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


Full Text Newspaper ArticleWatsonville Register-Pajaronian. Jan. 13, 1943. p. 4

WHAT OF THE WEST COAST JAPANESE?
[Editorial]

Because hundreds of Japanese, both alien and American-born, resided in the Pajaro valley before their exclusion last spring on orders of the army, local residents will watch with interest the progress of measures now before the state legislature concerning post-war handling of the Japanese population.

We learn, from our discussions with various persons, that local people are divided in their ideas about the problem. Some believe the Japanese should be allowed to return and take up their activities - largely agricultural pursuits - from where they left off. Others favor their return but with privileges lessened - in other words, merely as farm workers. A third group is vehemently opposed to their return at all.

The best over-all view of the ticklish situation which we have read to date was set forth by Miller Freeman, the magazine publisher of Seattle, and The Register-Pajaronian agrees with his thoughts. In a recent letter to the Christian Science Monitor, Mr. Freeman wrote:

As a result of the strange vagaries of American law, the Japanese who are American citizens enjoy that status merely by the accident of birth. They did not ask to be Americans. They took no obligation to be Americans. They have not even foresworn the dual citizenship which Japan maintains for them.

Some American-born Japanese are loyal to America, but among their ranks are many who are not. Unfortunately, the loyal share the onus which treason and espionage and treachery have brought to all of them.

When the war is won, must the Japanese come back from the inland areas to bitterness, suspicion and hatred won for them by traitorous elements among them, and the failure of the loyal to prove their loyalty?

Solution must be found for this problem - and it should be sought most assiduously by those Japanese who are loyal Americans, aided by all who intelligently seek the welfare of the United States and future peace on and along the Pacific.

It is not enough for Japanese Americans to buy bonds and prate of loyalty. Words spoken and oaths sworn by Japanese tongues will bear little weight with the American people so long as Pearl Harbor reverberates in American memories.

The stain must be wiped out by actions:

Let Japanese who would enjoy American citizenship denounce the Japanese program for the enslavement of East Asia.

Let there be an end to the Japanese-language schools, dedicated to the training of American citizens in allegiance to Japan.

Let the loyal drive out those who bring shame upon them by traitorous activities.

Let every Japanese repudiate the doctrine of the divinity of the Emperor of Japan and denounce him as the dishonored foe of civilized mankind.

Let us on our part seek the means by which to prevent persons of alien heart from winning American citizenship based on birth alone, and without assumption of those duties and obligations which that citizenship imposes.

This is not persecution - for persecution offers no solution to the problem.

Neither is the cry "persecution" an answer to the call to thoughtful, tolerant recognition and consideration of the problem.

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