Camouflage Net Project memos

                                                                        Feb. 19, 1943
Dillon S. Myer
Barr Building
Washington, D.C.

     Present Instructions requiring charges for subsistence of camouflage workers at rate of twenty-five dollars per month or six dollars for a week or a portion of a week works hardships in many cases. One worker who was granted indefinite leave had worked eight days and will be charged twelve dollars for subsistence.     
     Workers who become ill or enter military service after having worked part of a week will be penalized. Expect other similar cases. Is it satisfactory to require deductions of twelve dollars and fifty cents for semi monthly pay periods and deductions of one dollar for each day of periods less than half month. This proposal is acceptable to workers. Please reply at your earliest convenience.

Wade Head
Project Director

Temporary Community Council, Unit I
Law Department, Division I
Poston, Arizona
                                                                           February 20, 1943
2035 Bay Street
Los Angeles, California
Mr. Rosenbloom
Camouflage Factory

FROM: Franklyn S. Sugiyama, Chairman of TCC, I
SUBJECT: Payment of camouflage workers 
     This letter will authorize you to make payments to the camouflage workers on the following basis:
     After deductions for subsistence, victory tax, social security, and other expenses are subtracted, you are to pay the individual worker 65% of the net proceeds. The remaining 35% of the worker's wages are to be paid by certified check to the order of `Franklyn Sugiyama, Community Council.'
     The above-mentioned division of the worker's wages was presented in a regularly held assemblage of the councilmen. It was unanimously approved. 

Very truly yours,
Franklyn S. Sugiyama, Chairman
Temporary Community Council, Unit I
John Stahl
W. Wade Head, Head, Project Director

                                              FEBRUARY 22, 1943


                                                               FEBRUARY 23, 1943


Washington D.C
                                                           Mar. 15, 1943
Mr. Wade Head
Project Director
Colorado River Relocation Center
Poston, Arizona

Dear Mr. Head:
     Your telegram of February 19 asks whether it would be satisfactory, in charging subsistence for workers employed on the net project, to require a deduction of $12.50 for each semi-monthly pay period and a deduction of $1.00 per day for each day of any lesser period.    
     The pay plan that we approved for use at Gila River provides for a deduction of $6.00 per week or fraction thereof for an employment period of less than a half-month. You cite instances in which evacuees leaving the project during the middle of a work week may be charged for more subsistence than they actually used. Persons becoming ill would also have their wages charged with subsistence for the entire work week although they may have worked only a few days.
     We have no objection to your negotiating with the contractor and the workers in the manner you suggest, on the basis of a $1.00 per day charge. I should point out that bookkeeping may be more complicated and the removal of the subsistence charge except for days actually worked may encourage malingering. You are closer to the operations, however, and I shall accept your judgment in the matter.
     When may we expect to receive the pay plan, agreement with the contractor, and other net project instrument,

Sincerely yours,

                                                                   March 19, 1943
Mr. Wade Head, Project Director,
Colorado River Relocation Center
Poston, Arizona.

Dear Mr. Head:
     Due to the method necessary to be used in making the calculations of the workers and due to the unusual distribution of the earnings, the process through which we must go to make out an individual check requires approximately 2 hours.
     We will appreciate very much your cooperation in letting the workers know that it will be necessary to wait till the regular pay day for their checks unless it is an emergency or if they are leaving camp.
     I am requesting, in case of necessity, that they furnish a letter from your office showing the date that they are leaving camp in those cases where request for immediate payment is made. 

Yours very truly,
Office Manager
cc--Mr. Kennedy
                                                               April 8, 1943
Mr. Wade Head
Project Director
Colorado River Relocation Center
Poston, Arizona

Dear Mr. Head:
     I have your letter of March 10, 1943 regarding the part-time employment of evacuees in the camouflage net factory, such evacuees also being full-time employees of the United States.
     Inasmuch as the evacuees are rendering full-time service on regular project work, they are entitled to all benefits which any other evacuee would ordinarily receive. Therefore, unless the extra work interferes with the work performed for the project, it will not be necessary that they reimburse the Government for subsistence.


Camouflage Net Project memos

U. S. Engineer Office
Parker Reception Center
P.O.Box 1898
Parker, Arizona. 
                                                        September 11 1942 
SUBJECT: Garnish Net Project.
TO: W. Wade Head
Project Director
War Relocation Administration
Parker, Arizona. 

