Internment Archives

The Story of the Japanese Evacuation From the West Coast During WW II,
Based on Contemporary Evidence Not Racial Demagoguery


Lee Allen, Lt.Col. U. S. Army (Ret.)

with help from

William J. Hopwood, Cmdr. U.S.N.R. (Ret.)



This piece has several purposes. First, it presents an accounting of the evacuation of the Japanese based on contemporary evidence, not on the basis of racial demagoguery. Second, it provides access to important, mostly primary source material, that relates to the issue of the evacuation. This material has previously been ignored, overlooked, unavailable or assumed to not exist. Access to most material is by imbedded links in the text that lead directly to the document referenced. Third, it provides a guide to the chronology of the event and many details regarding conditions and experiences. Fourth, it exposes, rebuts, and discredits many of the claims made by the Commission on the Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians concerning motives, conditions, achievements, loyalty and threat posed by certain Japanese and exaggerated or false claims concerning the service and accomplishments of Japanese Americans during WW II. Fifth, it assesses the harm done in the United States by the adoption of the race-based, politically correct version of this historical event and the government’s support of it.

This piece is far from comprehensive. But it does cover many of the prime elements of the event. There is much more to be learned by a study of other documents in

I urge the reader to apply his own logic and understanding of the world to what he reads and then evaluate the correctness of what is presented and the wisdom of the evacuation order. While reading the various documents detailing the threat to the country posed by Japanese on the West Coast see if you can find any indications, whatsoever, that race played a role in the assessments.

About the Author:


Lee Allen was a graduate of West Point who at one time served as the Intelligence Plans Officer for Terrorism in the Defense Intelligence Agency. During WW II he was interned by the Imperial Japanese Army with his mother and brother in real concentration camps in the Philippines. He passed away in 2016 and this report was published posthumously.




The evacuation of Japanese and Japanese Americans from the West Coast in the early days of WW II is one of the most misrepresented events in American history. This did not happen by accident. It was the result of a well-planned and executed effort, paid for largely by the government and supported by media and others who were only too willing to accept as true what they were told and use their influence to propagate the false narrative. Thereby, they denigrated our nation and the efforts of our wartime leaders to protect us from an aggressive and treacherous Japanese enemy.


The chronology of this misrepresentation helps tell the tale. During the administration of Jimmy Carter, on July 31, 1980,with a congress controlled by the Democrats, a nine-member Commission was formed to investigate the circumstances surrounding the evacuation. Called the Commission on the Wartime Relocation and Evacuation of Civilians  (CWRIC) it was bi-partisan in that it included Democrats and Republicans but it was biased in that most of those appointed to it were of a mind that a great injustice had been done and should be redressed.

The Commission was directed to:

1.      Review the facts and circumstances surrounding Executive Order Numbered 9066, issued February 19, 1942, and the impact of such Executive Order on American citizens and permanent resident aliens;

2.      Review directives of United States military forces requiring the relocation and , in some cases, detention in internment camps of American citizens, including Aleut civilians, and permanent resident aliens of the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands; and

3.      Recommend appropriate remedies

Before the Commission had commenced its work four of its members, among them former Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg, and Father Robert Drinan, a former congressman and well-known Catholic civil rights activist, had publicly gone on record with remarks strongly condemning the governments’ evacuation of persons of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast during WWII.  Father Drinan went so far as having asked in advance of any investigation being started, “How much are we going to give them?”  [Lowman, MAGIC, p. 72]

Over a period of two years the Commission visited 20 cities and took testimony from about 750 individuals and supposedly conducted extensive research on the subject, including “An extensive effort … to locate and to review the records of government action and to analyze other sources of information including contemporary writings, personal accounts and historical analysis.”

This claim of  “extensive” effort, though largely skewed to arriving at a predetermined position on the subject being investigated, was used to add credibility to its final report, Personal Justice Denied, [hereafter PJD] which was published in 1982. The Commission made almost no effort to reveal the threat our country faced from Japan and from those of Japanese ancestry living on the West Coast. Nor did it fully document the disloyalty of Japanese Americans before and after the evacuation or accurately depict events and conditions in Relocation Centers. The few individuals who presented evidence in support of wartime government actions were largely ignored, often ridiculed in public and given no credence in the Commission’s final report. [426: 13]

See the following letter from John J. McCloy, Roosevelt’s Assistant Secretary of War, describing the work and investigative malpractice associated with the Commission. He called its conduct “an horrendous affront to our tradition for fair and objective hearings.” He tells how his testimony and that of others testifying in support of the government action  “was met with hisses and boos,” among other things. [426; 13-14]

No Military Justification for the Evacuation

The Commission determined that there was no military justification for the evacuation and that it was largely caused by racism (not clearly defined), war hysteria (not demonstrated among leaders) and a lack of political will on the part of national leaders. [PJD 18]  This despite the fact that our WW II national leaders were demonstrating the utmost in political will in preparing to fight the war. It further concluded that there was not a single case of “active disloyalty”  [PJD 28] (whatever that means) by anyone of Japanese ancestry during the war.

This last claim, which has been picked up and repeated endlessly since the report’s publication is a perfect example not only of the bias of the report but of its shoddy scholarship and intention to deceive.


While the fires of the Pearl Harbor attack were still burning a Japanese American named Harada on the small Hawaiian Island of Niihau assisted a Japanese pilot, who had crashed his damaged plane, to take over the island using weapons from the plane. Harada later committed suicide. It wasn’t as if the Commission didn’t know about the incident, because it is described in some detail in footnote 14 on pages 430-431 of the Commission’s report, PJD. It was only mentioned in the body of the report as “The Niihau Incident,” not as disloyalty or treason. Office of Naval Intelligence report on the incident at: [425; 68]

Ignorance of Magic


In the process of its deliberations the Commission failed to consult the large array of intelligence reports from various agencies that described the threat posed by some Japanese on the West Coast.


Most importantly it was ignorant of the existence of high-level Japanese diplomatic messages intercepted and decrypted prior to the Pearl Harbor attack that revealed widespread espionage networks along the West Coast being run by individuals of Japanese ancestry, including U.S. citizens.


This information had been very closely held during the war. Only a handful of top leaders were privy to it in its pure form, with knowledge of where it came from and how it was obtained.  Magic was declassified in 1977 making it publicly available, but overlooked, during the Commission’s deliberations. 


Some of this Magic intelligence was even published in the popular press during the time of the Commission’s investigation. “… evidence that these Magic diplomatic intercepts gave of Terasaki’s extensive network of informants among ‘our second generation workers in airplane plants.’” [John Costello, The Pacific War 1941- 1945, 1981, p.613] Magic will be discussed in detail shortly.


When the substance of the intercepted messages was made public in a New York Times Op Ed by David D. Lowman shortly after the Commission concluded its “investigation” an addendum to its report [427; 12]


was added that, among other things, claimed the Japanese reports of espionage organizations on the West Coast were “puffery” on the part of those reporting.


The addendum also claimed, in a most lawyerly way:


Much has been made of the sentence in Personal Justice Denied which states that ‘not a single documented act of espionage, sabotage or fifth column activity was committed by an American citizen of Japanese ancestry or by a resident Japanese alien on the West Coast.’ This statement stands. The Magic cables do not identify individuals in those groups who committed demonstrable acts of espionage, sabotage or fifth column activity.[427; 16]


This was precisely the reverse of the argument made by the U.S. Government and recognized by the Supreme Court in 1943: that even though it was known that such activity was ongoing, it was not known exactly who was doing it. Therefore, the evacuation of all Japanese was necessary. The Commission seemed to think that if individuals could not be identified it meant that none of the activities were taking place. A bit stupid.


The addendum also argues that since setting up an intelligence gathering organization in the U.S. before the war, which was organized to operate in the event of war, was not illegal at the time it was done, it should not be considered a legitimate reason for assuming a threat existed after Pearl Harbor. Even though such gathering was being actively used to obtain information on our military services. This sort of sophistry is endemic to the Commission’s entire report.


The Commission’s News Coverage


The Commission’s hearings received widespread publicity in the press. For the two years it deliberated, a multitude of stories describing various hardships, perceived insults, unfair treatment, property loss and bleak detention were chronicled in the press and spread throughout the nation and world by news agencies.


Coupled with this were heroic stories of Japanese service during the war, many exaggerated and some fabricated, which were told to demonstrate, by contrast with the terrible government treatment given evacuees, the extent that these loyal and valiant people had been mistreated for no reason. [See “Critique of the Smithsonian Exhibition” for examples of fabrication and exaggeration.]


These examples of fabrication and exaggeration will be covered in some detail later.


Dearth of Contemporary Intelligence Reports


Contemporary intelligence reports were not discovered, examined and publicized by the Commission even though it possessed government authority and resources to seek such documents. This was most likely because a review of intelligence available early in the war would not comport with the flawed, melodramatic recounting of motives and actions the Commission determined led to the evacuation.


It was impossible for individuals, who suspected the existence of such reports and what they might reveal to obtain them in a timely manner and present them to the Commission. Lack of official status to gain quick access and the requirement to seek the information through the ponderous and time-consuming Freedom of Information Act or archival research was prohibitive. One such request to the FBI by the author took years to obtain.


David D. Lowman, a former Special Assistant to the Director of the National Security Agency, who had written the NYT op-ed revealing the Magic Intelligence, mentioned above, who, when later acting as a consultant to the U.S. Government on various court cases and had access to various archives, gathered a trove of reports from different agencies that were later published in Magic, Athena Press, Provo, Utah 2001. Those reports and others, gathered by the author and his sons, from different archives are referred to in this review.


The Commission’s Use of Intelligence


Personal Justice Denied contains a ten-page section on Intelligence. [PJD 51- 60; 427:1- 11]


It purports to present a survey of what was known at the time E.O 9066 was signed; thus, why there was no military threat to justify the action.




The first three pages relate to the efforts of a newspaper stringer named Munson who talked to a lot of people in the Japanese community and concluded there was little threat and what there was could be easily handled. Munson and his estimates of the Japanese threat were well known before the Pearl Harbor attack as they were published in newspapers. 


It takes a special kind of naivety to imagine that a stranger talking with individuals who may have knowledge of a secret plan to gather intelligence or wage war on the country would be given that information PJD declared:


Although Munson was an amateur at intelligence, he talked at length to professionals such as the FBI agent in charge in Honolulu and the people in Naval Intelligence in southern California. He was also in touch with British Intelligence in California and reported that they shared his principal views. [PJD 53]


This statement is in itself a vivid declaration of the Commission’s own amateur status. It presumes, among other things, that classified information would be freely shared with a nosey civilian and that national policy should be based on the opinions of an amateur because he “reported that they shared his principal views.”


There is no record that Munson ever spoke with anyone with access to Magic information and even if he had he would surely not have been told anything.


While the Commission relied on Munson for conformation of its conclusion that there was little military threat to the U. S. from Japanese Americans, it made no mention that a couple days after Pearl Harbor Munson was telling the FBI in Los Angeles that it was taking care of only half the security problem by rounding up Japanese citizens. The other half of the problem, Munson claimed, was U.S. Citizens of Japanese ancestry. [15: 42- 45]


The remainder of the PJD Intelligence section discusses selected portions of a junior naval officer’s  (Lt. Cmdr. K.D. Ringle) estimate of the sociological situation of Japanese on the West Coast before the war, and selected quotes from other authority references who were assumed to be knowledgeable and revealing everything they and the government knew.


Particular focus is given to the attack on Pearl Harbor and concludes that the eventual evacuation from the West Coast was based largely on what proved to be mistaken claims about sabotage and espionage related to that attack. Secretary of the Navy, Frank Knox, is the object of particular criticism.


Secretary of the Navy Knox


What Knox said about the attack hardly reflected all he knew or what was available to the government concerning Japanese espionage on the West Coast. Of course, while Pearl Harbor undoubtedly had a profound influence on the decision to evacuate the West Coast, insofar as it demonstrated Japanese military capabilities and U.S. vulnerabilities, what was actually happening on the West Coast was also important and largely unknown or ignored by the Commission.


In this regard, an ONI memo to the Chief of Naval Operations, entitled “Japanese Espionage Organization in the United States,” dated February 12, 1941, ten months before the Pearl Harbor attack, recommended the information be sent to the Secretary of the Navy and the President. What followed was pretty much a sanitized version of the Magic intercept #44, received less than two weeks before outlining the Japanese plan to establish an intelligence organization suitable for wartime operation. [425; 3]


[416; 6]


Neither Knox or anyone else privy to this information was free to reveal it.


Lt. Cmdr. Ringle


The Commission’s discussion of Lt. Cmdr. Ringle and his report of January 26, 1942 ties Munson to Ringle and selectively quotes and misquotes Ringle’s report in an effort to minimize the apparent threat.


PJD says Ringle claimed “There were both citizens and aliens who could act as saboteurs or espionage agents, but he estimated the number to be 3% of the total – or 3,500 in the entire United States who were identifiable individually.” [PJD 54]


Recall that in the Magic Addendum the Commission’s General Counsel stated “not a single documented act of espionage, sabotage or fifth column activity was committed by an American citizen of Japanese ancestry or by a resident Japanese alien on the West Coast.” Apparently, when one of your chief sources, Ringle, says there are 3,500 “who would act as saboteurs or agents” [note the difference between the use of the words “could” in PJD and “would” in Ringle’s report] you can ignore the threat to the country. [425; 72]


Nor does Ringle’s report mention “identifiable individually.” It talks about individuals in custodial detention (enemy aliens on FBI lists) and members of Japanese organizations whose membership was “fairly well known.” [425; 72, (c) (d)]


What sort of magical thinking would allow anyone to even intimate that the U.S. could precisely separate by name 3,500 disloyal individuals from a group of 120,000? Perhaps that’s why Ringle usually speaks in terms of rough percentages and various levels of loyalty.


