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

Full Text Newspaper ArticleWatsonville Register-Pajaronian. May 28, 1942. p. 8


Part III


It is important to know that the evacuation assembly centers, described in the preceding section of this series, are temporary. They were set up and are operated, as the House Migratory Labor Committee pointed out the other day, with due regard for the basic rights of the evacuees, including livable quarters, standard food rations, recreational facilities and other conveniences.

But, in the final analysis, the Japanese occupying these centers are merely at stopover points en route to permanent relocation centers.

On March 18th, President Roosevelt established the machinery for this final phase of the evacuation program. At that time he created the War Relocation Authority, a civilian agency with Mr. Milton Eisenhower as its national director. Under this agency permanent Relocation Centers are being prepared for the Japanese to live and work in until the end of the war. The only part the Army will play directly in this operation will be the handling of the transfer of evacuees from Assembly Centers to Relocation Centers; and to furnish the military guards who will be on duty outside the Centers. The Centers themselves will be operated by the War Relocation Authority.

The work of finding and preparing suitable sites for these Relocation Centers is proceeding rapidly. Promising sites are subjected to specific tests, as described in a circular addressed by the Relocation Authority to the Japanese:

This is Home for Duration

"1. The area must provide work opportunities throughout most of the year for the population to be relocated there. Such opportunities may consist of the following classes or combination of classes of work:

"Public Works - Such as the development of land for irrigation, conservation of soil resources, flood control operations, range improvement, operation of experimental projects for production of rubber and silk;

"Agricultural Production - First for the production of foodstuffs for the relocated community, and second to aid in the Food for Freedom program;

"Manufacturing - The manufacture of goods requiring a great deal of hand labor, including products needed in Relocation Areas.

"2. Each Relocation Area must have adequate transportation and power facilities to meet the needs of the relocated community. It must have a sufficient acreage of good quality soil and an adequate supply of water for irrigation to provide the community with a good agricultural base. The climate must be satisfactory. The domestic and industrial water supply for the area must be suitable in quality and quantity.

"3. Each area must be able to support a minimum population of 5,000 persons. Efficient administration of the program, provision of protective services by the Army, and the effective development of community services, such as schools, hospitals, fire-control facilities, and recreational opportunities, all require that communities be at least this large.

"4. Each area must be on public land, owned or leased by the Federal Government, so that improvements made at public expense will become public, not private, assets. Any land purchased for Relocation Areas will remain in public ownership.

"5. Each area must meet certain specifications of the War Department."

Two Areas Now Operating

Two of these areas are already in partial operation. The one at Manzanar, in California's Owens River Valley, has a capacity of 10,000 people. The one at Parker, Arizona, will have a capacity of between 20,000 and 30,000.

This latter site, located on the Colorado River, consists of 80,000 acres of public land.

Other relocation centers thus far decided upon are:

A 7,000-acre site (with the possibility of 8,000 additional acres later) on the Pima Indian Reservation, 40 miles southeast of Phoenix. This Center will accommodate 10,000.

A 1,500-acre site, with 6,000 additional acres probably to come, in the Tulelake Reclamation Project in northern California. Capacity, 10,000.

A 68,000-acre tract near the town of Eden in Jerome County, Idaho. Capacity, 10,000.

Thus provision is already under way for 60,000 to 70,000 evacuees, some of whom are already "at home."

Policy Regarding Work

Many people have expressed an interest in the extent to which the Japanese will be available to contribute to the nation's production of agricultural and other products.

This matter lies solely within the jurisdiction and responsibility of the War Relocation Authority, which is charged with the permanent handling of the whole problem.

War Relocation Authority has created a War Relocation Work Corps in which all Japanese more than 16 years of age may voluntarily enlist.

The Work Corps provides a means for organizing and apportioning opportunities for work and income on the relocation projects. It enables individuals to do the work for which they are best fitted by training and experience. It will provide additional training to adapt old skills to new jobs, and to develop new skills. It will recruit personnel for community and administrative services. It will give the evacuees an opportunity to demonstrate their loyalty and willingness to serve the country.

The following is quoted from War Relocation Authority's booklet on the subject:

Enlistees' Obligations

"Enlistment in the work corps is entirely voluntary and all evacuees over sixteen years of age who are employable, both men and women, may apply. Among the obligations which the enlistee assumes are these:

"1. He agrees to serve as a member of the Corps until two weeks after the end of the war.

"2. He swears loyalty to the United States and agrees to perform faithfully all tasks assigned to him by the Corps authority.

