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

Full Text Newspaper ArticleWatsonville Register-Pajaronian. Sept. 5, 1945. p. 1



With the war department and the Western Defense command issuing proclamations terminating the exclusive [sic] [exclusion?] program Tuesday night under which persons of Japanese ancestry were banned from the three west coast states, the Pajaro valley's present Japanese population of approximately 77 individuals was expected to increase steadily in the next few weeks.

Tuesday night, also, the War Relocation authority announced that its eight relocation centers will be gradually closed beginning next month. The last center will be closed Dec. 15, according to United Press.

F. E. Rhodes, head of the local WRA office in the Lettunich Bldg., said Wednesday that WRA estimates expect 40 per cent of the evacuated Japanese to return. In the Pajaro valley, where 2300 were evacuated the latter part of March, 1942, that would mean approximately 900 will be returning in the next six months to a year.

Official WRA figures list 1300 Japanese in Santa Cruz county and 3500 in Monterey county, prior to evacuation. No Japanese have reported back on the Monterey county side of the valley, Rhodes said.

Biggest problem facing local WRA representatives is housing. Jobs, Rhodes said, are plentiful, but hostels will have to be established throughout this area to house the returning Japanese. The Buddhist temple on Union St., is ready to be used as a hostel; a Japanese church in Salinas has been opened and another in Monterey is expected to open soon.

Attempts are being made to secure housing without taking back the Japanese Presbyterian church on First St., now being used as the Watsonville Day nursery, according to the Rev. Henry B. Adams, local representative of the San Jose Presbytery, which owns the building. Although the local school district has no lease on the structure, the Presbytery has advanced the date when the building will have to be given up to Oct. 6. It was stressed by the Rev. Mr. Adams, however, that every possible means was being used to avoid forcing the nursery to close.

The nursery setup was undecided in a financial way, also, this week, with Lanham funds from the government scheduled to stop Oct. 31. Local processors and food production plants may attempt to provide funds to keep the nursery open - and mothers at work - if the building may be retained, Supt. of Schools T. S. MacQuiddy said.

In Washington Atty.-Gen. Tom Clark said Wednesday that despite lifting of military restrictions on 33,000 Japanese nationals in relocation centers, 9700 of them will not be returning to their homes, the United Press reported.

The 9700 will remain interned, either at justice department camps or at Tulelake, Calif., Clark said. This includes 5500 Nisei who have renounced their U. S. citizenship and are presumed to be nationals of Japan. Another 1200 or [sic] foreign-born Japanese, who were interned as alien enemies for the duration of the war.

"These persons," Clark said, "will be continued in internment pending final review of their cases by the attorney general and approval by the military authorities of the removal of hostile Japanese nationals to Japan.

Those to remain interned also include 2000 "voluntary internees" [...unreadable] children who have followed the head of the family into internment. His fate will determine theirs.

The final 1000 are Japanese nationals from Hawaii, Alaska and various Latin American countries. Some Latin American nations sent dangerous aliens here at the beginning of the war owing to lack of adequate facilities for interning them.

The exclusion program, initiated in 1942, barred persons of Japanese ancestry from California, western Oregon, and western Washington. They were transferred to the various relocation centers.

Last December the mass exclusion from the Pacific coast area was terminated and a system of individual exclusion substituted. The proclamations remove any individual exclusions under military controls.

One of the proclamations was issued by Maj.-Gen. H. C. Pratt, commander of the Western Defense command. Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson issued a proclamation concerning Arkansas, Colorado and Wyoming, where centers were located.

The proclamations were effective at midnight Tuesday night, Pacific war time.

The War Relocation authority had custody of approximately 117,000 Japanese and Japanese-Americans, with the peak load in facilities at any one time, 107,000.

The schedule under which the relocation centers will be abandoned: Grenada, Calif., Oct. 15; Mindioka, Ida., and Topaz, Utah, Nov. 1; Gila River, Ariz., and Heart Mountain, Wyo., Nov. 15; Manzanar, Calif., and Poston, Ariz., Dec. 1; Rohwer, Ark., Dec. 15.

Inmates who are unable to manage for themselves when the camps are closed will be assisted by the War Relocation authority and local agencies of their home areas, it was said.

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