PJD fails to mention that Ringle says when speaking about Japanese citizens:


… the large majority are at least passively loyal to the United States. That is, they would knowingly do nothing whatever to the injury of the United States, but at the same time would not do anything to the injury of Japan…. most of the remainder would not engage in active sabotage or insurrection, but might well do surreptitious observation work for Japanese interests if given a convenient opportunity. [425; 72, (b)]


That sort of activity was exactly what was revealed in the Magic intercepts.


We have already established contacts with absolutely reliable Japanese in the San Pedro and San Diego area, who will keep a close watch on all shipments of airplanes and other war materials and report the amounts and destinations of such shipments. [416; 7]


There is no knowing what portion of the alien population Ringle places in the minority group remaining after subtracting the “large majority,” mentioned above, but his vague estimations are clearly a guess. For argument’s sake let’s say it was 20 percent of the total. That would be another 7,200 individuals, unknown by name, who would “do surreptitious observation work for Japanese interests if given a convenient opportunity.”


PJD also fails to mention Ringle’s assessment “that seventy-five per cent or more of the Nisei [American born citizens] are loyal United States citizens.” Simple arithmetic leads to the conclusion that 25 percent or less were not loyal to the U.S. In absolute numbers that comprises several thousand, at least. Later on we will see that this estimate was probably accurate.


Ringle’s estimate of the Japanese threat, such as it was revealed in PJD, was given credence in the Commission’s report in part based on Ringle’s claim that “Naval Intelligence sympathized with his opinions.”  [PJD 54]  [PJD 54, footnote 24 is cited for this claim. It refers to a personal letter written by Ringle in 1951, 9 years after the fact.] No such claim is made in the report.


Lt. Cmdr. K.D. Ringle, specifically states on page 1 of his report that “The following opinions, amplified in succeeding paragraphs, are held by the writer:” [425; 71]


And the cover letter from the office of the Chief of Naval Operations to other agencies transmitting Ringle’s report specifically states “ … it does not represent the final and official opinion of the Office of Naval Intelligence on this subject….” [425; 70]


PJD doesn’t mention that Lt. Cmdr. Ringle, who had a rather benign impression of the Japanese, was restricted from access to information concerning intercepted Japanese messages and was clearly unaware of the extensive intelligence operations revealed in those messages that were on going in the Naval District in which he served an intelligence officer. [416:7]


The Ennis Memo


Ringle’s January 26, 1942 report [425; 71]


was well known during the war and had been used by Edward Ennis, Director, Alien Enemy Control Unit, a division of the Justice Department, as a basis to challenge the evacuation of Japanese in the Hirabayashi case before the Supreme Court in 1943.


Ennis’s memo to the Solicitor General [327: 1-4]


which made a vague and “informal” claim about Ringle’s report representing the ONI position, was not used at the trial, an action that later led to the charge that the U.S. Government had purposely withheld information from the court that would have proven that the evacuation was not necessary.


This resulted in a further charge made in the 1980’s during various court cases, and swallowed by gullible jurists, that the Government had conspired to deceive the Supreme Court, which, of course, was a charge totally contrived.


Note that the cover letter distributing Ringle’s report, referred to above, lists the Enemy Alien Control Unit as an addressee. Ennis’s claim that he first came across Ringle’s views in Harper’s Magazine seems to reveal that he wasn’t reading his own mail.


One must wonder what reasoning, legal or otherwise, would conclude that the Solicitor General had an obligation to submit the unofficial and personal opinions of a junior naval officer to the Supreme Court in opposition to the government position he was defending.


Note that the Ennis Memo, in evaluating the threat posed by Japanese, groups individuals by category not by individual evaluation. This was most likely done because of Ringle’s influence.  [327; 2]


Ennis cites unidentified naval officers, and contends that only 10,000 individuals needed to be evacuated. He admits that “they [the naval officers] did not make this view known” at the time of the evacuation.


Monday morning quarterbacking, kibitzing and second-guessing decisions made by others are a human pastimes apparently not reserved for civilians alone.


Ennis on page 2 [327; 2]


of his memo derives his 10,000 from three groups of Japanese: Kibei, U. S. citizens who had been educated in Japan; The parents of Kibei and members of pro-Japanese societies.


It is certainly not clear that those “absolutely reliable Japanese,” mentioned in the Magic messages, who were gathering information for Imperial Japan, were members of one of those groups specified by Ringle and Innes. Those reported as spying in the Army and in aircraft plants, clearly, were not. But they were certainly part of the Japanese Imperial intelligence organization in the U.S. whether they were known by name or not.


This, of course, strikes to the heart of the problem: who was and who wasn’t loyal to the United States. Faced with the reality of on-going espionage activity by unknown individuals along the West Coast and the presence of up to 10,000 (Ennis’ estimate based on Ringle’s report) and likely more who were either outright supporters of Japan or would “do surreptitious observation work for Japanese interests if given a convenient opportunity,” the question was, what to do.

Evacuation of these groups alone would not have eliminated all disloyal Japanese from the West Coast.


Ennis also states:


Thus, in one of the crucial points of the case [before the Supreme Court] the Government is forced to argue that individual, selective evacuation would have been impractical and insufficient when we have positive knowledge that the only Intelligence agency responsible for advising Gen. DeWitt gave him advice directly to the contrary.


Where he got the idea that ONI was the only agency responsible for advising Gen. DeWitt or that Lt. Cmdr. Ringle’s personal opinions, which were not the official views of ONI, should somehow override other more precise information is any one’s guess.


No Single Statement from ONI on its Position


PJD in the same sentence claiming official sympathy for Ringle’s report said “there is no single statement of their [ONI’s] position.” Had they checked they might have found, among at least several others, a 26-page report prepared by the Counter Subversion Section, Office of Naval Intelligence, dated December 4, 1941, which gives a detailed, but “admittedly incomplete,” summary of ‘Japanese Intelligence and Propaganda in the United States During 1941.’ [425; 5]


PJD takes the legalistic and absurd position that having worked in the enemy’s intelligence apparatus before war was officially declared may not have been technically illegal, therefore, such work should not be considered when assessing the existing threat to the nation after such declaration was made.


The Supreme Court


PJD doesn’t point out while describing exculpating claims regarding Japanese treachery, that what we knew about the Japanese threat at the beginning of the war would have been classified and that release of such material at the time would have posed a threat to our war efforts.


In the event this decision to withhold sensitive information, of course, proved a wise government policy. Magic intercepts proved invaluable during the war in both theaters of operations.


The Supreme Court seemed to recognize this wartime necessity and reality in the Hirabayashi and Korematsu cases when it deferred judgment to the military during emergencies.


The Supreme Court said in both cases:


… we cannot reject as unfounded the judgment of the military authorities and of Congress that there were disloyal members of that population, whose number and strength could not be precisely and quickly ascertained. We cannot say that the war-making branches of the Government did not have ground for believing that, in a critical hour, such persons could not readily be isolated and separately dealt with, and constituted a menace to the nation’s defense and safety which demanded prompt and adequate measures be taken to guard against it. [Korematsu]


The Conclusion


The implication of so little intelligence in the Intelligence section of PJD, after such supposedly great effort by the Commission to determine the truth of the event, was that there was nothing else to know; That information regarding the threat that led to the evacuation was non-existent, or flawed if not contrived; That the trust the Supreme Court placed in Congress and the military was misplaced. This neatly played into the preconceived conclusion that there was no military justification for the evacuation.


Absent the availability of contemporary intelligence reports on the Japanese threat and finding “that no military necessity supported the exclusion” [of Japanese from the West Coast] the Commission cobbled together its analysis of “Conditions Which Permitted the Decision.” [PJD 8-9] Largely this was a fanciful rendition of what coulda, woulda, shoulda been done but wasn’t, based on the Commission’s flawed assumptions of the situation at the time.


Absent any military necessity, other reasons for the evacuation had to be identified. Voila! Racism! Hysteria, and lack of political will.


The Origin of Racism Charge


This was a theory that had much earlier been hypothesized in a book published by the War Relocation Authority the organization that ran the relocation program.


Titled Wartime Exile, The Exclusion of the Japanese Americans From the West Coast, it was written by Ruth E. McKee, a novelist hired by the organization as an historian to write on the origins of the evacuation. It included breathless headings such as “THE RALLYING OF THE RAICSTS,” chapter II; “FIRST ROUND TO THE RACISTS,” chapter III and “TRIUMPH FOR THE RACISTS,” Part III. [174; 2-3]


McKee’s work was long on speculation, short on pertinent facts, almost devoid of intelligence regarding the threat, filled with drama, colored by her personal sympathies and dismissive of any threat. In short it was a precursor to the Commission’s report, PJD. See her “References Quoted” for Wartime Exiles to get an idea of her sources of information. Aside from General DeWitt’s Final Report most are from newspapers, editorials and sociologic studies. None directly deal with the threat. [174; 163]


Bernard Lewis the famous historian observed about the writing of history, “the historian is limited by the evidence at his disposal.” In the case of the history of the Japanese evacuation, in Exile and PJD, the evidence at the disposal of the historical writer is seriously limited, sometimes purposely, and what is used supports the preferred story line. McKee as an “historian” didn’t know what she didn’t know and didn’t seem too interested in finding out.


The Villain


In Exile and PJD the nexus of the dark motivation of racism is Lieutenant General John L. DeWitt, Commander of the Western Defense Command. With all the subtlety of a TV script and abject ignorance of the army and government’s decision making process during WW II, Gen. DeWitt was made the villain and fall-guy for the evacuation and the focus of hatred for those needing such an object.


It is puerile to contend, as both McKee and the Commission did, that, faced with the destruction of much of the Pacific Fleet, threatened with further attacks against Hawaii, the West Coast and Panama Canal, the President and high command of the country would rely on and support a recommendation to evacuate the Japanese population from the West Coast without convincing evidence of its necessity. Yet that was the story that was contrived, proffered, swallowed and propagated throughout the land by the media, academia, and many others involved in such things. The term Big Lie comes to mind.


It seems to me that any thinking person would ask why, when caught unprepared by a surprise attack, one of the country’s first actions would be a costly racist action without justification. The answer seems simple. It wouldn’t.


DeWitt’s label as a racist in part derived from a newspaper headline quoting him as saying “A Jap is a Jap.” In fact his statement during a press interview was much more refined and detailed. The headline was contrived to encapsulate the general thrust of his comments.


DeWitt’s comments on the Japanese situation were essentially the same as those being taught in the Japanese Language School attended by future senator Daniel Inouye in Hawaii as recorded in his memoir and most likely in other such schools.


You must remember that only a trick of fate has brought you so far from your homeland, but there must be no question of your loyalty. When Japan calls, you must know that it is Japanese blood that flows in your veins.


This, also, could be fairly summarized as, “A Jap is a Jap.” [Daniel K. Inouye with Lawrence Elliott, Journey to Washington (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1967) p 36-37.]


The Commission not only labeled DeWitt a racist it ascribed racism as the motivation for his recommendations for the evacuation. [PJD 8-9]


Exile had also labeled DeWitt a racist and laid the blame for the evacuation on him. Quoting Professor Eugene V. Rostow of Yale who had been in the State Department during the war and who claimed that the racists


‘were lucky in their general, for General DeWitt amply proved himself to be one of them in opinion and values. As events happened, he became the chief policy maker in the situation’ and achieved a new high in ‘American military officiousness.’ [174; 152-153]


McKee claimed that Rostow’s conclusion about DeWitt, in 1945, came at a time when “factual knowledge had replaced the misinformation and legends about the group that had been evacuated.” She then cites the Nisei who had served so well during the war and says those evacuated were “unknown and therefore easily misrepresented.” This was to become a familiar, and logically flawed, theme in the following decades: some were exemplary in their service; therefore, all must have been good, loyal people. Nor was it true that by 1945 “factual knowledge had replaced the misinformation.” [174; 153]


McKee just thought there was nothing more to learn about the situation. The Commission should have known better but ignored what there was to know.


Rostow was a lawyer.


The Flawed Chronology


McKee, Rostow and the Commission laid the blame on Gen. DeWitt based on a flawed chronology of events that they accepted a priori: to wit, that DeWitt made the recommendation to evacuate all Japanese; that President Roosevelt approved that recommendation without proper justification and that E.O 9066 was then promulgated and the evacuation began.


The actual chronology is clearly documented in Guarding the United States and its Outposts by Stetson Conn, Rose C. Engelman and Byron Fairchild, Office of the Chief of Military History, 1964.  [109; 19]


According to Secretary of War Stimson’s diary cited in the above reference, the President made his decision on February 11, 1942. “Stimson after describing the situation to the President ‘fortunately found that he was very vigorous about it and [he] told me to go ahead on the line that I myself thought the best.’


What Mr. Stimson thought best at this time, according to his Diary, was to begin as quickly as possible with the evacuation of both citizen and alien Japanese from the vicinity of ‘the most vital places of army and navy production.’ [109; 19]


DeWitt’s recommendation to evacuate all Japanese, alien and U.S. citizen, which was made on February 13th and received at GHQ in Washington D.C. on the 18th, was made by direction from above and only after the President had given the authority for such action, and that action decided on. Before this final recommendation, which included evacuation of American-born Japanese, DeWitt had never recommended evacuation of any persons other than alien enemies. [109; 19]


“Alien enemy” was a classification given to citizens of countries at war with the U.S. who were 14 or older. They were stripped of all their protections under the constitution and subject, at the President’s direction, to confiscation of property and incarceration without due process. See discussion of Presidential Proclamation 2525 below.


