DATE: MAY 14, 1943

TIME: 3:00p.m. to 4:35 p.m.





(The press conference convened at 3 o'clock p.m., Friday, May 14, 1943, in Room 822, Barr Building, Washington, D. C.)

MR. MYER: First I want to say I am complimented in view of the fact that Winston Churchill is on the air at three o'clock to be able to run this kind of competition. We didn't know when we established this date that he was even going to be in the United States.

Q. Is this statement here in effect an announcement that you are abolishing the relocation centers?

A. No, it is not an announcement; it is simply a statement of the policies of the War Relocation Authority.

If the group does not object I would like to take a few minutes to outline in brief some of the policies of the Authority, and then I will give you all the time you want to ask questions, and I won't promise to answer all of them because I am not going to get into the field of opinions on matters that are highly controversial, but I will give you anything we have in the way of factual information.

I think perhaps, most of the general items of policy are covered in the mimeographed statement, but I would like to briefly outline some of those most crucial ones.

The major job of the Authority is the operating of the relocation centers, in which at the present time we have approximately 101,000 people of Japanese ancestry, and to carry on a relocation program outside of relocation centers.

In connection with the operation of the centers there are certain basic policies that have been discussed generally, and I would like to comment on briefly.

First, the type of housing provided is that provided in theater-of-operation type of construction in the Army. The average size apartment is 20 by 25 for a family of five or six, generally speaking, without partitions excepting for screens that they may develop themselves. They vary, of course, in size depending upon the size of the family and depending also on how much adjustment we can make after they arrived at the centers.

On food, we provide food for everyone as long as they are living in the center. The maximum cost is 45 cents a day. The figure has been averaging about 40 cents a day per person.

In that connection we have developed a policy providing all the subsistence food at the centers that we can possibly provide through the production of vegetables, other crops that can be utilized there, and production of livestock insofar as it is feasible with the conditions we have.

I might say on that point that during this coming fiscal year we have 6732 acres of vegetables planned, estimated value at $3,600,00 that would be produced at the center.

Q. How many acres?

A. 6732.

Q. Can you give us the valuation?

A. $3,600,000 approximately.

Q. That is fiscal year '44?

A. I believe this is this crop year, '43.

Q. Did you say 3610?

A. 3,601,000 approximately.

Feed crops, 18,947 acres; livestock valued at $1,488,000 or a total value of products of slightly over 5 million dollars that we expect to produce. Part of that is on a fiscal year basis. The livestock is on July 1 to July 1 next. The rest is on a crop year basis. Those are general figures.
As we go along later if any of you are interested in individual centers we can provide you with those facts and figures.

To go on with the basic minimum provisions for making the centers, we are providing educational facilities to the extent of primary and high school minimum requirements for each of the States where the centers are located; no college education provided at the centers at the expense of the Government or the War Relocation Authority.

Medical care, including hospitalization, doctor services, and other medical

Work, opportunities are being provided, to provide self-sufficiency as far as that is feasible.

As regarding the general privileges at the centers, we provide for the same kind of free speech that we do in any other part of the United States, because we don't look upon them as concentration or internment camps.

We are trying to provide for the same freedom of religion. On that point I might say that slightly less than 50 percent of these folks are Christian by religion, the rest of them are Buddhists.

Q. Does that include Shinto temples?

A. No, we don't consider that a religion. We do include Buddhism.

Q. Aren't most of the worshipers of the Shinto?

A. I would say no. In view of the fact that 50 percent of them are Christians, they are probably not Shintoists.

However, there are several different forms of Shintoism, and that is an opinion, and I would rather not be quoted on that subject because I don't know the answer to that.

Now as to restrictions, very briefly: All the areas are guarded by military police. The larger area, what we call a relocation area, is available to the evacuees at all centers, with one exception, during the daytime; at night they guard the immediate area which the camp itself. In other words, they pull in their guard at night at the area around the center, and everyone who goes in and out of the center must do so by pass. They have written permission to do so, and the passes are checked by the military guards.

Now, as to the present emphasis, our major emphasis at the present time is on outside relocation for those people who are qualified to relocate.
Last July we issued our first regulations relating to indefinite leaves. It was rather limited in scope. October 1 we published our basic regulation which was somewhat revised which provide these things: One, that anyone that may make an application for leave from a relocation center, provided they have a place to go and take care of themselves, providing, further, we have reasonable assurance that the community into which they wish to go will accept them without difficulties and trouble -- we make that check ourselves as to our feelings as to whether they would be reasonably accepted and wouldn't cause difficulty. Three, providing our investigation indicates to us that we believe they are sound from the internal security of the country; and, four, that everyone who goes out keeps us informed as to their address. Aliens are required to do that under the law, to inform the Office of the United States Attorney when they make any moves. We are requiring citizens in addition to aliens to do it in this case for several practical reasons.

Those are briefly the provisions of our leave clearance procedure.

During the first few months of the existence of this organization, most of the time and effort of course was devoted to building and staffing an organization and getting the centers in position to receive evacuees, getting them established after they are moved by the Army from the assembly centers; and, of course, that period covered from the latter part of May last year -- that movement -- until the first of November. We didn't get all the evacuees that came from the assembly centers until November 1. We started the second phase of our relocation program on a small scale in July but started more definitely in October with a reline program and we really didn't get geared up to do a job on that until the last two or three months.

Our first field office outside of the centers were established the first week in January. At the present time we have something more than 40 offices established throughout the country for the definite purpose of assisting in the job of relocation of people of Japanese ancestry who are qualified to relocate and who wish to do so. Those offices are performing two or three major functions. The first one is that they are making themselves available to explain to individuals and groups of people what this program is all about, who the people are, and to make the checks that I mentioned regarding the community's acceptance as far as receiving Japanese-Americans in the communities. That is the first step.

Secondly, they are working very closely with the Manpower Commission, the United States Employment Service in particular, and other agencies interested in employment, trying to locate adequate job opportunities to fit the skills of the people that we have available in relocation centers that wish to be relocated.

And, third, to give any service that seems to be essential to those evacuees who have relocated there and who can't go back into the evacuated areas.

As far as their contacts, what can be done with their property problems, and items of that kind, we provide that at the centers.

Those are the major services.

As I say, those offices, mostly all of them, have been established since January 4, and they are beginning to function in a rather wide-scale program at the present time.

As of May 6 there were 4,622 people who had been in relocation centers that were on indefinite leave. In addition to that there were 4,048 people on what we are now calling seasonal leave. Last year we called it group leave, most of those working in the agricultural field as farm laborers, beet workers, etcetera. This time last year we had nobody out doing this sort of work. They did begin to go out of the assembly centers, and the first of July there were 1700 out on group leave and seasonal leave. This year we have over 4,000 out already. Under that kind of a program -- and last year the peak reached 9,800 in the fall, I wouldn't want to estimate what it will reach this fall -- but the intensity of that job steps up as the season develops.

Q. About 9,800 are the ones that were out on seasonal leave?

A. Last fall the peak of seasonal leave was 9,800 that were on group and seasonal leave. A great many of those, I might say, were on seasonal leave. Not a great many of those but some of those are now on indefinite leave and are doing agriculture work in the same areas they were doing it before.

