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[TIMELINE] After Internment: Debate on Returning Home

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  • madchinaman
    After Internment: Seattle s Debate Over Japanese Americans Right to Return Home by Jennifer Speidel http://depts.washington.edu/civilr/after_internment.htm On
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 10 10:26 PM
      After Internment:
      Seattle's Debate Over Japanese Americans' Right to Return Home
      by Jennifer Speidel

      On December 17th, 1944 U.S. Major General Henry C. Pratt announced
      that beginning January 2nd, 1945, the federal government would
      officially end the exclusion order that prevented Japanese and
      Japanese-Americans from returning to the West Coast following their
      release from World War II internment camps.[1] His announcement
      contributed to a fiery debate over Japanese and Japanese-
      American "resettlement"—an idea that many in Seattle supported, but
      that also had strong opposition. This essay will look at both sides
      of the resettlement debate in Seattle —which one historian has
      called " Seattle 's greatest racial problem during World War II"— by
      focusing on which groups took anti- and pro-Japanese-American stands,
      and how the media portrayed this debate.[2]

      Before Pearl Harbor, there was a significant and prosperous Japanese
      and Japanese-American community in the Pacific Northwest. Though
      white racism limited their job opportunities, many Japanese and
      Japanese-Americans found relative success as entrepreneurs and
      business owners, particularly as farmers and hotel owners and
      managers. There were also many young Japanese and Japanese-Americans
      that were highly educated. Japanese and Japanese-Americans founded
      and actively participated in organizations such as the Japanese-
      American Citizens League (JACL) and many churches in the community.
      Through the JACL, Japanese and Japanese-Americans promoted civil
      rights more through community education and mutual aid and less
      through confrontational politics or protest.

      With the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in December of 1941, the
      United States government began to investigate and arrest leading
      Japanese and Japanese-American citizens, who they suspected of
      espionage. Despite finding no evidence of a feared West Coast
      espionage network, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066,
      which authorized the removal of 110,000 Japanese and Japanese-
      Americans from the west coast to ten inland internment camps. In
      January, 1942 more than 7,000 Seattle area Japanese and Japanese-
      Americans were forced from their homes and sent to the camps.

      The story of the removal and incarceration of Japanese and Japanese
      Americans in internment camps during World War II is well documented
      elsewhere. Less well known is the role that local groups on the West
      Coast played in justifying or challenging internment, and how, once
      Japanese and Japanese Americans entered the camps, these groups
      fought over whether Japanese Americans would return home.


      For personal stories about this topic, see the interviews in Densho:
      The Japanese-American Legacy Project


      Anti-Japanese Organizations
      During internment, various anti-Japanese groups formed up and down
      the West Coast. In Seattle , the two most prominent anti-Japanese
      groups were the Remember the Pearl Harbor League (RPHL) and the
      Japanese Exclusion League (JEL). Though they formed during the war,
      their most active periods, at least according to newspaper accounts
      in the Seattle Times, Seattle Post Intelligencer, and the Seattle
      Star, were during the debate over resettlement at the end of 1944 and
      in early 1945.

      The anti-Japanese groups used methods such as flyers and word of
      mouth to gain members. They also used newspapers to generate
      publicity by writing letters to the editors. The groups' leadership
      and members came mainly from organized labor, veteran's
      organizations, and agricultural interests who felt threatened by
      competition with Japanese and Japanese-Americans. Through their
      political connections, they were able to get partial support from
      Seattle's mayor, Washington State 's governor, and its politically
      powerful Congressmen—Warren Magnuson and Henry "Scoop" Jackson. These
      groups' leaders used their public meetings to preach an anti-Japanese
      ideology that while supposedly about American national security on
      the surface, often suggested that issues of race and economics were
      driving opposition to Japanese and Japanese-American return.

