711.94114 Exchange/10–2444: Telegram

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

3851. The Department requests that you have Swiss ask Gorgé in his discussions based on its 3752, November 2, 10 p.m. to ascertain whether Japanese are more likely to agree on basis of first or second of following possible schemes of operation:

A neutral vessel would take on board a capacity load of Japanese nationals and proceed to a designated intermediate point, the neutral crew to be exchanged for a Japanese crew. The vessel would then proceed in Japanese waters, discharge the Japanese nationals, take on board United States and other American nationals, return to the intermediate point, change crews once more and continue to the places of destination of the passengers then on board. This operation would be repeated as often as might be convenient. Suitable accommodations for neutral and Japanese crews while awaiting the vessel would have to be provided.
A neutral vessel would be found and turned over to the Japanese to be operated by the Japanese. This vessel would be used for a continuing series of voyages between Japanese ports and an exchange point where passengers would be exchanged to other vessels bringing Japanese to that point.

Both possible methods of operation present certain disadvantages. However, it is essential for Department to know which would be preferable to the Japanese in order adequately to consider the nature of concrete proposals which might be made. An urgent reply is requested.

For the Legation. Department understands that British Government has made a proposal to the Japanese Government for an exchange at Mormugão in which the Japanese would use a neutral vessel provided by the British. Please endeavor to ascertain discreetly whether British suggestion involves alternative A or B above and [Page 1095] whether it incorporates any new features which might be of use to Department in furthering its negotiations.

You should point out to de Pury72 (Reurtel 7386, November 773) the point made in Department’s 3752 that the proposals so far made by this Government regarding exchanges contain ample range of alternatives from which the Japanese Government could select desirable features enabling it to proceed with an exchange.

  1. Arthur de Pury, Chief of the Division of Foreign Interests of the Swiss Foreign Office.
  2. Ante, p. 1069.