Draft 3-12-2007
Census Confidentiality under the Second War Powers Act (1942-1947)
by
William Seltzer
(Fordham University)
and
Margo Anderson
(University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee)
Paper prepared for presentation at the session on
“Confidentiality, Privacy, and Ethical Issues in Demographic Data,”
Population Association of America Annual Meeting,
March 29-31, 2007, New York, NY
Contact Information
William Seltzer
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Dealy 407
Fordham University
441 East Fordham Road
Bronx, NY 10458
email: [email protected]
Margo Anderson
Department of History
University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
Milwaukee, WI 53201
Email: [email protected]
Abstract
The Second War Powers Act was enacted in March 1942. One section of this law authorized the
Secretary of Commerce to provide information to other Government agencies, including micro
data collected under a pledge of confidentiality, if the data were needed “for use in connection
with the conduct of the war.” The extent to which this provision was actually used has been
disputed.
The present paper, based on recent research, provides evidence of specific disclosures made
between 1942 and 1947 of micro data collected by the Census Bureau under the confidentiality
assurances of Title 13. The examples cited pertain to both businesses and persons, including
micro-level information on persons obtained from the 1940 Census. Based on the materials so
far located, it appears that Census Bureau staff and management at that time considered such
disclosures to be routine. The paper places these disclosures in the context of broader issues
related to statistical confidentiality.
Table of Contents
I. Introduction and historical background . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3
II. Section 1402 of the Second War Powers Act and Presidential Executive Order 9157 . . . 9
III. Interim list of section 1402 disclosures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10
A. Business records . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
B. Population and housing records . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15
B.1. Disclosures to the U.S. Secret Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
B.2. Disclosures to the FBI and other Justice Department agencies . . . . . . . . . . . 26
B.3. Other personal disclosures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
C. Closing the gate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30
IV. Context of these disclosures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
A. Societal and political . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34
B. Internal Census Bureau matters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36
V. Discussion and recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39
References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
Tables:
A. Summary of Section 1402 Disclosures Identified . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
B. Present or Future Census Bureau Personnel Associated with Correspondence related to
Section 1402 Disclosures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61
Figures:
1. Letter from Treasury Secretary Morgenthau to Commerce Secretary Jones, 8/4/1943 . . 63
2. Letter from Acting Commerce Secretary Taylor to Morgenthau, 8/7/1943 . . . . . . . . . . . 64
3. Letter from Taylor to Morgenthau, 8/11/1943 (copy from Commerce files) . . . . . . . . . . 65
4. Letter From Taylor to Morgenthau, 8/11/1943 Original from Treasury files) . . . . . . . . . 66
5a. List of Japanese in Washington, DC area from the 1940 Census (upper part) . . . . . . . . 67
5b. List of Japanese in Washington, DC area from the 1940 Census (lower part) . . . . . . . . 68
Endnotes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69
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I. Introduction and historical background
Statistical confidentiality is an essential element of modern demographic and economic
data-gathering and related statistical research. Today, the term “statistical confidentiality”
encompasses in shorthand form a bundle of now widely-recognized activities. These may
include legal protections, standards of professional conduct, a set of non-disclosure assurances
provided to respondents, and compilation and dissemination practices designed to protect data
providers from improper use of their answers.
It wasn’t always this way. As we and others have discussed, the practice of statistical
confidentiality has a history. Generations of statisticians and demographers came to define the
principles and practices we take as givens as they built the data production infrastructure of
official statistics and social science that evolved in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
These developments took place in many countries both in the public and private sector,
and there is a rich international literature on their experiences. The United States has been an
important player in the development of the principles and practices of statistical confidentiality
and within the U.S. federal statistical system, the U.S. Census Bureau has played a key role in
these developments.
Numerous analysts from the Census Bureau have explored this census experience, for
example, Eckler (1972), Barabba (1980), Bohme and Pemberton (1991), Habermann (2006), US
Census Bureau (2004). Other important chroniclers include Duncan and Shelton (1978), Duncan
et al. (1993), and McCaa and Ruggles (2002). All these accounts affirm the importance of US
Census practices on the larger development of statistical confidentiality.
The function of much of these historical treatments has been to provide guidance to
current practitioners, and perhaps more importantly in the minds of those writers at the Census
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Bureau, to reassure the public of the integrity of Census Bureau practices. The history, in short,
has a pedantic function. As such, it has tended to emphasize the successful development of best
practices. However, the value of this narrative, both as a guide to policy and practice and to
provide needed reassurances to potential data providers, depends to a large extent on the
accuracy of the account provided.
In previous work, we pointed out what we considered to be inaccuracies in this narrative
or at least the need for more emphasis on the failures and difficulties encountered. Anderson and
Seltzer (2007; 2005) treat the history of census statistical confidentiality for population data and
business data respectively, from 1900 to 1965. Seltzer and Anderson (2003) presents a broader
view of this work and treats the history of disclosure, harm and risk in U.S. federal statistics in
the twentieth century, focusing particularly on breaches, known and potential. Seltzer and
Anderson (2000) provided a preliminary examination of the Census Bureau role in the
internment of Americans of Japanese ancestry during World War II. In this work we (and,
intermittently, some of those at the Census Bureau as well1) have noted that the overall trajectory
toward the development of more rigorous and controlled practices of statistical confidentiality in
the Census Bureau was reversed during and shortly after World War II, when Section 1402 of
the Second War Powers Act explicitly authorized the Secretary of Commerce to provide any
official in the federal government access to confidential data from the Census Bureau “for use in
connection with the conduct of the war.”
Seltzer and Anderson (2003) and Anderson and Seltzer (2007) recounted the history of
the passage of this law. The current paper continues the historical review of the Census Bureau
experience by examining available information on the disclosures made under Section 1402 and
4
proposes a revision of the master narrative of the history of statistical confidentiality at the
Census Bureau in light of the Second War Power Act experience.
As we have recounted elsewhere (Anderson and Seltzer, 2007; Seltzer and Anderson,
2003, pp. 12-14), beginning in late 1939 the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the
military intelligence agencies2 sought legal sanction to relax the confidentiality provisions of
Title 133 so that they could gain access to individual-level data collected by the U.S. Census
Bureau for investigative purposes in connection with national defense preparations. This effort
was initially unsuccessful as the Census Bureau, under its then-director William Lane Austin,
mobilized opposition to this proposed legislation even before it could be introduced into
Congress.
However, in early 1941 after the 1940 Presidential election, the administration forced
Austin’s retirement as Director. His replacement, Mr. J.C. Capt, was a long-time political
functionary first in the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and then as a confidential
assistant to Austin handling patronage appointments in connection with the 1940 Census. Within
days of his confirmation, Capt arranged to have this legislative effort revived. Indeed, a bill was
introduced and passed in the Senate, but got tied up in inter-committee bickering in the House.
Immediately after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 Capt attempted to
again revive the effort to waive the confidentiality protections provided by Title 13.
The Second War Powers Act was passed by Congress and became law on March 27,
1942. As a result of Director Capt’s persistence, it included a provision – section 1402 – that
authorized the Secretary of Commerce to provide information to other Government agencies,
including micro data collected under a pledge of confidentiality, if the data were needed “for use
in connection with the conduct of the war.” One element in Capt’s success appears to have been
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the linking of this legislation with the perceived need for information to assist in mopping up
operations related to the forced removal of Japanese Americans from the West Coast. (Anderson
and Seltzer, 2007; Seltzer and Anderson, 2003, pp. 12-14; National Research Council, 2003,
p.119)
Section 1402 remained in effect until the end of March 1947, when it was allowed to
lapse along with many other provisions of the Second War Powers Act. To date, there has been
no systematic analysis of the use and impact of section 1402, although there has been
considerable dispute about the extent of actual use. For example, members of the Japanese
American community have often asserted that micro-data from the 1940 Census was used to
target them (see, for example, Okamura, 1981). Other historians also raised questions about the
involvement of the Census Bureau in actions directed against the Japanese Americans (see, for
example, Daniels, 1982). On the other hand, Census Bureau leadership and staff have generally
denied that any such disclosures at the micro-level occurred, although from time to time over the
years individual census staff have explicitly acknowledged in unpublished papers and
correspondence that business data were disclosed (see, for example, Clemence, 1986 and Jones,
2005). On the other hand, all Census Bureau research and statements have concluded that no
identifiable micro data pertaining to individuals was disclosed during the World War II period
under section 1402 or otherwise.
These denials ranged from the guarded to the categorical. For example, former Census
Director Barabba (1980) wrote that “we have no evidence ... that identifiable confidential
information was ever released during this period because of the [War Powers] act.” Long-time
Bureau staff member, Ed Goldfield (1991) seemed more definite in his oral history, admittedly
based on information provided by others,
6
From what Calvert [Dedrick] said to me, the relocation of Japanese is to this day
misunderstood and an embarrassment to the Census Bureau. There have been oral
and printed allegations that the Bureau turned over a list of names and addresses
of all the Japanese living in the United States to the War Department. It identified
these individuals from our list and then picked them up. That was not the case! ...
As I understand it, what was finally worked out in the Japanese relocation and
similar cases was that the Census Bureau provided what amounted to statistical
information, but it did not identify individual Japanese. I do not think it even
gave specific addresses, even without names, but rather small-area tabulations.
Dedrick himself was equally unambiguous. In his 1981 testimony before the
Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC) Dedrick asserted “at
no time were the names and addresses of individuals or families received or requested from the
Bureau of the Census” (Dedrick, 1981, p. 4). Thirty five years earlier, using similar language, he
had written “... the name and individual identification data from the 1940 Census for the
Japanese were not provided to the War Department nor were such data requested” (Dedrick,
1946, p.2).
Writing around the time of Dedrick’s CWRIC testimony, the Library of Congress’s
Congressional Research Service (1980, p. 124) was, if anything, even more categorical and
explicit stating
The Bureau persisted in its refusal to release personal information despite the passage of
the War Powers Act (P.L. 507, Mar. 27, 1942) which Act appeared to authorize the
release of any census data to any Federal agency if such release would help the war
effort.
After we documented the information available as of early 2000 on the Bureau’s
involvement in the roundup of Japanese Americans (Seltzer and Anderson, 2000), the then
Census director Prewitt (2000, cited in US Census Bureau, 2005, p.16) wrote,
The historical record is clear that senior Census Bureau staff proactively
cooperated with the internment, and that census tabulations were directly
implicated in the denial of civil rights to citizens of the United States who
happened also to be of Japanese ancestry. The record is less clear whether the
7
then in effect legal prohibitions against revealing individual data records were
violated.
Most recently former Deputy Director Habermann (2006) observed, “A review of the
historical record conducted by the Census Bureau concluded that there was no violation of the
confidentiality provisions of the existing Census Law and no individual records were used in the
program. The historical record and various accounts support this assertion.” He also concluded,
The Census Bureau uses the authority of Title 13 to make a promise — a pledge
— to the individual to protect the confidentiality of their information. In the
history of the Census Bureau, there is no record of intentional violation of this
pledge. Over time there have been allegations this pledge was violated. When
examined, however, they have always been found to be wanting.
Somewhat inexplicably, he cited the work of Jones (2005) to support his position. Jones’
findings seem far more circumspect:
While the Census Bureau’s archives offer examples of such data requested and
provided to agencies such as the War Production Board and the Office of
Emergency Management, there is no record of a War Department request for data
on individual Japanese persons in the Census Bureau’s archives. (Jones, 2005)4
In short, the record requires review. The present paper is an attempt to clarify the
historical record by presenting the results of ongoing research into the actual application of
section 1402 of the Second War Powers Act. Section II of the paper describes section 1402 and
the related Presidential Executive Order, section III presents information on disclosures of
identifiable microdata under section 1402 of the Second War Powers Act, and section IV
discusses the context of these violations of Title 13 and the policy of statistical confidentiality.
