794C.0221/7–252: Telegram

No. 575
The Ambassador in Japan (Murphy) to the Department of State


33. Info copies this msg being passed CINCFE and COMNAVFE for CINCPACFLT. FonMin Okazaki has raised with me question eventual repatriation approx 7,000 Jap ex-residents Bonin Islands evacuated 1944 now temporarily in Japan proper. He described their situation as deplorable and hoped US naval auths might soon see their way to relax opposition to progressive return these refugees to Bonin Islands. All they ask, he said is right to return to their own homes where they can make a living and he in turn wld hope to be relieved of constant flood of oral and written petitions with which he is bombarded. He stated it is hard for Japs to understand US resistance to reasonable desire of these people return their native heath, especially in view fact that 135 former Bonin residents of Jap blood and nationality but descendants of Amer and Eur settlers have already been permitted to do so. Security considerations can be no greater than those concerning Okinawa and Japan proper, he said, so what is reason preventing their return.

Emb finds it difficult to answer this seemingly reasonable request having thus far not seen US naval auths reasons against permitting return of evacuees. Unless there are important contrary considerations of which Emb not aware, we cannot but feel that responsible naval auths are performing grave disservice, not only to evacuees themselves but also to over-all US–Jap relations, in refusing permit repatriation. In this connection it shld be pointed out to Navy that this refusal is giving rise to charges in Jap due to racial discrimination, territorial aggrandizement and general unhumanitarian action on part of US, and constitutes growing source of potential friction between US and Jap Govts.

Navy, and particularly CINCPACFLT in his capacity as Gov of Bonins, shld also be reminded Bonins are not part of Trust territories and therefore not subj possible entry restrictions deriving from UN trusteeship agrmt, but are on contrary on same footing with Ryukyus to which former residents were repatriated shortly after war.

[Page 1280]

Request Dept discuss this problem with Navy with view eliciting from latter and CINCPACFLT either early agrmt permit progressive return Bonins expatriates or valid and convincing reasons which we can convey to Jap Govt for not so doing.

Comprehensive desp1 fols by airpouch.

  1. Apparently a reference to despatch 298 from Tokyo, June 26, 1952, not printed. (794.022/6–2652)