The Japanese Minister to Acting Secretary of State Loomis.
Washington, April 27, 1905.
Sir: I have the honor to inform you that I am in receipt of a communication from His Excellency Baron Komura, His Imperial Majesty’s minister for foreign affairs, instructing me to request the good offices of your government in obtaining the release and exchange of the noncombatants prisoners mentioned in the three lists hereto annexed.a
Of the 295 noncombatants kept by the Russian Government as prisoners of war, those mentioned in the annexed list A—that is, army nurses and merchant passengers of the Japanese merchant vessels at the time of their capture, belong to the category of the people who, according to the Red Cross conventions and international usages, can not be made prisoners of war. As to the officers and crew of the merchant vessels, the Imperial Government, have, acting upon the humane principle of the modern warfare that the hardship of war upon noncombatants should be mitigated as much as possible, released all the officers and crew of all the Russian merchant vessels captured hitherto by the imperial navy since the outbreak of the present war, excepting those who are in the military service of Russia. The Russian Government, on the other hand, are still holding as prisoners of war 45 officers and 220 crew, mentioned in the annexed list B, belonging to the Japanese merchant vessels which were either captured or sunk by the Russian navy up to this date.
As to the civil officials belonging to the imperial army as well as the other civilians attached thereto and now held by the Russian Government as prisoners of war, mentioned in the annexed list C, the Imperial Government desire that they may be exchanged with the civil officials of the Russian army who did not return home on parole at the time of the capitulation of Port Arthur and the Russian [Page 602] combatants of the corresponding rank and status now held in Japan as prisoners.
I now have the honor to request you to be so good as to instruct the United States ambassador at St. Petersburg to communicate with the Russian Government on this matter, and to obtain prompt release of the noncombatant prisoners mentioned in the annexed lists A and B, and to obtain the consent of the Russian Government to the proposed exchange of the civilian prisoners mentioned in the annexed list C.
- Not printed.↩