"3. He may be granted furloughs for work in agricultural, industrial or other private employment under the following conditions:

"a. Since the Army cannot provide protective services for groups or communities of less than 5,000, each State and local community where enlistees are to work must give assurance that they are in a position to maintain law and order.

"b. Transportation to the place of private employment and return must be arranged without cost to the Federal Government.

"c. Employers must, of course, pay prevailing wages to enlistees without displacing other labor and must provide suitable living accomodations.

"d. For the time enlistees are privately employed, they will pay the Government for expenses incurred in behalf of their dependents who may remain at Relocation Centers."

No Employment in Area No. 1

Upon application from War Relocation Authority, and statement that the conditions just quoted have been met to the satisfaction of War Relocation Authority the Wartime Civil Control Administration will permit Japanese to leave Assembly Centers or Relocation Centers for private employment provided the location of such Japanese is outside the boundaries of Military Area No. 1. Wartime Civil Control Administration will grant no permits for work within Military Area No. 1 under any circumstances. (This is along the Coast and the southern part of Arizona, for a depth of from 100 to 250 miles.)

Prospective employers seeking to arrange for the private employment of Japanese under the conditions outlined will need to consult E. R. Fryer, Regional Director of War Relocation Authority, Whitcomb Hotel, San Francisco.

Sites for the Relocation Centers are being selected with a view to their capacity for development of public works and becoming as nearly self-sustaining as possible. Naturally, too, the sites must meet with Army approval from the standpoint of military considerations.

One of the principal occupations of the evacuees in the Centers will be the growing of their own food. As a starter, Japanese at Manzanar have already planted twenty-seven varieties of vegetables on a 120-acre plot which formerly grew sagebrush. This same principle will be carried on until it attains a reasonable maximum. Surplus foods produced will be sold where they are needed.

They will thus join the overall stockpile of foods required by the government in increasing measure both for domestic consumption and for shipment abroad.

Manufacturing, Too

Another major undertaking at each Center will be the manufacture of many kinds of articles needed by the community and by the nation. Simple factories using a large amount of hand labor and readily available materials will be established on the Relocation Projects wherever feasible, for operation by enlistees in the production of such articles as clothing, wood products, ceramics, netting, woven and knitted materials, building materials.

These suggested opportunities cover only a few of the broader fields of activity in which enlistees may be engaged. Actually, their work will run the gamut of employment in a normal community. There will be much clerical and stenographic work, machinists' work, reporting and editing for the Center newspaper, nursing, cooking, radio reporting, and work for doctors and lawyers.

The incomes earned on Relocation Areas by enlistees will depend on the success that relocated communities have in organizing and managing their various productive enterprises.

The philosophy back of all this was concurred in by the House Migratory Labor Committee, headed by Representative Tolan of California, as reported a few days ago. An article written by Kyle Palmer, Washington representative of the Los Angeles Times, and published in the Times of May 14th, contains this paragraph:

On the whole, the Committee believes, private employment of the Japanese outside the military zone will not prove feasible, and the Committee recommends that the War Relocation Authority chart its work plan "in terms of public projects to provide for a maximum contribution to the war effort and of as great a self-sustaining nature as possible."

Thus the picture takes shape. As may be clear by now, the civilian management of the Relocation Centers will have many human equations to deal with, but what the American people can count upon - and what the evacuees themselves can count upon - is an intelligent, democratic effort to handle these problems fairly and efficiently.

Community Stays Together

As was observed earlier, the construction of housing and the assignment of quarters took into consideration the natural desirability of keeping families together.

But this is by no means all. What applies to a family applies in larger measure to a community. The Japanese colonies in the western states were well balanced, integrated wholes. They had their physicians and dentists, their ministers and teachers, their cooks and launderers, their farmers and gardeners and manual laborers.

The Army and its Wartime Civil Control Administration have seen to it in the Assembly Centers that these communities are kept as nearly intact as possible. The War Relocation Authority is doing the same thing in the Relocation Centers. As a result, social and economic units are held together along the same lines as existed in peace times.

The Japanese will form their own community life, elect officers, provide a police force, fire control facilities, help operate their schools and nurseries, have their own doctors. In general they will have a great deal to do in the orderly planning of their own existence. Which illustration, combined with many others, goes to show that even under the stresses and strains of an all-out war, Uncle Sam has his feet on the ground and continues to be what he has always been known to be, a very, very human fellow.

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