Introduction When the government announced the formation of the 442nd, there were protests from a wide spectrum of organizations and individuals. These objections mainly came from the West Coast states. State and local politicians, civic organizations and others sent letters and resolutions protesting the government's plan to allow Japanese Americans to join the military and to leave the relocation centers in the indefinite leave program.
These letters and resolutions indicate that the animosity, mistrust and racism expressed in them was not merely restricted to a small portion of the population or fringe groups. The fundamental reasons why the Japanese American community was targeted had much more to do with racial prejudice than simple economic opportunism on the part of other citizens wishing to exploit the loss of the Japanese American farmers and business owners. After December 7th, the rage against the Japanese American community boiled over and the citizens who protested were not afraid to express their feelings and they demanded action.
These letters were obtained from the NARA files of Assistant Secretary of War, John McCloy.
Protests From Individuals
Sir:-Your idea for forming regiments of supposedly patriotic American Japs, is the most abomnible thing that has been forced on the American people by the New Deal bureaucrats. Dont you know there isnt any loyal Japs, except to the Japs. Remember Pearl Harbor, Bataan, Corregidor, The Philipines, our dead service men, our Prisoners in the hands of the Japs. Why not put these Babies at slave labor and feed them on rotten fish and a little rice, like they do our boys? We are disgusted that you even foster such a thought. We want every Jap in this country eliminated after the War. We are too soft hearted. Put these Jap traitors on a chain gang at hard labor. Do not take a chance on them fighting with our Soldiers. If you carry this Army plan out, we are really going to be sore, Disgusted W.E. JaRue San Francisco
WB29 82 NL 6 EXTRA LOSANGELES CALIF JAN 29 1943 PRESIDENT FRANKLIN D ROOSEVELT WHITE HOUSE ARE YOU WILLING TO JEOPARDIZE AMERICA ITS CITIZENS AND OUR SOLDIERS TO TRUST JAPANESE IN WAR INDUSTRIES AND IN OUR SERVICE WHEN YOU KNOW THEYRE NOT TO BE TRUSTED AMERICAN BORN OR NOT[.] THEIR LEGION IS TO TOKYO[.] I THINK I KNOW THE JAPS PRETTY WELL AND AS A CITIZEN I AM PROTESTING AGAINST ANY MOVE OF THIS KIND AND WILL HAVE PETITIONS IN WASHINGTONDC BY THOUSANDS OF CITIZENS WHO FEEL THE SAME AS I DO SENORITA JUANITA MARTINEZ PRESIDENT OF THE PEOPLES CIVIC CLUB 324 1/2 SOUTH HILL STREET LOSANGELES
April 2, 1944
Secretary of War Stimson Washington, D.C.
Dear Mr. Stimson,
The Japanese in relocation camps are being given privileges that American Citizens are not allowed. They are also buying up land and will be permanently located all over the United States when the war is over. Don't allow these Japanese to become citizens [and] buy land. Don't allow them to go to our colleges while our boys are being sent all over the world to fight the Japs. This is a form of sabotage. It is bad for the morale of the citizens on the home front. It seems like the government is trying so hard to be fair to the Japanese that it is being unfair to our country. I believe the Japanese should all be sent back to Japan as soon as the war is over for the safety of the future Americans and a lasting peace. I have confidence in your good judgement and trust you will think of our country first.
Very Sincerely, Mrs. Paul Hatcher Plains, Kansas
March 10, 43
Mr Henry L. Stimson Secretary of War, War Depart., Washington D.C.
Dear Mr. Stimson: This letter is in regards to the present Japanese situation and what should be done about it. Are you aware of the fact Mr. Stimson that long after the California Japanese had been ordered to turn in to the police all radios, arms and ammunition, they were found still to have undercover, in this community of Watsonville truck loads of the stuff and I wonder if you know that for years every Japanese family under orders from home was buying Japanese War bonds? People who talk about the Japanese as loyal to the United States because they were born here do not know the facts as we Californians do. Don't allow them in the Army. If the Japanese are allowed to remain here after the war our future generations will have the worst race problem in history. Is it true that some 400 Japanese have already been liberated? Would you please reply at your earliest convenience? Thanking you. I am Sincerely yours, Mrs. Rose Kalich 125 West Lake Ave. Watsonville, Calif.
Note: Apparently this handwritten letter from Mrs. Kalich received a response from Colonel William Scobey, General Staff Executive officer for Secretary McCloy. Mrs. Kalich then sent a typed written response to Col. Scobey.
