811.5294/499a: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Japan (Grew)

143. On August 20, Japanese Chargé called on Under Secretary and stated that he had a telegram from his Government stating that a farmer’s organization in neighborhood of Phoenix, Arizona, had on [Page 691] August 16 announced that all Japanese living in that district must move out within 10 days. He requested Department’s help. Later, he gave Hornbeck70 memorandum stating that Japanese Vice Consul from Los Angeles was at Phoenix and, in absence of Governor, had talked with Attorney General. There was apparently discussion of the possibility that American farmers might try to move the Japanese by force and the Japanese resist by force.

On August 21, the Under Secretary telegraphed the Governor and Hornbeck talked by telephone to the Attorney General of Arizona. Text of Under Secretary’s telegram was apparently given out in Phoenix. Attorney General telegraphed Under Secretary as follows:

“Local County Attorney’s office is of the opinion that the farmers of this valley protesting Japanese situation will not resort to physical violence. County Attorney’s office advises that farmers have been repeatedly admonished not to resort to physical violence but rather to allow orderly court procedure to follow. Sheriff’s office advises that it has no knowledge of any contemplated use of physical violence. Also that Sheriff’s office is prepared to protect rights of all people involved.”

Department has also asked information from another source and has received report similarly reassuring. Apparently both Americans and Japanese are charged with having violated Arizona alien land law but no evidence of force being used.

Associated Press reports received from Tokyo this morning indicate that Japanese Government and press appear to be more agitated and apprehensive than the facts of the situation warrant. We of course cannot guarantee that procedure will be absolutely orderly, but we shall spare no effort and are confident that Arizona authorities will do likewise to see that none but lawful processes are followed.

Department suggests that you inform Foreign Office of the above and urge that it discourage, as we are doing, sensational discussion of the matter.

  1. Stanley K. Hornbeck, Chief of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs.