740.00115 Pacific War/8–2444: Telegram
The Secretary of State to the Minister in Switzerland (Harrison)
3053. American Interests—Japan—Repatriation. Request Swiss Government to inform Japanese that on Saipan there have been captured approximately 10,000 civilians among whom are a number of high-ranking government officials. The United States Government is willing to exchange these civilians for sick and wounded United States prisoners of war and for United States civilians captured on Guam, Wake and in the Philippine Islands, and other Japanese-occupied territories, including nationals of the other American republics and Canada.
Please submit this proposal to the Japanese Government for consideration pointing out that its views should be urgently formulated in order to preclude the adoption of measures which might make such an exchange less feasible.[Page 1091]
If the Japanese Government is interested in this proposal one of its hospital ships could be made a repatriation ship to effect the exchange and might carry American nationals to Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands, Latitude 11 degrees 30 minutes North, Longitude 165 degrees 25 minutes East. It would return to Japanese-controlled areas with a representative selection from among the Japanese civilians captured on Saipan. This operation could be repeated as long as there are nationals to be exchanged.
The Japanese vessel might carry a neutral observer agreed upon by the Japanese and United States Governments and the United States Government might place on Bikini Atoll a neutral observer similarly agreed upon by both parties. The function of the two observers would be that of liaison during the period of exchange and the observation of the execution of the agreement by both parties.