Watsonville, California April 13th, 1943
War Department, Office of Assistant Secretary Washington, D.C.
Attention William P. Scobey Colonel, G.S. Executive.
Sir: Your letter of March 26, 1943, in reply to mine of March 10, is received.
Your letter is a fair sample of those received from the War Department by others of our people who have protested against the tragically asinine procedure of the department, with respect to the Japs.
When you send out such statements, it largely explains why the department and its representatives, asleep on the job December 7, 1941, are responsible for the inexcusable slaughter of some 4500 of our finest young men.
It may be the right of "every faithful citizen, regardless of ancestry" to serve his country, in time of war. But you people must be abnormally credulous if you have convinced yourselves that it is safe to assume that any Jap, wherever born, is a "faithful citizen."
We, who for a generation have had large numbers of these people in our community, who have done business with them almost daily, and who know them for what they are, have no hesitation in saying that there is not one native born Jap out of 10,000 who, as between Japan and the U.S.A. is truly loyal to the latter.
The Secretary of War and those of you who are mislead into the belief that you can trust the native-born Jap "as dependable and loyal as other Americans" are outstanding examples of the simple, trusting nature of our War and Navy Departments responsible for the tragedy at Pearl Harbor.
Anyone familiar with the facts, and not dependent upon the reports of credulous welfare workers, hired representatives of the Japs, or persons who after a few weeks or months observance of the subject matter conclude that they know it all, knows: 1. That it is contrary to human nature to believe that children brought up in the homes of foreign born Japs, who speak little if any English; whose parents are not here to become assimilated with our people, but merely to accumulate money to be sent or taken back to Japan; who from infancy attend Japanese language schools, taught by alien Japs; who (sic) very religion is a fanatical devotion to the Emperor; it is contrary to human nature to believe that such children have been taught to be or that they are, when afforded a free choice, loyal to the U.S.A. against Japan. 2. That every alien Jap is fanatically devoted to the country of his origin and to his Emperor.
That his children have been taught the same loyalty.
That the Japs themselves, when in the process of being evacuated, native born and foreign born alike, many times publicly admitted that the most dangerous element among them were native born "citizens."
That after Pearl Harbor and before their evacuation, no "citizen" Jap has been reported as having:
(a) Lent any aid to our officials in discovering hidden arms, radios, etc.; (b) Disclosed the traitorous actions of any of their foreign born people, or (c) Condemned the Japanese nation for its conduct before or after Pearl Harbor.
That for twenty years, the native born Japs in every possible way have aided the foreign born in evading the anti-alien land laws of our western states--and that they to this day continue to do so.
You people in the East and Middle West have only the reported conduct of the Jap- mostly while in a relocation center- from which he is anxious to be released. You should spend forty years and more with them, as the people of this and other districts in California have had to do.
Furthermore, you do not comprehend what the sentiment of our people, based upon their knowledge and experience, is.
I am enclosing a pamphlet, which has been endorsed by our Defense Council and by a large number of local organizations, and has the support of at least 90% of our people. It doesn't say half that might be said, but there is enough to convict your department of the grossest folly in your naive attitude toward the most dangerous element in our country.
Respectfully yours, Rose Kalich 125 West Lake Ave., Watsonville, Calif.
To see more letters of protest from individuals click HERE.
Civic Organizations Against the War Department Plan Many civic organizations were against the War Department plans to allow Japanese Americans to serve in the Army. Two organizations from California stood out in their objections to these plans: The Native Sons of the Golden West and the Native Daughters of the Golden West. Chapters (or Parlors) across California passed resolutions protesting the new War Department policy.
GRAND PARLOR Native Sons of the Golden West
OFFICE OF THE GRAND SECRETARY
WHEREAS: Persons of Japanese ancestry born in the United States are subjects of and owe allegiance to the Emperor of Japan and cannot therefore become loyal citizens of the United States; and
WHEREAS: Their presence in the United States has been recognized by the President of the United States as a possible menace to the efforts of the United States in the present war; and
WHEREAS: Their membership in the armed forces of the United States would be extremely dangerous to the United States and would subject the members of the armed forces of the United States to treachery at the hands of our common enemy; now, therefore be it
RESOLVED: That the Board of Grand Officers of the Native Sons of the Golden West in meeting assembled in San Francisco, California, on February 27, 1943, do hereby petition the Honorable Secretary of War and the Honorable Secretary of the Navy of the United States to prohibit persons of Japanese ancestry from enlisting or being inducted into the armed forces of the United States.
