740.00116 Pacific War/16

The Secretary of State to the Swiss Minister (Bruggmann)

The Secretary of State presents his compliments to the Honorable the Minister of Switzerland in charge of Japanese interests in Samoa and in that portion of the Philippine Islands not under Japanese military control, and has the honor to refer to the Minister’s note no. D. 7. dated December 29, 1941, quoting a statement of the Japanese Government concerning alleged mistreatment of Japanese nationals in the Province of Mindanao, Philippine Islands. Reference is also made to the Minister’s note of January 27, 1942, on the same subject.

The Government of the United States has no information which would confirm the allegations of the Japanese Government and, in as much as the scene of the alleged incidents is now under enemy occupation, has no present means of investigating the matter. It might be pointed out, however, that the alleged incidents of which the Japanese Government complains would appear to have been contemporaneous with the landing of a hostile military expedition on the shores of Davao and that it would not be surprising if the Philippine soldiery had taken steps to defend themselves against an enemy force threatening their country and their homes. If, as already informally stated to the Minister, the Department is informed specifically of the identity of the American authorities who are alleged to have been responsible for the incidents, the Department will be glad to investigate further at the earliest opportunity.

It may be stated at this time, however, that according to the Department’s investigation the staffs of the Japanese Consulate General at Manila and of the Japanese Consulate at Davao were given appropriate [Page 857]police protection following the closing of those offices. The United States High Commissioner to the Commonwealth Government7 has informed the Department8 that no complaints were made by the Japanese concerning their treatment but that, on the contrary, surprise was expressed by the Japanese at the adequacy of arrangements made for them and the courtesy of those who carried out the arrangements; that the Japanese Consul General at Manila9 expressed special appreciation; and that the High Commissioner’s Office took pains to keep in touch with the Japanese Consul General to see that he was courteously treated while within territory under the control of the American Government.

There is enclosed, as of possible interest to the Minister in this connection, a copy of a telegram addressed to the American Legation at Bern on January 26, 1942,10 for communication through the Swiss Government to the Japanese Government setting forth the treatment being accorded by the American Government to Japanese nationals under detention and the considerations which enter into the policy of the United States with respect to the treatment of civilian enemy aliens.

  1. Francis B. Sayre.
  2. Telegram No. 623, December 14, 5 p.m., not printed.
  3. Katsumi Niiro.
  4. No. 219; see footnote 6, p. 246.