Federal Bureau of Investigation
United States Department of Justice
Washington, D. C.

December 12, 1942



Pursuant to your request, I wish to advise that under the authority of an Executive Order dated March 18, 1942, the War Relocation Authority was created for the purpose of relocating, maintaining, and supervising persons evacuated from Military Areas. This Executive Order provides that the Departments of War and Justice shall, in so far as consistent with national interests, provide such protective, police, and investigative services as the Director of the War Relocation Authority shall find necessary. With reference to this order, the Bureau was not consulted concerning the aforementioned provision nor has the Department advised as to whether it was consulted with respect to this matter. In this regard, no specific request has been made of the Bureau at the present time for any assistance other than name checks through Bureau files and for information concerning subversive activities of persons of Japanese descent. Details concerning the creation of the War Relocation Authority and project areas under that Authority for the housing of evacuees, together with data concerning the investigative jurisdiction of the Bureau, are herein set out. I wish to further note at this time that instructions were issued to all interested Field Offices to contact the Project Director of each War Relocation Project in order that the Bureau would be promptly informed of any violations within its investigative jurisdiction.


You will recall that by Executive Order No. 9066 dated February 19, 1942, the President authorized the Secretary of War and any Military Commander designated by him to establish Military Areas from which all persons may be excluded. Pursuant to this order, Lieutenant General John L. DeWitt of the Western Defense Command established Military Areas and provided for the evacuation of Japanese aliens and citizens of Japanese descent from certain of those areas comprising the states of California, the western portions of the states of Washington and Oregon, and a portion of the state of Arizona. Evacuees were first moved by the Army to assembly centers pending completion of the War Relocation Project Areas. The War Relocation Authority has advised that approximately 110,000 persons of Japanese ancestry were evacuated under this program, and that as of November 1, 1942, all of them had been placed in War Relocation Projects.

Under Executive Order No. 9102 dated March 18, 1942, the President authorized the the creation of the War Relocation Authority in the Office of Emergency Management of the Executive Office of the President, for the purpose of relocating, maintaining and supervising persons evacuated from Military Areas in accordance with the above mentioned Executive Order No. 9066. According to the War Relocation Authority, its ultimate responsibility is the permanent relocation in communities outside restricted military areas of all evacuees. Pending completion of that program, the Authority's immediate responsibility is the administration of the ten Relocation Project Areas into which the evacuees have been transferred. The Project Areas are located at Manzanar and Newell, California; Poston and Sacaton, Arizona; Eden, Idaho; Delta, Utah; Cody, Wyoming; Lamar, Colorado; and Jerome and Rohwer, Arkansas.

The War Relocation Authority advised under date of November 18, 1942, that it was maintaining within the Relocation Centers an internal police system. From advice received from the Field, it is understood that adjacent to each Relocation Project there are maintained Military Police for assistance in connection with any emergency which may arise within the particular Project. It is understood, however, that these Military Police have no authority to enter the Project Areas unless requested to do so by the Project Director.


Instructions for the issuance of leave for departure from a War Relocation Project issued by the War Relocation Authority under date of November 6, 1942, provide for short term leave to permit an evacuee to attend to affairs requiring his presence outside the area, leave to participate in a work group, and indefinite leave. With respect to the latter, each applicant's name is checked with the files of the Bureau before such leave is granted. However, once the evacuee is granted indefinite leave, no effort is made by the War Relocation Authority to keep the evacuee under surveillance with the exception that he is required to report changes in address and employment. The War Relocation Authority has observed in this connection that they are of the opinion once an evacuee has been issued leave and has been permanently relocated, he should become the subject of the same internal security checks that apply to all other residents in the particular community.


The instructions for the issuance of leave, issued by the War Relocation Authority under the date of November 6, 1942, provide that short term leave and leave to participate in a work group may, with prior approval of the Regional Director of the War Relocation Authority, be revoked. These instructions further provide that if the evacuee, after notice of the revocation of leave, does not return promptly, or in the event the evacuee cannot be located, the Project Director may request the assistance of the appropriate local office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and of the state or local authorities. Instructions further state that if the intervention of the Regional Director or the Director of the War Relocation Authority would be helpful in procuring the cooperation of the Bureau or the state officers concerned, they should be immediately notified.

With respect to the revocation of leave granted for an indefinite period, instructions of the War Relocation Authority provide that all relevant facts shall be submitted to the Director of the War Relocation Authority for appropriate action, and in the event leave is revoked, appropriate instructions will be issued to the evacuee concerned. Instructions further provide that if the evacuee does not return as instructed, the Director of the War Relocation Authority is to be notified. No reference is made to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


Under date of September 1, 1942, the interested Field Offices were advised of the establishment of a War Relocation Project within their Division and instructed to maintain contact with each Project Director in order that the Bureau could receive prompt information of any data within its investigative jurisdiction.

On October 15, 1942, Mr. Wendell Berge, Assistant Attorney General, was asked specifically as to whether crimes such as murder, theft not including Government property, and others occurring in War Relocation Project Areas were within the investigative jurisdiction of this Bureau. By memorandum dated November 13, 1942, Mr. Berge advised that the inquiry is dependent on a determination of the question as to whether or not the Federal Government has exclusive or concurrent jurisdiction over the lands included within the Project Areas. The War Relocation Authority is now making a study of whether the United States had concurrent or exclusive jurisdiction over such land prior to the time the land came under the jurisdiction of the War Relocation Authority and the Bureau is to be further advised in this regard by Mr. Berge.

