The Department of State to the Spanish Embassy


The Department of State presents its compliments to the Spanish Embassy and refers to the Embassy’s memorandum no. 171 of July 28, 1944 in which is quoted a memorandum from the Japanese Government alleging that the Japanese Envoy to the Vatican, Mr. Ken Harada, was confined to his official residence in the city of Rome from the 6th to the 9th of June, 1944, and that only upon the latter date was he allowed to communicate with the Vatican. The memorandum alleges further that during this period soldiers of the United States armed forces intruded into the official residence on several occasions and on one occasion when asked to withdraw, the soldiers responded in threatening and insulting language. The Japanese memorandum contends that the alleged conduct of the United States soldiers is not only a violation of the inviolability to which a diplomatic agent is entitled under international law but is also a denial of the respect which is said to be universally accorded to such agents in civilized countries. The Japanese Government protests against this alleged misconduct of the United States soldiers.

It will be recalled that the Rome area was within a theater of military operations during the period referred to in the Japanese memorandum. Therefore it was necessary, for the personal safety of those Axis diplomats who resided in Rome outside the Vatican City, for the military to take certain precautions such as the posting of guards at the places of residence of such persons. However, according to official reports received by the Department of State from Rome the allegation that the Japanese Envoy was confined to his residence in Rome on and after June 6, 1944 is not borne out by the facts. These reports indicate that the Japanese Envoy was provided for his protection and at his request with a military escort to accompany him to and from the Vatican on frequent occasions prior to his change of residence from outside to inside the Vatican City. The reports indicate further that on at least one occasion the Japanese Envoy expressed to an Allied officer his satisfaction with the arrangements for his protection and movements.

Owing to shifts in military personnel at Rome, as a result of the rapidly changing military situation in Italy, it has not been possible to verify the circumstances in which American soldiers are alleged to have entered the residence of the Japanese Envoy. If it should be confirmed that events transpired as alleged by the Japanese Government, suitable measures will be taken.