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93,000 Nipponese in California Are Affected by Order

The entire California, Washington and Oregon coasts, as well as the Southern sections of California and Arizona along the Mexican border, today were designated Military Area No. 1 by Lieut. Gen. John L. DeWitt, commanding the Western Defense Command and Fourth Army.

Photo of Gen. John L. DeWittFrom this vast area, General DeWitt announced “such persons or classes of persons as the situation may require will by subsequent proclamation be excluded.”

Eventually this vast area will be cleared of all alien and American-born Japanese, as well as many Italians and Germans, but General DeWitt emphasized there will be no mass evacuation of Japanese, as some state and local officials have suggested. Mass evacuations, said General DeWitt, would be “impractical.”

“Evacuation from military areas will be a continuing process,” he said. “Japanese aliens and American-born Japanese will be required by future orders to leave certain critical points within the military areas first. These areas will be defined and announced shortly. After exclusion has been completed around the most strategic area, a gradual program of exclusion from the remainder of Military Area No. 1 will be developed.”

93,000 Affected

Unofficial estimates were that 93,000 aliens and American-born Japanese in California would be affected by today’s orders and those to follow.

While no immediate evacuation order was issued, General DeWitt suggested all Japanese—alien and American-born—might do well to get out of Military Area No. 1 as quickly as possible.

“Those Japanese and other aliens who move into the interior out of this area now will gain considerable advantage and in all probability will not again be disturbed,” he said.

Where to Go?

Where they might go, however, was uncertain. All portions of California, Oregon, Washington and Arizona were designated Military Area No. 2, from certain portions of which enemy aliens and American-born Japanese may be excluded.

General DeWitt said “military necessity is the most vital consideration, but the fullest attention is being given the effect upon individual and property rights” and that “plans are being developed to minimize economic dislocation and the sacrifice of property rights.”<

Creation of Military Area No. 1 eventually will clear all American-born and alien Japanese and hundreds of other enemy aliens from the coastal section of California in which are located the most important military and industrial establishments.

This area is divided into two zones, A1 and B1. Enemy aliens will be completely barred from zone A1, and in zone B1 their movements will be greatly restricted.

The proclamation also imposed restriction on persons within the military area and designated postoffices as places where enemy aliens must register every time they change place of residence within the area or by leaving the area. Forms are being prepared.

Enemy Aliens in Five Classes

Enemy aliens, for greater efficiency, have been classified into five classes and proclamations affecting their future will be forthcoming with these numbers, General DeWitt said.

No. 1—All persons suspected of espionage, sabotage, fifth column or other subversive activities. The FBI and intelligence services are rounding them up daily.

No. 2—Japanese aliens.
No. 3—American-born Japanese.
No. 4—German aliens.
No. 5—Italian aliens.

After the military areas are cleared of Japanese, the general indicated, German and Italian aliens would be next in line for evacuation. However, German and Italian aliens 70 years of age or over will not be required to move “except when individually suspected.”

Also exempted will be “the families, including parents, wives, children, sisters and brothers of Germans and Italians in the armed forces,” unless such removal is required for specific reason.

Area Divided Lengthwise

The area of the four Western states named is divided lengthwise into the two military zones. Fronting the ocean and from a distance of three miles off shore to beyond the coast range mountain areas is the prohibited zone “A-1.”

The adjoining territory—which in Central California extends as far east as Placerville, thereby slicing the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys down the middle—comprises restricted “zone-B.”

In addition there are 97 specific localities and communities containing military installations and utilities which are closed to non-citizens and are marked “prohibited zones A2-A99 inclusive.”

San Francisco and the entire Bay Region as far as Vallejo and Tracy are within the prohibited zone. To the north Highway 101 in general follows the contours of the line dividing the prohibited zone from the contiguous restricted zone.

The restricted zone extends approximately from Highway 101 to Highway 99E to the vicinity of Fresno, thence along 99 to where it joins California Highway 198, eastward near the towns of Johannesburg, Daggett, and Cadez, along Highway 66 to Topock, Ariz., past Mathia, Hot Springs Junction, Phoenix, and more or less to the Arizona-New Mexico state lines to Mexico via the towns of Superior, Bowie and San Simon.

General DeWitt has announced creation of a special civilian staff headed by Tom C. Clark, Federal alien co-ordinator, to assist the Army in the economic planning made necessary by the evacuations.

Protests Over-ruled

Informed that governors of nine interior states were protesting any resettlement of Japanese in their areas, General DeWitt said military necessity must take precedence over civilian wishes.

The proclamation and the specific evacuation orders which are to follow “shortly” are culmination of an alien control policy the Government instituted immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

FBI agents seized key Japanese, German and Italian leaders in nationwide raids. Then aliens were ordered to turn in cameras, shotguns, short wave radio sets, binoculars and other materials usable for spying or sabotage. Next all enemy nationals were ordered to register so the Government could check identities and residences.

History Traced

In January the policy of excluding enemy aliens from strategic areas was developed. The Army and the FBI cleared 147 such districts in the four Western states on Feb. 15 and Feb. 24. FBI agents instituted wholesale raids to seize contraband and “potentially dangerous enemy aliens” including leaders of Japanese, Italian and German labor, military and naval societies.

Thus approximately 15,000 enemy aliens were brought into custody or removed from vital areas.

General DeWitt’s proclamation seeks to bring all remaining enemy aliens on the Coast—closes area to possible Japanese attack—under control.

Mike M. Masaoka, national secretary and field executive of the Japanese American Citizens League, said today:

“We are instructing the 65 chapters of our organization in 300 communities to call meetings immediately in their locality to discuss methods by which they can correlate their energies and co-operate extensively in the evacuation process.”


The Committee on National Security & Fair Play, headed by Dr. Henry F. Grady, former assistant secretary of state and president of the American President Steamship Lines, today urged that care of evacuated persons be committed to civilian government agencies experienced in social welfare.

It is said there “appear to be only three methods of caring for evacuees"—allow their settlement whereby they can work freely and produce for the war or civilian needs; set up supervised work projects or support them in part or whole at public expense.

The committee warned that “indiscriminate removal of citizens of alien parentage might convert predominately loyal or harmless citizens into desperate fifth-columnists.”

Thus far, it said, 9000 have been evacuated.

The San Francisco News
March 3, 1942

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