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welfare agencies of the former evacuated area. At the centers staffs of trained welfare workers were geared up to the job of interviewing all families and individuals who had special problems of support, analysing their needs, and advising them of the types of assistance for which they might be eligible. Case summaries prepared at the centers were transmitted through the War Relocation Authority field offices to the State and ultimately the local welfare agencies.
Although the procedure for handling dependency cases was somewhat slow and cumbersome at first, it was streamlined and speeded up considerably throughout the spring. By the end of June, most of the delays had been eliminated, and the War Relocation Authority was able to plan for the final closing of the centers with full assurance that no genuinely needy person would be left without adequate means of support.
Employment and Housing
Because of the widespread need for workers of nearly all types, relocating evacuees experienced comparatively little difficulty during the year in finding job opportunities consistent with their individual qualifications. The problem lay, rather, in finding enough evacuees to fill the jobs which were available. On the West coast, however, the resettlers enjoyed somewhat less freedom of job selection than in other sections of the country. Governmental regulations continued to debar the evacuees from employment in coastal fishing or waterfront work, while one of the more important labor organizations of the region—the International Teamsters Union—adopted a policy of categorically excluding from membership all persons of Japanese descent except honorably discharged veterans. In a few cases individual labor union members resisted working on the same jobs or in the same shops with the returnees and even threatened to strike if the Japanese Americans were hired. The most noteworthy case of this kind occurred in May at Stockton, Calif., where some members of the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union attempted to foment a strike in protest against the employment of three returned evacuees. This action was promptly repudiated as contrary to the union's policy both by the international president and by the head of the San Francisco local which had jurisdiction over the Stockton unit. The protesting members were swiftly suspended from membership and were told that the union would tolerate no racial discrimination. A strike was effectively averted and the evacuees continued on the job. Housing was a problem for resettlers in practically all of the Nation's largest cities and was particularly acute in the metropolitan centers along the Pacific coast. Shortly after the opening of the West coast field offices, intensive efforts were made to encourage the estab
lishment of evacuee hostels in that region similar to those which had previously been operating in otber sections of the country. These hostels, usually operated by church groups or other organizations interested in assisting Japanese American relocation, were designed to provide temporary accommodations for resettlers until a more permanent type of housing could be located. Before the fiscal year ended, about a dozen had been set up in principal West coast cities. The War Relocation Authority actively assisted in their establishment by making surplus relocation center equipment such as bedding, cooking utensils, and the like—available to the sponsors on a loan basis.
Both on the West coast and elsewhere the Authority assigned staff members at its principal field offices to work full time in helping resettlers to locate housing accommodations and marshalled every available resource to overcome this particular problem. By the end of June substantial progress had been made toward the ultimate goal of assuring at least temporary accommodations for every individual and every family group leaving the relocation centers.
CENTER MANAGEMENT The job of operating emergency-built cities for displaced persons of Japanese descent has never been more than a temporary expedient in the War Relocation Authority program. From the time when the long-range policies of the agency were first formulated in the summer of 1942, the Authority has always looked forward to the day when the evacuation orders would be rescinded and the shelter of the centers would no longer be required. The War Department's announcement of December 17, restoring freedom of movement throughout the United States to the great majority of the evacuees, eliminated in one stroke the center's chief reason for continued existence.
The revocation order did not, however, automatically transport the thousands of center residents to their chosen destinations, and it did not solve overnight all the manifold problems involved in dissolving these complex wartime communities. In order to prevent a chaotic mass movement and allow for individualized relocation planning and assistance, a spaced-out program of center closing was obviously essential. After careful consideration of factors such as transporta- . tion, available housing, and employment opportunities, the Authority decided that no center could be closed on a sound basis in less than 6 months but that all (except Tule Lake) should be closed within a year.
Because of the greatly increased emphasis on relocation preparations and the need to keep center management problems at a minimum, a policy was adopted immediately after revocation governing visits that might be made back to the centers by previously relocated
evacuees. At first, such visits were permitted only for purposes of completing family relocation plans or for emergency purposes and only with the advance approval of the appropriate War Relocation Authority field office. Later the advance approval requirement was eliminated, and each relocated evacuee was permitted a maximum of 30 days for visiting at the centers without regard to the purpose of the visit.
By the end of June all phases of center operations were well advanced toward final liquidation. Although there were still about 44,000 people to relocate and large amounts of Government property which eventually would have to be inventoried and processed through surplus property channels, the War Relocation Authority had every reason to believe that all centers could be closed by December and was contemplating the definite possibility of closing some at an even earlier date.
