MEMORANDUM FOR THE DIRECTOR Re: WAR RELOCATION AUTHORITY
The War Relocation Authority is an independent agency created by Executive Order Number 9102 and is attached to the Executive Office of the President. Mr. Dillon S. Myer is its Director, and it has its main offices at 910 17th Street, Barr Building, Washington, D. C.
The primary purpose for the creation of the War Relocation Authority was authority to create and administer relocation centers to house the persons of Japanese ancestry who, pursuant to a series of 108 Civilian Exclusion Orders issued by Lieutenant General John L. DeWitt, Commanding General of the Western Defense Command, have been ordered evacuated from Military Area Number One and the California portion of Military Area Number Two of the Western Defense Command. This comprises all of the State of California and roughly the western half of Washington and Oregon and the southern half of Arizona.>Ten relocation centers have been built and are located respectively at Manzanar, California; Tule Lake, California; Parker, Arizona; Casa Grande, Arizona; Delta, Utah; Eden, Idaho; Heart Mountain, Wyoming; Granada, Colorado; Rohwer, Arkansas; and Jerome, Arkansas. the first six of these relocation centers listed above are located within the Western Defense Command. As of November 3, 1942, these ten relocation centers had a combined total population of 101,205 persons of Japanese ancestry, alien and non-alien.
By Public Proclamation Number Eight, dated June 27, 1942, General DeWitt proclaimed the first six of these relocation centers to be War Relocation Project Areas from which persons of Japanese ancestry, once having established residence there, could not leave until authorized under regulations prescribed by the War Relocation Authority with the approval of the Western Defense Command of the Army. Public Proclamation Number Eight also prescribed that persons other than those of Japanese ancestry and employees of the War Relocation Authority could not enter these relocation centers until authorized to do so under similar regulations. Violations of these regulations are to be construed to be violations of Public Law Number 503 and are punishable as such.
For your information, I am outlining herewith some of the administrative instructions and legal opinions issued by the War Relocation Authority which reveal the policies under which the War Relocation Authority has been operating until this date. This outline is based on copies of these instructions and opinions furnished to the Bureau on December 14, 1942, and it should, of course, be realized that this outline is not intended to be any more complete than was the collection of such instructions which was sent to the Bureau.
LIMITS OF RELOCATION CENTERS
From the information furnished to the Bureau by the War Relocation Authority, it does not appear that to date the War Relocation Authority has ever made an exact legal determination as to the exact limits of the various relocation centers, nor have they ever published a description of these limits in such definite fashion as would permit their application in a court of law in a prosecution for violation of Public Law Number 503 growing out of a violation of Public Law Number Eight where a person of Japanese ancestry has left "the bounds" of an established relocation center.
PERMISSION TO ENTER OR LEAVE RELOCATION CENTERS
Japanese evacuees who have been assigned to and have established residences in relocation centers according to the rules prescribed for them by the War Relocation Authority are not permitted to leave the bounds of the War Relocation Center for any purpose whatsoever except after having applied for and been granted leave to do so. Leave to go away from a relocation center is of three different types: (1), short-term leave; (2), leave to participate in a work group; (3), indefinite leave. In each relocation center, the Employment Officer shall serve as the Leave Officer in charge of all proceedings relating to evacuees' being granted leave in that relocation center.
Before an evacuee may obtain leave to participate in a work group or indefinite leave, he must secure leave clearance. This is obtained by the evacuee's making application for such at the relocation center on form WRA-126, which requires that he answer numerous questions pertaining to his life history and his intentions in connection with his application for leave. This application for leave clearance, after being cursorily investigated by the Leave Officer at the relocation center, and by the Regional Director of the War Relocation Authority on those items requiring investigation outside the relocation center, is passed on to the Director of the War Relocation Authority at Washington, D. C., who "will secure from the Department of Justice such information as may be obtainable" and will take such other steps as may seem desirable before deciding whether this person will not have a derogatory effect upon the public peace and security if granted leave. The Director of the War Relocation Authority thereupon notifies the relocation center, and indirectly the evacuee, as to whether he is granted leave clearance.
