711.94114A/353: Telegram

The Minister in Switzerland (Harrison) to the Secretary of State

1218. American Interests—Japan. Foreign Office aide-mémoire February 25 refers your 274 and 275, January 27, 1944,7 and states Swiss Minister, Tokyo,8 reports Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs drew his attention verbally to fact that, contrary to United States Government declarations concerning treatment prisoners of war Japan, Japanese Government has not refused authorization transport supplies stored Vladivostok, that Gaimusho9 studying question and if solution not yet found delay must be attributed attacks on Japanese hospital ships and treatment Japanese internees United States;10 Japanese Government waiting until situation clarified but intended announce in press its point of view concerning Vladivostok shipments, and that Gaimusho believes question can be reconsidered when atmosphere clearer. Statement from Japanese Bureau Information appeared press February 16 affirming question Vladivostok shipments postponed for reasons stated. Gorgé then informed Gaimusho of fact he was never informed that Vladivostok shipments connected with these two questions, that press had not stated Swiss representatives not permitted visit camps under Japanese control and [in?] Metropolitan Japan and that latter point important as ability visit camps would dissipate misunderstandings.

Gorgé interviewed Suzuki, chief, Foreign Interests Section, Gaimusho, February 21, concerning Vladivostok shipments and publicity by American Government Japanese atrocities. Suzuki stated that contrary Early’s11 radio statement Japanese had not refused transportation Vladivostok supplies but question under study and delayed by events mentioned. Also referred following statement attributed Breckinridge Long:12 “Japanese Government has refused to resume negotiations with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on further exchange of civilian internees,13 this despite unsuspected [undisputed?] fact that neutral Spanish diplomats have reported favorably on treatment accorded to Japanese nationals interned in America.” [Page 1020] Concerning that statement Suzuki stated that question only postponed by publicity Japanese atrocities. Gorgé informed Suzuki that Japanese Government on questions third exchange and Vladivostok shipments rightly could be interpreted as refusal and misunderstandings thereby ensue.

Suzuki informed Gorgé that Japanese disposed re-examine two questions in suspense but present conditions unfavorable and if United States Government wishes practical solution it is in latter’s interests discontinue “campaign of atrocities”.

Japanese Government now studying communication for American Government because of treatment prisoners and internees and will endeavor reply soon.

Translation aide-mémoire under reference follows by air mail.14

Legation invites Department’s attention Geneva’s Red Cross telegrams 56 and 57, February 24,15 this connection.

[Re?] Reply to request for Japanese plan facilitate shipment Vladivostok supplies, Department’s 627, February 24,16 not yet received.17

  1. Ante, pp. 921 and 925, respectively.
  2. Camille Gorgé.
  3. Japanese Foreign Office.
  4. For correspondence on these subjects, see pp. 1147 ff. and 1099 ff., respectively.
  5. Stephen Early, Secretary to President Roosevelt.
  6. Assistant Secretary of State.
  7. For correspondence on negotiations for an exchange agreement between the United States and Japan, see pp. 1081 ff.
  8. Despatch 7437, March 1, from Bern, not printed.
  9. Neither printed.
  10. Not printed.
  11. In connection with this message, see telegram 1073, March 30, 8 p.m., to Bern, p. 1087.