Tuesday, January 09, 2007

PI Editorial when the PI was less silly...

Here's an editorial from the Seattle PI in early 1942. You can find a copy at the Seattle Public Library.

The Japanese Problem

There is no current issue that interests residents of the Pacific Coast more than the treatment that should be accorded those of the Japanease race - both enemy nationals and those born here and therefore American citizens.

Let us try and reason it out.

It will be admitted on both sides, we believe, that part of the Japanese are loyal to the United States and that some are enemy sympathizers.

The friends of the Japanese say the vast majority, including virtually all second generation, are loyal. Those on the other side question this, and add that even a few spies and saboteurs might do tremendous damage.

It seems to us that the Japanese in our midst, in the first instance, are in the best position to provide an answer - and that if they don't provide a satisfactory one the public must look to the government to take increasingly strong action.

Granting that there are some actual and potential enemies among the Japanese, how are they to be discovered? A good many arrests have been made by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, but it is idle to argue that a comparatively small number of F.B.I. agents, unaided, can do the tremendous job of discovering which Japanese are loyal and which are disloyal.

If that question is to be determined satisfactorily, it must be with the active aid of the loyal Japanese, nisei and isei alike. They know their own people best.
Loyalty isn't a matter that can be demonstrated soley by purchase of Defense Bonds or even by Red Cross subscriptions. The Defense Bonds stand on their own feet as a good investment. And any spy who wanted to maintain his position and connections would, of course, be just as active in buying bonds and contributing to patriotic funds as the most loyal American.

The real test of the degree of loyalty within the Japanese community, we believe, is to be found in the extent to which its members cooperate with the authorities in efforts to locate and round up the enemies of this country.

Frankly, we don't know the extent to which this is being done. The F.B.I. and other federal agents are in a better position to know. They are not in a position to talk about it.
Neither an F.B.I. agent nor anyone else is able to say that any individual Japanese is loyal or disloyal merely be looking at him.

But from its reports dealing with the situation as a whole, from the F.B.I. and otherwise, the department of justice is probably better informed than any other public agency. And if the department is convinced that certain measures are required for national safety, its judgment will be accepted by the vast majority.

Apparently the department of justice is not entirely satisfied with the present situation upon the Pacific Coast. Whether the measures already taken affecting Japanese will meet all requirements for national safety is still to be determined. There is still opportunity for the residents of the Japanese community to demonstrate their loyalty. And if sterner measures are to be taken later they should be carried out without rancor and with full recognition that some hardships necessarily will be inflicted upon those who do not deserve them.

Those of the Japanese race, whether isei or nisei, must be realists.

We have every confidence that the Japanese whose loyalty to this country is unswerving will recognize that the problems presented by the members of their race in our midst is something of a Gordian knot.

The government is trying to untie the knot and should welcome the assistance of the Japanese community in this effort. If the knot cannot be untied..(last half sentance not legiable.)


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