Prologue Magazine

Return to Sender, Part 2

U.S. Censorship of Enemy Alien Mail in World War II

Spring 2001, Vol. 33, No. 1

By Louis Fiset

© 2001 by Louis Fiset


 The INS designed its own censor stamp that was to be used on every page of correspondence. (Author's collection)

Under the new procedures, all POW and outgoing internee correspondence in army camps had to first go to the POW unit in New York, where it competed with all other mail for the attention of the examiners. Similarly, incoming mail from all sources had to first go from the camp to New York for censorship before retracing its steps back for delivery to the addressee. Multiple complaints by internees to their captors about the sudden increased delays in receiving their mail caused the Office of Censorship to make a change in policy. It rented a post office box at New York City's main post office to receive all incoming mail for the camps directly. Internees were provided preprinted form letters with which to inform correspondents of the new address.41 For the time being, the new policy reduced some of the delays in delivering the mail.

The POW unit was busy. During the first six months at the Chicago censor station, 141 examiners manned the tables to censor the mail. At any one time, thirty-eight men and women were processing more than fifty pieces of mail each workday. For every sixty-four letters opened and read, one submission slip was prepared. Bits of intelligence, large and small, important and not so important, were collected from 2,120 pieces of mail that were subsequently released, returned to the sender, or condemned.42

With the INS central office and Office of Censorship still adhering to conflicting sets of regulations, administrators frequently found themselves at odds over censorship issues. The POW unit held to a more rigid interpretation of the guidelines, while INS camp officials, in everyday physical contact with the letter writers, attempted to create a balance between enforcing the rules and maintaining morale among their charges. At times, INS and Office of Censorship censors were at loggerheads over what information should be allowed to pass. Local censors passed many letters only to see them returned by the POW unit censors weeks or even months later. These experiences contributed to a declining prisoner morale, since letter writing from the lonely outposts was the only access to loved ones in the outer world.

INS administrators themselves contributed to the problem by their repeated failures to inform the POW unit of policy changes that might conflict with the established Office of Censorship regulations. In one case, Fort Missoula camp commander Bert Fraser restricted the number of outgoing Italian-language letters in order to provide temporary relief for his overworked Italian-speaking censor. A seaman, informing his correspondent that he could now write only one letter in Italian each week, had his letter returned by a POW unit censor accompanied by a note that he was misinformed of the regulation permitting two letters in Italian.43

Even small violations of the conflicting rules could result in a letter being returned— references to the cold weather, salutations or messages to a third party, inclusion of seemingly harmless personal photographs, or writing a twenty-fifth line of text.

In late November 1942, Fraser made attempts to clarify and coordinate the rules between his superiors and the Office of Censorship, imploring them to employ more liberal censorship on behalf of the internees. "Letter writing to their homes," he wrote, "is one of the greatest 'salves for their sores.'" An opportunist, he recommended allowing internees to write more freely to enable camp and POW unit officials to better assess morale and to more easily identify the "beefers," or troublemakers.44

For its part, the Office of Censorship felt that censorship in the INS camps was too lax and encouraged the service to tighten its controls and submit all domestic mail to the POW unit. In Director Price's view, the value of information gathered on behalf of the war effort, no matter how small, superseded any peace of mind that letter-writing might bring to enemy alien internees of war. Price applied pressure on Willard F. Kelly, assistant INS commissioner for alien control, in an attempt to persuade the service to turn over the domestic mail of internees and detainees to his office. In one appeal, written in January 1943, he outlined his argument in detail:

The Prisoner of War Department endeavors to make the most of every source of information within its jurisdiction by an exclusive scrutiny of each letter which passes through its hands, in order to extract every item of information which may be of value, both actual and potential. These items are carefully prepared and kept in the correspondence record of each detainee. A chain of information can gradually be forged which may be of value to the war effort. If, however, any letter in the chain of correspondence is permitted to reach its destination without passing through the New York Station, the continuity is broken. In consequence, the information already gleaned may be incomplete or rendered useless; an important piece of information may escape entirely; or future communications may be made unintelligible by allusions to matters which were contained in a previous letter which did not reach censorship.45

