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

Full Text Newspaper ArticleWatsonville Register-Pajaronian. Oct. 29, 1943. p. 1


Tulelake, Cal. (UP) - Two thousand Japanese, who seemingly have entered into a pact of silence under the leadership of skilled strike organizers, refused to work in the vegetable fields at the War Relocation Authority's segregation center for disloyal internees Friday.

Silent and sullen, they lounged about their quarters while a strong detachment of army troops and WRA internal police redoubled their vigilance to prevent any possible outbreak.

WRA spokesmen said only the adult men--about 2000 of the camp's 15,000 population-- was involved in the sit-down work stoppage, now entering its third week. The demonstration was revealed publicly Thursday in San Francisco by R. B. Cozzens, Assistant Field Director of WRA.

Many of the internees' wives and children, born and educated in the United States, did not join in the demonstration. The WRA regarded a large number of the wives, sons and daughters as "loyal" and unsympathetic to the strike.

When admittedly disloyal Japanese were segregated in other camps and transferred to Tulelake, their families were sent with them.

Although the women do not work in the harvest fields normally, they continued work uninterruptedly at other tasks.

"The men don't talk. They've been told to dummy up," a WRA spokesman said. "This thing is the work of skillful leaders."

The strikers have not been confined to their quarters, nor have their privileges been curtailed, a WRA official said. The men are allowed the freedom of the enclosure.

Meanwhile, 350 "loyal" Japanese who volunteered to harvest hundreds of acres of crops at the Tulelake camp were being rushed from others of the nine camps where 110,000 persons of Japanese descent were interned shortly after Pearl Harbor.

No violence was reported in the camp, which is isolated by two strong barbed-wire enclosures. WRA officials indicated National WRA Director Dillon Myer would arrive at the Tulelake center soon, and said the strikers were being "firmly dealt with."

The striking Japanese, whose two-week-old sitdown strike against harvesting food for "loyal" internees in other camps was revealed Thursday, are admittedly disloyal to the United States and were segregated as possible troublemakers, the WRA explained.

Cozzens declared the strike was "the work of experts."

"There is no apparent leader or spokesman for the group, who are passively resisting the demands to do farm work," he said. "There is evidence, however, that intimidation and a display of power is being made."

A truck accident Oct. 15 which caused the death of one Japanese and injuries to 29 others, provided an "incident" for the strike, Cozzens stated.

There is no danger of crop spoilage since the "loyal" Japanese being brought by train will complete the harvest in ample time, WRA officials said. Enough potatoes, cabbage, carrots, parsnips, beets, turnips and other root crops were grown at Tulelake to supply one-third of the food needed to feed the evacuees. Cozzens said the refusal to work came as no surprise to camp officials, since they knew the residents now there "were disloyal."

"The strikers consider themselves prisoners of war since their segregation," he declared.

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