Prior to those final recommendations, “If all of General DeWitt’s recommendations … had been accepted, it would have made necessary the evacuation of nearly 89,000 enemy aliens … only 25,000 of whom would have been Japanese,” and none of them U.S. citizens. [109; 17]


It is a revealing insight into the decision making process regarding the evacuation that DeWitt’s recommendation for the evacuation of all Japanese


… reached GHQ [in Washington, DC] at 5pm., 18 February. On 19 February it was decided at a GHQ staff conference not to concur [to disagree and not support evacuation U.S. citizens] in General DeWitt’s recommendations, and instead to recommend to General Clark that only enemy alien leaders be arrested and interned. [109; 20]


Clark realizing the decision had already been made forwarded DeWitt’s directed recommendation without change “in view of the proposed action already decided upon by the War Department.”


A reading by the Commission of this official history of the event would have been enlightening but it would also have deprived it of the melodramatic, simplistic version of events and the villain it had concocted to support its conclusions.


Blaming the Secretaries


The Commission’s charge that Secretary of War Stimson and Assistant Secretary McCloy “failed to insist on a clear military justification for the measures General DeWitt wished (sic) to undertake” [PJD 9] is absurd.


Again, DeWitt’s recommendations were based on information received concerning the President’s decision to authorize evacuation of all Japanese and varied from his previous recommendations only in that they now included evacuation of America-born Japanese (U.S. citizens). [109; 19]


To claim that the President, with whom the evacuation decision resided, and the secretaries of war were somehow not privy to information on Japanese subversive activities, Magic and otherwise, based on material ignored or unknown to the Commission is wishful fiction. All three were among the handful with access to Magic intercepts, which DeWitt was not, and had access to all other intelligence on the threat.


It was the Commission, and not wartime national leaders, that dealt with rumor, opinion and biased claims, and not intelligence, when arriving at its conclusions.


Deceptive Citizenship Classification


The Commission also obfuscated the evacuation decision by its almost total refusal to deal with the legal status of Japanese citizens, who it euphemistically called “permanent resident aliens” and grouped into the classification of “Japanese Americans,” a term usually denoting American-born (U.S. citizens) of Japanese ancestry. This was a legalistic dodge based not on the law as it existed but on the law as they thought it should have been.


On December 8, 1941 the day after the Pearl Harbor attack, President Roosevelt issued Presidential Proclamation 2525, “Alien Enemies –Japanese.” [Proclamation 2525]


The action was authorized under the Alien Enemy Act of 1798 (which still exists today as 50 USC sections 21-24) and was the authority that governed the treatment of nationals of a hostile foreign nation who are within the United States when a declared war exists between the United States and their home country. The Act also applies if that foreign nation subjects a United States territory to invasion. a predatory incursion or any attempt or threat thereof.  The Act specifies that all nationals of said foreign nation fourteen years or older who are within the United States shall be liable to arrest, internment, and deportation as alien enemies,     


The Enemy Alien Act


The Enemy Alien Act specified that any action to be taken by the U.S. under the Act had to be first authorized by the President of the United States by proclamation.  This was done when President Roosevelt issued the proclamation.


The first paragraph of the proclamation quoting U.S. law as its authority reads:


‘all natives, citizens, denizens, or subjects of the hostile nation or government, being of the age of fourteen years and upward, who shall be within the United States and not actually naturalized, shall be liable to be apprehended, restrained, secured and removed as alien enemies. The President is authorized in any such event, by his proclamation thereof, or other public act, to direct the conduct to be observed, on the part of the United States, to ward the aliens who become so liable, the manner and degree of restraint to which they shall be subject and in what cases and upon what security their residence shall be permitted and to provide for the removal of those who, not being permitted to reside within the United States, refuse or neglect to depart therefrom, and to establish any other regulations which are found necessary in the premises and for the public safety.’


Paragraph (5) under the regulation section of the proclamation restricts the possession or use of a variety of items including weapons.


The Commission excused the very possession of such items by alien enemies stating “The FBI did confiscate arms and contraband from some ethnic Japanese, but most were items normally in possession of any law-abiding civilian…” [PJD 7] It failed to reveal that its “most” did not include one FBI raid in the Monterey area of California that “found more than 60,000 rounds of ammunition and many rifles, shotguns and maps of all kinds,” as reported in Gen. DeWitt’ Final Report. [8; 26]


The Commission also failed to mention, predictably, was that alien enemies were not “law-abiding civilian(s).”  They were enemy aliens prohibited such items by Presidential Proclamation during wartime. Arrogantly disregarding strictures imposed on them during wartime could easily be interpreted, and probably were, as an unfriendly act of defiance.


German and Italian alien enemies


Similar proclamations were issued for Germans and Italians. The proclamations were the authority used by the FBI to round up various alien enemy citizens considered dangerous. After individual review thousands of Japanese, German, Italian and a lesser number of other alien enemy citizens were placed in Department of Justice Detention Camps for the duration of the war. These people were “interned” for the duration of the war, not relocated, which connotes a very different situation, resettlement in interior states.


Family members of those in detention camps were allowed to volunteer to join them. Until early 1945, when an additional 5,620 Japanese Americans who had renounced their U.S. citizenship were included among those interned in Dept. of Justice detention centers, there were approximately the same number German and Japanese alien enemies and family members, about 11,000 each, in detention centers. [102; 1]


The Commission and later Congress refers to Japanese citizens (alien enemies) throughout its report as “permanent resident aliens” and subsumes them into the category of Japanese-Americans. The desired result, no doubt, is that whenever the evacuation is referred to it is as affecting 120,000 Japanese Americans.


The result of this construct was that approximately 38,000 Japanese citizens, alien enemies, who were evacuated from the West Coast to Relocation Centers  [2; 117]


(as differentiated from Dept. of Justice Detention Centers), under a well established legal process, were considered by the Commission and therefore by the media and others to have had all the rights of U.S. citizens. They did not.


Recent renditions of the evacuation routinely include the statement that 70 percent of those evacuated were U.S. citizens. This is an unexplained sop to the fact that the remaining 30 percent were not citizens. But it is seldom if ever noted that alien enemies were not “interned” illegally. In any case the actual percentage of citizens was 64.8 percent as of 1 January 1943 as opposed to the oft-quoted 70 percent. But 70 percent is apparently close enough for historical revision work. [2; 117]


Why The U.S. Citizens?


Knowing that of the 110,240 individuals under War Relocation Authority on January 1, 1943, 71,531 were American born it seems reasonable to ask why these citizens were included in the evacuation.


One reason was that some number, unknown individually or by total numbers, was involved in activities inimical to the U.S. In other words, among the American born Japanese there were some, probably representing a small percentage of the total but a large number in absolute terms who were either engaged in activities dangerous to the country, belonged to groups sympathetic to Imperial Japan, or harbored loyalty towards that enemy nation. This possibility will be reviewed and documented at a later time. Conduct during evacuation will also be discussed as a clear indication of this element’s disloyalty.


Dual citizenship and the implications that status held regarding obligations to Japan, which will be discussed in some detail later, and the threat from those U.S. citizens who had been educated in Japan, Kibei, fall within this category. Recall that Lt. Cmdr. Ringle in his report that was selectively quoted by the Commission had this to say about the Kibei.


…the most potentially dangerous element of all are those American citizens of Japanese ancestry who have spent the formative years of their lives, from 10 to 20, in Japan and have returned to the United States … These people are essentially and inherently Japanese and may have been deliberately sent back to the United States by the Japanese government to act as agents …. In spite of their legal citizenship and the protection afforded them by the Bill of Rights, they should be looked upon as enemy aliens and many of them placed in custodial detention. [425; 73]


This evaluation is from the sympathetic intelligence officer whose selective opinions are frequently quoted by the Commission.


The Children


Another reason for the evacuation of U.S. citizens was most assuredly the desire to keep families together. As described in Presidential Proclamation 2525, not even Japanese citizens were subject to the onerous control of enemy aliens if under the age of 14.


The Imperial Japanese Army in the Philippines did not separate children from their parents when interning them in real concentration camps. One need not have much of an imagination to contemplate the harm to children and parents if such a legalistic separation had been insisted upon. It is well to remember that 60% of the American-born in relocation centers were minor children. [2; 113]


Remember, that in the 1940’s the age of majority was 21.


From a practical point of view alone family separation based on citizenship status would have presented a humanitarian and administrative nightmare.


The Germans and Italians Again


Another issue made much of by the Commission in support of its charge of racism was the difference in the way the Japanese population was handled in contrast to the German and Italian. This specious line of reasoning resonates with individuals whose understanding of the world is such that they think everything needs to be, can be or should be fair.


War is not an exercise in civil liberties. And certainly no country at war is expected to or ever has treated threats from enemies equally, nor have they ever been thought to have an obligation to treat the belligerents they face in exactly the same way.


As earlier mentioned, in regards to “alien enemies” roughly the same number of Germans as Japanese were interned in Department of Justice Detention Facilities until late in the war when 5,620 additional Japanese renounced their U.S. citizenship and were declared alien enemies and included.


Germany and Italy did not conduct a sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, destroy a good part of our Pacific Fleet and leave our county’s West Coast vulnerable. Nor did we fear they might do it or worse again.


That the U.S. evacuated 120,000 individuals of Japanese ancestry from only the western three states, Washington, Oregon and California and the southern part of Arizona, when by the Ringle/Ennis estimate only 10,000 of them were considered a threat, is a fact. The relationship between the threat and the area of evacuation seems clear.


No U.S. citizens of Japanese ancestry were evacuated from the other states, except for 219 who petitioned the government to be allowed to reside in Relocation Centers. [2; 23]


Surely this voluntary participation is a first in the worldwide history of “concentration camps.”


Since no Japanese in the United States, living outside the West Coast exclusion area, were affected by the evacuation order, one must wonder why if the primary cause of the evacuation was racism these others were not also included?


The Inauguration of PJD


PJD, de facto, was presented to the nation as an authoritative version of the historical event, produced by a “bi-partisan” commission, established by the government, that had studied the subject extensively, claimed to be objective and had received widespread public attention during the process. In short, it became the primary source of information detailing, supposedly authoritatively, the accepted version of history.


It was filled with one-liners, which used over and over again in all forms of media led to their acceptance as being true. These included: There was no military threat or justification for the relocation; it was caused by “racism, wartime hysteria and lack of political will”; there was not a single example of disloyalty etc. One fascinating aspect of almost every article or news report on the subject is that it invariably includes the same statements, almost without variation, a trademark of propaganda not rational inquiry or reporting.


Added to this were statements of supposed facts that became popular to use and which tended to make the relocation appear far more onerous than it was. Included in this group was calling all persons of Japanese ancestry Japanese-Americans; calling relocation centers “concentration camps” or worse; claiming all Japanese-Americans were imprisoned for the duration of the war; that they were persecuted because of how they looked; claiming those relocated “lost everything;” that evacuees could only bring with them what they could carry and that they only had 48 hours notice to leave their homes etc.


In short, an historical narrative was developed that was long on simplicity, short on truth and in the process denigrated our nation, its institutions and its wartime leaders. At the same time it hid the threat faced by the nation, exculpated thousands of disloyal Japanese, minimized the efforts made on behalf of evacuees and created a new victim class.


It doesn’t seem to matter how exalted or sophisticated an individual is regarding scholarship, the approved narrative controls. As recently as April 25-26, 2015 edition of the Wall Street Journal a book review by Yale Law Professor, John Fabian Witt, contained the following:


Internal government reports [U.S] had concluded that first-generation American-born men and women of Japanese ancestry – the so-called Nisei – were loyal to the U.S. and posed little threat. Even the Japanese government believed that the Nisei would be of no use to them, a fact that the U.S. knew thanks to intercepted diplomatic cables from Tokyo to the Japanese Embassy.


The internal government reports described were most certainly the Ennis memo and the Ringle report. Let the reader judge, based on the foregoing discussion of both, whether the Nisei (and Kibei) were “loyal to the U.S. and posed little threat.” [327]


And one must suppose that since the Japanese government “believed that the Nisei would be of no use to them” had assigned them to jobs as spies in aircraft plants and the army! [416; 7]


PJD also makes the point “Insofar as the Japanese would rely on the Nisei, there was no knowledge or evidence of organized or individual Nisei spying or disruption.” This was another example of Magical ignorance. [427; 10]


In passing it might be worthwhile to remark that because a document is labeled “internal government report” doesn’t mean it has special significance, as implied by the professor. Nor is it rational to assume that just because something is in such a report it is either authoritative or correct. But it sure sounds good and important and seems to be an acceptable substitute for scholarship.


Intellectual Honesty of PJD


As for the intellectual honesty and historical accuracy of the report itself, perhaps the best professional evaluation was made by then Chief Historian, U. S. Army Center of Military History, Dr. David F. Trask, who had this to say about it.


This report strikes me as essentially in the form of a legal brief rather than a history.  Historical information in this brief serves a specific purpose – to present the case against the government in the most favorable light.  Such an approach means that factual information is selected to serve the interest of the client. It means also that the facts are ordered and interpreted so as to provide the best support for the client…. All is calculated to support the conclusion that the government denied personal justice to those interned during World War II. Facts and arguments that might tend to support a contrary conclusion are either excluded or rejected. [57; 2]


When Congress was considering “accepting” the findings of the Commission, the Department of Justice warned of the dangers of codifying in law an “official” version of history, suggesting that history is best left to “historical and scholarly analysis.” [220; 9]


The Corum Nobis Cases


Assistant Attorney General of the United States, Richard K. Willard, testifying before Congress had this to say about three court cases seeking the set aside of Japanese American convictions based on a claim that the government’s “knowingly suppressed evidence and misrepresented facts in submissions to the Supreme Court during the 1940’s.”


