In 1993, President Clinton apologized to Japanese Americans for their internment. The nation's actions, he wrote, were rooted in "racial prejudice, wartime hysteria and a lack of political leadership." While Hughes accomplished some good things, he failed a key test of his time and led his community in the wrong direction.

Maybe Gresham should research Hughes' career, unblinkingly, and create an unorthodox memorial, with the full participation of the Japanese American community. While acknowledging Hughes' dark side, it could also pay tribute to those courageous Oregonians who argued on the right side of history.

This is beyond the scope of what Gresham had in mind, of course. But it would help us all to remember exactly what happened. Remembering a beloved bigot might be better for Oregon than just agreeing to forget him.

(BainbridgeHistorians note: See if you can pick out the list of historical inaccuracies in this editorial...)

Friday, March 17, 2006

Reparations activists in Oregon slime beloved former mayor who's been dead for 42 years...

Of course resisting those ethnic Japanese who wanted to return after Japan surrendered was wrong. That's not the focus of sharing this post.

Major Hopkins resisted ethnic Japanese returning to Bainbridge so somebody changed the name Camp Hopkins to Camp Yemoalt a couple of years ago thus sullying the man's name on Bainbridge for generations to come.

The focus of this post is this: Coming up with "anecdotal evidence" that the mayor of Gresham, Oregon refused to deliver an infant based on ethnicity 42 years after he's dead and buried and 60 years after the war is wrong, not to mention sleazy.

That's disturbing and the Gresham City Council is a bunch of pansies for caving on this issue and allowing one of the city's fathers to be slimed by a bunch of ethnic activists.

Gresham buries monument project for a former mayor

Controversy - Officials respond to information linking him more closely to an anti-Japanese group during WWII
Friday, March 17, 2006

GRESHAM -- The effort to honor former Gresham Mayor Herbert H. Hughes with a monument is officially over.

The City Council killed the proposal Thursday after learning that Hughes' role in an anti-Japanese group during World War II was larger than first thought.

"It just needs to go away," City Council President Shane Bemis said Thursday. "It would be difficult to honor someone with that background."

Hughes, who served the city from 1941 to 1956, had previously been linked to an anti-Japanese group, Oregon Anti-Japanese Inc., in one local newspaper article in 1944. But a second article, in 1945, was uncovered this week during The Oregonian's review of news reports of the time.

A previous city investigation had wrongly concluded that Hughes had been named only once in print and only as a temporary director in connection with the group, which sought to keep Japanese Americans from returning to their homes after they had been sent to internment camps.

"It is clear that while the original research (into Hughes' background) was well-intentioned, it was not complete," Bemis said Thursday. "This proposal," he added, "should not have come forward to begin with."

John Kodachi, president of the Portland chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League, said Thursday that he was glad to hear of the council's decision.

"Racism should never be condoned, let alone with a historic monument, " Kodachi said. "We are very pleased that the City Council has listened to the community's concerns -- and I mean community in the broadest sense."

The first article naming Hughes appeared Nov. 30, 1944, in the Gresham Outlook. In it, Hughes was listed as one of a handful of governors of Oregon Anti-Japanese Inc. "until permanent organization is effected."

This was the only news article identified by the city's investigation of Hughes, leading a citizen volunteer and a park planner looking into his past to conclude his involvement was probably temporary. City officials, according to documents, considered the matter "satisfactorily resolved."

However, the second Outlook article, dated Jan. 4, 1945, reported on the group's application for incorporation and listed Hughes on the board of directors, along with about a dozen other men. This article -- apparently missed by the city's reviews -- lists the group's directors.

Hughes was the longest-serving mayor in city history, and, for many, a beloved figure. As a medical doctor, he delivered more than 5,000 babies and often made house calls. When he retired as mayor, the city declared "Dr. Hughes' Day," and when he died in 1964, the business district closed out of respect.

Although there was interest by some Gresham residents in honoring "Doc" Hughes as early as 2003, it was only this month that such a proposal got as far as a City Council agenda.

City officials failed to solicit input from the Japanese American community. And on March 7, as they prepared to act on the proposed monument without debate, they received a rush of protest from Japanese Americans, and others, who learned of it hours before the council meeting.

One critic of the idea offered new anecdotal evidence alleging that Hughes had refused to treat a pregnant Japanese American woman -- his mother-in-law -- in late 1941 because of her race.

As a result, the council postponed taking action and called for the creation of a task force to examine how to better handle memorial projects in the future.
Even with the monument called off, the city continues to hammer out the details of that yet-unnamed group, which is expected to establish criteria over the next two to four months for honoring community leaders.

City spokeswoman Laura Bridges-Shepard said Thursday that such a task force should help the city avoid a similar controversy in the future by involving experts who best understand the complexities of historical research. Such experts, she said, might come from the Oregon Historical Society or the Oregon State Archives.

"We want to do this right," Bridges-Shepard said. "We want to develop a process that stands the test of time."

(BainbridgeHistorians note: Does anybody else find the sub-headline a poor choice of words? It says "Controversy - Officials respond to information linking him more closely to an anti-Japanese group during WWII". Wouldn't it have been more controversial if he had been closey linked to a pro-Japanese group during WWII? Wasn't the United States fighting a war against Japan at the time?)

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Second half of Professor Murphey's piece

A Question Long-Since forgotten: Was Mere Relocation a Dangerously Indulgent Policy?

Many officials on the West Coast and in the western states wanted actual internment, not just relocation, for the duration of the war. Hindsight shows that this wasn't necessary. As it turned out the evacuation and relocation worked well to protect both the national security and the Japanese-Americans themselves. It's easy to lose sight of the fact today, though, that the decision not to intern was made at great risk. Experience during the war did demonstrate that there were a sizeable number of Japanese-Americans who militantly supported Japan. If they had conducted even one massive act of sabotage, would the risk have been worth it? How many lives, say, was the risk worth? 100? 1000? 10,000? Whose lives?