The purpose of short-term leave is to permit an evacuee to leave a relocation center for a short period of time not to exceed 60 days in order to attend to affairs requiring his presence outside the relocation center. It is not intended to permit an evacuee to seek employment outside the relocation center. Short-term leave may be issued to permit an evacuee to be interviewed by a prospective employer, but shall not be issued to permit an evacuee merely to look for employment. If a particular evacuee has previously received leave clearance, he may, on making specific application therefor, also secure leave to participate in a work group, usually arranged under the supervision or at the instance of the Employment Officer of the War Relocation Center; or he may obtain indefinite leave from the relocation center in order to reside apart therefrom in some non-vital area where he may support himself and where he would not be a menace to the public peace and safety of the United States.
Before any evacuee is granted leave of any type from a relocation center, if he is a paroled Japanese alien enemy, the terms of such parole are ascertained from the Alien Enemy Control Unit of the Department and entered on his leave certificate and made a condition precedent to the continuance of his leave. Whenever an evacuee who is a Japanese alien is granted leave of any type which requires that he make any travel, he is required to secure in advance the permission from the appropriate United States Attorney to make such travel, in accordance with the requirements of the Presidential Proclamation of December 7, 1941, relating to Japanese alien enemies. In each case in which the granting of leave to an evacuee contemplate his travel into that portion of the Western Defense Command from which Japanese have been evacuated, prior permission is obtained from the appropriate military authorities (Wartime Civil Control Administration at San Francisco) in order that the evacuee may legally conduct such travel; in the event the Wartime Civil Control decides that a military escort for the evacuee is necessary in order for him to make this travel, leave from the relocation center will not be granted until such military escort is arranged for.
In the event an evacuee who has been granted leave of any type should violate the conditions under which such leave was granted, necessitating its revocation, or should he refuse to return to the relocation center at the expiration of his leave, the Director of the relocation center is instructed to notify the Regional Director of the War Relocation Authority of such facts and to communicate with the evacuee by mail or by wire instructing him to return to the relocation center. The relocation center Director is also instructed to get in touch with the local office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and/or the State or local law enforcement authorities, notifying them of the fact that the evacuee has violated the conditions of his leave.
The War Relocation Authority, from the information which it was furnished this Bureau on December 14, 1942, does not appear to be cognizant nor ever to have considered what legal processes must be undertaken in order to secure the return of an evacuee violating his leave, or to secure his punishment therefor. In this connection, it seems possible that, upon establishing a case of leave violation by an evacuee who has secured leave from one of the six relocation centers located in the Western Defense Command, it might possibly be proceeded against on the basis of a violation of Public Law Number 503 arising out of a violation of Public Proclamation Number Eight issued by General DeWitt. However, such legal proceedings are not at all possible in so far as they relate to leave violations by evacuees who have at one time established residence in one of the other four relocation centers not located in the Western Defense Command.
The War Relocation Authority will grant permission to persons of Japanese ancestry and persons not of Japanese ancestry who have a family relationship to a person of Japanese ancestry who is residing in the relocation center to enter such relocation center in order to reside there. Under these provisions, persons of Japanese ancestry from areas other than those on the West Coast from which the Japanese have been evacuated are permitted, if they so desire, to enter the relocation center in order to reside there. Also, persons who are not of Japanese ancestry may be permitted to reside with the Japanese evacuees in the relocation center if they have a family relationship to such evacuees, in order that the operation of the relocation program shall not operate as an undue hardship in breaking up family groups. The regulations of the War Relocation Authority provide, however, that before such persons may be admitted to the relocation center for residence, they must execute an agreement that if they are permitted to reside there, they will abide by all the laws, rules, and regulations applicable to other residents of the relocation center, including the regulations prohibiting residents from leaving the center without written permission under the leave regulations.
Visitors to the relocation center must obtain permission to visit from the Director of the relocation project and must carry a copy of such permission with them at all times while in the center, surrendering it to the guard at the exit when they leave the center. Employees of the War Relocation Authority are permitted to enter the relocation centers upon the presentation of credentials attesting the fact of their employment. These credentials consist of a card basically similar to the credential card of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Special Agents, dissimilar only in the fact that they are issued not only at the Washington headquarters of the War Relocation Authority but also at the Regional Director's office and at the offices of the Directors of the various relocation centers.
