Quote of the Day: February 2, 2012
Guest Lecture: The Macroeconomics of Government Budgeting

Liveblogging World War II: February 2, 1942

J. Edgar Hoover:

February 2, 1942 - Hoover memorandum for Attorney General: With reference to the conference of yesterday held in your office between representatives of the War Department and the Department of Justice concerning the evacuation of Japanese from the West Coast area, I communicated with our several offices upon the Pacific Coast following this conference, and checked with them as to the various aspects of this rather intricate and certainly difficult problem.

The following pertinent items have been advanced for consideration in connection with any mass evacuation of Japanese from the Pacific Coast. Both pro and con items are considered in an effort to present a broad picture of the situation.

The necessity for mass evacuation is based primarily upon public and political pressure rather than on factual data. Public hysteria and in some instances, the comments of the press and radio announcers, have resulted in a tremendous amount of pressure being brought to bear on Governor Olson and Earl Warren, Attorney General of the State, and on the military authorities. It is interesting to observe that little mention has been made of the mass evacuation of enemy aliens.

It is believed by many that the mass evacuation will be a cure-all and will eliminate the danger of Japanese espionage and sabotage. It would, of course, eliminate the possibility of the Japanese physically committing sabotage on the coast. However, experience has taught that the Japanese often rely on Occidentals to obtain physically their information for them. Bureau cases substantiate this.

If only the Japanese aliens are excluded from restricted areas, the problem of enforcement becomes extremely difficult. The necessity for challenging every Japanese observed within these areas is obvious. Then there must follow a close interrogation to establish citizenship. There also remains the fact that a large portion of the aliens have immediate or close relatives who are citizens and who would have access to the restricted areas. It is recognized that the second generation Japanese are, as a whole, more inclined to be loyal to this country than their alien elders. Irrespective of this, aliens and citizens being in the same families would tend to nullify effectiveness of the exclusion of aliens and not citizens from restricted areas. The advisability of excluding aliens and not citizens is therefore highly controversial.

In the event of an attempted invasion, an altogether different problem presents itself. The Japanese as a race, although extremely law-abiding, are very loyal to their native land. This is attributed largely to the close relationship between their religion and their government. The are taught that their emperor has divine rights and power and that their reward in the hereafter depends upon their service to him. Although usually law-abiding while under the control of the Occidental, little doubt remains that they would assist a Japanese army having apparent local successes. No one can say definitely what the local Japanese would do during an invasion as it would be a matter of individual decision.

The possibility of race riots continues to exist. There is a large Filipino population in California that presents a constant threat to widespread violence. Stories of Japanese atrocities in the Philippines, either true or magnified, could quickly bring about a serious condition in the Sacramento Valley where there are large Japanese and Filipino populations. This is presently of major concern in the Hawaiian Islands. The unrest there, as well as in California, has, however, resulted only in individual assaults. If widespread conflicts do occur, the Filipinos will be the aggressors.

Naturalized citizens who were, until recently, Axis nationals present a problem equal to that of the Japanese aliens. Many of the Japanese aliens would have become citizens, if permitted, either because of their appreciation of this country or for selfish or ulterior reasons. The subjects of a great number of our internal security cases involving Axis powers are naturalized citizens. They have, in many instances, considered their American citizenship as a license and a protective cloak instead of a privilege to be appreciated. Thus their American citizenship is being used to protect and to facilitate their un-American activities...