      A large organization opposed to Japanese and Japanese-Americans
      resettlement was the Japanese Exclusion League, a group founded after
      World War I which worked in coalition with the American Legion. The
      League shared many of the same beliefs as the RPHL. Art Ritchie, a
      member of the Japanese Exclusion League, wrote a letter Senator
      Magnuson in January 1945 hoping to get an amendment to the
      Constitution to prevent Japanese immigrants from becoming citizens,
      and invited the Senator to join the JEL.[3] The League consisted of
      many leading Seattle citizens from organizations such as Native Sons
      of the Golden West, the American Legion, farm leaders and women's
      clubs. These types of leagues, which were formed in the beginning of
      the war, inspired the founding of similar groups in other areas near
      Seattle .[4]

      The Remember the Pearl Harbor League was a group of farmers and
      businessmen mainly from the Auburn valley area. They were an anti-
      Japanese group that protested the resettlement of the Japanese and
      Japanese-Americans back to the west coast. In a pamphlet issued by
      the group, they argued first and foremost that all Japanese were "a
      menace": "The Japanese were a menace until removed, and will become a
      menace again when returned. The Japs must not come back." They also
      accused American-born Japanese of disloyalty because Japanese
      children were supposedly taught Japanese culture before American
      culture. They also claimed that Japanese and Japanese-Americans
      formed potential "Japanese Colonies" in the U.S. , which they
      referred to as "The Black Dragon." There is no evidence of
      widespread Japanese and Japanese-American secret societies, though
      the Remember Pearl Harbor League may have been loosely associating
      racist myths about Chinese Tongs with Japanese-Americans. The group's
      pamphlet even advocated amending the Constitution to deprive Japanese
      and Japanese-Americans of citizenship rights: "On the sole ground of
      disloyalty, all Japanese should be removed from the United States and
      its territories."[5]

      Nifty Garrett, a prominent businessman in the South Puget Sound area,
      was a huge supporter of the Remember Pearl Harbor League. He owned a
      local newspaper in Sumner called the Standard. After the Japanese
      and Japanese-Americans were given word they could return home he
      front page of his paper for 30 months. The League's presence in the
      Sumner area was very strong: it had 65 members and no local
      opposition. In December of 1944, in response to the War Department's
      decision, the League grew stronger and Nifty called a meeting to
      establish a fourth branch of the RPHL. This time, however, the
      League ran into some opposition, with defense worker R.S. Bixby
      calling them "cowardly, selfish, and guilty of fomenting racial

      Historian Ron Magden has investigated the activities of the RPHL in
      the Puget Sound and concluded that support was uneven. In Seattle ,
      the League failed to establish a branch chapter. In areas in the
      South Puget Sound, such as Puyallup , the League found considerable
      support. Some members drew a distinction between immigrant and
      American-born Japanese Americans, opposing the return of the older
      generation, while acknowledging that the American had the right to
      live wherever they liked. [7] In Bremerton , shipyard workers and
      Navy veterans formed their own RPHL, and boasted members that one
      newspaper described as "highly in favor of the league's ideals."[8]

      The anti-Japanese groups had to defend themselves against various
      charges. Critics claimed that the main goal was to keep Japanese out
      because they wanted the farmland that the Japanese farmers had
      owned. It seems like the League came up with these reasons to cover
      the actual reasons that they did not want Japanese and Japanese-
      Americans to return.[9] The main reason for the formation of this
      Remember Pearl Harbor League was economics. These farmers and
      businessmen from the Auburn valley feared the return of the Japanese
      and Japanese-Americans because of the economic impacts it would cause
      them. The Japanese and Japanese-Americans had been prosperous
      farmers and businessmen before the war. In the minutes of a Remember
      Pearl Harbor League meeting, they acknowledged, "we are accused of
      having a money interest in this business; but the WRA (War Relocation
      Authority) has spent much more money than we in putting out
      propaganda publications at governments expense."[10] The government
      did not have a moneymaking interest in the return of the Japanese and
      Japanese-Americans: they were putting out publications to educate the
      public, freely, unlike in the League where members had to pay a fee
      to join.

      Critics also claimed that they were more interested in dues than
      anything else. Opponents of groups like the Remember Pearl Harbor
      League used newspapers to warn people not to join anti-Japanese
      organizations that required a fee, saying that they were just out to
      make a quick buck. They also tried to stigmatize anti-Japanese
      groups as racist by comparing them to Hitler and the Ku-Klux Klan.
      One resettlement advocate told the Seattle Times "Anyone/member of an
      organization based on racial hate is laying the ground work for a
      program like Hitler developed."[11]

      Pro-Resettlement Advocates
      There were many individuals and anti-Japanese organizations at the
      time, but there were just as many individuals and pro-Japanese
      organizations fighting for the rights of the Japanese and Japanese-
      Americans. Some of these groups included the Seattle Council of
      Churches, American Friends Service Committee and the Seattle Civic
      Unity Committee.

