740.00115 PW/7–1645: Telegram

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

3579. Legt’s 3143 June 12.74 Complete report telegraphed by Fontanel received under cover Foreign Office note July 12 of which following substance translation.

Report indicates food situation internees rather alarming. In subsequent telegram Fontanel discloses distress greater among protected persons not interned because since several months received no funds for payment relief. Actually Foreign Office awaiting agreement Jap to technical means proposed for transfer funds relating financial relief occupied China.

In meantime Fontanel states obliged contract debts guaranteed by future remittance funds and he thus envisions following measures assistance noninterned and interned:

Noninterned. Fontanel paid April relief during June on basis amounts authorized 100,000 CRB dollars75 per person. He states this amount completely insufficient, adding if not prevented by difficulties obtaining financial advances he will pay shortly May relief base 400,000 CRB dollars per person and will follow this payment short intervals by June and July relief base 400,000 and 500,000 CRB dollars per person. Thus he can settle sums overdue which have caused great difficulties and heavy indebtedness beneficiaries who only able obtain indispensable funds at interests rates from 30% to 40% monthly. Fontanel estimates that relief indicated above represents absolute indispensable minimum considering actual living costs. He states great number noninterned suffer undernourishment and requests medical care, hospitalization representing enormous expense have reached [Page 414] alarming proportions during last month. These requests are supported by doctors.
Internees. Following action taken improve camp conditions:
Despatch great quantities foodstuffs for collective preparation meals to supplement insufficient Jap rations;
Provision extent possible comfort supplies instead comfort money for distribution camps on following base per person per month:
Food (English pounds): Sugar ½, bacon ½, cracked wheat 5, rice 2, drybeans 3, potatoes 3, green vegetables 1, salt ¼, pepper ⅟₂₀, curry powder ⅟₅₀, dryfruit 1, tea ¼, meat ¾, total costs foregoing actual prices approx 500,000 [55,000] CRB dollars;
Comfort supplies: Eggs 30, peanut butter 1, jam 1, honey 1, bacon 1, cigarettes 300, matches 1 box, toilet soap ½, washing soap 1, toilet paper 1 roll, dental tube 1, sugar 1, tea ¼, approx cost 75,000 CRB dollars.

Fontanel emphasizes, to present, beneficiaries have signed repayment promises for amounts advanced as comfort money in camps but he considers preferable not raise question promises reimbursement comfort supplies because would certainly result complication with Japs. He explains that quantities indicated above provisional subject adjustment according local market-conditions which become extremely precarious.

Additionally Fontanel endeavoring obtain delivery 1 pint milk daily children below 6 years and adult sick. Also doing all possible continue meet requests special foodstuffs, medicines, shoes, clothing, general camp equipment and cleaning and other articles greatly needed internees.

Measures indicated above taken particularly camps region Shanghai and Yangchow camp. Fontanel indicated representatives outports take similar measures if circumstances permit. Because precarious postal communications not aware exact situation outports but believes generally better than Shanghai.

Full report following airmail.76

  1. Ante, p. 74.
  2. Central Reserve Bank notes issued by the Japanese-sponsored regime at Nanking.
  3. Despatch 12134, July 18, not printed.