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

Full Text Newspaper ArticleWatsonville Register-Pajaronian. June 18, 1943. p. 1


Los Angeles (UP) - A. L. Wirin, attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, told a Dies subcommittee investigating the Japanese relocation program, that racial prejudice and not military necessity has caused removal of Japanese from the West Coast.

"This evacuation was not based upon military strategy but was brought about by pressure groups of those racially prejudiced," Wirin testified at a public hearing.

"Lt.-Gen. John L. DeWitt, commanding the Western Defense Zone, became a victim of or adhered to racial prejudice in removing the Japanese."

Wirin pointed out that no Japanese had been removed from the Hawaiian Islands and said Maj.-Gen. Delos Emmons, who commanded army forces in the Islands, had remarked that the Japanese there had "behaved themselves admirably."

Rep. John M. Costello, D., Cal., Committee Chairman, said different conditions existed in Hawaii and described DeWitt as a "two-fisted military leader who has emphatically resisted all pressure groups." He said military strategy had led to the Japanese evacuation.

Wirin said that "short-sighted politicians and agricultural jingoists" were exciting the people to keep the Japanese from being released. He accused the Salinas Valley Vegetable Association and similar farmer groups of having a selfish motive in wanting to keep the Japanese out.

"Loyal citizens should not suffer because of activities of a few disloyal ones or because of their racial stock," he added.

The Civil Liberties Union, he said, favors return of Japanese to the West Coast and a "Dies committee investigation of groups that have inflamed racial prejudice."

Japanese in effect are in penal confinement now, he said. When Congressman Costello protested that Japanese camps were relocation centers, Wirin replied:

"If they are not to be released then they are not relocation centers but concentration camps."

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