The Criticism of an Inference

After the war began, authorities anticipated acts of sabotage on the West Coast - but none occurred. Why? The critics of the evacuation argue that this is evidence that there were no disloyal persons of Japanese ancestry. A number of American officials at the time, however, including Earl Warren, drew diametrically the opposite inference: that there must be some who were willing to commit sabotage, but that for some reason they were being held back rather than being exposed. Warren and the others, including the columnist Walter Lippmann, considered it an ominous sign.

This inference was later ridiculed - in fact, called "vicious" and unprofessional - by the Congressional Commission on Wartime Relocation. Each reader should be able to decide for himself whether the reasoning was flawed (and, for those who agree with the critics who say that it was, whether it can appropriately be characterized as vicious).

A Critically Important Choice: Mass Evacuation or a Case-by-Case Loyalty Determination

The normal course of law in a legal system that respects individual rights looks at the guilt of individuals, providing each "due process." The critics of the evacuation invoke this as the basis for a bitter denunciation of American policy, since it treated the Japanese-Americans as a group. The critical view would follow almost naturally from a position that acknowledges virtually no need for protective measures in the emergency: If the threat were slight, it would hardly outweigh the important value to be given to due process.

We have already seen, however, that there was a vital need for immediate action. The critical view would also be reasonable if the American government had had an expeditious way to determine, by investigation and hearings, the loyalty of each person on an individual basis. But this was a virtual impossibility, given the cultural insularity of the Japanese-American community. (To make any practical sense, it presupposes that many of the Japanese-Americans would have come forward in hearings as witnesses against other Japanese-Americans; but we have seen the internal pressures, including murderous beatings, that the pro-Japan element could have brought to bear against it.)

When the war was within months of being over, Justice Murphy on the Supreme Court found it easy to embrace the contrary view, but in the first case to come before the Court he had said that "the military authorities could reasonably have concluded at the time that determinations as to the loyalty of individual ...persons of Japanese extraction on the West Coast could not be made without delay that might have had tragic consequences.

"Chief Justice Stone, writing for the Court, agreed, saying: "We cannot say that the war-making branches of the government did not have ground for believing that in a critical hour such persons could not readily be isolated and separately dealt with."

Justice Jackson made a curious bifurcation reminiscent of Pontius Pilate's washing of his hands: that courts should continue even during wartime to hold to individual due process, but that they shouldn't interfere with the military if it found it necessary not to do so.

Why Wasn't the Same Done With the Hawaiian Japanese-Americans ?

The point is sometimes made that the evacuation from the West Coast was inconsistent with having left the Japanese-American population on Hawaii. The answer is that with the - declaration of martial law and the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus in December 1941, Hawaii was placed under direct military control. It is said to have been "governed like a military camp for all its inhabitants." This was not done on the mainland.

Why Weren't Americans of German and Italian Extraction evacuated?

Another point of criticism asks why the Japanese-Americans evacuated but people of German and Italian ancestry were not. This has a double edge: it suggests that the evacuation really wasn't necessary; and it sugqests that the evacuation was racially motivated.

Senator Hayakawa, though, wrote "the answer is obvious. Germans and Italians, having come to America earlier than the Japanese and in far greater numbers, were already well-known to Americans in 1941." The same point was expressed in a letter that the city officials of Madera, California, wrote to then-attorney general Earl Warren in early 1941: "The general feeling about the Italians is that they are well assimilated, and we do not regard even the Italian aliens alien in fact... So Far as we know, there are no German aliens in this community." The distinction lies in the vast difference in assimilation. The Germans and Italians had long-since become mixed with the general population.

Whether the Exclusion Should Have Been Ended Sooner

In their late-1944 opinions, the Supreme Court justices were especially sensitive to whether the exclusion order should have been rescinded once the tide of military fortune shifted in favor of the United States. (The various concurring and dissenting opinions would, in fact, make an excellent case study in the vagaries of the liberal mind, since a certain ideological sentimentality became apparent once the improving war situation allowed it.)

As it was, the order was rescinded as of January 2, 1945, when there were still more than seven months of warfare remaining with Japan. The argument is that it is unconstitutional to constrain an American citizen even a day longer than necessity requires, and that as time went on many of the Japanese-Americans were clearly known to be loyal. If it is agreed, however, that a group evacuation and resettlement was justified, it becomes a neat matter of timing as to when, precisely, the program should have been abandoned.

The Roosevelt administration did not wait until the end of the war, but simply took longer than the critics assert it should have. We have seen that beginning in early 1944 "certificates of exemptions were granted to some to return to the West Coast. What is important, though, is to remind ourselves that the country was very largely occupied with other tasks. It shouldn't be necessary to recite the vastly complicated preoccupations that held Americans' attention in 1944 and 1945. Meanwhile, the relocation of many of the Japanese-Americans to eastern and mid-western communities was going on apace. While it is technically arguable that the exclusion order should have been rescinded earlier, the failure to do so seems understandable.

Was the Relocation a Product of 'Racism'?

Much public opinion on the West Coast had long been hostile to Japanese and other Asian immigration. Organized labor was for many years prominent among its opponents. And there is no question but that public opinion was inflamed against the Japanese during World War II, especially right after Pearl Harbor. This feeling was most intense on the West Coast, for a very specific reason: the National Guard units from eleven western states were fighting in the Philippines, where they were tortured and starved by their Japanese captors. Their families and friends felt passionately about it. Throughout the war, one of the motivating factors in the policy of evacuation and resettlement was to protect the Japanese-Americans from public anger. It is easy today to say that anger 'Racist,' but we have reason to be suspicious of attitudes taken under much more comfortable circumstances forty and even fifty years after the fact. To argue that the anger was vicious has, itself, a certain vicious quality about it. The point to keep in mind is that there were ample reasons for the evacuation that had nothing to do with racism.

