740.00115 Pacific War/2259

The Spanish Embassy to the Department of State

No. 61
Ex. 119.01


The Spanish Embassy presents its compliments to the Department of State and begs to transmit herewith a telegram that has been received from the Japanese Government, through the “Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores”83 in Madrid.

Memorandum of February 29th, 1944—

Japanese Government [call attention of United States Government] to instances mentioned in following paragraphs of treatment accorded to Japanese subjects in America, which has come to knowledge of Japanese Government from report made by Japanese subjects who returned home through Second Japanese-American Exchange.

Japanese Government hereby lodge protest with the United States Authorities; and in particular, as regards paragraphs 1 and 2, demand punishment of persons responsible and that adequate steps be taken to prevent recurrence of the similar incidents in future, and as regards paragraph 3 and 6, treatment of Japanese internees be substantially improved.

Japanese Government also reserve all rights relative to any demand they may make in connection with matter under review.

Shooting, etc. of Japanese subjects near Lordsburg Internment Camp. A party of Japanese subjects numbering 147 were transferred from Bismarck Internment Camp in North Dakota to Lordsburg Internment Camp in New Mexico. Under escort of American soldiers they arrived 27th July, 1942, at 1:45 A.M. at a station on Plateau near Lordsburg. Two men of party, Shiro Kobata and Hirota Insomura, who were invalids aged nearly sixty years (60), former suffering from tuberculosis and latter from spinal disease caused by injury sustained while at work in fishing boat, were unable to walk any further, and had to follow party in automobile escorted by soldiers. Party felt uneasy about these two persons, as they failed to join them at Lordsburg Camp. Moreover reports of gun heard in direction of station gave them evil forebodings. So they made inquiries at Camp office and [office?] of army surgeon, but no definite information was given. It was announced by camp office next morning two invalids had been shot at dawn 27th on charge of attempt to escape. It is inconceivable that aged invalids hardly able to walk should while under military escort have attempted to escape. (Poston, ?)84 who escorted two men it is learnt, was committed for trial by courtmartial, but was acquitted.
At Lordsburg Internment Camp three cases of unwarrantable use of firearms occurred from April to June inclusive, 1943. At one time a Captain fired revolver to urge internees to hasten their work, at another time an internee requesting a sentry to fetch golf ball which had [Page 1105] fallen out of fence was fired at from watchtower, and on third occasion internee was fired at while within twenty feet of fence. During 1942 some 20 American convict soldiers were interned at Lordsburg Camp. Japanese internees requested Commandant to remove these convicts to another place, but request was not complied with. On Thanksgiving Day one of convicts, under influence of liquor, intruded into Japanese internees quarters used abusive language, sat astride Doctor Uyehara, and wounded him in back with a knife.
Shooting of Japanese subjects at Manzanar Relocation Center. Assistant Commandant Campbell of Manzanar Relocation Center was guilty of corrupt practices in connection with distribution of stocks of sugar at Center, and he knew his illicit activities had come to the knowledge of Yoshio Uyeno, Secretary of Association of Workers in mess. On 5th December, 1942, a youth named Fred Masary Uamada was attacked and wounded by some person, and next morning Uyeno was arrested as suspected culprit by Assistant Commandant Campbell and sent to prison outside Center. Uyeno’s friends, who knew Campbell had from sinister motives arrested Uyeno upon false charge, formed themselves into a Committee, and on behalf of the whole body of internees pleaded innocence of Uyeno and requested for his release. Later on in the day Uyeno was removed to prison inside Relocation Center. In evening of same day, large number of internees anxious about Uyeno gathered to hear report of Committee, and requested them to see that Uyeno was released at once. It being extremely cold night, those present marked time or stepped about in order to warm themselves. Then suddenly there arose heavy gale peculiar to district. Some fifty or sixty soldiers, standing by in front of police station with machine guns, were evidently taken by surprise by sound of wind and noise made by the stepping internees. Under misapprehension, it appears, that something untoward had happened, they, without any warning, threw tear gas and fired machine guns at assembled people, who offered no resistance. As result, one Itoh was instantly killed, and ten persons were seriously wounded, one of whom named Kanagawa died two days later. They had been wounded in back. Six Committee men were arrested during course of incident. On 7th December a new committee of six persons were elected, but they were also arrested. Then four Representatives applied to Relocation Center Authorities for release of thirteen persons under arrest, but no favorable result was obtained. Thereupon all internees, except those working in mess and engaged in distribution of fuel oil, ceased work in passive resistance. Commandant intimated internees through Spanish Consul in San Francisco that he would consider their application if they resumed work. Some of them resumed work on or about 20th December, and others followed later. But no remedy was effected, except that Assistant Commandant was dismissed in January, 1943, and supervision over internees was made even stricter. Japanese Government call serious attention of the United States Government to these outrages on part of United States Authorities, in which aged invalids and unarmed civilian internees who offered no resistance were mercilessly killed and wounded. Japanese Government demand of the United States Government punishment of persons responsible, and notify that they must bear responsibility for any and all consequences of these outrages.
Improper levy of income tax. There are many cases where United States Authorities improperly assessed income tax on Japanese residents, or deducted income tax from their property or put it up for sale without giving them any notice. Ouraichi Nakanish, interned at Santa Fe, was compelled to pay out his money for taxes without being allowed to retain anything for his travelling expenses. He was given notice of income tax immediately before departure of exchange ship, and was threatened with refusal to be allowed to embark unless he paid it.
Improper treatment at Internment Camps. Food provided at Kenedy and Santa Fe Internment Camps is of quality inferior to what is given in other camps. Food given at Ellis Island Internment Camp is not only inferior in quality but meager in quantity, and as a result eye-sight of internees has been impaired and about ten persons put under necessity of using spectacles. Some of internees had to supplement their nutriment with provisions sent them by their families or friends. At Santa Fe Camp, some 65 persons were put in room of capacity for 40, as consequence cases of illness occurred.
Seizure of property of Japanese residents transferred from Alaska. All money and other belongings of Japanese residents transferred from Alaska to United States were seized at Internment Camp at Fort Sam Houston. Houston, in charge of Camp, gave them a provisional receipt showing total amount. Japanese internees applied to Authorities Washington for return of seized money and goods, nothing was returned and reply given showed that money had diminished. As a result, they are even hard up for pocket money.
Compulsory evacuation of Japanese residents in Virginia. A protest has already been lodged against compulsory evacuation of Japanese residents of Pacific coast to interior.85 In addition to this, in July, 1943, Japanese residents in Virginia were ordered to evacuate at a week or ten days notice, and were transferred to Philadelphia. On account of short notice given they were unable to arrange their household affairs. They also had to defray expenses of evacuation. Nor have they been given any assistance in obtaining employment. As a result many of them are in difficulties as to getting living. As in case of compulsory evacuation from Pacific coast, United States Government must bear responsibility for injury sustained by these individuals compulsorily evacuated from Virginia.”
  1. Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
  2. As in original.
  3. See memorandum No. 333, August 3, 1942, from the Spanish Embassy, Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. iii, p. 1046.