711.94115 Exchange/298a: Telegram

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

1072. Please transmit a communication in the sense of the following to the Swiss Government for transmission to the Japanese Government:

“In a memorandum from the Spanish Embassy dated at Washington, May 4, 194362 the Japanese Government made alternative proposals in regard to further exchanges of nationals; namely, that exchanges be effected either at a Soviet Pacific port or at Mormugão, Portuguese Goa. The latter exchange point was agreed upon for the second exchange effected late in 1943. Since then the Government of the United States has had under consideration the possibility of giving effect to the Japanese Government’s proposal for exchanges via Soviet territory. One of the major difficulties which have had to be overcome in considering this proposal concerns port facilities. [Page 1086] The advantage to both the Japanese and United States Governments of making use of this considerably shorter route is, however, obvious. The Government of the United States has consulted the Soviet Government and has been informed that the latter is prepared in principle to extend its cooperation in giving effect to this proposal, in particular by permitting the use of a Soviet Pacific port and by making available a Soviet crew. The United States Government accordingly offers for the consideration of the Japanese Government the following outline of possibilities for arranging on a completely reciprocal basis for (a) further exchange of nationals, including seriously sick and seriously wounded prisoners of war and protected personnel eligible for repatriation under the provisions of the Geneva Red Cross Convention of 1929,64 (b) the shipment of relief supplies for distribution to Allied nationals remaining in Japanese custody and to Japanese nationals in Allied custody, and (c) the carriage of mail for both prisoners of war and civilian internees.

Japanese nationals desiring repatriation from among those in the Western Hemisphere, together with a quantity of relief supplies, would be put aboard a vessel provided by the United States Government and manned by a Soviet crew. The ship, traveling under safe conduct of all the belligerents, would proceed from an American West Coast port to a Soviet Pacific port (to be designated by the Soviet Government) from which point the ship would proceed on to Japan in charge of the Soviet crew or, if the Japanese Government so desires, in charge of a Japanese crew which in the meantime would have been sent to the designated Soviet Pacific port for the purpose of taking over operation of the ship. On arrival at the designated ports in Japan and Japanese-controlled territory the Japanese nationals on board would be disembarked and the relief supplies and mail unloaded and turned over to the appropriate authorities for distribution to Allied prisoners of war and civilian internees in Japanese custody. American nationals desiring repatriation would then be put on board together with such relief supplies and mail as the Japanese Government might wish to send to the Western Hemisphere for distribution to Japanese nationals held in custody. The vessel would then return to the same Soviet Pacific port thence to return to the United States. It is proposed that as many voyages be made as may be necessary to repatriate all exchangeable personnel.

The Japanese Government, in order further to accelerate the exchange of nationals, may wish simultaneously to put one of its ships into this service under the same procedure using a port in Japan or Japanese-controlled territory as the point of departure. Such action by the Japanese Government would be welcomed by the United States Government and the former may be assured that in such case the United States Government will employ all means at its disposal to insure the safe return of said ship.

In order to expedite exchanges, the selection from among verified nationals desiring repatriation might be made by the detaining power in consultation with the protecting power, or by the protecting power alone as may be preferred, such selection to be based primarily on [Page 1087] compassionate and humanitarian grounds with due credit to recommendations of camp committees and competent medical authority. In appropriate cases either principal might, of course, designate particular individuals for repatriation. It is contemplated also that seriously sick and seriously wounded military personnel and protected personnel eligible for repatriation under the provisions of the Geneva Red Cross Convention of 1929 would be put aboard the ship.

It is understood that, if this proposal is accepted by the Japanese Government, nationals of the other American Republics and of Canada will be admissible to the resultant exchanges in the numerical proportion already established by the protecting power.

This proposal is not intended to supersede or to postpone settlement of the pending question of arranging for the onward shipment and distribution to Allied nationals of relief supplies sent from the United States to Vladivostok pursuant to the proposal put forward by the Japanese Government in April 1943,65 concerning which the Government of the United States hopes to receive an early indication of the Japanese Government’s intentions. Furthermore, this proposal is not intended to preclude the accomplishment of such further exchanges at Mormugão as the United States and Japanese Governments may undertake to accomplish through use, after the present monsoon ends in October of existing facilities available for that purpose.”