DECLASSIFIED BY SP-1658/RLS
PER NATIONAL ARCHIVES
LETTER OF 8/28/80 AND
DEPT. OF INTERIOR LETTER
OF 11/3/72 COM? 94065
SEP 11 1943
WAR RELOCATION AUTHORITY
John Edgar Hoover, Director
Federal Bureau of Investigation
U. S. Department of Justice
Washington, D. C.
Dear Director Hoover:
I have been acutely conscious for many weeks that this Authority has never adequately acknowledged the comprehensive and useful report made by Inspector Myron Gurnea of your Bureau after his extended tour of inspection of all the W.R.A. centers. This delay is regretted. I wish to assure you that it has not been occasioned by disinterest on our part or because of any failure to utilize many of the recommendations contained in the report. As you are undoubtedly aware, since the submission of the report last March, the Authority, in cooperation with the War Department, has carried through a complete registration of all evacuees at the centers, has been subjected to two Congressional investigations (the Military Affairs Committee in the Senate and the Dies Committee in the House), and has perfected plans for the segregation of the disloyal element among the evacuees. The pressure of work incident to these urgent problems has required the almost constant attention of our limited Washington staff.
I would like at this time to review briefly for your information and records the work of the Authority and to comment in some greater detail on pertinent recommendations of Mr. Gurnea. The report has been given careful consideration by responsible staff members, to whom relevant sections of the report were referred, and from whom comment was secured. Comment on all of the many overall administrative problems covered by Mr. Gurnea is probably not necessary at this time. On many of these corrective steps were being taken at the time of the investigation; on others the Authority moved subsequently to implement the recommendations made. We are endeavoring to standardize procedures wherever possible, to reduce misunderstanding of W.R.A. objectives, and to bring about closer working relationships between Washington and project officials. To this latter end, a point stressed by Mr. Gurnea last March, three meetings of Washington and field directors have been held, the last one in Denver during August to complete plans for segregation.
You are aware of the two-fold program to which W.R.A. is now primarily committed:
1) Segregation in a separate center of those evacuees whose activities or confessions of loyalty indicate their desire to identify themselves with Japan rather than America. A copy of our recent Administrative Instruction 100, dealing with segregation, is enclosed for your information and files, together with copies of the procedural manual which covers in detail the problems of transportation, care, safety, etc. Actual movement of segregants to the Tule Lake Center, where segregation is to be effected, will be in charge of the Army, under arrangements worked out with the War Department.
The first movement of the loyal evacuees out of Tule Lake will begin September 13. Movement of segregants into the segregation center from the other nine centers will begin at the same time, and the bulk of the movement should be completed before November. Sporadic movement of small groups will probably be necessary for many months to come as additional hearings at the relocation centers are finally completed.
2) Relocation of as many as possible of the remaining evacuees in normal American communities. This program, initiated just a year ago, has resulted so far in the relocation of approximately 19,000 evacuees in various parts of the country in many different occupations. The part which your Bureau has played in this relocation work, particularly in the record check of applicants, has been both significant and efficient. May I here express our acknowledgment and appreciation.
Before proceeding specifically to a comment on Mr. Gurnea's recommendations, I would like to report briefly on our general problem of internal security personnel. Of the nine candidates suggested by you in your covering transmittal letter of March 22, six did not answer our letters of inquiry and only two filed applications, neither of which resulted in appointment. We are still in need of a top person for our Washington office and can use several qualified officers at the projects, where personnel casualties due to Selective Service are frequent.
The comments which follow are confined to the recommendations on internal security made by Mr. Gurnea. For the sake of brevity, the headings under which they are presented are summary statements of Mr. Gurnea's recommendations, and in a number of cases two or more recommendations of the report have been combined under one heading.
Establishment of Internal Security as a separate division reporting directly to National Director.
Although we readily appreciate the reasons that prompted this recommendation, the number of persons with whom an administrator of an agency like W.R.A. can deal effectively is necessarily limited. With responsibility for a wide range of technical and administrative functions, most specialized activities, including internal security, can most efficiently be grouped under coordinating, supervisory officials. These supervisory assistants are in fact Assistant Directors of the Authority, both in Washington and on the centers. The Chief of Community Management at each of the projects is an Assistant Director in charge of all community aspects of our work, and under such organization many problems of delinquency, welfare, and group activities, all relevant to police work, can be discussed and coordinated without recourse to the project director's office. Such arrangement has not hindered the efficient operation of the security force, and has resulted in effective handling of troublesome cases.