These were the three corum nobis cases which have become so famous as vehicles for “proving” the lack of military justification for the evacuation and related security orders. Corum nobis is an order to consider facts not on the trial record which might have changed the outcome of the case if known at the time.


In these cases the “knowingly suppressed evidence and misrepresented facts” referred to the Edward Ennis memo to the Solicitor General discussed previously.


The Assistant Attorney General testified:


In response to one of these corum nobis petitions filed by Fred Korematsu in the United States District Court for the Norther (sic) District of California, Attorney General Smith determined that ‘it is time to put behind us this controversy … and instead reaffrirm the inherent right of each person to be treated s an individual.’ Accordingly, the Attorney General decided that ‘it is singularly appropriate to vacate [Korematsu’s] conviction for nonviolent civil disobedience,’ as well as to do the same for other similarly situated individuals who request it.  Thus, in each of these cases, the United States, while disputing petitioner’s allegations, moved to vacate the conviction…. [220; 3-4]


Thus the convictions were set aside. The government, though it disputed the claim of evidence suppression, moved to vacate the convictions. Those bringing the cases, as one might expect, have since claimed that the convictions were vacated because they proved and the court hearing the case determined that the government had, in fact, suppressed evidence. In fact, they prevailed because the government moved to vacate the convictions.


Attorney General Smith “determined that ‘it is time to put behind us this controversy…’” Instead, his magnanimous gesture was purposely and wrongly construed as and claimed to be an admission of government guilt, which it was not. [220; 5]


The Media Blitz


Between the publication of PJD and 1988 when Congress passed Public Law 100-383, which apologized and authorized a $20,000 dollar payment to evacuees who were still living, a major effort was undertaken to spread the distorted view of the evacuation to every source of information media possible. Movies and TV shows were produced. Articles were written and published in diverse papers and magazines by the hundreds if not thousands. All repeated the erroneous conclusions of the Commission and added their own simplified version of events, including a grossly exaggerated accounting of Japanese-American awards and accomplishments in WW II.


The object of this effort was to garner grassroots support for the passage of redress, or money, and an apology for the wartime evacuation.


Educating the Public


The passage of the law ushered in a new phase of the historical revision effort. Along with the payment to those still alive and an apology from Congress and the President came funds to “educate” the public. “The fund should be administered by a board, the majority of whose members are Americans of Japanese descent ....” [PJD; 463-464]


Five million dollars were initially set-aside for this purpose. More was to come. Just why, one wonders, was it necessary to have the majority of the board people of Japanese ancestry. Perhaps for racial reasons?


The five million was spent setting up The Civil Liberties Public Education Fund  (CLPEF) to “sponsor a grants program aimed at educating the public.” Government establishment of a story followed by government sponsorship and propagation of the story was the order of the day.


The form this public education would take was made abundantly clear in the CLPEF brochure, which specified terminology to be used in grant applications and recommended for public.


… it [CLEPF] strongly urges grant applicants and the public at large to discontinue the usage of such terms as ‘relocation’ ‘evacuation’ and ‘assembly center’…. Rather than ‘evacuation’ or relocation’ the following terms…are more accurate: ‘imprisonment, incarceration, internment, detention, confinement or lockup’…. rather than ‘relocation camps,’ ‘internment camps, detention camps, prison camps or concentration camps’ is more accurate. [412; 5]


It takes little imagination to figure out how many grant applications in support of “public education” were approved that didn’t first use the approved terminology and toe to the approved story line.


Direct Government Propaganda Support


Government institutions were also enlisted in the “public education” effort. The Smithsonian Institution for almost 15 years presented a historically flawed exhibition on the subject. It was closed shortly after the National Museum of American History was forced to admit to gross inaccuracies. [431; 58]


This outrageous exhibition was partly paid for by a former World War II Class A Japanese war criminal, Ryoichi Sasakawa, an indication of the Smithsonian’s historical objectivity. [431; 47]


[Readers who would like to understand the lengths the Smithsonian went to trying to ignore the critique made by the author and his son are invited to read the exchange of letters at [431; 49 -60]


[Note the references to how hard the Smithsonian worked, how they won awards, how they ignored official records, how they relied on authority references, and how they placed opinion over fact.]


The National Archives and others were also engaged in the propaganda effort.


Other Sources of Funds


When the Federal Government’s five million dollars ran out California offered up 1 million a year only for grants that parroted the politically correct narrative. Washington State had its own smaller fund. In no case was any money used to uncover the underlying reasons for the evacuation. [See list of grants]


It goes without saying that no grants were given other than to support the politically correct historical version.


Later the federal government made available $38 million in matching funds for the cause. Since then, museums and historical sites have been established and a myriad of other activities sponsored, all to propagate the accepted and politically correct version of history.


In recent years the National Park Service has become involved in preserving relocation sites and supporting various related projects with grants. [See grant project summaries]


No Dissent Allowed


Dissent or fact-based scholarship contrary to the Commission’s report has been viciously and publicly attacked. This is a technique universally used to support politically correct stories.


As an example, when former Rep. Coble of North Carolina opined on a radio talk show that some Japanese Americans benefitted from the relocation because they had lost their ability to earn a living after the attack on Pearl Harbor, a point that is demonstrably true, [204; 3: 425; 78]




he was viciously attacked by a nationwide cabal of Asian Americans. Tens of thousands of faxes and phone calls were sent to the House leadership urging he be removed from his committee chairmanship, among other things.


Similar action was taken against Michelle Malkin, whose book, In Defense of Internment, was met with irrational outrage by some of the same people who savaged Rep. Coble. At Berkeley she faced continuous screaming, banging on doors, chanting and virulent hostility before, during and after her presentation. No one must be allowed to contradict the politically correct version of history.


Government Scholarship


Government publications and programs relating to the evacuation have been flawed by their conformity to the Commission’s report. The scholarship in most cases has been particularly egregious, more worthy of Josef Goebbels than a government and academic enterprise.

And, predictably, there are always the charges of racism, prejudice and hatred: terms routinely used to silence individuals who dare speak out, question or disparage the politically correct version of history.


Damage to the Country


A serious effect of the widespread acceptance of the approved version of history is the charge that if it happened once it could and probably would again. Continual focus on race-centered motivation and action, true or not, suppresses a realistic evaluation of threats as they apply to different groups.


Shortly after the 9/11 attack there was a continual drumbeat warning about the Japanese experience and cautioning against a repeat, even though no such evacuation was contemplated. Consider the decades long aversion to identifying Islamic Terrorists as Islamic Terrorists largely because they belong to a sub-group in the country. Fearing to call something what it is because you might be called a racist limits the ability to guard against it.


It is no coincidence that Islamic groups and Japanese Americans have in some cases joined to strengthen supposed bonds between the two groups.


Incorporation into School Curricula


Perhaps most disturbing of all is the effort that has been ongoing since 1987 to inject this flawed version of history into America’s classrooms. Lesson-plans, support materials, textbook entries and a myriad of programs have been introduced at all levels of education. One can fairly wonder if the object of such an effort wasn’t the questioning in students minds of American institutions. A special course on the subject lasting six weeks was tested at a middle school on Bainbridge Island, WA, site of the first evacuation in 1942.


We are to the point today that when the subject of the evacuation of Japanese is discussed, reported on or portrayed in the media people’s eyes glaze over and the embedded phraseology comes forth: Worst civil rights violation since slavery; no military justification; not one disloyal; racism, war hysteria and lack or political will; locked up for the duration of the war; ill treated; and so on ad nauseam.


Embellishment of Mythology


That over the years since the Commission’s report was first published, there has been little or no additional or different information concerning the reasons for the evacuation, its conduct and the living conditions of those involved, is a pretty impressive indication that the story told is one that cannot suffer real scholarship or amplification. Even today, 32 years after the publication of PJD, almost every news story or article concerning the evacuation parrots the same misinformation found in the report. This is a sure sign of propaganda, not history.


Policing Thought in Academia


I have personally discussed with students in high school, college and post-graduate work their difficulty in finding faculty support for projects to investigate the possibility that there might be more to the story. To even suggest that there is, is generally anathema in the academic community.


Squelching inquiry has no place in historical inquiry.


The Stage is Set


Understanding the background of the politically correct version of this historical event sets the stage for understanding why it happened, what really happened and what cannot in today’s America be told.


Finally, it is important to remember that the situation that existed in the U.S. at the beginning of WW II was far different from what it is today and that the Japanese of that era were also different.


The Wall Street Journal on the 70th anniversary of the end of WW II characterized wartime rulers of Japan as “a fanatical regime devoted to racial purity and superiority. Far from liberating Asia, Tokyo exercised totalitarian control over its colonies, forcing subjects to adopt Japanese names, language, culture and history,” in short, a truly racist dictatorship. Japan’s ardent supporters in the United States before and during WW II shared its ideology and goals. [WSJ, Sept 17, 2015, p A10]


Since 1931 Japan had been engaged in aggressive war in Manchuria and later in China. The conduct of their soldiers regarding the brutal treatment of Chinese was well known around the world. So, too, was their use of ex-patriots in support of their war efforts especially during conquests in the Pacific.


The story of the threat and evacuation begins.


Contemporary Evidence


Having criticized the Commission for its shoddy review of the intelligence situation leading up to the evacuation, it seems proper to discuss what was known at the time the decision to evacuate was made. This brief review will cover only those documents in, which were discovered by David Lowman in the 1980’s and by my sons and I at various archives. All Magic messages are taken from “Magic Background of Pearl Harbor,” a Defense Department publication.


I ask the reader as he goes through the various intelligence reports to carefully look for any signs of racism and hysteria.


The Origins of Magic


In late September 1940 a small team from the U.S. Army Signal Intelligence Service broke Japan’s highest-level diplomatic code. Shortly after, using only analytic reasoning, the team under the direction of Frank B. Rollett was able to construct an analog machine that reproduced the functions of the machine used by the Japanese to encrypt and decrypt their messages. Thus, whatever messages we could intercept we could quickly decrypt and read. Our machines were built for just over $600 a piece by Navy technicians. A photo of this marvelous machine is at [318]


From then until after the end of the war the U.S. was able to quickly read Japanese messages sent from Tokyo to and received from its diplomatic posts all over the world. Because this feat of intelligence prowess seemed to be something conjured up by magicians, the highly sensitive information thus gained was cover-named Magic.


Magic was one of the most closely guarded secrets of the war and only a select few were given direct access to it. It was not until 1977 that most of its messages were declassified and made public.


Establishing an Japanese Intelligence Operation


On January 31, 1941 Message #44 from Tokyo to Washington revealed Japan’s plan to establish intelligence operations in the U.S. The plan called for collection of political, economic and military information. The message included a caution on the use of “resident nationals,” meaning Japanese citizens living in the U.S., and their children who were referred to as Nisei, U.S. citizens. Tokyo urged that caution be taken in their use “In view of the fact that if there is any slip in this phase, our people in the U.S. will be subjected to considerable persecution…” [416:6]


The message further said that “In the event of U.S. participation in the war, our intelligence set-up will be moved to Mexico…. set up facilities for a U.S. Mexico international intelligence route.”


Progress in Development


In May 1941, in response to an order to submit progress reports on efforts to establish intelligence networks, two Japanese consulates (Los Angeles and Seattle) chose to send theirs by encrypted telegraphic messages that were intercepted and decrypted by the U.S.


Los Angeles reported:


We are doing everything in our power to establish outside contacts in connection with our efforts to gather intelligence material.


We have already established contacts with absolutely reliable Japanese in the San Pedro and San Diego area, who will keep a close watch on all shipments of airplanes and other war materials, and report the amounts and destinations of such shipments. The same steps have been taken with regard to traffic across the U.S. – Mexico border.


We shall maintain connection with our second generations [Nisei, U.S. citizens] who are at present in the (U.S.) Army, to keep us informed of various developments in the Army. We also have connections with our second generations working in airplane plants for intelligence purposes. [416:7]


Seattle reported:


We are securing intelligences concerning the concentration of warships within the Bremerton Naval Yard, information with regard to mercantile shipping and airplane manufacturer (sic) movements of military forces, as well as that which concerns troop maneuvers.


With this as a basis, men are sent out into the field …and such intelligences will be wired to you…. For the future we have made arrangements to collect intelligences from second generation Japanese draftees on matters dealing with troops….


In order to contact Americans of foreign extraction and foreigners … for the collection of intelligences… we are making use of a second generation Japanese lawyer. [416:8]


Shortly after these messages were intercepted a warning was sent to consulates telling them to use more secure means, such as couriers, for organizational progress reports in the future. However, while a large number of operational reports concerning ship movements, aircraft production, etc. were later intercepted which revealed the ongoing and widespread intelligence effort along the West Coast, no further messages revealing sources, methods or people involved were retrieved. [418; 2-7]


Handwriting on the Wall


It was clear, however, that intelligence gathering networks were already established on the West Coast using both Japanese citizens and American-born, U.S. citizens, of Japanese ancestry. And it was logical to assume that during the next six months leading up to the Pearl Harbor attack efforts were made to improve and expand the operations. Of course, if two consulates had established intelligence-gathering networks, as directed by Tokyo, it was likely all the others had too.


Here it might be appropriate to mention the claim made by many that since the number of Magic messages dealing with intelligence gathering by U.S. Japanese, represented a small percentage of all Magic messages that threat should be minimized. The response to this specious construct is: How many more than one message outlining espionage operations is needed? None!


Other Sources Regarding the Threat


All the while various U.S. intelligence organizations were gathering information on Japanese operations. These included the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), the Army’s Military Intelligence Division (MID) and the FBI.


