740.00117 Pacific War/12–444

The Spanish Embassy to the Department of State 36

No. 245
Ex. 150.000

Memorandum

The Spanish Embassy presents its compliments to the Department of State and has the honor to transmit below a memorandum received [Page 1165]from the Japanese Government through the “Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores” of Madrid, in which it complains of the attack made on the Japanese hospital ship Tatibana Maru:

Memorandum—December 2nd, 1944.

“Japanese hospital ship Tatibana Maru while sailing about one kilometre off Capones Lighthouse which stands in southwest direction from San Antonio in Philippines at about 10:00 AM on 6th November, was machine-gunned by enemy formation of deckbombers from low altitude. Ship was exposed to serious danger as she was attacked at closest range.

Weather was fine and visibility good. Ship’s name and particulars of her identification marks had been formally notified to United States Government in December, 1943. From circumstances at time of attack it is evident that attack was intentionally perpetrated.

Against this unlawful attack Japanese Government protests of United States Government and demand them promptly to institute inquiry into affairs, punish those responsible, and guarantee prevention of such attacks in future.

In order to show how carefully Japanese forces always pay attention to enemy hospital ships, Japanese Government point out fact that on 12th November at about 8:00 AM while Japanese army special attack corps air unit was raiding enemy surface craft in Leyte Gulf, one of Japanese planes was about to swoop down to ram itself against its objective, but on finding that it was hospital ship, plane refrained from attack and turned away to engage another ship defying interception attempted by P–38’s.

Chivalrous act of Japanese plane which in midst of severe fighting and in spite of highest imminence of its own peril desisted from attacking enemy hospital ship lying so close to other enemy craft, makes fine contrast with criminal act of above mentioned enemy planes.”

  1. The Department made acknowledgment on December 20.