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attacking helpless survivors of a torpedoed vessel and demands effective assurances from the Japanese Government that such criminal acts, which are contrary to all standards of civilized conduct, will not be repeated in the future. It is expected that the Japanese Government will at the same time punish those persons who with premeditation and full knowledge of their actions have so flagrantly violated the primary humanitarian concept of maritime warfare."

Request Swiss Minister Tokyo 51 to telegraph date of delivery to Japanese Government.52


195.7 Richard Hovey/12–844 : Telegram

The Chargé in Switzerland (Huddle) to the Secretary of State

BERN, December 8, 1944.

[Received December 9–3:08 a. m.] 8041. American Interests-Japan. Legation's 4029, June 23; 53 Foreign Office note December 7 states Swiss Legation in Tokyo telegraphs December 5 Japanese Foreign Office declared that thorough investigation concerning torpedoing Richard Hovey has been made but revealed no action corresponding to that outlined in Department's 2043, June 14.


195.7 Jean Nicolet/12–1244 : Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Switzerland (Huddle)

WASHINGTON, December 12, 1944. 4184. Request Swiss Foreign Office to deliver following message verbatim to Japanese Government:

“On July 2, 1944 at approximately 1407 hours at position 3° South 74° 30' East the United States merchant vessel Jean Nicolet was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine. The vessel sank at approximately 7220 hours July 3. Seventy-five survivors of the Jean Nicolet were murdered when, after leaving the sinking vessel, between 95 and 100 persons from the torpedoed vessel were subjected by the commander and crew of the Japanese submarine to treatment which was in contravention of the laws and customs of war and all humanitarian standards. The United States Government most emphatically protests against the criminal and inhuman treatment accorded these individuals.

51 Camille Gorgé. 52 Telegram 4029, June 23, from Bern, reported delivery of message on June 19. See footnote 52, above.


The United States Government protests that:

(1) The life boats and life rafts were machine-gunned, evidently to render them unusable by any of the survivors of the Jean Nicolet. Survivors of the Jean Nicolet who were swimming were also machine-gunned.

(2) The survivors upon boarding the submarine were robbed of all life belts, papers and other valuables;

(3) The survivors of the Jean Nicolet, after boarding the submarine, were bound either with rope or wire and compelled to sit or kneel with heads down in rows athwartship from bow to stern facing forward on the forward deck;

(4) Approximately half of the survivors of the Jean Nicolet were led separately to the afterdeck of the submarine and compelled to run between parallel rows of Japanese sailors armed with a variety of instruments, including gun butts and bayonets. While running this gauntlet, the men were subjected to severe beating and still bound were forced off the submarine into the water while the vessel was under way with the evident likelihood that they would be caught in the turning propeller.

(5) The submarine suddenly, and with no warning to the survivors of the Jean Nicolet, submerged leaving a large number of them still bound on the deck of the vessel with the result that they

were thrown into the water without means of self-preservation. D. M. Nilsson and Clem Carlin, master and chief mate, respectively of the Jean Nicolet were made prisoners and taken within the submarine, such treatment being similar to that accorded the master and three other survivors of the United States vessel Richard Ilovey the Japanese attack on which was the subject of the United States Government's protest delivered to the Japanese Government on June 19, 1944. The United States Government demands to be urgently informed regarding the present welfare and whereabouts of Captain Nilsson and Chief Mate Carlin.

The United States Government most emphatically protests regarding the treatment accorded the survivors of the torpedoed vessel, such treatment being in violation of all humanitarian and legal principles. The Government of the United States demands a full and thorough investigation from the Japanese Government and that the persons responsible for the incredibly cruel and terrible conduct against the defenseless survivors of the torpedoed vessel promptly be fully punished and that it be informed of the action taken. The Government of the United States demands specific assurances from the Japanese Government that such criminal action will not be repeated in the future."

Request that Swiss Minister Tokyo telegraph date message is delivered to Japanese Government. 54


54 Date of delivery not clear. Telegram 130, January 9, 1945, 10 a. m., from Bern, reported that the Swiss Legation was "now outside of Tokyo” and that Mr. Gorgé had instructed an aide to proceed to Tokyo on January 5 to present the text of the Department's message to the Japanese Foreign Office. Presumably he did so on that date. (195.7 Jean Nicolet/1-945)





The Minister in Switzerland (Harrison) to the Secretary of State

[Extract] No. 7485

BERN, March 6, 1944.

[Received March 28.] The American Minister at Bern has the honor to refer to the Department's telegram No. 1500 of June 25, 1943,55 regarding the communication of a statement to the Japanese Government concerning the repeated violation by the Japanese authorities of American diplomatic and consular property in Japanese-occupied territory.

The Legation now desires to enclose, for the Department's information and records, a translation of a note addressed on February 28, 1944 to the Legation by the Swiss Foreign Office.56 This communication has as enclosures the following documents from the Swiss representatives in China:

1. Report dated July 30, 1943, to the Swiss Legation at Tokyo by the Swiss Consul General at Shanghai regarding the violation of official American property in occupied China.

2. Report dated November 24, 1942, from the Swiss Consul at Canton regarding the violation by the Japanese military authorities of the American consular offices at Canton.

