The Spanish Embassy to the Department of State
The Spanish Embassy presents its compliments to the Department of State and has the honor to transmit below a memorandum received from the Japanese Government through the “Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores” of Madrid, in which it complains of the attack made on the Japanese hospital ship Kikawa Maru:
Memorandum—January 17, 1945
“1—While Japanese hospital ship Kikawa Maru with sick and wounded aboard was sailing about thirteen miles off west coast of Bataan Peninsula on 25th November. 1944, she was, in latitude 14 (Fourteen) degrees north and longitude 120 (one hundred and twenty) degrees east at about 8.50 A.M. and then machine-gunned on deck and bridge.
Again at about 9:20 A.M. on same day she was machine-gunned on central part near funnel by two United States planes from altitude of [Page 446] one thousand two hundred metres. On account of said bombings and machine-gunning, several persons including surgeons were injured, and ship and her equipment seriously damaged. Though ship fortunately escaped sinking, subsequent navigation, as well as nursing of sick and wounded, was extremely hampered.
2.—At time of both above-mentioned attacks, weather was fine, visibility good, and sea calm. Ship was clearly painted, and identification marks were quite distinct. Therefore she could not have been mistaken for any other thing than hospital ship. She was sailing alone, and there was not other ship in the vicinity. Therefore she could not have been accidentally bombed. It is perfectly evident that United States planes repeatedly attacked her deliberately and intentionally with full knowledge of her being hospital ship.
Name of ship had been formally notified to United States Government according to Convention of 1907 for adaptation of principles of Geneva Convention to maritime war.42
Japanese Government hereby present protest to United States Government against violation of rules of International law relation to war perpetrated again by United States planes. Japanese Government, while reserving all right relating to matter, demand of United States Government punishment of those concerned and guarantee for prevention of recurrence of similar outrages.”