The Decision to Evacuate the Japanese from the Pacific Coast

LangeIn the early afternoon on 11 February Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy accompanied Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson to the White House. The President told the War Department secretaries to go ahead and do anything they thought necessary under the circumstances. “We have carte blanche to do what we want to as far as the President’s concerned,” Mr. McCloy informed Colonel Bendetsen immediately after the White House conference. The President specifically authorized the evacuation of citizens. In doing so he observed that there probably would be some repercussions to such action, but said that what was to be done had to be dictated by the military necessity of the situation. Mr. Roosevelt’s only reported qualification was, “Be as reasonable as you can.” Mr. McCloy also told Colonel Bendetsen that he thought the President was prepared to sign an executive order giving the War Department the authority to carry out whatever action it decided upon. (Stetson Conn)

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