The final section of the paper contains a discussion of the implications of our findings for current
statistical policy as well as our recommendations for needed further research and action.
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II. Section 1402 of the Second War Powers Act and Presidential Executive Order 9157
Section 1402 of the Second War Powers Act specified
That notwithstanding any other provision of law, any record, schedule, report, or
return, or any information or data contained therein, now or hereafter in the
possession of the Department of Commerce, or any bureau or division thereof,
may be made available by the Secretary of Commerce to any branch or agency of
the Government, the head of which shall have made written request therefore for
use in connection with the conduct of the war. (U.S. Code Congressional Service,
1943, P.L. 507, 77th Congress, 2d Session (S2208))
The phrase “notwithstanding any other provision of law” referred specifically to the
confidentiality provisions of Title 13. As originally enacted, the entire Act was set to expire in
1944, but Congress subsequently extended it periodically at the President’s request.
The same section also specified that “The President shall issue regulations with respect to
the making available of any such record, schedule, report, return, information or data, and with
respect to the use thereof after the same has been made available.” These regulations were
provided in the form of a Presidential Executive Order (# 9157), “Regulations with respect to the
Making Available of Records, Schedules, Reports, Returns and Other Information by the
Secretary of Commerce, and with respect to the Use Thereof After the Same Have Been Made
Available,” dated May 9, 1942, about a month and half after the law’s enactment.
The Executive Order prescribed the proper form for such requests and specified
arrangements for reimbursing the Commerce Department for the costs incurred in providing the
requested information. The Executive Order also provided that
If the information requested [from the Census Bureau] by the head of the department or
agency is of a statistical character, a copy of the request shall be submitted to the
Division of Statistical Standards of the Bureau of the Budget [the predecessor of OMB’s
Office of Statistical Policy] at the time the request is submitted to the Secretary of
Commerce.
and
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The Secretary of Commerce shall inform the Division of Statistical Standards of his
action upon each request made, under section 1 of this order, if the information is of a
statistical character. (U. S. Code Congressional Service. 1943)
The statutory language of Section 1402 and corresponding regulations in EO9157
implied that the Commerce Department and the Census Bureau would keep written records of
the requests for and transmissions of confidential data. When the requests were of a “statistical
character,” the Commerce Secretary had an additional reporting requirement to the Division of
Statistical Standards in the Bureau of the Budget. Such reporting requirements should have
made it possible to audit the uses made of Section 1402 for statistical purposes.5 In fact, the
records that were kept and archived are very uneven. Thus the analysis that follows is not based
upon a thorough audit of the archival record in the Bureau of the Budget, the Commerce
Department, or the Census Bureau since we have not found such a record.
The primary archival records we have used for this paper are the transmittal files of the
Chief Clerk of the Commerce Department, through whom all interdepartmental communications
were to be routed, since Section 1402 directed that agencies seeking confidential census
information make their requests to the Secretary of Commerce. We then tracked the requests
through the requesting agency’s records as best we could. We do not believe the Chief Clerk’s
files are complete. Moreover, as noted below, once the data transmissions of Section 1402
became routine, it appears that even this reporting channel was dropped, and requesting agencies
often contacted Census officials directly.
III. Interim list of section 1402 disclosures
Table A contains a summary listing of 15 disclosure episodes related to section 1402 of
the Second War Powers Act that we have documented so far in Commerce Department records.
10
These documented disclosures occurred between August 1942 and November 1945. Each
episode is based on documentation involving correspondence from the Department of Commerce
to a requesting agency forwarding the requested confidential material or conveying a policy
decision that the requested confidential information would be released. In addition, additional
documentation is available for a few of the episodes, sometimes from other archival sources.
From other evidence we also know that our list of 15 cases over a 40 month period is a
lower bound and that section 1402 disclosures appear to be far more extensive. The upper bound
is still very much in doubt, but a hint of the extent of the use of the provision can be seen in
Assistant Director for Statistical Standards Director Stuart Rice’s correspondence. On August
14, 1942 Rice wrote to officials in the War Production Board, the Tariff Commission and the
Office of Price Administration reminding them that EO 9157 required the requesting agency to
copy the Division of Statistical Standards when making requests for confidential information of a
statistical character. He listed 26 requests made by the War Production Board between May 9,
1942, the day EO 9157 was signed, and July 30, 1942 (Rice, 1942a), a July 22 request from the
U.S. Tariff Commission on “oil sulphonating establishments” (Rice, 1942b), and 4 requests
made by the Office of Price Administration between May 27 and July 30, 1942 (Rice, 1942c). In
other words there were at least 31 requests in the 96 days between the promulgation of the
Executive Order and Rice’s letter, a rate of about one every three days.6
The disclosures involved both business records and population and housing records. The
legislative history of section 1402 makes clear that the supporters of the provision intended to
permit both types of disclosure. In our list, nine of these episodes involved business records and
six related to population and housing records.
11
On the business side, the requesting agencies were the Department of Agriculture (Food
Distribution Agency and the Bureau of Agricultural Economics), the Department of Labor, the
Treasury Department, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and four war-time agencies, the War
Production Board, the Office of Price Administration, the Defense Plants Corporation, and the
Civilian Production Administration. Five of the nine requests for information related to
businesses pertained to mailing list information (i.e., company names and addresses), in a few
cases clearly designed to assist in the statistical data-gathering operations of the requesting
agency. In the remaining cases, specific production data pertaining to individual plants were
requested. Many of these disclosures of business-related information appear to involve wartime
economic planning or procurement.
With respect to the six disclosure episodes involving population and housing information,
the requesting agencies were the Justice Department (the FBI and possibly other Justice
Department agencies), the Labor Department (Bureau of Labor Statistics), and the Treasury
Department (Secret Service). With the exception of the request from the Labor Department, all
the requests for such information appear to involve criminal investigation, intelligence-gathering,
or the investigation or prevention of subversion and come from law enforcement or surveillance
agencies. We detail the cases in depth to reveal the bureaucratic procedures put in place for the
disclosures, and to provide the background that prompted the agency requests for confidential
census information.
A. Business records
The first request for confidential Census Bureau information we have so far identified
was contained in a letter from Donald M. Nelson, Chairman of the War Production Board to
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Jesse Jones, Secretary of Commerce, dated August 17, 1942. Nelson, citing section 1402 of the
Second War Powers Act and Executive Order No. 9157, requested that “confidential industrial
and economic information in possession of the Bureau of the Census needed by the War
Production Board for use in the conduct of the war” be provided to his agency (Nelson, 1942)..
Nelson indicated that detailed specifications for the “documents and information desired” would
be provided by Stacy May, Director of the Statistics Division of the War Production Board and
concluded by stating that “any conditions and restrictions imposed by you upon the use of the
documents or information so furnished will be followed.” A reply dated August 21 and prepared
for Jones’ signature, but actually signed by Wayne C. Taylor, as Acting Secretary, stated that
“this Department is very glad to comply with your request” (Taylor, 1942). However, on August
18, even before the reply to Nelson was signed, Malcolm Kerlin Administrative Assistant to the
Secretary of Commerce sent a routing slip to Census Director Capt, marking the request “for
appropriate action” (Kerlin, 1942).
The next documented request was from the Assistant Secretary of Agriculture to the
Secretary of Commerce. It was dated February 1, 1943 and sought mailing lists maintained by
the Census Bureau for use by the Agriculture Department’s Food Distribution Administration.
On February 4, 1943 Wayne C. Taylor, Under Secretary of Commerce replied
The Department of Commerce will be very glad to comply with your request. These lists
will be furnished you pursuant to Section 1402 of the Second War Powers Act ... and ...
Executive Order 9157 ... with the understanding that the information contained therein
will be kept strictly confidential and will not be published in any form. (Taylor, 1943a)
Unlike the letter to Nelson, which had been drafted by the Commerce Department’s Assistant
Solicitor, E. T. Quigley, the file copy of Taylor’s reply to Hill indicates the letter was drafted by
Ray Hurley, who later in his career at the Census Bureau headed the Bureau’s agriculture
statistics program from 1946 to 1968, and it carried the distinctive initials of Census Director J.
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C. Capt (“JC”) and Malcolm Kerlin (“mk”). This file copy also indicates that in accord with
normal administrative practice all the supporting papers sent forward with the letter for signature
were returned to the originating Bureau -- in the present case, the Census Bureau.
On February 20, 1943 the Executive Director of the Treasury Department’s War Savings
Staff wrote Secretary Jones requesting mailing lists from the files of the 1939 Census of
Business (Sloan, 1943) and on February 27 the Under Secretary of Commerce replied indicating
(a) that to comply with Executive Order 9157 the request should be resubmitted under the
signature of the Secretary of the Treasury and (b) that “to avoid delays, the lists are being
prepared and forwarded” as instructed (Taylor, 1943b). Almost three weeks later, the needed
letter from Treasury Secretary Morgenthau was forthcoming (Morgenthau, 1943a). In addition
to specifying the types of businesses in which the War Savings staff was interested (for example,
Department Stores, Men’s Furnishings, Hats, Clothing Stores, Women’s Ready-to-Wear, Shoes,
Furniture Stores), the letter stated why the lists were wanted (“mailing War Bond and Stamp
posters and other materials”). Two days later, on March 18, Taylor (1943d) replied to
Morgenthau writing that as he had indicated in his initial response to Sloan, the materials had
already been provided as requested.7
Subsequent correspondence indicates the requests for individual-level plant,
establishment, or farm data were made by the Defense Plants Corporation (Taylor, 1944c and
1944d), the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) (Wallace, 1945a and 1945c), the Department of
Agriculture (Wallace, 1945b), the Department of Labor (Wallace, 1945d), and the Civilian
Production Authority (Wallace, 1945e) under the provisions of section 1402 of the Second War
Powers Act. Except for the request made by the TVA, all requests for disclosures were granted
as requested. In the case of the TVA, a problem arose because a substantial portion of the data
14
were collected privately by a business association and while the Commerce Department and the
Census Bureau were willing to disclose the information obtained by the Census Bureau, they
were reluctant to disclose the privately-gathered information. As the Commerce Secretary put it,
“the collection problems with some producers were such that the Bureau of the Census might be
subject to severe criticism from the Industry, if the suggested information were made available to
the Tennessee Valley Authority” (Wallace, 1945c). After informal consultations, the TVA
decided to withdraw its request.
Overall, the extant record of disclosures of confidential business data by the Census
Bureau under section 1402 indicates ongoing and wide ranging requests and that the requested
information was provided in a fairly routine manner between 1942 and 1945. Many agencies
made requests, and the available correspondence indicates easy communication between the
Commerce Department and Census Bureau and the requesting agencies.
B. Population and housing records
The record for disclosures of population and housing information is at this point far
sparser and first emerges later (i.e., in 1943 not 1942). From the evidence available, at least
initially the Census Bureau unhesitatingly provided the requested micro data. However, over
time, and certainly in retrospect, Census Bureau came to realize that the provision of information
gathered under a pledge of statistical confidentiality to law enforcement and intelligence
agencies was antithetical to the Bureau’s statistical mission.
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B.1. Disclosures to the U.S. Secret Service
The earliest and so far the most fully documented of the population-related disclosures
was initiated by an August 4, 1943 letter from Henry Morgenthau Jr., Secretary of the Treasury,
to Jesse Jones, Secretary of Commerce, invoking “the provisions of Executive Order 9157”
requesting “for the exclusive and confidential use of the U. S. Secret Service in connection with
the protection of the President of the United States, “a list of the Japanese residing in the
Metropolitan Area of Washington, D.C., as reported in the 1940 Census, including information
as to addresses, occupations and whether citizens or aliens ... You are assured that the
information will be handled under rigid confidential conditions.” (Morgenthau, 1943b) A copy
of this letter is reproduced in Figure 1.
