« PreviousContinue »
At Futatabi the disregard of the rudimentary laws of hygiene exposes the internees, who are losing weight and recover slowly from any illness, to grave risk. The Japanese authorities did not fumigate the camp buildings which are infested with vermin, bugs and lice; they have neglected the repair of broken or unserviceable sanitary installations and pay no heed to the urgent requirements of the internees for soap as well as for cleaning and disinfecting materials; they ignore the importance to the camp of an adequate and pure supply of water; they fail to issue warm clothing to the needy and the food, from which proteins and fats especially are lacking, is often spoiled and insects are found in it. It is evident that men living under such conditions cannot escape illness. The Japanese authorities, satisfied by routine medical visits every three or four weeks, rarely call a physician. His arrival is generally belated as access to the camp is difficult. Internees can only obtain medicaments and dental treatment if they have the money with which to pay for them.
At Kanagawa, where in winter the temperature drops to below zero, American nationals were installed in unheated buildings badly in need of repair and built only for summer use. Representations that the premises be made weather-proof have been refused although another winter is beginning. To add to the plight of the internees the Japanese authorities have failed to issue warm, suitable clothing and appropriate footgear. Rations, which in the beginning were not too inadequate, have dwindled to such an extent that the internees are losing weight and their constitutions are undermined. Hunger is prevalent. Nevertheless, the Japanese Government has rescinded permission, now that it is desperately needed, for the internees to purchase foodstuffs from outside at their own expense and no longer allow friends and relatives to bring food into camp.
At Koishikawaku the Japanese Government has not deemed it necessary to supply any soap for over a period of months and has disregarded wash basins that are out of order. The lighting is insufficient and, as in other camps where American civilians are interned, there is no infirmary and any dental work is at the expense of the internees.
Article 10 of the Geneva Prisoners of War Convention provides that all prisoners shall be lodged in buildings or in barracks affording all possible guarantees of hygiene and healthfulness and that quarters must be sufficiently heated and lighted. Article 11 provides that a sufficiency of potable water shall be furnished. Article 12 states that clothing, linen and footwear shall be furnished by the detaining Power, that replacement and repairing of these effects must be assured regularly and that canteens shall be installed where food products and ordinary objects may be obtained at market price. Article 13 provides that all sanitary measures necessary shall be taken to assure the cleanliness and healthfulness of camps and to prevent epidemics and also that prisoners shall have at their disposal installations conforming to sanitary rules and constantly maintained in a state of cleanliness. Article 14 provides that every camp shall have an infirmary to furnish every kind of attention needed and that expense of treatment shall be borne by the detaining Power.
As conditions in civilian internment camps in Japan transgress in part or in totality the provisions cited above and as the Japanese Government voluntarily undertook to apply the humanitarian provisions of the Geneva Prisoners of War Convention to civilian internees, the American Government expects that a prompt investigation be made of these matters and further expects that the Japanese Government will undertake to bring about an improvement to provide for the essential needs of the internees and to maintain proper standards in the treatment of American nationals held in Japanese custody.
711.94114A/12–1844 : Telegram
The Chargé in Switzerland (Huddle) to the Secretary of State
BERN, December 18, 1944.
[Received December 19–11:39 p. m.] 8204. Am[erican]Interests, Japan. Your 2115, June 21. Foreign Office note December 15 received today regarding visits POW and civil internment camps Far East quotes following letter Shigemitsu to Gorgé.
"I have the honor to inform Your Excellency that the Imperial Government has taken, as a result of particular consideration, the following decision regarding visits to camps in occupied territory. I should
be greatly obliged if you would communicate to me the views of the British [and] United States Governments and their Allies regarding following communication.
Imperial Government which has carried out its studies on visits by third persons to POW and civil internee camps in occupied territories in the south has decided following:
In accordance with desire British, American and Allied Governments and agreeing to request of International Red Cross Committee, Imperial Government will recognize-on a provisional basis during camp visits—the status of representative of the Committee delegate to Japan to those persons residing here and depending on this organization whom the Imperial Government shall consider well qualified to be authorized to visit these camps under control military authorities. This authorization will be given to the extent that there will be no objection because of military operations.
In proposing to place in practice this decision in the first place in the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, Imperial Government
simultaneously with the present communication will enter into negotiations on this subject with International Red Cross Committee.
The present authorization will not, however, be given except on condition that British, American and Allied Governments accord to delegate international committee on basis of reciprocity permission to visit Japanese POW and civilian internee camps in regions they occupy in particular New Caledonia, Saipan, Tinian and Guam territories concerning primarily the American Government.” 88
The Chargé in Switzerland (Huddle) to the Secretary of State
BERN, December 19, 1944. [Received December 20–12:27 p. m.]
. 8221. American Interests—Thailand, Japan. Department's 3197, September 15, and Legation's 6487, September 29.89 Foreign Office note December 12 states Japanese Foreign Office has informed Swiss Legation Tokyo that February 11 order does not exist.
Japanese Foreign Office adds that Japanese authorities continue observe international regulations regarding conduct war and that they expect enemy states adopt same attitude. Japanese Government desires draw serious attention of American Government to acts directly contrary to international regulations committed by enemy aviators during attacks against Japanese forces 90 and requests that orders be given so that such illicit acts are not repeated.
Enemy aviators who will have committed in bad faith obvious violations of recognized customs will be held responsible for acts in accordance international law in same manner as enemy soldiers of other categories who commit similar acts.
