The Minister in Sweden (Johnson) to the Secretary of State
[Received 4:05 p.m.]
1748. At request of Legation, contact of Legation spent evening May 7 with General Onodera (Military Attaché), Doctor Jiro Homma (assistant to Onodera) and Colonel Kinoshita of Japanese Legation. Contact was advised that 23 members Japanese Colony have come from Denmark and Germany and at request of Swedish Government are bound by oath to remain in district near Malmo but not privileged to go into Malmo. Japanese also advised that funds brought with them have been blocked.
Japanese Legation Stockholm received a letter of credit from Tokyo on May 3 to the amount of 300,000 kroner which Swedish Government has blocked. Withdrawals are permitted on basis of vouchers submitted by Japanese for payment salaries, rental expenses, office expenditures but not for other purposes.
General Onodera stated that information from Tokyo reveals that Russians are moving 400,000 troops to Manchurian border and that Russians intend to declare war on Japan. He also advised that information received from Tokyo indicates that American bombing in Japan has been much worse than is generally believed and probably much worse than Americans themselves believe. Onodera stated that it is realized that Japan cannot win and that the best possible solution would be to prevent the destruction of its cities and places of [Page 480] culture. He stated that he was authorized to attempt to arrange for a member of the Swedish Royal Family to approach the Allies for some settlement. (Please advise Joint Chiefs of Staff.) Onodera pointed out the necessity of this not being unconditional surrender in view of the fact that the Japanese must save their face with respect to the Chinese. Onodera requested contact to raise this question with Prince Carl Senior, the King’s brother. He insisted that the intermediary must be a member of the Royal Family in order to be in keeping with the fact that he would be representing the Emperor of Japan. Onodera insisted that he, and not the Japanese Minister to Sweden,3 had the power of attorney to arrange for these discussions but pointed out that until he met with the Swedish representative he would under all circumstances deny that he had ever initiated an approach.
Legation’s contact did not make known and will not make known fact that he has had any connections with this Legation or that he is advising Legation of this information. On night of May 8, Legation’s contact approached Prince Carl Senior’s personal secretary, Lowenhielm, who subsequently advised contact that as head of the Swedish Red Cross Prince Carl Senior cannot become involved in political affairs. Accordingly Prince Carl Senior intends to take question up with the King and Bernadotte4 and agreed to advise contact of decision by May 12.
Onodera stated that he was anxious to contact Oshima, Japanese Ambassador to Germany, and to have him come to Sweden. He stated the last contact with Oshima was on May 2 and 3. Indication was that Oshima has knowledge of or would participate in any negotiations.
Swedes are not being advised that Legation has information concerning this approach. Contact has agreed to inform us immediately of any developments.