The question comes up regarding the type of work. There are a great many people surprised to find that among the Japanese-American population there are people who can do something besides serve as houseboys and maids and raise vegetables. We do have about the same cross-section of skills in this population as we do in most populations with this exception, that there aren't as many of them that have been in the manufacturing field, in skilled jobs in manufacturing, but you have the professions represented. You have many college graduates. You have nearly the whole field covered otherwise in about the same proportion.

You also find a great many people throughout the country that do not understand that approximately two-thirds of these people are citizens of the United States.

{Indicating chart} I thought you might be interested to look at this chart for just a moment because it does give a little slant on the population and the status of the people. This heavy cross-hatching here out to the marked lines indicates citizens. This light cross-hatching here indicates aliens. This is age ranging from zero to 80; and this side of the medium line is male; this side female.

Very briefly, you will notice as this line runs up there is very small line of your citizenship group above age 35. Most of your aliens are above age 35. As a matter of fact, the average age of men is almost 60 years old, and of the women are 52 or 55 years old, your largest group of citizens [??]. These are 1940 figures I might say; it is a little out of date but as near as we have it. The 1940 figures indicate that by far the largest group of your citizens population is between 10 and 25, with a very large grouping between 15 and 25, which you will notice these two lines here, and much larger proportions of your population than it is in normal. This line here, this blue overlay, shows the normal distribution of population for the country as a whole. And you will notice that in these age groups we have a much larger population in your high school and college age groups than you do have in your normal population.

I just point out that because it is rather significant in our program. We have the question asked a great many times, "Why don't you separate the aliens and citizens?" I think it is evident. Most of these citizens are second generation; there are some third generation. I think it is very evident that when you take this group down here and indicate the fact that at this time there is probably 47,000 citizens in the group that would have to go to an orphan asylum if you separate them from their families, or at least better than 40,000, that indicates something of the complexity of the problem if you try to separate on an alien-citizenship basis.

Q. You have just referred to the educational group as far as age is concerned, do you have any idea how that breaks down to the ones that have been educated here and the ones educated back home?

A. I think we have approximate figures on that. If you will hold that a little later I will check into that and see what the facts are.

I might say, in general, including alien citizens [??] and everyone else -- in general the citizenship group --

Q. I am talking about the Nisei.

A. That is the Nisei. Of the whole group of citizens 72 percent have never been to Japan. That includes kids and everyone else. But 72 percent of your citizen group have never been to Japan.

There is one other item I want to mention, and then it is open for discussion.
I find that there is a great deal of misunderstanding about who these people are in terms of terminology used. Recently there was a story published in Washington which said internees paroled from centers were here. Those terms were wrong. I am not chiding the Post; it is a very natural mistake.

In the first place, these people are not internees and not parolees. We do have some parolees in the camps from internment camps, but the internment camps up until recently have been run by the Army; at the present time they are run by the Department of Justice, and there are something over 2,000 people, or were three or four weeks ago, actually interned out of the whole group of Japanese-Americans in the country. Most of those we have never had any contacts with; a good many of them were interned pre-evacuation period, some of them since, but not a large number.

There are some detainees that have been picked up and still haven't had hearings through the hearing boards that have not yet definitely been interned but may have a hearing and be released without ever being interned.

There are some that have been paroled, as they would be normally, and are back in our camps, or some of them are on the outside if they come from the outside to begin with.

The people in these centers have never been interned, and while we do have the provision for passes, and all that sort of thing, we do have the provision for relocation, and there has never been any charge of any crime against the people excepting that they were Japanese and for certain good reasons which have been stated a good many times were evacuated from the West Coast.

Q. But you have prisoners in some of these camps.

A. Not in our centers; not unless they have been paroled. Not unless they have been released and paroled. Those are handled by the Army or the Justice Department.

Q. When you speak of the internment camps run by the the Justice Department, those are who are suspected?

A. Those are aliens who have been arrested and definitely interned because they presume they are dangerous, definitely dangerous to us; and, of course, that includes not only Japanese but other aliens. That is the function of the Justice Department.

Q. When you speak of parolees you mean ---

A. In connection with the handling of both detention camps and internment camps they occasionally do have hearings of individuals who have been interned or detained and decide they may be paroled as you would from prison. And in that case they are parolees, but they have to make definite provisions in evacuation centers but there are no prisoners as such unless they are on parole.

Q. I'm sorry. Some members of Congress stated your trouble out there in Arizona was due to the presence of the prisoners of war.

A. I think what they perhaps said was due to the presence of parolees that had been interned, and there have been a few cases ---

Q. They might have misunderstood.

A. I think that is what they meant. There aren't prisoners of war in any of these camps. A prisoner of war, I might add, in the case of captured prisoners are handled by the Army. Alien prisoners who are interned are handled by the Justice Department at the present time.

Q. Enemy soldiers you mean?

A. Yes, but these other prisoners are internees, are interned people who are aliens or people who may be convicted of subversive activity and not aliens, and from that case they have to go through court procedure.

I just want to summarize briefly certain few things that WRA has to assume in working out this program. First, we necessarily must operate on the assumption that a very large percentage of these people, aliens and citizens, are going to continue to live in this country not only during the period of war but after the war. There have been a few already exchanged in the way of repatriates. There have been others that have requested repatriation. There haven't been many exchanges. So we are operating on that kind of a basis.

Secondly, we are operating on the belief that we should encourage complete faith in the type of democratic government we have here on the part of any groups we have here including Japanese-American.

Third, we are operating on this basis, that we have complete confidence in our armed forces and the other responsible agencies in the Government, including the investigative agencies, the FBI, Military Intelligence, Office of Naval Intelligence. We do not try to preempt their field. We feel that in view of the confidence that we feel fear should be discouraged instead of encouraged. Especially in a small group of people that don't include more than 130,000. I think sometimes the problem is overemphasized as to the total relationship.

Four, that every loyal citizen, regardless of race or creed, should be given a place in the national defense program. I said loyal citizen.

Five, we believe that loyalty grows only when it is given a chance to grow, and it doesn't flourish in an atmosphere of suspicion, discrimination, and denial of opportunity to practice that loyalty. And, I might say, on that thesis we are carrying forward on our relocation programs outside of the centers, outside of the evacuated areas, for those who are requesting the opportunity and in communities where we can secure acceptance.

That pretty well summarizes the comments I wanted to make and the meeting is open for further questions.

Q. Concerning the last question, do you find much difficulty in finding communities where these people will be accepted?

A. Well, we have had very good success, generally speaking. We have had some flare-ups naturally, and we are just beginning to meet our real troubles because of the fact that we are just, as I say -- these offices are new, and many of the communities have not had many people in them, but on the whole we have had very much better acceptance and cooperation generally than we anticipated we would get. We have gone at it slowly, cautiously. We are trying to do the job so there will not be too many people relocated in any one place, and, naturally, we are advising evacuees as they go out to go about their job inconspicuously and cautiously and carefully and not to stir up trouble. We are not withholding any information to the public that we may have, and, of course, we are doing it largely on a face-to-face basis, meeting with groups and responsible officials in checking the program in the community because we find that the majority of the country away from the West Coast have not known these people and they do not know the facts about them.

