Memorandum by the Under Secretary of State (Phillips)

The Japanese Chargé d’Affaires called to thank me for our note of yesterday74 with regard to the Japanese situation in Phoenix, Arizona; he said that the Department’s communication had crossed a message which he received this morning from his Government, in which deep concern was expressed with regard to the Arizona developments; the Japanese Government had been advised that originally 8,000 acres had been under cultivation by Japanese farmers and that now only 2,000 acres are under Japanese cultivation; the explanation being that American land owners have been threatened with violence if they continued to employ Japanese laborers; the land owners themselves, therefore, had become fearful of violence and had cancelled largely their contracts with Japanese laborers. The Chargé also reminded me that no arrests had been made, as yet, and for this reason his Government would welcome the sending of Federal Agents to Phoenix; he was glad, however, to learn that a committee of three had been formed consisting of one representative of the Japanese laborers, one representative of the American farmers and one neutral, which it was hoped would find a friendly solution to the problem.

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I explained to the Chargé the Department’s concern, that I had personally talked to the Governor, who I felt certain was doing everything he could and who was evidently aware of the importance of the matter; I explained to him that Federal Agents could only be sent out by the Department of Justice under very unusual circumstances and that it was up to the Attorney General to decide when those circumstances existed. I also explained that we were in touch with the Attorney General on this very point and that I would let the Chargé d’Affaires know as soon as the Attorney General had reached any decision; I said that it might well be that the Attorney General would have to communicate with the Governor of Arizona before sending an agent to that state.

William Phillips
  1. Note dated October 9, p. 695.