740.00115 PW/1–2545

The Swedish Minister (Boström) to the Secretary of State

The Minister of Sweden in charge of the Japanese interests in the Territory of Hawaii presents his compliments to the Honorable, the Secretary of State and has the honor to forward herewith, copy of a cablegram dated January 23, 1945, containing a renewed protest from the Japanese Government in reply to the note of the Department of State of March 25, 1944, No. 740.00115, Pacific War/225712 concerning the treatment of Japanese civilians, interned in the Territory of Hawaii after the outbreak of the war in December 1941.


The Japanese Government to the Swedish Government

Japanese Government ask you transmit United States Government following renewed protest and wish obtain United States Government’s reply as soon as received.

[Page 430]

Japanese Government have carefully perused United States Government’s reply of 25th March 1944 to their protest concerning treatment of Japanese subjects in Hawaii. In first paragraph of United States Government’s reply it is stated that United States Military Authorities in Hawaii did not have to use handcuffs in arresting and transporting Japanese subjects. But according information received from most reliable source Tokuye Takahashi, physician, who was arrested on 7th December, 1941, at 4:30 p.m. was handcuffed when he was taken from his home to a Gendarmerie station by motorcar, and two other Japanese subjects Messrs. Seigan Saito and Minetaro Hori who were escorted in same car were fastened together with a pair of handcuffs. Many other Japanese subjects were also handcuffed.

The place where these Japanese subjects were detained for 3 days after their arrest was an immigration station converted into a Gendarmerie station. Rooms were secured with iron doors and windows with equipments for preventing escape.

After taking in Japanese subjects doors were locked. Sleeping place consisted of three-storied bunks and two or three persons had to sleep in one bunk. Internees were not allowed go out except for meals which they were compelled take on lawn irrespective of weather. Only physical exercise they were allowed to take was a walk to and from the place where they took meals three times a day and it scarcely occupied an hour a day.

As regards second paragraph of United States Government’s reply concerning imposition of compulsory labour on Japanese internees those who returned to Japan by exchange ship13 report that at Sand Island Internment Camp guards compelled Japanese internees at point of gun to engage in construction of fences and transport of timber. For two weeks at least after outbreak hostilities authorities of camp imposed compulsory labour on Japanese internees. Captain Ifler superintendent of camp frankly admitting unlawfulness of compulsory labour imposed on and other unjust treatment accorded to Japanese internees there during said period subsequently took steps to arrange for their labour to be of voluntary nature.

In regard to fourth paragraph of United States Government’s reply concerning treatment of Japanese subjects during their transport to American continent those who returned to Japan by exchange ship state that first group of Japanese subjects transported from Hawaii to American continent were stowed away in steerage which was entirely shut off from sunshine. Wall facing corridor was a metal net [Page 431] of about one inch mesh and door of similar construction was locked as soon as Japanese entered. There being no toilet facilities in the room it was so arranged that the guard should come and unlock door every four hours to enable internees to go to lavatory. But guard shirked his duty and often failed to appear at appointed time. Japanese internees some of whom suffering from diarrhea when unable to withstand the urgent call of nature had to implore or offer some cigars or other presents to guard in order to induce him to unlock door. As result of their request for supply of chamberpots two garbage cans and two or three small buckets were brought in. Internees stood in queues waiting for their turn to do their needs and afterward they had to take the vessels out and dispose of their contents. They were provided with no facilities for washing their faces nor was any water supplied for the purpose.

Japanese Government present to United States Government a strong protest against above-mentioned unjustifiable insults and inhuman maltreatment to which United States authorities have subjected innocent Japanese civilians. While reserving all rights relating to the matter Japanese Government call for conscientious consideration on part of United States Government and desire them to institute more thorough and accurate investigation and Japanese Government expect to be notified of result of such investigation.

  1. Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. v, p. 1106.
  2. For documentation on the two exchanges of American and Japanese nationals, see Foreign Relations, 1942. vol. i, pp. 377 ff., and ibid., 1943, vol. iii, pp. 867 ff.