Justice Black wrote level-headedly about this in 1944: "To cast this case into outlines of racial prejudice, without reference to the real military danger which were present, merely confuses the issue. Korematsu was not excluded from the Military area because of hostility to him or his race ... He was excluded because we are at war with the Japanese Empire...."

Justice Stone discussed whether there are occasions when national origin can be considered in making policy: "Because racial discriminations are in most circumstances irrelevant and therefore prohibited, it by no means follows that, in dealing with the perils of war, Congress and the Executive are wholly precluded from taking into account those facts and circumstances which are relevant ... and which may in fact place citizens of one ancestry in a different category from others."

The Aftermath

The U. S. Supreme Court had the matter before it in three cases: Hirabayashi v.. United States, 32O U.S. 81 (1943); Korematsu v. United States, 323 U.S. 214 (1944); and Ex Parte Endo, 323 U.S. 283 (1944).

In the course of this discussion I have had occasion to quote much of the thinking expressed there. Hearings were held by the House of Representative's "Select Committee Investigating National Defense Migration" (the "Tolan Committee") in February and March of 1942. In 1948, Congress passed the "Japanese American Evacuation Claims Act" under which approximately $38 million was paid to evacuees for property losses (though extensive measures had been taken by the Army and the War Relocation Authority to store and safeguard their property during the war).

Critics later argued that additional money should have been paid for loss of earnings and for intangible damages such as "stigma" and "psychological impact." In the late 1960s, a movement called "the redress movement" got underway. Reflecting the importunities of that movement, President Gerald Ford in 1976 issued a proclamation saying "we know now what we should have known then: not only was [the] evacuation wrong, but Japanese-Americans were and are loyal Americans."

In 1980, Congress created the "Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians." It issued its report, entitled "Personal Justice Denied," on February 22, 1983. John J. McCloy later wrote that "the manner and the atmosphere in which the hearings were held was outrageous and a disgrace." He said that "I have been before this Congress many times in hearings, but I have never been subjected to the indignities that I was at the hearings of the Relocation Commission. Every time I tried to say anything in favor of the United States or in favor of the President of the United States, there were hisses and boos and stomping of feet."

David F. Trask, the chief historian for the U.S. Army Center of Military History, sees the Report as virtually an advocacy brief "to present the case against the Government in the most favorable light ... Facts and arguments that might tend to support a contrary conclusion are either excluded or rejected." We have seen how it totally overlooked the existence of MAGIC, the decoded Japanese dispatches, which is a key to understanding why the Roosevelt administration took the action it did. In 1988, hearings were held by the House Subcommittee on Administrative Law and Governmental Relations. In 1988, Congress passed the "Japanese Money Bill" under which more than $2O,000 was paid, with an apology, to more than 60,000 of evacuees. As a part of this, in October 1990 checks for $20,000 each were sent to 490 former evacuees who had returned to Japan and are citizens there.

The Long-Term Effect on the Japanese-Americans

Though it has nothing to do with the merits of the evacuation, it is worth mentioning as a concluding note that the long-term effects on the Nisei and succeeding generations have almost certainly been favorable. Senator Hayakawa wrote that "as one talks with Nisei today, one gets the impression that the wartime relocation, despite the injustices and economic losses suffered, was perhaps the best thing that could have happened to the Japanese-Americans on the West Coast. As many say, the relocation forced them out of their segregated existence to discover the rest of America ... The relocation thus resulted in the Americanization of the Japanese in one generation after immigration - a record for non-English-speaking immigrants of any color.


The circumstances during World War II were much more complicated that those who would damn the United States as having "viciously set up concentration camps for the Japanese-Americans" ever admit. My study of the subject has persuaded me that Americans have nothing to be ashamed about this episode, even though it is regrettable that such a thing should ever have to happen.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

The search for historical accuracy isn't a panderer's game to curry favor; to seek the truth is no slander against anyone.

This has not been posted in its entirety, yet. I'll get the rest up asap.

The World War II Relocation Japanese-Americans
Dwight D. Murphey
The Wichita State University Journal of Social, Political and Economic Issues - Spring, 1993

In the war over American identity - the culture war - that has raged since the 1960s, it has been common for the Left, deeply entrenched in our media, schools and academic life, to paint the American mainstream as vicious and racist.

As I checked some books out of the Wichita State University library just before beginning this article, the young librarian noticed the subject of the books and offered the information that "there's an excellent book that arrived recently about the internment of the Japanese-Canadians in Canada. Canada did the same thing we did!"

He was surprised, though, when I said "there were substantial differences." The Canadians actually interned them - and didn't let them return to the west Coast of Canada until 1949. Did you know that in this country, we sent their college-age young peopleto hundreds of American universities?"

"After the war?," he asked."No, while the war was going on," I told him.

That was the end of the conversation since he lost relish for it. It was pretty obvious from the little that I had said that I wasn't repeating the politically correct view on the subject.

It's doubtful whether, in talking to the young librarian, I had happened upon anyone particularly radical. It's more likely that his perceptions reflect the well-nigh universal understanding among "the (properly) informed public" on such issues as the relocation of the Japanese-Americans.

Kent State, the Hollywood Blacklist, etc. - which is that Americans have shown their true colors by a series of bigoted, essentially vicious, acts. Among that "informed public," there is even a certain delight in it, as though it's a vindication of all they know. A large number of Americans think it is perfectly normal wo want to believe the worst about the United States.

What is important to a student of today's on-going but one-sided "war over American culture," is to realize that these perceptions are a result - one of the many legacies - of the sixties, which in turn had raised to a fever pitch the hostile cultural critique the Left had been making of 'bourgeois' society since the 1820s).

Dr. Ken Masugi, a resident Fellow at the Claremont Institute, stated the point succinctly when he testified before Congress in 1984 that the currently-accepted view is the product of "Japanese-Americans who were activists in the Sixties and then became lawyers and community organizers.

