740.00115 Pacific War/2392

The Spanish Embassy to the Department of State

No. 86
Ex. 113.00T


The Spanish Embassy presents its compliments to the Department of State and begs to transmit a Memorandum received through the “Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores” in Madrid, from the Japanese Government and which reads as follows:

Memorandum of April 18th, 1944—

According information received from reliable source, United States authorities, at various times from February to August inclusive 1943 put to Japanese subjects and United States citizens of Japanese origin interned at Relocation Centers, questions whether or not they would swear allegiance to United States. Japanese subjects were asked in first instance to say whether they would renounce allegiance to Sovereign of Japan and swear unconditional allegiance to United States, on second occasion, whether they would cooperate in defence of United States in event of that country being attacked by enemy, and on third occasion whether they would swear to abide by United States law and refrain from all such actions as would interfere with prosecution of war.

Among United States citizens of Japanese origin (Second and Third generation), male citizens were asked to say whether they would [Page 1110] voluntarily enlist in United States Army, female citizens were asked whether they would volunteer for enlistment in “Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps., and both male and female citizens were asked to say whether they would swear unconditional allegiance to United States and renounce allegiance to any foreign country. At time when these questions were asked, United States authorities gave out declaration to following effect.

United States Government intends to release evacuees not necessarily but as far as possible, but they cannot release any who are dangerous to United States, and any who wish to return to Japan are deemed most dangerous to United States. Therefore, those persons at Relocation Centers, who have repudiated allegiance to United States and those who do not cooperate with authorities there, as well as those who desire to return to Japan, will be transferred to special relocation center at Tule Lake. As above narrated, United States authorities three times repeated their questioning of Japanese subjects. It appears that Japanese subjects, indignant of first and second questions abstained from or refused any answer, and United States authorities in their attempt to induce them to alter their attitude brought pressure to bear upon them, but without success, and finally were compelled to mitigate their cross examination till they formulated third question.

Most of United States citizens of Japanese origin answered above mentioned questions in negative. United States authorities attempted to force them to alter their negative answer to affirmative answers, and to summon so many of them to Tule Lake was a punishment metered [meted] out to Japanese subjects and United States citizens of Japanese origin who failed to swear allegiance to United States.

United States authorities interned Japanese subjects at Internment Camps or at Relocation Centers at outbreak of war under pretext of protecting their lives from danger and so forth. (Several incidents actually occurred in which Japanese subjects were killed, of which at least four cases involving six deaths have come to knowledge of and have been protested against by Japanese Government). When hostile feeling of United States against Japanese had become redoubled, as evidenced by debates in Congress and articles in Press, United States authorities tried to remove Japanese subjects out of Relocation Centers and utilize their labour. A large number of evacuees, who knew this motive actuating United States authorities and who were aware their safety after release from Relocation Centers not guaranteed, did not change their answer despite American Authorities threats, and even an increased number of them applied for repatriation, or expressed their desire to be transferred to Tule Lake. The [As?] reported United States authorities announced suspension of decision to transfer those desiring repatriation. It is presumably due to these circumstances that during negotiations for second exchange of residents between Japar and United States, an American note87 alleged many Japanese suojects several times changed their minds as to whether they should be repatriated or not.

Report of Representative of Spanish Embassy, who visited Tule Lake on 20th August, 1943, bears witness to fact that armed soldiers [Page 1111] interposed their interference in connection with declaration of Japanese evacuees as to whether they would swear allegiance to United States.

Report says Japanese evacuees requested Spanish Representative to report to Japanese Government that ‘During the process of registration they were subjected to the embarrassment of armed soldiers entering the camp to pick up young men who were termed recalcitrants.’

It appears at time of Tule Lake incidents which occurred since October last year, United States authorities exercised great pressure and threats on Japanese evacuees there by dispatch of troops with tanks and machine guns. In Tule Lake, as said above, there were evacuees whom United States authorities regarded as disloyal to United States, and it is not difficult to see great discontent and anxiety prevailed among evacuees.

As regards direct cause of occurrence of incidents, report of Spanish Embassy, Washington, says employees of relocation center were blamed for negligence in relation to provisions for evacuees and funds for purchasing them, which led to occurrence of fist [first?] disturbance and Military Authorities then declared fourteen (14) representatives of evacuees who endeavoring to arrive at settlement of incidents to be mutineers and arrested more than two hundred evacuees whom they considered responsible. In these circumstances, Japanese Government hereby notify following to United States Government:

(1) It is unjust on part of United States authorities that on pretext of necessity of deciding upon policy of segregation they should have attempted to force Japanese subjects to renounce allegiance to Japan and have regarded those who expressed desire to be repatriated as disloyal to United States. So also is the fact they should have brought threats of compulsion to bear upon United States citizens of Japanese origin in their attempt to force them to alter their answer whether they would swear allegiance to United States or not.

Recent A.B.C. broadcast has even announced that a Bill has been introduced into Congress requiring Japanese subjects in United States to renounce their allegiance to Japan. These circumstances show United States Government are attempting by all means to force Japanese subjects to renounce their allegiance to Japan.

Japanese Government protest against such measure, and demand its immediate discontinuance.

(2) A memorandum of United States Department of State dated 11th October, 1943,88 alleges policy of segregation had not yet been decided upon in course of 1942, and beginning of 1943, during which time Japanese subjects in Relocation Centers were asked to declare their intention whether they desired to be repatriated or not, and therefore said policy in no way influenced their determination. But as has been said, thrice repeated questioning of Japanese subjects was carried on from February to August 1943, and during this period Japanese Government were communicating successively names of repatriates negotiations were proceeding thereupon between Japanese and United States Government, and United States authorities brought pressure to bear on evacuees in order to force them to change [Page 1112] their minds or refused to accept their application for repatriation. It cannot be denied questioning unduly influenced their expression of intention as to repatriation.

(3) Although United States Government declared treatment accorded to Japanese evacuees in Tule Lake does not differ from treatment accorded to those at other centers and they will not be put to any compulsory labor, in view of fact United States authorities gave out such threatening statements as above mentioned, Japanese Government demand United States Government give suitable and sufficient opportunities to Spanish Representative in charge of Japanese interests in continental United States for verifying above declaration in question.

(4) Japanese Government deem minimum requirement in order to relieve state of anxiety prevailing at Tule Lake to be compliance with three demands presented to Department of State by Spanish Representative, that is to say:

Withdrawal of troops from Tule Lake and restoration of control of that relocation center to non-military authorities.
Recognition of legitimacy of committee of fourteen,
Release of fourteen committeemen and over two hundred persons arrested in connection with incident.

Japanese Government press for immediate compliance of United States Government with these demands, if not already accorded.”

[For further views of the Japanese Government on the treatment of Japanese nationals held by the United States, see section III of the enclosure to despatch 8150, May 10, from Bern, page 941, and the enclosure, passim, to despatch 8171, May 15, from Bern, page 966.]

  1. Based presumably on telegram 1781, July 28, 1943, to Bern, Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. iii, p. 890.
  2. Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. iii, p. 939.