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Santa Cruz County History - Executive Order 9066 and the Residents of Santa Cruz County
Watsonville Register-Pajaronian. Nov. 22, 1944. p. 1
ANDERSON SAYS 800 JAPANESE BACK; FDR TELLS STAND
WASHINGTON (UP) Shortly after Rep. John Z. Anderson, R., Calif., had declared 800 Japanese evacuees had been permitted to return to the west coast, President Roosevelt Wednesday had expressed the belief that Japanese-Americans, who are American citizens, cannot be locked up in concentration camps indefinitely.
This remark was the production of a question about whether he thought that the danger of sabotage on the Pacific coast had decreased to a point where 1942 Japanese evacuees could be returned.
The president, noting that he was talking about Japanese-American citizens, said the danger had finished in most cases but that as a matter of practical fact about 25 per cent of the evacuees had replaced themselves in other parts of the country.
He said there is a feeling among lawyers that, under the constitution, these people cannot be kept locked up in concentration camps because American citizens have certain privileges.
This feeling, the president said, was activated to a great extent by the wonderful record of Japanese-American soldiers in Italy.
Asked whether military restrictions would be relaxed to permit these people to return to areas from which they had been excluded, the president said he did not know.
Rep. Anderson Tuesday afternoon said that 800 Japanese excluded from the west coast during the early days of the war have been permitted to return and that he has wired the Western Defense command urging a public announcement of policy on this program.
Anderson said his information came from the Office of Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy and that he also was informed that responsibility for permitting Japanese-Americans to return to the west coast rests with the Western Defense command.
Those permitted to return "are those who have had their individual exclusion orders rescinded," Anderson said he was told. Loyalty to this country is the basic qualification for permitting a Japanese to go back to the west coast, he added, with mixed marriage and having a member of the family in military service as contributing factors.
Anderson asserted that if the war department, through the Western Defense command, has established a program to return Japanese to the coast, "there should be no secrecy about it."
He said he has opposed such action during the war as "dangerous both for us and the Japanese themselves because there is bound to be high feeling in some areas."
"But if they are returned, those who are American-born citizens must be entitled to their full rights under the constitution or the constitution must be abrogated," he said.
Copyrighted by the Watsonville Register-Pajaronian. Reproduced by permission.