More traditional means of U.S. intelligence gathering provided a good deal of information concerning the Japanese intelligence efforts and likely response to any future conflict.


Japanese Organizations


An October 14, 1941 War Department, Military Intelligence Division (MID) Memo, “Subject: Japanese Ex-Service Men’s Organizations,” reported that the Japanese Military Service Men League has “7,200 members in Northern California, Washington and Utah.” Membership “includes military age nisei [sic] [U.S. citizens] as well as Japanese aliens,” and that while all give money to the Japanese War Fund “others [are] engaged in intelligence activities.”


Along with the Imperial Comradeship Society, which is the same in nature as the Service Men League, “these two organizations have pledged to do sabotage (railroads and harbors) in the states mentioned above, in time of emergency…. Sixty-nine local units…are said to be carrying on activities.” [426:7]



In the early days of the war, no doubt based on information gleaned from intercepted messages and such reports, Japanese Americans were removed from active duty army units and jobs in aircraft plants. Later they were prohibited from work on railroads and in mines.


A Final Summary Before War


On December 4, 1941, three days before Pearl Harbor, the Office of Naval Intelligence published a 26-page summary on the subject “Japanese Intelligence and Propaganda in the United States During 1941.” [425:5]


This report is of particular importance to anyone interested in the history of the evacuation and its causes. It seems a pretty comprehensive review of what our government knew about Japanese intelligence and propaganda operations in the U.S. and Hawaii as of Pearl Harbor even though it admits to being “incomplete.” [425; 32]


The report included some information gleaned from Magic intercepts, as did several reports from MID, but without attribution to its source. Often this sharing of important information was done under the guise of saying that it came from “a usually reliable source,” Of course the information thus shared did not have the urgency or certainty it would have had had the actual source of the information been revealed.


Among many other issues the report discusses dual citizenship of Japanese children born in the U.S. and their obligation under Japanese law to serve in the imperial armed forces.


It is important to note that the categories of those eligible for military service in Japan include males with dual citizenship (Japanese born in the United States after 1924 whose birth was registered with the Japanese Consulate within fourteen days). Under Japanese law, those persons are just as liable to answer to the military authorities as are full Japanese citizens. [425; 21-22]


The report estimated that “[O]ut of a total Japanese population of 320,000 in the United States and its possessions…more than 127,000 have dual citizenship.” And that “more than 52% of American born Japanese fall into this category.” [425:20]


Military Type Organizations


The report also discusses a number of “military” type organizations including the Southern California War Veterans, Japanese Naval Association, Patriotic Society, Military Virtue Society of North America, Association of Japanese in North America Eligible for Military Duty [meaning military duty in the Imperial Japanese forces, emphasis added] and Reserve Officers Club, [425; 30]


some of which were known, through the arrest of Commander Tachibana, a Japanese agent working in California, to be “supplying him with intelligence information to be sent to Japan.” [425:18]


An example of how one of these organization operated can be found in FBI records from Salt Lake City, Utah dated January 30, 1942. [47]


The prospectus for the Heimusha Kai of Utah dated April 1938 claims:


We are the most patriotic, second to none, but still we are residing in a foreign country and unable to serve the country of our origin directly… All we Japanese brothers are expressing our loyalty to our own country… This is a part of our duty since we are unable to serve in action….


We demand you to cooperate with this help to the fatherland in the time of this emergency.


Regular members are from the able-bodied men to 47 years who are eligible for military conscription but deferred.


Even though Utah was not one of the states affected by the evacuation order, it had a sizeable Japanese community and strong emotions of loyalty to Japan were sometimes present.


David R. Lyon, later a colonel in the Army, was a young man located at Bingham Canyon, Utah on the morning of the Pearl Harbor attack. In the third paragraph of his statement he says “That morning, feeling far more loyalty to Japan in the conflict just begun, some young men of Japanese backgrounds armed themselves and headed for the main repair shops of the Kennicott Copper Company, to kill Americans” and that “the young Japanese were disarmed by some of their elders, not without some violence.” He describes emotions on both sides as being high, but the U. S. was the country being attacked. [150]


Language Schools


Japanese Language Schools were another subject covered by the report. Recall the teaching in Sen. Inouye’s school mentioned earlier. There were more than 39,000 students in similar schools in Hawaii. [425:18]


Other Reports, Other Agencies


Other reports from the FBI, The Office of Naval Intelligence, and the Military Intelligence Division covered myriad other intelligence gathering activities taking place. Such organizations as the Tokyo Club Syndicate [425:33]


and various fishing interests along the West Coast were featured.


Of particular interest may be the memorandum from General Mark Clark, Assistant Chief of Staff, to Assistant Secretary of War, John J. McCloy, dated February 12, 1942, transmitting Information Bulletin Number 6 on Japanese Espionage. [424; 11-14]


The memo reveals McCloy’s interest in the subject and Clark’s intention in sending the information to “be of assistance to you in settling this question.”


Note the date of McCloy’s conversation with Clark was February 12, 1942. This was the day after the President’s decision to evacuate all Japanese from the West Coast. While the subject of Clark’s Memo is “Enemy Aliens on the West Coast,” the attached Information Bulletin is entitled “Japanese Espionage” and in paragraph 6 (b) states “Their espionage net containing Japanese aliens, first and second generation Japanese and other nationals is now thoroughly organized and working underground.” [424; 14]


A reasonable person might conclude that the President’s decision to evacuate was intended to stop this activity and not made because of how certain people looked.


Those familiar with the operations of overseas Japanese in countries invaded by Imperial forces can well imagine the sorts of intelligence activities being carried on in the U.S. in the run-up to the attack on Pearl Harbor.


Another Estimate of the Threat


The concern over invasion of the West Coast or disruption of sea traffic in the area was reflected in the importance placed on preventing Japanese fishermen familiar with those waters from providing their knowledge to the Japanese government. Some in our government thought preventing their return to Japan on the exchange ship Gripsholm was “well worth the loss of all the Americans now in the Far East.” [426; 16]


The reader may ask if ONI officials felt it was worth “the loss of all the Americans now in the Far East,” more than 5,000 souls in the Philippines alone, to keep so-called ‘Japanese Fishermen’ from returning to Japan with the information they possessed, if it wasn’t worth it to evacuate all Japanese from the West Coast to keep approximately 10,000 from getting into mischief during the war?


PJD Reference to 5th Columns


It is interesting to note that while PJD highlights the 5th column activities in Norway as having a possible influence on decision makers, it fails to mention Japan’s uniform and extensive use of expatriates in their many attacks at the beginning of the war.


What was Known and What the Public was Told


Of course, none of the information in these reports, except perhaps some of the most innocuous and of lowest classification was ever released to the public during the war and then only as plausible justification for the decision to evacuate the Japanese.


Gen. DeWitt’s Final Report on the evacuation, which was criticized by the Commission and others, is a case in point. He would certainly not have included in his report any information that would have benefited the enemy or revealed the extent or sources of our knowledge of Japanese intelligence operations. To assume otherwise and to judge the evacuation as being unjustified based on what DeWitt made public is unreasonable.


Yet that is precisely what was done. The War Relocation Authority historian Ruth McKee in her Wartime Exile, dwells on the issue of the Federal Communications Commission’s refutation of ship to shore radio traffic cited by DeWitt in his report. [174; 157-161]


The same issue was rehashed in PJD for the same reason, to show the weakness of DeWitt’s justification for evacuation. Apparently, after the fact, and in the case of PJD, way after the fact, if one claim of Japanese misconduct can be refuted, all the others including those that are still unknown can be dismissed.


Much of wartime intelligence was not declassified until years later and Magic intercepts were only declassified in 1977.


The Commission’s “Evidence”


The Commission dealt only with information made public during the early days of the war and made no reference to contemporary intelligence reports that had since been declassified. Instead it relied on opinions from assumed knowledgeable sources when making its determination that there was no military necessity for the evacuation. This was one of its most glaring weaknesses.





The attack on Pearl Harbor changed history for our country. We were at war with Japan and shortly would be with Germany and Italy.  Our economy had to be restructured to a wartime footing. The result was a major disruption of lives, dislocation of people, and the attendant hardships affecting all citizens of the country.


With the Pacific Fleet crippled, Hawaii exposed, and the West Coast poorly defended, there was considerable concern over the threat posed from within by those of Japanese ancestry. Since the Japanese had successfully used their expatriates in other countries to aid in their invasions, America’s leaders feared the same could happen here. Although our government knew from intercepted Magic messages and other intelligence sources that many Japanese and Japanese-Americans were actively involved in Japan’s wartime intelligence efforts, it didn’t know exactly how many and which individuals were involved.


A Practical, Not an Ideal, Solution to the Problem


Because of the enormous scope of the problem and the need to remove the threat as quickly as possible it wasn’t practical to use traditional law enforcement mechanisms or deal with people on an individual basis. The only way the country could protect itself in a timely manner was to order the evacuation of all Japanese and Japanese-Americans from the West Coast and deal with the issue of individual loyalty later.


Recall that Edward Ennis, based on information from Lt. Cmdr. Ringle and others, estimated 10,000 people needed to be evacuated, but there was no certainty that all those who might do the U.S. harm would be included in that number.


Enemy Aliens


The first action came not only against the Japanese, but also against German and Italian citizens, who the FBI also suspected of being dangerous enemy aliens. 


Presidential Proclamation 2525 dated December 8, 1941, recall from the previous discussion, classified all citizens of Japan 14 years of age and older as “alien enemies” and stripped them of their protections under the U.S. Constitution, making them subject to internment and confiscation of property without legal restraint. 


Similar proclamations did the same for Germans and Italian citizens. The Commission and its report all but ignored the implications of this classification and the difference between Japanese citizens and American born Japanese who were U.S. citizens.


Those rounded up by the FBI throughout the country were given a hearing before boards of prominent citizens at locations around the country, which could recommend their internment for the duration of the war in Department of Justice detention centers, their placement in relocation centers or release. [125]


This procedure applied to Japanese citizens, alien enemies, only. No U.S. citizens were involved.


Although all enemy aliens were subject to “internment” under the provisions of the Alien Enemies Act of 1798 and the Presidential Proclamation, the United States actually interned only a small percentage of its Japanese nationals, those who had been considered security risks by an Enemy Alien Control Boards.


Often, because of a lack of more concrete evidence against individuals, they were interned, and done so legally, based on their position of leadership within an organization or activity in the Japanese community.  About 2,600 Japanese were interned out of a total of 126,947 persons of Japanese ancestry in the U.S. [8:93]


The Treatment of Families


The U.S. Government allowed families of those interned to voluntarily join them in Department of Justice Detention Facilities. Until early 1945 there were approximately the same number of Japanese and Germans interned, along with their families, about 11,000. [102]


Internment as Opposed to Relocation


Internment denoted incarceration for the duration of hostilities and was employed against “enemy aliens” in all warring countries. For example, the Imperial Japanese Army interned Americans as “enemy aliens” in the Philippines.


Internment is frequently confused with and equated to relocation. The two were different. Internment was incarceration for the duration of the war; relocation was movement to a center from which relocation to a new situation of work and living was intended. The equation of the two different situations in the popular mind is a measure of the effectiveness of the politically correct propaganda effort.


In early 1945, 5,589 Nisei (U.S. citizens by birth) also joined the ranks of the interned because they renounced their U.S. citizenship thus becoming “alien enemies.” The final total for Japanese interned then was over 16,000, a majority of whom were family members who had volunteered to live with their father/husband.


The Geneva Convention


All those interned were afforded protection under the provisions of the Geneva Convention even though its provisions did not apply to enemy aliens. This was done in the hope that Japan would reciprocate. [322; 2]


[119; 1-10]


[116; 1-2]


The last reference reports the Imperial Japanese Government agreeing to apply the Geneva Convention to those it interned as enemy aliens. It did not. Japan’s cruelty to internees is but a footnote in its history of brutality to those under its control during the war.


Regular Visits by the Spanish Government and Red Cross


Detention facilities housing enemy aliens and their families were regularly visited by representatives of the Spanish Government, who looked out for Japanese interests, and by the International Red Cross who passed on complaints they received from internees to the U.S. Government for investigation.


One such frivolous complaint, which demonstrates the horrors of American internment, was made about being forced to eat long-grain, white rice, instead of the medium grain variety preferred by Japanese. [192: 2]


This was at a time when Americans interned and imprisoned in POW camps by the Japanese in Asia were being neglected, starved, abused, tortured and murdered.


It may be of interest to the reader that in an effort to accommodate Japanese tastes, close to 40 percent of the annual U.S. rice harvest was used by the War Relocation Authority in relocation centers. [177; 52]




Japanese-Americans and Japanese in Hawaii were treated differently from those on the West Coast. Instead of evacuation, Hawaii was placed under Martial Law. This solution provided the necessary security, because Hawaii consisted of islands that were easily controlled, and still allowed the large Japanese work force on the islands to be employed in wartime activities.  However, 1,118 individuals were evacuated to relocation centers on the mainland [2:23]


and several hundred were taken into custody and interned in Department of Justice detention centers. [258:1]


It is of some significance that shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor the President indicated his desire “to have all of the Japanese aliens in the Hawaiian Islands interned at once.” A subsequent assessment of wartime needs led to a revision of that directive and martial law was chosen in stead. This is but one example of how wartime decisions changed based on new information and changing situations. [426; 15]


West Coast


Although Martial law was appropriate in the case of Hawaii it was not for the West Coast where it would have severely restricted war production activities existing there.


President Roosevelt’s decision to evacuate all people of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast was formally published when he signed Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942.  The popular version of the event is that the evacuation consisted of rounding them all up, shipping them out, and keeping them interned for the duration of the war, and generally treating them poorly, which is not true.