Q. Mr. Myer, would you call that Curtiss Candy incident an isolated incident?

A. It is isolated in this respect. We have had very few group developments of that type in the agricultural field.

Q. What was this incident that you speak of?

A. There was a group of sixteen people who were scheduled to move into an area near Marengo, Illinois, which is 50 to 60 miles out of Chicago, on some land belonging to the Curtis Candy Company, and the community had been pretty well checked with key people in town, and when the first two people arrived there was a flare-up. There was quite a little publicity on it, and finally they had a meeting, a town council, with a lot of other people in, and had a vote on the question as to whether we should go ahead, and I think out of 83 people it was a vote of four or five to one, something like that, and they went ahead. They are in there on the job, as I understand, and it is being worked out. It was a matter of emotion and understanding, and I might say this whole program is fraught with emotion.

Q. Was that rare?

A. It was rare for two reasons: In the first place, we haven't had a very many of that type of developments where they are moving in on land in a group of fifteen or sixteen people. Secondly, we have had a very few flare-ups on the part of the community of that type after it has been checked through. That is quite unusual.

Q. Have you allowed any of them to go back to their homes in California, on the West Coast?

A. We have no authority in relation to that. That is entirely in the hands of the War Department. If the people do go back to their homes they go on the authority of the War Department. Any questions of that kind are checked with them.

Q. Could I put the question the other way: Have any of them gone back there to your knowledge?

A. Yes, there is a small group that has gone back to the West Coast. Most of them are people who are wives of people other than Japanese and who have children. Just what that figure is I am not sure because some of those went during the assembly center period and some of them went back since the relocation center period started.

Q. That was on the authority of the Army?

A. That was on the authority of the Army. It is a policy developed by the Army.

Q. You mean the Japanese girls that were married to American men?

A. Yes, that is correct.

Q. Not the Japanese aliens themselves?

A. They may be Japanese aliens, but in all cases they were women who were married to -- I started to say Caucasians but I am not sure in all cases it is Caucasians -- but to people other than Japanese who are citizens of the United States.

Q. They had left their children behind when they were forced to leave the West Coast?

A. Not necessarily. In some cases the women and children were in the centers with them and had gone back. As I say, that was a policy that developed a good while ago. And just how many I don't know exactly what the figure is. It isn't a large figure.

Q. Most of those, sir, were weeded out at the reception centers, weren't they?

A. A good many of them went back from the assembly centers.

Q. Others in the same class never had to move, you mean?

A. They all had to move. Everybody of Japanese blood were moved to begin with. The only other exception that I know of, I think there are probably half a dozen people working for the Army in some specialized work, and more recently they are allowing soldiers in uniform, Japanese-Americans in uniforms to go back to the evacuated areas for visits on furloughs.

Q. The women and men who work for the Army plus those who are in the Army?

A. Yes, that is right.

Q. How about these non-Jap husbands, have any elected to go back with their wives?

A. Some of them consented. There are some of them in centers, and vice versa, a Japanese wives' people [?] with Japanese ancestry are living in the centers.

Yoneda, Manzanar, 1942
Karl Yoneda, Block Leader. He is married to a Caucasian and they have a child four years old. The family are spending the duration at this center. (Manzanar, 07/02/1942)

Q. In these attempts at relocation outside the West Coast area, do you feel they will be permanent? Will most of those people stay there after the war is over?

A. I don't think you can make any very definite prediction on that. I am hoping so. And the reason I hope so is that I think it would be good for the United States generally and I think it would be good from the standpoint of the Japanese-Americans, themselves, to be scattered over a much wider area and not to be bunched up in groups as they were along the Coast. That is one of the objectives that we have in mind in pushing this relocation program. We think it will probably assist in solving what could develop into a serious racial problem by having them scattered throughout the United States instead of bunched up on three or four states.

(Off the record.)

Q. Mr. Myers, as I make it out, the whole purpose of today's session is to advertise in a way that you have a lot of people available for hire someplace in the United States, and if that is so maybe you had better give some of the information that folks who might want to hire some of these people would want to know about.

A. No, this is not an advertising session. This session is being held today in order to try to clarify the general policies of the War Relocation Authority for you folks who are writing for the press in respect that we can clarify it including the relocation program. It is true this is the first press conference we have held on a national basis. I have had some locally. And probably the major reason why it is being held today is because there has been a good deal of discussion in the press regarding this policy and in the Congressional Record.
I might just add this. There has been from the start, and still is, a policy of the War Relocation Authority to make any information available at any time to the press, and I want to say right now that you are welcome to get in touch with John Baker and myself any time questions come up. I am not holding this session with the distinct objective of advertising a program. I am holding the conference with the objective in mind of having you folks understand what the program is and be in a position to help to interpret the program if you care to do so through your news sources.

Q. Will you give some of this information to people who might be interested in it if they want to help this relocation work?

A. We will be glad to provide any information. We are doing it daily through correspondence and through pamphlets, and otherwise. If there is any specific information that you would like to have we will be glad to supply it here or supply it personally.

Q. I thought there were some general things of types of people available.

A. Well, maybe I can comment briefly on that. I frankly do not as yet have a final detailed analysis of the skills of all these people. We have it but it is not brought together for all ten centers. We have it for individual centers. I commented on that briefly to begin with. Approximately 45 percent of the folks who are evacuated from the West Coast are farmers of some type of another, or in the farming profession in some field. Mostly vegetable farmers, some fruit farmers, and some general farmers. And with that in mind, of course, you would assume the larger groups of these folks should go into the agricultural field, and, of course, that is what is happening.

[PHOTO: "Family labor in strawberry field at opening of 1942 season. Mission San Jose, 1942Evacuation due in a few days. 'For many years approximately 95% of California's strawberry crop has been produced by Japanese and this state has become third in the nation in the production of this crop. Evacuation of Japanese has left, in Santa Clara County alone, 50 unoccupied strawberry farms, crop value around $100,000 annually. In this state the Japanese cropped approximately 11,000 acres.' --San Fransisco Chronicle, April 17, 1942. The workers in the field are members of or related to the family who operates the farm. During harvest season they work about 10 to 12 hours a day everyday except Saturday. Their home is seen beyond the strawberry rows. Note irrigation."]

In addition to that we have represented a reasonable sized group of mechanics, and the other types of skills of that type that you would find in almost any community.

Q. Don't you have a high percentage of the professional people, doctors?

A. Not very high. We have, to begin with, I think, 86 doctors.

Q. I mean the whole bunch all together.

A. As far as the group is concerned, some of those have already relocated. IDentist, Granada, 1943 think there are 63 of them in the centers, and we had more dentists than we had doctors. There were quite a group of dentists. Quite a few nurses. Most of them we're losing because nurses are very much in demand. We are having a real problem at the centers of maintaining hospital facilities because of the losing of the skills. [PHOTO: "Interior of Dental Clinic." (Granada, 08/1943)]

Q. Are those nurses allowed to volunteer for the Army or Navy Medical Corps?

A. You are talking about these skilled people?

Q. Yes.

A. The only provision that has been made for volunteering up to date was the volunteers that were provided in the relation to the combat announced by Secretary Stimson on January 26, and that plus some of the type that I mentioned a while ago such as language schools, and that type of thing; so far there has not been a general provision for volunteering in the Army since March 31, 1942, or for the Selective Service either.

Q. Mr. Myer, do you want to comment on the rather small numbers that volunteered and the apparently disappointing response?

