Segregation proposed for Japanese in Hawaii (7-17-41)

The Pittsburgh Press (July 17, 1941)


Step may be taken to prevent sabotage at Pearl Harbor

Washington, July 17 (UP) –
Chairman Carl Vinson (D-GA) of the House Naval Affairs Committee suggested today that Japanese nationals in Hawaii may be “segregated,” if such a step is necessary to protect the Pearl Harbor naval base against sabotage.

He made the suggestion in connection with consideration of the administration’s proposal for a $100 million construction program of bases in the Pacific, from the Philippines to Alaska.

Rep. Beverly M. Vincent (D-KY) raised the question of the presence of the Japanese in Hawaii during committee discussion of an $18,605,000 item for a new air base at Barbers Point, Hawaii.

Deportation mentioned

Mr. Vincent asked if it were possible to deport the Japanese nationals as a precautionary move.

There are 35,000 Japanese nationals and 120,000 American-born Japanese – of whom 80,000 are school children – in Hawaii.

Mr. Vinson said:

Let’s not get into deportation in this bill.

He added that it would be unwise to move the naval base from Hawaii merely because of the presence of a “few or a few thousand subversive Japanese.” He said the Navy “is trying to protect its property in Hawaii” and would segregate the Japanese if such a step was necessary.

Delegate Samuel W. King, Hawaii’s Congressional representative, said he had no knowledge of plans to segregate the Japanese. He added that protection of the naval base is the proper concern of the Army, whose officials he contended are satisfied as to the loyalty of Hawaiians, including those of Japanese descent.

Danger of sabotage

Mr. King said:

The danger of sabotage is nationwide. However, in Hawaii, not a single person, alien or native, has been officially accused of treasonable conduct or sabotage. We have no such cases as those recently brought into a New York court by the FBI, involving persons of German and not Japanese ancestry.

Apprehension in Washington over the Japanese was not confined to concern over the American naval establishment in Hawaii.

Rep. Warren Magnuson (D-WA), a member of the Naval Affairs Committee and chairman of the United States-Alaska Highway Commission, disclosed that the State Department is accelerating negotiations for a defense highway across western Canada, largely because of the Far Eastern situation.