811.5245/53: Telegram

The Governor of California (Warren) to the Secretary of State

Reference your telegram of June 4, regarding amendments to California Alien Land Law. As originally introduced, this bill may have been susceptible to the inferences of those who object to its approval, but as amended it does not in any way change the definition of an alien whose ownership of California land is prohibited by the existing California statute, nor does it place any greater restrictions on aliens than are contained in the present law. All the bill attempts to do is to improve the enforcement procedure in order to eliminate abuses [Page 314]and evasions which were so prevalent among the Japanese residents of California prior to Pearl Harbor. I assure you that everything prohibited by these proposed amendments is now prohibited by the existing statute.

We have had no difficulties either before or after Pearl Harbor with nationals of any of our Allies. On the other hand, the Japanese made use of the loose language of the present statute to acquire control of property surrounding airports, aircraft factories, bombing bases, lighthouses, vital necessary public utility installations, port facilities, and even entrances to military cantonments. It is to prevent any repetition of such conditions, particularly if Japanese are to be permitted to return to California during period of war, that military and law enforcement officers and defense officials urge approval of this pending legislation, as essential to the safety of our State, which has been designated as a combat zone.

My letter follows.94

Earl Warren
  1. Infra.