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

Full Text Newspaper ArticleSanta Cruz Sentinel-News, Morning Edition. Feb. 19, 1942. p. 1


This is no time for expansive discourses on protection of civil liberties for Japanese residents of the Pacific coast, whether they be American citizens or aliens.

Efficient prosecution of this war demands that we recognize certain facts which make every Japanese in our midst a potential threat to our security, regardless of how admirable he might have been in time of peace. It is a mistake to think that we can clear up the dangers by process of elimination; that is, by depending entirely upon the FBI to ferret out all the treacherous acts and incriminating documents among the 100,000 Japanese living in areas where they could be of greatest service to an invading horde.

An attempted invasion of the Pacific coast is a possibility. Imbued with the doctrine of "The Rising Sun," Japanese on the Pacific coast must be regarded as a potential army already planted behind the American lines.

This is war, and philosophical treatises must give way to practical measures. A few sincere essayists will argue that a deep-rooted conviction for civil liberties cannot be reconciled with "discrimination" and "suspicion" even in time of war. They will maintain devoutly, ever so honest in their opinions, that we must exhaust the processes of law in determining who are our enemies within the borders of the United States.

Our beloved civil liberties will be a thing of the glorious past if the Axis powers win this war. We must employ whatever measures are expedient to defeat the Axis. And it should be clearly evident by now that we must take cognizance of the necessity of eliminating "fifth columnists."

The Japanese by their diabolical efficiency and fanatical patriotism have made it easy for us to exercise "discrimination" in dealing with aliens or hyphenated Americans originating from the countries with which we are now at war. They must be considered poles apart from the Italians and Germans, nearly all of whom have been assimilated by American society. The problem of tracking down the enemies of Italian and German origin is not nearly so acute.

We must recognize geographical factors, traditions, and language difficulties in dealing with Japanese communities on the coast. The Japanese navy is dominant in the Pacific, and once in control of all south Pacific bases it becomes a dagger aimed at the very western shores of the United States. Japan is the only power that can now be considered a potential invader of this country.

Even many Japanese who were born in this country have been taught, either at home or at extracurricular Japanese schools, the traditions of Japan, the divine supremacy of the emperor, and the "ultimate destiny of the Rising Sun." Some of these children , brilliant and charming students in our schools, have been sent to schools in Japan.

Because of language difficulties, and our regard for civil liberties, we as a nation have been unable to know the extent of indoctrination fostered through Japanese schools and Buddhist Temples in this country.

There are some Japanese who have native loyalty for the United States. If we were at war with any other country than Japan or her allies, it is our judgment that most of the Japanese on the coast would support America.

It is hardly possible under the circumstances to distinguish between a loyal Japanese and a disloyal one. But here is a reasonable conclusion: The American citizen of Japanese descent, who really loves this country above any other in the world, is in a position to know the traitors and dangerous aliens among the Japanese population. If this is his country, he could be expected to submit information on Japanese who are engaged in fifth column activities. Perhaps there are some Japanese who have thus proved their loyalty, but we haven't heard of a single case.

Finally, we would recommend that every person of Japanese descent be moved back from the coast 130 to 200 miles. This should be done immediately. In exercising such precaution, the government would be obliged to feed and house these people and to provide decent treatment. Perhaps they could be given a large farm area to work, not as slaves but as producers worthy of decent compensation.

Let us not worry too much about the farm lands that would be vacated by the Japanese thus removed. Our department of agriculture should be able to sustain the flow of produce to the marketplaces.

Copyrighted by the Santa Cruz Sentinel-News, Morning Edition. Reproduced by permission.