A. I would be glad to. There were something between 12 and 1300. The exact figure has been rather nebulous. It goes up and down. Within the relocation centers that volunteered were approximately 6 percent of those eligible. That varied very greatly from center to center. For example, at Minidoka we had approximately 300 volunteers. Most of those are northwestern people who came out of Oregon and Washington. That was one factor in my judgment but was not the only one. There were certain pressures of course. I should say that the major pressure perhaps in relation to not volunteering was the family pressures resulting from the fact that many of the older people had come to the conclusion, after being moved out of the area, after being talked to by a lot of people, that perhaps they weren't going to be allowed to live in this country after the war was over. And they were fearful, as far as they were concerned, of doing anything in the way of active cooperation in the war effort themselves, and they were afraid to have their families do something in cooperation for fear it would be a black mark against them if they went back to Japan. There are all kinds of deterrents.

The registration that was handled and was developed during February and March provided the opportunity for the boiling out of all the emotions and the frustrations that are developed during the evacuation period, of being moved out of homes into assembly centers and on into relocation centers. That feeling culminated in the feeling on the part of a lot of boys. One camp didn't want to volunteer from behind barbed wire. That kind of reaction came up, and all types of cross currents. It wasn't simple. It was a complex sort of thing.

In comparison, in the Hawaiian Islands where they had approximately 25,000 eligibles there were nearly 10,000 volunteers out of the 25,000.

Now, there are certain major differences, but in my judgment the major difference was evacuation and all the things that went along with it. This is opinion and I wouldn't like to be quoted on it. But if you don't mind I would like to give it and not have you quote me.

To give you my feeling about it -- I would like to have it off the record -- my judgment is that under normal circumstances, had there been no evacuation, I would have said we would have 20 or 25 percent as compared with Hawaii's 40 percent.

In Hawaii they are an older population. There are more of the Nisei, the second generation, that reached maturity and have families of their own. They are better integrated into the society as a whole and better accepted; and another very important point was that Pearl Harbor had just been bombed and there were just as large a proportion of Japanese-Americans killed in that bombing as people of white blood, if not larger.

And, of course, they resented that very much and were disappointed and upset about it and were ready to go back and get even.

On the whole I think the situation was very well handled, but I should say that the major difference was evacuation, but it certainly is not simple to say that was the only difference. But I would say that six percent probably, under the conditions, is not a bad figure at some of the centers. That is the thing that makes me feel that 20 or 25 percent probably would have volunteered under normal conditions if they hadn't been pushed into centers.

Q. Are we back on the record now, sir?

A. Yes.

Q. How much of that was off the record?

A. I wouldn't like to be quoted on that comparative figure of 25 and 40 percent because it is a controversial figure. It is something we couldn't prove one way or the other. I would not enter into it as an expert on that opinion. I haven't been in Hawaii.

Q. Off the record is just what you think the percentage might have been?

A. That is all I don't want to be quoted on. The fact of evacuation you might use.

Q. There have been some complaints or some stories that these people in camps have a bitterness that is built on the belief they haven't had a fair shake on the sale of their stores, their farm equipment, and so on.

A. The property element entered into the situation as did many other factors of course.

Q. What are some of the facts on that? How square a deal did they get?

A. I think on the whole they got a square deal as any group could when you are moving people that fast and when you are trying to dispose of property. First I want to say that about only one out of ten took advantageBargain sale, LA, 1942 of the facilities that were provided through the Federal Reserve Bank in helping them to handle this property problem, and the Farm Security Administration. Most of them handled their property dealings on their own through arrangements with friends, through providing power of attorney, through selling it themselves, through leasing it. It made it very hard to get the records together. We don't have them all together as yet as a result of that. We started to take over the property part the latter part of August and are still trying to get the full details on it. It was a very tough problem to get into with property scattered all the way from Seattle to Arizona. [PHOTO: "Sign in window in 'Little Tokyo' after residents of Japanese ancestry were instructed to evacuate." (Los Angeles, 06/09/1942)]

Q. On the basis of your general statement throughout conversation, and in view of the fact that you have gone ahead with this program in establishing offices to relocate the people, do you feel now that after the experience that we have had there is no justification for having any relocation centers any longer?

A. I hope you get the quote straight if you are going to quote. We would be delighted to get out of the business of running relocation centers tomorrow if that were possible. I don't think it is possible or feasible for the reason it takes time to get community acceptance, to get those adjustments made, it takes time to convince evacuees themselves that they can go out in a part of the United States they have never lived before and make their way and make the adjustment. Many of the older people, particularly, do not talk even English well. They are required to report to the United States Attorney if they are aliens every time they move. They have never lived any place except in California, Washington, Arizona, Oregon, or Japan. They are going to hesitate to go out. Attached to some of those older people are a lot of these citizens, I mentioned, who are going to be affected by what they do. We do not know yet how many of the aliens will be willing to go. So that we are just beginning to get an idea in the last two or three months as to how many might go.

The majority of those relocated to date are citizens.

And the majority of those among the citizens are single boys and girls or young married couples, ranging in age from around 18, I should say, to 30 or 35 for the most part. So I am not in position to say that the relocation center should be done away with tomorrow. I am willing to say that the relocation centers, if it is possible to expedite this relocation program, should be done away with just as fast as those people can be pushed out {relocated}, and certainly it would be a great shame if we still had relocation centers as such at the end of the war.

Q. Do you say they should be done away with? What is the next step? That is, that leaves a question.

A. The only logical step is to continue to drive away at the relocation job now that we are getting geared up and getting as many of them relocated as possible.

Q. Who is going to make the decision? Are you going to abandon them or aren't you? Here you say you should. I am asking are you going to? Are there any plans to abandon them?

A. There are plans to abandon them if and when we can get enough relocation centers that we can start abandoning them, yes. However, it is going to take time; it can't be done immediately, to be fair to these people who have been moved out of their homes and who do not know this other part of the United States and who should have the opportunity to look over these opportunities after we have checked these communities before they are pushed out from relocation centers. That is the only point I am trying to make.

Q. Mr. Myer, that then implies you don't have any hope of relocating them all where they came from, getting right down to our situation on the West Coast?

A. I have no comment to make on that, because that policy is purely a War Department policy. I don't think it is fair for me to comment on it, regardless of what opinion I have on it.

Q. The reason I asked it is because you have been accused of trying to dump them back on California.

A. That is very true. I have been accused of a good many things. I don't care to comment on that publicly. All I can say about that is that our relationship with the War Department has been excellent and we have been working jointly on the problem. We intend to continue to work jointly on the problem because that is the only way it can be solved and handled.

Q. How was this question of loyalty worded? How do you find out?

A. I think I can give it to you exactly. If I can't, I will find one. I am sure I have it here. Someone keeps swiping my blanks -- I don't have it. Just a moment; we'll get the question so we can read it. On this question, 28, it was not fair to -- I'll answer simply because they had been a man without a country.

Q. On this property thing, Mr. Myer, is there any cooperating effort by the government to get some adjustments of out-and-out unfair fire-sale deals?

A. I am not sure that I quite understand your question.

Q. Is the government making any effort to take some of these deals where these people were in a hurry to get out and practically give their property away and were taken by sharpers?