I hereby certify that the above resolution was adopted at a meeting of the Board of Grand Officers (Board of Directors) of the Grand Parlor of the Native Sons of the Golden West.
Witness my hand and the seal of the Grand Parlor, Native Sons of the Golden West, this fifth day of March, 1943 John T. Regan Grand Secretary, N.S.G.W.
To see more letters of protest from the Native Sons of The Golden West click HERE.
California Parlor No. 247
Native Daughters of the Golden West WOMEN'S UNIVERSITY CLUB 943 South Hoover Los Angeles, California
February 10, 1943
Hon. Henry L. Stimson Secretary of War Washington, D.C.
Californiana Parlor No. 247, Native Daughters of the Golden West, at its meeting of February 9, 1943, unanimously adopted the accompanying petition.
We sincerely hope that it will have your careful attention, and that you will endeavor to have enacted legislation that will end for all time the "peaceful invasion" of our country by the Japanese.
Our members are convinced that all Japanese in this country and its possessions should be confined in concentration camps, and the camps placed under strict military control. To do otherwise, is to invite disaster.
Very sincerely yours,
Estelle R. Flick President Magdalena M. Wildasin Recording Secretary
California Parlor No. 247 Native Daughters of the Golden West WOMEN'S UNIVERSITY CLUB 943 South Hoover Los Angeles, California
Californiana Parlor No. 247, Native Daughters of the Golden West, is grieved and shocked to learn of the proposal to enroll in the United States Army a unit composed of so-called "citizens of the United States of America of Japanese ancestry."
The members of Californiana Parlor are firmly of the opinion that the Constitution of the United States of America does not confer citizenship on any person of Japanese descent born in this country, therefore there are no "citizens of the United States of Japanese ancestry"; they also are of the belief that all Japanese, regardless of protestations otherwise, inherently are loyal only to Japan, and they are thoroughly convinced that the enrollment of a United States Army unit composed of Japanese will be inimicable to the welfare of the State of California and the Nation, and will undoubtedly create a dangerous threat to a proper and adequate defense of this country. Therefore, be it
Resolved, that Californiana Parlor No. 247, Native Daughters of the Golden West, is strenuously opposed to the formation of a Japanese unit of the United States Army, and hereby respectfully petitions the Congress of the United States of America to exercise its prerogative and nullify the declared intention of the War Department to organize and enroll such a unit. And be it further
Resolved, That copies of this petition be sent the Secretary of War, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Chairman of the Senate Military Affairs Committee, the Chairman of the House of Representatives Military Affairs Committee, and others.
To see more letters of protest from the Native Daughters of the Golden West click HERE.
To see more letters of protest from other civic organizations and groups click HERE.
Protests From Elected Government Officials There were many protest resolutions and letters sent to Congressional representatives, the War Department and the President concerning the War Department's plan for Japanese Americans. These resolutions came from across California and included a resolution from 22 members of the California Delegation to the House of Representatives. These actions clearly show that the anti-Japanese American sentiment was not isolated to fringe group nativists, but rather represented a widespread belief that Japanese Americans could not be trusted and should remain locked up in the internment camps or if released, remain under government control and supervision. All of these protest groups also disagreed with the War Department plans for Japanese Americans in the military.
The War Department at the time believed that a significant proportion of Japanese Americans were loyal to America and should be allowed to serve in the military and leave the internment camps and return to civilian life.
The County of San Benito, California adopted the following resolution on April 1, 1943. This resolution was then adopted and passed by other counties in California.
