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An alien property custodian system was established today by the U.S. Treasury to protect interests of 120,000 Japanese aliens and citizens and German and Italian aliens who will be evacuated by the Army from the vital Pacific Coast defense area.
Rep. John Tolan, heading the congressional committee investigating economic aspects of the evacuations, announced the treasury program.
The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco was placed in charge of protecting alien property. Branch offices were planned for all major centers of population in the evacuation belt. Aliens were advised to contact the Reserve Bank for information, instructions and protection.
In the case of agricultural properties, on which crops may be growing, the Treasury said attempts would be made to arrange for leasing or selling the property or for continuing attention to the growing crops with a view of preventing their loss.
Secretary [Henry] Morgenthau said particular attention would be given to protection of the property of such persons against fraud, forced sales and unscrupulous creditors.
Obviously, the emergency will cause financial loss to the group involved, Secretary Morgenthau stated. However, the program is intended to accord this group reasonable protection of their property interests consistent with the war effort.
The Federal Reserve Bank
was given full authority to act without reference to Washington,
although it was pointed out over-
Mr. Morgenthau predicted
that the established integrity and ability of the Federal Reserve
Bank will enlist the confidence of all the affected groups and discourage
gouging by creditors or other self-
The bank was directed to work in close liaison with the Federal Security Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture and other Federal, state and local agencies in dealing with the property during liquidation.
These agencies, Secretary Morgenthau went on, will undoubtedly be called upon by the military authorities to handle other aspects of the evacuation problem, such as transportation and resettlement of the evacuees, and their re-employment in new areas.
The Treasury Department, it was stated, will furnish the Federal Reserve Bank by airplane with the requisite number of trained experts to assist in working out the details of the program in the field and to participate in its execution.
It was revealed that John W. Pehle, assistant to Secretary Morgenthau, already is in San Francisco to help the Reserve Bank put the program into effect.
Although some details are yet to be worked out, an outline of the program follows:
A. Properly staffed offices under the direction of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank will be opened at once in the local communities from which evacuees will be moved.Additional announcements of evacuation plans, as well as the setting up of new military areas in interior states, was expected to be made soon by Lieut. Gen. John L. DeWitt, Western Defense Command and Fourth Army commander, and Tom C. Clark, Western alien co-ordinator.
A committee from the Japanese
American Citizens League, which represents American-
First stopping place outside the military areas for Japanese who do not make their own removal plans (under Government supervision) will be in the Owens Valley, where the Army is establishing a reception center. There the Japanese will be classified as to occupation, and sent to resettlement colonies. Mr. Clark outlined the plan to the league yesterday.
He said the communities would have their own Japanese doctors and merchants and would be given protection by military authorities or whatever authorities are established.
Asked by a delegate if Japanese would have unrestricted movement within the communities Mr. Clark said such problems must be settled individually. He explained the amount of protection necessary in each community would determine the freedom of movement.
Mr. Clark added that the
control policy would not seek to divide families and would not attempt
to undermine prevailing wage rates by conscripting Japanese-
He praised the Japanese for self reliance and reported that only 140 families required Federal aid in evacuating areas under previous orders which forced 3000 aliens to find new homes.
Colonel W.F. McGill, provost marshal of the Western Defense Command, told the league that an Army proclamation also will be issued very soon designating new military areas in which evacuees will not be permitted to settle.
Nobumitsu Takahashi, agricultural co-ordinator for the league, submitted a report to the conference asserting that removal of the Japanese would disrupt the California vegetable industry. He reported that Japanese truck farmers produced crops valued at 40 million dollars annually and that the stand to lose approximately 100 million dollars in investments.
Meanwhile General DeWitt announced that farmers who destroyed crops would be arrested as saboteurs. He said aliens guilty of such action would be subject to internment and citizens to prosecution.
San Francisco News
Go to the Japanese Internment page.