Memorandum of Conversation

DATE: February 10, 1942


Mr. Willard F. Kelly, Chief Supervisor, Border Patrol, Immigration and Naturalization Service,
Mr. B. Gufler, Special Division, State Department.

Mr. Gufler took up with Mr. Kelly by telephone the complaints made by the Japanese interned at Ellis Island through the Spanish Embassy and communicated to the Department by that Embassy's memorandum no. 80, February 5, 1942. Mr. Kelly stated that some changes had just been made at Ellis Island which he thought would take care of the Japanese complaints about lack of outdoor exercise. Alterations made at the Island would, he said, provide the Japanese with considerable more space both indoor and outdoor and more comfort. He said that he would endeavor to do something about their complaints as to the food. In this connection he stated that his service had endeavored at the large camps recently set by it to take Japanese tastes into consideration in the feeding of the Japanese detainees. At certain places such as Ellis Island, however, feeding is carried on under contract by private contractors and at these places some difficulty has been encountered with the contractors.

He requested that he be furnished with a copy of the Spanish Embassy's memorandum.




No. 80
Re: Japanese interned in Ellis Island

The Spanish Consul General in New York informs this Embassy that on January 28th the Chancellor of the Spanish Consulate there visited Ellis Island with the purpose of seeing how the Japanese interned there were faring. Some of them stated their displeasure at not being allowed enough outdoor exercise as well as about the scarcity of fresh vegetables in their meals. They also expressed their desire to have sometimes served meals cooked in the Japanese style.

The Spanish Embassy would greatly appreciate the State Department's kind attention to this matter.

WASHINGTON, February 5, 1942.

February 24, 1942

In reply refer to
SD 740.00115 PACIFIC WAR/145

The Secretary of State presents his compliments to the Honorable the Attorney General and encloses for the information of Mr. Willard F. Kelly, Chief Supervisor, Border Patrol, Immigration and Naturalization Service, a copy of memorandum no. 80 of February 5, 1942 from the Spanish Embassy with regard to the Japanese interned at Ellis Island.

This memorandum was the subject of a telephone conversation between Mr. Kelly and Mr. Gufler of the Special Division of the State Department.

Memorandum from Spanish Embassy,
no. 80, February 5, 1942.


The Department of State refers again to memorandum no. 80 of February 5, 1942 from the Spanish Embassy in charge of Japanese interests in the United States with regard to the Japanese detained at Ellis Island.

The Department of Justice which has custody of these detainees states that arrangements have been made to extend the time they are permitted to be out of doors to two hours daily and that steps have been taken to correct the deficiency of fresh vegetables in the diet, of which they complain.

With regard to the serving of meals cooked in the Japanese style the Department of Justice states that the situation at Ellis Island, which is a station of temporary detention, is such as to make this impracticable. The representative of that Department who investigated conditions at Ellis Island reported that the Japanese detainees themselves realize that because of the considerable number of races and nationalities of aliens in detention there, each of which would like to have meals according to his native taste, it would not be feasible to provide Japanese foods prepared in the Japanese style. The Department of Justice adds that in its detention camps where a large number of Japanese are being held for longer periods of time Japanese food is served.

Department of State,

740.00115 PACIFIC WAR/145
SD:BG:KC 3-7--9-42 FE FC

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