The following resolution was adopted by a unanimous vote of the Board of Supervisors of San Benito County, California, at an adjourned meeting of said Board held on April 1, 1943. WHEREAS it has been announced through the press: 1. That the Secretary of War contemplates that some 28,000 native-born Japanese shall be incorporated into the United States Army in separate combat units; and 2. That the Federal authorities contemplate the release of from 25,000 to 40,000 Japanese from Relocation camps where they are now restrained, with no announced provision for adequate surveillance or control; and WHEREAS, the Board of Supervisors of San Benito County believes that such contemplated action would be inimical to the best interests and to the welfare and effective defense of our country; Be it resolved that we most vigorously and earnestly protest against the above proposed actions and each of them; that we convey this protest to the Secretary of War, to the War Relocation board, to our congressmen and senators and to the President of the United States and to each Board of Supervisors of the State of California. That we urge upon these authorities the following reasons, based upon an extensive experience with the Japanese, for more than 40 years, and intimate knowledge of their character, and our observation of what occurred on December 7, 1941, and immediately thereafter; (1) Following Pearl Harbor and for the defense of the West Coast against attack and sabotage the Army wisely moved the Japanese from the Pacific Coast. NOW TO PERMIT THEM TO RETURN TO THEIR FORMER HABITAT WOULD SUBJECT US AGAIN TO THE DANGER OF SERIOUS SABOTAGE AND DIFFICULTY IN DEFENDING OUR SHORE LINE IN THE EVENT OF ATTACK. (2) DUE TO THE TEMPER OF THE AMERICAN PUBLIC SINCE THE DASTARDLY ATTACK AT PEARL HARBOR we feel that IT WOULD BE DETRIMENTAL TO THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE JAPANESE THEMSELVES TO ALLOW THEM TO RETURN FOR RESIDENCE ON THE WEST COAST, and that difficult additional policing problems would be presented thereby in effecting their safety. (3) IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN LOYAL AND DISLOYAL JAPANESE. We are in no position to judge the emotions of the Japanese inasmuch as they have maintained their own schools and religion, and in many cases, dual citizenship with their main allegiance to the Emperor of Japan. (4) IF JAPANESE WERE ALLOWED TO RETURN TO THIS AREA WE COULD NOT EXPECT THE COOPERATION OF PRESENT AGRICULTURAL OR INDUSTRIAL LABORERS ALREADY ENGAGED IN THE WAR EFFORT IF THEY WERE CALLED UPON TO WORK WITH JAPANESE EVACUEES. (5) TO ALLOW YOUNG JAPANESE TO LEAVE RELOCATION CAMPS FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES IN OUR COLLEGES WOULD BE UNJUST AND INEQUITABLE AS IT AFFECTS OUR OWN AMERICAN BOYS WHO HAVE BEEN TAKEN OUT OF COLLEGE AND ARE SO LOYALLY SERVING THEIR COUNTRY in the armed forces to the detriment of their education and employment. (6) IT IS THE OPINION of this Board that these Japanese should be contributing substantially to the war effort but we feel that it should be in areas removed from the Pacific Coast and by group movement UNDER FULL AND PROPER CONTROL AND SUPERVISION BY THE ARMY. IN NO EVENT SHOULD THEY BE DISBURSED THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY WITHOUT PROPER PROVISION FOR ABSOLUTE SURVEILLANCE AND CONTROL. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT THE JAPANESE, BOTH ALIEN AND AMERICAN BORN SHOULD BE RETAINED IN RELOCATION CENTERS FOR THE DURATION UNLESS THEY ARE PLACED UNDER DIRECT AND ABSOLUTE SUPERVISION AND FULL CONTROL OR ARMY AUTHORITY and engaged in the furtherance of our war effort. It was further ordered that our local civic organizations be urged to join this protest.
ATTEST: [signed] Elmer Dowdy, Clerk of said Board.
The following California Counties and others adopted this resolution: County of Riverside, adopted April 1943 (day unknown) County of Monterey, adopted on April 12, 1943 County of Santa Barbara, adopted on April 12, 1943 County of Humboldt, adopted on April 13, 1943 San Mateo County, adopted on April 20, 1943 County of Lake, adopted on April 26, 1943 Stanislaus County, adopted on April 26, 1943 County of Los Angeles, adopted on April 27, 1943 County of Butte, adopted on April 30, 1943 County of Alpine, adopted on May 3, 1943 County of Plumas, adopted on May 3, 1943 Siskiyou County, adopted on May 3, 1943 County of Orange, adopted abbreviated version of resolution stating that they "earnestly join in said protest", May 4, 1943 County of San Diego, adopted on May 11, 1943 Sierra County, adopted on June 1, 1943
City of Riverside, adopted on April 20, 1943 Marysville District Chamber of Commerce, adopted on June 2, 1943
Soroptimist Club of Watsonville, adopted on March 8, 1943. In the resolution adopted by the Soroptimist Club it states that they were adopting the resolution adopted by the Pajaro Valley and Watsonville Defense council. The organization that started this resolution is not yet known.
To see more information on this resolution by California Counties click HERE.
Congress of the United States House of Representatives Washington, D.C.