As noted in the out-going Treasury Department mail log, the letter was signed by
Morgenthau and initialed by HEG (Assistant Treasury Secretary Herbert E. Gaston whose
responsibilities included the Secret Service) and WNT (W. Norman Thompson, Administrative
Assistant to the Secretary) with one copy marked for the “Diary”8 and another to Mr. Gaston
(U.S. Treasury Department, 1943).
This disclosure request appears at first reading to be oddly timed. Why, 20 months into
the war, was the Secret Service suddenly concerned with a threat to the President by Japanese
residents in the Washington, DC area? After all, immediately after the declaration of war in
December 1941, the Justice Department had apprehended and interned all Japanese enemy aliens
who were thought to threaten US national security, along with similarly classified Germans and
Italians. In the spring and summer of 1942, the Roosevelt administration had evacuated and
incarcerated the entire West Coast Japanese ancestry population on the grounds of military
necessity. Certainly these measures had resolved any security threats to the President in the
16
nation’s capital. In fact, we suggest, the Secret Service request was connected to these earlier
round ups - - in a truly ironic way.
By late 1942, it was clear that the Japanese military no longer posed a threat to the
American mainland, and some military and civilian leaders began to look for a mechanism to end
the incarceration of the more than 100,000 West Coast Japanese Americans then held in
“relocation camps.” Officials such as Assistant Secretary of War John McCloy and Dillon Myer,
Director of the War Relocation Authority (WRA), the agency responsible for running the camps,
as well as leaders in the Nisei community proposed measures to begin the release of “loyal”
Americans of Japanese ancestry. The army announced the creation of an all Nisei combat unit,
the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, in January 1943, and the WRA announced plans to fulfill
its mission to “relocate” Americans of Japanese ancestry outside of the West Coast military
zone.
The West Coast politicians and anti Japanese lobby that had whipped up fears of fifth
column activity by the Japanese population in the months after Pearl Harbor were deeply
distressed by these emerging plans and renewed their campaign of anti-Japanese propaganda.
Organizations such as the Native Sons of the Golden West and the Los Angeles Chamber of
Commerce once again mobilized to keep the Japanese American population incarcerated for the
duration of the war and to prevent their return to the West Coast at the war’s end. Their
congressional allies also mobilized to investigate the WRA and oppose any softening of
sentiment on the threat posed by the incarcerated Americans. In this context the House Special
Committee on Un-American Activities,9 held a series of hearings on the West Coast and in
Washington, DC in June and early July of 1943. Drawing on the Committee’s extensive
investigative files Committee staffers shared stories with interested journalists about disloyal
17
Japanese Americans, alleged spy rings in the camps, the WRA actions in “pampering” camp
residents, and the collusion of “New Deal” cabinet members with these activities. A number of
witnesses at the Committee hearings repeated or elaborated on these charges and called upon
Congress to keep the Japanese locked up.
The hearings and, even more, the investigative “findings” leaked by Committee staff
were extensively covered in the West Coast press. On June 20, 1943, the Los Angeles Times
reported that an evacuee, Juichi Uyemoto, had made threats against President Roosevelt, and that
a Japanese American living in Washington, Paul Yozo Abe, had ties to the Japanese embassy
(“Drive for Return of Japs – Dies Group gets Evidence Indicating High Government Officials
Are Working to That End,” 6/20/1943, p. 1). The story alleged that “on a train to the Owens
Valley [i.e., Manzanar] relocation camp ... Hawaiian-born Kibei, Juichi Uyemoto voiced the
feeling that ‘we ought to have enough guts to kill Roosevelt.’” (The source of the newspaper
account of this Presidential threat was a letter written by Karl Yoneda, a fellow Manazanar
inmate who wrote he was sitting three seats away from Uyemoto when the threat was made on
March 23, 1942. Both the letter (Yoneda, 1942a) and an August 1942 account of a meeting in
the Manzanar camp at which Uyemoto spoke (Yoneda, 1942b) are available in the Committee
files.) The LA Times story also referred to the unspecified “activities of the local J.A.C.L. unit
[i.e., the Washington, DC chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League], including Paul
Yozo Abe, former clerk at the Japanese Embassy who was recommended for a scholarship at a
local university by the Tokyo Foreign Office.” Further information about the Committee and its
investigation of the threats posed by persons of Japanese ancestry, may be found in Ogden
(1944) and Goodman (1968), although neither Ogden nor Goodman referred to Uyemoto’s
alleged Presidential threat or to the LA Times story.
18
On June 25, 1943 the Secret Service opened an investigation into the matter. Frank J.
Wilson, the head of the Secret Service wrote to John J. McGrath, Supervising Agent of the
Secret Service’s Washington D.C. office requesting “an extensive investigation be conducted to
identify all known Japanese in Washington, D. C. and environs for the purpose of the security of
the President of the United States” and an investigation of two specific “Japanese,” Juichi
Uyemoto and Paul Yozo Abe (Wilson, 1943).
In response to Chief Wilson’s request Secret Service Agent Lee A. Montgomery was
assigned to carry out the investigation and he rather quickly determined that neither Abe nor
Uyemato posed a threat to the President. By August 12, 1943 Montgomery was able to report
that Abe had moved to New York, 10 and that according to the Office of Naval Intelligence,
Uyemoto, who was
alleged to have made a threat against the life of the President has been taken from
Manzanar Relocation Center ... to the Los Angeles County Hospital for mental
observation, and ... he was committed to the Camarillo State Hospital, Camarillo,
California as the victim of dementia praecox [i.e., schizophrenia] of the catatonic type
(Montgomery, 1943, p. 8)11
According to Montgomery, Uyemoto’s removal from Manzanar and commitment took place in
October 1942, which was about seven months after his alleged Presidential threat in March 1942.
There the matter might have ended, but Wilson’s initial directive had also asked for an
investigation of “all known Japanese” in Washington, perhaps motivated by a reprise of the 1942
anti-Japanese American hysteria reflected a number of Spring 1943 press accounts.
Accordingly, Montgomery’s investigations continued on broader grounds and he reported on his
progress to his superiors from August 1943 through at least the fall of 1944.
Under this broader mandate to investigate “all known Japanese” in Washington, DC
Montgomery contacted officials from a variety of agencies, including head of the Employment
19
Division of the War Relocation Authority, an Assistant Director of the FBI, several sources in
the Office of Naval Intelligence and the Army’s Military Intelligence Division as well as one
source in the Army’s Provost Marshal General’s Office. Most of the information contained in
Montgomery’s report related to this part of his investigation dealt with the presumed continuing
threats of posed by Japanese Americans generally and much of it reflected the stereotyped views
so prevalent in 1942. Indeed, Montgomery (1943, p. 13) concluded his report by essentially
recommending that an exclusion order be issued for East Coast Japanese Americans, “in as much
as Japanese traits and customs differ from all other nationalities, and ... any one of them may be
deemed potentially dangerous.”
One focus of Montgomery’s broader investigation was the work of the Japanese
American Joint Appeals Board, an inter-agency group responsible for clearing Japanese
Americans for work in defense plants and for those incarcerated in the WRA camps for any work
release or to continue their education in other parts of the country. As part of this aspect of his
field work, Montgomery reported that on July 14, 1943, he met with Dr. Calvert Dedrick, then
working in the Office of the Provost Marshal General on the Japanese American Joint Appeals
Board. (Dedrick was then on leave from a senior position at the Census Bureau and he had
played an important role in the West Coast round-up and internment operations.) Montgomery
met Dedrick in the latter’s office in the Munitions Building in Washington, and extensively
covered his experiences with the Wartime Civil Control Administration in San Francisco and in
his current assignment (Montgomery, 1943, pp. 9-11). We cannot be certain that the Secret
Service learned from Dedrick that the 1940 Census was a possible source of information useful
to the more general investigation of “Japanese in the Washington, DC area” and thus prompted
Morgenthau’s August 4 request to Commerce Department. Montgomery, for example, did not
20
identify Dedrick as a former Census Bureau official. However, Montgomery’s extensive account
of Dedrick’s views, including the latter’s assessment of communist and fascistic influences on
the Japanese American community, indicate that he felt that Dedrick had provided him with
relevant information on the Japanese American population and his July 14 interview with
Dedrick occurred about three weeks prior to Morgenthau’s August 4 request to the Department
of Commerce. Furthermore, as discussed below, a later report by Agent Montgomery does thank
the Census Bureau and presents an “analysis” of 1940 Census data for Washington
(Montgomery, 1944).
In any event, three days after Secretary Morgenthau’s letter to Jones, on August 7, 1943,
Wayne C. Taylor, as the Acting Secretary of Commerce replied,
arrangements have been made for preparing a list of the Japanese residing in the
Metropolitan Area of Washington, D.C., as reported in the 1940 Census. It is possible
that there may be a little delay in completing this list because of the fact that the census
schedules for this area have not yet been put back in the regular files after having been
microfilmed. It is hoped, however, that the list may be completed and sent to you within
a week.
The file copy of the letter indicates it had been drafted by Leon E. Truesdell, then “chief
statistician for population” at the Census Bureau. It also clearly bears the initials of Census
director J.C. Capt and the Commerce Secretary’s administrative assistant, Malcolm Kerlin. This
file copy also has stamped on bottom: August 7, 1943, and indicates that the original papers were
returned to the Census Bureau. (Taylor, 1943e) This file copy is reproduced in Figure 2.
Such a prompt response clearly indicates that no new policy decision had to be made by
the Department of Commerce or the Census Bureau. Moreover, the fact that the response was
drafted by Truesdell indicates the process for responding to such requests was handled by the
Bureau’s technical staff as an apparently routine matter.
21
Somewhat sooner than had been anticipated in the interim response that the Census
Bureau had drafted for Acting Secretary of Commerce, Taylor was able to write to Morgenthau
again on August 11, 1943,
The list of Japanese residents in the Washington Metropolitan Area which you requested
under data of August 4, and to which I referred in my reply of August 7, has now been
completed by the Bureau of the Census and is transmitted herewith. I hope that this
information may be of service for the purposes mentioned in your letter requesting it.
Again the file copy of the letter indicates it was drafted by Leon E. Truesdell of the Census
Bureau and it bears the initials of J.C. Capt (Census Director) as well as two others, one of whom
may have been Truesdell. There is a clear typed notice that the letter contained an “Enclosure.”
A mixture of handwritten and stamped notations indicates that the text is an “Exact Copy as
signed by Wayne C. Taylor,” that it was mailed on August 13, 1943, that a copy was provided to
the Under Secretary [i.e., Taylor], and that, as usual, the underlying papers were returned to the
Census Bureau. (Taylor, 1943f) However, no copy of the enclosure was found with the August
11 letter in the files of the Commerce Department’s chief clerk. (This is not particularly
surprising since copies of tabular material accompanying letters from the Census Bureau were
often not kept in the chief clerk’s files.) 12 The file copy of this letter is reproduced in Figure 3.
The original of the Commerce Department letter, along with its enclosure – a listing in
tabular format entitled “Japanese Residing in the Metropolitan Area of Washington, DC, April 1,
1940” – was saved in the Morgenthau Diary and we located a copy of it at the FDR Library. The
table is a typed list of 79 Japanese Americans enumerated in the 1940 Census residing in the
District, Arlington and Alexandria Virginia, and Bethesda, Chevy Chase, and Edmonston,
Maryland, showing for each person, name, address, sex, age, marital status, citizenship status,
status in employment, and occupation and industry (U. S. Census Bureau, 1943a). At the time of
enumeration, the youngest person enumerated was age 1 and the oldest age 76, while 35 were
22
recorded as aliens and 44 as native born (i.e., citizens). The original letter is reproduced in
Figure 4 and the enclosed listing is reproduced in Figures 5a and 5b. To help preserve the
confidentiality of these respondents to the 1940 Census, we have blacked out the names and
house numbers of those included on the list. Of course, the names and house numbers were
clearly readable in the list as provided by the Census Bureau to the Secret Service and were so in
the list as we found it in the FDR Library. The label bearing the notice “Determined to be an
administrative marking” on the right side of the top margin of the list was added by the staff of
the FDR Library after consulting with NARA when they provided us the photocopy of the list. It
refers to the handwritten notation “Confidential.”