In fact, the evacuation affected only those of Japanese ancestry living in Washington and Oregon, California, and the southern part of Arizona. Japanese in other parts of the country were unaffected except for 219 individuals who petitioned the government to be allowed to reside in the relocation centers, no doubt a first in the worldwide history of “concentration camps.”[2; 23]


The Evacuation, How it Was Done


Evacuating approximately 120,000 people from the West Coast was no small effort especially considering all the other war related and affected activities that were going on simultaneously. Yet it was a well planned and executed operation. Those interested in the details of the planning and execution are encouraged to review Gen. DeWitt’s Final Report. [8]


Evacuation was generally carried out in three phases. First, those to be evacuated were urged to leave the exclusion area voluntarily and move to the interior of the country. By March 29, 1942 only 9,000 had left of their own accord. [8; 118]


When it became clear that voluntary evacuation wouldn’t get the job done, the government decided to move the rest of the people into 10 relocation centers located in the western U.S., from which they could be relocated to the interior once a suitable work and living situation was found. It was no coincidence that the first two areas evacuated were San Pedro and Bainbridge Island, the two areas mentioned in the intercepted Magic messages outlining espionage organizing and efforts.


Assembly Centers


Since the President placed a priority on swift action, those to be evacuated were first moved to Assembly Centers at facilities such as fairgrounds and racetracks along the West Coast, where some accommodations already existed and others could be quickly built.  A small number of people moved directly to what was to become the Manzanar Relocation Center in Southern California.


Much has been made of the types of accommodations used at Assembly Centers. At Tanforan Race Track in the Bay Area, for example some evacuees were housed in horse stalls. The same stalls used to quarter U.S. Marines at other times. Each had running water, by the way. 


Who Was in Charge?


The Army handled the movement to assembly centers and thereafter to relocation centers, when they were built. After arrival at the relocation center, the War Relocation Authority (WRA) took charge. It was an agency initially formed under the Executive Office of the President and in 1943 transferred to the Department of the Interior. 


The Commission’s False Claim


PJD makes the claim “Families could take to the assembly centers and the camps only what they could carry.” [PJD 11] This is an outright lie. Families brought with them anything that could be carried to pickup points where they boarded buses to the assembly centers.  Their baggage was loaded on trucks and moving vans and taken to the centers. See photos at [311]


and judge for yourself whether the Commission’s claim is true.


Conditions in Assembly Centers


Some centers even had commercial dishwashing equipment. There were center newspapers, movies and other recreational activities. A tremendous effort was made by the U.S. Government to provide amenities to the Japanese who were relocated despite the fact that the Japanese government did not reciprocate with the Americans under its control during the war.


Another False Claim


Claims are also made about being able to only take two suitcases on the trains to Relocation Centers. In fact, only two could be taken aboard the passenger cars. The rest had to be placed in the two baggage cars that accompanied each train. Petty fabrications of this sort support the Commission harsh narrative of the event but detract from its credibility.


Trains transporting evacuees to the Relocation Centers had dining cars if two or more meals were required in transit. Lunches were provided for shorter trips. Baggage that could not be accommodated in two baggage cars was forwarded to the Relocation Center by freight.  Sleeping accommodations were provided for the elderly, infirm and women with babies. [8:296]


Speaking of trains to Relocation Centers:


Provision had to be made on the trains for mothers with infants, pregnant women, invalids and bed cases. Detailed instructions for use by the train doctor had to be prepared for each patient on the train. In fact, the medical records of all persons on a given train went with that particular train. Emergency medical supplies, strained baby foods, baby formulas, disposable diapers, and numerous other special items had to be provided. [177; 66-67]


Who Handled What?


Various governmental agencies were used to handle issues related to the evacuation and to lessen the impact on those involved.  The Federal Reserve handled evacuee property and the protection and the storage of all types of personal property. The oft-heard claim that those evacuated “lost everything” is another myth. A major effort was made to preserve their property and secure that which was left behind on evacuation. See [5]


for a detailed accounting of the effort


The Farm Security Administration handled the disposal of crops in the field, arranged storage for farm equipment and settled leases.  For a first-hand account of how this was done see [1].


The Federal Security Agency was responsible for providing all necessary social and public health services. The U.S. Public Health Service examined “each evacuee for communicable diseases…undertook the acquisition of infirmary and hospital equipment and medical supplies for Assembly Centers”, and supervised the entire medical program within the centers. Also involved were, among others, the U.S. Employment Services and, U.S. Post Office. 


Relocation Centers


After they were built evacuees were assigned to Relocation Centers largely based on the area of the West Coast they came from.  The Centers were constructed along the lines of a semi-permanent Army facility.  Housing blocks included 12 barrack buildings 20’ x 100’ divided into family apartments.  Each block included a mess hall/kitchen, a recreation building and an H shaped building with toilet and bath facilities for men and women and a laundry room and a heater room. [8:272]


Even the design of the hospitals demonstrated the measure of care taken to provide evacuees with suitable facilities. The average hospital was a 250-bed facility and its buildings provided space for the principal medical activities carried on in any metropolitan community.  Such facilities included modern surgeries, obstetrical and isolation wards, X-ray rooms, a morgue and a full-equipped laundry.  All buildings were steam heated. [8:272]


No other “concentration camps” in the world’s history were so well equipped.


Included in the administrative area of the center was a refrigerated warehouse.  Schools, churches and recreational facilities were also central to the complex.  Banks, post offices, stores, beauty parlors, newspapers, and other facilities usually found in a small community were provided. For an early edition of the Manzanar Free Press)   [See [199]


For a copy of the Manzanar High School yearbook see: [3]


Evacuees were given paying jobs, and after an initial settling in period, were granted the freedom to visit local towns. [145:5]


See [313]


and [314]


for photos from Topaz and Tule Lake centers.


How the Centers Operated


Evacuees upon arrival at Relocation Centers were assigned family apartments based on the number of family members.  Food was served cafeteria fashion, and was based on the Army subsistence rate of 50 cents per day ($7.06 in 2012 dollars), and an effort was made to accommodate the tastes of the evacuees. [8:196]


Tofu and pickling factories were established and run by the evacuees. [177; 54]


Evacuees ate in block mess halls. Special arrangements were made for baby and infant feeding.


‘block mothers’ … operated block feeding stations. The station was a corner in the block messhall equipped with a refrigerator where milk and perishables were kept. Besides, there was a small stock of other necessities. Upon written orders from the doctors, the station issued strained vegetables, milk, Pablum, oranges, dextri-maltose and other baby foods to parents with small children These feeding stations were under the joint direction of the hospital and the mess operations staff. [177; 54]


It must be acknowledged that while considerable effort was made to accommodate the needs of evacuees, the conditions and circumstances they lived under were sometimes less than ideal, as they were in many other parts of the country at the time.


Some Had it Much Better


Japanese government officials and businessmen on the East Coast who were apprehended right after Pearl Harbor were confined to the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia. The same could not be done for everyone. At the same time it should be remembered that the conditions in relocation centers and the restrictions evacuees lived under were often much better than those afforded our servicemen and many civilians living in a nation disrupted by war.


Community Government


As could be expected in any such mass movement there were problems.  Establishing a community government under democratic principles was not without its tribulations, but on the whole the centers were effectively run. [176]


provides detailed coverage of the effort.




It was never intended that relocation centers were to be permanent places of residence. Their purpose was to provide a temporary place for people to reside until suitable situations of jobs, housing or school could be found for them in the states outside the exclusion area.


The frequently heard claim that evacuees were “interned” for the duration of the war is false.


Over 4,000 students, both U.S. citizens and Japanese, were relocated to colleges and universities during the course of the war. The program was organized by a coalition brought together by the American Friends Service Committee and the National Student Relocation Council. [178:14]


For others, even before relocation offices were formally opened, resettlement committees had been established in many mid-western cities to assist in the relocation process.  Groups of concerned individuals, often from churches, formed these committees.  By the close of FY 1943 the War Relocation Authority had setup 42 of its own relocation offices. They were scattered from Spokane to Boston. [178:20]


Efforts, individual and governmental, were made to develop situations in interior states that would allow for resettlement of Japanese Americans and Japanese. But, it must be admitted that there was some resistance to resettlement, sometimes from strange places. A March 23, 1942 letter from the Japanese American Citizens League of Ogden Utah to the governor of Utah details their objections to resettlement of “evacuees from the restricted coastal areas.” [426; 12]


Several problems slowed relocation, but by the end of December 1944 35,989 individuals had been relocated on indefinite and terminal (permanent) leave. [2:45]


Considering the number of children and old folks involved in the evacuation, this number represented a significant portion of those who could both work and speak English.


Reality vs. Mythology


Since the days of the Commission and the publication of PJD there has been a never-ending stream of horror stories told about conditions in relocation centers. It is revealing to note what happened when the evacuation order was lifted and efforts began to close the centers and move the evacuees back to the West Coast.


… there developed during the summer and early fall [1945] a mounting volume of criticism from groups and individuals who had previously cooperated closely in carrying out the program.  This ‘friendly opposition,’ as it came to be called inside the agency, was centered primarily in Los Angeles County and, to a somewhat lesser extent, in the San Francisco Bay Area. It was ‘spark-plugged’ and stimulated, WRA feels certain, to a very large degree by alert young Nisei who had relocated throughout the country and were enjoying the financial advantage of having their parents maintained at government expense in relocation centers.


… the ‘friendly oppositionists’ worked with great persistence and ingenuity throughout the summer and fall to prevent the WRA from carrying out its schedule of center closings. Large volumes of mail on this subject were addressed not only to the WRA Director but also to the Secretary of the Interior and the President. Resolutions were passed and critical articles were written for liberal journals such as the Nation and the Christian Century. … A great deal of energy was thrown into this campaign – energy which, WRA cannot help feeling, might better have been expended in helping the returned evacuees to solve their problems of personal adjustment. [187; 166]


Is there any other conclusion to draw than that it was just fine to have your families cared for at government expense in what are now called “infamous concentration camps” when it was to your personal advantage. But, when later, it became advantageous to elicit sympathy in support of a victim class, to shift blame for the evacuation, seek redress money and get the country to apologize, these same establishments were labeled inhumane and infamous.


Deceitful hypocrisy has been a hallmark of Japan’s post-war assumption of responsibility for its roll in WW II. Apparently, this sort of conduct is not limited to Japanese in Japan.





The issue of loyalty, whether to Imperial Japan or the United States, was central to the evacuation. If, as PJD claimed “There was no evidence that any individual American citizen was actively disloyal to his country,” [PJD 28] then clearly there was no need or justification for the evacuation.


If, however, evidence shows that there was disloyalty before and after the evacuation, questions regarding the evacuation’s necessity devolve to the judgment of those responsible for national security.


The declarative and unequivocal statement by the Commission that there was no evidence of disloyalty is farcical on its face. And it follows the tone and general approach of the Commission in making other excuses and denials. After reading this section on loyalty, let the reader decide, however benign his historical views of Japanese attitudes during WW II may be, whether there was rampant disloyalty or not.


Proof of loyalty is not a simple matter. Loyalty can be declared, by swearing an oath, for example, or by demonstration, by conduct and performance.


Since loyalty is a condition of the heart and mind it is difficult to determine and may even be judged incorrectly should an individual in question decline to commit one way or another. However, in times of danger, such as during war, when trustworthiness is a paramount issue, failing to declare or demonstrate a commitment is understandably considered a sign of disloyalty. Declaring for the enemy leaves no doubt. This may be an insensitive approach, but life is not fair.


Question #28


When on January 28, 1943 it “was announced that the War Department would soon create an all Nisei combat team to be composed of volunteer Japanese-Americans including many from relocation centers…it was decided to conduct a special registration of male Nisei, 17 years and older at all relocation centers.” 


Included in the questionnaire used for this purpose was question #28, the so-called loyalty question, and a similar question was used for female citizens.


Will you swear unqualified allegiance to the United States of American and faithfully defend the United States from any or all attack by foreign or domestic forces, and forswear any form of allegiance or obedience to the Japanese emperor, or any other foreign government, power, or organization? [2:177]


Seventeen percent of Nisei males of service-age answered “NO” to this question, a total of 3,421.  Another 517 either qualified their answer or left it blank. 81 per-cent, or 16,435 had no problem proclaiming their loyalty to the U.S. by answering “YES.” [2:180]


Those answering “NO” were shortly thereafter shipped to the Tule Lake Center, which was re-designated a segregation center.


Sensitive Japanese; Insensitive Government


The Commission found the loyalty program, “did not extend the presumption of loyalty to Americans citizens of Japanese descent…. and was conducted so insensitively, with such a lack of understanding of the evacuees’ circumstances that it became one of the most divisive and wrenching episodes of the camp detention.” [PJD 13]


It was meant to be divisive.  It was intended to divide the loyal from the disloyal, and it seemed to work pretty well. 


Repatriation and Expatriation


During the transition between assembly centers and the larger, new relocation centers the issue of repatriation (of Japanese citizens) and expatriation (U.S. citizens of Japanese ancestry) to Japan arose.


Arrangements were made to exchange U.S. officials in Japan for officials and others Japanese caught by the war in the U.S. Most of those involved in the first exchange on the Swedish liner Gripsholm were Japanese citizens living outside the exclusion area, people from the eastern U.S., the folks who were residing at the Greenbrier Resort.