      The Seattle Council of Churches was an important organization with
      the return of the Japanese and Japanese-Americans to the west coast.
      The Council of Churches helped by first assisting the Japanese and
      Japanese-Americans in its struggle to re-establish themselves back
      onto the west coast. They educated the city on Christian virtues of
      hospitality and acceptance, hoping it would cause people to accept
      the Japanese and Japanese-Americans back. The Council also chastised
      the Governor for all his anti-Japanese remarks and well as other anti-
      Japanese organizations. The council established hotels to function
      as temporary housing and it also created the United Church Ministry.
      The United Church Ministry provided many services to the returning
      Japanese and Japanese-Americans. It set up a program to provide
      jobs, housing, and social services including counseling, medical
      care, social and recreational events, legal services and serving as a
      liaison between Japanese people and government welfare agencies. The
      Council also set up a program in the community by sending out
      enlistment cards. People could sign up to sponsor and provide
      temporary or permanent housing to the Japanese and Japanese-
      Americans. This program was overwhelmingly successful, many people
      were expressing their willingness to accept and bring back the
      Japanese and Japanese-Americans to the west coast. The Council's
      ability to bring the city together was inspiring to many independent
      groups, who decided to join in with the Council rather than go a
      separate way. With all the unity in the community, anti-Japanese
      groups were finding it more difficult to survive.[12]

      The Civic Unity Committee also helped promote and coordinate local
      Japanese and Japanese-Americans' resettlement. The Committee was
      established in February of 1944 partly to help ease racial tensions
      related to increased African American migration during the war. But
      the Committee also, unlike similar committees in other cities in the
      North, protected Japanese and Japanese-American rights upon their
      return to the West Coast. Before the Japanese resettlement, the CUC
      was one of several organizations which publicly fought the anti-
      Japanese groups. They fought to get anti-Japanese pamphlets
      entitled "The Japanese Must Not Come Back" off of newsstands. They
      also criticized the Governor for his remarks opposing the Japanese
      and Japanese-Americans and his wild claims about secret Japanese
      societies. When the Japanese and Japanese-Americans returned in
      1945, the CUC received partial credit because of their work to
      promote a tolerant public policy and political culture.[13]

      The American Friends Service Committee was another group whose goal
      was to help the returning Japanese and Japanese-Americans. This
      group was concerned with the over-all welfare of the Japanese
      community. One member of this organization was Floyd Schmoe, a
      University of Washington professor of Forest Biology. Schmoe
      frequently visited the Minidoka internment camp in Idaho to
      investigate camp conditions and internees' experiences. In March of
      1945, after the decision by the government to resettle Japanese and
      Japanese-Americans on the West Coast, he "reported that the mood in
      the camp was grim and confused." The Japanese and Japanese-Americans
      were confused and scared because of all the resistance still in the
      Seattle area, even though it was getting better and calming down.
      The Japanese and Japanese-Americans in the camp were becoming more
      resistant because of the news of the camp closing; many did not want
      to leave for fear of the growing hostility toward them on the West
      Coast. These fears caused many Japanese and Japanese-Americans to
      move to the east and to the mid-west instead of going back to
      Seattle .[14] During the summer of 1945, special railroad cars
      brought the Japanese and Japanese-Americans back to the Puget Sound
      area, where many found that their homes had been vandalized by
      Seattle hoodlums, sometimes with death threats spray-painted onto
      their garages.[15]

      Mobilizing Resistance to Resettlement

      Resettlement advocates may have been well organized, but their
      victory was not inevitable, since local anti-Japanese groups had some
      very powerful allies. Groups like the JEL and the RPHL worked with
      more established organizations like the American Legion, the Veterans
      of Foreign Wars, organized labor, and their allies in political