A close examination of the table complied by the Census Bureau reveals several
anomalies. First, the table contains a footnote next to the name of one of the entries “This man
was born in Puerto Rico. He was reported “Japanese” but the name is Spanish.” Not noted by
the table’s compilers or reviewers was that several other persons listed seemed to have nonJapanese names (for example, Appold, Moy, and Smith). If a person with a non-Japanese family
name was wrongly included on the list provided by the Census Bureau, in modern-day
terminology, each such person would be classified as a false positive.
The list as typed also provides a hint of another issue that arose during its compilation.
The 79 persons listed are each assigned a serial number (1, 2, 3, ...) in the leftmost column of the
table. In addition, at the end of each group of persons listed for any geographic area an extra line
is provided to facilitate readability. Within the group listed for Washington, D.C. persons appear
to be arranged by Enumeration District. There are three related exceptions to these regularities.
After the last person listed for the District of Columbia (No. 65) and before the first person listed
for Virginia (No. 66), an additional person was listed in a line that should have been blank and he
23
was assigned a serial number of “65½”. According to his address in the District, it appears he
should properly have been listed as No. 15 in the table. The person listed as number 65½ was a
young Japanese American biostatistician then employed by the Census Bureau in its vital
statistics program. We would conjecture that during the initial compilation of the table his
colleagues attempted to protect him by leaving his name out of the table. However, at some
stage after the list was initially typed, the omission was discovered in the review process (either
Truesdell or Capt would have almost certainly noticed the omission), and the missing Japanese
American staff member was inserted in the list in a manner that did not require retyping the
entire table.
The existence of this tabular listing of Japanese Americans enumerated in the 1940
Census and the Census Bureau’s ability to produce it within 7 days (August 4 to 11) from the
initial request and within 4 days (August 7 to 11) from the earliest date that the schedules
became available, demonstrates that the Bureau not only provided identifiable micro-data on
Japanese Americans to other federal agencies but also had well-developed procedures to do so
expeditiously. Operationally, this could have been accomplished by first sorting the main 1940
Census population card (Card A) to obtain a full listing for all persons in a given locality with a
“Jp” in column 14 for the color or race item. While the punch card itself did not contain
information on name or street address, as indicated by Truesdell (1965, pp. 195 and 201-202)
and the Census Bureau (1982b) each card did contain broader geographic identification
information including Enumeration District (ED) number in columns 1 to 6 and the sheet and
line number for each person enumerated within each ED in columns 7 to 10. Based on the
technology then-available, the cards for those reported with a Japanese “race” could be readily
used to produce a printed listing of the ED and sheet and line number for each person identified
24
as “Japanese.” It was then possible to go back to the enumeration forms (which did contain
information on name and street address and which were stored by ED number) to generate the
listing provided to the Secret Service.
As already mentioned, Agent Montgomery’s August 1943 report made no mention of the
Census Bureau or the 1940 Census as a possible source of information on Japanese Americans.
In a later report dated August 10, 1944, Montgomery explicitly listed the Census Bureau as a
source of such information (Montgomery, 1944, p.3). He also presented the following summary
of the available data
It was learned that ... according to the last Census taken in Washington, D.C. there were
approximately 59 Japanese residing in this city. About 36 of these were attached to the
Japanese Embassy in Washington, and with the exception of six, all were interned and
later returned to Japan. The others residing in Washington were either in business or
acting as domestics in various fields. (Montgomery, 1944, p.1)
In other words, it seems that the Secret Service through its investigative work between
August 1943, when it received the listing from the Census Bureau, and August 1944, when
Montgomery wrote his second report, had confirmed that among 66 persons classified as
Japanese in the listing seven were false positives. This would imply that the gross false positive
rate for Japanese Americans in the District in the 1940 Census was just under 12 percent. Other
aspects of Agent Montgomery’s investigation and analysis seem to have been far less accurate.
For example, looking at the age, sex, and occupations of the 66 Japanese Americans shown in
the Census Bureau listing, we doubt that “about 36 of these were attached to the Japanese
Embassy in Washington.” To begin with, foreign diplomats were not to be enumerated in the
census. We think it far more likely that Agent Montgomery simply subtracted the number of
those Japanese “attached” to the Embassy that he obtained from another source from the censusbased number.13
25
B.2. Disclosures to the FBI and other Justice Department agencies
The available dated documentation of section 1402 disclosures to the Federal Bureau of
Investigation (FBI) begins only in 1944. From the information so far obtained, it appears that the
FBI only began to invoke section 1402 of the Second War Powers Act in 1944 after its Director,
J. Edgar Hoover, removed a principled objection he had with complying with the provisions of
Executive Order 9157. In March 1944, FBI Director Hoover wrote to his boss, Attorney General
Francis Biddle, calling his attention the Executive Order and noting that the requesting agency
must provide
an explanation of the reason for which the information is desired ... [and] ... must indicate
the exact distribution that is intended to be made of the information which is received,
and thereafter no other dissemination may be made without express approval. (Hoover,
1944)
He then explained why the FBI could not adhere to these restrictions:
Obviously, this Bureau could not comply with such a requirement in that if the data,
when combined with other [data] in our files, affects the internal security of the country,
it is our responsibility to see that any governmental agency, which from time to time
might be affected thereby, is promptly and fully advised. Similarly, it is impossible for
us to foretell the exact disposition to be made of information secured since, in the event
of prosecution, we would be governed by the wishes of the Department of Justice and the
United States Attorneys involved.
After he went on to recount the great value the information in the files of the Census Bureau
would be to the important national defense work of the FBI, Director Hoover summarized the
fruitless negotiations involving the Department of Commerce, the FBI’s representative
Alexander Holtzoff [then a Special Assistant to the Attorney General], and the Bureau of the
Budget to exempt the FBI from the problematic provisions of Executive Order # 9157. Hoover
concluded,
26
Since the availability of the information contained in the files of the Department of
Commerce would in many instances contribute immeasurably to the efficiency and
economy of the work of this Bureau [i.e., the FBI], it is suggested that appropriate steps
be taken to have this information made accessible to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
In a letter dated March 22, 1944, Attorney General Biddle immediately forwarded
Hoover’s memorandum to Commerce Secretary Jesse Jones expressing the hope that “something
can be worked out so that strict compliance with Executive Order No. 9157 will not be required
of the FBI” (Biddle, 1944b). By March 29 the Assistant Solicitor of the Commerce Department
was able to inform the Administrative Assistant to the Commerce Secretary that the matter had
been resolved, writing “at a recent conference in this office, attended by representatives of the
Department of Justice and the Bureau of the Census a plan was worked out to take care of this
matter. No reply to the Attorney General’s letter is required” (Quigley, 1944).
On April 3 the Attorney General wrote to Commerce Secretary Jones (Biddle, 1944d) and
Jones replied to Biddle on April 12 (Jones, 1944). Jones began by acknowledging the Attorney
General’s letter which according to Jones requested
that certain confidential records of the Bureau of the Census be made available to the
Federal Bureau of Investigation in connection with investigations of violations or
possible violations of statutes relating to espionage, sabotage, Selective Service, or
subversive activities.
The Secretary of Commerce continued,
It is agreed that the Director of the Bureau of Census will make this information available
upon written request by the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Such
requests by the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation should, in each instance,
specify:
“The information desired is requested under Section 1402 of the Second War Powers Act,
approved March 27, 1942, Executive Order No. 9157, dated May 9, 1942, for the
purposes listed and for use in the manner described in the Attorney General’s letter of
April 3, 1944.”
27
The letter concluded by reiterating that the Census Bureau’s understanding that it would be
reimbursed by the FBI for any costs incurred. The letter was drafted by A.W. von Struve, a
Census Bureau staff member, and initialed by Census Director Capt as well as by Quigley and
Kerlin from the Commerce Department. The copy of the letter contains the standard note,
“Papers returned to the Bureau – Census.”
Three features of this agreement between the Census Bureau and the FBI are worthy of
note. First, the agreement reduced the Executive Order’s requirement that the “manner of use”
be stated by the requesting agency to a generic boiler-plate text. Second, contrary to the
language of both Section 1402 of the Second War Powers Act and the Executive Order, the FBI
was permitted to make its disclosure requests directly to Census Bureau Director J.C. Capt,
rather than routing the requests first to the Attorney General and then to the Secretary of
Commerce. Finally, the FBI was freed entirely from any restrictions on how it might further
disseminate any information it obtained through Section 1402.
We have been unable to locate any correspondence in the Census Bureau archives
(Record Group 29 of the National Archives) related to this agreement and only one to disclosures
that appeared to flow from it. Since, under the agreement, the process of disclosures to the FBI
of materials from the Census was direct and, not through the Commerce Department, one would
have expected to find some sort of paper trail related to these disclosures in the Bureau files.
The single exception to the absence of references to any section 1402 disclosures to the
FBI in Record Group 29 that we have identified is a very brief reference in a one page document
that appears to be the draft text of the portion of the Census War History that covered the
Personal Census Records Section of the Publications Division. Toward the bottom of the page,
after listing several categories routine searches, the report lists the following, “Additional
28
requests occasioned by World War II. Information requested for: ... War Man Powers Act, Army
and Navy Personnel (Minors), F.B.I. (Draft Dodgers)” (U.S. Census Bureau, 1946). We believe
that operational work on personal census records check activities was overseen by the Personal
Census Records Section, and that this section worked under A.W. von Struve’s supervision.
The Commerce Department files do reveal two name searches undertaken at the request
of the Justice Department under the provisions of Section 1402 by the Census Bureau at about
the time the agreement with the FBI was being developed, but it is not clear whether these
requests were initiated by the FBI or by other investigative or prosecutorial programs in the
Justice Department. The first was relayed to the Secretary of Commerce by the Attorney
General in a letter dated March 21 (Biddle, 1944a), and led to a successful name search of a
specific individual. Accordingly, the Acting Secretary of Commerce was able to inform the
Attorney General on March 29 that “I am furnishing you herewith a copy of the 1920 Census
record of one John E. Lenning ...” (Taylor, 1944b).
On March 23, the Attorney General made a similar request to the Secretary of Commerce
(Biddle, 1944c). This time Acting Commerce Secretary (Taylor, 1944a) wrote that the named
individual could not be found after searching the enumeration records for two Georgia counties
and adjoining Enumeration Districts. The search seemed to have involved the 1940 and 1930
Census files. Taylor also enclosed a blank Census name search form on which the Justice
Department was invited to provide alternative address information to assist in the search since
“neither the 1930 nor the 1940 Census records have been alphabetized.” He also helpfully noted
It is understood, of course, that it [i.e., the form] need not be signed by the subject of the
search since this information has been requested by you under provisions of the Second
War Powers Act and Executive Order No. 9157.
29
Both Commerce Department responses to the Attorney General (Taylor, 1944a and 1944b) were
drafted by Census staffer, A. W. von Struve, with some help from the Department’s Assistant
Solicitor in the case of the second request.
