740.00114A Pacific War/434: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in the Soviet Union ( Standley )

365. American interests—Japan. Following message was sent on May 18 to American Legation at Bern.78

“Please request Swiss Government in reference to your 2179, April 7,79 to present to Japanese Government a communication in the following sense:

‘The Soviet Government has expressed to the United States Government a readiness to extend assistance in arranging for the movement of relief supplies and mail to American prisoners of war and civilian internees in Japanese-controlled areas subject to the condition that the United States and Japanese Governments reach a suitable understanding on this question.

The Government of the United States now inquires by what means the Japanese Government proposes that supplies sent from the United States to Vladivostok shall be moved from Vladivostok to Japan or Japanese-controlled [Page 804] territories. It is hoped that arrangements can be made to ship from 1200 to 1500 weight tons of food, clothing and medical supplies per month for distribution to American and other Allied prisoners of war and civilian internees in Japanese custody.’”80

Please inform Soviet Government text of above message.

With a view to the possible expedition of consideration of such proposals as the Japanese Government may make in connection with the movement of supplies to American and Allied nationals detained by the Japanese, Department would like to know whether the Soviet Government has any objection to the use of any one or more of the several alternative routes which the Japanese Government would ordinarily be expected to propose for movement of supplies from Vladivostok to Japan and Japanese-controlled territories. Will you, therefore, in your discretion, approach the Soviet Foreign Office in an effort to ascertain its views in the premises.

  1. The quoted telegram was sent to Bern as No. 1187. Its contents were communicated by the Swiss to the Japanese Government in Tokyo on May 26. On July 5, in telegram No. 1582, the Department asked the Swiss Government to try to obtain an early reply to the original inquiry.
  2. Post, p. 1019.
  3. According to Mr. Maurice Pate, Director of Prisoners of War Relief at the American Red Cross in Washington, the latest information available on May 19, 1943, indicated that there were in Japanese custody as prisoners of war and interned civilians: “(1) 32,500 white Americans, (2) an estimated 70,000 white British Empire nationals, (3) an estimated 15,000 white Dutch nationals, (4) an estimated 40,000 Filipinos and (5) an estimated 40,000 British nationals of Asiatic blood.” He expressed the view that the Filipinos and the British nationals of Asiatic blood may have been liberated by Japan, or might be ineligible to receive relief supplies for other reasons. (711.94114 Supplies/22)