"The intent, he said, is to achieve "one of the goals of the Sixties protest movements: To show that America is a racist society, and that even in the case of World War II, America's noblest foreign war, America was corrupt, having its own 'concentration camps.'

Very little was heard about the World War II relocation of the Japanese-Americans before the New Left. According to the 1982 Report of the Commission on Wartime Relocation, "those representing the interests of civil rights and civil liberties in Congress, the press and other public forums were silent or indeed supported exclusion ...

A poll of the Northern California Civil Liberties Union in the spring of 1942 showed a majority in favor of the evacuation orders." Nor was there any opposition in Congress. At the end of the war, the Japanese-Americans themselves who fought in Italy and France raised funds for a memorial to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. So we can see that although the evacuation raises issues all Americans will want to consider, it is largely an issue born out of more recent cultural alienation.

An interesting aspect is that the Cognoscenti's perception of American viciousness does not take as its target simply a certain 'redneck' portion of the American population. The New Left turned its anger every bit as much against 'liberals.' With regard to the Japanese-American issue, those who are alienated do not shrink from denouncing as guilty the Franklin Delano Roosevelt administration and such personalities as Earl Warren and Milton Eisenhower.

As with all these things, the ideas become as common as the air we breathe. That is made especially evident when an idea appears in the "Dear Abby" newspaper feature. On April 13, 1992, Abigail Van Buren was so proud of something she'd written years ago that she repeated it:

"In 1980 I wrote: 'To our everlasting shame, approximately 100,000 loyal American citizens were held in concentration camps for the duration of World War II. Their "crime?" They were of Japanese descent."

It's time for an Honest Look in writing about subjects involved in the culture war, it is not my intention to do a series of pieces - white-washing American history, I much prefer to approach them as an objective scholar.

If Americans have done something-shameful, American in general and conservatives in particular should want to be among the first to know it; those who cherish our history would be poorly served by dishonest and partisan scholarship. When I started my study of the removal of the Japanese-Americans I knew virtually nothing about it, and I have remained ready to report whatever I found. It obviously should not be a disqualification, however, for a scholar to begin his study of any of these issues without an inbred animus against the United States.

Nor should proving the scholar's "objectivity" require him to find reason for America to be ashamed when that isn't called for. With that in mind, I will state right now the conclusion I have reached and that will emerge from this article. It is that the United States did not act shamefully in its treatment of persons of Japanese ancestry during World War II. In fact, a better case could be made for a diametrically opposite criticism: that the treatment was so tender-hearted that it actually jeopardized the security of the United States during a desperate war.

In the intolerant context of today's ideological arguments, it is predictable that a conclusion favorable to the United States will be presented as "offensive" to the many splendid people of Japanese ancestry who now form a part of the American people.

But, of course, that would be nonsense. The search for historical accuracy isn't a panderer's game to curry favor; to seek the truth is no slander against anyone.

I was among those who were thrilled when Kristi Yamaguchi received her Olympic gold medal in skating at Albertsville, France, to the strains of the national anthem. She has represented this country beautifully with her world championship in Munich in 1991 and her U.S. national title in Orlando early in 1992. And there is no question but that America lost an excellent citizen last year with the death of S.I. Hayakawa. In a more normal climate it would go without saying that no insult is intended to the likes of Yamaguchi or Hayakawa by an honest study of the World War II removal issue.

The Topics We Will Examine

There is so much to the subject that, like a good debater, it is well to start by telling them what you are going to tell them": Most of what follows will relate to two large questions.

First, what exactly was done regarding the persons of Japanese ancestry? And, second, why was it done; i.e., what was its necessity?

Each of these involves a good many facets. When we have furnished them, we will review the U.S. Supreme Court decisions relating to the issue, and tell of the various follow-ups in the form of Congressional inquiries, a Presidential commission, and the payment of damages on two occasions.

Some Terms to know

Anyone dealing with this issue soon gets to know the names that have been given in Japanese to the various groups that have come to this country. The generic name that applies to all those in the United States who are of Japanese origin is "Kikkei." Of these, the "Issei" are those who came to this country as immigrants, the "Nisei" are the first generation born in the United States, and the "Sansei" the second. There is a separate word - "Kibei" - for those who returned to Japan for their education.

Although I include these names for their informative value, I will use them sparingly in this article, since I think that for most readers they may prove more confusing than helpful.

The First Main Question: What Was Done?
Presence of Japanese-Americans on the West Coast

Japan had followed a policy of strict separation from the world From 1638 until Commodore Matthew C. Perry broke its isolation in 1854. The Japanese government placed strict limits on emigration until in 1884 it granted the right to emigrate freely. A few Japanese came to the United States before the turn of the century.

Between 1901 and 1908, however, both the United States and Japan allowed unrestricted migration from Japan - and 127,000 Japanese came to this country. This immigration was severely restricted in 1908, and a "Gentleman's Agreement" was entered into with Japan limiting the flow, after which Japanese continued to enter in lesser numbers. Immigration from Japan was barred totally beginning in 1924. American law did not provide for citizenship for those who had come, but those who were born in the United States automatically became citizens, and had duel citizenship with Japan. The 1940 Census showed 126,975 persons of Japanese origin in the United States; of these, 79,642 had been born here.

Immediate arrest of 'Dangerous Aliens' After Pearl Harbor

Within days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, approximately 3,000 Japanese aliens classified as dangerous were arrested and incarcerated by the Department of Justice. These were individuals under suspicion by American intelligence, which beginning in 1939 had begun to compile lists of persons considered dangerous in case of war.

Declaration of West Coast as a Military Zone; Exclusion of Persons of Japanese Origin

On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. This authorized the establishment of military areas from which people of all kinds could be excluded. Lt. General John L. Dewitt was appointed the military commander to carry out the Executive Order. In March, Gen. Dewitt declared large parts of the Pacific Coast states military areas in which no one of Japanese descent would be allowed to remain. The exclusion order affected Japanese-Americans living on the West Coast by forcing them to move inland. Its only effect upon those who already lived inland was to bar them from going to the quarantined areas on the West Coast.

