The Japanese Minister to Acting Secretary of State Loomis.
Washington, April 3, 1905.
Sir: I have the honor to inform you that I have received from Baron Komura, His Imperial Majesty’s minister for foreign affairs, an instruction in the following sense:
According to article 7 of the regulations respecting the laws and customs of war on land, annexed to the Hague convention, which provides that prisoners of war shall be treated, as regards food, quarters, and clothing, on the same footing as the troops of the government which has captured them, the Imperial Government is giving to the Russian prisoners the [Page 600] treatment due to the rank of each individual and on the same footing as the troops of the Imperial Government.
As to food, special consideration was given to the difference of habits and a larger allowance is made for the Russian prisoners than for the imperial troops. The ration allowance for the noncommissioned officers and privates of the imperial troops is 17 sen per day, while that for the Russian prisoners is fixed by the regulations respecting the treatment of the prisoners of war at 30 sen per day. Moreover, to the noncommissioned officers and privates of the prisoners are given 1 yen and 50 sen, respectively, as allowance for the incidentals.
The Russian Government, on the contrary, refused to accord Messrs. Mizoguchi and Ogorusu, lieutenant-commanders of the imperial navy, who were captured by the Russians on board of the transports Kinshiu Maru and Sado Maru, the treatment due to their rank and treated them only as lieutenants.
Further, while in the Russian army the ration allowance for soldiers is 25 kopecks, that for the Japanese prisoners of the same rank is only 14 kopecks, and not a cent is given as allowance for the incidentals. Thus the Japanese prisoners of the inferior rank are subjected to great hardships, so that the officer prisoners have to contribute from their own scanty allowance 2 or 3 rubles every month in order to aid such poor soldiers.
This conduct of the Russian Government is deemed by the Imperial Government as a clear contravention of provisions of the regulations annexed to the Hague convention. You shall, therefore, request the good offices of the United States Government to instruct the American ambassador to Russia to treat with the Russian Government in view of inducing it to accord to the officers and men of the Japanese prisoners the treatment due to their respective ranks in accordance with the provisions of the above-mentioned regulations. It is needless to say that the treatment of the prisoners is reciprocal between the belligerents, and therefore if the Russian Government does not consent to accord proper treatment to the Japanese prisoners it may be necessary for the Imperial Government to change the treatment of the numerous Russian prisoners now held in Japan. Consequently the Imperial Government is desirous to be informed of the reply of the Russian Government to the above representation at the earliest possible moment.
In accordance with the foregoing instruction, I now beg leave to request you to be so good as to take such steps as would give effect to the desire of the Imperial Government expressed therein.