The Associated Press reporter in the House of Representatives told me, “we didn’t report the passage of the Honda resolution because it was done with a voice vote, with just a handful of members on the floor.”
But this resolution was introduced by Rep. Michael Honda, a Democrat of California, whose website advertises him as having “spent his early childhood with his family at Amache, Colo., concentration camp during World War II.”
This is an insult to the U.S. Supreme Court’s liberals such as Felix Frankfurter, Hugo Black and Willaim O. Douglas, who, in the 1944 Korematsu case, ruled emphatically against the “concentration camp” libel. They also ruled constitutional the relocation of all Japanese resident aliens and Japanese-Americans from the three West Coast states and parts of Arizona.
This resolution, passed by that device of non-accountability the voice vote, also insulted the memory of our great wartime president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, as well as Johns Hopkins University President Milton Eisenhower, director of the War Relocation Authority.
This resolution calls for a “National Day of Remembrance to increase public awareness of the events surrounding the restriction, exclusion and internment of individuals and families during World War II.”
Congressman Honda claims this is a “shameful chapter in U.S. history,” ordered by President Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066 signed on Feb. 19, 1942 – the day this Honda resolution designates as a National Day of Remembrance.
What is really shameful is the fact that most of U.S. media today refuses to report the historical fact that our U.S. intelligence code-breakers who broke the Japanese code discovered hundreds of Japanese aliens and Japanese-Americans in those West Coast states who were functioning as spies for Imperial Japan.
They were watching all of our Naval shipping and had infiltrated many of our defense plants. But had they been arrested, this would have compromised and ended our breaking of that Japanese code – which later helped the United States win the decisive Battle of Midway.
The hundreds of Japanese spies on our West Coast had to be stopped without any revelation that we had broken the Japanese code.
For this reason, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 – for which the Honda resolution is now defaming him.
Dr. Roger McGrath has been professor of history at both UCLA and California State University at Northbridge. He is also a major in the U.S. Marine Corps, Reserve Intelligence. He has also been a technical adviser and participant on television’s A & E, the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, TNT, ABC and Disney.
He has written for the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Harpers, the Encyclopedia of the American West and the American Conservative, in which he wrote the following in the March 15th issue about Honda’s resolution passed by the House:
Honda’s resolution contains a series of misrepresentations that have passed for fact for so many years that they are now generally accepted without question. Moreover, the resolution posits President Jimmy Carter’s Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment and its report, “Personal Justice Denied,” as the final authority on the subject. After “20 days of hearings” and “over 750 witnesses,” the commission concluded that E.O. 9066 was not justified by military necessity but was the result of “race prejudice, war hysteria and a failure of political leadership.” That conclusion, however, is contrary to the facts as revealed by MAGIC, the decryptions of coded Japanese transmissions. The commission ignored MAGIC entirely in its original report, as it did witnesses who were available to proffer information supporting Roosevelt’s order. The few witnesses who attempted to testify in support of E.O. 9066 were drowned out by an unruly mob of spectators.
This commission’s incredible behavior, as well as the reparations voted by Congress of $20,000 to each of 82,000 evacuees ($1.6 million) were termed “shameful” by California’s U.S. Sen. S.I. Hayakawa. He also described “a wolf pack of dissident young Japanese-Americans making an unconscionable raid on the U.S. Treasury.”
(The senator was, in turn, denounced by these people as “a banana: yellow on the outside, white on the inside.”)
Dr. McGrath also reports:
John J. McCloy, the assistant secretary of war in 1942, who monitored the evacuation and relocation, said the proceedings were “a horrendous affront to our tradition for fair and objective hearings. … Whenever I sought in the slightest degree to justify the action … ordered by President Roosevelt, my testimony was met with hisses and boos such as I have never, over an experience extending back to World War I, been heretofore subjected to. Others had similar experiences … it became clear from the outset of my testimony that the commission was not at all disposed to conduct an objective investigation.”
The officer in charge of the evacuation, Karl R. Bendesten, was subjected to similar treatment and simply stopped in the middle of his testimony. “I knew it would be fruitless,” said Bendesten. “Every commissioner had made up his mind before he was appointed.”
One of U.S. media’s most inexcusable wrongs is the widespread confusion of the words “internment” and “relocation.”
There were only 17,000 Japanese aliens and Japanese-Americans interned. They were quite justifiably interned, because those who were U.S.-born declared their loyalty to Emporor Hirohito. One-third of these were Japanese-Americans who renounced their American citizenship.
There was no need to relocate any Japanese aliens or Japanese-Americans from the Territory of Hawaii – because immediately after Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Army quite justifiably imposed martial law.
Dr. McGrath reports:
The great majority of Japanese were not interned but required only to relocate outside of the Western Defense Zone, an area that included California, the western halves of Oregon and Washington, and a small portion of Arizona. Those who were not able to move were eventually taken to relocation centers, built with the same materials and on similar patterns as Army bases.
Japanese could leave a relocation center if they could re-establish themselves outside of the Defense Zone, and some 35,000 did so. Those who relocated on their own by the end of March 1942 did not go to the centers.
Among those who relocated on their own and never went to any relocation center were the Toguris of California. They moved to Chicago and opened a food store.
Their daughter, Iva, UCLA Class of 1940, had moved to their homeland along with thousands of other U.S.-born Japanese. This daughter is still alive. She was known to many as “Tokyo Rose.” She was found guilty of treason. But instead of being hanged (like the British hanged “Lord Haw Haw”), she was sent to the Women’s Federal Prison in Alderson, W.Va. – from which she was released after being pardoned by President Gerald Ford on his last day in the White House.
The relocation centers to which the great majority of Japanese resident aliens or citizens were sent were relatively easy to leave if one could obtain a job anywhere outside the West Coast states. Dr. McGrath reports:
More than 4,300 Japanese left to go to college at government expense and thousands left to work on farms. Meanwhile, in the relocation centers the death rate was lower and the birth rate higher than that of the general American population. So, too, was the graduation rate from high school. At the time, the Japanese-American Citizens’ League (JACL) praised the government for providing the relocation centers. Dillon Myer, the director of the War Relocation Authority, said, “Nothing was done regarding the relocation centers without the approval of the JACL.”
And by contrast to the wonderfully humane treatment of those in relocation centers – who, later, received $20,000 apiece – U.S. prisoners of the Japanese, including survivors of the Bataan Death March, were paid just $1 per day for being in that Hell-On-Earth.
One of the many references which thoroughly discredit Congressman Honda’s defamatory resolution is “MAGIC: The Untold Story of U.S. Intelligence And The Evacuation of Japanese Residents From The West Coast During World War II.”
The author is the late David Lowman, former special assistant to the director, National Security Agency.
Dr. McGrath also notes that the American Japanese Claims Act of 1948 led to the provision of $35 million paid on thousands of Japanese-Americans claims for lost or damaged homes, or even crop loss, as a result of their being called away from their homes during a national emergency – just as so many millions of American men were called away from their homes to serve in our armed forces where half a million of them were killed fighting our national enemies.
McGrath concluded his article with a notation I hope the U.S. Senate will use in seeking to set aside and properly expose Congressman Honda’s defamatory and history-distorting Day of Remembrance resolution:
If I were a loyal American of Japanese descent, I would not have been pleased with the evacuation order. Nor would I have been thrilled with having to uproot myself from my home on the Pacific Coast. However, as an emergency wartime sacrifice, it is hardly the greatest.
Just ask those Marines who regard February 19 as their Day of Remembrance. On that date in 1945 they stormed ashore on Iwo Jima, where more than 6,000 of them died. That’s a sacrifice to remember – and honor.