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


Full Text Newspaper ArticleWatsonville Register-Pajaronian. June 10, 1943. p. 3

POSTON JAPS USED GOVERNMENT CARS FOR FISHING TRIPS AND PICNICS, DIES GROUP TOLD

Los Angeles (UP) - Japanese evacuees in the Poston, Ariz., relocation center used government automobiles to go on picnics and fishing trips, an official of the center told a Dies subcommittee investigating the camps.

Augustus W. Empie, chief administrative officer of the War Relocation Project, admitted that division heads at the center had permitted the practice even after orders had been issued forbidding it.

"We finally stopped the practice," Empie said, "but it is true that the order was ignored by certain division heads."

"Were disciplinary measures taken against these heads for not following instructions?" asked Congressman Karl Mundt of South Dakota.

"No," replied Empie. "There is very little recreation over there in Arizona, you know. The Japanese liked to go fishing and get what other recreation they could."

Empie was asked if Japanese had been permitted to use government cars to visit relatives in the midwest and east.

"Not to my knowledge," he said. He added that his books would show such trips had they been made.

Empie estimated that the Poston project so far had cost a total of $9,600,000. He said it would cost an additional $3,000,000 to extend the Colorado river irrigation system for use of the camp.

He said that the relocation program originally had called for movement of the Poston evacuees to the middle west but that it was not being carried out as fast as anticipated.

"As long as the war lasts we will have plenty of Japs there," he said. "They are not being moved out very fast. They are not wanted anywhere. Arizona doesn't want them, and other states don't want them."

Empie said he had attended a hearing at Phoenix conducted by Sen. A. B. Chandler of Kentucky in which "it was stated authentically that Arizona didn't want any Japs."

"I believe the Japanese people are sincere in trying to understand the principles of democracy," he volunteered. "And there is a tendency on the part of some people who know to give them credit."

After the war the project will be utilized by the Indian service, he said, as part of a $10,000,000 program planned for southwestern Indians.

Copyrighted by the Watsonville Register-Pajaronian. Reproduced by permission.