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

Full Text Newspaper ArticleWatsonville Register-Pajaronian. Jan. 20, 1944. p. 1


Washington (UP) - Security of the Pacific coast requires exclusion of the Japanese from that area, Lt. Gen. J. L. DeWitt, former commanding general of the western defense command, advised Gen. George C. Marshall, chief of staff, it was revealed Thursday.

His report dated June 5, 1943, was contained in a 618-page book made public here.

"The evacuation (after Pearl Harbor) was imperiled by military necessity," DeWitt said. "The security of the Pacific coast continues to require the exclusion of the Japanese from that area, now prohibited to them, and will so continue as long as that military necessity exists."

Intelligence service records submitted by DeWitt showed hundreds of Japanese organizations existed in California, Washington, Oregon and Arizona prior to Dec. 7, 1941 and were actively engaged in advancing Japanese war aims.

"These records also disclosed," DeWitt reported, "that thousands of American born Japanese had gone to Japan to receive their education and indoctrination there and had become rabidly pro-Japanese and then returned to the United States. Emperor worshipping ceremonies were commonly held and millions of dollars had flowed into the Japanese imperial war chest from the contributions freely made by Japanese here."

These considerations, DeWitt said, led to the decision to evacuate persons of Japanese ancestry from the west coast.

In accounts of Pacific war activities and problems the report said that for several weeks after Pearl Harbor "substantially every ship leaving a west coast port was attacked by an enemy submarine." This seemed "conclusively" to point to the existence of hostile shore-to-ship (submarine) communication, the report said.

The report said that throughout the Santa Maria valley of Santa Barbara county, Calif., including the cities of Santa Maria and Guadalupe, every utility, air field, bridge, telephone and power line or other facility of importance was "flanked by Japanese" at the time of Pearl Harbor.

"They even surrounded the oil fields in this area," DeWitt reported, while a few miles to the south where productive agricultural lands were available but no strategic installations were located, no Japs were to be found.

"It...manifests something more than coincidence," the report concluded. "In any case it is certainly evident that the Japanese population of the Pacific coast was as a whole ideally situated with reference to points of strategic importance to carry into execution a tremendous program of sabotage on a mass scale should any consideralbe number of them been inclined to do so."

Defending the "impelling" military necessity of the evacuation, DeWitt said that "any measures other than those pursued along the Pacific coast might have been "too little and too late."

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