Price failed to persuade Kelly, who continued to oppose relinquishing internee domestic mail to the Office of Censorship because of the inevitable delays that would follow. He criticized the rigid set of rules applied by POW unit censors that often contradicted established protocols of INS censors and resulted in mail being returned. The following June, Kelly summarized his opposition to Price's repeated requests in a memorandum to his superior at the Justice Department, Edward J. Ennis, director of the Alien Enemy Control Unit:

We, of course, are not in a position to accurately estimate the value to the war effort of such mail examination but the undersigned doubts that any benefits to be derived therefrom would outweigh the disadvantages that would ensue. Perhaps the most serious and constant cause of complaints by detainees has been the handling of their mail, and comparatively slight delays in the past have contributed greatly to discontent and loss of morale in the camps. We are almost constantly receiving complaints or at least inquiries from the State Department and the two protecting powers relative to slowness in the delivery of mail, and the situation would be infinitely worse if all of the domestic mail were required to pass through the New York Office of Censorship.46

Kelly defended his unit's protocols, assuring Ennis that each piece of mail entering or leaving the detention stations was carefully scrutinized. His censors promptly notified POW unit officials with submission slips or forwarded whole letters whenever useful information appeared.

There was little Director Price could do to compel the INS to cooperate in the absence of statutory authority or a presidential directive. Since the INS, the Office of Censorship, and the army could not agree on one set of regulations, confusion reigned over what writers could and could not communicate. Invariably, it was the internees who suffered the consequences. One bright spot occurred in the spring of 1943, when internees under army control were returned to INS custody. Once the Provost Marshal General's office was out of the picture, only two conflicting sets of regulations remained in effect, reducing but not eliminating the inmates' letter-writing woes.

Although the INS remained steadfast in its refusal to forward internee domestic mail to the POW unit, in the summer of 1943 Kelly's office submitted to pressures by the Office of Censorship and the Office of Naval Intelligence to participate in a two-month experiment during which the POW unit would process the domestic mail of the Columbus crew still at Fort Stanton. Useful military information might be gleaned from this untapped resource, it was argued, and such a test would quantify delays in mail transmission caused by POW unit involvement. Since the seamen's domestic mail represented only a small portion of its total correspondence, Kelly gave his consent.47

The experiment, which began August 20, 1943, produced only two submission slips. Moreover, the average time required to process the seamen's mail was thirteen days, almost double earlier promises.48 The seamen protested loudly to the Swiss Legation, Germany's protecting power in the United States, which successfully intervened.49 This experiment ended Office of Censorship attempts to control the domestic mail of enemy aliens. However, efforts on the part of internees themselves to affect changes to the rules and regulations continued.

The internee of war letterform designed to discourage secret writing also brought complaints that censorship authorities had failed to anticipate. With its large block INTERNEE OF WAR insignia, the letterform identified the writer as an interned enemy alien to anyone whose eyes fell upon it. This often proved embarrassing to addressees, especially U.S. servicemen sons of Japanese, German, and Italian internees, many of whom, by mid-1944, were fighting in Europe and in the Pacific theaters. Fathers tried to get around this unwanted attention by affixing postage to ordinary envelopes containing their letters, thus disguising their correspondence as ordinary civilian mail headed to soldiers overseas. In some cases the district postal censor, complying with outstanding instructions to all postal examination units, returned these letters to the writers for failure to identify themselves as internees.50 Complaints by the soldiers' fathers led the Office of Censorship to modify its policy. Now writers corresponding with their sons were allowed to substitute ordinary stationary affixed with appropriate postage. The return address on each envelope would show the name of the internee, the post office box number of the camp, and the name of the post office. But writers were no longer required to include their internee serial number, the words "internment camp," or any other indication of the sender's imprisonment status. From then on, local censors examined the military-bound mail with unusual care since the POW unit would examine none of it. Thus, it received the same treatment as internee domestic mail.51

Concessions were also made for letters to siblings on the front. A U.S.-born wife of a German enemy alien interned at the Crystal City, Texas, camp for families requested permission to write to her brothers using ordinary stationery instead of the required letterforms. INS officials readily agreed, but the Office of Censorship insisted all such correspondence with siblings be handled as internee international mail and thus be sent via the POW unit in New York.52 This included correspondence between nisei internees and their brothers fighting with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in Europe.53

