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

Full Text Newspaper ArticleWatsonville Register-Pajaronian. July 7, 1943. p. 1



Washington (UP) - Director Dillon S. Myer of the War Relocation Authority said Wednesday his agency is without authority to intern American citizens of Japanese ancestry for more than brief periods unless they are charged with being disloyal or subversive. Myer, for the second consecutive day, defended before a Dies subcommittee the Relocation Authority's program of releasing loyal Japanese.

Washington (UP) - A Dies subcommittee Wednesday recalled Director Dillon S. Myer of the War Relocation Authority for further questioning on Myer's angry charges that the subcommittee is stirring up racial disunity and endangering American prisoners in Japan.

The subcommittee, which is holding hearings on the conduct of Japanese relocation camps administered by the War Relocation Authority, is expected to give its reply to Myer's accusation that it is "betraying" the democratic objectives which this nation and its allies are fighting to preserve."

(In Watsonville Wednesday afternoon, a State Senate interim committee on the Japanese question was conducting a hearing at the city hall.)

Myer opened his blast Tuesday by accusing the subcommittee of giving wide circulation to "half truths, exaggerations, falsehoods...distortions and downright untruths" about the relocation centers. He said the policies of his organization have a significance "which goes far beyond the geographic boundaries of this country," and declared that its program is undoubtedly being watched closely in Japan "where thousands of American soldiers and civilians are held as prisoners and internees."

He said the subcommittee conducted its eight-week inquiry so as to give "maximum publicity to sensational statements," and insisted that the problem has such grave international complications that it should be approached "thoughtfully, soberly and with maturity."

He said the subcommittee's procedure was providing the enemy with material "which can be used to convince the people of the Orient that the United States is undemocratic and is fighting a racial war."

Chairman John Costello, D., Calif., interrupted Myer's criticism to ask whether the WRA wanted to censor all releases issued by the subcommittee. Myer said he believed in a "free press," but contended that he should have been consulted at the beginning of the investigation, that committee statements should be submitted to a WRA accuracy check, and that a WRA representative should be allowed to sit in at all hearings to verify statements of witnesses.

"Just how would we conduct hearings with the witness answering questions from one chair and you butting in from the other?" Costello asked.

Meanwhile, the House received a resolution, passed unanimously by the Senate Tuesday, ordering the segregation within the centers of Japanese of "questionable loyalty."

Sens. Kenneth McKellar, D., Tenn., and Chapman Revercomb, R., W. Va., demanded that administration of the camps be transferred immediately from the WRA to the army and asked the Senate Military Affairs Committee to sponsor such legislation.

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