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port of Manila at the time was attacked by above mentioned planes at about 8:15 AM. Two bomber planes dropped four bombs in immediate vicinity of ship and then eight fighter planes machine-gunned her. On account of damage caused by this bombing and machinegunning, hospital ship became flooded and in spite of every possible effort made to save her she finally sank at 12:08.

(2) Name, identification marks, and other features of the Muro Marú, when formally notified in January last year, to United States Government through Spanish Government, painting and identification marks of the ship were in perfect condition and quite clear. Weather was fine and visibility good. There did not exist any other ship or any military objective within one thousand meters of hospital ship. In these circumstances Muro Maru was possessed of all necessary conditions being entitled to special protection guaranteed to hospital ships as expressly provided for in Convention for adaptation of principles of Geneva Convention to Maritime War, and she was in such state that she could not have been mistaken for any other thing than hospital ship [omission?] of accidentally attacked. Notwithstanding United States planes deliberately attacked and sank her, thus United States planes committed acts which could be nothing but violation of above mentioned Hague Convention and gave offence against fundamental principles of International Law and Humanity.

(3) On the occasion of sinking of Buenos Aires Maru in November last year, Japanese Government gave a strict warning to United States Government relating to repeated unlawful attacks upon hospital ships, expressing great concern held by Japanese Government about repeated outrages. In reply to this, United States Government express every intention of continuing to respect immunity of Hospital ships in accordance with its assumed obligations and international practice. United States forces, however, did not cease from their unlawful activities, then attacked Houshing [Yoshino?] Maru and Tachibana [T'atibana] Maru in succession, and now they have attacked and sank another hospital ship Muro Maru. Japanese Government fear that repetition of such unlawful conduct on part of United States forces would lead to grave situation and demand of United States Government serious consideration of matter. Japanese Government while filing emphatic protest with United States Government against attacking and sinking of Muro Maru declares that they reserve all rights relating to matter.

Åt same time Japanese Government demand, in view of repeated outrages, that United States Government admit unlawfulness of past conduct of United States forces, punish those responsible, give absolute guarantee to prevent the repetition of unlawful attacks in future, and thus actually show their willingness to render respect to hospital ships.

WASHINGTON, December 27, 1944.



740.00117 P.W./119

The Spanish Embassy to the Department of State

No. 154
Ex. 119.01

The Spanish Embassy presents its compliments to the Department of State and begs to transmit the following Memorandum received through the “Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores” 38 of Madrid, from the Japanese Government:

Memorandum-June 16th, 1944

“1. United States fighters and bombers, that raided Rabaul on the 23rd and 24th May, constantly and repeatedly bombed and fired at the residential sections.

They even perpetrated unscrupulous attacks on a hospital and its annexes, causing a serious damage to the buildings and large number of casualties among the sick and wounded who were under medical treatments there and the nurses. All the hospital buildings were at that time filled to capacity with the sick and wounded, and of course, no part thereof was used for any military purpose. They were all marked with distinct and large red crosses on a white ground so that they might easily be identified from above.

The United States raiders made the attack in broad daylight and from a low altitude. The weather was fair, and the visibility good. It was therefore, perfectly easy for any pilot, however unskilled, to discern from the red cross marks thať his objectives were hospital buildings. In spite of this, the American attackers did not stop the bombing and firing until the greater part of the hospital and its annexes had been destroyed. These facts cannot but show that the raid of the hospital was carried on deliberately and intentionally.

2. The above mentioned conduct of the United States airmen is a flagrant violation of International Law, and in particular of Article 27 of the [Annex to the] 1907 Customs of War on Land,39 and Article 6 of the 1929 Red Cross Convention. Moreover, it is in under [utter?] disregard of principles of humanity.

3. The Japanese Government lodge an emphatic protest with the United States Government against the unlawful act committed by the United States raiders, demanding at the same time the punishment of the persons and a guarantee for the prevention of recurrence of similar acts.

The Japanese Government also reserve all rights of claiming an indemnity for the damage and injury caused by the above-mentioned unlawful attack.”


WASHINGTON, June 16, 1944.

38 Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

* Signed at The Hague, October 18, 1907, Foreign Relations, 1907, pt. 2, pp. 1204, 1212.

Signed at Geneva, July 27, 1929, ibid., 1929, vol. I, pp. 321, 323.


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740.00117 Pacific War/119

The Department of State to the Spanish Embassy


The Department of State refers to its memorandum of June 26, 1944 41 acknowledging the receipt of memorandum no. 154 (Ex. 119.01) of June 16, 1944 from the Spanish Embassy in charge of Japanese interests in the continental United States transmitting the text of a protest from the Japanese Government alleging attacks by United States aircraft on certain hospital installations at Rabaul.