B.3. Other personal disclosures
The only other disclosure so far identified in the population and housing area was based
on August 29 and September 6, 1944 requests by the Secretary of Labor on behalf of the Bureau
of Labor Statistics for confidential data from the 1940 Census of Housing. The Acting Secretary
of Commerce responded on September 11, 1944, indicating he had directed the Census Director
to make the requested data available (Taylor, 1944e).
C. Closing the gate
The Second War Powers Act was an omnibus piece of legislation. Although it was
adopted as a single legislative act, individual provisions were repealed or permitted to expire on
different dates and by different legislative acts, with the bulk of them, including Section 1402,
repealed with effect from March 30, 1947 (Chapter 29, Public Law 29, 50 U.S.C.A. Appendix,
Section 644a). Having opened the gate to the disclosure of census information hitherto protected
by Title 13, the Census Bureau found the process of closing the gate to be an extended and
difficult – but important – effort.
The first hint of some of the issues involved can be found in a letter drafted in the Census
Bureau but sent from the Secretary of Commerce to the Chairman of the Civilian Production
Bureau in November 1945, three months after World War II had ended (Wallace, 1945). We
quote extensively from Secretary Wallace’s letter since it summarizes so clearly both the “short-
30
cut” practices that had evolved to speed disclosures during the war and the new pressures the
Census Bureau faced to end such confidentiality-breaking disclosures as rapidly as possible:
During the war the Bureau of the Census of the Department of Commerce with the
approval of the Secretary of Commerce ... supplied the War Production Board with
confidential data from the 1939 Census of Manufactures and other records collected by
the Census Bureau.
The Chairman of the War Production Board in order to expedite the transmission of
information between the agencies delegated the authority to make requests to the Director
of the Bureau of Program and Statistics who, on a restricted basis, subsequently delegated
such authority to the Director of the Office of Survey Standards of the War Production
Board.
Now that hostilities have ceased and the War Production Board has been succeeded by
the Civilian Production Administration, we would like to revert to the original procedure
in which the head of the agency makes each request to the Secretary of Commerce. This
procedure would appear to be more appropriate to present conditions. Also, we would
like to emphasize in every way possible the confidential nature of information collected
by the Bureau of the Census for statistical purposes. Numerous business establishments
now reconverting to peacetime production have called this matter to our attention since
the surrender of Japan.
It should be noted, however, that Secretary Wallace’s letter, in accordance with the law,
permitted disclosures to continue.
With respect to confidential information on persons, the FBI sought to continue the
access it had gained under the Second War Powers Act to Census Bureau files even after Section
1402 expired at the end of March 1947. Accordingly, the Attorney General wrote to the
Secretary of Commerce toward the end of January 1947, three months before section 1402 was
due to expire, but without any reference those provisions of law, that,
The records of the Bureau of the Census of the Department of Commerce contain
information which would be of great value in connection with confidential investigations
conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation dealing with internal security of the
nation and with other important confidential investigative work.
It would be of great benefit if you could authorize the appropriate officials of the Bureau
of the Census to provide information upon request of Special Agents of the Federal
Bureau of Investigation who hold credentials certifying to their status as such. Such
31
authorization would be of great benefit to the Government in connection with the official
investigations made by the Special Agents of the FBI. (Clark, 1947)
This request was notable in two respects. First, it made no mention of the arrangements then in
place at least since April 1944 (see Jones, 1944), but presumably due to expire on March 31,
granting the FBI access to confidential Census Bureau records, and second, it proposed an
arrangement for obtaining access (i.e., requests from individual FBI agents) that was even less
subject to oversight than the one developed in 1944 (i.e., requests from the Director of the FBI to
the Census Bureau Director). It may be recalled that the 1944 arrangement was, in turn, even
less restrictive than that specified in the 1942 law and Executive Order (i.e., requests from the
Attorney General to the Secretary of Commerce).
Commerce Secretary Harriman replied in early March to this request in a letter drafted in
the Department’s Solicitor’s office (Harriman, 1947). His response provided a clear indication
how far Census Director Capt had moved from the views he had held in 1941 and 1942 when he
had worked so diligently to provide the FBI and other agencies access to confidential
information that had hitherto been protected by Title 13.
After citing the relevant portions of Title 13 and observing that “under these provisions of
law the Director of the Bureau of the Census is the official designated to protect these records –
not the head of Department,” Secretary Harriman’s letter to the Attorney General continued,
In connection with your request, the Director of the Census informs me that it would be
impossible for him to agree to your request, because it has been the long-standing
practice of that Bureau not to furnish such information either to private persons or
officials of the Government. The Director pointed out that such practice is in accord with
the views expressed in the Attorney General’s opinion to the Secretary of Commerce ...
of September 29, 1930 (36 Op. At. Gen. 362).
Harriman’s letter concluded, after referring to Section 1402 of the Second War Powers Act as
“an exception to this rule” and noting that it would terminate at the end of the month, “in view of
32
the foregoing, I am unable to reply with your request.” Several weeks later the Commerce
Department Solicitor also wrote a legal memorandum to the Secretary supporting the position
taken by the Census Bureau and the Secretary in the Department’s response to the FBI’s request
(Fisher, 1947).
However even after Section 1402 was repealed, various regulatory and investigative
agencies continued to be keenly interested in obtaining information provided to the Census
Bureau under the confidentiality protections of Title 13. This gave rise to a number of
administrative and judicial efforts over the next two decades to restore the war-time access
provided to such information. For example, in late 1947, the Federal Munitions Board sought
means to receive confidential information from the Bureau’s Census of Manufactures. After
considerable correspondence between the Commerce Department and the Attorney General’s
office and extensive consultations involving the Justice Department, the Budget Bureau, the
Commerce Department, the Census Bureau and the Munitions Board, an agreement was reached
that disclosures would only be made after the Census Bureau secured affirmative waivers of
confidentiality from the individuals and firms who provided the information to the Census
Bureau (Foster, 1947; 1948a; 1948b).
In July 1948 the Census Bureau proposed a similar approach in a letter that W. P.
McInerny and A. Ross Eckler of the Census Bureau had drafted for signature by the Secretary of
Commerce to respond to a request by the Internal Revenue Service that it be provided
information collected by the Census Bureau from the Zigler Canning Company (Sawyer, 1948).
However, Secretary Sawyer wondered “if this is good government practice. In other words, ... if
the prohibition against giving this information applies to the heads of other government
departments – such as the Commissioner of Internal Revenue.” Accordingly, he held up signing
33
the draft until the matter could be reviewed by the Department Solicitor (Easton, 1948). Within
three days the Departmental Solicitor wrote to Secretary Sawyer a memorandum strongly
endorsing the position taken by the Census Bureau (Stokes, 1948) and the letter to the Internal
Revenue Service was sent out as drafted by the Census Bureau. As we have shown elsewhere
with respect to business data, efforts by the Justice Department and numerous federal regularity
agencies to breach statistical confidentiality at the Census Bureau and elsewhere in the federal
statistical system continued for at least another two decades (Anderson and Seltzer, 2005).
In the post World War II period, the Census Bureau vigorously sought to end the
confidentiality violations sanctioned by the Second War Powers Act. This was not always an
easy task as a number of investigative agencies had grown accustomed to the relatively easy
access they had had to Census Bureau micro-data during the war years. Indeed, the history of
war time disclosures puts a somewhat new light on Ed Goldfield’s recollection that,
Later on, when I had some major responsibilities for Census Bureau policy,
including policy on access to individual records, I had the occasion to turn down
people from the Secret Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and
elsewhere who came to the Bureau thinking that I could provide them with names
and addresses of businesses or individuals. I always had difficulties persuading
them that even though they represented an important Government concern, the
Census Bureau would not cooperate with them, at least not to that degree.
(Goldfield, 1991)
IV. Context of these disclosures
A. Societal and political
After its lengthy hearings and deliberations, the Congressionally-mandated U.S.
Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC) that reviewed the
wartime round-up and incarceration of Japanese Americans on the West Coast, concluded that
the main causative factors leading to this mistaken national policy were “race prejudice, war
34
hysteria, and a failure of political leadership” (CWRIC, 1982, p. 459.) Unfortunately, these same
factors seemed to be present in the Census Bureau’s actions and some of its leaders at this time.
Certainly, Calvert Dedrick’s views about Japanese Americans reflected in his July 1943
interview with Secret Service Agent Montgomery and contained in some of the memoranda he
wrote in connection with his work for Provost Marshal General’s Office in Washington, D.C. at
about this time seem to reflect many of the same racial stereotypes as those of Col. Bendetsen
and General DeWitt and the other military and civilian leadership responsible for the round up
and internment. Similarly, J. C. Capt’s eagerness to remove confidentiality protections for
Census Bureau records almost from the moment of assuming his duties as Census Director and
his persistence in pursuing this goal from May 1941 to March 1942 reflected both a failure of
leadership and war hysteria.
We would also observe that the bulk of the disclosures documented in this paper,
particularly those related to information about individuals, took place in 1943, 1944, and
thereafter. This was well after the first half of 1942, when there was some real concern whether
the United States and its allies would prevail. Nevertheless, the “war hysteria” and broad racebased stereotyping identified by CWRIC seemed to define both the Secret Service’s actions in
the summer of 1943 and the Bureau’s response. For example, Secret Service Agent
Montgomery’s earlier report mirrored both in his characterizations of Japanese Americans
previously cited (1943, p. 13) and his full acceptance throughout of the notion that the WRA was
insufficiently vigorous in dealing with the “threats” the Japanese Americans community
continued to pose. On the other hand, his 1944 report was largely free of such perspectives
(Montgomery, 1944).
35
Moreover, between April 1944, when the Census Bureau and the FBI reached agreement
on a disclosure procedure, and March 1947, when Section 1402 expired, the FBI was
increasingly shifting its attention from potential Axis saboteurs to subversives and likely Soviet
spies and sympathizers.
Another factor present during this period in Washington was a growing practice of
subterfuge to hide measures of questionable legality or otherwise viewed with distaste. For
example, beginning in 1940 and refined over the next three years, FBI Director Hoover instituted
a “Do Not File” procedure to keep sensitive memoranda pertaining to warrantless wire-taps,
“bugs,” break-ins and the like, out of the Bureau’s central records system and held in separate
files that were periodically purged (Theoharis, 1989, p. v; Poveda, 1998, p. 183). While there is
no evidence that Capt and others at the Census Bureau were aware of these contemporaneous
FBI procedures or employed them at the Census Bureau, as more fully discussed in the next
section, we find that the apparent absence of any clear description of the Census Bureau’s
Section 1402 disclosures of information on individuals in its annual reports to the Commerce
Department at that time or in its 1946 write up of the Bureau’s wartime activities, coupled with
the absence of a paper trail in its archived files (RG 29), leaves open the possibility that similar
processes may have been followed at the Census Bureau.
B. Internal Census Bureau matters
A careful review of the correspondence related to the disclosures under section 1402
makes it clear that knowledge of these disclosures was relatively widespread at the time and was
common among the leadership of the Census Bureau well into the late 1960s. Many of those
who in the 1940s drafted the covering letters providing confidential information to external
36
agencies under section 1402, in later decades rose to some prominence at the Census Bureau (see
Table B). These included, in addition to Leon Truesdell already referred to in connection with
the list of Japanese American provided to the Secret Service, John Albright, who became a
Branch Chief in the Business Division, Max Conklin who became Chief of the Industry Division
and an Associate Director, Ray Hurley who became Chief of the Bureau’s Agriculture Division,
and A. W. von Struve who became the Bureau’s Publication Information Officer. In addition,
Charles B. Lawrence , Jr., who when working for another agency was a recipient of confidential
information provided by the Census Bureau under section 1402, after he joined the Census
Bureau became first Assistant Director for Operations and then Calvert Dedrick’s replacement
leading the Bureau’s International Statistical Program.
