811.5245/43

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

Dear Mr. Secretary: I am enclosing a confirming copy of the telegram I have today sent you95 in reply to your wire of June 4, 1943, regarding the bill which was passed at the recently adjourned session of the California Legislature amending the Alien Land Law of this State.

The bill is Senate Bill No. 140. Since receiving your telegram of April 28, 1943, regarding the same subject matter, I have given the legislation my personal attention and consideration. The bill passed the Senate of the California Legislature on March 23, 1943; on April 19, 1943 it passed the Assembly; and on April 23, 1943 it was delivered to me for my consideration. The bill makes several amendments to the Alien Land Law of California which—as you know—has been on the statute books of this State since 1920. As I stated in my telegram of even date, the measure does not enlarge the class of ineligible aliens subject to the provisions of the existing law; it merely attempts to improve the enforcement procedure, in order to eliminate abuses and evasions which were widespread among Japanese residents of California prior to the outbreak of war with that nation.

Immediately after Pearl Harbor a survey was made of the ownership of real property in this State by Japanese, and we were shocked [Page 315]to find that, through evasions of the Alien Land Laws, the Japanese in many communities had placed themselves in positions where they could have destroyed essential public utilities, war industries, and—in many instances—military installations and means of communication. It is my belief that it was these findings more than any other factor which impelled the military authorities to evacuate all Japanese from California.

These ownerships of land by Japanese nationals were acquired, not in open and flagrant defiance of the Alien Land Law, but through connivance and subterfuges made possible by the weaknesses of the language in the existing statute. As stated in my telegram of this date, it is to remedy these conditions and to prevent their recurrence—particularly in view of the possibility of a return of the Japanese to California during the period of the war—that the amendments proposed by this bill are necessary at the present time. I desire to assure you that there has been no thought or intention on the part of the sponsors of the legislation that it should have the effect of casting any additional burden upon the nationals of any of the United Nations, or that it should be used to cast any such burden upon them.

For your information, copies of the existing law and of the bill passed by the Legislature are enclosed.96

Should you desire any further information on the subject, I shall be glad to furnish it to you.

Very truly yours,

Earl Warren
  1. Dated June 5, supra.
  2. Not reprinted.