Appointment of National Chief of Internal Security.
Such a position was established on December 10, 1942, and it is hoped to have it filled in the near future. Meanwhile, our internal security program is being supervised nationally by the assistant chief of the section, a man who has had 16 years of experience in police and law enforcement work in the State of California.
Appointment of Inspectors at Seat of Government responsible only to Director.
At the present time the War Relocation Authority has five officials whose duties include the types of inspectorial function mentioned in the report. These are a Deputy Director and an Assistant Director stationed in Washington and three Field Assistant Directors stationed at San Francisco, Denver, and Little Rock. All five are members of the Director's staff rather than line officials. Because of the limited travel funds available during the past year, field inspections were not a frequent as desirable. This is being corrected during the current fiscal year.
Dismissal of project staff who are known members of subversive organizations.
All our personnel are subject to character investigation at the time of employment or in the weeks immediately following their entrance on duty.
Inclusion of "undecided" evacuees with group desiring repatriation.
On this point, the State Department advised the Director in February 1943 that "The Department of State must consider any alien Japanese who does not execute an acceptance of repatriation, or a refusal of repatriation, to be a person who is not opposed to repatriation and that arrangements may have to be made for the repatriation of such persons who do not execute a statement of their attitudes." Accordingly, we directed projects that where persons named on repatriation lists could not make up their minds, aliens would be considered as accepting repatriation unless they signed declination forms, and that United States citizens named on such lists should be prepared to document their citizenship. In view of the recent registration and of present plans for segregation of repatriates, negative respondents to the loyalty question, and those who refused to register, the question now has only passing interest.
Exclusion of repatriates from positions where control could be exerted over other evacuees and from positions in the Internal Security and Education Sections.
In a confidential letter dated April 9, 1943, the Director advised all project directors that they should gradually "ease out" of positions of trust and influence at the centers all evacuees who gave negative answers to the loyalty question during the Army registration. This will include, of course, the great majority of those who have requested repatriation, but not all, since a small percentage of repatriation claim feelings of loyalty to both countries and did answer the loyalty question in the affirmative. Our present policy will take care of the essential points contained in the recommendations, because the segregation will automatically remove the repatriate group from all centers except Tule Lake. [underlined in pen]
Cancellation of repatriates' pass privileges.
Segregation of the repatriates will also take care of this problem. Leave privileges will be denied in the segregation center except for emergency cases. Repatriates have been on the stop list for some months.
Establishment of pass procedure including issuance of passes by Internal Security Section only.
We now have under consideration the whole problem of issuance of evacuee passes, looking toward the establishment of a uniform procedure at all centers.
Operation of all telephone exchanges by Caucasian Operators 24 hours a day.
To the best of our knowledge, the only telephone exchange actually operated by evacuees is at Minidoka. We are now attempting to give project directors a separate incoming line which does not go through the switchboard. We agree that the switchboards should be operated only by appointed personnel, if private lines cannot be procured.
Trudes Osajima, switchboard operator
in the Administration Building
(Manzanar Relocation Center, April 1942)
Immediate provision of adequate office and record space for Internal Security Section.
This is a need which has been met at all centers during the recent months.
Project police organization.
Our only reservation on this recommendation concerns the suggestion of six undercover evacuees to be paid out of a confidential fund. Otherwise, we are in agreement and have already provided for and secured budgetary approval of substantially the organization recommended.
Law enforcement training and experience required of Chiefs of Internal Security.
This requirement has been established for all appointments in the internal security field.
Provision of three automobiles for exclusive and official use of Internal Security.
Adoption of standard police uniform and badges for all centers.
The furnishing of uniforms to the police and fire departments created difficult administrative problems in view of our general policies on the issuance of clothing. At all centers standard identifying equipment has now been furnished members of the police force, and at most centers uniform dress has been achieved through cooperative purchasing on the part of the members of the force.
Furnishing of nightsticks, flashlights, and whistles to all police.