Col. Karl R. Bendetsen was named Director of the Wartime Civil Control Administration to handle the evacuation. Also in March, Roosevelt created a civilian agency, the War Relocation Authority (WRA), to assist the evacuees. Milton Eisenhower, brother of later president Dwight Eisenhower, was named Director.

Congress ratified the evacuation by enacting legislation that made it a federal offense for anyone to violate the exclusion order.

A short-lived plan originally was to assist the Japanese-Americans in a process by which they would move inland "on their own recognizance" as individuals and families. Bendetsen says that "funds were provided for them [and] we informed them...where there were safe motels in which they could stay overnight." This was ended almost immediately, by late March, however. The need for a more organized system became apparent, Bendetsen says, when most of the Japanese-Americans were not able to make arrangements to relocate quickly even with some help. A second reason was that the governors of Western states (reflecting public opinion in their states) objected strongly to thousands of people of Japanese origin moving into their States without oversight. These objections were reiterated at a Governors' Conference for ten western governors on April 7.

(There was a continuing tension, lessening over time, between the desire to let the evacuees relocate freely and the desire that much of the public had to have them monitored closely.)

This led to the "assembly center phase," during which the evacuees were moved to improvised centers such as race tracks and Fairgrounds along the West Coast pending the construction of ten "relocation centers" in eastern California, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and as far east as Arkansas. During this phase, federal officials made extensive efforts to lessen public hostility. As those feelings subsided, approximately 4,000 families went ahead to move inland "on their own recognizance" to communities of their choice before the assembly center' phase was over at the end of the summer of 1942. Bendetsen says that all of the Japanese-Americans could have moved on their own at any time if they had seen their way clear to do it.

The assembly centers are criticized as having had "barbed wire and searchlights," overcrowding, lack of privacy, and inadequate medical care. But Bendetsen disputes much of this, as we will see in my later discussion of whether the evacuees can properly be said to have been "interned."

Hastily improvised and purely temporary quarters for thousands of people who have been uprooted from their homes on short notice could not have been pleasant. There is no incongruity, however, between this and the fact, also true, that the government worked with the evacuees themselves to take extraordinary measures to make the centers as comfortable as possible. In the short time they existed, some centers opened libraries; movies were shown regularly; there were Scout troops, arts and crafts classes, musical groups, and leagues for basketball and baseball. Three hundred and fifty people signed up for calisthenics class at Stockton. All had playgrounds for children, and one even had a pitch-and-putt golf course. The centers were run almost entirely by the Japanese-Americans themselves.

As the ten relocation centers became ready, the evacuees were moved to them from the assembly centers. These were under the jurisdiction of the War Relocation Authority. Dillon S. Myer became the Director of the WRA in June when Milton Eisenhower resigned to become the deputy director of the Office of War Information. The relocation centers' highest population, of 106,770, was attained on November 1, 1942. The construction of the camps was of the type used for housing American soldiers overseas - which is to say, the centers were Spartan but functional. Senator S. I. Hayakawa later described them as "dreary places: long rows of tarpaper-covered wooden barracks ... Each room had a stove, a drop light, an iron cot and mattress... But the WRA," he said, "headed by the wise and humane Dillon Myer, ... made life as comfortable as possible for them." It's worth noting that no families were ever separated during the process.

As with the assembly centers, the critics found fault with much about the relocation centers. For example, the level of health care has been the subject of continuing dispute. Dillon Myer, however, says that "the professional care was excellent (and) was free."There were messhalls for meals, and a large number of community enterprises, which included stores, theaters, hairdressers, community theaters, and newspapers. There was ping-pong, judo, boxing, badminton, and sumo wresting. Again, there were basketball and baseball leagues (along with some touch football). The Santa Fe center had "gardens, two softball diamonds, two tennis courts, a miniature nine-hole golf course, a fenced forty-acre hiking area, ... classes in calligraphy, Chinese and Japanese poetry ...." The Massachusetts Quakers sponsored art competitions. Libraries featured Japanese-language sections. There were chapters of the American Red Cross, YMCA, YWCA, Boy Scouts, and Girl Scouts. State Shinto, with its emperor - worship, was barred, but otherwise the evacuees worshipped as they pleased.

The government paid a salary equal to a soldier's pay ($21 per month) to those who worked in the centers.

Each of the camps (except Tule Lake, which came to be quite different from the others for reasons we will see later, had fully accredited schools through the High school level. There were nursery schools, kindergarten, the teaching of instrumental music, school choruses, achievement testing, high school newspapers and annuals, dances, active Parent-Teacher Associations, student councils and class officers. When graduation was held at the Topaz camp, the University of Utah lent the necessary caps and gowns. Present-day critics such as Lane Ryo Hirabayashi, however, reflecting today's 'multiculturalist' ideology, object to the assimilationist objectives of the instruction, which sought to Americanize the students. (This is inconsistent with the criticism that is also made, with bitter charges of 'racism,' that during the 192Os and 193Os Americans hadn't welcomed an assimilation of Japanese immigrants, and had enacted laws to prevent it.)

Much of the credit for the livability of the centers goes to the Japanese-Americans themselves, whose energy and intelligence immediately made the best of the situation. This was accomplished in an active relationship with the WRA.

Subject to a veto that the WRA could exercise, each relocation center (as had been the assembly centers) was governed internally by the Japanese-Americans themselves, who elected representatives from each block.Even before the relocation centers became filled, collegeage students began to leave to attend American universities. At the beginning of the Fall semester in 1942, approximately 250 students had left for school, attending 143 colleges and universities. By the time the war was over, 4,3OO college-age students were attending more than 3OO universities around the country (though not on the West Coast). Scholarships were granted based on financial ability. Foundations and churches funded a 'National Japanese-American Student Relocation Council' to help with college attendance.

