The Acting Secretary of State to the Minister in Switzerland ( Harrison )
1871. Request Swiss Government to transmit textually to Japanese Government on urgent basis the following:
The United States Government has been informed45 that the Japanese Government is removing the prisoners of war from the Kiangwan camp in Shanghai and that they were due to depart on May 7 for Fengtai situated on the Shanghai–Peking Railroad about 15 kilometers south of Peking.
The United States Government demands assurance from the Japanese Government without delay that it is not planning to quarter these prisoners of war in the vicinity of the railroad junction and military installations at Fengtai in violation of the humane provisions of Article 9 of the Geneva Convention which states “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 expects to receive the Japanese Government’s solemn assurance that the camp to which the prisoners of war are being removed is situated outside the zone of danger. In observance of its commitments the Japanese Government is further obligated to guarantee that the camp is provided with suitable barracks and an adequate hospital and is not deficient in the necessary sanitary facilities and camp equipment.
The United States Government also demands that the Japanese Government report to this Government at once the names of the prisoners of war who are transferred and inform this Government of the exact location of the place of their transfer.
The United States Government furthermore demands that the Japanese Government issue authorization to the representatives of the protecting Power and the International Red Cross Committee to visit the camp where the prisoners of war are detained and to report to this Government without delay the conditions under which they are held.
[In telegram 1884, May 24, to Bern, the Department requested that the Swiss Government convey the demand of the United States Government that the Japanese Government punish those responsible for the mistreatment of American prisoners of war at Puerto Princesa, the Philippines; for text, see Department of State Bulletin, September 9, 1945, page 356.]
- Airgrams A–690, May 7, and A–697, May 9, from Bern; neither printed.↩