Flashlights and whistles have been provided. Nightsticks have been made available to members of the force, but are not carried at all times. It is our experience that until the police force has received adequate training in police methods, too easy access to nightsticks or clubs is undesirable. [PHOTO: "This photo shows one of the two patrol cars which are used by evacuee wardens." (Tule Lake, 02/03/1943)
Preparation and distribution of manuals by Chief of Internal Security.
Internal Security Sections at several of the projects had previously drawn up manuals to fit their own needs. A general manual prepared in the Washington office, based upon project experience, has been prepared and issued.
Reporting by medical and other sections to Internal Security Section of all injury cases and cases indicating vice, delinquency, etc.
This is consistent with existing policy.
Investigative procedure wholly under Internal Security; Project Attorneys acting in advisory capacity.
With the exception of administrative investigations, we agree, and such procedure is being followed on the projects. Attorneys are advisors only in all project administration.
Intelligence work under direction of Chiefs of Internal Security.
This is consistent with existing policy and, as rapidly as adequate personnel and security facilities can be provided, with actual practice. In the nature of the situation such work required extreme care in record handling, discrimination in contacts, and time to establish confidential rapport with reliable informants.
Preparation and execution of extensive center police training program.
Such a course of training is now being developed by the Assistant Chief of Internal Security Section by visits to each project.
Provision of comprehensive records system at all centers.
Detailed instructions for a uniform record system were prepared by the Assistant Chief of Internal Security, and the system was inaugurated on May 15 at all projects. A copy of the manual is enclosed for your information and files. A system of reports to the Washington office is also operating and records are being developed on a national basis. These records will complement investigational work and records of our Leave Clearance Section, where the bulk of our intelligence material is now handled in cooperation with the Joint Board.
Appointment of evacuees to Internal Security positions on merit basis.
We agree, and believe that Internal Security appointments are now being made strictly on a merit basis. Many of the older residents have been appointed to more responsible positions.
Submission for check by F.B.I. of fingerprints of proposed Internal Security appointees and persons charged with crimes.
This has already been done at Manzanar and will be initiated at other centers as soon as we can secure the necessary fingerprinting equipment.
Evacuee personnel -- appointment of at least one member from each block.
In most, if not all, of the centers this practice is now being followed.
Responsibility for law enforcement wholly under direct supervision of Internal Security; abolishment or absorption of committees.
We are in thorough agreement with this recommendation. Action has been taken in accordance with policy suggested in the recommendation.
Responsibility for fire departments be removed from Internal Security Divisions.
This has been done.
Internal Security Organization be known as "Police Department" and members as "police".
Enforcement of traffic laws by the Internal Security Section.
Responsibility for enforcement of all regulations and punishment of offenders is vested with the Project Director, and police officers are responsible to him for assisting in apprehending and punishing traffic violators in the same way as other offenders against law and order in the center.
Frequent and periodic evacuee residence checks be performed by Internal Security.
We concur and such checks are being made. [PHOTO: "The center is guarded 24 hours a day by volunteer civilian police such as this patrolman, who is at the moment charged with the task of maintaining order and the dignity of law in block 6-F." (Granada, 12/08/1942)]
Check by police on all radios in Centers.
We have always adhered to the regulations of the Western Defense Command and of the Department of Justice regarding the use of short-wave radios by persons of Japanese descent. We have issued instructions recently prohibiting the possession and use of short-wave sets by any and all evacuees resident at the Centers, whether citizen or alien. Under arrangements with the Federal Communications Commission, our Assistant Chief of Internal Security is at present attempting to check the presence at the centers of unauthorized short-wave sets.
Sufficient command of English to receive and carry out instructions be qualifications for police appointment.
Many of the more able and respected men among the older residents at the centers are not really fluent in the English language, but their age and experience give them definite advantages in security and law enforcement work, particularly when dealing with the Japanese-speaking elements of the population. We do endeavor, however, to hold appointments to persons qualified to make intelligible reports in English.
Exclusion of parolees from Internal Security positions.
We concur generally, but feel that it may be desirable to make exceptions in individual cases where investigation warrants exception. Some of the parolees have made excellent records at the relocation centers.
Merit, loyalty, etc. basis for advancement and promotions of evacuee police force.
