Materials Related to World War II Control and Internment of Civilians in the United States and Latin America

Alien Enemies Act of 1798 

Presidential Proclamations and Executive Orders 

Presidential Proclamations, Dec 1941:

Presidential Proclamation 2497, 17 Jul 1941 — blacklists Latin American firms/individuals

Executive Order 8985, 19 Dec 1941 — establishes Office of Censorship

Executive Order 9066, 19 Feb 1942 — authorizes Secretary of War to Prescribe Military Areas

Executive order 9095, 11 Mar 1942 — establishes Office of Alien Property Custodian

Executive Order 9142, 21 Apr 1942  — authorizes certain transfers from Department of Justice to Alien Property Custodian

Presidential Proclamation 2655, July 1945 — authorizes removal of alien enemies

Presidential Proclamation 2662, 8 Sept 1945 — authorizes removal of alien enemies

Presidential Proclamation 2685, 10 April 1946  — authorizes removal of alien enemies

Congressional Hearing Report

19 March 2009 Hearing—"Treatment of Latin Americans of Japanese Descent, European Americans and Jewish Refugees during World War II" by the Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law of the Committee on the Judiciary House of Representatives, One Hundred Eleventh Congress, First Session

Other Documents

J. Edgar Hoover to Major General Edwin Watson, 10 Dec 1941; Archival Document package "FDR and World War II," Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library — FBI report on number of Japanese, German, and Italian aliens in custody as of 9 December, 1941.

16 Dec 1941, Bengesten to Keely with letter from Secretary of War to Secretary of State about applying the Geneva Convention to alien enemies

22 Dec 1941 memo, FBI to Attorney General discusses request of General DeWitt that police provide surveillance of enemy aliens in entire west coast area

Tolan Committee Report issued following the Tolan Committee Hearings (Select Committee Investigating National Defense Migration) held in Feb. 1942

Notice to FBI Field Office (San Francisco), 19 Mar 1942, from J. Edgar Hoover re: "final disposition of alien enemy cases" 

2 Jun 1942, FBI memo, Pieper (San Francisco Special Agent in Charge) to Hoover — report on meetings with General John DeWitt of the Western Defense Command and Edward Ennis, Director, Alien Enemy Control, Department of State

4 Jun 1942, FBI memo, Edward Tamm to Hoover — reports on N. J. L. Pieper meetings with Ennis and DeWitt 

6 Jun 1942, Memorandum between War and Justice Departments on Enforcement of Contraband, Curfew and Travel Regulations in the Western Defense Command; signed by Ennis and Assistant Chief of Staff, War Department

FBI Bulletin No. 69, 25 November, 1942, part IA-Custodial Detention Records of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; First Series 1942; http://foia.fbi (website with specific bulletin no longer found) — orders families interned, if they wish to join family members

16 July 1943 memo. Francis Biddle, Attorney General to Hugh B. Cox, Assistant AG and J.E. Hoover, FBI, declaring custodial detention lists "inherently unreliable" and stating they should not be used.

Crystal City, Texas Family Internment Camp map annotated by former internee Werner Ulrich—includes plot plans, drawings of building types, and location of work areas 

26 Jan 1944 letter from J. L. O'Rourke, Officer in Charge at Crystal City to W. F. Kelly, Assistant Commissioner for Alien Control, listing the German internees' desires regarding repatriation to Germany or Latin America

1944 Crystal City, Texas Camp Census (German American and Latin American prisoners plus one Italian family from Honduras)

1945 Crystal City, Texas Camp Census (German American and Latin American prisoners)

Crystal City, Texas Internment Camp List of Births—courtesy Anita O'Brien, whose parents Johann and Hilda Schmeelk, had a daughter, Evelyn, while interned there

1947 Immigration and Naturalization letter offering thirty day parole to internees who leave the U.S. on their own (provided by an internee)

Ft. Lincoln Internment Camp Rules, (English) (German), Bismarck, ND (provided by an internee's famly)

1942 map of Stringtown Internment Camp, by Army Corp of Engineers, laying out water distribution (courtesy Bill Streifer)

Stringtown, Oklahoma Internment Camp rules

Tuna Canyon internee list (partial)—pages of the 88 page list which show internees of European ethnicity—National Archives, Pacific Region (Laguna Niguel) List courtesy of the Tricentennial Foundation, North Hills, CA

