711.94114 Supplies/8–445: Telegram
The Acting Secretary of State to the Minister in Switzerland (Harrison)
2457. Request Swiss to communicate the following proposal to Jap Govt:79
“The United States Government is becoming increasingly concerned over the situation of American prisoners of war and civilian internees held in Japan and Japanese-occupied territory.
The Japanese Government has repeatedly stated that its treatment of prisoners of war and civilian internees is humanitarian and in accordance with principles of international law.
Undoubtedly the Japanese Government desires, therefore, to return prisoners of war and civilian internees in its custody in good physical condition at the end of hostilities. Realizing, however, that the Japanese Government may experience increasing difficulty in obtaining proper foods and medicines for prisoners of war and civilian internees in its custody, the United States Government proposes the following:
- That the Japanese Government authorize suitably identified American aircraft to fly to areas in the vicinity of camps where Allied nationals are held for the purpose of delivering food and medical supplies for the occupants of such camps.
- That such food and medical supplies be delivered either by parachute or by landing them at airports designated by the Japanese Government.
- That the Japanese Government indicate the markings which aircraft engaged in these relief missions should carry and the routes which they should follow in reaching areas designated by the Japanese Government for the delivery of supplies.
- That the Japanese Government accord safe conduct to the aircraft engaged in these missions.
- That the Japanese Government authorize flights in adequate numbers to permit the delivery of supplies in sufficient quantities to insure the health of all prisoners of war and civilian internees in its custody.
- That the Japanese Government indicate its acceptance of this proposal through the protecting Power and thereafter use shortwave radio broadcasts to indicate to the American authorities the places to which supplies should be delivered, the routes to be followed by the American aircraft, and the date and hour when the flights should be undertaken.
- That the Japanese Government authorize neutral representatives to ascertain from time to time that supplies delivered by aircraft are actually being received by Allied prisoners of war and civilian internees.
If the Japanese Government accepts the proposal set forth above, the United States Government agrees on its part as follows:
- To devote such aircraft as used in the delivery of supplies for prisoners of war and civilian internees exclusively to the transportation of these supplies while under safe conduct for this purpose.
- To give widespread publicity to the humanitarian gestures of the Japanese Government in authorizing the delivery of relief supplies to prisoners of war and civilian internees in its hands.
The United States Government would appreciate receiving the urgent reply of the Japanese Government to this proposal and in the event that it is accepted, the American authorities will be prepared to implement this plan as rapidly as is operationally feasible.
This proposal is not intended as a substitute for any pending proposals envisaging the shipment of relief supplies and correspondence ship or other surface means of transportation. This proposal is intended to supplement those proposals by making possible the immediate forwarding by air of urgently needed relief supplies pending the inauguration of regular shipments of relief supplies and correspondence by other means at which time it is contemplated that supplies will be moved by air only to such places where Allied nationals are held as may not be readily accessible by surface transportation.”