The centers were intended, as their name suggests, to be places in which the evacuees could stay while they were being relocated around the country. Myer says "never was there any policy of confinement for the duration." "As early as September 1942," S. 1. Hayakawa tells us, "hundreds of Issei railroad workers were restored to their jobs in eastern Oregon." At one point, $4 million was appropriated to help those who wanted to start businesses away from the centers. In 1943, 16,000 people left the centers on indefinite leave; and 18,000 more followed in 1944. Others left the centers on a seasonal basis, such as the 5,000 who helped harvest the sugar beet crop in several western states. Field offices were maintained by the WRA in Midwestern and eastern cities to find jobs for those willing to go out on their own. Churches maintained hostels in four cities to provide short-term quarters for those who wanted to leave the centers to look for jobs. It is for all these reasons that those who were in charge say that relocation, not internment, was the goal.

Many of the evacuees, however, remained in the centers for the duration of the war. Critics attribute this to a lack of alternatives, as though the evacuees were trapped, but Bendetsen credits the fact that life was acceptable within the centers. "Many elected to stay in the relocation centers while being gainfully employed in nearby pursuits in the general economy ...The climate of hostility which presented intractable problems in the very early phases had long since subsided."

Beginning in early 1944, with still a year and a half of war to go, "certificates of exemption" began to be issued to those who, having passed security investigations, wanted to return to the West Coast. Then in November 1944 the cabinet decided to lift the exclusion. This was announced by the War Department on December 18 and took effect on January 2. With that, the process of disassembling the centers got underway. The war with Japan ended in August 1945, and the last of the centers, except Tule Lake, was closed on December 1, 1945.The Tule Lake Center Used for InternmentThe center at Tule Lake, California, started out as a relocation center but before long was turned into an actual internment camp - a "segregation center" - for those Japanese-Americans who were hostile to the United States. It housed those who applied to be repatriated to Japan, if they had not withdrawn the application by the middle of 1943; those who answered "no" to a loyalty questionnaire and didn't clear up the problem in special hearings held for the purpose; those against whom the government had evidence of disloyalty; and the family members of those in the first three groups.

Were the Relocation Centers an 'Internment'?

There is no question but that the evacuees were forced by law to leave their homes on the West Coast and to either stay in the centers or relocate elsewhere in the United States by receiving leaves for the purpose. Their exclusion from the West Coast was not voluntary, and after the short-lived initial phase their relocation had to be done through the centers, which granted leave, temporary or indefinite, for the purpose. But, except for those arrested as 'dangerous aliens' right after Pearl Harbor and those who were later segregated at Tule Lake, were the Japanese-Americans 'interned' in the centers? And were the centers, as is often charged, 'concentration camps'?

What is important to realize is that these questions are largely issues of characterization. Those who seem to place the evacuation in the worst light stress the 'humiliation' and' affront to our loyalty' inherent in being made to relocate. They especially like to refer to the centers as 'concentration camps,' thereby evoking images akin to Nazi death camps. (One of the many books on the subject speaks of "the parallel experience of the German Jews.") Even Senator Hayakawa; who certainly felt no alienation toward the United States, later spoke of the evacuation as an affront that said in effect that "we doubt your loyalty." (I have a hard time accepting even Hayakawa's notion about this, since the evacuation was premised not on a doubt about the loyalty of all Japanese-Americans but rather on an inability rapidly to sort out who was loyal to the United States and who to Japan. The officials of the Roosevelt administration always acknowledged that a great many of the Japanese-Americans were loyal.)

The substance of the charge of 'internment' is contradicted by the fact that resettlement outside the centers was diligently pursued throughout the process. Hayakawa says that by January 2, 1945, half of those evacuated had "found new jobs and homes in mid-America and the East.

"What is most often pointed to in support of the charge of 'internment' and even of the centers being 'concentration camps' is that there were "fences and guards." Even Hayakawa speaks of the centers as being "behind barbed wire, guarded by armed sentries." The role of fences and guards, though, seems to depend largely upon perception.

In 1984 a House subcommittee asked Bendetsen about earlier testimony that there had been barbed wire and watchtowers, and he testified that "that is 100 percent false ... Because of the actions of outraged U.S. citizens, of which I do not approve, it was necessary in some of the assembly centers, particularly Santa Anita,... to protect the evacuees ... and that is the only place where guards were used. [As to] relocation centers... there was not a guard at all at any of them. That would not be true of Tule Lake [after it became a segregation center].

"I have scrutinized the follow-up questioning by the subcommittee's counsel to see whether any effort was made to shake Bendetsen's testimony by confronting him with specifics that would contradict it. He had testified to the same effect in 1981, and the subcommittee staff could easily have been prepared with specifics to ask him about if they existed.

I have given the same scrutiny to the questioning at the time he testified before the Commission on Wartime Relocation in 1981. In neither case were specific follow-up questions asked, despite many allegations to the subcommittee and earlier to the Commission that the centers were guarded. Although I don't feel that the conflict in reports is definitively resolved in my mind, I assign considerable weight to this failure to-cross-examine Bendetsen about specifics, which were supposedly known to the subcommittee and the Commission, when there was plenty of opportunity to do so.

In 1981; Senator Brooke had asked him in general terms about "the voluminous testimony we have had describe (sic) these camps quite differently from the way you've described them."

Bendetsen replied: "A great part of the testimony was given by people who were not yet born then ... You had testimony available from many people who were not given an opportunity to present it, some of whom were physically intimidated by the people who were in attendance day after day ... I have received a barrage of mail...

There were many people who in good faith wanted to testify that they thought the conditions were nowhere close to some of the testimony which you heard."Photographs are provided in some of the literature showing watchtowers and guards. It is important as to each photograph to know the specific date and location. The persons at Tule Lake, for example, were under guard to keep them in; and photographs from early 1942 would relate to the assembly center phase.