A. No, not at the present time. As far as the WRA is concerned, we aren't. We are, however, rendering a service to those people who now want to sell or who have leased property and are not able to collect their rents and feel that Toy sale, Los Angeles, 1942somebody is trying to take advantage of them. We are trying to represent them to see that the facts are straight and they get a fair deal, and any deals of that kind. We are not going back to pick up any of those cases where people felt that they haven't gotten a fair deal. We don't feel it is time to, and whether we ever will is another question. We haven't determined that policy. We don't consider that that is particularly in the field of the work of the War Relocation Authority, that evacuation was carried on and conducted, and it is the sort of thing that is probably going to have to be finally solved by determinations of policy on the part of Congress, their claims presented and that sort of thing; but at the moment we don't feel it is a proper time to discuss or raise the question. It is the sort of thing that will have to be considered, perhaps, as a post-war problem, if there is a general problem on it, or consider it in the Court of Claims. [PHOTO: "Toys for sale at half price but books held their price after 'Little Tokyo' prepares for evacuation in the neighborhood near the Civic Center in Los Angeles." (04/11/1942)]

Q. They can go into the courts?

A. You can't sue the United States Government without permission of the government, but you can file a claim. You mean against individuals?

Q. Yes.

A. Sure, they can go into the courts. They can hire any lawyer they want to hire and carry on their business in that respect; and if it is an emergency situation, they can even get leave from the military to go back on temporary leave to defend their case, which has been done in some cases; but that, again, is a determination on the part of the Western Defense Command, where they think it is urgent for them to come back.

Q. Mr. Myer, you favor the liquidation of these camps as you can get the people to settle outside. Is that the point you mean?

A. I certainly do, just as fast as it is possible to do so. This is one job I have had that I would like to work myself out of tomorrow, if it were possible. I might say that the folks who are working with me are in the same mood.

Q. What about these suggestions? You say you can't turn them loose, even the loyal ones. You just can't turn them loose now.

A. Here is the reason that I make that statement. In the first place, it is not fair to them. The country doesn't know them well enough. It wouldn't be accepted generally. As a matter of fact, I considered that a good many months ago, and we came to the conclusion that it would probably forestall the whole program of relocation if we just said, "You may go wherever you wish outside the evacuated area without any preparation of this community acceptance," and without provision to take care of themselves, wandering around in groups looking for jobs and probably getting into trouble with the police. We came to the definite conclusion that it wasn't fair to them and it wasn't fair to the country.

What we needed was a logical, orderly process of getting this job done and getting it geared up so it would function; and the things that I outlined to you were the procedures that we felt were pretty essential to them. While it hasn't moved fast, it has picked up in the last two or three months, since we have gotten better geared up to do a job, and I am quite hopeful that it will continue to pick up.

There are some people, of course, who will probably never be resettled for the reason that we probably will not provide leave for any of those people on the intelligence records or some question about the record otherwise, where it is very doubtful they should be allowed to resettle generally promiscuously throughout the country.

Q. As to those eligible for military service, do you think the draft should be applied to them as it is to the rest?

A. I do. I thought so right from the beginning. As a matter of fact, I have been advocating it ever since I have been director of the Authority.

Q. Have they registered for the draft?

A. Yes.

Q. They are called up and examined, I assume?

A. No. What happened on that was briefly this: On March 31, last year, an order went out temporarily classifying the whole group in 4-F. On September 1, the order was revised, and they were classified in 4-C, and I might say some of them were just receiving their 4-C notice at the time they were being asked to volunteer for the combat team. That was another problem. I might say it was another problem, Mr. Francis, that entered into it. A lot of the boys were very, very upset and angry that they were classified in an alien classification just about the time they were offered the opportunity to volunteer as citizens in the Army.

So that has been the status for the past, since September 1, last year. I understand the whole matter is under consideration at the present time, and I want to repeat that I am highly favorable to the reinstitution of the selective service for this group of citizens, as I am for all groups of citizens.

Q. What percentage of disloyal Japanese do you believe you have in these camps?

A. I am not in a position to give a figure on that for the reason that we haven't completed an analysis of this study. Now it depends on what your criteria of disloyalty is. Approximately 24 percent -- that figure is correct -- of those people who signed these statements either said "No" to the allegiance question or qualified it in some way. Now in my judgment -- it isn't my judgment -- some of the qualifications are probably just the kind of thing that some of the most rabid loyal citizens put in their qualifications, "say yes, if you will allow me out from behind barbed wire," and things of that kind. That is in the 24 percent. We are now in the process of making the analysis of all those questionnaires and holding hearings in connection with those boys who want to make an explanation of those jobs, and it will take some time to check it over.

Now one thing I want to say, I don't know, I don't pretend to know how many of the folks who said "Yes" on the allegiance questionnaire are disloyal; but I imagine there are a few of those that the record needs to be checked. I don't think there are very many, but a few who probably should not go generally about their business as some who did. I think the percentage might go both ways.

I would say, generally speaking, that I don't want to make any estimate on it. I think it is unfair to them, to me and to the government to make an estimate until we get the facts better analyzed.

Q. In the meantime, why weren't those whose to Japan was pretty definitely stated never moved to separate camps?

A. No.

Q. Why is that?

A. There are several reasons for that. In the fist place, we had just 10 centers, and they had been pretty well full up until recently. These people were told at the time they were given the opportunity to request repatriation there would be no discrimination against them if they cared to go back to Japan. They needed to say so and the opportunity would present itself to go back. There were some commitments made there, both in the Army centers and in our relocation centers.

Secondly, if we had started to move those people as soon as we got that first figure, we would be continuing to move people today, because the situation shifts. For example, there were a good many who didn't request repatriation at the time they were given a chance last summer and fall who did request it since we have had this registration, and the whole thing was brought out in the open. There are others who did request repatriation at that time evidently because they were embittered and felt they weren't going to have a chance here who requested they withdraw their repatriation requests in the meantime and have taken it off the record. So it has been a shifting thing.

Third, which is more important, we feel definitely that the first and most positive action that needs to be taken, now that we have gotten geared up for the program, is to do as much as we can in assisting those who are loyal citizens and loyal Americans to relocate on the outside, and we are very, very busy with that program at the moment.

Fourth, we are in a position now of making the analysis that I just spoke of as regarding not only repatriates, but other groups. Incidentally, none of those people have asked repatriation. None of the people who said "No" have qualified their allegiance question or any other people who have a bad record are being allowed to go out on either seasonal or indefinite leave at the present time. They are being kept in the centers. They are not going out in public until we can get that analysis made. It would mean in a good many cases splitting families; there is a physical problem involved. If we shifted the whole group, we would have to shift almost everybody that lives in a relocation center. Some of them would have to be moved from one center to another to make room for them.

So our position on the matter is simply this: One, that we are removing the agitators.

Q. To where?

A. Aliens to internment camps through agreement with the Justice Department; citizens to Luepp
. That is in Arizona and is about 27 miles out from Winslow. It is a big country. It is an old Indian school we have just taken over recently. It is an isolation center that we are using for those people who are, I might say, mostly pro-Japanese but who are American citizens, who are not eligible for internment camps and who are trouble-makers and agitators and are causing difficulty. They are not pro-Axis, generally speaking.

Q. Can you give us any idea how many there are?

A. There are 55 at Luepp at the present time, approximately. There have been approximately 100 aliens that have been removed from relocation centers, either under Presidential warrant, by the FBI or at our request and on documentation by us with the Justice Department since we have had relocation centers.

Q. Is that as a result of question 28?

A. Only in part. Some of it resulted from the registration period, and at that time we smoked out some more of the folks who were agitators, because there were some of them moved. It has been a gradual process.