Reporting to F.B.I. of information indicating subversive activities on the part of evacuees.
This is W.R.A. policy and has been from the beginning.
Apprehension and punishment of instigators of strikes, riots, etc.
This is many times extremely difficult, but wherever reasonable evidence is available we have taken action against instigators who could be identified. Whenever this evidence is sufficient to hold in court, criminal proceedings are instituted against the offenders. In many instances it has not been possible to secure evidence on which court action would seem justified, and an isolation center at Leupp, Arizona, is maintained, to which instigators, chronic troublemakers, and inciters are sent on the recommendation of the project director and after review of the evidence by a Review Board here in Washington. At the present time some 76 individuals from seven different projects, including the leaders in the Manzanar trouble of last December and 11 individuals recommended by F.B.I. officers from Topaz, Utah, are at the isolation center under conditions approximating internment. After the segregation center at Tule Lake is fully established, it is anticipated that several of the Leupp residents, against whom the main charge is disloyalty, can be transferred to Tule Lake.
Curbing of petty thievery, particularly of food, by making vigorous effort to deal with offenders.
We agree that every effort should be made to stamp out such petty thievery and that, if necessary, the people involved should be prosecuted. Food pilfering is, of course, a real problem in an institutional situation of the type we have, and many devices are being used, in addition to prosecution of flagrant cases, to try to control it. One of our chief stewards reports that he obtained best results in handling the problem by placing the responsibility squarely upon the evacuee supervisors and by pointing out the fact that every bit of food stolen from the warehouses would have to come out of the food allowances of the community.
With particular reference to the food thefts at Rohwer Relocation Center, further investigation prompted by Mr. Gurnea's report disclosed that most of the discrepancy noted was due to faulty accounting, improper charging of veal for beef, and was adjusted after new inventory was made.
Review by Washington of all Center newspapers.
This is now being done. Copies of all relocation center papers are forwarded regularly to the Special War Policies Unit of the Department of Justice for monitoring of the Japanese-language sections and to the Washington office of W.R.A. for review and filing.
Inspection and licensing of all radios in possession of Japanese.
As indicated in the comment at the top of page 8, evacuee residents of all centers are now prohibited from retaining in their possession short-wave radios or any short-wave equipment, and must have surrendered such equipment to the project director prior to July 1. Further restriction upon possession of radios by evacuees does not seem advisable.
Discontinuance of Japanese language classes unless under Army supervision.
Japanese language schools of the type common in California prior to evacuation are expressly prohibited at relocation centers under our present administrative instructions. There is, however, a real need for some type of carefully supervised Japanese instruction at nearly all the centers. Without such instruction it would be impossible to provide refresher courses for those who are going out to teach in military or naval language schools.
Notification to appropriate District F.B.I. of addresses of relocated evacuees.
As outlined in my letter to you, dated April 5, 1943, arrangements have been made to furnish the Washington office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation with a card giving the destination of evacuees leaving relocation centers on indefinite leave. Our understanding is that the Washington office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation will forward this information to the appropriate field office of the Bureau.
No meetings be held without express permission of project director. Monitoring of questionable meetings by Internal Security.
Recent WRA administrative instructions provide the Internal Security Division at the project with ample authority, we believe, for dealing with meetings of an unlawful or riotous nature.
Approval by project officials of establishment of evacuee organizations or societies.
This is generally in line with a recently adopted policy on community and group activities at the centers.
Breaking up by Internal Security of secret groups or societies and taking of their members into custody.
This recommendation strikes us as generally sound, but seems to omit one important step. The measures recommended would be justified as applied to any secret organization which can be clearly shown to be subversive in character, but would be too harsh as general instructions to Internal Security officers. Our thought would be to recommend that such action should be taken on orders form the project director if, after suitable investigation, he has satisfied himself of the subversive nature of the secret society.
Furnishing of provisions of parole to centers receiving parolees.
Arrangements were made some months ago with the Department of Justice for furnishing this information in the case of all parolees sent to relocation centers.
Transfer of troublesome parolees to camp with all other troublemakers.
We agree that any evacuee who becomes a persistent and serious troublemaker in a relocation center should be returned to an internment camp or be transferred to the isolation center at Leupp.