With respect to the instructions of the War Relocation Authority concerning leave, Mr. Berge submitted to you for comment on October 6, 1942, proposed instructions to United States Attorneys concerning the apprehension and prosecution of evacuees who violate Public Law No. 503, 77th Congress. You will recall that this Act provides for a penalty of one year imprisonment or a fine not exceeding $5,000, or both for each willful violation of a Military Order issued pursuant to Executive Order No. 9066. Mr. Berge informed that the War Relocation Project Areas had been designated as military areas and by proclamation it had been provided that persons of Japanese ancestry, whether they be citizens or aliens, residing within such areas could leave only pursuant to written authorization to be granted by Regional Project Directors or the Project Directors. The proposed instructions contemplated that in the case of an unauthorized departure, the Project Director would make a complete report to the Regional Director, who, if in his judgment the report justified such action, would request the Regional Attorney to notify the United States Attorney for the district within which the project is situated, and to request the United States Attorney to take action for the apprehension of the evacuee.

Upon receipt of such a request, the United States Attorney was to notify the nearest Field Office of the Bureau. By memorandum dated October 15, 1942, you advised Mr. Berge that reports concerning unauthorized departures should be submitted immediately to the nearest Field Office of the Bureau in order that investigative time could be conserved by taking immediate action looking toward the apprehension of the evacuee. You further suggested to Mr. Berge that coincident with the report to the appropriate Bureau Field Office of an unauthorized departure from a War Relocation Project Area, United States Attorneys be directed to grant authority to representatives of this Bureau to make an emergency apprehension of the violator if he be an alien enemy, or to file a complaint charging a violation of Public Law No. 503, 77th Congress if the violator not be an alien enemy. At the present time, the Bureau has received no further advice from Mr. Berge concerning the instructions which will be issued to United States Attorneys. However, the matter has been followed with a request that such data be submitted in order that appropriate instructions could be submitted to the Field Offices of this Bureau.

Mr. E. M. Rowalt, Acting Director, War Relocation Authority, in a communication dated November 18, 1942, transmitted a copy of regulations of that Authority dated November 6, 1942, containing provisions mentioned above that failure of an evacuee on leave to report when his leave was revoked may result in a request of assistance directed tot he appropriate Bureau Field Office. Other than the tentative instructions submitted by Mr. Berge, no advice has been furnished to the Bureau concerning the type of assistance desired. It would appear that unless there is going to be prosecution of such individuals, representatives of this Bureau should not serve as messengers to guide evacuees back to the War Relocation Project.


On June 24, 1942, Mr. Thomas Holland, Civil Employment Division of the War Relocation Authority inquired whether the Bureau would consider the investigation of evacuees to determine their loyalty prior to their permanent relocation. This matter was presented to the Attorney General on July 7, 1942, with the recommendation that the Bureau not be charged with the duty of investigating such evacuees with which recommendation the Attorney General concurred. On July 15, 1942, Mr. D. S. Myer, Director of the War Relocation Authority advised that it had been concluded that a check of the Bureau records with respect to the evacuees to be permanently relocated would be satisfactory and he inquired if the Bureau would agree to such a check. Mr. Myer was advised by letter dated July 29, 1942, that the Bureau's files would be checked on any such names furnished by the War Relocation Authority.

In the communication of the Acting Director of the War Relocation Authority, Mr. E. M. Rowalt, dated November 18, 1942, Mr. Rowalt advised that the Authority would appreciate the assistance and cooperation of the Bureau in organizing an internal security system within the Relocation Centers, in reporting information concerning anti-American or subversive activities on the part of evacuees, and in furnishing information concerning subversive activities of persons of Japanese ancestry not within Relocation Centers. Mr. Rowalt stated that the Authority would be glad to make available to the Bureau any information of a similar character obtained during the course of administering the Relocation Centers. In addition, he advised that the Army contemplates evacuating certain persons of Japanese ancestry from Hawaii, who will become the responsibility of the War Relocation Authority. Mr. Rowalt suggests how best to distribute these evacuees from Hawaii is dependent upon available information, and inquired if the Bureau could furnish details as to the character of those evacuees.

For your approval, I am attaching a letter to Mr. Rowalt advising that in connection with the evacuation of Japanese from Hawaii it would appear that the military authorities should make available pertinent case histories as the evacuation is at the request of military authorities and all information developed by the Bureau in the Territory of Hawaii relating to the internal security of that territory has been made available to the Military Intelligence Service. This letter further advises Mr. Rowalt that with respect to his request for information concerning subversive activities on the part of persons of Japanese ancestry not within Relocation Centers the Bureau has always followed the procedure of making available to Governmental departments data developed in which such departments would be interested, and accordingly this policy would be followed with respect to the War Relocation Authority. I do not feel, however, that the Bureau should agree to furnishing data on all Japanese under investigation as requested. Mr. Rowalt is being so advised.

A copy of the Executive Order creating the War Relocation Authority and the communication of the Acting Director of that Authority dated November 18, 1942 are attached.
D. M. Ladd

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