711.94114A/447: Telegram

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

1888. American Interests—Japan. Legation’s 2949, May 10. Please request Swiss Government to communicate following to Japanese Government with reference to the letter dated April 28 from the Japanese Foreign Office to the Swiss Legation at Tokyo in regard to the onward movement to Japan and Japanese-occupied territory of relief supplies sent via Soviet territory intended for distribution to Allied nationals in Japanese custody.

“Replying to the specific conditions set forth in the Japanese Government’s proposal the United States Government informs the Japanese Government as follows:

The United States Government promptly referred the Japanese Government’s proposal to the Soviet Government and requested that Government’s cooperation in arranging for the onward movement of these supplies.64 The latter has informed the United States Government that while it is not in a position to agree to the use of the [Page 1036] port of Vladivostok as a transshipping point for supplies sent from the United States for distribution to Allied nationals in Japanese custody, it desires to cooperate in this humanitarian undertaking and is willing to carry out the transfer of relief supplies presently at Vladivostok either at the border railroad station Manchuriya or at the Soviet port Nakhodka as the Japanese Government may prefer. As regards subsequent shipments of relief supplies the Soviet Government has kindly agreed to designate the port of Petropavlovsk on Kamchatka which Japanese vessels may enter to pick up such supplies. The United States Government has been informed that the Soviet Government’s offer had been communicated direct to the Japanese Government.
The United States Government takes note that the quantity of relief supplies and mail to be transported will depend upon the capacity of the Japanese ships to be employed for this purpose. The United States Government expresses the hope, however, that monthly shipments will average initially 1500 metric weight tons which is the amount of relief supplies the Soviet Government has agreed to transport monthly from the United States to Soviet territory.
The Governments of the interested countries are prepared to accord safe conduct for Japanese ships engaged in the transportation of relief supplies and mail between Japanese ports and the agreed upon Soviet ports. Notification of dates of departure from Soviet ports as well as from Japanese ports should be made to the United States Government, which will inform the other interested Governments. In order to insure the safety of the Japanese ships during the course of their missions notifications of sailing dates should be received at least 7 days prior to the date of departure, together with a complete description of the ships and detailed information as to the course to be followed by such ships.
The Japanese Government may be assured that no obligation will accrue to it in respect of taxes, rates, dues and other public charges which may be levied on the Japanese ships at the Soviet transshipping ports. The Japanese Government will not be expected to pay the cost of the loading on and landing of the Japanese ships or the cost of warehousing relief supplies at the Soviet ports.
The United States Government agrees to the transportation of relief supplies and mail originating in Japan and intended for Japanese nationals in United States custody by the same route and method. The United States Government agrees to accept and deliver such supplies and mail to those persons in its custody for whom intended.

The United States Government hopes that the Japanese Government will take the necessary steps as soon as possible to move onward the relief supplies now on Soviet territory and relief supplies and mail to be sent subsequently via Soviet territory and arrange for their early distribution to Allied nationals in Japanese custody including those in the Philippine Islands.”

  1. For correspondence regarding efforts to arrange with the Soviet Union for the acceptance and onward shipment of relief supplies, see under Soviet Union, vol. iv .