740.00116 P.W./11–2144

The Spanish Embassy to the Department of State 11

No. 251
Ex. 150.000


The Spanish Embassy presents its compliments to the Department of State and has the honor to transmit below a memorandum received from the Japanese Imperial Government through the “Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores” of Madrid, in which it complains of the attack made on the Japanese motor vessel Taiei Maru by an American submarine:

Memorandum—November 20th, 1944—

“1. Taiei Maru, Japanese motor sailing vessel of 130 tons, carrying on board seventy-seven (77) civilian refugees (seventy-five (75) being women, children and aged persons and two being policemen) and crew of six persons, while navigating area between islands of Yap and Palau, was attacked by large size submarine of enemy at Point about 150 miles NEE of Palau on 3rd July, 1944, at 10:15 a.m.

Said submarine on rising to surface about 1000 meters off in rear of vessel immediately opened fire and coming up to distance of OG [sic] 200 meters, continued bombarding her until vessel was fatally damaged and set ablaze. Persons on board following command of Captain plunged into sea. Enemy submarine which had attained its object of damaging vessel did not depart from scene of disaster but coursed surface at lowest speed in a gradually contracting circle round Taiei Maru which was in blaze and approached women, children and aged persons, who were drifting in groups struggling pathetically to help each other. When submarine arrived within closest range some members of its crew appeared on deck and began to fire machine guns and revolvers at drifters one by one.

Surface of sea around quickly became smeared with blood of victims. At this moment Japanese navy plane happened to appear in sky above. The submarine hurriedly submerged. But as soon as plane disappeared submarine came up again and men on deck pecked floating victims with long poles to confirm their death. When they [Page 1140] found any survivors of any persons whose death was uncertain they shot them with revolvers. After that, up to 6:00 P.M. enemy submarine which went under water each time Japanese aircraft came in sight, rose to surface four times to repeat this act. Account of above facts was given by Captain of Taiei Maru and other survivors. It has also been reported by Captain that he feigned death in order to escape being murdered and observed following facts: namely,

That the enemy submarine was in the 200 ton class and painted silvery.

That ten odd members of crew appeared on bridge and on deck.

That one of them who wore jumper (the others being seminude) stood on bridge and issued orders, and

That they all made merry over sight of unfortunate victims, dying in agony.

After lapse of about thirty hours from happening of disaster, two women and five members of crew including Captain were rescued, but all other sufferers, seventy-six (76) in number, among whom there [was a] three year old child, were killed in this so-called “Japanese hunting”.

2. Japanese Government regard cruel act committed by above-mentioned submarine as most flagrant offence against fundamental principles of humanity and as constituting violation of Convention for adaptation of principles of Geneva Convention of Maritime war concluded at [The] Hague in 1907. Japanese Government cannot but view with most profound seriousness fact that enemy submarine deliberately chose slaughter civilian refugees who had entirely no means of self-defence and that its crew including commander, imprudently amused themselves with such massacre.

Japanese Government therefore demand United States Government immediately to make thorough investigation of matter with view to determining where responsibility lies and to guarantee prevention of recurrence of such outrage in future. Japanese Government reserve all rights relating to matter.”

  1. Acknowledged by the Department on December 14.