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Tolan Group Due to Report Alien Plans

As the Tolan congressional committee investigating alien removal from the West Coast came to San Francisco today to place its findings before Lieut. Gen. J.L. DeWitt, Western Defense Zone commander, General DeWitt announced the Army already has begun construction of a reception center for enemy aliens and American-born Japanese in Inyo County.

The reception center is being constructed on 5800 acres of land at Manzanar, in Owens Valley, acquired from the city of Los Angeles. Manzanar, midway between Independence and Lone Pine, was selected by the Army because it has adequate railway facilities, water supply and agricultural and “sufficient to make the center largely self-sustaining.”

First Consideration to L.A.

Just before the members of the Tolan committee left Los Angeles, where it was holding hearings, Rep. George H. Bender (R., Ohio) announced that the committee believes Los Angeles should receive first consideration in mass evacuation of Japanese. He said:

“We believe that the situation in the Los Angeles area makes it a primary zone and that first consideration should be given it. We will so recommend to General DeWitt.”
The committee, headed by Rep. John H. Tolan (D., Cal.) has held hearings in major Pacific Coast cities. It is expected to place its full recommendations before General DeWitt and other Federal and State authorities during the conference in San Francisco.

Meanwhile, 200 representatives of 65 chapters of the Japanese-American Citizens League, representing 80,000 citizens of Japanese ancestry from all parts of the country met here in a three-day session to develop a plan of co-operation with Federal authorities in evacuating restricted zones.

Co-Operation Pledges

While the meeting was closed to the press, a statement of Saburo Kido, national president of the league, said the enforced evacuation of American-born Japanese from the Pacific Coast was a “travesty on our good name and rights,” but he pledged full co-operation to the Government.

It was learned that disunity arose at the first session between various groups, Buddhists quarreling with Christians, aliens with citizens. At one time a fight nearly broke out on the floor between two delegates.

Sacramento and Los Angeles delegates, it was learned, rejected a proposal that the Japanese-American Citizens League establish a liaison with other Japanese groups, including alien organizations, to co-operate as a unified organization with Federal authorities.

Those delegates contended that they represented most of the Japanese anyway, that the league should play a lone hand.

Mr. Kido said he had implicit confidence “that we are being asked to go into exile not because we are dangerous as potential ‘fifth columnists’ or ‘saboteurs’ but because of the prospects of lawlessness of certain segments of the citizenry.”

The FBI meanwhile tapered off its raids on Axis aliens after arresting 105 in Northern California Saturday. Most were members of Japanese secret societies.

The Italian Mazzini Society, an anti-Fascist organization, met at 170 Valencia-st to perfect plans for a mass meeting of all local Italian groups as a demonstration of loyalty. Sunday, April 12 was set as the date, but the place will be announced later.

The San Francisco News
March 9, 1942

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