The Secretary of State to the Swedish Minister (Boström)

The Secretary of State presents his compliments to the Honorable the Minister of Sweden in charge of Japanese interests in the Territory of Hawaii and has the honor to refer to the Legation’s note no. 153/4–T–V of February 2, 1944 transmitting a further protest from the Japanese Government concerning the alleged mistreatment of the personnel of the former Japanese Consulate General at Honolulu and the treatment allegedly accorded Japanese nationals who were residents [Page 1116] in the Territory of Hawaii after the outbreak of war on December 7, 1941.

After giving careful consideration to the additional protest from the Japanese Government regarding the alleged mistreatment of the personnel of the Japanese Consulate General, the United States Government considers that there is nothing to be added to the Department’s note of September 8, 1943 and to the communication of September 9, 1943 which was addressed to the Spanish Embassy93 in charge of Japanese interests in the continental United States.

In reference to the penultimate paragraph of the enclosure to the Legation’s note under reference, concerning the alleged mistreatment of Japanese civilians in the Territory of Hawaii, it will be recalled that the United States Government replied to the protest of the Japanese Government on this subject in a note sent to the Legation on March 25, 1944.

The Japanese Government refers, however, to additional reports received from Japanese nationals repatriated in connection with the second American-Japanese exchange. The allegation is made that Japanese nationals detained at the Sand Island Internment Camp were compelled by the Hawaiian authorities to dig “blind shells”. Investigation has failed to disclose any occasion when internees at Sand Island were required to handle ammunition of any kind including what are commonly referred to as “duds” or what the Japanese Government refers to as “blind shells”.

The allegations of the Japanese Government concerning the transportation of civilian internees from Hawaii to the United States have been examined. Investigation has revealed that these internees were carried on troop transports where the conditions were identical to those when troops are carried. The facilities given them were also similar to those which United States troops receive. Internees transported to the United States for repatriation to Japan had ready access to clean and adequate toilets and showers; washstand facilities with running water were also available. On a few occasions when internees were quartered on a deck which did not have latrine facilities adequate arrangements were made to give them access to nearby facilities. On at least one voyage, a Japanese internee who was also a doctor was in charge of sanitary arrangements provided for the internees and was responsible for seeing that proper provision was made for them in this connection.

On one voyage internees were not permitted to go above “D” deck because of the crowded condition of the vessel. When conditions permitted, however, internees were given access to open decks for relaxation.

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The United States Government, having thoroughly examined the reports of these Japanese repatriates, considers that these additional allegations reported to the Japanese Government are without foundation in fact and that these Japanese nationals were treated with humanity and consideration. The protest must accordingly be rejected.