     Submitted for your information is the following teletype, directed to District Engineer and District Regional Engineer, September 10, 1942: 
     "Preliminary plan for Garnish Net Buildings placed all units in plot on factory site at southeast corner of Parker Unit No. 1. Relocation of three Garnishing Sheds and necessary Latrine facilities, as agreed upon in conference between W. Wade Head, W.R.A. Project Director, Lt. Phillips and J. A. Forney of L. A. District Office and Area Engineer at Parker Reception Center is as follows: 
     Unit No. 2. of Garnish Net Project will consist of two Garnish Sheds each 250 Ft. long and necessary Latrine facilities, all located in Block No.25 of Parker Unit No.2 and offset 100 feet south of center line of 10th street to center line of Garnish Shed No.1 and 100 feet east of center line of "C" street to west end of Shed No.1, and Garnish Shed No.2 is located 133 feet south of center line of Shed No.1 to center line of Shed No.2 also 100 feet from west end of building to center line of "C" street. Latrine facilities are being revised for these Units and will be built with materials originally intended for Men's Latrine in plot at Unit No.1. 
     Unit No.3, consisting of one Garnish Shed, 250 feet in length and suitable Latrine facilities, is located in Block No.21 of Parker Unit No.3 and 100 feet south of center line of 4th street and 40 feet east of center line of "B" street to east end of shed. Latrine to be located adjacent to and west of shed, dimension of building dependent on equipment to be housed. 
     Garnish Net Buildings, in Unit No.1 at Poston No.1, after relocation of part thereof consist of two Garnish Sheds, 1 Cutting Shed, 1 Warehouse, 1 Combination Men's and Women's Latrine, 4 Storage Platforms and Time Office built on Shed No.1 and these buildings are located as set forth in Drawings PD-YA-1 to 7 inclusive and are not relocated except for slight change in the Women's Latrine which is to be divided by solid partition and made into combined facilities for men and women. 
     The Men's Latrine in Unit No.1 Garnish Net project is rough plumbed and dimensional foundation is concreted, but, in relocation of part of Project, will be dismantled and appropriate positions installed at Units No.2 and No.3 of Garnish Net Project, using all materials intended for this building and any additional material needed to complete such change.
     Drawings in connection with relocation and changes, on Garnish Net Project, are being prepared and prints will be sent to District Regional Office immediately upon completion of drawings.
Tentative layout for sewer, water and electrical extension, was drawn up and now must be changed and additional utilities provided for relocated building units. These tentative plans will be sent Regional Office as soon as completed. 

Wm. D. Wagner
Assistant Area Engineer.
c/c to Crawford.
c/c to Burge.
U. S. Engineer Office
Parker Reception Center
P. O. Box 1898
Parker, Arizona
                                                                 October 2, 1942 
W. Wade Head
Project Director, Parker Relocation Center
Parker, Arizona

SUBJECT: Spotting of Car Loads of Military Materials. 
     In accordance with requirements governing receipt and storage of Military Materials, it will be necessary that all Camouflage Net Material be spotted on W.R.A. Parker warehouse siding in such a manner as to facilitate immediate unloading, and for establishment of Military Guard at this point.
Wm. D. Wanger
Area Engineer. 

Poston, Arizona
                                                             October 6, 1942
Mr. Wade Head, Project Director
Colorado River War Relocation Project
Poston, Arizona

     The Camouflage Factory now nearing completion in Camp One lacks water mains and hydrants. I, therefore, recommend that the water main be extended from the hydrants at the rear of Warehouses No. 40 or 23 into the Camouflage area, and hydrants therein be properly spaced. 

Joseph M. Fien
Assoc. Fire Protection Officer

U. S. Engineer Office
Parker Reception Center
P. O. Box 1898
Parker, Arizona                       October 11,1942

SUBJECT: Trespass on Restricted Area, by Evacuees.
TO: Mr. W. Wade Head,
Project Director
Parker Reception Center
Parker, Arizona.

  1. Civilian Guards have been established, by U. S. Engineers, at Garnish Net Project, Unit No. 1. This special detail was placed in operation on October 3, 1942.
  2. Several incidents, of Evacuee Trespass, have occurred during the past week, some included attempts, by evacuees, to remove material from project.
  3. The co-operation of your office is requested in preventing further trespass on all Garnish Net Project Areas.
Wm. D. Wagner
Area Engineer

781 So. Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, Calif.
                                                       October 22, 1942
Subject: Supplies for garnished net project
To: Mr. Wade Head
Project Director
War Relocation Authority
Poston, Arizona

Attention: Mr. Kennedy
Dear Sir:
     Reference is made to letter from this office, same subject, dated October 6, 1942, regarding materials to be furnished by this office for publicizing the activities of the garnished net project at Poston, Arizona.
     It has been reported by Mr. Forney of this office, that the materials referred to above have not been received. Records in this office indicate that shipments were made from Los Angeles, California, as follows: 200 reams news print 8" x 13", by Western Truck Lines on October 8, 1942, consigned to the U. S. Engineer Office, WRA Project Division, Poston Arizona, and received by Mr. James at Poston on October 9, 1942; four quarts of black mimeograph ink and three dozen stencils sent by parcel post on October 13, 1942, addressed to Project Director, War Relocation Authority, Poston, Arizona.
     It is requested that if the materials cannot be located this office be notified immediately.

