840.48 Refugees/12–2148: Telegram

The Acting United States Political Adviser in Japan ( Sebald ) to the Secretary of State

No. 797

Sir: I have the honor to report that Mr. George Hoague, Jr., Shipping Adviser of the International Refugee Organization in Shanghai, called upon me during the morning of December 18, 1948, prior to calling upon General of the Army Douglas MacArthur at the latter’s office.

Mr. Hoague called at the suggestion of Consul General John M. Cabot with a view to obtaining such advice and suggestions as might be appropriate before taking up with the Supreme Commander the purpose of his visit to Japan. Mr. Hoague stated that he is most anxious to obtain immediately a temporary safe haven for some 800 persons presently in Shanghai who, in his opinion, would quickly be liquidated by the Communists in the event that Shanghai should fall under the control of Chinese Communist forces. He said that these persons are those who had at one time taken out Soviet papers but had subsequently renounced their Soviet citizenship. In requesting a safe haven for these people, Mr. Hoague repeatedly stressed the urgency of the situation and said that the International Refugee Organization would comply with any conditions that might be imposed, including all logistic support from the IRO stocks, guards, medical treatment, inoculations, and length of stay.

Mr. Hoague hoped that it would be possible to obtain the Supreme Commander’s approval to a plan whereby some 13,000 refugees, displaced persons, and stateless individuals might be brought to Japan in relays for temporary accommodations until plans for their onward transportation either to the Philippines, Australia, or as a last resort to Naples, might be crystalized. From previous conversations which I have had with General MacArthur, it was possible for me to explain to Mr. Hoague some of the legal and practical difficulties which would necessarily have to be overcome before the Supreme Commander could concur in these proposals.

Consequent upon Mr. Hoague’s interview with General MacArthur, it was agreed that 150 displaced persons, to be selected by IRO, would be flown to Japan for temporary accommodations and to be removed as soon as practicable but not later than 60 days. A copy of Mr. Hoague’s agreed-upon request dated December 18, 1948, together with the Supreme Commander’s Chief of Staff’s affirmative endorsement, is enclosed.14 It will be noted that rations and medical supplies are to be [Page 958] furnished from United States Army sources in Japan on a reimbursable basis and that other than the temporary accommodations, IRO has agreed to handle this operation on a self-contained basis. For the Department’s information there is also enclosed a copy of General Headquarters, CinCFE radio to the Commanding General, United States Eighth Army, in implementation of the agreed-upon accommodations.

Mr. Hoague also took advantage of his presence in Tokyo to approach Dr. Bernabe Africa, Chief of the Philippine Mission in Japan, with a request addressed to the Republic of the Philippines for temporary accommodations for displaced persons not to exceed 8,000 at any one time. A copy of this request, which also contains General Mac Arthur’s recommendation for favorable consideration, is enclosed. It will be noted that this request suggests the former United States Navy Installation in Guiuan as the locale for a temporary safe haven and that these persons will be entirely administered and supported from resources of the IRO. As a matter of assistance to Mr. Hoague in this worthy and humanitarian project, I forwarded the request to Dr. Africa under cover of a formal note dated December 19, 1948, recommending favorable consideration. A copy of this note is enclosed.

In response to Mr. Hoague’s request, Dr. Africa, on December 20, 1948, despatched a telegram to his Foreign Office also recommending favorable consideration. A copy of this telegram is enclosed.

Respectfully yours,

W. J. Sebald
  1. Enclosures not printed.