When 110,000 people of Japanese descent were evacuated from the Pacific coast military area during the spring and summer of 1942, they left behind in their former locations an estimated total of approximately $200,000,000 worth of real, commercial and personal property. These properties range from simply household appliances to extensive commercial and agricultural holdings.
At the time of evacuation, many of the evacuees disposed of their properties, especially their household goods, in quick sales that frequently involved heavy financial losses. The majority, however, placed their household furnishings in storage and retained their interest in other holdings even after they were personally transferred to relocation centers. Since these people are not in the position of absentee owners and since many of their properties are highly valuable in the war production effort, the War Relocation Authority is actively assisting them to keep their commercial and agricultural properties in productive use though lease or sale and is helping them in connection with a wide variety of other property problems.
To carry out this work, the Authority maintains an Evacuee Property Office in San Francisco with branches in Los Angeles and Seattle and employs an Evacuee Property Officer on the staff at each relocation center. Two principal types of service are rendered. In connection with personal properties, such as household furnishings, the Authority provides–at the option of the evacuee owners–either storage in a Government warehouse located within the evacuated area or transportation at Government expense to a point of residence outside. In connection with real estate, commercial holdings, farm machinery, and other similar properties, the Authority acts more in the role of intermediary or agent. At the request of evacuee property-holders, it attempts to find potential buyers or tenants, arranges for the rental or sale of both commercial and agricultural holdings, checks inventories of stored personal goods, audits accounts rendered to evacuees, and performs a variety of similar services. Any person who is interested in buying or leasing the property of evacuees should communicate with the nearest Evacuee Property Office in the West Coast evacuated area. The locations of these offices are:
Whitcomb Hotel Building, San Francisco, Calif.
Room 955, 1031 South Broadway, Los Angeles, Calif.
Room 6609, White Building, Seattle, Wash.
Whenever possible, these offices will try to put potential buyers or tenants in touch with potential sellers or lessors among the evacuee population. It is should be emphasized, however, that the WRA has no authority to requisition the property of evacuees and cannot force any resident of a relocation center to sell or lease against his will. Final agreement on terms is solely a matter between the parties directly involved.