Very truly yours,
Guy S Bebout
Head Engineer.
Colorado River War Relocation Project
Poston, Arizona 
                                                                    January 28, 1943
To the Residents of Poston:
     Since my return to Poston yesterday. I have been approached by many people regarding the recent vote on the Garnishing Net Factory. From their conversations I am of the opinion that there was a great deal of confusion and misunderstanding among the residents about the Net Factory, and I believe that the light vote and the slim margin indicate that the issue was not clearly defined or understood by the people. 
     I see in the Net Factory three important benefits which will accrue to the residents of Poston if the factory is put into immediate operation with the support of the people. 
     First: The Net Factory presents a good opportunity for the evacuees to gain a great amount of good-will from the people and the Government of the United States; and while I realize that any loss of good-will was no fault of yours, I do know that the full and efficient operation of the factory will immensely aid the War Relocation Authority to carry out their program. 
     Second: If the Net Factory is put into operation at full capacity, it will bring into the community approximately $150,000 per month which means an increased income and a higher standard of living for all the residents. It will also provide a strong economic base for the other projects in Poston. 
     Third: The Net Factory provides industrial work experience which has been heretofore denied the evacuees. Industrial experience will assist the residents to find and get better jobs on the outside. 
     The benefits outlined above, it seems to me, heavily outweigh any drawbacks or objections which can be raised in the minds of any of us when the matter is viewed in the light of the common good. I would like to suggest, therefore, in order to facilitate the opening of the factory, that the residents entrust to their Councilmen and to the Community Councils the responsibility and authority to work out the details with the contractors and to initiate the operation of the project. 

Very truly yours,
W. Wade Head
Project Director

 [Unit III's TCC's response to Head's letter of 1/28 re: net factory (unsigned)

Re: The Garnishing Net Factory. Project Director Wade Head's Communication "To The Residents of Poston", dated, January 28, 1943.

The Unit 3 Community Council is prepared to appoint a Negotiating Committee of _____ consisting of _____ Councilmen and _____ Issei Advisers, on the following conditions, :
  1. The Committee is not to reconsider the plans once submitted to and rejected by the people in the recent election of January 19th, but to offer an alternative plan for the consideration of the Project Director and the contractor.
  2. Any agreement that may be reached between the Committee and the contractor and other interested parties is not binding upon the people, but on the contrary subject to their review and approval. However, the Community Council and its members as well as Issei Advisers will exert their utmost effort for the adoption of the negotiated plan by the people.
  3. This Committee proceeds under the provision of Section 10, WRA Administrative Instruction No. 27.)
  4. This procedure in the present case, where initiative petition seems to be more appropriate, shall not be construed to create a precedent. The people's wishes shall be scrupulously respected, especially when they were expressed at the polls.
This step is taken in deference to the wishes of our good friend Mr. Head contained in his communication to the people of Poston, dated, January 28th, and in the faith that our proposed alternative plan, when adopted, "will immensely aid the War Relocation Authority to carry out their program."
February 1, 1943.


Camouflage Net Project memos

August 14, 1942
Memorandum to: Mr Wade Head
From: Works Project Committee
Temporary Community Council

Subject: Camouflage Net Project 

The temporary Community Council in the August 12 meeting authorized the Works Project Committee to assist the camouflage net project by submitting the following recommendations which were adopted at said meeting:
  1. The question of availability of labor in Poston 1, 2, and 3 should be thoroughly investigated. It is a consensus of opinion that at the present time very few workers are available for this project because almost every citizen is employed. The possible solution to this problem would be to transfer workers between projects.
  2. At least two able residents of Poston should be authorized to view conditions in the Santa Anita Assembly Center and Manzanar Relocation center.
  3. If possible, information should be secured of the compensation paid by the Army to this project for the camouflage net mfg. This will enable us to answer questions which will arise.
  4. Medical examinations should be given to prospective factory workers to enable protection against tuberculosis, asthma, sinus hay fever, catching rash from dust.
  5. Information should be secured as to what clothing and equipment is to be issued.
  6. The question of the factory site should be reconsidered in view of the transportation problems involved. If the project is located in the factory site we may have to install a few mess halls for feeding workers at noon. One solution to overcome the transportation problem may be to scatter the factory buildings around the community.
We hope that you will seriously consider these recommendations If there is any way in which the committee can assist in effecting any of these recommendations which you desire to carry out we shall be glad to cooperate. The committee is already engaged in compiling data regarding the number of available workers and their qualifications.

