The Acting Secretary of State to the Minister in Switzerland (Harrison)
3933. American Interests—Far East—Repatriation. Please request Swiss Government to communicate with Gorgé in a secret code giving him the information in next following paragraph and asking that he take up with Japanese Government at the highest level feasible and on a confidential basis the proposal contained in the paragraphs ensuing thereafter.
The United States Government is aware that there are on the islands of Nauru, Jaluit, Maloelap, Wake, Mille, Wotje and Ocean Japanese garrisons in some numbers which are isolated and thus deprived of normal means of relief evacuation or supply. It is presumed that the condition of these Japanese garrisons is approaching that of the American defenders of Bataan and Corregidor and that they are a military liability to the Japanese.
The United States Government is willing to grant safe-conduct evacuation to the Japanese garrisons on Mille, Wotje, Jaluit, Ocean, Wake, Nauru and Maloelap, in exchange on a rank for rank basis for the return by the Japanese Government of a substantially equal number of United States, British Commonwealth (i. e. British and British Dominion) and Netherlands nationals who are held by the Japanese Government as prisoners of war.
The evacuation of the Japanese garrisons would occur upon or after the delivery of the United States and Allied prisoners of war to the point agreed upon, which delivery should be effected under appropriate assurances and safe conduct.
If the Japanese are willing to consider the above proposal, more detailed discussion may follow as to the means of accomplishing the proposed exchange.
If the Japanese raise either of the following questions either directly or by implication Gorgé may inform them:
- In regard to publicity or propaganda, that the United States Government will not engage in publicity or propaganda over the making of this proposal.
- In regard to Article 74 of the Geneva Prisoners of War Convention,74 that that article will not be considered by the United States Government as applicable to Japanese evacuated under this proposal.
Gorgé should telegraph date when the proposal is placed before Japanese and keep Department informed urgently and in fullest detail of Japanese reactions and other developments.