      In 1943, the Seattle Chamber of Commerce and Congressman Henry
      Jackson jointly expressed interest in potentially using Japanese
      internees as forced labor to address the wartime shortage in farm
      labor. From 1943 through 1944, Congressman Warren Magnuson, a
      longtime supporter of the Teamsters Union, fed newspapers information
      meant to incite fear of resettlement, lobbied the U.S. military
      against resettlement, and warned ominously that his constituents
      were "violently opposed" to resettlement.[16]

      In October 1944, as some evacuees began returning but two months
      before the U.S. military announced its support for total
      resettlement, opposition to return spiked. As previously mentioned,
      supporters in Bremerton decided to form their own branch of the RPHL
      to fight the return of the Japanese and Japanese-Americans. They
      looked to groups like the Japanese Exclusion League and the Remember
      Pearl Harbor League to form their own league. In the Seattle Post
      Intelligencer on October 7th, 1944, a Seattle attorney, E.D. Phelan,
      recommended that the new group "work for an amendment to the United
      States constitution which would revoke the American citizenship of
      all Japanese." That same article also included opinions of people
      who merged the interests of veterans, farmers, and truck drivers.
      J.L. Anderson of Enumclaw, a member of the RPHL, linked Japanese and
      Japanese-American economic success with World War II. "Japanese in
      our territory worked every day during the depression because they
      accepted $1.50 a day –and gave 25 cents of that to a Japanese
      foreman, assertedly now a captain in the Japanese army, who send the
      money to Japan . Those two-bit pieces are now punching holes in our

      Local representatives of the Teamsters Union were particularly
      prominent in their support for internment and opposition to
      resettlement. Their union locals were both racially exclusive and
      deeply hostile to Japanese American farmers' tendency to employ
      Japanese American truck drivers to deliver their produce instead of
      all-white union truckers. And with Dave Beck at their head, the
      Teamsters were also one of the most powerful political forces in a
      heavily union town. John T. Steiner, secretary-treasurer of a local
      Teamsters Union told the Seattle P-I that "The Teamsters are
      campaigning to banish Japanese for the entire Pacific Coast ."[18]
      Leland Burrows, acting director of the U.S. government's War
      Relocation Authority, which would oversee resettlement, complained
      about the Teamsters' "widespread attempt to drive these people from
      employment in the produce business."[19] For a while, the local ACLU
      even considered filing an anti-trust lawsuit against the Teamsters
      and the Northwest Produce Association for their anti-Japanese
      politics. A report by the Church Council of Greater Seattle noted
      that since internment,

      Some of the more lucrative businesses in which Japanese had been
      fairly solidly entrenched are now partially or completely closed to
      them. The Teamsters Union and its closely affiliated organization of
      owners completely excludes them from the dry cleaning industry… and
      the potential competitors of the Japanese are able to reduce to a
      minimum their effectiveness in becoming established in the wholesale
      and retail produce business… Those businesses sold at the time of
      evacuation have been found to be remunerative, and the present owners
      are not interested in relinquishing them.

      Racial animosity fueled this sense of economic competition. Teamsters
      leaders suggested doing a mass mailing to the public of a statue or
      picture of General McArthur with the tag of "number one Jap-hater"—an
      idea McArthur found personally repellant.[20] And in a meeting of
      anti-Japanese Groups with city leaders and a U.S. general overseeing
      resettlement in 1945, Charles Doyle, the head of Seattle's Central
      Labor Council, issued a not so veiled threat that resettlement would
      result in lynching: "you bring them back, we won't be responsible for
      how many are hanging from the lamp posts."[21]

      Doyle was not alone in his threats. On December 18, 1944, when the
      government announced its resettlement policy, Benjamin Smith, the
      president of the Remember Pearl Harbor League, went public with his
      affiliated groups' opposition in a way that darkly hinted at the
      possibility of vigilante violence. The Seattle Times reported that
      the "League declared the Japanese still are dangerous to the war
      effort, and added that his organization has pledged 500 persons not
      to sell, lease or rent farms, homes or stores to the returning
      evacuees. He said that `further steps' might be taken." That same
      newspaper also quoted him saying "We see no reason why they should be
      allowed to return to the Coast, especially when they are getting
      along all right where they are."[22] In the Seattle Star on December
      18th, 1944, Smith was quoted saying that "The league is definitely
      opposed to the return of the Japanese, and will do every legal thing
      in our power to prevent it. No Member of the league will do any
      violence to any Japanese, but we gravely fear that irresponsible
      persons may do them some harm."[23]

