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This is a portion of Lt. Gen. J.L. DeWitt's letter of transmittal
to the Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, June 5, 1943, of his
Final Report; Japanese Evacuation from the West Coast 1942.

1. I transmit herewith my final report on the evacuation of Japanese from the Pacific Coast.

2. The evacuation was impelled by military necessity. The security of the Pacific Coast continues to require the exclusion of Japanese from the area now prohibited to them and will so continue as long as that military necessity exists. The surprise attack at Pearl Harbor by the enemy crippled a major portion of the Pacific Fleet and exposed the West Coast to an attack which could not have been substantially impeded by defensive fleet operations. More than 115,000 persons of Japanese ancestry resided along the coast and were significantly concentrated near many highly sensitive installations essential to the war effort. Intelligence services records reflected the existence of hundreds of Japanese organizations in California, Washington, Oregon and Arizona which, prior to December 7, 1941, were actively engaged in advancing Japanese war aims. These records also disclosed that thousands of American-born Japanese had gone to Japan to receive their education and indoctrination there and had become rabidly pro-Japanese and then had returned to the United States. Emperor-worshipping ceremonies were commonly held and millions of dollars had flowed into the Japanese imperial war chest from the contributions freely made by Japanese here. The continued presence of a large, unassimilated, tightly knit and racial group, bound to an enemy nation by strong ties of race, culture, custom and religion along a frontier vulnerable to attack constituted a menace which had to be dealt with. Their loyalties were unknown and time was of the essence. The evident aspirations of the enemy emboldened by his recent successes made it worse than folly to have left any stone unturned in the building up of our defenses. It is better to have had this protection and not to have needed it than to have needed it an not to have had it – as we have learned to our sorrow.

3. On February 14, 1942, I recommended to the War Department that the military security of the Pacific Coast required the establishment of broad civil control, anti-sabotage and counter-espionage measures, including the evacuation, therefrom of all persons of Japanese ancestry. In recognition of this situation, the President issued Executive Order No. 9066 on February 19, 1942, authorizing the accomplishment of these and any other necessary security measures. By letter dated February 20, 1942, the Secretary of War authorized me to effectuate my recommendations and to exercise all powers which the Executive Order conferred upon him and upon any military commander designated by him. A number of separate and distinct security measures have been instituted under the broad authority thus delegated, and future events may demand the initiation of others. Among the steps taken was the evacuation of Japanese from western Washington and Oregon, California and southern Arizona. Transmitted is the final report of that evacuation ... .

5. There was neither pattern nor precedent for an undertaking of this magnitude and character; and yet over a period of less than ninety operating days, 110,442 persons of Japanese ancestry were evacuated from the West Coast. This compulsory organized mass migration was conducted under complete military supervision. It was effected without major incident in a time of extreme pleasure and severe national stress, consummated at a time when the energies of the military were directed primarily toward the organization and training of an Army of sufficient size and equipment to fight a global war. The task was, nevertheless, completed without any appreciable divergence of military personnel. Comparatively few were used, and there was no interruption in a training program.

6. In the orderly accomplishment of the program, emphasis was placed upon the making of due provision against social and economic dislocation. Agricultural production was not reduced by the evacuation. Over ninety-nine percent of all agricultural acreage in the affected area owned or operated by evacuees was successfully kept in production. Purchasers, lessees, or substitute operators were found who took over the acreage subject to relinquishment. The Los Angeles Herald and Express and the San Diego Union, on February 23, 1943, and the Tacoma News-Tribune, on February 25, 1943, reported increases not only in the value but also in the quantity of farm production in their respective areas.

7. So far as could be foreseen, everything essential was provided to minimize the impact of evacuation upon evacuees, as well as upon economy. Notwithstanding, exclusive of the costs of construction of facilities, the purchase of evacuee motor vehicles, the aggregate of agricultural crop loans made and the purchase of office equipment now in use for other government purposes, the entire cost was $1.46 per evacuee day for the period of evacuation, Assembly Center residence and transfer operations. This cost includes financial assistance to evacuees who voluntarily migrated from the area before the controlled evacuation phase of the program. It also covers registration and processing costs; storage of evacuee property and all other aspects of the evacuee property protection program. It includes hospitalization and medical care of all evacuees from the date of evacuation; transportation of evacuees and their personal effects from their homes to Assembly Centers; complete care in Assembly Centers, including all subsistence, medical care and nominal compensation for work performed. It also reflects the cost of family allowances and clothing as well as transportation and meals during the transfer from Assembly to Relocation Centers... .

Continue to Chapter 1 of Lt. Gen. DeWitt's report.
Return to the Japanese Internment Page

Lt. Gen. J.L. DeWitt to the Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, June 5, 1943, in U.S. Army, Western Defense Command and Fourth Army, Final Report; Japanese Evacuation from the West Coast 1942, Washington D.C.: Govt. Printing Office, 1943, pp. vii-x.

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