Complete understanding between Internal Security and parolees of provisions of parole.
Instructions on this point have been given to the project directors and are in effect.
Denial to parolees of voice in meetings or community government.
If parolees are to be denied all voice in community affairs, their parole becomes virtually meaningless. Although resident in relocation centers, they would, in effect, be subject to practically the same restrictions which apply in internment camps. Presumably the granting of parole is intended to mean that a man has earned the right to be freed of such restrictions.
Non-appointment of parolees to administrative positions or positions of trust.
We would not agree that all parolees, regardless of their individual records at relocation centers, should be automatically barred from such positions, since, as is stated before, some of these evacuees have made excellent records on the project.
Systematic checks by Internal Security on activity of parolees.
Instructions on this point have been given to Project Directors.
No collation of moneys by evacuees without express authorization of the project director.
This recommendation seems to us unnecessarily restrictive. Private enterprise on the projects is expressly prohibited, but the privilege of collecting moneys for recreation and legitimate community activities is essential to the operation of our program. The collection of funds for subversive purposes is punishable, of course, as would also be cases of extortion.
No storage of explosives on projects where obtainable by evacuees.
This comment was apparently prompted by Mr. Gurnea's learning that a supply of dynamite and dynamite caps used for construction purposes was being stored within the boundaries of the Minidoka Relocation Center. In a telegram dated April 10, 1943, Project Director Harry L. Stafford makes the following report concerning this matter:
"Reurtal concerning the handling of explosives. On February 23 this office transferred approximately 1243 pounds of dynamite and 13560 detonators to storage at Jerome Idaho utilizing same storage space used by Jerome Highway Department. Such storage is fully approved by the Bureau of Mines and under same custody as county-owned dynamite and detonators."To the best of our knowledge, no explosives have been stored at any other relocation center.
Manzanar Relocation Center given preference for evacuee relocation to make room for troublemakers.
Manzanar evacuees with clean records be given opportunity for transfer to other centers.
Internment of alien troublemakers if not sent to Manzanar.
Withdrawal of segregees' privileges.
Increase of center privileges after removal of troublemakers.
Identification and reporting to Washington of uncooperative evacuees and troublemakers.
Extension of privilege to segregees' family to accompany or remain.
Suggested types of individuals to be segregated.
Arrangements with Army for increased military guard at segregation center.
W.R.A.'s general segregation policy has now been announced, and the enclosures to this letter give full information on the projected program.
Appointment by Project Director of judicial commission to hear petty misdemeanor cases and violation of camp regulations and make recommendations to Project Director.
This is substantially consistent with present policy. The one exception is that our Administrative Instruction on community government leaves the method of selecting the judicial commission open instead of providing specifically for appointment by the Project Director. In practice, most judicial commissions have been selected by the community councils.
Presentation to commission by Internal Security of all misdemeanor cases; committee to function as hearing board and project attorney to serve in advisory capacity.
In legal theory, of course, the judicial commissions have no status whatever as courts and are merely administrative bodies. In practice, however, we favor granting them as much responsibility as practicable in the interest of strengthening community controls over the dissident and troublemaking groups.
Establishment of forms of punishment to be inflicted within the center.
Our present Administrative Instruction on trial and punishments provides that the maximum penalty that may be imposed by the project director, in the exercise of his disciplinary powers, shall be imprisonment in jail for not more than three months, or suspension for not more than three months of work privileges, wages, clothing allowances, unemployment compensation, welfare grants, or other pay privileges to which the offender may be entitled, or any combination of these penalties. We believe these penalties are sufficient for the punishment of offenders at relocation centers. More serious offenses are, of course, referred to outside tribunals.
Transfer to state courts of misdemeanors for which project punishment is not commensurate.
This is in line with present policy and with actual practice.
* * * * *
I would like again to express my great thanks for the assistance in this and other matters furnished by your Bureau, and ask that you extend to Inspector Gurnea our full appreciation of the able conduct of his investigation at the centers, the orderly and precise presentation of his findings, and the thoughtful and responsible nature of his recommendations.
I hope from time to time to be able to give you further progress reports on the work of the Authority. If there are any questions on any phases of the program on which you would like further information, we will be glad to answer them at any time.
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