Requests for repatriation or expatriation to Japan from alien enemy and Nisei (American born) evacuees began to be accepted early in the evacuation process. Requests continued throughout the war years, reaching a total of 20,627, or 17 percent of those individuals under WRA control. [2; 172]


A Dramatic Increase in Requests


Requests for movement to Japan increased dramatically during the first three months of 1944. [2:172]


In December 1943, 130 individuals registered for return to Japan. In January 1944 those registering rose to 5,012. February saw 1,841 and March 1,495. This was thought by many to be the result of including Japanese Americans in the draft for the armed forces in January 1944. The proximate cause being that those who registered for expatriation to Japan demonstrated where their loyalty lay, by requesting to go over to the enemy during time of war, and were not considered acceptable for military service.


The two most plausible reasons for this anomalous increase in registrations seem to be either cowardice and draft dodging or loyalty to Japan and a reluctance to fight for the U.S. That a vast majority of those who registered for expatriation during the first three months of 1944 were from Tule Lake Segregation Center speaks strongly in support of the conclusion that cowardice, draft dodging and disloyalty were the causes of the increase.


This is perhaps an insensitive position to take but certainly a common sense one. See the analysis on this subject for the Minidoka Relocation Center at [43: 2]


The number of requests decreased later in 1944 when the handwriting was on the wall concerning the defeat of Japan.


The reader is asked to consider what other reasons there might have been for the sharp increase in request for expatriation during the first three months of 1944.


Registering for the Draft


Simply registering for the Selective Service also raised issues of loyalty, as illustrated by incidents that occurred during early 1943.


At the Jerome, AR Relocation Center:


a committee for evacuees which conferred with Director Paul TAYLOR of the Jerome Relocation Center on March 6, 1943 ….stated that the group   [those who had failed to register for Selective Service] had refused to register because they were loyal to Japan….approximately 781 evacuees in the alleged disloyal group registered by writing across the face of the registration form that they wanted to be …expatriated to Japan. [25; 1]


Notice that an American born Buddhist priest was deeply involved in the events at Jerome. He declared that he “is willing to do anything for Japan in an effort to have Japan win the war, and would gladly be a member of the Japanese armed forces fighting against the U.S.” Organizing evacuees to incite disloyalty to the U.S. was apparently part of his “anything.” Note, also, that this American born, fanatical son of Nippon taught in a Japanese Language School from 1938-1943. One can only wonder what he was teaching.


A careful reading of the FBI memo of March 23, 1943 reveals the general attitude of those involved and the conduct and numbers of those who resisted registering for U.S. service. A number of other FBI documents in the archives deal with the issue of subversive activities in the relocation centers. [70: 1-9]


The politically correct interpretation of the event would surely be that it was a minority who resisted, demonstrated and evinced disloyalty (but were not “actively disloyal” in doing so, according to PJD) and that they were forced to their position by an “insensitive” government who did not understand their tender feelings. But it was a significant minority, numbering in the thousands, who were not known by name at the time of the evacuation.


The Disloyals


These same individuals who showed their antipathy for the U.S., and their sympathy for Japan by their reaction to Selective Service registration, [70]

their volunteering for expatriation rather than be drafted, [2: 172]


and who refused to swear allegiance to the U.S., [2: 180]


were also involved in more dramatic acts of disloyalty after being moved to Tule Lake Segregation Center.


Tule Lake Demonstrations in Support of Japan and the Emperor


There they participated in and forced individuals loyal to the U.S. to participate in pseudo military formations honoring the emperor and supporting Imperial Japan. [315: 1-37]


Thousands petitioned the U.S. Government to be sent to Japan to fight against the U.S. [428: 3-7]


5,461 of these poor, misunderstood dears renounced their U.S. citizenship. [2; 192]


An Important Letter


The letter to organization leaders at Tule Lake by John L. Burling, for the Attorney General, [428; 3-7]


is a significant document that deserves careful study as a summary of disloyalty among Japanese Americans. The letter reveals, among other things, that a large number of Japanese Americans and Japanese petitioned the U.S. Government to be sent to Japan to fight for that country. In the view of the Commission this may not qualify as “active disloyalty” but there are many who would disagree. And now, we are told they were innocent victims of “racism, hysteria and lack of political will”


The Burling letter also describes the sorts of demonstrations conducted at Tule Lake Segregation Center and it goes without saying that had such demonstrations as described in that letter been conducted by Americans in Japanese camps in the Far East during the war heads would have rolled, literally.


The idea of people petitioning the U.S. Government to be allowed to travel to Japan, while our country was at war with that country, in order fight against America may be hard to grasp. However, it did happen.


Consider the following letter to the Secretary of the Interior by the same organizations addressed by Burling four months earlier.


In view of the prevailing conditions in this Center, we are forwarding this petition directly to your office. We are appealing to your unbiased consideration and treatment of the active members of the Sokuji Kikoku Hoshi Dan and their fundamental objectives. Our primary objective is to expatriate or repatriate immediately when it is physically possible so that we may be able to contribute our war efforts during the hour of our national emergency. While waiting patiently for the opportunity to serve our Father Land, our secondary objective is to keep our body soul trained and fitted equal to the jobs to be finished. [171]


Note also in the letter an estimate by the author that there are 10,000 individuals who “…remain loyal to Japan, are forced to live among the individuals who are loyal to the United States of America.” Another example of Japanese sensitivities.


Disloyalty by a significant minority of Japanese Americans (U. S. citizens) was a continuing feature of evacuation history. The question that any fair-minded analyst of this historical event must ask is “what would these several thousand U.S. citizens and the many thousands of enemy aliens, whose sympathies lay with Japan, have been doing had they been freely living along the West Coast during the war? They were surely a threat: One that needed to be dealt with.





The Commission, with its flawed investigation and unsupported and irrational conclusions about the evacuation, recommended, among other things, that each evacuee receive an apology and a payment of $20,000. [PJD 463] With the passage of Pubic Law 100-383 in 1988 this payment was assured.


Payment was made solely on the basis of being Japanese and having been affected by either internment as an alien enemy or by the evacuation, voluntary or enforced.


Payment was made to alien enemies, those who espoused loyalty to Japan, those who petitioned the government to be returned to Japan to fight against the U.S., those who registered for repatriation and expatriation, those who forced loyal citizens to participate in disloyal activities, those U.S. citizens who engaged in espionage in the army and aircraft plants, those 5,589 who renounced their U.S. citizenship, those who spent the war years studying at colleges and universities and those 5,981 who were born during the war, among others.


Only Japanese Got Paid


By including “internment” within the criteria for payment made Japanese alien enemies exclusively eligible, among all wartime enemy nationals who had been legally interned during the war, in accordance with U.S. and international law, to receive payment of reparations for their detention. Those of European ancestry within the United States who had been identically treated were excluded from payment solely because of their race. Or one could say, in racial terms, solely because how they didn’t look.


The same mind-set that claimed that all who were disloyal to the U.S. after the attack on Pearl Harbor were known by name and numbered only 10,000, and could have been interned/relocated thereby sparing all others of Japanese ancestry evacuation, was now unable to separate all those who had demonstrated disloyalty and were definitely known by name from those who had proven themselves loyal. All had to be paid and in the process the guilty were exonerated.


Stiff the Germans and Italians


Recall that PJD decried the difference between the alleged benign way the Germans and Italians were treated after the outbreak of hostilities and the way the Japanese were treated. The clear implication was that the difference was a sure sign of racism.


When it came to redressing the “terrible wrong” inflicted on the Japanese, however, no effort was made to obtain payments for interned Germans and their U.S. citizen children. In fact, Japanese organizations and individuals went to court to oppose a lawsuit seeking redress by a U.S. citizen who, as a child, had been interned in Crystal City, Texas with his German, alien enemy parents. [98; 1]


When it came to alien enemies other than Japanese internment was apparently considered justified by those seeking redress for Japanese. No racism there!


Going to Great Lengths


So thorough was the Justice Department in tracking down persons of Japanese ancestry eligible for payment that they advertised and even established special phone numbers for former alien enemies and evacuees who returned to Japan after the war so that they could conveniently call to file a claim. [217; 1]


One claimant received a court judgment awarding payment even though she was born on June 5, 1945 about six months after her parents were relocated to New Jersey and months after the exclusion order relating to the West Coast was lifted. [433; 25]


Her family was on indefinite leave but the army did not individually notify them that they were officially free to return to the West Coast, even though it was common knowledge. The girl was born 25 days before the end of the statutory exclusion period and thus, for her suffering, received a $ 20,000 payment.


Perhaps even more egregious was the U.S. Justice Department’s ruling on September 30,1996 that American-born children of Japanese diplomats or Japanese citizens on personal business in the U.S. at the time of Pearl Harbor also deserved $20,000 and an apology from the United Stages for having been interned or relocated while awaiting deportation with their parents, most likely at Greenbrier Resort. [CFR Part 74 AG Order No.2056-96 RIN 1190-AA42]


A Few Refused Payment


Altogether, of the approximately 80,000 Japanese eligible for payment, “approximately twenty-nine individuals, who ORA [Office of Redress Administration] determined to be eligible, have refused payment.” [110; 1]


Twenty-nine people refusing $20,000 each is a statement of some strength against the fraud that is PJD.


Previous “Relief”


The payment under Public Law 100-383, August 10, 1988, was not the first made to evacuated Japanese. A list of previous laws granting relief of various sorts is at [107]


The list was compiled by Arthur D. Jacobs, a U.S. citizen of German ancestry, who was interned with his parents during the war.


Public “Education”


As has already been mentioned the Commission also recommended that a public education fund should be established.


Such a fund should sponsor research and public educational activities so that the events which were the subject of this inquiry will be remembered, and so that the causes and circumstances of this and similar events may be illuminated and understood…. the fund’s public educational activity might include preparing and distributing the Commission’s finding about these events to textbook publishers, educators and libraries…. The fund should be administered by a board, the majority of whose members are Americans of Japanese descent ... [PJD; 463-464]


Public Law 100-383 codified that recommendation and money and government resources started flowing in support of an approved version of history. If the U.S. Government says there is only one approved version of an historical event, who is to argue otherwise?





The exemplary service of Japanese American servicemen during the war was used by the Commission to imply that all Japanese Americans involved in the evacuation were up-standing, loyal U.S. citizens. This, of course, is about as logical as saying that because there were an estimated 10,000 Japanese who were considered a threat to the Nation, all individuals of Japanese ancestry were also a threat.


As that may be, the argument that some served with distinction therefore all were upstanding, as illogical as it is, continues to be regularly used to this day.


Exaggeration and fabrication of the Japanese American war records has been a common and continuing feature of the politically correct version of the Japanese American WW II history. Few actions are more repulsive than claiming credit for the wartime accomplishments of others or outright fabricating records of accomplishment that never happened.


Documentation of False Claims


A 1988 letter from David D. Lowman to former Chief Justice Warren Berger, Chairman, Project ’87, U.S. Constitution Bicentennial, may be the first iteration of the exposure of false and exaggerated claims by Japanese Americans. [103]


The brazen claim that Japanese Americans were responsible for the shoot down of Admiral Yamamoto, supported in part by the argument that only Japanese could decrypt and translate Japanese messages, is particularly egregious. That easily disproven falsehood would be featured for years at an army museum speaks to the tendency to believe everything positive said about or claimed by Japanese Americans and disbelieve any and all things detracting from their supposed loyalty and accomplishments.


Marine Major Alva B. Lasswell was the man who discovered and translated the Yamamoto itinerary that led to the shootdown. He was working out of Pearl Harbor at the time.


The Dachau Story


Another such claim is that the 442nd RCT liberated Dachau Concentration Camp in Germany. This claim has been made over and over, even though the regiment was in France not Germany at the time. The 45 Infantry Division did the actual liberating. Columnist George Will helped propagate this falsehood.


Smithsonian’s Contribution to Mythology


Smithsonian Museum of American History featured an exhibition that ran for almost 15 years. And it did incorporate, under its imprimatur, outrageously false claims concerning the wartime service of Japanese Americans. [431]


The exhibition claimed a total of 18,143 individual decorations. [431; 32]


The official records of the 442 Regimental Combat Team show that as of April 30, 1946 only 3,909 “awards had been presented to members of the regiment.”

[431; 34]


The Regimental History, AMERICANS, The Story of The 442d Combat Team [431; 37]


Lists 3,915 individual awards.


Just where did the Smithsonian Museum of American History get its numbers and why didn’t it consult reliable sources before presenting its outrageous claims to the American People?


Other fabricated claims included the awarding 9,486 Purple Hearts [PH],


and 560 Silver Stars. [SS]


The official record shows approximately 3,600 Purple Hearts (read explanation under numbers) and 343 Silver Stars. Many of the Silver Stars were awarded to non-Japanese officers in the unit. [Official Record]


The claim that the unit took a 300 percent casualty rate was based on the fabricated claim of having been awarded 9,486 Purple Hearts.


Numbers of casualties were also distorted in other instances for effect. During the action of the “lost” battalion the exhibition, supposedly quoting the U.S. Congressional Record, claimed 814 casualties for the five-day action. [Casualties]


The official regimental report for the month of October, 1944, the month in which the “lost” battalion action was fought, lists in its “Exhibit ‘A’” the total casualties for the month as being 814. The 442nd was engaged in combat operations for 16 days. 814 represent total casualties for those days, not for the five involving the “lost” battalion. [October ’44 Report]


Some Japanese Americans have even claimed that the 442nd lost 814 killed in action to save a couple hundred white soldiers.


Japanese Americans provided valuable service working as translators at intelligence centers and with army combat units. However, that was not good enough. The Smithsonian declaration claiming to quote “General MacArthur’s intelligence chief” credited Japanese Americans so serving as having “shortened the war by two years and averting one million U.S. casualties.” [Appendix 14]


This claim is so preposterous! It boggles the mind, but as the saying goes, “the ignorant man must believe everything he is told.” And, if you can’t trust the Smithsonian Museum of American History, who can you trust?