As we will see in my discussion of the military situation, there were strong reasons for an actual internment, which is what Earl Warren, who was then the attorney general of California, wanted. But that is not what the Roosevelt administration did. It chose to steer a middle course between those who wanted no evacuation at all and those who, like Warren, wanted the Japanese-American population closely monitored. To call it an "internment" is at most a half-truth.

Economic Losses; Care of Property

A number of unscrupulous persons took advantage of the situation in which the Japanese-Americans found themselves between the time of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and early March of next year. But once the Army took charge of the evacuation, extensive efforts were made to safeguard the evacuees' property.

Col. Bendetsen testified:"When you are told that the household goods of the evacuees after I took over were dissipated, that is totally false. The truth is that all of the household goods of those who were evacuated or who left voluntarily were indexed, stored, and wharehouse receipts were given. And those who settled in the interior on their own told us, and we shipped it to them free of charge. As far as their crops were concerned, the allegations are totally false. I used the Agriculture Department to arrange harvesting after they left and to sell the crops at auction, and the Federal Reserve System, at my request, handled the proceeds. The proceeds were carefully deposited in their bank accounts in the West to each individual owner. And many of these farms were farmed the whole time - not sold a bargain prices, but leased - and the proceeds were based on the market value of the harvest."

As we will see later, Congress passed a "Claims Act" in 1948 under which approximately $38 million was paid to the evacuees for property losses.

The critics assert that additional compensation should have been granted for mental suffering, but that is a different issue than whether there was a wanton taking of their property. Many millions of people, including Americans of all origins and by no means limited to the Japanese-Americans, experienced uncompensated mental suffering in World War II.

The Second Main Question: Why Was it Done?
The Nature of the Military Emergency

A state of severe military vulnerability existed in December 1941 and early 1942. The American Pacific Fleet, our first line of defense in the Pacific, was destroyed by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7. The Japanese at the same time attacked Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines, Wake and Midway Islands. The next day, they invaded Thailand. Within less than a week, Guam fell. By Christmas, they had taken Wake Island and had occupied Hong Kong.

Manila fell on January 2, and Singapore on February 10. The Battle of the Java Sea on February 27 resulted in a major naval victory for Japan. By early March, Japan had control over Rangoon, Burma and the Netherlands East Indies. The struggle at Bataan and Corregidor marked the end of the Japanese conquest of the Philippines.The Hawaiian Islands and the West Coast of the United States were open to attack. On February 23, a Japanese submarine shelled an oil field along the California coast. Two days later, five unidentified planes were spotted and Los Angeles underwent a black-out. The United States hastily made preparations for war.

The extent of its unpreparedness is illustrated by the draftees' use of wooden guns in their maneuvers in Louisiana in early 1942.

Japanese Exploitation of West Coast Vulnerability

The critics of the evacuation often argue that there was no demonstrated military necessity for it. 'The Report of the Commission on Wartime Relocation speaks of "the clamor" by California officials for protective action, and says that "these opinions were not informed by any knowledge of actual military risks." The extensive critical literature mocks the perception of danger, suggesting it was a figment of hysterical imaginations.But this is nonsense. The danger was palpable - and apparent to anyone who considered the situation. Earl Warren, as attorney general of California, testified before a select committee of Congress (the Tolan Committee") on February 2I, 1942, and submitted letters from a number of local officials. Some pointed out to the vulnerability of the water supply and of the large-scale irrigation systems: "It would be absolutely humanly impossible," one of them wrote, "for the small force now available in the sheriffs office to make even a pretense of guarding this tremendous farm territory and the irrigation system." Another pointed that "a systematic campaign of incendiarism would cause terrific disaster" during the California dry season from May until October. The city manager of Alameda observed that "we have the naval air' station at one end the island...There are five major shipyards along the northern edge and there is the Oakland Airport at the eastern end of the island." Warren provided maps showing that the Japanese-American population lived in close proximity to virtually all strategic locations.Many scenarios suggest themselves.

Espionage, sabotage, and aid to an invading army are obvious possibilities. To appreciate the danger, we need to have a very real sense of what a terrible toll could have been taken if even another Pearl Harbor had been replicated. The potential was for much more than that, however.In addition to the civilian population, there was much that was important militarily and economically along the West Coast; it was clearly exposed; and there were few means to defend it. In my opinion, this was enough in itself to create a critical emergency, to be met as humanely but as effectively as possible.

It should not be necessary for the America government to have known specifically of plans for espionage and sabotage.Nevertheless, there was definitive evidence of Japan's intent to exploit the situation. On December 4, 1941, the Office of Naval Intelligence reported a Japanese "intelligence machine geared for war, in operation, and utilizing west coast Japanese."

On January 21, 1942 a bulletin Army Intelligence "stated flat out that the Japanese government's espionage net containing Japanese aliens, first and second generation Japanese and other nationals is now thoroughly organized and working underground," according to the testimony of David D. Lowman, a retired career intelligence officer who has written extensively on declassifiedintelligence from World War II.

The Commission on Wartime Relocation contradicted this in its 1982 Report when it said that "not a single documented act of espionage, sabotage or fifth column activity was committed by an American citizen of Japanese ancestry or by a resident Japanese alien on the West Coast."

This claim is often repeated in the critical literature, but is blatantly false.

Amazingly, the Commission ignored the most important source of information about espionage, which is the dispatches sent by the Japanese government to its own people before and during the war. U. S. Navy codebreakers had broken the Japanese diplomatic code in 1938, and the decoded messages were distributed, on a basis "higher than Top Secret," to a small handful of top American officials under the codename "MAGIC."

Lowman testified in 1984 that "included among the diplomatic communications were hundreds of reports dealing with espionage activities in the United States and it's possessions ... In recruiting Japanese second generation and resident nationals, Tokyo warned to use the utmost caution ... In April 1941, Tokyo instructed all the consulates to wire home lists of first- and second-generation Japanese according to specified categories."