M. Smoot Katow
Chairman, Works Project Committee.


September 7, 1942

 Subject: Garnish Net Project, Parker Relocation Center

  1. For the purpose of expediting construction and arriving at a satisfactory agreement in respect to the location and number of Garnishing Sheds at each unit, numbers 1, 2 and 3, there was held this date at the office of the Area Engineer, U. S. Engineers Office, Parker Relocation Authority, Parker, Arizona, discussions by the following persons: Mr. Wade Head, Mr. Burge, and Mr. Crawford of the Parker, Arizona office of the War Relocation Authority, Mr. Ellis Georgia, Area Engineer, Mr. Wagner, Assistant Area Engineer, and Mr. J. A. Forney and Lt. C. W. Phillips of the U. S. Engineers Office, Los Angeles, California.
  2. Pursuant to the above discussion the following considerations were agreed upon:
    1. That the Garnish Net Project would more likely operate to the satisfaction of all concerned if:
      1. Portion of the facilities were located at each of the three units rather than concentrated adjacent to Unit 1 as originally proposed.
    2. That paragraph a above could be accomplished without serious interference to present construction, status of which at Unit 1 is:
      1. Area has been cleared and leveled.
      2. The warehouse foundations are poured and columns partially erected to remain as is.
      3. The cutting shed foundations have been poured and remain as is.
      4. Four storage platforms to remain as is.
      5. Women's latrine foundation, rough plumbing, frame work partially erected, concrete floor not poured, will be made into combination men and women's latrine to serve Unit 1.
      6. Men's latrine foundation and rough plumbing only are completed. No connecting sewers have been installed. Materials installed are to be salvaged for reuse in latrines to be constructed for services of Net Project at Units 2 and 3.
      7. One Garnishing Shed at Unit 1, 250 feet in length as originally planned, foundation poured, partially framed, to remain as is.
    3. That the remaining 1,000 linear feet of Garnishing Sheds will be constructed in one structure at each unit, 1, 2 and 3, at locations agreed upon by all concerned, at lengths of which will be determined to the nearest multiple of 50 feet by Mr. Head and Mr. Georgia on the basis of available workers in each unit indicated by survey to be completed not later than 2:00 PM, September 9, 1942.
    4. Transportation of Garnish Net materials will be provided by the U. S. Engineers Department both within and without the camp.
    5. That the locations of the Garnish Net Project at each unit, 1, 2 and 3, are completely satisfactory (it is understood that the U. S. Public Health Service has sanctioned the present location, Unit 1).
  3. The necessity and provision of housing and transportation of U. S. Engineers Department personnel was discussed. Policy to be followed will be determined at an early date.
  4. The above considerations as stated are satisfactory as indicated by signatures below.

Mr. Wade Head, Project Director
C. W. Phillips, 1st Lt., CE
Ellis G. Georgia, Area Engineer

September 11, 1942


Members: Smoot Katow
Andrew Sugimoto
Henry Kanegae

SUBJECT: Net Garnishing Project

Organization of Personnel 

Concerning the personnel set-up of the net garnishing project, the Committee, after much discussion, felt that we could help by recommending a few points regarding the organization. 

We find that under the agreement between the WRA and the U.S. Engineers, the M.S. Engineers are to furnish the factory, materials, instruction, and inspection, and the is to furnish the labor. 

We feel that since only labor and no money or material problems need to considered by us as a project, a resident could take charge of the project. 

We feel that a capable Japanese resident can be found, one from each unit, to take care of the handling of the people employed in this project. We think, also, that the effect on public opinion would be naturally better if an all-Japanese American citizen group contributed to the war effort of this country. 

We hope that you will seriously consider this recommendation. If there is any way our Committee can help, we shall be glad to do so. 