It is the responsibility of the relocation center project Director not later than 30 days after the relocation center is 75 per cent filled to organize a commission which shall make a detailed plan for the community government by the evacuees of their relocation center. When the plan of government is drawn up by this commission, if it meets with the approval of the project Director, it is then submitted to the evacuee population of the relocation center and, if approved by a majority vote, is then considered to have been adopted.
There are certain mandatory provisions which this plan of government must incorporate. All residents of the relocation center 18 or more years old are entitled to vote in its elections. Issues shall be decided by a majority vote. Voting is to be by secret ballot. Only citizens of the United States who are 21 years of age or over shall be eligible to hold elective office, although it is permitted that other residents, whether citizens or non-citizens, shall be eligible for membership on appointive committees, commissions, boards, etc. The plan of government must embrace detailed plans for setting up a legislative body within the relocation center which shall be known as the community council, and a judicial body composed of not less than three members which shall be known as the judicial commission.
The War Relocation Authority has granted to the community council, when duly established under the plan of government, the authority to perform the following functions:
- To prescribe regulations and provide penalties on all matters other than those defined as felonies by the law of the sate in which the relocation center is located which affect the internal peace and order of the project and the welfare of its residents, if such regulations are not in conflict with Federal law, military proclamations, or the law of that state, or in conflict with any order issued by the War Relocation Authority. The right to prescribe penalties involves the right to provide for confinement, suspension of privileges, or other punishments, but does not involve the right to levy a fine.
- To present to the project Director resolutions on matters affecting the welfare of the relocation center residents.
- To solicit and receive funds and property for community purposes and to administer such funds and property (pursuant to such authority in one center at least, the community council has petitioned the War Relocation Authority to provide it with printing equipment for the establishment of a local newspaper in the relocation center, and it appears that the War Relocation Authority is granting such permission and furnishing the equipment).
- To license and require reasonable license fees for enterprises at the center operated by evacuees, providing such license fees in toto shall not exceed $1000 for any calendar year.
The plan of government shall provide for a judicial commission operated by the evacuee self-government, which shall hear and decide in cases involving violations of regulations prescribed by the community council. The Director of the relocation center is given arbitrary power to review the judgment of the judicial commission and veto such judgment. Any decision of the judicial commission is immediately presented to the Director, who must review it and either approve or disapprove within twenty-four hours. If the project Director disapproves within twenty-four hours, the judgment of the judicial commission is set aside; but if the project approves such judgment or fails to take any action on it within twenty-four hours, the judgment of the judicial commission is considered to be final, and the punishment or acquittal which it has found will be carried out.
The project Director is also granted arbitrary authority to set aside and make void any regulation made by the community council which he finds to be in excess of the functions of the council. In criminal cases involving felonies which are a violation of municipal ordinances or state laws, it is the duty of the project Director to deliver the evacuee who has violated such law to the state or local police officials for prosecution.
AUTHORITY OF LAW AND LAW ENFORCEMENT
Following an opinion presented to the Director of the War Relocation Authority on July 27, 1942, by its solicitor to the effect that it was of doubtful legality and even more doubtful wisdom that the War Relocation Authority should undertake to assume exclusive jurisdiction by Federal law authority over the lands occupied by the War Relocation Centers, it was decided on August 5, 1942, that the War Relocation Authority would take no further steps in this direction. Therefore, relocation centers are now considered, as would any other Federal institution such as a post office or Federal office building, to be concurrently within the jurisdiction of the Federal Government and the State Governments.
Pursuant to this determination that the relocation centers would be subjected to concurrent jurisdiction of the Federal and State Governments, the policy was announced that any violation of law which amounts to a felony under the law of the state in which the relocation center is located shall be considered to be a violation of such law, to be investigated by the local or state police officials and to be punished in the local or state courts.
The War Relocation Authority has also established the policy that investigative work of subversive activities is primarily a function of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the relocation centers. It is contemplated that the Washington Office of the War Relocation Authority and the Bureau in Washington shall work out plans for the detailed operation of such investigative work, and pending the completion of such plans, the project Directors are instructed to notify the local offices of the Federal Bureau of Investigation of any situations which require investigative attention.
