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Congress of the United States, what their loyalties were loyalties which could not be questioned.
Now, I do not believe it is necessary for me to go into the long combat record of the Four Hundred and Forty-second. I think it is pretty well known. I would, however, like to give you a few statistics about its casualties.
When the combat team originally went into action they had a complement of a little over 3,000 men. After only 120 days of combat fighting, mind you, our casualties, as the War Department has carried them time and time again, were over 300 percent. We had 9,486 casualties. Most of these casualties were sustained when we rescued the lost Texas battalion of white Americans. After fighting through from Salerno up through Italy, we were transferred to northern France to go through the various mountains there. No army in history up to that time had ever broken through this area.
We were assigned the job of spearheading the drive. We broke through, yes, but during the initial break-through one of our battalions of Americans from Texas-it is too bad the Congressman from Texas is not here because he could tell you the story-was isolated by the Germans. Seven regiments were ordered to the rescue of that one Texas battalion, but none were able to break through.
After 4 days of waiting, the Japanese-American combat team in another sector was pulled out of the line and ordered to the rescue of that Texas battalion. We made it. We rescued 189 Texans, but we lost over 200 men killed just in that rescue.
I will never forget that, because my brother was one of those.
I remember when we went into the line in northern France we had a full rifle complement to every company, over 200 men.
We had 40 men in reserve for each company. Yet, after we made the rescue of the Lost Battalion, after we had spearheaded the drive of the Seventh Army through northern France, one company had only two men who could crawl out under their own power.
Yet, none of us ever asked for relief. None of us ever showed the white feather. And the only a. v. 0. l.'s—absent without leave, gentlemen-were those of the men in the hospitals who, though they were seriously wounded and should have remained in hospitals, knowing the tragic situation of their buddies up front insisted upon leaving their hospitals, some still lame, some still halt, others with gaping wounds, in order to strengthen that thin red line that we had up there.
The commanding general of the Thirty-sixth Division—and I will never forget it—told us at our little memorial ceremonies we had that no outfit in American history "has ever showed greater courage, greater conviction in the American way, than you Japanese-Americans.
I say this not to brag about our outfit-although I think it is an American trait to brag about a good outfit like that-but I say it simply to indicate that here you had a great number of American soldiers of Japanese ancestry who believed in America, who so believed in it that even though they were incarcerated in virtual prisons they saw behind and beyond the barbed-wire fences; they saw beyond the watchtowers manned by armed MP's; they saw America, just and fairminded, willing to give them and their parents a decent break.
And that is why, even though they were suspected by their own Government, they went out and fought as well as they did.
So much for those in the European theater. May I just make one comment about those who served in the Pacific. In the Pacific area our intelligence was weak. The reason for that was that very few persons in America could speak and understand the Japanese language well enough. Thus, Japanese-Americans were used as combat intelligence troops.
Just last week, in the April 10 edition, I believe it was, of the Saturday Evening Post, there was an article by one of the intelligence chiefs under General MacArthur, and he tells us the use of Japanese-American troops in the Pacific shortened the war by months and saved thousands of American casualties.
Let me tell one story and I will wind up this particular part of my statement. We had a fellow by the name of Frank Hachiya. He was a fellow about my age. He lived in Hood River, Oreg. At the time of the evacuation he was moved to the relocation center in the desert area of Idaho. While he was gone the American Legion of that particular post removed his name from the honor roll of that community along with 15 others.
What happened to Frank? He volunteered for military intelligence duty. Frank, after finishing his basic training, was dropped behind Japanese lines at Leyte. During the invasion, the amphibious landing, Frank tried to crawl back with information. He was shot by an American soldier who mistook him for the enemy. And yet, because he knew that the safety-yes, the lives of his American buddies depended upon his getting through, mortally wounded though he was, he crawled in his own path of blood, as it were, to his commanding officer, gave him the entire defenses of the Japanese on Leyte.
He received for that a Distinguished Service Cross, but Frank isn't here to plead with me for citizenship for his dad and mother.
Now, Dr. Judd's bill does present two different problems. One is the problem of naturalization; the other the problem of immigration.
Unfortunately, I am not an expert on the problem of immigration, but I do say this: Our interests in immigration are the same as any other American, and we certainly are opposed to any discrimination based upon race or color or creed.
