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Summary of Communication-January 4, 1942

"This is the summary by Assistant Attorney General Rowe to the Commanding General of a conversation with the Attorney General of the United States, and Mr. ROWE'S understanding of what the Department of Justice is prepared to do on questions of Alien Enemy Control referred to him by the Commanding General and his staff.

Besides cameras, radios and firearms, the articles prohibited by the President's proclamation are to be deposited by all alien enemies with local police authorities by Monday night, January 5, 1942, at 11 P.M. Because sufficient publicity was not given to the requirement that all prohibited articles be so deposited, the Department of Justice will, by [press] release for Tuesday morning, allow all alien enemies at least two more days, say 11 P.M., January 7, to dispose of the articles. An effort will be made to obtain sufficient publicity by radio and in the press.

The Department of Justice tonight will wire direct the United States Attorneys in the Western Theatre of Operations, with particular emphasis on Washington, Oregon, and California to telephone Major General BENEDICT for recommendations as to what areas should be regarded as restricted. The United States Attorney will automatically accept the General's recommendations, and these areas will immediately become restricted areas pending confirmation by the Attorney General. As soon as possible, a press release ordering all enemy aliens to evacuate restricted areas by a certain date and hour will be issued. Any release by the Department of Justice will specifically state that the Attorney General has designated these restricted areas at the specific and urgent request of the Commanding General. The Army will request the Navy to submit its recommendations through the Commanding General. It is believed several days will elapse before the Army will be ready to submit its recommendations.

New forms for search and seizure of prohibited articles in homes controlled by, or inhabited by, alien enemies, are to be received tomorrow morning by Federal Bureau of Investigation teletype. The question of probable cause will be met only by the statement that an alien enemy is resident in such premises. It is Mr. ROWE'S understanding that the local United States Attorney's interpretation that more information is necessary to show probable cause is incorrect. The United States Attorney will issue a search warrant upon a statement by a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent that an alien enemy is resident at certain premises. It is not necessary that the Department in Washington be consulted.

The Department feels it can conduct an alien enemy registration in the Western Theatre of Operations within a week or ten days. tomorrow morning by Federal Bureau of Investigation teletype a statement will be sent from Washington outlining a procedure of what the Department is prepared to do. The Department feels it can conduct such a registration, though the local police authorities, much faster than the Army itself. The Department also feels that the existing list from the previous alien registration, now in Washington, is in better shape than is the impression in San Francisco, and every effort will be made to have such lists available in the Western Theatre of Operations.

"5. The Department is willing to make spot-raids on alien enemies tomorrow or at any time after the registration, anywhere within the Western Theatre of Operations. Mr. ROWE emphasized that such raids must be confined to premises controlled by enemy aliens, or where enemy aliens are resident. In other words, the Department cannot raid a specific locality, covering every house in that locality, irrespective of whether such houses are inhabited by enemy aliens or citizens. The Attorney General requested Mr. ROWE to make clear to the Commanding General that under no circumstances will the Department of Justice conduct mass raids on alien enemies. It is understood that the term 'mass raids' means, eventually a raid on every alien enemy within the Western Theatre of Operations. The Attorney General will oppose such raids and, if overruled by the President, will request the Army to supersede the Department of Justice in the Western Theatre of Operations.

"6. It was agreed by the Commanding General and his staff and Mr. ROWE that certain questions pertaining to raids on localities and the issuance of search warrants, particularly referring to raids on localities in which radio transmitters are probably to be found, will be transmitted to the Department, also for an indication as to how far the Department will proceed, as a matter of law and policy."

IN: Final Report: Japanese Evacuation from the West Coast, 1942, Headquarters Western Defense Command and Fourth Army, Office of the Commanding General, Presidio of San Francisco, California; Chapters 1 and 2.
Washington, U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1943.
Return to the Japanese Internment Page
Go to Appendix to Chapter III – Final Recommendations.

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