I might say that most of the people in Luepp and the majority of people who have gone to alien detention camps from the centers have gone from the four centers in Arizona and California, Tule Lake, Manzanar, Poston and Gila River.

There are two significant facts about this and that is that about half of our population is in those four centers. They are large centers, and, secondly, up until recently, they all lay within the evacuated area. We had more stringent control there than anyplace else, and, thirdly, particularly as far as Manzanar is concerned, the first voluntary group evacuated went into Manzanar.

I wouldn't like to be quoted on this statement, but it has been our belief right along that there was a larger group of the tougher element in Manzanar. Because of that development as the first assembly center, probably a thousand of them floated in there organized, and it was the toughest center we have had. We have known that all along. It led to trouble later on.

Off the record, unfortunately, we didn't handle it too well; I don't think anybody did. It required experience; but Manzanar is coming along right now.

Q. Back on the record, sir, did it include the ones that started the fire or lead to the riot?

A. There was never any fire, as far as we know.

Q. The attempted fire.

A. There was one case way back, long before that. I don't think it had any connection whatsoever with the matter of agitation. I think it was just some incendiary, like you would have in any city.

Q. How about the riot?

A. The riot was connected with that movement, yes, in part. However, there is a significant fact about the riot that I think is important. The man who really was chairman of the committee at the time they had the riot was a veteran of the last war. He was a citizen of the United States when he came to the center. I think he was as loyal as anybody could be. He was worked on, of course. By August he made his first anti speech. They played on his attitude and what was happening to him as a veteran, and they finally got him to lead the pack, which was unfortunate.

Q. You don't mean Slocum?

A. No, Kurihara. I don't care to have you publish that. It was one of those developments. It wasn't just Kurihara; it was a whole pattern. There is one other comment I want to make about this riot and everything else that went along with this pattern. In the first place, the smallest city we have had was about a 7,000 population and the largest one was 17,500, considering the fact that we had the whole cross section, the whole gamut of types in there that you would have in any city. We have had very much less trouble than we anticipated. They have been a well disciplined people.

We have had this type of difficulty in some of the centers. There has been very little crime of the normal type of crime, at least, to come to the surface that we think most of it would have come to the surface. Sure there has been crime. There has been, generally speaking, reasonably good order.

Now frankly, it took us time to learn what the pattern was. It took us some time to learn what this pattern of agitation was. When it developed, it was a tough job to crack down on who was behind the scene, because those out in front were kids that were being goaded; they weren't the real ones usually, being master-minded. But we do think we are learning that pattern; we are learning to see how it develops, and we can usually find methods of doing it.

I feel reasonably confident now that we can handle that situation by continuing to take out occasionally, as that sort of thing begins to develop, a few of the key leaders that we think we know how to get hold of now and keep reasonable controls. But frankly, last August, when they had the first meeting in Manzanar, we were pretty new, nobody knew how to handle the situation, we didn't even in December. The project director at Manzanar was a week on the job when this thing broke. It was new to him. They took advantage partly of that situation, I think.

I am not saying we wouldn't have more trouble. We probably will have more trouble, but I don't think we will have much more of the same type of trouble we have been having on the same scale simply because I think we are learning more about the job. And generally speaking, the morale today, not in all centers but in most of the centers, is better than it was at the time they received the relocation centers. As regards the evacuees, they have a lot of heartaches and a lot of worries.

Q. I didn't quite understand. In moving them out, did you say that about 100 had gone?

A. Approximately 100 aliens that have gone to detention camps or internment camps or some place outside of the centers since we became responsible for them.

Q. And 55 to Luepp?

A. Yes, 55 to Luepp approximately, so far.

Q. Do you think that that is just a beginning?

A. Yes, just the beginning.

Q. And you are going forward with that as fast as you can?

A. We are going forward with that as fas as we get the facts and as fast as we find agitation developing and as fast as we find we need to move that type of people.

Q. That is what we mean there when you say you favor the segregation of the loyal and the disloyal by continuing the expanding of it.

A. Expanding it, yes. Let me make clear, I am afraid I haven't made it clear. I do favor segregation, but I think it has to be done on a practical basis. It is going to take more time, and we have to have a place to do it without shifting the whole population at once. I feel that we might do more damage to the morale of the evacuees and to those citizens who are trying to save by segregation by going in and having another reshuffle of the whole group immediately over a two or three weeks period than you would by the process of making this analysis, and we find room in the centers and the relocation centers begin to open up; we have to make consolidations anyhow, then move your groups this way and your other groups that way. That is what we propose generally.

Now it may be possible that we'll have to move faster than that because there is a general public sentiment, I think, growing up that we haven't done this job in the proper manner; but I am sure that the public does not understand the complexities involved in handling 110,000 people involved, the ages that are involved here, with all of the complex patterns of their status, and, at the same time, the complexities of trying to operate a relocation program throughout the United States, to operate a leave program and to get people recruited for helping to work in crop fields and at the same time be shifting the whole population.

We are right at the crucial period in our spring and summer agricultural program at the present time. If we started a major shift right now on the basis of shifting all of these, as I say, 24 percent and having to move the other people, it seems to me it would entirely disrupt, if we did all at once, our whole relocation program right at the peak of the season, when these people ought to go out.

Q. One other thing. The loyal citizens, you feel, should be permitted to leave the relocation centers as they wish?

A. They are being permitted.

Q. And to live and work wherever they may be able to establish themselves? I got the impression that you didn't think that you could turn them out as a group unless you had made the preparation for their acceptance?

A. That is right. We do have provision where they may go, and most of those people have been checked through the intelligence records now, and that group may go out at any time. There is little red tape involved here.

Q. That small group doesn't have to have a place that you previously prepared for them?

A. Well, we have to be assured that they can take care of themselves. We don't want them out there floating around, jeopardizing the group, and, secondly, we have to be assured that they are going into communities.

Q. You know where they are going. They don't just say, "Well, we want to go out looking for a job." You are not letting those out, are you?

A. Not just that way, but we are doing this: where they say they have funds where they can take care of themselves in the meantime, on the recommendation of responsible relocation officers, let's say, in Chicago or Cleveland or some other city, we allow small groups of five, six, seven or eight at a time to go out, live there and make face to face contacts, knowing that they can get jobs if they are the right type; but we don't let them go promiscuously about it themselves. We don't think that is good business. If they go bunching up, the first thing you know you would have them at the police station. We are allowing a few of them to go out. Normally, within three or four days, within a week's time, you can get them out where they can meet people.

Q. Mr. Myer, how many do you think you will be able to be relocated? You say you think a lot of the aliens and older people will not be. How many of the others do you think?

A. I don't know. Honestly I don't know, and I don't want to make an estimate. I would hope that 75 percent of them would. There is certainly a group at the end that can't and shouldn't, perhaps, generally.

Q. You mean 75 percent of 110,000?

A. Yes. I would hope so, but that is a hope and not an estimate. I think it is possible and feasible that within the next year's time, if this thing gets to rolling right and we don't have too much fear developed by irresponsible statements, that we might get 50 percent; but there are a great many people who are going to hesitate to go out.

Q. How many have signed these loyalty pledges?

A. All of those people above 17 years of age, except for a very few -- not the pledges, but all of them have registered on the set-up, and they have signed it in one way or another.

