Santa Cruz County History - Executive Order 9066 and the Residents of Santa Cruz County



Evacuation: Public Proclamation No. 1
by Rechs Ann Pedersen

JAPS CALL EVACUATION "DIABOLIC"
"...obviously the constitutional rights of those American-born Japanese have been ruthlessly trampled upon in the heart of the resentment aroused by their own [the U.S.] political and military errors. The viciousness of the American government in persecuting a helpless, strictly civilian and manifestly innocent minority will remain in history as one of the blackest crimes ever committed by the so-called great powers." [Japanese radio propaganda] (Watsonville Register-Pajaronian. March 5, 1942. p.7)


Executive Order 9066

From the start of the War, the U.S. Justice Department had established restricted areas, from which enemy aliens were excluded. (see Evacuation: Restricted Area) On February 19, 1942, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which authorized the Secretary of War, or his designate, to define military areas. It also gave the power to exclude from a designated military area both aliens and citizens alike. Executive Order 9066

February 19, 1942:

AS WE SEE IT [Editorial]
This is no time for expansive discourses on protection of civil liberties for Japanese resident of the Pacific Coast, whether they be American citizens or aliens. (Santa Cruz Sentinel-News. February 19, 1942. [M] p.1 Full-Text)

S.C. MARTIAL LAW, RICH COMMENTS [Edwin L. Rich, S.C. Mayor 1941-1942]
..."I do think the people on the whole would feel a lot safer with all Japanese out of the community. It might be a way of bolstering morale and waking the people up to the fact the situation is serious..." (Santa Cruz Sentinel-News. February 19, 1942. [M] p.1 Full-Text)

Although an official order had not been issued yet, newspapers carried reports of evacuation and possible "protective custody."

February 19, 1942:

ALIEN CONTROL STEPS PRESSED IN CALIFORNIA
"Once a Jap, always a Jap," Rankin [Cong. Rep, D-Miss.) said. "I'm for taking every Japanese ... and putting him in a concentration camp. We take cameras, guns, and radio sets from alien Japanese, Costello [Cong Rep., D-Calif.] remarked, "but we don't take cameras, guns and radio sets from their children who are American citizens. The only solution to the question is to remove from the area completely those persons who are likely to commit sabotage." (Santa Cruz Sentinel-News. February 19, 1942 [M] p. 1.)

February 20, 1942:

JAPANESE-AMERICAN EVACUATION PROPOSED
Further evacuation plans, United Press reported from were being discussed in joint Justice-War Department conferences ... Under consideration were plans for martial licensing of all persons in defense areas, and possible legislation for "protective custody" arrests of citizens and aliens alike. (Watsonville Register-Pajaronian. February 20, 1942. p. 1.)

February 21, 1942:

FDR AUTHORIZES WAR SECRETARY TO SET UP MILITARY AREAS TO CONTROL AXIS ALIENS
President Roosevelt Friday authorized the Secretary of War to take control of certain areas of the United States and to exclude from such areas any persons, citizens and aliens alike. (Watsonville Register-Pajaronian. February 21, 1942. p. 1 Full-Text)

February 23, 1942:

NISEI MAY BE FORCED TO EVACUATE
Hundreds of nisei--Japanese American citizens--in the Pajaro Valley awaited a possible evacuation order Saturday. President Roosevelt Friday night empowered the Army to oust both aliens and citizens from "defense zones" the Army may prescribe ... The presidential order met with approval from California leaders had demanded curbs on Japanese Americans. (Watsonville Register-Pajaronian. February 23, 1942. p. 1.)

February 28, 1942:

ARMY ALIEN ORDER AWAITED
San Francisco--Alien and American-born Japanese awaited with mounting apprehension Friday for new army regulations barring them from additional sections of California, Oregon and Washington ... Even Japanese-American leaders agreed that should be removed from the coast in an effort to forestall possible fifth column activity. Testifying before the Congressional Committee on Defense Migration in Portland, Hito Okada, national treasurer of the Japanese-American Citizens League said aliens should be evacuated and, if necessary, even Japanese who are American citizens. (Watsonville Register-Pajaronian. February 28, 1942. p. 1.)

March 1, 1942:

PACIFIC COAST JAPANESE PREPARE FOR EVACUATION:
..."We are preparing our people," said the youthful official, "to move out. We want them to go without bitterness, without rancor, and with the feeling that this can be their contribution to the defense of the United States. We want to convince them that it will be patriotic to make this sacrifice, and a sacrifice it will be. We want them to go protesting but one thing--their patriotism to the flag of the United States." [M. Masaoka, national secretary and field executive of the Japanese American Citizens' League] (Santa Cruz Sentinel-News. March 1, 1942 [M] p. 1. Full-Text)

Public Proclamation No. 1

General John L. DeWitt, Western Defense Commander, was assigned to administer Executive Order 9066. By its authority, he issued a series of proclamations. Public Proclamation No. 1 was issued on March 2, 1942. It expanded the restricted area established by the U.S. the Justice Department by designating the western halves of California, Oregon, Washington and the southern part of Arizona as Military Area No. 1. Japanese-Americans as well as Japanese, German, and Italian aliens were excluded from it. Voluntary removal to the interior of the U.S. was advised.

The day after Proclamation No. 1 was issued, the Santa Cruz Sentinel-News announced possible exemptions for German and Italian aliens and the order of the evacuation.

