… signed 73 years ago today by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Now therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States, and Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, I hereby authorize and direct the Secretary of War, and the Military Commanders whom he may from time to time designate, whenever he or any designated Commander deems such action to be necessary or desirable, to prescribe military areas in such places and of such extent as he or the appropriate Military Commander may determine, from which any or all persons may be excluded, and with respect to which, the right of any persons to enter, remain in, or leave shall be subject to whatever restriction the Secretary of War or the appropriate Military Commander may impose in his discretion.
The Secretary of War is hereby authorized to provide for residents of any such area who are excluded therefrom, such transportation, food, shelter, and other accommodations as may be necessary, in the judgment of the Secretary of War or the said Military Commander, and until other arrangements are made, to accomplish the purpose of this order.
Within two weeks the western portion of California, Oregon and Washington, and part of Arizona were designated an area from which “any and all persons” might be excluded. The designation was made by Lt.Gen. John L. DeWitt, the commander of the western defense command. DeWitt was later quoted as saying, “a Jap’s a Jap” and “it makes no difference whether he is an American citizen or not…the west coast is too vital and too vulnerable to take any chances.”
The newspaper headline is from just eight days after the E.O.