      William Devin, Seattle 's Mayor, initially opposed resettlement but
      later backtracked. On September 20th, 1944 three months before the
      federal government's announcement, he said that he did not want to be
      the first to hire a Japanese or Japanese-American person in a city-
      government job. He "felt it would be better for these people to
      mingle with the community, to see how the community might take them,
      before their employment by the city."[24] Mayor Devin somewhat
      backed down when the WRA announced its resettlement plans. On
      December 18th, 1944, Devin released a statement that "promised `full
      protection' for all returned Japanese." He wished that the citizens
      of Seattle "put into effect those principals of democracy which we
      are all so justly proud as Americans. As the mayor of this city, it
      is my duty to see to it that all of our citizens, regardless of race
      or color, are given equal protection under the law and that I intend
      to do." Either feeling pressure from on high, or an ability to use
      the Army's declaration as political cover against his anti-Japanese
      allies, Devin finally went on record saying he was willing to accept
      the Japanese and Japanese-Americans back.[25] He went on to encourage
      the Civic Unity Committee to take a leading role in minimizing
      conflict over resettlement.[26]

      But just as Devin was backing down, Governor Mon C. Wallgren stepped
      up to oppose resettlement. The Seattle Post Intelligencer reported
      on January 23rd, 1945 that he "declared emphatically that he is
      unalterable opposed to the return of any Japanese to the Pacific
      Coast states for the duration of the war." Governor Wallgren
      frequently accused Japanese and Japanese-Americans of disloyalty, but
      never provided evidence to his claims. The Seattle Post Intelligencer
      reported a month earlier that the Army believed that "there was no
      longer any question of military security, and that loyal persons of
      Japanese descent would be permitted, if they so desired, to return to
      their former homes." When the Japanese and Japanese-Americans had
      been given the official word that they were able to return, the
      Governor was reportedly "visibly perturbed." Anticipating his
      opponents' criticism, the Governor, according to the Seattle PI,
      said "His objections to return of the Japanese had nothing to do with
      racial or economic matters. He reiterated several times that they
      were based purely on military considerations."[27]

      All of this sent the community mixed signals: the army told the
      public that everything was fine, but their local Governor was saying
      the opposite. What were people to think? In response to anti-
      Japanese groups, resettlement advocates used local newspapers as a
      vehicle to get their position out into the community about the issue
      of the returning Japanese and Japanese-Americans. The next part of
      this essay will examine the two sides of the debate which appeared in
      newspapers beginning in the end of 1944 mainly December through
      January of 1945.

      Citizens Speak Out: The Newspaper Debate
      Pro-Japanese groups, after Wallgren's anti-Japanese statement, wrote
      a letter to the newspaper telling the governor to revoke his
      statement and stand behind the decisions of the military.[28] This
      statement from the Governor also erupted onto the University of
      Washington Campus . On January 24, 1945 a day after the statement,
      University of Washington Daily writer, Julie Legg, published an
      editorial condemning the Governor's statement. In her editorial,
      Julie pointed that Washington State 's leadership on this issue could
      set the mood for other states on the West Coast. "Here would be a
      great chance for the state of Washington to stand for the democratic
      ideals upon which our nation is supposedly based. Here would be a
      chance for our state to take the lead and see that these loyal
      Americans are given just treatment." She criticized the Governor for
      making such a hasty statement, for second-guessing the FBI and saying
      that "citizens of this state who favor the return of our Japanese
      fellow citizens do not know of or cannot comprehend the works of
      sabotage and espionage that these people commit." "Mr. Wallgren," she
      concluded, "can't we be fair and allow them to return to their
      homes?" The next day there were several letters to the editor
      printed in the Daily commending the newspaper for having the courage
      to print this article. From those letters it seems clear that many
      people on the University of Washington campus supported the return of
      the Japanese and Japanese-Americans.[29]

