711.94114 Supplies/58: Telegram

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

1146. Amcross has informed Department that representative of Soviet Purchasing Commission at Portland has for the time being refused to allocate any further space for shipments of relief supplies to Vladivostok for forwarding, when possible, to Allied nationals in Japanese custody.

Pursuant to the Soviet Government’s note of September 2 to the Embassy, Amcross now has at Portland 12 cars of relief supplies awaiting shipment and another 33 cars en route to Portland from inland points. The Japanese Government has been informed that the Soviet Government is now receiving on Soviet territory 1500 weight tons per month of relief supplies from the United States to be held there for onward shipment to Japan for distribution to Allied prisoners of war and civilian internees and has again been urged to inform this Government of the means by Which the Japanese [Page 822] Government is prepared to receive these supplies. Thus far no answer to this message has been received.14

With the foregoing information in mind, please endeavor to ascertain whether the central authorities have issued any instructions concerning suspension of relief shipments to Vladivostok and if so the reasons therefor.

  1. During this period the International Red Cross at Geneva, the Japanese Red Cross, and local representatives were seriously concerned to obtain a prompt arrangement with the Japanese which would provide a method for forwarding to Japan the relief supplies from the United States being received on Soviet territory for distribution among the Allied prisoners of war. Despite persistent efforts Japanese cooperation had not been obtained, and no reply had been received to inquiries addressed to the Japanese Government in regard to making arrangements to receive and distribute relief supplies. The Minister in Switzerland stated in his telegram No. 7129, November 13, that “it seems evident that obstructionist militaristic Japanese policy prevails and that really constructive proposals for breaking this down other than by the slow and painful process of persistence are lacking.” (711.94114 Supplies/65)