On the other subject of naturalization, however, I believe that I am an expert. I am an expert because the great majority of the people that are going to be benefited by this bill are our parents, who came here either prior to 1924, which is the date of the passage of the Oriental Exclusion Act, or prior to about 1908, when the agreement between Japan and the United States limiting immigration was passed. In other words, the great majority of the people we are now considering under the legislation today are people who have been here 40 or 50 years.
Čertainly they have contributed to America. There is the case of the great potato king of Stockton Valley. He saw the swamps and the malaria-infested islands in the Stockton River, He devised a system of draining the water, irrigating the soil, so that today the Stockton Islands are some of the best potato-producing country in the world. In fact, I think they give Maine some competition these days, Mr. Congressman.
There is also the case of a gentleman from Texas, Mr. Saibara, from Webster, Tex. He introduced rice growing into Texas. He bad a son who was a lieutenant colonel with the First Army in Europe.
Well, we could go on and on with this record. I would simply like to say this: During World War II aliens of Japanese ancestry were screened as no other people have ever been screened in our history, and this bill simply provides these screened people an opportunity to apply for naturalization.
It does not waive any rights. It does not grant any privileges. These people are, under this bill, required to do the same things as any other immigrant, and that is all we are asking. We are not asking for anything special, because we fought the way we did. We do not think that that is in the American tradition. But we do think we are entitled to ask, as Americans, for our parents, whom we know so well, the same rights as those accorded to other immigrants.
Now, I happen to be a member of the American Legion. I happen to be, in fact, the legislative director for the State of Utah Veterans of Foreign Wars. I would like to make one or two comments about what-should I say my comrade?---from the American Legion said just before Mr. Ennis.
He said, first, that he questioned that there were no Japanese resident aliens in the United States who were not loyal to the United States. He cited the example of a person they caught off Corregidor who he claimed had gone to an American school.
True enough; let's clear the record on all of that. There are a great number of Japanese from Japan who came to the United States for education. These people studied here under agreements between the United States and Japan. Certainly they would know the language, and they would return to Japan. But, the record is certainly clear. Admiral Nimitz, General Marshall, and others have testified just recently before the House Subcommittee on Territories and Lands about the loyalty of the Japanese in Hawaii as well as those in the United States, and their record is clear and convincing.
There has not been a single instance, as far as they know, as far as the Federal Bureau of Investigation knows, not a single instance of any sabotage or espionage on the part of a resident Japanese or a Japanese American in the United States before, during, or since Pearl Harbor.
Now, I have one or two letters I would like to read just to indicate how some of the people we are talking about, pleading for, feel about this thing
There are two terms that have been used quite often this morning. I would like to clarify them. The term "issei” means the immigrant Japanese who came from Japan to the United States. The term "pisei” means American citizens of Japanese descent. Then I would like to introduce the term “hansei.” That means half nisei.
Now, these are the most tragic of all. The great majority of Issei entered the United States in their teens or twenties. The Hansei are those who entered the United States when they were just 2 or 3 years old.
I have a case bere of a girl who, if I may use the term, was conceived in the United States, and her mother had to go back to Japan because her mother was dying there. She was born overseas, and yet she came to the United States when she was just a few years of
agemonths, in fact.
Her name is Miss Yoneko Watanabe. This letter comes from the young lady, who lives at 1511 North Street, Philadelphia, Pa. (Reading:)
Thank you for notifying me of the hearing of bill 5004 which is designed to give citizenship to the Issei and Hansei, because I happen to be a Hansei and I have a special interest in this bill.
As far as I can remember, I have always felt that I was the "black sheep" of the family for I was the only one among four children not to have citizenship. I felt that I was cheated out of something very wonderful and precious for it was only a matter of 3 months that made a world of difference to me.
My mother, after having two sons born in the United States, was suddenly called back to Japan due to the illness of my grandmother. She was carrying me at the time and if she had remained in the States for another 3 months I would have automatically inherited my citizenship. All this time my father remained in the States. Eventually, my mother returned and my youngest brother was born. This gave citizenship to all my brothers by birth. My two older brothers have served in the United States Army during this last World War.
The American ideals, its way of living and sharing, have always been my ideals and nothing will mean more to me than being one of its citizens.
I have here, Mr. Chairman, about 80 letters written by these people who want citizenship. One is a father of seven sons that served in the United States Army, and he asks this question:
America today to me is a house divided. On one side I am ineligible to citizenship. On the other, I have seven sons who wear the uniform of the United States Army.
I would just like to submit all these letters for the information of the committee, as well as some petitions signed by about 3,000 of these alien Japanese who desire citizenship.
