The Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Citizens Findings, 1982
“The promulgation of Executive Order 9066 was not justified by military necessity, and the decisions which followed from it - detention, ending detention and ending exclusion - were not driven by analysis of military conditions.”
“The broad historical causes which shaped these decisions were race prejudice, war hysteria and a failure of political leadership.”
How did military and civilian officials come to conceive of “the West Coast Japanese” as a coherent and identifiable population group
How did they come to believe that the group represented a military threat in the early months of World War II
How did they decide that it was logistically possible and appropriate to evacuate the group.
How did the officials come to believe and act upon the position that Japanese American children, or elderly Issei, for example, represented a national security threat?
How did officials come to believe that, even granting that threat, that the most appropriate policy for protecting the coast was to remove 111,000 people from their homes and incarcerate them inland for the duration of the war?
Why were surveillance and arrests of suspected fifth column agents within the community not the policies chosen?
…And, acting under and by virtue of the authority vested in me …I do hereby further proclaim and direct that …all natives, citizens, denizens or subjects of the Empire of Japan being of the age of fourteen years and upwards who shall be within the United States …and not actually naturalized, …are termed alien enemies.
Week of December 8, 1941: FBI arrested aliens on surveillance lists
December 22, 1941: Justice Department sets up an Enemy Alien Control unit
December 1941: Western Defense Command declared a theater of operations
Provost Marshal General Office (Washington, DC) and Justice Department began coordination of enemy alien control
Without a Mandate, The Census Bureau Began to Produce Tabulations from the 1940 Census
Tuesday, December 9, 1941, P-3, No. 23
“There were 126,947 Japanese in the continental United States on April 1, 1940, of whom 47,305 were foreign-born, and therefore alien and ineligible for citizenship, Director J. C. Capt of the Bureau of the Census, Department of Commerce, announced today on the basis of the 1940 Population Census returns....”
“Los Angeles had 23,321 Japanese residents, more than any other American city according to figures announced today by Director, J. C. Capt, Bureau of the Census, Department of Commerce, based on the 1940 Population Census returns.....”
Thursday, December 11, 1941, P-3, No. 25
“The Japanese population of the Pacific Coast States was largely concentrated in counties containing, or located near, important industrial and shipping centers, Director J. C. Capt of the Bureau of the Census, Department of Commerce, announced today....”
The Tabulations Produced for Germans and Italians…
Friday, December 12, 1941, P-9, No. 1
“In New York City there were 224,749 white persons born in Germany and 409,489 born in Italy, as of April 1, 1940, according to Population Census returns announced today by Director J. C. Capt, Bureau of the Census, Department of Commerce....
“Not all persons born in Germany and Italy are enemy aliens, however, since a great many of them are naturalized citizens of the United States. The number of naturalized persons born in Germany and Italy is not available from census tabulations. All aliens were required to register, however, under the provisions of the alien Registration Act of June 28, 1940, and a register of such persons is kept by the Alien Registration Division of the Immigration and Naturalization Service....”
Los Angeles Times, December 12, 1941
“Coast's Japanese Problem Disclosed”
WASHINGTON, Dec. 11 - The importance of maintaining close check on the activities of both foreign-born and American-born Japanese on the Pacific Coast was emphasized today by revised Census Bureau figures disclosing Los Angeles has nearly 16,500 more Nipponese than any other city in the nation and California, Washington and Oregon have a combined Japanese population of 112,363.
In the releases on the “Japanese” population, the text discussed the numbers for the “racial” or “ancestry” group. They included American citizens and enemy aliens.
For the release on Germans and Italians, the release was for “foreign-born” Germans and Italians, not for people of German or Italian ancestry or parentage. It contained the caveat that the “foreign - born” included naturalized citizens.
Character of the Releases
The text in the Japanese releases did not mention the INS registration lists. The text for the German and Italian release did.
The text of the P-25 Japanese release alluded to the “concentration” of the “Japanese population” “near” “important industrial and shipping centers.” There was no evidence identified from the census to support the statement. There was no similar evaluation in the release on the German or Italian foreign-born population.
The “Japanese” releases reported on a population that was not the same as the one as designated by the President’s Proclamation. The releases did not make the distinction clear.
The text of the releases on the “Japanese” made further claims about the implications of the “concentration” of the population that were not supported by the evidence in the data.
The Los Angeles Times claimed the releases supported surveillance of American-born Japanese: “The importance of maintaining close check on the activities of both foreign-born and American-born Japanese on the Pacific Coast was emphasized today by revised Census Bureau figures....”
The article used the passive voice. A sensible reading would infer that the Census Bureau was the authority for the need for surveillance of American born Japanese.
The Census Bureau also sent the releases to the military and the intelligence agencies
The Justice Department did not ask for administrative or technical help from the Census Bureau in the control of enemy aliens.
J.C. Capt offered to provide data from the census for enemy alien control, and he lobbied for repeal of the confidentiality protections of the Census Act.
“F.B.I. Scrutiny Reported to Be Centered Largely on Suspected Fifth Columnists,” Los Angeles Times, December 12, 1941
“The Department of Justice today turned its attention to disloyal Americans - potential Benedict Arnolds.
“The Federal Bureau of Investigation is understood to be scrutinizing particularly persons suspected to be fifth columnists, those who have been propagandizing on Axis behalf and those whose loyalty is questionable.
“In an initial sweep against alien enemies. Attorney General Biddle announced yesterday 2303 Japanese, Germans, and Italians have been arrested. Biddle said the total eventually may reach 2500; other officials estimate the number at 3000.”
“Immigration Officials Holding 178 Aliens,”
SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 11 (AP) Department of Immigration authorities today reported that 178 aliens from Northern California are in custody at immigration headquarters here. The group includes 101 Japanese, 59 Germans, and 18 Italians.
Census Bureau Tabulations
Led to a “populationist” approach, e.g., seeing the population as a threat, rather than individual enemy aliens.