      As the controversy raged several newspapers encouraged readers to
      voice their opinions about whether Japanese should be allowed to
      return. On December 18th, 1944 the Seattle Star—which gave the anti-
      resettlement forces some of their most positive press— interviewed
      people at random in the downtown area. One man said that if the army
      approved of Japanese-American return to the West Coast, then there
      should be no debate on the issue: "After all, the Japanese-Americans
      as they are termed, are in actuality American-Japanese, and as such
      are citizens under our constitution. It is not a question of
      sentiment, but of constitutionality." Betty Lou Huffy did not
      respond in the same way, "I do not think the Japanese-Americans
      should be allowed back here, ever. There are so many reasons they
      should not it would take me an hour to list them." Richard Messmer
      thought that the Japanese should be allowed to return to the West
      Coast: "After all, many of them have proved their loyalty by serving
      in our army. However I am against the return of those born in
      Japan ." Mrs. Bertha Saltee, however, said: "Never bring the Japs
      back. Both my son and son-in-law are in the service, fighting the
      Japs, and they would not want them back. You can't trust a Jap;
      he'll stab you in the back every time."[30]

      Letters to the editor also provide a window into citizens' various
      views on the resettlement issue. J. Logan of Bremerton wrote to the
      Seattle Post Intelligencer on December 30, 1944 expressing that he
      felt safer without the Japanese on the west coast because saboteurs
      could be more easily spotted since there were suppose to be no
      Japanese on the coast.[31] Bill Hubbs from Seattle felt that he
      didn't see how Japanese in America could remain loyal to America
      while their family was living in Japan , the enemy. He really did
      not mind the Japanese return but was not really for it either.[32]
      G.J. Helland from Snohomish also felt it was better the Japanese stay
      away from the west coast. He argued that the west coast shouldn't
      have to "hinder our manpower shortage by having to be on the alert
      for underground work by some disloyal Japanese." He was a supporter
      of the Governor, wishing to keep the camps open, because if the
      Japanese are let back into the west coast the will prolong the war.
      [33] Thos G. Sutherland, M.D. from Auburn saw the Japanese and
      Japanese-Americans return to the west coast as not being beneficial.
      He stated that it would increase the housing shortage, endanger the
      war industry and allow for espionage and sabotage. He wanted to
      remove the War Relocation Authority and let the army take over until
      the end of the war.[34]

      As these letters attested, debates over race and citizenship had a
      sharper focus at a time of war rationing and economic scarcity. On
      January 10th, 1945 the Seattle Star published an article which
      explained what some people were beginning to face with the return of
      the Japanese and Japanese-Americans. The article was about eight war
      families who had been living in a house owned by a Japanese-
      American. Upon his return from the camps, he wanted his house back
      for himself and his family. The occupants protested that it was not
      easy to find housing at the time, while the Japanese-American owner
      countered that it would be even harder for him and his family to find
      a place to stay than it would for a white family. The white tenants
      thought that he was being unfair to the war effort because their hard
      work was much needed for the war.[35]

      Many people in the community also voiced their pro-Japanese opinions
      on the issue of the return, and described the anti-Japanese groups as
      un-American and not helpful in the war effort. Mrs. Lynn Brannan
      from Auburn wrote to the Seattle Post Intelligencer on December 30,
      1944 "the `Remember Pearl Harbor League' is a stab in the back to our
      men on the battle fronts, because it is un-American. I say it is un-
      American because it proposes to judge a group of Americans as being
      disloyal without a fair hearing and on the grounds of the religious
      beliefs of their kin in another country." She then went on to say
      that the anti-Japanese groups are using this opportunity to be racist
      and take advantage of its economic opportunities, which seemed to be
      very true in some anti-Japanese organizations.[36]