Mr. FELLOWS. Are you asking that they be incorporated?
Mr. MASAOKA. But I would like the committee to see how heartrending, how simple and eloquent is the request of these people, and I can hardly conceive of how the American Legion can insist that the parents of soldiers who served so well as the Japanese Americans should be denied the right of citizenship. Because, if the parents can inculcate in their children a desire for America which is far beyond that of most Americans—and I think Congressman Chelf will bear me out that it is pretty tough to be drafted for the Army, but it is a lot more difficult to volunteer. But try volunteering under the same circumstances that so many Japanese Americans did-from barbed-wire concentration camps.
That is real conviction and faith in the American way, and to parents who can produce children like that, Mr. Chairman, I submit are true Americans and naturalization should be granted them.
I am very full on this subject. I could go and talk on and on, because I know these people, as I say, and I wish I had the opportunity to tell you more about them. I am ure that no one can deny one fundamental fact. These people are Americans by every standard of conduct that you can think of except that of technically "belonging."
I, as an American soldier, fought, with the thousands, millions, of other American soldiers, for the right of all people to be recognized as individuals, and that is all we are asking, not to be judged or classified on the basis of race.
I pleed with you not to make my promise to some of the boys overseas in vain. I can still remember them. And I recall that when our boys were hit, their cries of pain sounded just like those of any other white American. And when they were wounded, their blood looked just the same. And when they were dead, they were just as dead.
And I noticed that the German bullets did not swerve simply because we were Japanese-Americans and our parents were ineligible to citizenship. They killed us just as dead. On the field of war, on the field of battle, when race and nationality count for nothing and the worth of a man counts for everything, I think we children of these people who are ineligible for citizenship proved that we belonged. We now want our parents to belong.
I would like, Mr. Chairman, to submit my statement, together with my supplements, for the record. I would also like to thank all of you gentlemen for your attention. I know that you won't let us down.
Mr. FELLOWS. Thank you. The statement will be incorporated in the record.
(The statement of Mr. Masaoka is as follows:)
STATEMENT OF THE JAPANESE AMERICAN CITIZENS LEAGUE ANTIDISCRIMINATION
COMMITTEE, WASHINGTON 2, D. C., IN SUPPORT OF H. R. 5004 Mr. Chairman, my name is Mike Masaoka. I am the national legislative director of the Japanese American Citizen ; League Antidiscrimination Committee (JACL ADC). I am here to speak in favor of H. R. 5004, sponsored by Congressman Walter H. Judd, of Minnesota.
This bill proposes “to provide the privileges of becoming a naturalized citizen of the United States to all immigrants having a legal right to permanent residence, to make immigration quotas available to Asiatic and Pacific peoples, and for other (related) purposes."
Since the overwhelming majority of immigrants who would be eligible for naturalization under this measure are Japanese aliens (Issei), JACL feels that we have a definite obligation to express our sentiments on this legislation.
When enemy Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, the responsibility for the leadership of the Japanese population, aliens and citizens (Nisei) alike, fell upon our young shoulders. The first generation or Issei leaders were, in the main, interned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a precautionary measure.
The demands which were made upon the Japanese people in this country were unprecedented and grievous. I know. I was the national secretary and field executive of the JACL from before the outbreak of war until I was accepted for military service in June 1943.
Of the 110,000 persons of Japanese ancestry on the west coast, two-thirds were American-born citizens. The rest were law-abiding resident aliens, legally in the United States, who were no more responsible for the crimes of the Japanese military than your next-door neighbor.
In spite of these facts, all of us, regardless of our status, were evacuated from the western portions of Washington, Oregon, and Arizona, and all of California, and incarcerated in virtual prison camps in the wastelands of the West.
We were never charged with any crime except that of the accident of birth. never given a trial or a hearing, even though the courts were functioning. We were simply told to move out.
Most families lost almost everything they had in the war of worldly goods accumulated during a lifetime of thrifty toil. As one witness last year declared before a House subcommittee considering evacuation claims legislation: “No other people have ever been called upon to not only bankrupt themselves but also to go to jail.”
And this movement of complete family units-from aged grandparents to children just born-was accomplished without violence or untoward incident.
Our JACL took the lead in urging all persons of Japanese ancestry to cooperate with the military in our own evacuation, even though we have never conceded either its necessity or its legality. We urged this course of action in the belief that by so doing we were making our contribution to America's war effort at a time of grave national emergency.