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Sixty Japanese clerks, nurses, stenographers and other specialists today were packing up their belongings and preparing to leave Los Angeles for Manzanar in the Owens Valley, where they will assist Wartime Civil Control Administration authorities in preparing the Manzanar reception center for thousands of alien and American-born Japanese who must evacuate the Pacific Coast military area.

By the end of next week it is expected 1000 more Japanese from the Los Angeles area, all leaving voluntarily, will be at the center which eventually will be the temporary home for 10,000 men, women and children.

The answer to the question of how more thousands of Japanese and alien Germans and Italians will support themselves outside restricted areas came in announcement by President Roosevelt of the creation of a War Relocation Authority and Work Corps. The Work Corps would offer employment under Federal sponsorship, to evacuees at pay rates to be determined by the head of the new bureau, Milton S. Eisenhower, former land-use co-ordinator for the Department of Agriculture.

Stephen Early, White House [press] secretary, explained there would be nothing compulsory about entering the corps, but that evacuees who do not enlist “probably will be on their own.”

The President’s plan was announced several hours before the House committee on defense migration, headed by Rep. John Tolan of Oakland, submitted a preliminary report on results of hearings it conducted recently on the Pacific Coast. The report (drafted before Mr. Roosevelt’s War Relocation Authority and Works Corps were created), recommended establishment of a war resettlement board to direct evacuation and resettlement of enemy aliens.

Many other recommendations of the Tolan committee appeared to have been covered already by the WCCA—set up several days ago by Lieut. Gen. John L. DeWitt and already functioning in 64 Western communities—and by Mr. Roosevelt’s program.

Mr. Roosevelt’s program, in fact, appeared to be largely a complete endorsement of General DeWitt’s WCCA program and the addition to it of the Work Corps under Mr. Eisenhower, who already is in charge of WCCA relocation of evacuees.

One effect of Mr. Roosevelt’s action, observers believed, would be to make the relocation and employment angles of the WCCA program nationwide in scope, rather than confined to the Western Defense Command of General DeWitt.

Mr. Roosevelt said the program was designated to set an example of “humane and constructive treatment” of evacuees.

The Tolan committee’s report, too, constituted a virtual endorsement of General DeWitt’s program for relocation and employment of evacuees. The report commended the conduct of Pacific Coast evacuation operations by the Army, Navy, FBI and Justice Departments. The committee stated it retained “a profound sense” of injustices and constitutional doubts concerning the evacuation of the Japanese, but declared that “no alternative” existed.

The committee suggested there was a distinction between Japanese and German and Italian aliens, on the ground the latter two are “thoroughly americanized” and “as a group are loyal to the American war effort.” It urged that special hearing boards be constituted to issue certificates to all German and Italian aliens now awaiting their second citizenship papers “whose loyalty can be established beyond reasonable doubt,” and that they be given “grace periods” to complete citizenship.

(General DeWitt indicated, when the Pacific Coast military area was designated more than two weeks ago, that he, too, felt the two groups were distinct. He ordered that all Japanese and Japanese-Americans be evacuated before alien Italians and Germans are cleared out of the area, that there was a hint that members of the Italian-German group, particularly elderly persons, would be given individual consideration.)

The Tolan committee opposed incarceration or forced agricultural labor for the evacuated Japanese, urged that jobs outside prohibited areas be provided for all Japanese whose loyalty can be proved, commended that resettlement communities for the others emphasize “a diversification of tasks and development of new skills” and asked that evacuated Japanese be accorded religious, educational, agricultural and vocational privileges in resettlement communities.

(The WCCA announced yesterday that the reception center at Manzanar, and another to be established near Blythe, Cal., will provide such facilities.)

Japanese who go to the reception centers voluntarily—or are taken to such camps if they fail to clear the military area when a deadline is set—will remain at the centers until they can be permanently located in states east of the Rocky Mountains.

Japanese leaving the restricted area before the deadline will be allowed to take with them all possessions not on the contraband list. Those who wait for the Army to move them, the WCCA announces, will be permitted to take only clothing, bedding and small personal belongings.

The San Francisco News
March 19, 1942

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