Q. And 75 percent have said yes?

A. Approximately that, yes.

Q. That is male citizens?

A. That is male citizens. There is a larger percentage of the aliens who have answered that question in the affirmative than the other, but we used a different question. We didn't require them to deny allegiance because the minute they did, they can't become citizens of this country; they become a man without a country. It isn't fair, but we did ask that they abide by the laws of the United States and do nothing to interfere with the war effort of the United States. Most of them said yes, but a small percentage did not, and, of course, a great many of the really bad aliens have been interned.

Q. How about the high percentage of the ones of military age at Manzanar.
Wasn't that rather surprising?

A. Yes, I was a little bit surprised, although not too much surprised. Manzanar, in the first place, has a larger percentage, I believe, I am not sure about this, I want to check with my statisticians, probably a larger percentage of Kibei than most of the other centers. Now Kibei are people who have spent the greater part of their period in Japan, and some of them have spent it all there and gotten their education, but it will vary. One of the reasons why your citizens' group will run higher in this respect is that there are, in my judgment, a group, just how many I don't know yet, who have lived practically all their lives in Japan. They went back as babies, a year old, three years old, five years old, with their families; their families today are living in Japan. Some of them came back here as late as 1940. They have been living in Japan all their lives. In my judgment, some of those boys, and perhaps most of them, came back here to avoid service in the Japanese army, and for no other reason, and we have a much larger number than I thought we had when we got this registration figure out.

Now there isn't any question in my mind that most of them are weaklings in the sense of going out and getting into trouble. They are trying to save their own skins. Some of them are probably dangerous, and most of them as far as I am concerned, I wouldn't trust them going outside without supervision; but I would hate to see them sitting around getting fat for the duration without having some opportunity of doing something some place, just because I think they are slackers.

Now you say how many of those there are. I don't know. There are too many of them. There are more than I think there should be.

Q. It seems to me the crux of this thing, as you have pointed out, is the general criticism of the handling of those who are known to be disloyal, but, coupled with that, is something you haven't mentioned, that I have seen very widely criticized, and that is leaving them in a position where they can contaminate the others.

A. Let me comment a little further on that. You are talking about repatriates. Most of the people who requested repatriation, in the first place, were humble farm people who had spent the most of their life in this country getting old. They became disillusioned on evacuation and thought they weren't going to have a chance to live in this country, and began to think of the hostility of Japan of their youth. They requested repatriation. They are not the trouble-makers in the centers, and they are not the agitators. For the most part, they are peaceful people who want to settle down and be restful, and they wanted to make up their minds about it. Now as an indication of that ---

Q. Do you care to comment on the percentage relating to it?

A. All right. I have to check with my liaison from the State Department. Lists have been provided by Japan of people they want exchanged, they want back in Japan. Less than 10 percent of that group who requested repatriation during that period are on that list. Japan doesn't want them. They are, for the most part, a group of people who are looking to get themselves established some place where they can live out their life and not have to be bumping around from here to there.

Now that is one of the misconceptions about repatriates. They are mild people for the most part. There are some of them, of course, who are agitators, and just as soon as we find those, we pick them up and put them into alien detention camps. Most of the repatriates are. Some of them are youngsters who want to go with their families and are requesting repatriation.
So that is your answer to that story. It is hard for the public to understand that. I can understand it. Let me say one more thing about that because it is important. I feel very strongly that the continual moving of these people who are living inside of centers and who do not have the general contact with the public can have a very drastic effect on the morals, as it has in times past, and will affect your relocation program more than it would if you did take this chance on the thing that you are talking about. We know some propaganda in Japanization is going on in some of these centers; sure it will go on in the outside, but not in the same degree. If I were in the position of having two or three Army cantonment camps where we can move these people tomorrow, and I have tried to work out something of that kind as far back as last August, they would be moved; but the whole pattern is intermingled and, as I have indicated, it changes and shifts. Families are intermingled. We have made certain commitments and we are so busy with certain other things that when you stop and start a whole relocation program between centers, it is a major operation to move that many thousand people. It is easier for the Army to do it than it is for us.

Q. Wouldn't it have to be done sooner or later? Congress is pressing. Public sentiment is for their segregation.

A. That is right. Let me repeat. I think we are ready to move very soon. We are making this analysis. As a result of the registration, we think we know pretty generally who they are now, and we think we can begin, as we began, to get over this rush season for recruitment for seasonal labor and relocation, we can begin to move from particular centers to others and probably during this spring and summer make most of the moves. But until you can study that pattern, until you are pretty sure about where you are going, there wasn't much you could do about it.

Q. How many do you think will have to be moved?

A. I wouldn't want to make an estimate on it. I would say, perhaps, not over 25 percent, and some of them may not have to be moved. It depends on what centers you select in making your adjustment. But it does mean moving people out of centers, shifting your whole population. It isn't just a simple move from one center to another, unless you can begin to reduce your population drastically, and now we are beginning to reduce the population.

Let me give you another figure, how things have picked up recently. Of the seasonal work leaves, 4,048 that I mentioned, 2,900 of them have been recruited since March 1. Of the indefinite leaves, 4,622, 3,116 came about since March 1. So we have been moving at a really fast pace. March, April and up to May, if we can go on another month or two or three at that pace, the chances are we can begin to think of consolidation and think of making these movements. But it is not a simple thing.

Q. Mr. Myer, getting back to Charley Ridley's question, isn't it a little more simple, because you have got on the basis of your known figures the worst or the largest number of bad actors at two or three camps, like Manzanar and Poston.

A. You are trying to smoke me out.

Q. No, frankly, isn't it a relatively easier problem than you are indicating?

A. No, I don't think so.

Q. Well, your figures seem to show that you have the lowest percentage of disloyal in Arkansas and the highest in the Arizona and California camps.

A. That isn't true. One of the Arkansas centers runs very high. One of the reasons for that is it has in it a number of internees who were shipped over here from Hawaii just shortly before the registration that became the nucleus, and that complicated the problem. The same thing happened at Topaz, Utah, and all of these complications. It isn't a simple thing. To begin with, it takes time. We know there were some pressures at Manzanar and we are pretty sure that a lot of those boys did what they did under pressure, and we are trying to begin to get that sorted up so as not to do injustices to a large number of citizens before we make a move. Now I think that is absolutely essential if you are going to be reasonably humane and decent about this thing.

Now it is true they did have a larger percentage, and it will be, perhaps, when it finally comes out, a larger percentage than the other, but I don't think it would be 50 percent, as it first came out.

Q. Mr. Myer, I don't understand. You say you have moved; you take the trouble-makers out as fast as you can.

A. That is right. We move on those. Every time we have that situation boiling up, we take out a group of leaders that are beginning to agitate. We find them going out and putting out Japanese propaganda, and if we find them actually causing trouble and beginning to develop these gangs, and beatings and labor strikes begin to develop, we begin to see the pattern pretty quick, and we think now that we are getting that thing pretty well in hand.

Q. With the removal of the 100, do you think that is pretty well in hand?

A. No. That doesn't settle it. That sort of thing will go on continuously as long as you have centers. I think we have gotten the worst of them in a few of the centers. I am guessing that we'll take some action in the next week or two where we are getting an analysis made.

I want to say another thing here which I don't think is generally recognized. We have never had a development at a center that has involved trouble where we didn't ask for the collaboration of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in checking the problem. We have worked with them continuously right from the start. We are continually working with them, and, of course, wherever they find that they have records enough to arrest somebody, they get out a Presidential order and take them in. This, generally, has been true, however, regarding the FBI and everyone else the minute WRA took over, and unless we call them in and insist on it, they go on about their business, because they assume they are behind barbed wire and are being taken care of.