Appeals by German internees writing to civilians in Latin America brought similar changes in the rules. However, because of the higher incidence of attempts to evade censorship prevailing along those mail routes, they were required to continue their use of the sensitized letterform. The Germans writers, however, were provided individual envelopes at the camp headquarters and were required to address them in the presence of an INS employee to prevent attempts to pass secret writing.54

Not all internees benefited from the rule changes, however. For example, the issei at Santa Fe received no such privilege when sending mail to their friends and family in Hawaii. In May 1945, despite prior approval by the Santa Fe camp's officer in charge, nearly eighteen hundred letters written by the issei on the internee letterforms were intercepted by the POW unit and returned when censors found them enclosed in ordinary airmail envelopes.55

While helping to resolve censorship problems in one area, the INS was creating problems elsewhere. As early as 1943, the service began to relax its hold on the captives, allowing small groups to live outside the internment camps and engage in group work projects while supervised by an appointed parole officer from the nearest INS district director. Most laborers were German and Italian seamen who were considered lower national security risks than the resident nationals under its jurisdiction. Among the locations where the seamen found outdoor work were Forest Service projects in Montana, Idaho, and Washington; gang work on the Northern Pacific Railroad in Montana, Washington, and North Dakota; and factory work at a Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Project located in Akron, Ohio.56

Although not physically confined to internment camps, the internees-at-large were nevertheless required to abide by rigid rules of conduct. They included censorship of their domestic and international communications, whether mail, cable, radio, telegraph, or telephone. The workers were free to use ordinary envelopes with their domestic mail, but like all internees, they had to use the sensitized letterforms on all international correspondence. The return address on each envelope was to include "c/o U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service," with the postal address of an officer chosen by the service. Such indicia would properly alert censors of their internee status. All outgoing mail was then to be forwarded unsealed by a designated representative of the employer to the nearest INS district director, who would relay the letters to the POW unit for examination. No restrictions on the number of outgoing letters were imposed, but internees-at-large were forbidden from informing correspondents that they were not actually in custody.

Compliance, of course, was difficult to enforce. Evasion of censorship was relatively easy if writers elected not to use the correct form of return address. Since postal authorities and other censorship stations handling international mail failed to recognize such mail as internee correspondence, much of it must have gotten through. On the other hand, mail to Germany and Italy could not get through if sent through the ordinary mail stream. The censorship net for internee-at-large mail remained porous throughout the war despite several attempts by a frustrated Office of Censorship to bring INS supervisors into line with its censorship regulations.57

Still another challenge arose for the censors in early 1943, this time in the relocation centers, which held in captivity more than 100,000 Japanese Americans and their immigrant elders from the West Coast. The War Relocation Authority (WRA), headed by Dillon S. Myer, former assistant chief of the Soil Conservation Service, ran these centers. Myer became convinced that "loyal" prisoners should be allowed to leave the centers and regain their complete freedom. "Disloyals" should remain confined in a segregated camp. To achieve this goal, in February 1943 the WRA initiated a loyalty questionnaire to the residents in all ten centers. Two loyalty questions required willingness to serve on combat duty in the armed forces and swearing unqualified allegiance to the United States while at the same time foreswearing allegiance to the emperor. They were so offensive to the residents that many nisei and issei refused to answer the questions or gave "no-no" answers. These people were subsequently separated out as "disloyals" and sent to the Tule Lake Segregation Center, which had been transformed from a relocation center for that purpose. Among them were nearly six thousand nisei who renounced their U.S. citizenship and would later seek expatriation.58 Many of them had received part of their education in Japan and were known as kibei.