March 3, 1942:

LOCAL ITALIANS FAVORED IN NEW ALIEN EVACUATION RULE JAPANESE HIT HARD, MUST MOVE
Santa Cruz county Tuesday was included in a coastwise strip from the Canadian to the Mexican border from which eventually all Japanese, alien and citizen, will be required to move and the same evacuation will be requested for Italian and German aliens with certain exceptions.

The exceptions for the German and Italian aliens, who will not be evacuated until after work of moving out the Japanese is completed, are:

  1. Those 70 years of age or over will not be required to move "except when individually suspected."
  2. Also exempted will be the families, including parents, wives, children, sisters and brothers of Germans and Italians in the armed forces," unless such removal is required for specific reasons. (Santa Cruz Sentinel-News, [E] March 3, 1942. p.1)

Although persons of Japanese ancestry were to be evacuated first, all Axis aliens were preparing to leave.

March 4,1942:

2500 TO QUIT VALLEY; AMERICAN-BORN INCLUDED IN ARMY ORDER
Twenty-five hundred Japanese, both alien and American-born, German and Italians will leave the Pajaro Valley under evacuation plans announced Tuesday [March 3, 19421 (Watsonville Register-Pajaronian. March 4, 1942. p. 1. Full-Text)

S.C. ALIENS AMONG FIRST EVACUATED; 60 DAYS IN WHICH ALL MUST GO
Evacuation of all Japanese, alien and citizen, and Italian and German aliens, will be conducted first in such seaport areas as Santa Cruz... (Santa Cruz Sentinel-News March 5, 1942. [E] p. 1Full-Text)

JAPS PLAN EVACUATION; TWO RECEPTION CENTERS SET UP
San Francisco--Three hundred leaders of the Japanese-Americans Citizens' League open a three-day session here Sunday to for evacuation of their nationals to "reception centers" to set up by the Western Defense Command .... The camps will established to register evacuees and to determine their capabilities before moving them to permanent locations for duration of the war. (Watsonville Register-Pajaronian. March 6, 1942. p. 1.Full-Text)

Individuals were promised help, assured that they would be treated fairly, and were warned to be careful when selling their property.

March 4, 1942:

WON'T PUSH JAPS AROUND
...alien control co-ordinator said today he hoped Japanese would be removed from prohibited areas on the west coast within 60 days, but that "we are not going to push them around .... We are going to give these people a fair chance to dispose of their property at fair prices ... It has come to our attention that Japanese farmers have been stampeded into selling their properties for little or nothing and it is our purpose to see it that unnecessary sacrifices are not forced upon them." (Santa Cruz Sentinel-News. March 4, 1942. [E] p. 1 )

March 9, 1942:

ALIENS! WARNINGS ARE GIVEN
Don't sell property at sacrifice prices, continue to work your crops until exclusion is ordered officially... (Santa Cruz Sentinel-News. March 9, 1942. [E] p. 5 Full-Text)

PROPERTY OF ALIENS TO BE SAFEGUARDED
An Alien property custodian system was established today by the U.S. Treasury to protect interests of 120,000 Japanese aliens and citizens and German and Italian aliens who will be evacuated by the army from the vital Pacific coast defense area... In the case of agricultural properties, on which crops presently might be growing...attempts would be made to arrange for leasing or selling the property or for continued attention to the growing crops with a view of preventing their loss. (Santa Cruz Sentinel-News. March 10, 1942. [E] p. 5)

On March 18th, Executive Order 9102 established the War Relocation Authority (WRA).

Milton S. Eisenhower was named the WRA's first directory, charged with the responsibility of seeing an orderly evacuation of designated persons from the restricted military areas took place. Although the order did not explicitly call for relocation camps, the newly created WRA was given wide discretion in deciding the fate of the Japanese Americans who were forced to leave their homes. On March 21, Congress backed the evacuation measures by passing Public Law 77-503. The law made anyone convicted of violating a military order subject to a civil penalty of a $5,000 fine, up to one year of imprisonment, or both. During this time, although the West Coast was declared a theater of war, martial law was never declared and habeas corpus was not suspended. The civil court system was in full operation throughout the war, and anyone charged with espionage or sabotage could have been properly tried. Yet the federal government proceeded with its plans for a mass evacuation and incarceration of American citizens and resident aliens, based solely on race, without any individual review.

A government office was opened to help evacuees.1

March 18, 1942:

OFFICE TO HELP ALIENS TO BE SET UP HERE
Opening of a primary services center in Watsonville was announced Tuesday night by the Wartime Civil Control Administration. The center will help handle the property, personal effects and personal problems of Japanese and Americans who will be evacuated ... offices will be opened [also] in Santa Cruz and Monterey. (Watsonville Register-Pajaronian. March 18, 1942. p.1.)

March 19, 1942:

"WERE HERE TO SEE ALIENS GET FAIR DEAL", SAYS FANE [Supervisor of the program in the Watsonville office]
...the new program, directed by the Farm Security under orders from the Western Defense Command and Fourth Amy, intended to supervise fair disposition of land being evacuated by Japanese and to aid qualified farmers in taking over the land and obtaining operating credit...He cautioned "as long as they know they have to go, the sooner they take action the better the deal that can be made for them. No one trades successfully overnight." (Santa Cruz Sentinel-News. March 19, 1942 [M] p. 2)

Footnotes

  1. Hatamiya, Leslie T. Righting a wrong; Japanese Americans and the Passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. Stanford Univ. Press. 1993.

Additional Information:

>>Continue with Evacuation: Public Proclamation No. 4

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