A. W. von Struve’s role deserves special mention, both because he is largely unknown
today and because the central role he appears to have played in disclosures made to the FBI and
possibly other agencies, and in subsequent efforts to obscure the existence of such disclosures.
Like Capt, von Struve had came from Texas and worked in the WPA, under David K. Niles. At
the WPA von Struve wrote several published articles on historical topics and by 1938 he was
chief of the Periodicals Section at WPA (von Struve, 1939). In late 1938 Harry Hopkins
resigned as WPA Administrator and was appointed by President Roosevelt as Commerce
Secretary. Niles also moved from WPA to the Commerce Department and became Hopkins’
principal political assistant with special responsibilities for the Census Bureau. Shortly
thereafter, in 1939, Capt and von Struve moved from WPA to the Census Bureau, Capt as a
confidential assistant to the Census Director with responsibilities for patronage in connection
with the 1940 Census and von Struve as a public relations assistant in the newly-established
Division of Information, 1940 Census, which was quickly renamed the Division of Public
37
Relations. In June 1941, just after Capt became Census Director, the Division was reconstituted
as the Information and Publications Division. By 1943, von Struve was Acting Chief of the
Division and in 1944 he was cited as Division Chief (von Struve, 1944). Eventually, when the
Bureau’s long-time Chief Information Officer, Frank R. Wilson, retired, von Struve was named
as the Bureau’s Public Information Officer, serving from 1956 until his death in 1962.
As the Annual Report of the Census Director for July 1, 1943 to June 30, 1944 makes
clear, the responsibility for name searches rested with the Bureau’s Information and Publications
Division (U. S. Census Bureau, 1944, p. 14). Accordingly, von Struve’s role in drafting the three
letters pertaining to disclosures to the FBI and the Justice Department seems bureaucratically
appropriate. Whether the name searches were assigned to von Struve’s Division because Capt
placed special trust in his former colleague to handle the sensitive issues involved in requests
from the FBI and other such agencies is unclear.
The annual reports during these years, while documenting in some detail the name
searches carried out for individuals to establish their citizenship or eligibility for pensions, are
virtually silent about the record searches carried out for other government agencies and the other
disclosures made under section 1402 of the Second War Powers Act.14 Similarly, the Census
Bureau’s War History project initiated as part of a government-wide activity to provide “a record
of ... [agency] contributions to the war which would be of value to the Government in the case of
another emergency, as well as to provide material for historians” (Capt, 1946), also omits any
mention of such disclosures that we could identify. For example, by the time the Census War
History was transmitted to Commerce Secretary Harriman in the fall of 1947 in manuscript form,
the planned chapter on the Publication Division was cut and the portion of the history dealing
38
with the “Personal Census Service Section” was renamed “Age Searching and Microfilming”
(Trimble, 1947).
In any case, in the years following the war, von Struve was well placed to play a central
role in building the image of the Bureau as a defender of the Japanese Americans during the war
and as an agency that had never wavered in its defense of census confidentiality. Thus, in an
informational pamphlet published by the Census Bureau in September 1947, at the end of
chapter 1, after celebrating the Bureau’s important war work, “the marshaling of facts on
materials and manpower during World War II ...[helped to make] ... possible the winning of the
War,” the chapter concluded with a clear reaffirmation of statistical confidentiality, “Your
reports to the Census Bureau are CONFIDENTIAL ... your census reports cannot be used for
purposes of taxation, regulation, or investigation” (US Census Bureau, 1947, pp. 4-5). Other
examples of the Census Bureau’s evolving descriptions of its World War II activities may be
found in Seltzer and Anderson (2000, pp. 13-18).
V. Discussion and recommendations
In thinking about the specific disclosures we have described in this paper, along with the
numerous others that took place during the period that Section 1402 of the Second War Powers
Act was in effect and have as yet remained undocumented, it is important bear in mind that those
Census Bureau officials assisted in these disclosures broke no law, unless they had at some point
sworn under oath that no disclosures took place. What is far more complex is the issue of the
ethical culpability of the Census staff and leadership involved in these disclosures. With respect
to those involved in disclosures related to information solely about businesses, and that is the
bulk of the census staffers listed in Table B, there would appear to be little or no ethical blame.
39
This is not so much because their actions were authorized by law or that they were following
Director Capt’s orders, but rather because most of the disclosures were done to facilitate wartime production coordination and related measures, processes that the bulk of the concerned
enterprises apparently recognized as necessary. With respect to staff clearly involved with
disclosures related to persons (i.e., Truesdell, von Struve) and Director Capt, who both worked to
have Section 1402 enacted into law and initialed virtually all disclosure correspondence, the
ethical responsibilities are far greater. Many of those persons identified or located through the
confidential Census materials provided to the FBI, the Secret Service and possibly other
agencies, were exposed to the possibility, if not the fact of individual harm from the federal
government.
Moreover, we consider that the findings presented here, particularly the 1943 release of
the listing of Japanese Americans in Washington, DC based on the 1940 Census and the speed
with which this release was accomplished, suggest that lists of Japanese Americans from the
1940 Census were provided to assist in the mopping up stages of the round-up of Japanese
Americans on the West Coast. This, indeed, was the legislative purpose of section 1402 as stated
in 1942 by the New York Times, the Washington Post and Sen. Austin (Seltzer and Anderson,
2003). Even more broadly, a full reassessment of already reviewed archive material and the
work of Calvert Dedrick is in order knowing that disclosures of micro data did, in fact, take
place.
Also in need of re-assessment is the historical research carried out over the years that has
led to the many unqualified denials that any disclosures of personal information from the 1940
Census took place. In our view three factors seem to account for this profound misunderstanding
of the Bureau’s history during the 1942-1947 period: first, the reliance placed on the continuing
40
assurances of Calvert Dedrick given from 1946 to the early 1980s that no disclosures took place,
second, a misunderstanding about Director Capt’s early attitudes toward census confidentiality
and the actions he initiated to undermine confidentiality, and third, what historical research that
was undertaken by members of the Bureau’s history staff and others at the Bureau appears to
have been confined RG29, ignoring other related archived files (for example, those of the
Department of Commerce), newspaper accounts, or other public records.
It is clear that Dedrick was repeatedly consulted by Bureau staff in the 1970s and 1980s
for an authoritative account of events during the World War II period (see, for example, Bohme,
1975; Barabba, 1980, p. 2; Clemence, 1980a; Clemence, 1982)15, despite that fact that over the
decades he gave conflicting accounts on such critical issues as whether or not the War
Department had requested the names and addresses of Japanese Americans from the 1940
Census (Seltzer and Anderson, 2000, pp. 13-14).
With respect to Census Director Capt, an official statement from the Office of the
Director issued in 1983 stated, “Former Bureau officials who worked closely with Director Capt
have said that disclosing information about individuals would have been unthinkable” (US
Census Bureau, 1983, pp. 1-2). The same language was included in a 1991 update of this
statement (US Census Bureau, 1991, pp. 1-2). Those who researched, wrote, and approved these
statements were clearly unaware of Capt’s statement to the contrary at a January 1942 meeting of
the Census Advisory Committee (1942, p. 21) and his persistent and successful efforts to relax
the legal protections governing census confidentiality once he became Census Director that we
summarized in section I of this paper. It may be noted that the minutes of the January 1942
Census Advisory Committee meeting listed Dedrick among the Census Bureau staff present
(1942, p.1).
41
Perhaps the most telling example of the shortcomings of Census Bureau research on this
entire subject relates to prior Bureau research concerning to the Second War Powers Act itself.
For example, in 1980, Ted Clemence an able and well-respected staff member in the Director’s
Office, who had some responsibility for monitoring census confidentiality issues, made an initial
examination of section 1402 in connection with concerns raised by the Japanese American
community (Clemence, 1980a; 1980b). From Clemence’s observation that “the only new thing I
have learned ... [is] that Congress clearly intended through the Second War Powers Act to
suspend census confidentiality temporarily” in his memorandum to Director Barabba (Clemence,
1980a), it seems apparent that discussions of census confidentiality during the World War II
period had proceeded for some months in the Director’s Office without this knowledge.
Unfortunately, after making this important rediscovery, Clemence’s apparent inexperience in
historical or legal research was reflected in his memorandum to the file on the subject
(Clemence, 1980b). This report (a) failed to mention the role of Director Capt in securing the
adoption of section 1402, (b) stated that the Act expired at the end of 1944, (c) failed to catch the
significance of the colloquy he quoted from the House debate about section 1402 (compare
Clemence, 1980b, pp. 1-2 with Anderson and Seltzer, 2007, pp. 25-26), and (d) was unable to
say whether the Executive Order called for in the legislation had ever been issued or whether any
information had been requested or released under the provisions of section 1402. Seven years
later, in Clemence (1986), he seemed to be far better informed about some aspects of the
implementation of the section 1402 (for example, he knew that the Executive Order had been
issued and that disclosures related to industrial enterprises had been made). However, he still
completely misunderstood the situation with respect to the release of information about persons.
For example, in his 1986 letter Clemence stated that the legislative record was silent about the
42
release of personal information, ignoring one of the sentences he had quoted from the House
colloquy on the measure in his 1980 memorandum, “if the purpose of this title is to investigate
aliens or get information related to them for the purpose of preventing sabotage or espionage,
that is one thing. But if the purpose of it is along the lines that the National Resources Planning
Board is working, namely a communized state, I think the Congress ought to know about it.”
Unfortunately, Clemence had apparently overlooked the key reassurance by the bill’s manager,
“Specifically answering the gentleman’s question, I believe the matter is in safe hands.”
Clemence also seemed to be unaware of the newspaper stories that appeared in 1942 in both the
NY Times and the Washington Post relating to Congressional action on the Second War Powers
Act. These articles not only focused on the release of identifiable information from the 1940
Census, but also explicitly linked that release to targeting Japanese Americans.
The Census Bureau has rightly been proud of its success in the six decades since the
repeal of the Second War Powers Act in resisting efforts of other government agencies that
sought access to micro-data collected under the protection of Tile 13. What seems more
problematic has been the persistent efforts to obscure the fact that such disclosures ever took
place. Initially, both the leaders of the disclosure program, Capt, Dedrick, and von Struve and
the like and many of those around them were aware of the truth, and either actively assisted in
efforts to obscure what took place or were silent. Together they were the active and passive
enablers of a legend. At some point, we conjecture, no one knew the truth anymore and Bureau
research and statements on the matter in the 1980s, and beyond, were unfortunately
compromised by the belief that they knew the truth.. Thus, we have no reason to doubt that the
subsequent denials made in recent decades by senior Bureau staff and management were in good
faith.
43
Although the disclosures documented in this paper took place many decades ago and
under the special conditions of war time, the implications of these findings remain highly
relevant today. Accordingly, we briefly review the implications of the new findings presented
here for four current issues:
First, since 9/11 we have in many respects been on war-time footing; we frequently hear
today many of the same arguments that were used to justify such war time measures as the
exclusion of Japanese American citizens from the West Coast as potential saboteurs or section
1402 of the Second War Powers Act to assist in the mopping up of Japanese Americans still at
large. Indeed, in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attack, the USA Patriot Act was
enacted into law. One provision of the Patriot Act, section 508, permitted the Department of
Justice to gain access to micro-level information collected by the National Center for Education
Statistics (NCES) collected under a pledge of statistical confidentiality (Seltzer and Anderson,
2002). The parallels between section 1402 of the Second War Powers Act and section 508 of the
Patriot Act (and its subsequent absorption into basic Department of Education legislation) are
obvious.
Second, efforts at using U.S. Census data for racial and ethnic based targeting seemed to
have re-emerged (see for example, El Badry and Swanson, 2007 (in press); Habermann, 2006;
and Seltzer, 2005).
