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


Full Text Newspaper ArticleWatsonville Register-Pajaronian. July 30, 1945. p. 1

GEN. PRATT SAYS HE HAS SOLE AUTHORITY, RESPONSIBILITY IN RETURN OF JAPANESE TO COAST

SAN FRANCISCO (Special To Register-Pajaronian) - The following statement was issued Monday by Maj. Gen. H.C. Pratt, commanding general of the Western Defense command:

"It has become increasingly apparent that an erroneous impression is being conveyed to the public as to the responsibilities of the various agencies concerned with the return of persons of Japanese ancestry to the west coast states. This situation is evidenced by "Letters to the Editors," news items, radio releases, public statements, etc., which not only distort the facts but sometimes contain misstatements. In this connection, it should be noted, however, that all responsible editorial comment has been based upon the facts as they exist.

"In view of the above, I feel that a statement by me with reference to this matter is called for.

"As commanding general, Western Defense command, and pursuant to presidential executive order, I have the responsibility of determining which individuals of Japanese ancestry may or may not be permitted to return to the designated exclusion zone of the Western Defense command. In making this determination, I am governed solely by military considerations and by none other, for there exists no legal authority for anyone to restrict the movements of an individual within the United States because of economic, social, or other similar reasons.

"In executing this responsibility, I have access to the records of the various intelligence agencies of the government and am assisted by a large staff of experienced personnel. I feel, therefore, that I am able to determine which individuals may prove potentially dangerous to the military security of the west coast and such individuals are not allowed to return. Possibly, although I doubt it, certain individuals may possess information against persons of Japanese ancestry which I do not have. If such is the case, it is a patriotic duty to convey that information to me, and I will welcome such assistance.

"The War Relocation authority was created to assist in the proper relocation of those persons of Japanese ancestry who were required to leave their homes. The formation of this authority was a result of the recognition on the part of our government of its obligation to alleviate the hardships imposed upon many thousands of our citizens merely because of the accident of birth. The War Relocation authority has no authority or responsibility whatever in determining which individuals will be allowed to return to the exclusion zone of the Western Defense command, nor does this agency attempt to exercise this authority or assume this responsibility. It is repeated -- this authority and this responsibility is that of the commanding general, Western Defense command."

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