Major General Charles A. Willoughby, MacArthur’s intelligence chief, never said what he is claimed to have said, and even if he had it would still be outrageously incorrect. The achievements he supposedly attributed to Japanese Americans were, in fact, those rightly attributed to code breakers in all services and those working in signals intelligence during the war. Japanese Americans were not, except for rare exceptions relating to difficult translation issues, ever involved in this activity, although it has also been falsely claimed they were.


The National Park Service at the Presidio of San Francisco still (2015) proffers the Willoughby claim substituting “countless lives” for a “million lives” but including the shortening of the war by two years. This is just a small part of the rest of the false history they push. [Patriotism and Prejudice]


Why The Exaggerated and False Claims?


The object of making false claims of accomplishments, clearly, was not only to wildly exaggerate the service of Japanese Americans but, also, to instill guilt in Americans for the unjust and terrible treatment given to their people in the U.S. while they were providing such selfless and dramatic service overseas.


In this regard Senator Daniel Inouye, credited by some as the architect of the Commission/Redress movement, seldom missed a chance to play the guilt game. One example was during the confirmation hearing for General Eric Shinseki to the office of Chief of Staff of the Army.


Inouye introduced Shinseki as having been classified at birth in Hawaii as an enemy alien by the Selective Service because Japanese Americans after the war started were classified 4C, which Inouye said was designated “enemy alien.” He then made the point that the country has come a long way since then in overcoming its racism: A Japanese American born an enemy alien was now selected to be Chief of Staff of the Army. Inouye’s story grew instant legs and was repeated all over the country. It was pure fiction.


The Selective Service does not classify people as enemy aliens. The President does and did. The reader will recall that only Japanese citizens above the age of 14 were so classified.


U.S. citizens were never enemy aliens.


The 4C Selective Service classification during WW II was for “Alien not acceptable to armed forces and certain neutral aliens.” [438; 4]


Recall that Magic intercepts revealed unknown Japanese Americans in the U. S Army were spying for Japan and the ONI reported that 52% of American born Japanese held dual citizenship. [425; 20]


The Selective Service classification 4C seems reasonable under the conditions that prevailed at the time. Inouye’s story was pure racist emotional manipulation.


Playing the Race Card Both Ways


The Japanese race card played both ways. Not only could claims of exaggerated service be justified based on the proclaimed racism against Japanese during the war; “racist” treatment during the war could be used to claim withholding of honors not recognized during the war. A case in point was the awarding of 22 Medals of Honor, 55 years after the fact.


Public Law 104 – 106, section 524, 1996, authorized a “Review regarding the upgrading of Distinguished-Service (sic) Crosses and Navy Crosses awarded to Asian-Americans and Native American Pacific Islanders for World War II service.” [DSC]


The intent of the review was clearly to determine if Medals of Honor had been withheld for racial reasons.  The DSC is the second highest award for valor; the Medal of Honor is the highest. One such DSC award was of particular interest, I am sure, that of Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii.


The review was conducted during 1996 and 1998. James McNaughton, the Command Historian of the Defense Language Institute, headed the effort.


The review identified 104 soldiers who were Asian Americans and who received the DSC. Among those were 47 Japanese Americans and 54 Filipinos “who were nationals of the United States at the time.”


The review board reported:


We found no evidence of discrimination against Asian Americans. We found no evidence that award recommendations were rejected or downgraded on the basis of race. Even in segregated units such as the 100th Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team (RCT), white officers made sure that their Japanese American soldiers received full recognition for valor. [432; 4-5]


Nonetheless, and not too surprisingly, the review board’s findings were ignored by the Secretary of the Army and a Senior Army Decorations Board, for political reasons, and 21 Medals of Honor were awarded, fifty-five years after the fact, to Japanese Americans. None were awarded to the 54 Filipinos. Senator Inouye got his medal and the reputation of the Japanese Americans in WW II got further burnished at the expense of those who earned their coveted honors according to the time-honored rules regarding this highest award, not to political expediency.


Later, in another ploy, Senator Akaka, of Hawaii, secured the upgrade of another Japanese American’s Silver Star medal (third highest) to a Medal of Honor. This was done be claiming that at the time of the initial award the Medal of Honor was not authorized because the recipient was a medic. [434]


Any excuse in a pinch.  Medics, as anyone who knows anything about Medals of Honor knows, were among the most frequent recipients of that highest of decorations.


For a comprehensive discussion of the Medal of Honor caper see “Japanese Americans Get Affirmative Action Medals of Honor,” by Commander William J. Hopwood, USNR (Ret.). [Special Report]


Congressional Gold Medal


And the beat goes on. In 2012 when the 442 RCT and its members were honored with the presentation of the Congressional Gold Medal in part for their multiple awards of the Medal of Honor, the State of Utah honored them with a concurrent resolution entitled “Utah’s Congressional Gold Medal Day.”

[Special Report]


As the reader can see from the annotations to the resolution it is a work of melodramatic fiction, pitting guilt-inspiring charges such as “infamous concentration camps,” against fabricated claims of accomplishments and superiority. It is but another in a long line of “official” documents that will be quoted over and over again as authoritative proof of Japanese Americans many deeds of fictional heroics despite the “terrible racism, undeserved and unjustified hardships” visited on them during the war.





The decision to evacuate all Japanese from the West Coast was made for national security reasons and was not made lightly. It was made at the highest level of command, the President, and was made after long and complex estimates of the situation. It was not made by a subordinate general with a racial axe to grind as long claimed by those who see the world through racial lenses.


Focusing on the “racist” commander of the Western Defense Command, Lt. Gen. DeWitt, allowed the Commission to deflect responsibility for the “heinous” act onto an unsympathetic character, just like in the movies. But, as we have earlier revealed DeWitt opposed evacuation of Japanese American citizens until after the President decided on it. He then followed orders. In his final recommendations he merely proposed what had already been decided.


Recall that prior to those final recommendations, “If all of General DeWitt’s recommendations … had been accepted, it would have made necessary the evacuation of nearly 89,000 enemy aliens … only 25,000 of whom would have been Japanese,” and none of them U.S. citizens. [109; 17]


Commission Manipulation


It was clever of the Commission to take advantage of the post-Vietnam insecurity of the nation at a time when racial tensions were high, to claim that the evacuation of Japanese was largely caused by racism, war hysteria and lack of political will. At one swipe, it condemned the entire nation and its leaders for despicable and wrong-thinking motives. All without having to dig into the objective and real-life reasons for the evacuation revealed in Japanese wartime plans, capabilities, intentions and actions.


Where the Blame Truly Lies


Imperial Japan


Blame for the evacuation, it seems to me, is most justly placed first on Imperial Japan. That country made the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, destroyed much of our fleet and left the West Coast vulnerable to attack. Further, its reign of terror in China including the Rape of Nanking was well known in the United States and had its effect on the population’s concerns. The Commission called this war hysteria, but reasonable people would say it was realistic and justified concern.


Imperial Japan’s extensive use of expatriate Japanese in support of its many conquests was also known, as was their brutal treatment of American and Filipino POW’s in the Philippines.


Recall that in their Magic message establishing their intelligence operations for possible war they urged “utmost caution” in “Utilization of our “Second Generations” and “our resident nationals.”  Nevertheless these people who are referred to as “our people” in the message were used extensively in intelligence gathering. The results were predictable.


Those Japanese Who Posed a Threat to the Country


Next in culpability for the evacuation were those Japanese and Japanese Americans who were either involved in gathering intelligence information for Japan, were associated with organizations engaged or pledged to engage in that activity or worse and, finally, those who by their education and attitude placed their loyalty to the U.S. in question. Recall there were an estimated 10,000 of these according to Lt. Cmdr. Ringle and Edward Ennis.


Those Japanese Who Did Nothing


One final group of Japanese bears some responsibility: those who were aware of activity inimical to the U.S. by their fellow Japanese and who failed to report it. Much has been made about how Japanese loyal to the U.S. assisted authorities in identifying individuals acting against U.S. interests. But examples are few. Consider the experience of the FBI in San Francisco after Pearl Harbor.


This office has since the declaration of war attempted to develop confidential informants among the Japanese colony in San Francisco … by contacting all professional Japanese such as doctors, dentists, lawyer, barbers, beauty salon operators, pool halls et cetera. … The results of these contacts have been nil almost without exception. Out of approximately fifty contacts, only four or five appeared to be cooperative enough to consider as possible informants. None of these individuals has yet to furnish any information of value. [94; 6]


Does “When Japan calls, you must know that it is Japanese blood that flows in your veins” sound familiar and come to mind?


U.S. Responsibility


The United States, of course, also bears some responsibility for the evacuation from the West Coast. 


Faced with a seemingly implacable enemy who had attacked without warning, destroyed most of our Pacific Fleet and threatened our homeland.


Faced with an enemy who had used its expatriates in the conquest of numerous nations and considered them “our people.” Who had been engaged in intelligence collection in the U.S. for years [PJD 59] and was organizing for wartime collection of intelligence, using its people in the U.S.


Faced with a conservative estimate of 10,000 disloyals among the Japanese population.


The President ordered the evacuation of the West Coast. It achieved its purpose: there was no subversive activity of any kind by people of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast reported after the evacuation. That was because there were no Japanese on the West Coast after the evacuation: A pretty simple cause and effect.


Disloyalty After the Evacuation


The same lack of subversive activity cannot be said for conditions in relocation centers where:


3,938 military-age male, U.S. citizens refused to unqualifiedly renounce their loyalty to Japan and swear allegiance to the U.S. [2; 180]


Thousands petitioned the U.S. government to be allowed to return and fight for Japan. [428; 3-7]




Some 20,000 registered to be sent to Japan during the war, because of loyalty to that country, to avoid the draft and possible combat in support of the U.S. or as the Commission would have us believe, because their feeling were hurt. It should be noted that after the defeat of Japan only 4,724 opted to returned to that country. [2; 23]


Thousands actively participated in military style drills and ceremonies honoring Japan and its emperor and forced loyal American citizens to join them in these treasonous demonstrations.[315]


5,589 of these “sensitive” individuals, many of whom expressed a desire to join the Imperial Japanese forces that were known for brutality, sadism, cruelty and racist mentality, hardly a place for “sensitive” potential soldiers of Nippon, not only renounced their U.S. citizenship but forced loyal Japanese Americans to do the same. [2; 192]


It is true that many and perhaps most of the numbers cited above often include the same individuals. But it is also true that there were a very large number involved in any one of the disloyal actions.


The political and propaganda efforts to bring obloquy upon the United States, its people and its wartime leaders for acts taken to secure the country during the early stages of a difficult war is shameful.


Shameful to those Japanese Americans, who lie, manipulate, ignore or conceal the truth of the matter while basking in the achievements, real and contrived, of their fellow Japanese.


Shameful to those who used and continue to use their government sponsored appointments and grants to maintain the general ignorance of threats from elements of the Japanese population on the West Coast at the start of WW II.


Shameful to those claiming to be academics seeking and teaching the truth and to those who write history but who use their positions to mislead, keep ignorant and perpetuate the myth of racist guilt.


Shameful, finally, to the politicians who in their ignorance, often seeking to curry favor with a “victim” class, have aided and abetted the fabrication of a distorted history of our country and funded the propagation of it.


Shameful to the courts and judges who, because of their own racist bias, have used their position and authority to make decisions based on incomplete or fabricated facts accepted at face value, awarded judgments, nullified decisions and given legal cover to historical lies.


Senator S. I Hayakawa testified before the U.S. Senate:


Mr. President, I am proud to be a Japanese-American. But when a small but vocal group of Japanese-Americans calling themselves a redress committee demand a cash indemnity of $25,000 …my flesh crawls with shame and embarrassment.

[206; 8]


There is enough shame to go around.





During and after WW II the world was in turmoil. During the war some fifty million people died. Most were not engaged in combat but were victims of the fighting or were killed by ruthless regimes, among them racist, Imperial Japan. An estimated quarter million Chinese, for example, were murdered by the Japanese during their hunt for Doolittle Raiders who had bombed Japan and then ditched their planes in China.


Millions of others around the world were “exterminated.” Tens of millions suffered for years after the war, many more died. Countless lives were shattered, families destroyed and lifelong agony and sorrow endured by people who had no control over events in their lives.


In the United States almost a half million servicemen gave their lives in the fight. Almost twice that number were wounded, many suffered physically and mentally for the rest of their lives. Millions of family members suffered the rest of their lives over these sacrifices.


In a world in which countless millions suffered and scores of millions died a small group of Japanese and Japanese Americans were evacuated from their homes on the West Coast of the United States and moved inland. This was done for the security of the nation. They were housed, fed, cared for, schooled, given jobs, paid, relocated and protected. Under the conditions of the time, they were pretty well taken care of.


Their situation was not perfect and judged by the standards of today was somewhat rough. But the conduct of thousands of these people before and after their evacuation proved the move necessary.


That thousands were displaced and inconvenienced because of the actions of a minority of the group was the price paid by all to remove the threat from the West Coast. It was a small sacrifice compared to that made by scores of millions of others in the country.


The continual whining, complaining and guilt mongering carried on by a relatively few in our country today, aided and abetted by ignorant media and misguided political forces, is disgraceful. And it dishonors those Japanese who were involved and who recognized the reasons for, and bore with grace the trials of, the event with forbearance and fortitude.


To them we owe respect and thanks. To those who threatened the security of our nation and brought about this unfortunate event and to those who perpetuate a dishonest history of it, we owe nothing except our contempt.


To support the enemy in time of war is treasonous. To deny you did so and blame others for what then happened is cowardice, not to mention disloyal to the country, which is to the point, isn’t it? To adopt as true a history that ignores treason, cowardice and disloyalty is a national disgrace.