Distressed Seamen or Internees?

On January 19, 1939, having scuttled their boat off Cuba to avoid its capture by the British, German sailors from the luxury liner, the S.S. Columbus, were brought to Angel Island, California, March 1, 1940. At first these internees were labeled “distressed seamen paroled from the German Embassy,” but later, when the U.S. entered the war, the U.S. Department of Justice formalized the seamen’s internee status. However a series of reports by the FBI, the Department of Justice, and the Office of the Solicitor General, dated June-July 1940, show the struggle government officials had deciding what to do with them.