3. Report dated April 9, 1943, from the Peiping representative of the Swiss Consulate General Shanghai regarding the violation of the American Embassy there.

4. Report dated April 20, 1943, from the Peiping representative of the Swiss Consulate General Shanghai regarding his protest against the violation of the American Embassy there.

5. Report dated May 12, 1943, from the office of the Peiping representative of the Swiss Consulate General Shanghai regarding the second inspection of the American Embassy archives there on May 12, 1943.

These documents are also attached in single copy for the Department's information and records.57


Not printed; it requested that the following statement be communicated to the Japanese Government: "The United States Government has repeatedly protested against the violation by the enemy of American diplomatic and consular property, including archives, as a breach of international practice and has reiterated its own respect both for diplomatic and consular property. The United States Government would like to see both diplomatic and consular archives and other property respected, whether in the territory of the opposing belligerents or in the territory of third Powers. For its future guidance, the United States Government requests a specific indication of the Japanese Gov. ernment's policy in that respect." (703.75493/90)

56 Not printed. 57 Nos. 2 through 5 not printed.

[Enclosure] The Swiss Consul General at Shanghai (Fontanel) to the Swiss

Legation in Japan

[SHANGHAI,] July 30, 1943.



I have the honour to submit to you the following facts on the subject which I have reported on from time to time to Berne and which have prompted the United States Government to request your intervention with the Gaimusho.58 1) United States Properties not taken over.

Following protracted negotiations with the Japanese Authorities immediately after the outbreak of hostilities, I took over during the months of April/June 1942 all American (as well as British and Dutch) diplomatic and consular properties in Occupied China with the exception of those at Tientsin, Swatow and Amoy.

a) American Consulates at Amoy and Swatow. At the time of the departure of the former American officials from these two ports, the latter handed over the keys to the respective Japanese Consulates and appointed caretakers to look after the premises and properties of the United States Government. It was not at the time possible for me to send any delegate to Swatow and Amoy for the taking over of these properties.

The arrangements made by the out-going American Consuls were therefore left to stand-only during April/May of this year was it possible to send a delegate in the person of Mr. Zulauf from Canton to visit these places, when it was ascertained by the latter that at Swatow all official American archives (as also the British) had been removed by the Japanese Authorities, while those at Amoy were found to be intact.

b) American Consulate General at Tientsin. As reported to you in my letter dated July 1st 1942, the Japanese Authorities in Tientsin agreed to hand over the American Consulate General (as also British official properties) to my representative, Consul 0. Joerg, only on the condition that the latter agreed in writing to a Japanese memorandum on the subject which contained a clause that the Japanese Authorities reserved the right to inspect all official records and confiscate any documents they might consider necessary. Mr. Joerg having refused to accept custody of the American official properties under these conditions, the local negotiations on the subject broke down.

In your reply dated July 21st 1942, to my aforementioned letter, you stated that you would take this matter up with the competent


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authorities, but so far I appear to have remained without further news.

The fact remains that up to this time, the official consular properties still remain in the custody of the Japanese Authorities.

In connection with some water damage and theft which occurred to some of this American official property at Tientsin, the State Department again asked for an explanation as to why these properties had not yet been taken over by my representative. I should greatly appreciate it, therefore, if you could offer me any further information on this matter. 2) Violation of American official Archives.59

a) Canton. During October and December 1942, the Japanese Military Authorities at Canton repeatedly approached my representative there, Consul Hoffmeister, for permission to examine the American (also British) archives stored at the American Consulate General, which some three or four months previously had been taken over by Mr. Hoffmeister. Acting under threat by the Military Authorities that entry into the premises would be forced, Mr. Hoffmeister finally was authorized by me to hand over the keys to the Authorities concerned. The Japanese officials actually entered the American Consulate on November 20th and 22nd 1942 and were seen removing from the premises several sacks of American official records. A copy of Mr. Hoffmeister's report on the incident is herewith

Needless to say, Mr. Hoffmeister immediately filed a strong protest against the violation of the American archives.

b) American Embassy Peking. At the time of the departure of the American officials from Peking, the American Embassy Com

50 A note of July 21, 1943, from the Swiss Foreign Office to the American Legation in Switzerland gave the substance of a Japanese Foreign Office statement regarding Japan's attitude toward the protection of archives of enemy governments: “The Japanese Government expresses in its acts its intention to respect the archives of the diplomatic and consular missions of ... countries at war with Japan. ... The Japanese Government is of the opinion that the special measures taken to protect these archives must be attributed to its desire to offer a spontaneous and generous protection ... the decision of the Japanese authorities to inspect the archives before surrendering them to the Protecting Power constitutes a formality which is quite natural in handing them over to this country. It is on this opinion that the Japanese authorities at Peiping based their action in inspecting the archives of the former American mission and, as the number and the types of documents to be examined did not allow them to finish the inspection on the spot, they were temporarily removed. It is, of course, understood that the archives will be returned as soon as they will have been examined, so that the representative of the Protecting Power may be able to assure their protection." (703.5493/ 111) A copy of the Swiss Foreign Office note was transmitted from Bern in despatch 5745, July 28, 1943. Telegram 5227, August 25, 1943, from Bern, reported further violation of American archives at Peiping on August 9 when large quantities were carried away and no receipt given (703.5493/112).

60 Not printed.

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