Title: "Loyal Japs to Be Free Soon, Says Visiting W.R.A. Chief," Seattle Times, 8/9/1943, (ddr-densho-56-955)
Densho ID: ddr-densho-56-955

Loyal Japs to Be Free Soon, Says Visiting W.R.A. Chief

Release from relocation centers within the next few months of all "loyal" Japanese who wish to leave and can meet certain requirements, was forecast today by Dillon S. Myer of Washington, D.C., national director of the War Relocation Authority.

Visiting Seattle during a month's tour of the country in connection with the handling of Japanese real estate and property, Myer said that the increased granting of "esasonal" ["seasonal"] or "indefinite" leave from the centers would follow segregation of disloyal Japanese to the camp at Tule Lake, Calif.

Transfer of disloyal Japanese to the California center is expected to begin in September and continue through November.

Loyal Aid W.R.A.

In answer to one of the most persistent public questions--"Do loyal Japanese report suspicions of disloyalty among their fellows"--Myer said that there have been hundreds of occasions on which loyal Japanese have assisted authorities in isolating disloyal elements within the centers themselves.

To gain their release, Myer said, the Japanese who are presumed to be loyal must prove that they have means of support; that the community they selcet [select] will accept them. Authorities, furthermore, must be kept informed of their whereabouts.

Myer pointed out that only the War Department can decide whether or not the Japanese will be allowed to return to the coastal area. According to present military regulations, they cannot.

Myer estimated that approximately 15,000 men, women and children would be confined at Tule Lake.

He was unable to predict the number who would elect to leave the centers. None of the approximately 95,000 would be forced to leave, he said.

17,000 Free Now

"We granted 'seasonal' leave to 10,000 Japanese last fall for harvest work," Myer recalled. "At present there are perhaps 17,000 free on either 'seasonal' or 'indefinite' leave. We have not had a single instance of sabotage or subversive activity among these people."

Records of every Japanese held in a relocation center now are complete, Myer said. These records reveal the individual's training, history, visits to Japan, business, schooling and organizational relationships.

It is on the basis of these records, together with those accumulated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Naval Intelligence and Army Intelligence, that individuals are classified as loyal or disloyal.

"Neither I nor the F.B.I. can go on record as saying that anyone--Japanese or American--is 'absolutely' loyal," Myer declared. "But we do have such information as it is possible to get."

20,000 Never Confined

Tracing the course of the War Relocation Authority's work, Myer said that when the removal of Japanese from the coastal area was begun on a voluntary basis, it was not felt that the Japanese were dangerous.

"Moreover, most people do not realize that there are some 20,000 Japanese in inland areas who never have been confined in the relocation centers," he added.

"We feel that the manpower is more valuable outside the centers than in," Myer continued. "The centers, also, are not a good place in which to carry on an Americanization program. I believe,

however, that a good many social problems will be solved if the coastal concentrations, the 'Little Tokyos' can be broken up."

The Authority's biggest problem, Myer said, will be persuading many of the Japanese that it is safe for them to leave the centers. "It's going to require a real educational job to get the older ones to go," he said.

There has been no great agitation for the removal of Japanese from Hawaii, Myer declared, and very little for the program of deporting all Japanese after the war.

"And I hope that, as the war shapes up in the Pacific, there will be none," he concluded. "We don't want something skin to the Indian reservations to develop out of this thing. To talk categorically about moving any racial group out of the country, it seems to me, is defeating the things we are fighting for.

"Remember that there are already some 9,000 Japanese-American boys in our Army."