Third, in the 2000 Census the Census Bureau appears to have abandoned its traditional
operational safeguard of separating name and address information from other information. This
reduction in protection was initially justified on the grounds that it was needed to permit
computer-based case-by-case matching of the 100 percent census file to assist in the post-census
evaluation program. The evaluation studies were completed several years ago, but the linked
44
data file apparently remains. (Seltzer and Anderson, 2002; 2003). Certainly, for the 2010
Census we need new ground rules that restore the Census Bureau safeguard of separating
identification information from information on the characteristics of person at the level of the
individual record.
Fourth, the Census Bureau’s unconditioned pledge of statistical confidentiality, based on
the strong language of Title 13 and a staff committed to its defense, has been the gold standard of
such protections in the United States and around the world. Do the new findings presented here
alter the ethical, policy, or practical circumstances of demographic data collection?
We conclude by suggesting additional avenues of further scholarly research, as well as
the possibility of legislative inquiry, to (a) better determine the extent of Census Bureau
disclosures in the 1942-1947 period and (b) assess and, if needed, enhance current policies and
arrangements designed to protect such disclosures now and in the future.
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Chronological File, 1/41-6/43, July-December 1942.
______ . 1942b. Letter from the Assistant Director in Charge of Statistical Standards to Oscar B.
Ryder, Vice Chairman, United States Tariff Commission, 8/14/1942. Harry S. Truman
Library, Rice papers, Box 3, Government File 1933-1950, Chronological File, 1/41-6/43,
July-December 1942.
______ . 1942c. Letter from the Assistant Director in Charge of Statistical Standards to H. F.
Taggart, Dirctor, Accounting Division, Office of Price Administration, 8/14/1942. Harry
50
S. Truman Library, Rice papers, Box 3, Government File 1933-1950, Chronological File,
1/41-6/43, July-December 1942.
Sawyer, Charles. 1948. Letter from Secretary of Commerce to the Commissioner, Bureau of
Internal Revenue, 7/15/1948. NARA, RG40, General Records of the Department of
Commerce, Office of the Secretary, General Correspondence, 67001 (Part 3 to Part 7),
Box 94, File 67001 (part 3 of 7).
Seltzer, William. 2005. “Statistics and Counterterrorism: The Role of Law, Policy and Ethics.”
Presented at the Workshop on Statistics and Counterterrorism, National Institute of
Statistical Science and the American Statistical Association, New York, November 20,
2004, 2005 Proceedings of the American Statistical Association, Section on Risk
Analysis [CD-ROM], Alexandria, VA: American Statistical Association, pp. 4052-4059.
Seltzer, William and Margo Anderson. 2000. “After Pearl Harbor: The Proper Role of
Population Statistics in Time of War.” Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the
Population Association of America, Los Angeles, CA (March 2000). Available at
http://www.uwm.edu/~margo/govstat/integrity.htm.
______ . 2003. “Government Statistics and Individual Safety: Revisiting the Historical Record of
Disclosure, Harm, and Risk,” Prepared for presentation at a workshop, Access to
Research Data: Assessing Risks and Opportunities, organized by the Panel on
Confidential Data Access for Research Purposes, Committee on National Statistics
(CNSTAT), Washington (October 16-17, 2003). Available at
http://www.uwm.edu/~margo/govstat/integrity.htm.
Stokes, I. N. P. 1948. Memorandum from the Departmental Solicitor to the Secretary of
Commerce, “Disclosure of information obtained by the Bureau of the Census to other
Governmental agencies,” 7/12/1948. NARA, RG40, General Records of the Department
of Commerce, Office of the Secretary, General Correspondence, 67001 (Part 3 to Part 7),
Box 94, File 67001 (Part 3 of 7).
von Struve, A. W. 1939. “Two WPA Projects of Historical Interest.” Southwestern Historical
Quarterly, Vol. 42, No. 2 (October). Accessed Southwestern Historical Quarterly Online
at,
http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/publications/journals/shq/online/v042/n2/contrib_DIVL2053.
html, 11/20/2006.
______ . 1944. “The Census Bureau’s Program for 1945.” Survey of Current Business,
December 1944, pp. 18-19.
Taylor, Wayne C. 1942. Letter from the Acting Secretary of Commerce to the Chairman, War
Production Board, 8/21/1942. NARA, RG40, General Records of the Department of
Commerce, General Correspondence, 102517, Box 951, File 102517 (Part 3 of 7).
51
______ . 1943a. Letter from the Under Secretary of Commerce to Grover B. Hill, Assistant
Secretary, Department of Agriculture, 2/4/1944. NARA, RG40, General Records of the
Department of Commerce, Office of the Secretary, General Correspondence, 67104 (Part
2) – 67104 (Part 5), Box 144, File 67104 (Part 3).
______ . 1943b. Letter from the Under Secretary of Commerce to Eugene W. Sloan, Executive
Director, War Savings Staff, Treasury Department, 2/27/1943. NARA, RG40, General
Records of the Department of Commerce, Office of the Secretary, General
Correspondence, 67104 (Part 2) – 67104 (Part 5), Box 144, File 67104 (Part 3).
______ . 1943c. Letter from the Under Secretary of Commerce to Charles B. Lawrence Jr.,
Director, Statistical Standards Office, Office of Price Administration, 2/27/1943. NARA,
RG40, General Records of the Department of Commerce, Office of the Secretary,
General Correspondence, 67104 (Part 2) – 67104 (Part 5), Box 144, File 67104 (Part 3).
______ . 1943d.. Letter from the Acting Secretary of Commerce to the Secretary of Treasury,
3/18/1943. NARA, RG40, General Records of the Department of Commerce, Office of
the Secretary, General Correspondence, 67104 (Part 2) – 67104 (Part 5), Box 144, File
67104 (Part 3).
______ . 1943e. Letter from the Acting Secretary of Commerce to the Secretary of Treasury,
8/7/1943. NARA, RG40, General Correspondence, General Records of the Department
of Commerce, Office of the Secretary, Box 146, 67104-67105; File: 67104/6,8. Stamped
on the Document: Files Office of the Chief Clerk. (67104 is the file number for Census).
______ . 1943f. Letter from the Acting Secretary of Commerce to the Secretary of Treasury,
8/11/1943. NARA, RG40, General Correspondence, General Records of the Department
of Commerce, Office of the Secretary, Box 146, 67104?67105; File: 67104/6,8. Stamped
on the Document: Files Office of the Chief Clerk. (67104 is the file number for Census);
also available at FDR Library, Morgenthau Diary, Book 655, August 10-12, 1943,
Microfilm reel 190, frame 196.
______ . 1944a. Letter from the Acting Secretary of Commerce to the Attorney General,
3/26/1944. NARA, RG40, General Records of the Department of Commerce, Office of
the Secretary, General Correspondence, 67104 (Part 2) – 67104 (Part 5), Box 144, File
67104 (Part 3).
______ . 1944b. Letter from the Acting Secretary of Commerce to the Attorney General,
3/29/1944. NARA, RG40, General Records of the Department of Commerce, Office of
the Secretary, General Correspondence, 67104 (Part 2) – 67104 (Part 5), Box 144, File
67104 (Part 3).
______ . 1944c. Letter from the Under Secretary of Commerce to Stuart A. Rice, Assistant
Director, Bureau of the Budget, 4/15/1944. NARA, RG40, General Records of the
Department of Commerce, Office of the Secretary, General Correspondence, 67104 (Part
2) – 67104 (Part 5), Box 144, File 67104 (Part 3).
52
______ . 1944d. Letter from the Under Secretary of Commerce to J. C. Capt, Director, Census
Bureau, 4/15/1944. NARA, RG40, General Records of the Department of Commerce,
Office of the Secretary, General Correspondence, 67104 (Part 2) – 67104 (Part 5), Box
144, File 67104 (Part 3).
______ . 1944e. Letter from the Acting Secretary of Commerce to the Secretary of Labor,
9/11/1944. NARA, RG40, Entry 1, NC 54, General Records of the Department of
Commerce, Office of the Secretary, General Correspondence, 67104 (Part 2) – 67104
(Part 5), Box 144, File 67104 (Part 3).
Taeuber, Conrad. 1989. “Oral History – Conrad Taeuber.” Interview conducted by Robert
Voight on April 12, 1989. Accessed at http://www.census.gov/prod/2003pubs/ohTaeuber.pdf 11/20/2006.
Theoharis, Athan G. 1989. “Introduction.” In Athan G. Theoharis (ed.) and Angela Botzer
(Compiler), A Guide to the Microfilm Edition of Federal Bureau of Investigation
Confidential Files, THE "DO NOT FILE" FILE. Bethesda (Md.): University
Publications of America.
Trimble, South Jr. 1947. Letter from Department Historian to W. Averell Harriman, Secretary of
Commerce, 10/2/1947, and attachments. NARA, RG40, Records of the Department of
Commerce, Entry 4, Department History of World War II, Box 1, Monographs, folder
“Bureau of the Census War History.”
Truesdell, Leon E. 1965. The Development of Punch Card Tabulation in the Bureau of the
Census, 1890-1940. Washington, D. C:, U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the
Census.
U. S. Census Bureau. 1941. “Table 2. – Japanese Population of the United States by Regions,
Divisions, and States: 1940.” Typed table, 12/8/1941, p. 2. FDR Library, Field Papers,
Box 44, Folder “Japanese in the United States, 1941.”
______ . 1943a. Japanese Residing in the Metropolitan Area of Washington, DC, April 1, 1940.
Typed listing with handwritten notation “Confidential.” FDR Library, Morgenthau
Diary, Book 655, August 10-12, 1943, Microfilm reel 190, frame 197.
______ . 1943b. Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940. Population, Volume II.
Characteristics of the Population. Part 1 United States Summary and Alabama-District
of Columbia. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office. “District of Columbia,
Table 2 – Race by Nativity and Sex, for the District of Columbia: 1850 to 1940,” p. 956.
Accessed at http://www2.census.gov/prod2/decennial/documents/33973538v2p1ch9.pdf
on 12-13-2006.
______ . 1944. “Annual Report of the Director of the Census, July 1, 1943 – June 30, 1944.”
Mimeographed, NARA, RG29, Administrative Records of the Bureau of the Census,
53
Records of the Assistant Director for Statistical Standards, .General Bureau Records,
entry 192, Annual Reports.
______ . 1945. “Annual Report of the Bureau of the Census, July 1, 1944 – June 30, 1945.”
Mimeographed, NARA, RG29, Administrative Records of the Bureau of the Census,
Records of the Assistant Director for Statistical Standards, .General Bureau Records,
Entry 192, Annual Reports.
______ . 1946. “Census War History, Personal Census Records Section.” One page typed
document. NARA, RG 29 Records of the Bureau of the Census, Administrative Records
of the Bureau of the Census, Records of the Publication Division, Entry 156 Records
Relating to the War History Project (Mar. – Sept. 1946), Box 106 Industry -- Vital
Statistics, Folder “Publications Division.”
______ . 1947. Fact Finder for the Nation. Washington, DC: Department of Commerce,
September 1947.
______ . 1982a. “Statement on Census Bureau Actions at the Outset of World War II as
Reported in Infamy: Pearl Harbor and its Aftermath by John Toland,” NARA, RG 29
Administrative Records of the Bureau of the Census, Entry 362L Office of the Director
Dr. John G. Keene (1984-89), Subject Files, Box 18 “Japanese Americans (WWII) to
Leonard, Walter J.,” Folder “Japanese Americans (WWII)”
______ . 1982b. “Statement on Census Bureau Actions at the Outset of World War II as
Reported in Infamy: Pearl Harbor and its Aftermath by John Toland, Attachment B, ...
Population Individual Card, 1940.” Papers of the U.S. Commission on Wartime
Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC), Microfilm, Reel, 28, box 30, frame
29634.
