Title: Memo: "Evacuation of Japanese from Hawaii", (denshopd-i67-00048)
Densho ID: denshopd-i67-00048

March 23, 1942


Subject: Evacuation of Japanese from Hawaii.

I note that the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the President have already acted upon the matter of the evacuation of the Japanese from Hawaii. Although the Commanding General has recommended as desirable the evacuation of all Japanese, aliens and citizens, from the mainland, subject to certain conditions, in my judgment even if those conditions were fulfilled, the possibility of evacuating the great numbers of Japanese now inhabiting the Hawaiian Islands to the mainland is impracticable for a number of reasons:

1. The lack of shipping;

2. The necessity for replacing the labor, wherein again the shipping problem would be present;

3. The political repercussions on the West Coast and in the United States generally to the introduction of 150,000 more Japanese; and

4. The difficulty of finding suitable facilities and means for relocating the Japanese on the mainland.

No doubt, a somewhat limited number of Japanese and their families could be handled on the mainland without encountering insurmountable difficulties in any of the above categories but even they would have to be replaced and it would have to be a gradual process dependent upon non-interference with the construction now going on on the Islands for their protection and to the availability of facilities in the United States to take care of them. I understand that General Emmons also feels that he should start no substantial movement of Japanese until he receives the complement of troops and munitions that he has asked for.

There are also some grave legal difficulties in placing American citizens, even of Japanese ancestry, in concentration camps. All we have done, thus far, in the West Coast is to remove

them from certain areas, which I think can clearly be done as a matter of law. I do not know whether it is practicable to modify the President's approval but I would suggest that instructions should go to General Emmons authorizing him to select potentially dangerous Japanese, whether they be citizens or aliens, and permit him to evacuate them to the mainland subject to the following conditions:

1. That such evacuation does not impair preparation of the Islands for defense;

2. That there is shipping available to make the move (taking into account the necessity for evacuating 20,000 American wives and children) and

3. Subject to facilities for resettlement and internment on the mainland being provided.

I agree completely with the impracticability of moving the Japanese to one of the outlying islands, and in this I understand the naval authorities concur.

Assistant Secretary of War

Brig. Gen. D.D. Eisenhower
Room 2000
Munitions Bldg.