The Acting Secretary of State to the Minister in Switzerland ( Harrison )
999. American Interests—Japan. The Legation is requested to transmit the following to the Swiss Government when instructions in [Page 325] a similar sense from the British Government are received by the British Minister at Bern.26
The United States Government requests that the Swiss Minister in Tokyo protest strongly along the following lines against continuing breaches of the Geneva Prisoners of War Convention which offend against elementary standards of civilized conduct:
The United States Government is reliably informed that the Japanese authorities have continued to locate prisoners of war camps in close proximity to docks warehouses, war factories, railroad yards and other military objectives. The United States Government is accordingly forced to the conclusion that the Japanese authorities are carrying out a deliberate policy of attempting to render certain points or areas immune from bombardment by the presence of prisoners of war.
The Japanese Government is reminded that Article 7 of the Geneva Convention provides that prisoners of war shall be evacuated from the zone of combat in the shortest period possible after their capture and Article 9 provides that no prisoner may at any time be sent into a region where he might be exposed to the fire of the combat zone, nor used to give protection from bombardment to certain points or certain regions by his presence. The United States Government considers that the Japanese Government has obligated itself under these provisions of the Convention to remove American nationals held as prisoners of war or civilian internees from areas subject to bombardment to camps outside those areas.
[In telegram 1022, March 10, to Bern, the Department requested that the Swiss Government protest vigorously to the Japanese Government with regard to conditions of captivity of American prisoners of war held at the Lasang Air Field in the Philippines. In telegram 1023, the same day, the Department requested that the Swiss Government protest emphatically to the Japanese Government the cruel and inhumane treatment of American prisoners of war aboard vessels in Philippine waters. The texts of these communications are printed in Department of State Bulletin, September 9, 1945, pages 349 and 350.]
- In telegram 2243, April 17, midnight, the Minister in Switzerland reported delivery of this message to the Japanese Foreign Office on April 10 (711.94114A/3–945).↩