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Santa Cruz County History - Executive Order 9066 and the Residents of Santa Cruz County
Watsonville Register-Pajaronian. April 8, 1944. p. 2
DRAFT BOARDS HAVE PROBLEM IN RECLASSIFICATION OF JAPANESE
(From Salinas, California, written by Berniece Batterton)
The problem of re-classifying interned Japanese -- who are under 38 years of age, investigated by military intelligence, and certified to the draft boards as eligible for induction is one which is giving the local selective service board considerable concern, Oliver Bardin, chairman and members said today.
While there are more than 300 such Japanese listed with this board who have formerly been classified as 4-C -- the classification of aliens -- none has been inducted to date because of the feeling among them which is typified by the following letter from Poston, Ariz. published at the request of the board, and similar to many other letters received, Bardin said.
Other boards elsewhere have inducted some of the Japanese who have been certified by military intelligence, and a number have volunteered for military service, he pointed out.
The letter follows:
"Gentlemen of the Board:
"It is wholly unjustifiable of my recent reclassification from my IV-C to a I-A status. Upon my previous classification to a IV-C, I was determined that the government decided that I, with the rest of the Japanese of my category, am not the loyal Japanese-American citizen that I tried in vain to show and fulfill. And previous to and since then I have been treated accordingly as an alien of an enemy nation. With this and following restrictions and further inconvenience to normal "pursuit of happiness" I have lost faith completely in the real sincerity of governmental and general societal actions concerning the Japanese, whether a civilian Japanese or Japanese in the army of the United States.
"Therefore, it is only natural that I have altered in my trust and with it my sense of duty to the government - of the people, by the people, and for the people, of the United States and have prepared myself psychologically and socially for the future life of persecution in the orient. Persecution here in the U.S. would be more severe even if I fought and my friends died for this nation.
"Please consider also that I have a brother in the United States army. He was selected during the pre-war days and like thousands of others, he had a duty to fulfill and with no objections whatsoever in our minds or his mind, he left home to serve and prepare himself for the cause and ideal of the nation. Then, mind you, it was an ideal.
"But now, all that is different. It was brutal in that the Constitution did not fulfill its stipulation where it was needed the most for our protection.
"Leaving out much unsaid I leave to your discretion, gentlemen, what preceded and followed after you saw us shooed off to the Rodeo grounds. I cannot and you cannot, after due consideration, justify our reclassification of I-A.
"It is not the outcome I fear, but the unreasonableness and the injustice, that I feel, that I ask for my former status of IV-C or a status of conscientious objector."
The problem presented by this letter and others has been referred to military authorities, Bardin said, and it is the hope of this board that wisdom and good judgment will be used in re-establishing confidence in the few truly loyal, patriotic Japanese who have been embittered by their internment.
Copyrighted by the Watsonville Register-Pajaronian. Reproduced by permission.