Originally, correspondence coming from the relocation centers was off limits to POW unit censors. However, changing conditions caused the captors to look to the censors for help in gathering intelligence on the restive population. On July 16, 1943, Director Myer asked the Office of Censorship to provide him with intercepts from relocation center residents that might reveal attitudes toward center administrators as well as indications of rising pro-Japan militancy. Theodore F. Koop, assistant to Director Price, responded to Myer's request by agreeing to furnish material of interest from residents' international mail but instructed the worried WRA head that the Office of Censorship had no authority to provide him with intelligence culled from domestic mail. The real truth, however, was that the task of censoring the mail of more than 100,000 center residents would require a substantial increase in the number of Japanese- and English-language examiners as well as an accompanying budget to cover the extra volume of work. Qualified Japanese examiners would be difficult, if not impossible, to recruit. When informed that the volume of international mail involving relocation center residents amounted to less than 2 percent of their total correspondence, Myer dropped the matter.59

However, once conversion of Tule Lake was completed in the fall of 1943, pressure to monitor undercover activities increased as a pro-Japan faction arose and began to dominate the residents. The renunciants became a focal point of Myer's concerns.60 The most militant of the renunciants at Tule Lake were eventually weeded out and sent to INS camps. The INS, of course, had no legal jurisdiction over U.S. citizens. However, once an individual had renounced U.S. citizenship, his or her legal status converted to enemy alien. Thus renunciants fell under the jurisdiction of the INS, which had the authority to intern them and censor their mail.61

The population at Fort Lincoln, North Dakota, which had remained stable for nearly three years, began to swell in February 1945 as renunciants began to join the ranks of the German seamen. As of July 3, 1945, 1,516 of the group had been separated from their families at Tule Lake and sent to the all-male INS camps at Fort Lincoln and Santa Fe. By now, most of the permanent INS camps had shut down, with only Fort Lincoln, Santa Fe, and the family camp at Crystal City still holding Japanese internees. Two Japanese-language censors were brought in to handle the mail of the 650 bilingual transferees, many of whom chose to communicate in Japanese. Additional censors were hired for duty at the Santa Fe camp.

Upon their arrival at Fort Lincoln, the internal security officer informed the renunciants that they could communicate with friends and relatives, but only on personal matters of mutual interest. Reference to camp conditions must be avoided, and attempts to incite unrest would not be tolerated. Initially, many became recalcitrant, defying most orders and failing to comply with instructions regarding the mail. In turn, the censors condemned their correspondence.

Regulations prevented even laudatory comments about camp life. More important to WRA officials, however, was the need to prevent passing of information detrimental to the administration, which was coming under increasing attack both for mismanagement and for its poor handling of disciplinary problems at Tule Lake. The following excerpt was excised from a letter written by a nisei at Tule Lake to his kibei brother at Fort Lincoln and subsequently forwarded to INS central headquarters:

You know, they are trying to break up the clubs, and Kawabata sensei and the dancho were sentenced to 30 days in the center jail. They were taken for holding a meeting, but don't worry, we are carrying on just the same. Mom says don't ever change your mind.62

Both the WRA and INS wanted a blackout on general conditions of internment of those transferred to Fort Lincoln and Santa Fe and on the exchange of information relating to plans for expatriation. Initially, the censors at Santa Fe and Fort Lincoln were largely successful in shutting down this two-way correspondence, leading some writers to devise means to send secret messages in packages, such as packs of cigarettes that only appeared to be sealed. Others asked visitors to smuggle letters out of the internment camps and drop them in the mail at distant post offices. Individuals caught attempting to evade censorship faced time behind bars. One writer spent two weeks in the guard house after a censor discovered invisible writing on a piece of his outgoing mail.63 Others with greater imaginations were never caught. One couple cleverly sewed messages into the lining of clothes sent to the wife for mending.

By the end of March 1945, despite the vigilance of the censors, prevention of the exchange of information between the camps was a lost cause. Transfers of Japanese to Santa Fe and from Santa Fe to Fort Lincoln and visits to Fort Lincoln by Japanese who were free to write at will to Tule Lake made most attempts to keep secrets from the segregation center residents all but impossible. Seeing the futility before him, "Ike" McCoy, officer in charge at Fort Lincoln, requested permission from his superiors to end censorship of mail between the two camps. The central office dragged its heels, however, even after an additional one hundred Tule Lake renunciants arrived at Fort Lincoln during the first week of July. Censorship persisted at the INS camps well after the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki brought an end to the war.64

With Japan's surrender, the Office of Censorship discontinued examining international mail, including internee mail, and soon went out of business. The INS, however, continued to censor mail well into 1947, although modifying its regulations from time to time as conditions changed. On August 17, 1945, for example, the central office ordered the use of the internee letterforms discontinued and, except for renunciants' mail, relaxed most restrictions on content.65 Censors were to excise only malicious statements or statements known to be false.