711.94114A/12–2044 : Telegram
The Chargé in Switzerland (Huddle) to the Secretary of State
BERN, December 20, 1944.
[Received December 21–7:10 a. m.] 8235. American Interests—Japan-Intercross. Legation's 8204, December 18. Substance Committee letter December 18 received today stated following proposal received from Japanese Minister Foreign Affairs containing these conditions.
88 In telegram 8213, December 18, 8 p. m., the Chargé in Switzerland reported information from Mr. Gorgé that no mention was made of visits to camps in the Dutch East Indies because visits to camps in the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand represented "only first trial". (711.94114A/12–1844)
so Latter not printed; it reported that contents of telegram 3197 had been delivered to the Japanese Foreign Office on September 26 (711.94114A 0. T./9-2944).
30 For correspondence on this subject, see pp. 1175 ff.
"1. That only such POW camps and internment camps be visited that do not cause obstacles to military operations of the Japanese forces.
2. The visitor shall be a person residing on the spot who shall be recommended by the International Committee and approved by the Japanese Government.
3. That this representative shall carry out his visits acting in the capacity of an agent for the time being of the International Committee of the Red Cross Delegation in Tokyo.
4. That this arrangement shall be carried out on the principle of reciprocity; that is on condition that the United States, British and Allied Governments concerned shall permit delegates of the International Committee to visit POWs and civilian internee camps where Japanese subjects are detained in areas under the administration of the United States, Great Britain or an Allied country and in particular in respect of the United States Government on condition that they should permit visits to the POW camps and internment camps where Japanese subjects are detained in New Caledonia, Saipan, Tinian and Guam."
If foregoing conditions agreeable parties concerned Japanese Government proposed visit following camps: Santo Thomas, POW camp Singapore and POW hospital Thailand.
Japanese Government intimated prepared consult Committee's delegates Japan regarding details for placing proposal in operation.
On receipt of foregoing proposal Committee advised Japanese Government it accepted first three numbered conditions and that terms fourth condition would be immediately submitted American, British and Allied Governments. Committee proposed to Japanese following representatives: Schweizer, Committee correspondent for Singapore, Salzmann, Committee Agent Bangkok for Thailand, Bessmer, for Santo Thomas.
Committee further informed Japanese it would submit names additional representatives for visiting camps remaining occupied territories not mentioned in communication from Japanese Foreign Minister.
Committee letter concluded with request foregoing be communicated Department with request for early reply. Additionally Committee requested, since Japanese mentioned Allied Governments, for Department's reply to be made in consultation with Allied Latin American Governments.91 Communication same nature addressed by Committee British Minister, Bern.
HUDDLE 01 In a memorandum of March 8, 1945, to the Chief of the Special War Problems Division (Plitt), Augusta B. Wagner of the same Division stated that Allied Latin American Governments had not been consulted since the Japanese Government had not requested it and "as it would cause further complications and delay in replying.” (711.94114A/2–2845)
EFFORTS BY THE UNITED STATES TO SEND FINANCIAL AND OTHER
ASSISTANCE TO AMERICAN NATIONALS HELD BY JAPAN 92 740.00115A Pacific War/922: Telegram The Secretary of State to the Minister in Switzerland (Harrison)
WASHINGTON, January 19, 1944–10 p. m. 187. American Interests-Philippines.
1. Express gratitude of Department for progress made by Swiss as set forth your telegram 54, January 493 in developing channels of contact with Philippines and the hope that situation may soon make possible an extension of financial aid to prisoners of war detained
2. Detailed reports of Internee Executive Committee concerning utilization of funds thus far distributed awaited with interest here.
3. For the present and until otherwise informed inclusion of British in distribution of funds may continue. Department assumes this arrangement does not presently work hardship on Americans and wishes to be informed if this assumption incorrect or if subsequent developments impose hardship as result of this arrangement.
4. Department assumes that 100,000 yen requested are military yen with conversion rate approximately 4 to 1 and therefore present financial authorization sufficient to cover stated need. Please confirm this assumption giving details if otherwise.95
711.93114A/42: Telegram The Minister in Switzerland (Harrison) to the Secretary of State
BERN, February 10, 1944-1 p. m.
[Received 7:49 p. m.] 822. American Interests, China. Department's 1687, July 17, Legation's 4482, July 27.96 Swiss note February 7 states Swiss Consulate,
$2 Continued from Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. III, pp. 1012–1035. See also ibid., 1944, vol. iv, section under Soviet Union entitled "Efforts to arrange with the Soviet Union for the acceptance
*3 Not printed; it stated relief funds had been “proportionally distributed all camps according Department's 1979", August 18, 1943 (740.0015A Pacific War/ 922). See Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. III, p. 1030. By January 4, the Japanese had closed all internment camps in the Philippines except Santo Tomas, Los Banos, Baguio, and Davao. The Santo Tomas Executive Committee administered relief measures in all four camps.
94 In telegram 725, March 4, to Bern, the Department stated: “In view of the situation outlined in Department's 275 of January 27, it is considered highly desirable to get financial assistance to prisoners of war in the Philippines on the same basis as is being done for civilian internees.” (711.94114A/366a) For text of telegram 275, see p. 925.
05 Telegram 983, February 17, 11 a. m., from Bern, advised of a report from the Swiss Legation in Japan that regular yen, with a value approximately equal to that of Swiss francs, was intended and that it would be desirable to increase monthly relief to 150,000 yen because of the rising cost of living (740.00115A Pacific War/1038).
36 Neither printed.