OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR
May 5, 1942Mr. C. E. Pickett
Dear Mr. Pickett:
The American Friends Service Committee can make a significant contribution to the program of the War Relocation Authority.
As you know, evacuation of Japanese aliens and American-citizen Japanese is now under way on the Pacific Coast. Most evacuees will move from the prohibited zone to relocation centers managed by WRA. At thse centers we shall be able to provide for elementary and high school education. We cannot, of course, establish universities.
Many eminent educators have urged that university students in the prohibited zone be permitted to transfer to midwestern colleges and universities where they may continue their education. Certainly I agree that this would be desirable.
It is not feasible for the War Relocation Authority to undertake such a university program for American-citizen Japanese, but this in no way detracts from the desirability of such an accomplishment. I should like to ask that you establish a committee which would aid you in formulating a set of policies and program. Such a program will involve the selection and certification of students at assembly or relocation centers, a phase of the task that must, of course, be handled by the Federal Government. It will involve transportation of students from the prohibited zone to a designated university, a function which I think may also be handled by WRA, just as it transports all evacuees from the prohibited zone to their war-duration homes. It involves the development of true understanding of this whole problem in many universities as a prerequisite to the students and faculty of those universities making arrangements for the reception of American-citizen Japanese. Finally, it involves either work opportunities or non-Federal funds for the support of students at the universities.
I should like to have you not only to bring together a committee to formulate a program but also to do the necessary follow-through work which will be necessary if this program is to be realized. Let me emphasize that the Federal Government for the protection of the students themselves and to re-assure the public will make individual examinations and give individual certifications. This, however, is only half of the matter. It is equally necessary to see to it that difficulties would not develop in the new locations to which the students would go.
I handed to Mr. Morris the roughest sort of suggested press release. I am anxious that some announcement be made early this week so that the peolple of the Coast who are concerned about this problem will not be completely discouraged.