894.20211 Tachibana, Itaru/25: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Japan (Grew)

377. Your 901, June 30, 1 a.m.73 (your 900, June 30, 11 a.m.74 has not been received), American missionaries in Korea, and Department’s 345, June 20, 9 p.m.,73 Tachibana case.

On June 26 the Department informed the Japanese Embassy that the authorities of this Government immediately concerned had brought [Page 295] to the Department’s attention the fact that there was substantial evidence that two other naval officers, Lieutenant Commander Sadatomo Okada and Engineer Lieutenant Wataru Yamada, were engaged in espionage activities; that these two cases were associated with that of Tachibana; and that in view of the special representations which the Japanese Ambassador had made in the case of Tachibana, it had been decided to handle these two cases also as expeditiously and as quietly as possible. Accordingly, we requested that the Japanese Ambassador arrange to have Okada and Yamada leave the United States as soon as possible with the promise that they would never return. Further conversations with the Embassy have taken place and as a result Okada and Yamada were scheduled to leave this country on July 5.

In the conversations just mentioned we again took up the cases of Matsuo and of the missionaries under arrest in Korea, pointing out that the extraordinarily liberal treatment accorded in the very serious cases of Okada and Yamada constituted additional reason for anticipating that the Japanese would wish to respond in like friendly and prompt manner in the Matsuo and missionaries cases.

On June 30 and again on July 2 the Japanese Embassy informed us that although Mr. Matsuoka had telegraphed the Governor General of Taiwan bespeaking as liberal treatment as possible for Matsuo, the Governor General had not yet made any reply. With regard to the missionaries, the Embassy on July 2 said that it had received word that the Japanese Government had decided not to conduct any further judicial proceedings against them provided they would agree to leave Japan, and inquired whether we could take up with the home board the question of its ordering them home. Stating that we could give no assurance on this point at this time, we asked which missionaries the Japanese Government had in mind. The Embassy replied that its instructions were not clear but that it thought there were involved two or three missionaries who had already been tried and convicted and whose cases were under appeal and a number of others charged with various categories of offenses. We stated that our record showed that two of the missionaries had been sentenced and had appealed their cases and that some 14 (actually 19) others were under examination or suspicion. We then went on to say that it would be one thing for the Japanese Government to manifest a spirit of reciprocal good will by permitting the two convicted missionaries to leave Japan and quite another thing should the Japanese Government utilize the present situation to bring about a more or less wholesale deportation of American citizens from Japan. We then remarked that it would be helpful to us if the Japanese Embassy would furnish us with the names, numbers and offense categories of the [Page 296] missionaries involved. The Embassy said that in the light of our comments it would telegraph the Foreign Office for further information.

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  2. Not found in Department files.
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