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


Commenting on proposed martial law to evacuate Japanese citizens, Mayor Edwin L. Rich said Wednesday such action might benefit public morale. He warned, however, that:

"There's no point to publicizing the opinions of the defense councils, since the matter of martial law is entirely out of their jurisdiction and can come only from military authorities," the city's chief executive said.

"Evacuation of Japanese aliens is not the whole answer to suppression of sabotage and subversive activity. Any enemy sympathizer inclined to such activity would undoubtedly be careful to have citizenship and he would also work for a prominent place in the community.

"I do think the people on the whole would feel a lot safer with all Japanese out of the community. It might be a way of bolstering morale and waking the people up to the fact the situation is serious."

Rich brought out two pertinent points from the recent session in Fresno of the Mayor's and councilmen's department of the League of California Cities.

First point was that the unit went unanimously on record favoring removal of all Japanese residents from the state.

Second was that the big problem today is to rouse the people, not to panic proportions, but to a full realization to the seriousness of the situation.

"Martial law to remove Japanese citizens is not a question of the abilities and competence of local authorities," Rich said. "Only under martial law could a citizen be evacuated; it's entirely out of local jurisdiction. If it came and we were asked to assist in removals, we would. Martial law definitely is the only way we can get rid of Japanese citizens. I hope full martial law will not be established, just partial rule."


Meanwhile, the enemy alien problem reached another stage in Santa Cruz Wednesday with a request from Attorney General Earl Warren for the personal opinions and recommendations on the situation of District Attorney Benjamin Knight, Sheriff J. R. Devitt and Chief of Police Al Huntsman.

The information is sought preliminary to the start Feb. 21 in San Francisco of hearings on the enemy alien problem by a congressional committee on national defense migration.

Warren requested specific ideas on the extent of danger in the area from sabotage and fifth column activities, caused by present aliens; whether adequate control would involve treating all enemy aliens alike, regardless of nationality, or whether there should be a differentiation; recommendations for elimination of sabotage and subversive activities.

Nature of the local officials' statements to Warren will be confidential.

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