Work Projects Committee


Community Analysis Section of the War Relocation Authority (WRA)

      With the onset of World War II, John H. Provinse was selected by Milton Eisenhower as Chief of the Community Services Division of the War Relocation Authority.  The Community Services Division was established as a result of the problems from the evacuation of persons of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast.  A major and immediate problem was the lack of understanding of the evacuees by the majority of the men selected to administer their affairs. 
     John H. Provinse obtained the help of some 25 anthropologists and sociologists, particularly some who had had experience with Japanese and Japanese-Americans. Among those he employed were John F. Embree and his former associate Solon T. Kimball. 
     John H. Provinse and Solon T. Kimball brought into operation a community government organization that gave the evacuees some participation in the management of their affairs.  Provinse and John F. Embree, established a community analysis program. Following somewhat the plan of a "research unit" in the relocation center of Poston, Arizona, where the Bureau of Indian Affairs was in charge,  they assigned a social scientist  in each of the relocation centers as a "Community

Analyst".  The Community Analyst duties were to learn the nature of the developing (imprisoned) communities and to use that knowledge in the better administration of the 10 centers. 
     After Embree resigned, Edward Spicer replaced him and gathered intelligence data on internees (which other sociologists today felt would have been more appropriate for the FBI to undertake).
     The Community Analysis Section became one of the landmarks in the World War  II phase of the development of applied anthropology in the United States


Note on the Net Project at Poston
 By John F. Embree
October 12, 1942 

A member of the staff at Poston who is in Washington for a few days reports a bad situation arising in regard to the Camouflage Net Project in Poston. 

The project is just being opened and a call has gone out for 900 men to work on it at the WRA rate of $16 a month.

The call is not being answered. The most important reason for this is that there is a labor shortage within Poston due to the number of men who have left to pick sugar beets. Two important incentives used in calling men to work on sugar beets are: (a) Patriotic - i.e. it is necessary to pick these beets because they are necessary to the American war effort. (b) Financial. Workers in the sugar beet fields are paid prevailing wages. 

Now while work in the camouflage net factory is also supposed to be of a patriotic nature, there is a feeling in Poston that the people are being exploited when asked to work on nets for only $16 a month. It is, after all, an outside industry, not a community enterprise. Work in the net project, in the eyes of the community (and of the Community Council) does not help civic life in Poston as does, say, work on the staff of the school, or the agricultural project or the mess halls. Furthermore, to get 900 men at present in Poston would mean taking men away from Poston jobs such as mess halls which are essential to community welfare. 

On the whole the Community Council is opposed to pressures being exerted to suddenly put 900 men on the net project now with the existing labor shortage due to men away harvesting sugar beets. Furthermore, the Poston administration tends to side with the Community Council. 

The present situation is a critical one and can lead to a lot of bad blood. For instance, recently a U.S.E.D. truck brought up a load of net materials and there was no one on hand to unload it. Some evacuees and others were discussing the situation when the Army truck driver walked up to one of the evacuees (a good American who was already employed on a Poston job) and, pointing to him, said threateningly, "This is sabotage" and went on to say that if evacuees didn't turn out voluntarily to work on net projects, the Army would force them to do so. This incident sent a wave of indignation over the evacuees since it carried both a false accusation and a threat based on it. 

This situation calls for some definite decisions soon. And these decisions involve important issues.
  1. Whether evacuees are to work on non-community projects for $16 a month while other evacuees go off the project to earn prevailing wages. (In the above situation, both jobs are "war" jobs.) 
  2. Whether the Army does or does not have authority within a WRA project.
  3. Whether it is wise to start any industrial project in a center on such a large scale as to require 900 employees (and in this case 900 male citizens) which means a high percent from a special group.
  4. Whether outside work or inside work is to have precedence. This involves the whole WRA relocation program of gradually reducing the population of the centers which in turn involves the question of whether we wish to set up permanent Japanese reservations in America, or whether we wish to reabsorb Japanese Americans into American life as an asset rather than a liability.

NOTE: John F. Embree was one of many anthropologists, working for the Community Analysis Section, War Relocation Authority.  He also wrote many articles, including: 

Embree, John F. “Community Analysis—An Example of Anthropology in Government.”
American Anthropologist. Vol. 46, No. 3, July—September 1944.

 Dr. Leighton Treats Staff in Outing

     Dr. Leighton, Chief of Public Health and Bureau of Sociological Research of three Poston Centers, treated his entire staff members of Poston I, II, III and their husbands and wives to a Royal Picnic last Wednesday evening down at the vicinity of the Colorado River.

     After some 40 people piled in two trucks had experienced their dusty and bumpy "7 mile ride," they sat down to rest on the cool banks of the river.

     The main menu, courtesy of Dr. Leighton, was the serving of weiners, buns, coffee, peaches and grapes.  Twilight brought in songs, old favorites, college and popular numbers.
Source: 9/11/1942 Poston Chronicles