740.00114A Pacific War/496: Telegram

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

531. Your 630, June 9, 2 p.m. After referring to previous communications in regard to the Soviet Government’s kind cooperation [Page 805] in agreeing to permit relief supplies for American prisoners and civilian internees in Japanese custody to transit the Soviet Union, you are requested to present to the Soviet authorities a communication in the following sense:

“Official reports received by the United States Government within the past few weeks indicate that the death rate among American prisoners of war in Japanese custody is alarmingly high. A large number of the deaths have been caused by diseases which competent medical opinion believes could have been cured or controlled if proper medicinals and vitamin products were available to the American doctors attached to the prison camps. In order that the abnormal rate of death may be reduced, it has become imperative that medical supplies be made available at the earliest possible time.

As the Soviet Government is aware, the Japanese Government has agreed to receive and distribute relief supplies sent through the Soviet Union and intended for distribution to American prisoners and civilian internees in Japanese hands. In view thereof and the fact that the Soviet Government has kindly expressed its willingness to permit the shipment of such supplies through the Soviet Union when suitable arrangements for their reception by the Japanese authorities shall have been reached, the United States Government would be grateful if the Soviet Government would allow the American Red Cross to create a modest stockpile of essential medical supplies at Vladivostok or at some other point in the Soviet Union near to the border of Japanese-controlled territory, in order that such supplies may be readily available for immediate shipment into Japan or Japanese-controlled areas as soon as suitable arrangements in this regard are completed. If the Soviet Government is willing to permit the accumulation of a small stockpile of medical supplies for this purpose at a convenient point in the Soviet Union, the Government of the United States proposes to arrange for the shipment of small amounts of such supplies by air or on the Soviet vessels proceeding to Vladivostok, whichever may be found feasible at the time.”

Please endeavor to obtain an urgent reply.