Construction and Maintenance
Revocation of the exclusion order brought immediate reduction of the construction and maintenance operations to a minimum, in all centers except Tule Lake, where it was necessary to complete a considerable program of buildings already under construction or planned. Likewise maintenance was pared down to the minimum consistent with efficient operation. By the use of lumber and other materials released through cancellation of many center construction projects, sufficient stock was available for all construction and maintenance, and the building of boxes and crates for the freight of relocating evacuees, without ordering new stocks. This was made more effective by the interchange of materials between the different Centers.
During the first half of the fiscal year the agricultural program was in full operation, in accordance with the policy of producing as much of the food needed for the evacuees as possible. But with announcement of the closing date for the eight relocation centers an almost complete reversal was made. No crops were planted in the spring of 1945 with the exception of Poston and Gila, where vegetables could mature and be harvested by June 30. No additional beef cattle or poultry were purchased and the hog breeding program was discontinued. A program for the orderly fattening and slaughtering of the livestock on hand was put into effect. By the close of the fiscal year most of the livestock at the centers had been consumed.
Sponsored by the Community Councils of seven centers, an allcenter evacuee conference was held in Salt Lake City in February.
Approximately 30 delegates met for a week, discussing problems affecting the evacuees as a result of the opening of the West coast and announcement of center closure. The delegates prepared and approved a letter to the Director of the Authority requesting reconsideration of center closing and submitted a list of recommendations to facilitate resettlement and rehabilitation of those relocating. Although the Authority did not modify its policy on center closing, it gave careful consideration to the other recommendations of the conferees and instituted a number of procedural changes along the lines recommended.
Felonies, misdemeanors, and violations of administrative regulations decreased in all centers, and the general crime rate was small, compared with national rates.
Business Enterprises Evacuee-operated business enterprises in the centers generally were in excellent financial condition at the close of the fiscal year, with assets on May 31, listed at $1,237,369, or 16 percent lower than 1 year previously. Inventories were reduced during the fiscal year from $872,000 to $429,000 and the cash balance increased from $441,000 to $666,000.
Education With the end of a vigorous 3-year school program in the centers set to coincide approximately with the close of the fiscal year considerable readjusting was necessary. School enrollment on the elementary, secondary and nursery school levels showed a drop of 2,780 during the year. The elementary and secondary enrollment at the beginning of the year was 18,772, and at the end of the year 16,399. The nursery school enrollment dropped from 1,928 to 1,521. A major part of these declines was the result of relocation. The records of pupils were checked to insure that all outstanding requirements would be met.
Medical Care During the year there was a marked decrease in the activities of the maternity service as compared with that of the previous year, accounted for largely by the departure of a great many young married people. Total births were 1,745; deaths 541.
When the exclusion order was lifted, there were 700 patients under War Relocation Authority's general custodianship in West coast hospitals, including approximately 250 tuberculosis patients hospitalized there prior to evacuation; 108 mental cases transferred to institutions in their States of legal residence, following commitments from centers, and the remainder, chiefly mental patients hospitalized over a long period. Arrangements were made as of June 30, 1945,
for discontinuance of financial responsibility for hospitalization for 343 patients at approximately $900 per day.
A January survey showed there were 190 tuberculous patients in the various center hospitals who would need long-time sanatorium care, and a gradual transfer of these patients to the west coast was begun in the spring. At the same time individual interviews were held with over 200 tuberculous patients in west coast hospitals and reports of these interviews were sent to the appropriate centers in order to further relocation by correlating the plans of the patients with those of their immediate family members.
Fire Protection With millions of dollars of value and thousands of buildings under their guardianship, fire protection crews at the centers established an enviable record of only 245 fires during the year, with a total loss in buildings and contents of $37,652, of which $25,310 was Government property and $12,342 private property. Granada center recorded only 10 fires; Poston with the greatest number had 48. Manzanar accounted for $19,264 of the total loss of which $19,051 resulted from the burning of three Government warehouses. The smallest loss at any center was $170 at Central Utah.
ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGEMENT Administrative aspects of center closures involved huge physical assets which must be accounted for and disposed of in an orderly manner. Teams composed of accountants and property experts were sent into the centers where all property records were being put in order, as the fiscal year closed. Surplus properties were listed and a conservation program was adopted which entailed an exchange of materials and supplies between centers. Under this procedure things needed in each center were listed, and where these needs could be filled from the surplusses of other centers, transfers were effected.
Procedures for mess operations were overhauled and a policy adopted that would require the closing down of a block mess hall when the population in a block dropped to 125 residents. This resulted in a considerable saving of manpower and supplies, as many blocks throughout the various centers fell within the scope of the closing order. As a further conservation measure, food stocks which had been carried on the basis of a 60 to 90 day supply, were reduced so that quantities on hand were sufficient for only 20 to 30 days.
A procedure was also developed for the final disposition of all War Relocation Authority records, and the schedule which was recommended to the National Archives and the Congress was given the stamp of approval, and put into effect.