Within the confines of each relocation center there is to be established an internal police force. Such internal police force shall be under the immediate direction of a Caucasian internal security officer, but it is contemplated that much of the personnel going to make up such internal police force will be selected from among the evacuees themselves in order to heighten the degree of their participation in self-government. It shall be the function of the internal police to enforce the regulations adopted by the community council, and to enforce the provisions of such Federal, State, or local laws as may be passed and made specifically applicable to relocation centers. It is contemplated that one or more of the Caucasian members of the internal police force shall be deputized by the local sheriff in order that he might more closely work in cooperation with such officers in those cases involving felonies committed in violation of the law of the state.
The War Relocation Authority has stated that it will subsequently issue a clarifying statement as to the functions of the Military Police operating under the jurisdiction of the Army, and the internal police force provided for by the War Relocation Authority.
CENSORSHIP OF PHOTOGRAPHS
The War Relocation Authority, pursuant to legal opinions rendered by its solicitor to its Director, is operating under policies relating to photographs of relocation centers and activities therein which may be summarized as follows:
Photographs of relocation centers and their activities by War Relocation Authority personnel are not censorable except in so far as they may relate to work being done by the evacuees on facilities for the Army or Navy which are of a secret, confidential, or restricted character.
Evacuees located in the six relocation centers in the Western Defense Command cannot take any photographs of any of the relocation centers or their facilities, inasmuch as the possession of cameras by these evacuees is prohibited by the contraband regulations prescribed by General DeWitt (Public Proclamation Number Three dated March 24, 1942).
Photographs of relocation centers and their activities by newspaper photographers are not censorable except when they involve photographs of work being done by the evacuees on facilities for the Army and Navy of a secret, confidential, or restricted nature. Photographs of such Army or Navy facilities, whether taken by newspaper photographers or War Relocation Authority personnel, are censorable by the Army or Navy, depending on who the facilities are intended for.
In connection with the repatriation program operating between the United States and Japan, the War Relocation Authority has announced that there are two types of persons among the evacuees populating the various relocation centers who are eligible for repatriation to Japan: Persons whose names appear on the State Department list of persons eligible for repatriation made up after negotiation between the State Department and the Spanish Embassy, representing the Japanese Government, and after receiving clearance from the intelligence agencies of FBI, ONI, G-2, and the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
Persons of Japanese ancestry who apply for repatriation.
When repatriation of a particular person has been decided upon by the State Department and cleared by the intelligence agencies, such prospective repatriates, if in residence at a relocation center, must execute a form in duplicate by which may specifically and in writing request repatriation to Japan. In the cases of those persons who did not specifically request repatriation, but whose names, nevertheless, were on the list of persons furnished by the Japanese Government through the Spanish Embassy to the State Department of persons who should be repatriated, those persons must either execute a written request for repatriation or must make a written statement that he declines to go back to Japan. The policy has been established that native-born citizens who do not desire to be repatriated will not be forced to go back to Japan or leave relocation centers.
By way of processing after it has been decided that a particular evacuee will be repatriated, it has been decided that the evacuees who were to be repatriated will receive all such processing at the relocation center prior to their transportation to Jersey City for placing on the exchange vessel. It is planned that the State Department will send a representative to the Relocation Center to have charge of such processing and to receive the prospective repatriates in the relocation center and transport them to Jersey City. By arrangement with the State Department, the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Customs will send representatives to the relocation centers to straighten out all income tax matters and to examine the baggage of the evacuees at the relocation center, in order to eliminate the necessity of having this done at Jersey City as repatriates are leaving. Under these plans, it is also permissible for the FBI, the Military Intelligence Service, and the Office of Naval Intelligence to send representatives to the relocation center to participate in this processing, in order to handle any matters which might be of interest to these intelligence agencies. A thorough medical examination of the prospective repatriates is also a part of such processing.
The War Relocation Authority has established regulations that each adult repatriate would be permitted to carry baggage not to exceed three suitcases to be carried with the person, and baggage to be carried in the hold of a ship not to exceed thirty cubic feet. Under the regulations of the Treasury Department relating to money in the hands of alien enemies, the prospective repatriates are also forbidden to take more than $300 back with them when being processed for repatriation. In the event any person of interest to the Alien Property Custodian is being processed for repatriation, that Office may also send a representative to the relocation center to handle these matters in the course of such processing.
D. M. Ladd