      On December 18th, 1944 many people are featured in the Seattle Star
      having positive reactions to the decision to allow the Japanese and
      Japanese-Americans back. "Arthur G. Barnett, Seattle attorney and
      head of the Seattle Council of Churches social welfare committee,
      today expressed great pleasure at the news that the Japanese-
      Americans are to return." Floyd Schmoe, a long time peace activist
      and university professor, is another Seattleite who expressed his
      support for Japanese and Japanese-Americans: "Anyone now opposing the
      return of the Japanese-Americans to the West Coast is in effect now
      opposing our war department. Most of the opposition to return of the
      Japanese-Americans arises out of the hope of economic advantages or
      out of race prejudice and is usually cloaked as pseudo-patriotism."
      Schmoe was also quite pleased with the decision because his daughter
      was married to a Japanese-American; he hoped they would now move back
      to Seattle . Dr. Lee Paul Sieg, President of the University of
      Washington , made a statement that day that "Returning Japanese who
      wish to study at the University of Washington will be encouraged to
      do so." He also stated that the University would not be able to
      control the actions of all people but "those desiring to study at the
      university will be accepted as students in accordance with the
      regulations governing the admission of any student." [37] Harold V.
      Jensen, president of the Seattle Council of Churches was thrilled the
      day the WRA made the announcement of the return of the Japanese and
      Japanese-Americans. He said "the council at a meeting this afternoon
      will discuss specific plans to help the returning Japanese with any
      problems they may face such as housing and employment. Now that the
      military emergency which caused the evacuation has passed, revocation
      of the order is a much needed vindication of democracy."[38]

      Many others showed sympathy towards the Japanese. Four women from
      Seattle wrote in to the Seattle Post Intelligencer on January 26,
      1945 expressing that American-citizens of Japanese ancestry have had
      to suffer more than any other group in the country. "They have not
      only been deprived of their civil and constitutional rights but have
      also been socially and economically ostracized and are all too often
      regarded by their fellow Americans with unwarranted suspicions and

      A December 14th, 1944 editorial in the Seattle Star, titled "It's
      Time to do Some Thinking On Nips' Return" seemed to begrudgingly
      acknowledge the citizenship rights of Japanese-Americans, but still
      framed their return as a problem. The editorial stated
      that "Legally, there is nothing now which prevents their return-in
      fact, as far as the legality of the matter was concerned, it was
      impossible for the army to have evacuated them in the first place.
      They are American citizens and as such are entitled to `park' any
      place in the country." In the editorial, the writer also says that
      the WRA had interviewed many of the Japanese and Japanese-Americans
      that settled in Seattle recently, by permit, and that supposedly none
      of them wanted to stay because of the public reaction they were
      getting. Much of the public reaction is the propaganda being issued
      by the anti-Japanese leagues such as the Remember the Pearl Harbor
      League. In the end he stated, "The question of what to do with the
      Japanese seems to be facing us. And somebody had better do some
      serious thinking about it."[40]

      The three local newspapers Seattle Times, the Seattle Star and the
      Seattle Post Intelligencer all covered the issue in different ways.
      The Seattle Times covered resettlement as a positive event, but
      perhaps to prevent the incitement of racial tension, did not publish
      as much about the issue as the city's other two daily papers. The
      Seattle Star was the first to start the anti-Japanese agitation, and
      it gave the issue a lot of coverage, looking to the community for
      comments on the issue and providing a great deal of information on
      anti-Japanese organizations. [41] The Seattle Post Intelligencer
      provided the area with the most coverage on the issue. It gave the
      community many different views on the matter with letters to the
      editor, coverage of government officials and both anti- and pro-
      Japanese organizations.

      In the first months of 1945 as the Japanese and Japanese-Americans
      began to return, the controversy faded from the pages of the press.
      Many efforts had been taken and most citizens had decided to accept
      the Japanese and Japanese-Americans back into the community. The
      government had begun a publicity campaign on the heroism of Japanese-
      American Soldiers, which helped to ease a lot of the anti-Japanese
      fears.[42] Anti-Japanese organizations failed to prevent the
      military from allowing resettlement, and failed to broadly influence
      public opinion. Their campaigns showed how widespread Anti-Japanese
      hostility in the Seattle area was, but at the same time how shallow
      it was. In the summer of 1945 anti-Japanese groups throughout the
      Puget Sound began to dwindle. The Sumner branch of the Remember
      Pearl Harbor League no longer was holding public demonstrations and
      their leader Nifty Garrett sold his Sumner Standard and retired to
      Missouri .[43] Their failure testified to the power of civil rights
      organizations to advance racial tolerance even in a time of war.
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