811.22/10–244: Airgram

The Secretary of State to the Minister in Switzerland (Harrison)

A–446. Please request Swiss Government to communicate the following message to Minister Gorgé46 to be delivered textually to the Japanese Government:

“The United States Government recently received from the Japanese Government through the Spanish Government a communication asserting that the Japanese diplomatic envoy to the Vatican had been denied the respect universally rendered to such agents in civilized countries. The United States Government recalls in this connection the conduct of the Japanese armed forces toward the American Legation at Bangkok, Thailand, upon the occasion of their entry into Thailand in December 1941, under circumstances somewhat similar to the entry of Allied forces into Rome.

“Following the entry of Japanese troops into Bangkok Japanese armed guards were stationed at the entrance of the American Legation in that city to prevent the entry and departure of the staff and, contrary to international comity, were actually posted on the Legation premises as well. The American flag was forcibly lowered from the Legation flagstaff and the Japanese flag was hoisted in its place. Japanese troops were quartered in a building of the Legation and Japanese troops under the command of officers of high rank conducted searches of the Legation buildings and grounds. Before this forcible Japanese control of an American diplomatic mission in a neutral country was discontinued Japanese soldiers threatened the American Minister and members of his staff with lethal weapons for fancied infringement of the Japanese security arrangements. They seized United States Government-owned equipment in the Legation with armed force, subjected the American Minister to Thailand47 and members of his staff to the indignity of personal body searches, and deliberately kept the staff of the Legation without access to the representation of the protecting Power during the period of the Japanese control of the Legation.

“The United States Government hereby lodges a most emphatic protest with the Japanese Government against the aforesaid acts of the Japanese armed forces.”48

For your information, and for informal communication to the Swiss Foreign Office and to Minister Gorgé in connection with the foregoing, there is quoted below the text of a memorandum addressed by the Department, simultaneously with the despatch of this airgram, to the Spanish Embassy in Washington, replying to a Japanese protest against alleged mistreatment by American soldiers of Japanese diplomats in Rome. It would be preferable if the foregoing communication to the Japanese Government were to be delivered by [Page 1174]Gorgé subsequent to the receipt by the Japanese Government of the communication sent through the Spanish authorities. Gorgé might therefore be requested to defer presentation of the above protest until such time as he deems that the Japanese Government can be presumed to have received the Department’s reply to the Japanese protest. The protest would presumably be more effective if Gorgé were to indicate his possession of the following text:

[Here follows text of memorandum of October 2 to the Spanish Embassy, printed supra.]

Hull
  1. Camille Gorgé, Swiss Minister in Japan.
  2. Willys R. Peck.
  3. There is no record in the Department files of a Japanese reply to this protest