Densho Digital Archive
Steven Okazaki Collection
Title: Roger Daniels Interview
Narrator: Roger Daniels
Location: San Francisco, California
Date: November 18, 1983
Densho ID: denshovh-droger-02-0017

<Begin Segment 17>

Q: Can you talk about the reopening of the coram nobis cases?

RD: Well, I think that the attempts to get a reversal of the Supreme Court decisions in Hirabayashi, Yasui and Korematsu is an interesting and ingenious attempt and one certainly that ought to be made. I'm not particularly sure that it's going to be successful; I'm not at all sure that this is the Supreme Court that would take a step like that. In addition, I think that it is primarily a political process that I would much rather see Congress do it. On the other hand, I think it's perfectly respectable and proper procedure and I certainly wish the litigants and their attorneys well.


Q: Roger, what do these cases mean to Japanese Americans?

RD: Well, I think for many Japanese Americans, these cases will mean that there is another attempt underfoot to have their incarceration declared wrong and it's, I think, another way to stress what President Ford said in his 1976 proclamation that, you know, "We all know now," Ford said, "what we should have known then." Japanese Americans were and are loyal Americans, and I think that many will see this, particularly if the cases are successful. Many will see this as another reaffirmation of loyalty, and it will be another form, I guess, you could call the psychic redress, if this were to happen and the compensation aspects of redress not go through, then at least you could say this would be a form of psychic redress. I'm sure for the individuals concerned, it has a much more deeper meaning.

Q: What's been the reaction of McCloy and Bendetsen to these new efforts, to the redress movement, to new interest in the time?

RD: Well, certainly, McCloy and Bendetsen, the surviving architects of the relocation, view all of these things as an attempt to besmirch their own patriotism, their own devotion. McCloy called the commission redress hearing an outrage, and I'm sure that he finds the coram nobis suits an outrage. I'm sure he will find what I say an outrage. The fact is that an outrageous thing was done to a people for no good reason. And we like to say in this country --I'm not sure as a historian it's always true -- but we like to say in this country that democracy corrects its own mistakes. In this case, it's taken more than forty years, but at least it now seems that a corrective process is underfoot. That certainly is all to the good. It would have been better had it been sooner; it would have been better had there been nothing to correct; but at least it is something.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 1983, 2010 Densho and Steven Okazaki. All Rights Reserved.