Renunciants' mail frequently contained nationalistic sentiments and propaganda favorable to Japan. Some family members who refused to believe that Japan had lost the war revealed their states of mind in such letters, such as the following excerpt from a letter to the Santa Fe camp:

Regardless of what the newspapers or radio say, Japan has positively won this war. They have defeated the inhuman nation of United States and Britain. With the great object to be accomplished such as creating a great East Asia for prosperity our nation will never surrender. I am confident that they do not desire to stop fighting at the present time.66

The censor excised the entire statement.

Standing orders to examine renunciant mail were not rescinded until December 13, 1945, four months after the end of the war.67 By March of the following year, local camp administrators, who by now were autonomous on censorship matters, were concerned mostly about maintaining peace and security and winding down operations.68 Two months later, only the Crystal City camp remained open. The censor-translators were terminated by the end of the month, and all subsequent foreign-language mail was forwarded to the Ellis Island immigration station. Because residents continued to generate a large volume of mail, especially among the renunciant group endeavoring to settle their expatriation cases, the officer in charge continued to impose a one-page restriction on personal mail well into the summer. Clerical and matron personnel moved into the desks formerly occupied by the censors to read English-language correspondence for content of interest only to the local administration. Few, if any, excisions resulted.69

Following closure of the Crystal City camp in late 1947, the handful of enemy aliens still awaiting the end of their of deportation proceedings were transferred to Ellis Island, where their mail continued to be subject to examination. The INS controlled the number of letters and parcels dispatched by its internees until the last deportable enemy alien left the country in 1948.70

From 1941 to 1948 the FBI, the INS, the Office of Censorship, and the army legally tampered with the personal and business mail of more than nine thousand interned enemy aliens and Axis seamen and thousands more who were detained and later released.71 What the intelligence gatherers achieved through this large-scale invasion of privacy is difficult to measure. Certainly the censors must have passed on valuable insights into economic conditions, civilian morale, and disruptions to lives in the besieged countries of Europe and the Far East. Information of direct military value likely reached the censors through slips in attention by the enemy's own censors. Even offhand comments about the weather had military significance. Every bit of collected information added to a large mosaic that propagandists and military strategists interpreted to their advantage.

Given the circumstances of their confinement, internees in the U.S. had little access to direct information of military value to the enemy. Nevertheless, the censors were always on the lookout for statements of perceived injustice, abuse, or other behavior by civilians falling under the protection of the Geneva Convention. Should such information slip into the wrong hands, it might lead to repercussions against interned citizens of allied countries held in enemy territories. Camp administrators were continually vigilant about conforming with the terms of this international agreement regarding all aspects of captivity.

Censorship regulations frustrated and demoralized the internees and motivated them to protest the frequent disruptions in their mail. Although many of the mail delays must have seemed punitive to those with high emotional investments in their correspondence, few writers understood the complexity of postal censorship or appreciated the extraordinary volumes of letters that the limited number of censors were required to handle each week.

A more coordinated effort between the censor bureaucrats might have mitigated some of the complaints. It appears, nevertheless, that few attempts were made to single out one ethnic or racial group for punitive treatment by withholding mail or condemning letters. All groups seemed to have had their individual grievances against a seemingly indifferent system. However, when legitimate complaints were brought before the officers in charge or the protecting powers, changes in policy frequently followed, whether on behalf of the seamen or the civilian internees.

During times of armed conflict, civilians will continue to be incarcerated. With the Geneva Convention of 1929 serving as a guideline, World War II established the precedent for humane treatment of interned noncombatants, including their contact with the outer world. For some, such communication was, and will probably always be sustenance nearly as important as food.

Return to Sender, Part 1


1. Louis Fiset, Imprisoned Apart: The World War II Correspondence of an Issei Couple (1998), p. 243. This book records an unbroken correspondence between an immigrant Japanese couple who were imprisoned in separate camps for two years.

