Densho Digital Archive
Steven Okazaki Collection
Title: Dale Minami Interview I
Narrator: Dale Minami
Location: San Francisco, California
Date: October 4, 1983
Densho ID: denshovh-mdale-02-0004

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Q: Could you say something about, what's your sense of the government's, what the government's been doing during this time, in terms of a pardon, and what they've been doing the last week, before making this motion? Or what led up to their decision to make this motion?

DM: The U.S. Attorney had been telling us from the start that they were trying to reach a political accommodation within the Department of Justice, and, you know, all the way to the White House. And they didn't necessarily want to answer our petition for a lot of reasons, political, some legal. At one point after the Commission came down with a recommendation that the petitioners be pardoned, they broached us with the idea of possibly accepting a pardon. As lawyers have to do, we took it back to our clients. Fred Korematsu told me, he said, "We shouldn't accept a pardon. If anything, we should pardon the government." He said, "A pardon means guilt, and I was not guilty." So we took that message back to the U.S. attorney. Eventually they hinted at greater pardons, a pardon of innocence, they went through that. A pardon of innocence with finding, presidential pardon of innocence with finding. All of which Fred told us, "Look, I don't want to talk about it. I'm not interested. I want to see... I've come forty years through this thing to reach some kind of resolution or not accept a pardon." I think what happened, in the last week the process accelerated simply because the government was required to respond on, let's see, what was it, October... excuse me, it was September 25th. And they were required to respond by that day. They were very close to reaching some kind of decision on it, but they hadn't quite made it. So I think what happened is they had to ask the court for another week, claiming that they had found sensitive documents. Internally, I believe what happened is that they were really trying to iron out the bugs as to what they were going to offer. And it's clear today -- and I know this for a fact -- that they knew we would not accept a pardon anywhere along the line. If they thought that we would accept a pardon, they'd get away as cheaply as they could as far as politically looking good, and not having to go through with this trial. So, what they finally did is believe that we were serious when we said we didn't want a pardon, and as a result they went one step further, which is a stronger resolution by moving to vacate and dismissing the indictment.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 1983, 2010 Densho and Steven Okazaki. All Rights Reserved.