Kelly to Vulliet Letter 7 August 1948 W. F. Kelly to A. Vulliet, 9 Aug 1948, reprinted in The World War Two Experience, The Internment of German-American, vol. IV, German-Americans in the World Wars, Arthur D. Jacobs and Joseph E. Fallon, eds. (Münich: K. G. Saur, 1996),1513 — lists total number of internees held in Alien Enemy Control Program

The Special War Problems Division, Latin America

Arrest Warrant, 2 February 1947 — warrant accusing an internee of illegal entry into U.S. (provided by an internee family)

Bannerman to Fitch, 28 March 1944  USAT Cuba Memo, March 28, 1944; Box 71, Subject Files, 1939-1954, Box 7; Accession Job No. N3-59-87-15, Records of the Special War Problems Division, Department of State, NA — arrival and treatment of Latin Americans in Algiers, LA

Bell to Ennis, 7 Dec 1943  "711.5," Costa Rica," San José Embassy Confidential File, Box 26, RG84, stack 350, 53/27/5NA — discusses evaluation of internees' "dangerousness."

Black List-Columbia (provided by an internee family)

Black List-Costa Rica (provided by an internee family)

Black List-El Salvador (provided by an internee family)

Department of State memos, (Wright, Bonsal, Cabot, Knapp) Nov 1943 JM Cabot to Wright and Bonsal, 15 Nov 1943 and JM Cabot to Special Division, 24 Nov 1943, in folder "Important Papers," Name Files of Enemy Aliens 1942-8, Box 31, Special War Problems Division (SWP), RG 59, NA— exchange about keeping U.S. role in fingering Latin Americans for deportation untraceable

Department of State Press release, Nov. 1945 (provided by an internee family)

Department of State memo, 4 Jan 1946 (provided by an internee family)

George Marshall Memo, 12 Dec 1942  Box 71, Subject Files, 1939-1954, Box 7; Accession Job No. N3-59-87-15, Records of the Special War Problems Division, Department of State, NA  (?) — shipping of Latin Americans/exchange with Axis nations

German Nationals Deported by the Other American Republics Who Were Deported Via the United States, 25 April 1946 25 Apr 1946, folder 711.5, Ecuador: Quito Embassy Confidential File, Box 35, RG 84, NA -- Lists 3317 individuals, mostly in family groups, sent to Europe to be exchanged for individuals being held in Germany. Dates and ships used are listed on the last page.

"German Nationals Repatriated from South and Central America" and "German Nationals Repatriated Direct from South and Central America"  Records of the Special War Problems Division: Subject Files, 1939-1954; Entry A1 1357, Boxes 116 and 120, NA — Lists 1813 individuals deported directly to Europe from Latin America. Partial list of dates and ships used is on last page. 

Hull to Biddle, 9 Nov 1942, 740.00115 EW 1939/4570, RG 59 Central Decimal File, 1940-1944; Box 2835—250/32/19/02 — discusses problems with repatriation process.

Memorandum regarding the Activities of the United States Government, 3 Nov 1942,  3, RG 59, Subject Files, Box 180, location 250/49/23/7, Records of the Special War Problems Division, NA — discusses policies of deportation to U.S. and repatriation/how to determine "dangerousness"

Notice to Internees from Latin America (provided by an internee family)

Raymond Ickes, Memorandum to the Minister, 30 Mar 1943: RG 84; Costa Rica; U.S. Embassy, San Jose; Classified General Records; File 711.5; UD 2353; Box 25 [Old Box 26]—350/53/27/05 — discusses procedures to decide whom to imprison, intern, repatriate

Report on traveling conditions of group of German citizens from Costa Rica, 22 Feb 1943: from folder 383.7, Camp Crystal City, NARA (exact location is being investigated) — Mention is made of "Negro members of the ship's personnel" on page 2; that description was not considered a racial slur at the time. (provided by Frances Ott Allen/Art Jacobs)

Resolution Concerning Detention and Expulsion of Dangerous Axis Nationals, Approved by the Committee: May 21 1943, Transmitted to the Government June 5, 1943; (Montevideo, Uruguay), RG 84 Costa Rica; U.S. Embassy, San José; Classified General Records; File 711.5; UD 2353, Box 25 [Old Box 26]—350/53/27/05

Roster of Internees; Internees (German) Picked Up in Central America During 1943; Records Relating to German Civilian Internees During World War II, 1941-1946; entry A1 466J; Records of the Office of the Provost Marshal General, RG 389, NA.