So we have a more difficult job of internal security in these centers than you have in a normal city, because you are not getting quite the normal service. We have to develop it ourselves, and it takes time to become even reasonably expert as intelligence officers, especially if you have to live with these people every day. I don't know anybody in the United States that could have done that last September, October, November.

We are, I think, in a position to move now, and we intend to move, but we have to consider our whole program. We have to consider what are the things that come first, and we have to balance it, and, of course, the general public and a lot of other people don't see those intricacies. It is awfully easy to look over the fence, and it is the most complex thing I ever dealt with, one of the most interesting and one of the toughest. We take it on the chin and we have to take it, but we would like to have the people understand it. We are not dealing with stones. We are dealing with people.

Q. Has any consideration been given to, say, clearing one of those camps and making it an internment camp? You have 25,000 people.

A. A great deal of consideration has been give to it, but when you move those people, you move them to some other camp, you move the other back and you are in transport, and you have interrupted every other service, including this matter for recruiting for sugar beets and other types of labor. I would rather have that going on when we are not hitting such a crucial period.

Q. How about segregation within the camps?

A. It is a pretty difficult task, and I don't think it is necessary. It has been proposed and considered by some of our folks. We have had some of that type of thing, even at Luepp. We have to have some segregation within the camp once in a while. We have a jail down there.

Q. Isn't it dangerous to allow them to roam around and possibly contaminate some of the seemingly loyal? That has been the major complaint.

A. That has been the major complaint, I will grant you. It is the same kind of complaint you will make, though, about allowing the German and Italian aliens in this country to hobnob with the rest of the country. They are still at large, of course. It didn't occur to people that that thing, maybe, should have been done. We raised the question, shortly after I came to WRA the first of last July, as to whether we couldn't move these repatriates to some other center. A plan had been all laid out that involved the matter of gearing up transportation. That didn't seem feasible. That is, at the assembly centers, we didn't get them until last November. So it is not a simple thing, gentlemen.

I wish you could come in and go over the facts and figures on these different centers and we will go over them with you, but we are moving on it and we are going to move on it just as fast as we can. But when you are building 10 cities, when you are staffing 10 cities with their mayors and their police force, fire department and getting the equipment, you are getting people moved in, you are trying to establish government, and when you are trying to establish new court procedures, because we are torn loose from everything we have, and when you are trying to start a relocation program and do all those things, you can't at the same time start another major evacuation movement and not interrupt those services.

It has got to be worked out in step, and that is simply our argument. At the same time, you have to consider the morale of the community and your evacuees, if you are going to carry on your relocation program; if not, you are going to cause more trouble.

It is a matter of judgment, I will admit, and it looks simple to say, "Why don't you pick these people up?" Now if they are all internees, they are all Japanese and not Americans, it would be a simple thing, but it does require some careful study and sorting, and I don't think you can do it in definite categories. You can take categories for your examination, but you can't category everybody and say, "He is bad, he is in that particular category," such as Kibei, because some of them are tremendously useful citizens, they have a contribution to make in this country, and some of them are making a contribution in a way that most people don't know.

Q. Mr. Myer, when you speak of segregation, you are not counting in the agitators, the trouble-makers?

A. We are taking care of those as they develop.

Q. When you speak of segregation?

A. We are talking about the separation, generally speaking, from those people who are Japanese and those who are Americans; and we are for that.

Q. The mixed sympathies and the loyal ones, on the one side, and the ---

A. The people who have indicated they want to go back to Japan or the people who have said that they don't want to be loyal to the United States are the people we are talking about as separation from those who do.

Now it is a problem that I wish we could solve. I would like to go back and say this, that in the middle of last August, two months after I came into this place, Mr. Ridley, I came back after we had this first meeting at Manzanar. We searched the Army, the Justice Department and every place we could to try to find a center where we could move the repatriates to. We continued that search throughout. We couldn't find it. The matter of materials, the matter of time, the matter of building, the matter of manpower entered into it. We didn't have room at that time in those centers, and the matter of starting and shifting those people over again was a real problem. If we could have found a place at that time we would have moved them then and now, but we don't have it.

Q. Have you considered building another city for them?

A. We did consider it, and we checked it with the War Department, and the matter of getting priority for that is just an impossible thing, unless you have them for soldiers.

Q. You have to use your present facilities.

A. That is right, and that is what we plan to do. We plan to start reasonably soon on that. We have more than started. We have got a backlog because it takes planning and it takes facts, but we are not ready to announce ---

Q. If you can empty some of the camps of the loyal citizens on this relocation program, you can fill it up, say, one of the camps with the other.

A. That is right. Or if you can empty part or enough of the camps, you can begin to consolidate them and put some of them in this way and some of them that way. That is our plan and our progress, and we hope we'll have the opportunity on the part of the public to carry it out that way.

Q. Did you give us the figures on the number which asked to be repatriated?

A. Ralph, do you have those figures available on the total number who have requested repatriation?

MR. STAUBER: Off hand, I would rather not speak from memory on that. I think it is in the neighborhood of 3,000.

MR. MYER: Three thousand. That includes men, women and children in the families involved, doesn't it?


Q. Those will be the only ones to be segregated?

A. No.

Q. Would you put the trouble-makers in with those?

A. It depends on what you call trouble-makers.

Q. You keep sending them to detention camps?

A. We will send anyone we feel is a definite agitator and is causing difficulty and is interfering with the administration, who is an alien and who is pro-Japanese definitely to a detention camp -- I mean internment camp, or wherever the Department of Justice puts them. They have agreed to take them, and they have taken them. They have been very cooperative.

Most of these other people that you are talking about, I say the most of them, not all of them, most of them are people who would like to live in quietude and like to live out the rest of their lives. They may be pro-Japanese in their culture, but they are not dangerous. They simply decided they want to live in Japan rather than here. Some of them are Kibei and there are some of them who intended to avoid military service and when they were forced to make the issue have said, yes, they want to go back to Japan. Now they are citizens and they are a real problem, legally and otherwise. In addition to that, you may have others who may be questionable.

Now we are working closely with the Office of Naval Intelligence, the Office of the FBI, the Provost Marshall's Office, the Army, the joint board procedure that was set up at the time of the announcement of the combat team and this registration program we are talking about, in processing this whole group. We are making special investigations of our own, and I think we are just about ready to begin to unfold this whole thing, but it has to be done pretty largely on an individual basis, taking into consideration these different categories and not saying we are going to take the whole group.

Q. Roughly, as to the distribution of the men, you have these groups. One group wants to be repatriated, another group is the agitators, and the third group are those whom you feel will be advisable to move out into regular society.

A. There might be even a fourth group that would come someplace in-between that may have some general background of record, having been back and forth to Japan that might need to go into limited areas under reasonably close supervision, but not to have to live in relocation centers, but should have the opportunity to work on the outside.

Q. One thing more. The 100 in detention camps, you said, represent the number who have been taken out of the centers, but there were others there in there before.

A. There were approximately 2,000 people of Japanese ancestry out of the group that lived in the United States in the detention camps other than that 100. Now, of course, the figure changes from week to week, month to month, but that is approximately right.

(The press conference adjourned at 4:35 p.m.)

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