2. Numerous press accounts of the last day of the Columbus have been written. See, for example, New York Times, Dec. 20, 1939.

3. John Joel Culley. "A Troublesome Presence: World War II Internment of German Sailors in New Mexico." Prologue: Quarterly of the National Archives and Records Administration 28 (1996): 279 - 295.

4. As of December 1, 1941, Fort Stanton held 450 German seamen from the SS Columbus. Fort Lincoln's population included 285 German crewmen, and Fort Missoula held 912 seamen plus 70 former employees of the 1939 New York World's Fair.

5. A. S. Hudson to W. F. Kelly, June 20, 1941, box 11, file 1003/D, entry 291, General Files, 1942 - 45, Ft. Missoula, MT, Records of Enemy Alien Internment Facilities, Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Record Group (RG) 85, National Archives Building (NAB), Washington, DC.

6. Marginalia on original memorandum from Special Assistant to the Attorney General Lemuel B. Schofield to Kelly, Aug. 23, 1941, accession 85-58A734, Records of the Central Office (Central Records), box 2407, file 56125/27, RG 85, NAB.

7. Schofield to Hudson, June 30, 1941, box 11, file 1003/D, entry 291, General Files, 1942 - 45, Ft. Missoula, MT, Records of Enemy Alien Internment Facilities, RG 85, NAB.

8. Hudson to Special Assistant to the Attorney General, Aug. 26, 1941, accession 85-58A734, Central Records, box 2407, file 56125/27, RG 85, NAB.

9. Memorandum to Schofield from Kelly, Aug. 28, 1941, ibid.

10. Presumably the FBI was also monitoring the mail of German and Italian nationals who were also under suspicion as national security risks.

11. Bob Kumamoto, "The Search for Spies: American Counter-Intelligence and the Japanese American Community, 1931 - 1942," Amerasia Journal 6 (1979): 45 - 75.

12. FBI reports on Iwao Matsushita, May 14, 1941, and Dec. 18, 1941, accession 85-53A0010, Closed Legal Case Files, box 697, file 146-13-2-82-322 (Iwao Matsushita), General Records of the Department of Justice, RG 60, National Archives at College Park, MD (NACP).

13. Alien German and Italian figures are Justice Department estimates for 1940. See Tolan Committee, Fourth Interim Report, National Defense Migration, H. Rept. 2124, 77th Cong., 2nd sess., May 1942, table 2, pp. 229 - 230. For the 1940 foreign-born Japanese census, see U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, "Sixteenth Census of the United States— 1940, Population: Characteristics of the Nonwhite Population By Race" (1943), table 1, p. 5.

14. Francis Biddle, In Brief Authority (1962), p. 207; U.S. Congress, House Rept. 2124, 77th Cong., 2nd sess., 1942, in Roger Daniels, ed., American Concentration Camps (1989), Vol. 5; Morton Grodzins, Americans Betrayed: Politics and the Japanese Evacuation (1949), pp. 232 - 233.

15. "Report of Enemy Aliens in Temporary Detention, December 31, 1941," accession 85-58A734, Central Records, box 2410, file 56125/35, RG 85, NAB.

16. The number of enemy aliens under INS jurisdiction reached a peak of 9,404 on June 30, 1943. By this time the INS was operating seven permanent internment camps and numerous temporary facilities. See "History of the Prisoner of War Unit for the First Six Months of 1943," box 1209, Records of the Office of Censorship, RG 216, NACP.

17. U.S. Office of Censorship, A Report on the Office of Censorship (1945), p. 1.

18. Section 303 of the First War Powers Act. This passage originated with the Trading with the Enemy Act, Oct. 6, 1917, 40 Stat. L. 411, 413, chap. 106, sec. 3, par. d.

19. Cecilia Ager, "Cecilia Ager Meets the Censor," PM, Apr. 20, 1942.

20. Office of Censorship, "A History of the Office of Censorship: Censorship As Viewed from the Office of the Director," Vol. 1, pp. 32 - 33, entry 4, box 2, RG 216, NACP

21. A Report on the Office of Censorship, p. 1.

22. For an examination of the Office of Censorship, see Thomas Harold Berg, "Silence Speeds Victory: The History of the United States Office of Censorship, 1941 - 1945" (Ph.D. diss., University of Nebraska, 1999). For a comprehensive study of the press and broadcasting divisions, see Michael Steven Sweeney, "Byron Price and the Office of Censorship's Press and Broadcasting Divisions in World War II" (Ph.D. diss., Ohio University, 1996).

