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


Full Text Newspaper ArticleWatsonville Register-Pajaronian. Feb. 3, 1945. p. 4

SEIFERT TELLS JAP RELATIONS COUNCIL STAND

SALINAS (Special to Register-Pajaronian) - At the Rotary club luncheon in Soledad Thursday, E.M. Seifert Jr., of Salinas, gave the following talk in the interest of the Monterey Bay Council of Japanese Relations:

"My interest in our relations to the Japanese in our country is not prompted by any feeling of hate or revenge for I have no near relatives in the armed forces, nor have I had any disagreeable experiences with any Japanese with whom I had done business in the past. Neither am I afraid of any immediate competition in my own business from returning Japanese for as farmers and shippers in this community we have had not to exceed a half dozen business dealings with Japanese in the past 10 years and each of those was very small. If all the Japanese who formerly lived in the Pacific coast area were to return, I cannot see where it would in any wise affect me personally.

"My concern is for future generations of Americans of all creeds and colors except the Japanese, for when we are dealing with Japanese we are dealing with a people who are in one great and outstanding respect, entirely different from all other peoples of whatever race. I honestly believe I am as free of any kind of race prejudice as any human being can be and I cannot see where any other racial problem could arise which would be fraught with as much danger to our future generations as the Japanese problem. The great difference between the Japanese and all other peoples is that their religion is their nationalism and their patriotism is also their religion, and the combination of both is a type of fanaticism and judging from the actions of the Japanese people all over, must be a kind of insanity.

"The sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, the exploding of hand grenades by surrendering Japanese, the pretense of Japanese ambassadors negotiating with our state department to maintain peace while knowing of the plans and the then Japanese naval movements to attack Pearl Harbor, give us a clear picture of the principal Japanese characteristic as we can find anywhere.

"Eight or nine years ago, we were solicited and shipped to a Los Angeles Japanese commission house several consignments of peas, the net result of the sale of which seemed to be quite satisfactory. Shortly after we were visited by a solicitor of that firm and a tentative deal for both lettuce and carrots was arranged. I then visited this firm in Los Angeles to conclude the deal, but while talking with the solicitor he was approached by a well-dressed Japanese, excused himself for about 15 minutes, and when he returned, said, 'I sorry, cannot make deal.'

"Upon closely questioning him it developed that I was not a member of the Japanese association and could not become one because I was not a Jap so we were excluded from doing business with any Los Angeles Japanese except as the association might permit. I then investigated and found that this same Japanese association had a stranglehold on the wholesale and retail markets in Los Angeles and environs.

"I also found that when a white farmer made a consignment to Los Angeles that threatened competition with Japanese activities, the market on that commodity immediately dropped to such a low point that the offending shipper was compelled to discontinue shipping. Apparently this was done in such a manner that no action could be taken under the anti-Sherman trust law.

"One of the great dangers that faces us today is the possibility of a negotiated peace with Japan. From many sources we learn there are two factions in Japan, the military and the economic. These two factions have but one objective, to conquer the entire world.

"Japanese, whether American or not, will stop at nothing to serve their country, and unless this question is handled and handled now, the Japanese will stand as a continual threat against our liberty, so, we of the Monterey Bay Council on Japanese Relations will exercise all legal means to discourage the return of Japanese persons to the Pacific coast and do all in our power legally to see that after the war all alien Japanese, all Japanese holding dual citizenship and all Japanese who have proved their disloyalty, are deported, and we will continue to insist that every tie between the mother country of Japan and Japanese persons who are allowed to remain in this country be completely and forever severed, and to do all other things to safeguard our country and our future generations against Japanese invasion."

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