The result, he said, was that "in May 1941, Japanese consulates on the west coast reported to Tokyo that first and second generation Japanese had been successfully recruited and were now spying on shipments of airplanes and war material in the San Diego and San Pedro areas. They were reporting on activities within aircraft plants in Seattle and Los Angeles. Local Japanese... were reporting on shipping activities at the Bremerton Naval Yard...The Los Angeles consulate reported: "We shall maintain connections with our second generation who are at present in the Army to keep us informed"... Seattle followed with a similar dispatch."

A number of officials within the Roosevelt administration opposed the evacuation of the Japanese-Americans from the west coast, but Lowman makes a telling point: that the President, the Secretary of War, the Army Chief of Staff, the Director of Military Intelligence, the Secretary of the Navy, the Chief of Naval Operations, the Director of Naval Intelligence, and the Chiefs of Army and Navy Plans - all of whom received MAGIC - favored evacuation. It was those who did not have knowledge of the Japanese dispatches who found it possible, somewhat incongruously, to entertain doubts.

Critics who damn the United States for the evacuation have sought to minimize the significance of MAGIC. John J. McCloy, who was Assistant Secretary of War during the war, testified in 1984 that "word has gone out now from the lobbyists to 'laugh off the revelations of MAGIC."The Commission on Wartime Relocation, established by Congress in 1980 and composed of such prominent figures as Arthur E. Goldberg, Arthur S. Flemming, Senator Edward Brooke, and Robert F. Drinan, didn't bother to laugh MAGIC off - it simply ignored it. McCloy testified in 1984 that "proof that the Commission did not conduct an investigation worthy of the name is demonstrated by the fact that it never identified the existence of MAGIC ...This should have been presented at the outset of any objective investigation." He pointed out that "though the existence of MAGIC was a closely guarded secret at the time of the attack, by the time [of] the Commission's investigation the existence of MAGIC known by all knowledgeable military and intelligence sources in this country, and Japan, as well."

The Unassimilated Nature of the World War II Japanese-American Community

The nature of the Japanese-American community on the West Coast at the time of World War II posed a dual problem. Because it was tightly--knit and unassimilated, it was attractive to Japan as a field for cultivation; at the same time, it was virtually impenetrable to efforts of the American government to sort out those whose loyalties were with Japan.In one of the Supreme Court opinions, Justice Stone wrote that "there is support for the view that social, economic and political conditions which have prevailed since the close of the last century ... have intensified their solidarity and have in large measure prevented their assimilation." Stone estimated that as many as 10,000 of those born in the United States had "been sent to Japan for all or part of their education." He observed that even those who stayed in the United States to go to school "are sent to Japanese language schools outside the regular hours of public schools in the locality." S.I.. Hayakawa wrote that it was true that "reverence for the emperor was taught in the Japanese-language schools." (He added that what was not known was that the children had nevertheless grown up to be loyal Americans. But, as we will see later, that is not sustainable as so sweeping a generalization, since not all did.)

The critics blame American Caucasians For this lack of assimilation, pointing to the hostility that had been shown toward Asian immigrants by labor unions and others on the West Coast during the prior decades. That, though, is another issue, one that asks whether it is wrong for the citizens of a country to oppose large-scale immigration by people who are considerably different from themselves. What is relevant to the question of the military emergency during World War II is not who was at fault for the Japanese-American community's lack of assimilation, but the uncontradicted fact that they were not assimilated.

An odd thing about the critical literature, now quite voluminous, is that it never speaks to an obvious question: What precisely was going months prior to and immediately after Pearl Harbor? I would think that those who argue that there were virtually no pro-Japanese loyalists among the Japanese-Americans would devote considerable attention to showing just how the internal dynamic of that community worked to assure that. We are expected to believe, as though it's a given, that a "racist" America's attractions were so obvious that no one would look back longingly to Japan, despite strong continuing ties with the mother country. The literature is strangely silent about this aspect, which could provide important information.

How Loyal Were the Japanese-Americans?

We now come to the most sensitive part of the study, since the "politically correct" thing to say is that all of the second-generation Japanese-Americans (the Nisei, who were the first born here) were pro-American. I have already referred to Senator Hayakawa's sweeping generalization, which is bound to be appealing: "they had grown up loyal Americans."

Accordingly, it is important to note again that it is no refection on today's American's of Japanese ancestry to take an honest look at what the situation was fifty years ago during World War II.

Many did strongly identify with the American side, and even distinguished themselves in combat on behalf of this country. An all-Nisei National Guard unit from Hawaii, the lOOth Battalion, fought in Italy, winning much distinction, and was later merged into a newly-formed group, the 442nd Combat Team, which went on to fight in both Italy and France. In all, close to 9,000Japanese-Americans served with these units. They were honored by President Truman in 1946 after a parade down Constitution Avenue, and in turn raised money for a memorial to President Roosevelt. An additional 3,700 Nisei served as translators and interpreters in the Pacific Theater. In all, out of the combined mainland and Hawaiian Japanese-American populations, a total of more than 33,000 served in some capacity during the war.To focus exclusively on this, however, obscures the truth, which taken as a whole was much more complex.

Here are some aspects of that complexity:

(To be continued...)

Facts Sen. Inoue chose to ignore!

H.R.893, excludes 5,000 Latin Americans of German descent and unknown number of Latin Americans of Italian descent who were relocated, interned, and deported to Axis countries from December 1941 through February 1948. Furthermore, the bill does not include the almost 11,000 Americans of German descent or the 3,500 Americans of Italian descent who were relocated, interned and deported to Axis countries from December 1941 through February 1948. Those excluded suffered the same harms, i.e., arrest, internment, and deportation, as did the Latin Japanese Americans.

Anyone want to take a guess as to why Senator Inoue chose to ignore the rest of the story?