Schofield to Attorney General, 27 Mar 1942, 740.00115 EW 1939/2426, RG 59 Central Decimal File, 1940-1944; Box 2822—250/32/18/07 — arrangements for shipping, guarding, housing diplomatic and non-diplomatic prisoners

Copy of signatures of 117 Guatemalan deportees, 1942. From S.S. Drottningholm, a Swedish ship used in exchanges of Latin American civilians to Germany — Los alemanes en Guatemala, 1828-1944, by Regina Wagner, Guatemala, 1996.

Latin American Association letter, 21 Feb 1944 — enumerates the Latin American German civilians and wounded German soldiers on board the Gripsholm on the 1944 repatriation voyage (in German)

White to Lafoon memo, 30 Jan 1946 "Statistics," Box 70, Special War Problems Division, RG 59, NA — numbers/ethnicities of Latin Americans brought to the U.S.

Name Files List, Special War Problems Division, 1942-1948 found in "INS Records Related to the Detention of Enemy Aliens during World War II," Historical Reference Library and Reading Room Section, Informational Service Branch, 1991 

Letters from Internees and Family Members

Letter to Senator William Langer from a group of Ft. Lincoln internees, Jan 1946—requests help to avoid forced repatriation (provided by an internee family)

Letter to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 31 December 1942—Theodor Graber 

Letter to Francis Biddle, Attorney General of the United States, 9 February 1942—Arthur and Margarethe Mayer

Letter requesting transfer of funds, Kenedy, Texas, 9 July 1942—Enea Carozzi

Letter requesting transfer of funds, Kenedy, Texas, 27 May 1942—John Deche

Letter to family, San Jose, Costa Rica, 17 July 1942—Starr Pait Gurcke

Letter to a daughter, from Bismarck, ND, 24 September 1944—Adolf Hamann

Documents on Other Websites

FBI records on custodial detention arrests in 1943

"German Clandestine Activities in South America in World War II" by David P. Mowrey (NSA) "...presents a thorough account of German intelligence organizations engaged in clandestine work in South America and a well-researched, detailed report of the U.S. response to the perceived threat. This perception was, as Mr. Mowry alludes to in his conclusions, far greater than any actual danger."

"Agreements with enemy countries for the exchange of officials and non-officials." United States Department of State/Foreign relations of the United States diplomatic papers, 1942. General; the British Commonwealth; the Far East (1942); p 285-449. University of Wisconsin Digital Collections.

18 Aug 1942, Report on Visit to Detention Stations for Civilian Internees in the United States of America (25-28 Jun 1942); Dr. Max Habicht, Delegate for the War Prisoners of the Legation of Switzerland, Washington, D.C.

Ship Manifests

These are only a few of the many ships carrying Latin Americans to U.S. internment facilities. Some are large documents and may take additional time to download. All manifests were found on-line. New Orleans Passenger Lists, 1820-1945 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2006. Original data: Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New Orleans, Louisiana, 1903-1945. Microfilm publication T905. 189 rolls. RG 85, and California Passenger and Crew Lists, 1893-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2008. Original data:varied; Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, RG 85; NA.

SS Ernest Hinds, January 1942, docked in New Orleans, Louisiana

SS Etolin, April 1942 docked in California

SS Atlantida, June 1942, docked in New Orleans, Louisiana (note written comments in column 12)

USAT Evangeline, June 1942, docked in Tampa, Florida (two of six pages)

USAT John T. Clem, June 1942, docked in New Orleans, Louisiana

USAT Cuba, October 1942, docked in New Orleans, Louisiana (pgs. 5, 6--Note line 2: Leo Friedman; line 5: Eric Joseph; and line 6: Leo Keiles, are listed as Jewish)

USAT Puebla, February 1943, docked in San Pedro, California

USAT Cuba, November 1943, docked in New Orleans, Louisiana

USAT Colonel Frederick C. Johnson, October 1944, docked in New Orleans, Louisiana

Ship Photographs

Found on-line through Passenger Ships and Images [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operatios Inc, 2009. Original data; various reference sources. 

USAT Cuba, used to transport Latin Americans to the U.S. for internment

Drottningholm, used for repatriation voyages during WW II

Gripsholm, used for repatration voyages during WW II

The following photographs are from the Department of the Navy Historical Center website.

USAT Etolin, used to transport Latin Americans to the U.S. for internment

Puebla, (earlier named the Orinoco) used to transport Latin Americans to the U.S. for internment (from the Hamburg America Line website)

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