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Motorcade Starts Trek from L.A.

Scripps-Howard Staff Writer

LOS ANGELES, March 23.—Large-scale evacuation Japanese aliens and their American-born children from strategic Pacific Coast military and industrial areas began today as a caravan of 350 autos and trucks left Pasadena for the Army’s new reception center east of the Sierra Nevadas.

More than 600 aliens and American citizens of Japanese descent assembled before dawn at Pasadena’s Rose Bowl, scene of the annual New Years’ Day football classic in pre-war years.

In scenes reminiscent of the flight of Oklahoma and Texas dust bowl refugees to California a few years ago, the Japanese piled their household belongings on their autos and trucks, many of them ready for the junkyard.

Each evacuee wore an identifying card on his lapel and carried a ditty bag stuffed with personal effects. Many of the American-born youths wore sweaters indicating recent participation in high school and college sports.

Dozens of added travelers dashed up to the assembly point in taxicabs at the last moment. There were brief family reunions with wives and children who had come to the Rose Bowl to see their menfolk off for the camp at Manzanar, in the Owens Valley, 230 miles north of Los Angeles.

Then Major C.V. Caldwell, provost general for the sector, gave the order to start. There were grinds of self-starters, a few orders from officers, and the long parade began.

Nearly 200 of the vehicles were operated by the evacuees. They represented all types of jalopies—dilapidated pickup trucks, open touring cars, “cut-downs” in collegiate style, and one Model T Ford.

Army ‘Jeeps’ in Line

Three large trucks loaded with baggage led the motorcade as it headed north through San Fernando Valley, making a parade between five and six miles long. Interspersed after every 10th car was an Army “jeep” carrying military police.

The procession helds its speed to about 30 miles an hour because of the questionable endurance of some of the conveyances. Army ambulances, tow cars, a water car and a field kitchen accompanied the motorcade.

Evacuees leaving today were largely carpenters and other skilled workmen sent to assist in final construction phases of the reception center.

Japanese will do most of their own policing and governing under Army supervision.

Two Simple Orders

Clayton E. Triggs, camp administrator and former Los Angeles County WPA head, said two simple orders would apply at the camp: All persons registered there must remain there unless special orders were issued, and no liquor would be allowed.

Barber shops, the hospital, beauty parlors, tobacco stores and similar establishments will be functioning by the end of the week, officials said, with each of the 48 blocks to have its own recreation center.

Japanese-American leaders proposed erection of a defense industry on the reservation for manufacture of nonvital parts of military airplanes. They mentioned articles, such as instrument panels and metal fittings, not capable of being sabotaged.

Security Wages

Workers chosen to remain at the reception center will be paid security wages ranging from $50 a month for unskilled labor to $94 for skilled, with $15 a month deducted for subsistence.

Scores of other Japanese left from the Union Railroad Station and bus depots in Los Angeles.

By nightfall between 1000 and 1500 are expected to reach Manzanar.

A visitor from the East, watching this start of what will become a vast hegira—quite in the booster spirit of Southern California it is referred to here as “the greatest orderly mass movement of civilians in history”—is impressed by two queerly contradictory facts.

First, about 90 per cent of the people of Los Angeles seem to be profoundly relieved that the Army-directed evacuation of Japanese is at last getting under way.

Second, about 90 per cent of them also seem to feel deep regret that this job has to be done on so wholesale a scale.

Teachers Would Follow

Teachers in the Los Angeles schools are offering to follow their 9300 Japanese pupils to new settlements. Federal agencies are working to protect the property rights of the exiles. At San Francisco, the other day, the sophomore class at St. Ignatius High School chipped in to buy a watch for Bill Morizumi, an honor member of the ROTC, who was “going away.”

But severe hardships undoubtedly will be unavoidable. The great evacuation involves unprecedented problems, many of them not solved. Some 94,000 Japanese must go from California alone, about two-thirds of them citizens by birth, and 20,000 more from Oregon and Washington.

WASHINGTON, March23.—Henry J. Ennis, Department of Justice official, told the Senate immigration committee today that Japanese nationals are co-operating with the War Department in leaving strategic Pacific Coast zones.

Otherwise, the removal plans would require employment of all Army troops now on the West Coast, with a consequent neglect of their military duties.

The San Francisco News
March 23, 1942

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