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Santa Cruz County History - Executive Order 9066 and the Residents of Santa Cruz County
Watsonville Register-Pajaronian. Feb. 24, 1943. p. 1
DEFENSE COUNCIL RAPS FREEING OF INTERNED JAPS
Protests Going To President, Sec. Stimson
Pajaro Valley and Watsonville Defense council, in special session Tuesday night, adopted a resolution protesting the War Relocation authority's proposed program of releasing Japanese evacuees from relocation centers and the plan to incorporate some 28,000 American born Japanese into the United States army and copies of the resolution will be sent to President Roosevelt, Secretary of War Stimson, the WRA, congressmen and senators.
The defense council, with 21 members present, adopted the resolution with but one dissenting vote, that of the Rev. Allan Geddes. So much interest has arisen on the matter in the past week that nearly 60 persons in all attended the session and all of the visitors expressed unanimous approval. (The resolution in its entirety is found in the adjoining column.)
Council Chairman J. E. Gardner, after turning over the chairman's gavel to Mayor C. H. Baker so that he could speak solely as a member of the council, presented the case against the government's contemplated handling of Japanese. He said:
"It is estimated that there are 160,000 Japanese in the relocation centers now who have been evacuated from the Pacific coast. The Japanese originally came to this country for the sole purpose of making money and not to enjoy the freedoms that we do. They were not persecuted in their native land.
"Despite the Exclusion act, these Japanese have increased rapidly. Many of them are citizens of the United States, technically, but whether they are loyal to this country is another thing. While they were being evacuated, many of them said they could not tell who among them was loyal to the United States. How can the secretary of war or any other government official tell who is loyal?
"They attended Japanese schools after attending our public schools. They cannot be assimilated, they have no desire to be and we do not wish it. They are an entirely different race. In 50 years, if they are allowed to return after the war, I estimate there will be no less than a million Japanese voters in California - they will hold the balance of political power.
"We should put a stop to the problem before it gets out of hand. The state of California should be unanimous. To Japan, all of these Japanese are citizens of Japan. They should not be allowed to return - they should be sent back to Japan, or else in time they will be, economically and politically, in the saddle."
The resolution declares that the Japanese, both alien and American-born, should be retained in relocation centers for the duration unless they are placed under direct and absolute supervision and full control of army authority and engaged in the furtherance of the war effort. (See editorial on Page 4.)
The resolution was based upon similar action taken by the Kings County Citizens committee at Hanford and has been sent to other defense councils of California for approval. It was reported that Sacramento and Sutter counties have approved similar action and protests.
Between 1200 and 1500 Japanese were evacuated from the Pajaro valley last spring. The majority of them now are at the Poston, Ariz. relocation center.
Copyrighted by the Watsonville Register-Pajaronian. Reproduced by permission.