23. "Planning for and Operations of Postal and Wire Censorship: June, 1941 - March 15, 1942," p. 28, historical file (Postal Censorship), 1934 - 1945, History of Postal Censorship, box 1209, RG 216, NACP.

24. Office of Censorship data cited in Wilfrid N. Broderick and Dann Mayo, Civil Censorship in the United States during World War II (1980), pp. 23 - 27.

25.Foreign Relations of the United States: Diplomatic Papers, Vol. 1: 1942 (1960), p. 792.

26. Collaer to Kelly, Dec. 29, 30, 1941, Field Records, Alien Internment Camps— Camp Missoula, file 1013/L (Publicity— Censorship), RG 85, NAB.

27. See Hyung-Ju Ahn, "Korean Interpreters at Japanese Alien Detention Centers during World War II: An Oral History Analysis" (masters thesis, California State University at Fullerton, 1995). The total number of Korean interpreters and censors employed by the INS and Office of Censorship is not yet known. It may have reached fifty.

28. Paul S. Kashino to the author, July 7, 1992.

29. "Administrative Order No. 27," Jan. 7, 1942, accession 85-58A734, Central Records, box 2407, file 56125/27, RG 85, NAB.

30. "Administrative Order No. 27" and memorandum from H. D. Nice to Kelly, Jan. 24, 1942, ibid.

31. Iwao Matsushita to Hanaye Matsushita, May 1, 1942, in Fiset, Imprisoned Apart, p. 143.

32. For a discussion of innovative means to evade censorship, see David Kahn, The Code Breakers: The Story of Secret Writing (1967), pp. 513 - 560.

33. Kelly to Terrance F. Higgins, Dec. 8, 1942, accession 85-58A734, Central Records, box 2408, file 56125/27-D, RG 85, NAB.

34. Schofield to All District Directors, Jan. 29, 1942, accession 85-58A734, Central Records, box 2407, file 56125/27, RG 85, NAB.

35. Office of Censorship, "Report on the Development of United States Postal Censorship during Its First Year of Operation," pp. 145 - 148, historical file (Postal Censorship) 1934 - 1945, History of Postal Censorship, RG 216, NACP.

36. For the third edition, see "Regulations Governing the Censorship and Deposition of Prisoner of War and Interned and Detained Civilian Mail," June 14, 1944, accession 85-58A734, Central Records, box 2406, file Postal Censorship Procedure Manual, RG 85, NAB.

37. "Report of Enemy Aliens in Temporary Detention," Dec. 31, 1942, accession 85-58A734, Central Records, box 2410, file 56125/35, RG 85, NAB.

38. "Civilian Enemy Aliens and Prisoners of War," May 1942, accession 85-58A734, Central Records, box 2403, file 56125/25-A, RG 85, NAB.

39. Provost Marshal General to Commanding Generals, All Service Commands, Sept. 17, 1942, accession 85-58A734, Central Records, box 11, file 56125/27-D, RG 85, NAB.

40. Office of Censorship, "A History of the Office of Censorship," Vol. 4, pp. 193-204, entry 4, box 2, RG 216, NACP.

41. Provost Marshal General to Commanding Generals, All Service Commands, Jan. 14, 1943, accession 85-58A734, Central Records, box 2408, file 56125/27-D, RG 85, NAB.

42. E. J. Mattson, "History of Prisoner of War Unit: Chicago Postal Censorship Station," Sept. 24, 1942, Historical fFile (Postal Censorship), 1934 - 1945, box 1207, RG 216, NACP.

43. Bert Fraser to Postal Censor, Oct. 19, 1942, accession 85-58A734, Central Records, box 2408, file 56125/27-D, RG 85, NAB.