June 16, 1943
Honorable Franklin D. Roosevelt The President The White House
Dear Mr. President: On Monday of this week, the members of our California Delegation in the House of Representatives, held a meeting and unanimously adopted a resolution concerning the policy of the Government as to resident Japanese, a copy of which I herewith enclose for your information. Appreciating your consideration of these recommendations, I am, Sincerely yours,
[signed] Clarence F. Lea Chairman Of The Meeting
POLICIES OF THE GOVERNMENT AS TO RESIDENT JAPANESE
RESOLUTION ADOPTED BY THE CALIFORNIA DELEGATION WASHINGTON, D.C., JUNE 14, 1943
WHEREAS, the California delegation in the House of Representatives in January, 1942, initiated its effort to secure the evacuation from critical areas of all enemy aliens and their families whether or not aliens; the internment of such evacuated aliens; that no evacuated aliens be permitted to return to critical areas without a special license; that such critical areas be enlarged to include the three Pacific Coast States and Alaska:
WHEREAS, General John L. DeWitt, commanding the Western Division, subsequently put into effect a protective plan of evacuation and internment consonant with the plan urged by this delegation:
WHEREAS, an effort is being made to remove and relax some of the provisions made under General DeWitt's administration for the protection of the public against subversive enemy efforts:
THEREFORE, the California delegation in the House of Representatives recommends:
That in order to guarantee the security and continued safety of all persons of Japanese ancestry, residing in the United States, and protect against any sabotage, espionage, or disruption of our efforts to destroy the war machine of the Government of Japan, which so ruthlessly attacked the United States,
1. That should the War Department continue to recruit Japanese for military service (a) Such Japanese troops should not be utilized anywhere in the Pacific Theatre (b) Such Japanese troops should not be admitted into any areas where the Government of Japan might attempt the landing of any saboteurs or invasion forces, and (c) That no Japanese women should be recruited for use in any of the women's organizations attached to or a part of the armed services.
2. That all known subversive Japanese be immediately segregated and removed from existing relocation camps and be confined in special detention camps for the duration of the war with Japan.
3. That such Japanese as can be utilized, be employed in agriculture and industry in areas outside the defined restricted zones, but that only such Japanese shall be so employed who are reasonably believed to be loyal to the United States after having been investigated and so certified by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. That all Japanese so employed shall be subject to the direct supervision and to such rules and regulations as may be deemed necesary by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
4. That all remaining Japanese, whose loyalty to the United States can not be definitely certified by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, shall be retained in War Relocation camps for the duration of the war with Japan.
5. That no persons of Japanese ancestry, whether in the military service, related to persons in the military service, or formerly resident within the existing restricted areas of the Pacific Coast, shall be permitted to enter any such designated restricted area without the direct individual authorization in writing of the Commanding Officer of such area.
6. That every effort be made with the Government of Japan to exchange all interned Japanese, subversive and disloyal Japanese and such other Japanese desiring such exchange, for American citizens now interned or held as prisoners of war by the Government of Japan.
Clarence F. Lea Norris Poulson J. Leroy Johnson Thomas F. Ford Thomas Rolph John M. Costello Richard J. Welch Will Rogers, Jr. Albert E. Carter Cecil R. King John H. Tolan Ward Johnson John Z. Anderson Chet Holifield Bertrand W. Gearhart Carl Hinshaw Alfred J. Elliott Harry R. Sheppard George E. Outland John Phillips Jerry Voorhis Ed. V. Izac
SPEECH OF HON. JOHN E. RANKIN OF MISSISSIPPI IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Wednesday, February 3, 1943
Mr. Speaker, as Member of Congress, I want to raise my voice in protest against coddling the Japs.
As I have said before, Japan is our permanent, and probably our most dangerous, enemy in this war. There can be no compromise with them. America must be humiliated or Japan must be destroyed.
I was shocked beyond expression to learn a few days ago that the Secretary of War was organizing a Jap unit in the American Army. Such a unit would not only be dangerous but it would do much to injure the morale of the men in our fighting forces and to shake the confidence of their people at home.
Instead of organizing these Japs into a so-called American unit, they should be separated and put into labor battalions where each and every one of them could be watched at all times. Not only that, but the American people are sick and tired of this policy of pampering the Japs in these concentration camps. Those camps should be turned over to the Army, and every one of them should be put under strict military control.
While our boys are being butchered by these brutal apes in the Pacific and while these savages are now on our soil in the Aleutian Islands, I submit it is no time to continue that maudlin policy toward them that resulted in, if it did not invite, the Pearl Harbor disaster.
Our most insidious and treacherous enemy in this conflict, I repeat, is Japan. We are either going to have to destroy the Japanese Empire or suffer defeat, humiliation, and probably invasion, of our Pacific Coast by her forces.
Patriotic Americans are demanding, and they will continue to demand, that we not only quit coddling the Japs but that we redouble our efforts in the Pacific until we forever wipe the Japanese influence from the face of the earth.