______ . 1983. “Census Confidentiality – An Inviolate Tradition.” Statement on the Office of
the Director’s letterhead, 6/1983. NARA, RG 29 Administrative Records of the Bureau
of the Census, Entry 362L Office of the Director Dr. John G. Keene (1984-89), Subject
Files, Box 18 “Japanese Americans (WWII) to Leonard, Walter J.,” Folder “Japanese
Americans (WWII).”
______ . 1991. “Confidentiality – A Census Tradition.” Statement on the Office of the
Director’s letterhead, 11/1991. NARA, RG 29 Administrative Records of the Bureau of
the Census, Entry 372L Files of C. Louis Kincannon, Deputy Director (1981-1992),
Alphabetic Files (Advisory Committee – Voting Rights), Box 20, CIE to Confidentiality,
Folder “Confidentiality.”
______ . 2004. “Census Confidentiality and Privacy, 1790-2002.” Available at
http://www.census.gov/prod/2003pubs/conmono2.pdf.
54
U.S. Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC). 1982. Personal
Justice Denied: Report of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of
Civilians. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office.
U. S. Civil Service Commission. 1940. Official Register of the United States, 1940.
Washington, D. C.: U. S. Government Printing Office.
U. S. Code Congressional Service. 1943. Acts of 77th Congress, Second Session, January 5 to
December 16, 1942. St. Paul, MN: West Publishing Co.
U. S. Treasury Department. 1943. Mail log, December 1942-September 1944. FDR Library,
Henry Morgenthau Jr. papers, Box 369, folder “August-September 1943.”
Wallace, Henry A. 1945a. Letter from Secretary of Commerce to David E. Lilienthal, Chairman,
Tennessee Valley Authority, 3/9/1945. NARA, RG40, General Records of the
Department of Commerce, Office of the Secretary, General Correspondence, 104262104279, Box 1078, File 104262-104276.
______ . 1945b. Letter from Secretary of Commerce to the Secretary of Agriculture, 4/5/1945.
NARA, RG40, General Records of the Department of Commerce, Office of the
Secretary, General Correspondence, 67104 (Part 2) – 67104 (Part 5), Box 144, File 67104
(Part 3).
______ . 1945c. Letter from Secretary of Commerce to David E. Lilienthal, Chairman,
Tennessee Valley Authority, 4/7/1945. NARA, RG40, General Records of the
Department of Commerce, Office of the Secretary, General Correspondence, 104262104279, Box 1078, File 104262-104276.
______ . 1945d. Letter from Secretary of Commerce to L. B. Schwellenbach, Secretary of
Labor, 8/2/1945. NARA, RG40, General Records of the Department of Commerce,
Office of the Secretary, General Correspondence, 67104 (Part 2) – 67104 (Part 5), Box
144, File 67104 (Part 3).
______ . 1945e. Letter from Secretary of Commerce to John D. Small, Chairman, Civilian
Production Administration, 11/29/1945. NARA, RG40, General Records of the
Department of Commerce, Office of the Secretary, General Correspondence,
102517/106-108, Box 973, File 102517/106.
Wilson, Frank J. 1943. Interoffice Communication from Chief, U.S. Secret Service, to John J.
McGrath, Supervising Agent, Washington, D.C., June 25, 1943. Cited in Montgomery
(1943, p. 1).
Yoneda, Karl G., 1942a. Letter to E. R. Fryer, Regional Director WRA San Francisco,
7/11/1942. NARA, RG 233, Entry 11, Exhibits related to Committee Investigations, Box
193 War Relocation Authority –War Relocation Camps, Folder “War Relocation Centers
– Los Angeles, California Exhibits re above, Jun 8-18, 1943.”
55
______ . 1942b. “Notes and Observations of Kibei Meeting held August 8, 1942 at Kitchen 15 –
only Japanese spoken.” NARA, RG 233, Entry 11, Exhibits related to Committee
Investigations, Box 193 War Relocation Authority –War Relocation Camps, Folder “War
Relocation Centers – Los Angeles, California Exhibits re above, Jun 8-18, 1943.”
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
Figure 1. Letter from Treasury Secretary Morgenthau to Commerce Secretary Jones, 8/4/1943
Source: Morgenthau, 1943b.
63
Figure 2. Letter from Acting Commerce Secretary Taylor to Morgenthau, 8/7/1943
Source: Taylor, 1943e.
64
Figure 3. Letter from Taylor to Morgenthau, 8/11/1943 (copy from Commerce files)
Source: Taylor, 1943f (NARA, RG 40)
65
Figure 4. Letter From Taylor to Morgenthau, 8/11/1943 (original from Treasury files)
Source: Taylor, 1943f (FDR Library)
66
Figure 5a. List of Japanese in Washington, DC area from the 1940 Census (upper part)
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 1943a.
67
Figure 5b. List of Japanese in Washington, DC area from the 1940 Census (lower part)
Source: Same as Figure 5a.
68
Endnotes
1
See, for example, Barabba (1980) drawing on Clemence (1980a and b) and Jones (2005).
2
During the period covered by the paper for the Army this was the Military Intelligence Division (MID), sometimes
referred to as G-2, and for the Navy, the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI).
3
Technically, today the confidentiality provisions governing the U.S. Census Bureau can be found in the 1954
recodification of the Census Act, known less formally as Title 13, while during the period discussed the present
paper, the relevant protections were contained in the 1929 Census Act. For convenience, we refer to both as Title
13.
4
In our own work we had, until now, maintained the position that there was substantial evidence both for and
against the use of micro-data from the 1940 Census to assist in the war-time measures directed against the Japanese
Americans and for other investigative purposes (Anderson and Seltzer, 2007; Seltzer and Anderson, 2003, table 2).
The Committee on National Statistics’ Panel on Institutional Review Boards, Surveys, and Social Sciences Research
reached a similar conclusion (National Research Council, 2003, p. 120).
5
It is unclear if these reporting requirements represented an effort by Stuart Rice, then the Assistant Director for
Statistical Standards in the Bureau of the Budget, to control Census Director Capt’s enthusiasm to open the records
of the Bureau to the war agencies or simply an effort by Rice to advance his long-time goal of promoting the role of
his office in statistical coordination. Unfortunately, since the most egregious violations of statistical confidentiality
were not for statistical purposes, it was not necessary to provide information reports to the Office of Statistical
Standards in these cases. Moreover, it should be noted that we have not been able so far to locate any reference to
the filing of an information report as required under Executive Order 9157 in the archive files for the Bureau of the
Budget even for the section 1402 disclosures that were of a purely statistical character. As more fully described
below, we did find three letters from Rice among his papers at the Harry Truman Presidential Library to different
federal agencies pointing out their failure to notify his office of such requests as required by EO 9157. We were
also able to locate a single instance of such a report in the archive files of the Department of Commerce (Taylor,
1944c). This letter pertained to a request from the Defense Plants Corporation for plant specific production data
from the 1939 Biennial Census of Manufacturing for certain specified chemical products.
6
If requests for disclosures continued at this rate for the five years that Section 1402 was in force, approximately
600 disclosure requests would have been made for business data alone.
This request from the Treasury Department and the Bureau’s response was not unprecedented. During World War
I, Treasury requested and the Bureau provided similar materials to assist in the promotion of Victory Bonds.
7
8
The so-called Morgenthau Diary was not a diary in the traditional sense of the word. It was instead a massive file,
organized by date, maintained by the Treasury Department for archiving almost all paper work received and
originated in the Department during the years (1934-1945) that Morgenthau served as Secretary of Treasury.
The Special House Committee on Un-American Activities, also known as the “Dies Committee,” after the name of
its initial Chairman, Congressman Martin Dies, was in existence from 1938 to 1944 as a temporary committee.
Thereafter it was established as a permanent House committee, often referred to as HUAC, until it was discontinued
in 1975.
9
10
WRA records indicate that Juichi Uyemoto was single, born in 1902, and had lived in Los Angeles prior to his
confinement in Manzanar. He was born in Hawaii and both his parents were born in Japan. Much of his education
was in Japan and his primary occupation was classified as Skilled Occupations in Production of Beverages. NARA,
RG 210, “Japanese-American Internee Data File, 1942 – 1946.” Accessed at http://aad.archives.gov/aad/recorddetail.jsp?dt=234&mtch=14&cat=TS14&tf=F&q=Uyemoto&bc=sl,sd&rpp=10&pg=2&rid=97853&rlst=97853,978
54,97858,97865 12-7-2006. Furthermore, despite Montgomery’s report of Uyemoto’s ominous psychiatric
diagnosis and instutionalization, Uyemoto appears to have survived to 1969 (U.S. Social Security Death Index,
69
accessed at
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Search/ancestorsearchresults.asp?standardize=N&last_name=Uyemoto
2-6-2007).
11
With respect to Abe, Montgomery reported that he and his wife had moved to New York City just after Pearl
Harbor and prior to that he had lived in Washington, D.C. since 1936, moving there from the West Coast. In
Washington, he attended George Washington University and worked at the Japanese Embassy. Montgomery also
reported that Abe was recently called before a congressional committee. He testified before the House Special
Committees on Un-Americans Activities on July 1, 1943, indicating that he was born in Seattle (House of
Representatives, 1943, p. 9391), his employment at the Japanese Embassy ran from 1936 to September 1940 (1943,
p. 9392), and during this period he had several housemates who were also working at the Embassy (1943, p. 93929393). The fact that Abe and his housemates were all employed by the Embassy may explain why he (and his
housemates) do not appear to be among the list of Japanese Americans enumerated in the Washington area in the
1940 Census, since it is easy to believe that a census enumerator encountering a group of young men with Japanese
names all working at the Japanese Embassy incorrectly decided that they were all diplomats and not properly
included in the census count. Despite the implications of the LA Times story and the hostile questioning he was
subjected to the at the July 1 Committee hearing, Montgomery reported (1943, p.4) that the Washington field office
of the FBI had “uncovered nothing regarding this man [i.e., Abe] that would warrant criminal prosecution.”
12
Despite the notation that the papers had been returned to the Census Bureau, no copy of this letter, the enclosed
listing, or any reference to either appears to exist in Record Group 29 of the National Archives where Census
Bureau materials are kept, based on our own research and the reports of the research of many Census Bureau staff
over the past 25 years (see, for example, Barabba, 1980 and Jones, 2005).
13
Compounding the analytic and investigative confusion even further is the fact that the official 1940 Census
tabulated count of persons of Japanese race for Washington, D.C. was 68 (U.S. Census Bureau, 1941; 1943b). It is
not known whether the loss of two persons by the Census Bureau between the officially tabulated count and the
August 1943 list was as the result of a deliberate edit or inadvertent, for example, by the loss or destruction of two
punchcards.
14
Some indirect hint of the section 1402 disclosures of information about individuals may be found in the careful
language of the section of the Bureau’s report for the 12-month period ending June 30, 1944 dealing with
Population. A brief subsection labeled “Other projects” begins: ”Population and housing material – both published
and unpublished – have formed the basis of for a large number of special compilations for military and civilian uses”
(U.S. Census Bureau, 1944, p. 12). In the Bureau’s reports for these years, a clear distinction seems to be made
between the terms “tabulation” and “compilation.” Disclosures related to business data were implied far more
directly by using such phrases as “the Bureau’s function as collecting and compiling agent for the War Production
Board and other war agencies” (U.S. Census Bureau, 1945, p. 7).
Dedrick retired from the Census Bureau in 1966 and thereafter “served as a consultant to the Census Bureau for
several years.” He died in 1984. [Washington Post, “Calvert Dedrick, Census Retiree, Dies at Age 83,” 6/4/1984, p.
D6]
15
70
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Census Confidentiality under the Second War Powers

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