44. Fraser to Kelly, Nov. 9, 1942, ibid.

45. Byron Price to Kelly, Jan. 20, 1943, ibid.

46. Kelly to Edward J. Ennis, June 1, 1943, ibid.

47. Memorandum from Kelly to Ennis, Nov. 13, 1943, accession 85-58A734, Central Records, box 2408, file 56125/27-F, RG 85, NAB.

48. Ibid.

49. Memorandum from the Legation of Switzerland to the Secretary of State, Oct. 29, 1943, accession 85-58A734, Central Records, box 2408, file 56125/27-E, RG 85, NAB.

50. Kelly to Officers in Charge Alien Internment Camps, Apr. 3, 1944, accession 85-58A734, Central Records, box 2408, file 56125/27-H, RG 85, NAB.

51. Ibid.

52. Kelly to Officer in Charge, Crystal City, TX, Feb. 14, 1945, accession 85-58A734, Central Records, box 2409, file 56125/27-M, RG 85, NAB.

53. For a history of this highly decorated nisei unit, see Chester Tanaka, Go For Broke: A Pictorial History of the Japanese American 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team (1982).

54. Byron H. Spinney to Officer in Charge, San Pedro Detention Station, Feb. 20, 1945, accession 85-58A734, Central Records, file 56125/27-M, box 2409, RG 85, NAB.

55. John M. Gibbs to Kelly, May 7, 1945, accession 85-58A734, Central Records, file 56125/27-O, box 2409, RG 85, NAB.

56. Fraser to Capt. Hartwell C. Davis, Oct. 11, Dec. 23, 1943, Field Records, Alien Enemy Internment Camps— Fort Missoula, file 1014/E (Cooperation— Bureau of Prison Officials), RG 85, NAB.

57. Gibbs to Kelly, Apr. 28, 1945, accession 85-58A734, Central Records, file 56125/27-O, box 2409, RG 85, NAB.

58. The literature on the loyalty questionnaire and the renunciants is extensive. See, for example, Dorothy S. Thomas and Richard Nishimoto, The Spoilage (1946, reprint 1969); and Donald E. Collins, Native American Aliens: Disloyalty and the Renunciation of Citizenship by Japanese Americans during World War II (1985).

59. U. B. Buchanan to Chief Postal Censor, Aug. 6, 1943, entry 1, box 61, File War Relocation Authority, RG 216, NACP.

60. Michi Weglyn, Years of Infamy: The Untold Story of America's Concentration Camps (1976, reprint 1995), p. 247.

61. For an account of the renunciants, see ibid., pp. 229 - 248.

62. McCoy to Kelly, Mar. 3, 1945, accession 85-58A734, Central Records, file 56125/27-M, box 2409, RG 85, NAB.

63. McCoy to Kelly, July 4, 1945, accession 85-58A734, Central Records, file 56125/27-O, box 2409, RG 85, NAB.

64. Radiogram, Ugo Carusi to McCoy, Aug. 17, 1945, accession 85-58A734, Central Records, file 56125/27-M, box 2409, RG 85, NAB.

65. Carusi to Officer in Charge, Aug. 17, 1945, accession 85-58A734, Central Records, file 56125/27-P, box 2409, RG 85, NAB.

66. Abner Schreiber to Kelly, Sept. 20, 1945, ibid.

67. Collaer to District Director, Los Angeles, Dec. 13, 1945, ibid.

68. Kelly to Abner Schreiber, Mar. 1, 1946, ibid.

69. J. L. O'Rourke to Kelly, July 8, 1946, ibid.

70. Kelly to Second Assistant Post Master General, Apr. 9, 1948, ibid.

71. According to a postwar accounting by the INS, 31,275 persons were received by the INS under the alien enemy program, including those received from outside the continental United States. See Kelly to A. Vulliet, Aug. 9, 1948, copy in Don Heinrich Tolzmann, ed., German-Americans in the World Wars, Vol. 4, sec. 1, pt. 1, (1995), p. 1513.

Louis Fiset is an independent researcher whose special interest is the World War II experience of Japanese Americans. He is the author of Imprisoned Apart: The World War II Correspondence of an Issei Couple, and numerous articles.


Articles published in Prologue do not necessarily represent the views of NARA or of any other agency of the United States Government.