Michi’s Research

Thousands of additional documents were culled by Michi Weglyn over an eight-year period in her investigation behind the government’s decision to incarcerate Japanese Americans during World War II. A selected few are included in their entirety here (in chronological order). The documents selected are not intended to give a full history of the story as Weglyn compiled it, but to offer a look inside the Roosevelt Administration as seen through primary documents collected by Weglyn as part of her voluminous research.

  • Eventually released as part of a Congressional investigation in 1945 into the causes of the Pearl Harbor attack, the Munson Report was a 1941 investigation by Curtis B. Munson, special representative for the State Department, who was ordered by President Roosevelt to establish the degree of loyalty among Japanese Americans on the West Coast and in Hawaii. Weglyn noted in her papers that publishing the entire report “might turn off readers” so she did not do so in her book. The full report appears in its entirety here.

  • John Franklin Carter, a columnist, journalist, and friend to FDR, spearheaded the investigation for which Munson was commissioned and wrote a summary of the Munson Report in 1941.

  • General Douglas MacArthur’s secret radiogram sent in February 1942 reports “reciprocal retaliatory measures” used by the Japanese in the Philippines be applied to interned Japanese. He says, “The only language the Japanese understand is force and it should be applied mercilessly to his nationals if necessary.”

  • Only one week before the evacuation order was issued, Stimson sends a letter to the President noting that he had had nearly three full months to carefully review the Munson findings and was returning the report to the White House.

  • Copies of telegrams sent to J. Edgar Hoover asking for removal of Japanese Americans from Union Pacific Railroad. This evidentiary material was used in finally granting redress to railroad workers fired from their jobs during the war.

  • Stimson’s notes taken after the cabinet meeting of February 27, 1942, indicate that there was concern about the difficulties the evacuation posed, and that FDR was insistent upon taking it out of the hands of the Army. Despite the fact that this was three weeks after the Munson Report was returned to FDR, there was no mention of it in this document.

  • Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy sends a memo to M.S. Eisenhower detailing with specific numbers how many Japanese would need to be relocated.

  • By July 1942, Stimson sends a letter acknowledging the way the evacuation was handled and that it had been met with approval by “the lawyers of the State of California.” He applauds the “outstanding citizens of California,” ironically, he states, “those directly concerned with the protection of the rights of individuals.”

  • A confidential memo by Lt. General J.L. DeWitt advocates segregating the Kibei (born in the United States and educated and “indoctrinated” in Japan) from Nisei. He presents a plan whereby “cooperative Nisei” could help to separate the Kibei with a view to their ultimate repatriation.

  • Memo discusses details of labor problems within the camps and whether Geneva convention standards applied.

  • In this letter to WRA director Dillon S. Myer, Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy outlines the stringent security requirements to be taken at the Tule Lake Relocation Center.

  • George C. Marshall, the head of the military, inquires of Lt. General Delos C. Emmons if a renewed recruiting campaign to enlist Japanese Americans could be instituted.

  • A Department of State report by H.M. Benninghoff outlines how he sees the conditions at the Tule Lake Relocation Center as of November 25, 1943.<

  • FDR’s wartime Attorney General Frances Biddle summarizes for the President what he feels are the problems of “reabsorption” of Japanese Americans into the American population and who should administer that process.

  • A letter from Lt. General S.B. Buckner denying permission for an internee to return to his native Alaska on grounds of his nationality, stating “The blood policy is the only safe one.”

  • Undersecretary of Interior Abe Fortas responds to a letter from Yale law professor Eugene Rostow discussing the Korematsu and Endo cases.

Years of Infamy includes twelve original documents carefully chosen by Michi Weglyn to substantiate claims made in the book. They are as follows:


  1. Knox Demand for Wholesale Internment of Hawaiian Japanese
  2. Addendum, March 11, 1942, to J.C.S. 11, February 12, 1942, Adopted by the Joint U.S. Chiefs of Staff on March 9, 1942
  3. Distribution of Japanese Relief Goods Received on Exchange Ship M. S. Gripsholm on December 1, 1943
  4. Surveillance Behind Barbed Wire
  5. Censorship of Relocation Center Publications
  6. Presidential Proclamation No. 2655
  7. Selected Documents Relating to Hostage Reserve Project
  8. Memorandum to Cordell Hull: Postwar Deportation of Japanese Americans Discussed in Relation to Possible Measures To Be Pursued by Canada
  9. Army Warning to Governor Earl Warren that Returnees Must be Allowed Safe Return
  10. Jay Franklin’s Covering Memorandum
  11. Leave Clearance Interview Questions
  12. Convinced that Pending High Court Cases Would Be Lost, Biddle Refuses To Prosecute on the Basis of Executive Order 9066

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