Careful consideration has been accorded by the United States military authorities to the charges contained in the protest of the Japanese Government incorporated in the Embassy's memorandum under acknowledgment. These authorities have recently reported that on May 23 and 24, 1944 fighter and bomber aircraft attacked a ridge about 600 yards northeast of the town of Rabaul, on which were installed concentrations of heavy, automatic and machine gun antiaircraft weapons. On this same ridge, interspersed among and in close proximity to the anti-aircraft gun positions, were many buildings including several marked with red crosses, and one of the buildings which was marked in this manner was only about 300 yards from three heavy anti-aircraft positions.

The aircraft attacks on May 23 and 24 were directed at these concentrations of anti-aircraft guns. During the course of these attacks, several of the buildings on the ridge were unintentionally damaged or destroyed. As the Japanese Government does not specifically identify the hospitals which it is alleged were deliberately and intentionally attacked, it is presumed that they were situated among the gun positions.

The United States Government has in the past and intends in the future to observe the principles of international law, including the Convention Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, signed at The Hague on October 18, 1907 and the Red Cross Convention signed at Geneva on July 27, 1929. However, if the Japanese authorities choose to place hospitals adjacent to legitimate military targets, it is quite possible that those installations will be damaged or destroyed unintentionally during the course of attacks directed at the military targets.

In view of the foregoing, the United States Government rejects the protest of the Japanese Government and disclaims all responsibility for any and all damage allegedly received by hospitals situated in the area attacked on May 23 and 24, 1944.

WASHINGTON, August 10, 1944.

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740.00116 Pacific War/12-1144

The Spanish Embassy to the Department of State 42

No. 251
Ex. 150.000

The Spanish Embassy presents its compliments to the Department of State and has the honor to transmit the following Memorandum received from the Imperial Japanese Government, through the "Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores” in Madrid:

Memorandum-December 9, 1944.

“On 10th October, 199 United States airplanes raided Okinawa Islands five times in broad daylight. First, second, and third raids aimed chiefly at military objectives. But fourth (from 12:40 till 13:40) and fifth (14:45 till 15:45) raids, American planes blindly attacked such non-military objectives as schools, hospitals, temples and dwelling houses in streets of Naha City and reduced them to ashes. At same time they wounded and killed large number of civilians by indiscriminate bombing and machine-gunning from low altitude.

Japanese Government condemn above-mentioned deliberate attacks on non-military objectives and innocent civilians as most serious violations of principles of humanity and rules of International law which govern present day states.

Japanese Government therefore while solemnly declaring that they reserve all rights relating to this matter, demand from United States Government immediate reply setting forth their views as to whether such indiscriminate attacks as above-mentioned when carried out by airplanes do not constitute violation of International law.”

WASHINGTON, December 11, 1944. .


740.00116 Pacific War/85

The Apostolic Delegate (Cicognani) to the Secretary of State

WASHINGTON, February 15, 1944. MY DEAR MR. HULL: The Cardinal Secretary of State has just informed me that the Special Envoy of the Japanese Government to the Holy See has brought to his attention an article by a Mr. Baldwin, in the New York Times, and pointed out that the tenor of this article appears to indicate that American military authorities are preparing to use poison gas in the Far East, on the grounds that gas has already been employed by the Japanese forces in China.

42 The Department made acknowledgment on December 23.

The Japanese Ambassador to the Holy See assured His Eminence that the assertion on the use of gas by the Japanese army authorities in China is not true.43 The Ambassador added that the Japanese will always refrain from the use of poison gas, provided the American officials follow this same principle.

The Ambassador then requested His Eminence, in the name of the Japanese Government, to bring this assurance to the attention of the United States Government.

His Eminence adds that he expressed to the Japanese Ambassador his own personal conviction that, in the light of its frequent condemnations of the use of poison gas as a military weapon, he feels certain that the United States military authorities have no intention of employing such means of warfare.

While I convey this information to you according to the directions of His Eminence, I am [etc.]

A. G. CICOGNANI Archbishop of Laodicea

740.00116 Pacific War/85 The Assistant Secretary of State (Long) to the Apostolic Delegate


WASHINGTON, March 30, 1944. MY DEAR ARCHBISHOP CICOGNANI: I have received your letter of February 15, 1944 conveying the assurances of the Special Envoy of the Japanese Government to the Holy See that Japanese forces in China have never used poison gas and that Japan would continue to refrain from the use of poison gas provided the same principle is followed by the United States. It is stated that the Special Envoy of the Japanese Government requested that these assurances be brought to the attention of the United States Government.

The information which you have given me has been made known to the appropriate United States authorities. The attitude of the United States Government with respect to the use of gas warfare was fully and clearly enunciated by the President in his statement of June 8, 1943,44 a copy of which I am enclosing for your convenience. Sincerely yours,

BRECKINRIDGE LONG 13 In telegram 1251, July 20, 1 p. m., the Ambassador in China (Gauss) cited the Military Attaché in China (De Pass) as authority that there was no acceptable evidence of Japanese use of poison gas (740.0011 PW/7–2044).

** Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. I, p. 406.

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