Prisoners of War Bulletins
June 1943 - June 1945
Published by the American National Red Cross
"To utilize every
resource to deliver to American prisoners of war
of the most difficult tasks confronting the International Red Cross at
the beginning of the war with Japan was ascertaining the locations and
populations of Allied POW and internee camps within the Japanese
empire. Visiting the camps was a whole other issue. Great was the
concern regarding how our Allied POWs were faring under the stern hand
of Japanese control.
As can be seen in this synopsis file, right from the beginning of the war numerous messages were sent by the International Red Cross Committee via the Swiss Government to the Japanese Government asking for information and requesting the opportunity to visit the POW camps. However, the replies were usually few, ambiguous, and not encouraging at all (see 30 March 1944 entry; also this summary by E. Tomlin Bailey, in charge of the Prisoners of War Branch in the U.S. Dept. of State, of protests, representations and warnings made to the Japanese Govt.). Visits were allowed, fortunately, to a number of camps and supplies did reach our men and women, which was a boost not only to their health, but even greater, to their morale (see McCoy quote below).
Sec. of State Cordell Hull sent these requests to the Swiss Govt. regarding the "inhumane and uncivilized treatment accorded American nationals" by the Japanese military, citing many cases of mistreatment of American nationals in Japanese-held countries. Documentary evidence of any Japanese response to this request has of yet not been found.
Interestingly, among the archives dealing with Red Cross communications to the Japanese Govt. is this explanation by the Japanese Central Committee of Investigation entitled, "A Protocol on the treatments of American and Filipino prisoners of war after the termination of the Bataan Campaign." This document was apparently produced in order to explain away the accusations laid against her at the Tokyo War Crimes Trials regarding the atrocious treatment of POWs after the fall of Bataan and Corregidor. The reader will find many of the justifications quite surprising.
A list of American prisoners of war, containing about forty names, as sent by the Japanese Government's Central Information Bureau at Tokyo to the Central Agency for Prisoners of War in Geneva
Red Cross workers packing contents of packages of food for prisoners of war abroad
The contents of an American Red Cross standard food package
The following American National Red Cross - Prisoners of War Bulletins (ANRC-POWB) are from the ARCHIVE.ORG site and have been greatly reduced in size and run through character recognition to enable online searches within the documents. Unfortunately, some of the files have pages missing; hopefully complete copies will eventually be found.
A volunteer of the Red Cross Motor Corps, at the loading of the Gripsholm, painting
the destination on boxes of clothing, food etc. for prisoners of war in Japan and the Far East
The following transcriptions are courtesy of Scott Proudfit.
12 Feb. 1942 (A-1) Swiss to Foreign Minister (Togo)
U.S. will facilitate visits by protecting power to Japanese subjects. Asks for information as to attitude of Jap. Govt. on application to civil internees of Geneva Convention and visits to internees.
17 Feb. 1942 (A-2) Swiss to Foreign Minister (Togo)
Asks if Jap. Govt. will apply Geneva Conv. To civilians and also asks to be permitted to visit American prisoners of war and internees.
3 June 1942 (A-3) Swiss to Foreign Minister (Togo)
Asks permission to visit internees camps and for list of American citizens.
3 June 1942 (A-4) Swiss to Foreign Minister (Togo)
U.S. is disturbed as to fate of U.S. Nationals in Japanese occupied territories, and asks for permission to visit prisoners of war and internees there.
5 June 1942 (A-5) Swiss to Foreign Minister (Togo)
Britain asks for information relating to British subjects in Japanese occupied territories, and also asks for permission to visit all camps for prisoners of war and civilian internees.
11 June 1942 (A-6) Swiss to Foreign Minister (Togo)
Repeats letter of 5 June as to Dominion subjects.
12 June 1942 (A-7) Swiss to Foreign Minister (Togo)
Informs Japanese that Japanese prisoners of war or civilian internees in United States can interview representatives of protecting power and Int. Red Cross without restriction. Asks for reciprocal.
29 July 1942 (A-8) Minister of Foreign Affairs (Togo) to Swiss Minister
Replies to letters of 5 and 11 June. Japanese Govt. will not recognize protecting powers in occupied territory, therefore visits in those camps to prisoners or internees cannot be made. In Shanghai such visits may be allowed by competent authorities.
30 July 1942 (A-9) Minister of Foreign Affairs (Togo) to Swiss Minister
Replies to letter of 3 June. Reply similar to 29 July letter.
1 September 1942 (A-10) Swiss to Foreign Minister (Togo)
Reply to 30 July letter. U.S. protests at Japanese decision and requests access to all places of internment of American nationals.
2 September 1942 (A-11) Swiss to Foreign Minister (Togo)
Reply to 29 July letter. British protest at Jap refusal to permit visits to prisoners of war and civilians in territories under Japanese control.
3 September 1942 (A-12) Swiss to Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs (Tojo)
States application has been made to competent authorities to visit British nationals in Shanghai. This has been refused because only Tokyo can give consent. Asks for information as to what formalities are necessary in order to visit camps at Shanghai.
10 September 1942 (A-13) Swiss to Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs (Tojo)
Refers to letter of 1 Sept. to Togo. Asks what is the attitude of the Japanese Government on visits to camps.
7 October 1942 (A-14) Swiss to Foreign Minister (TANI)
States Japanese Mission in Saigon has refused permission to visit prisoners of war camps because of the temporary nature of the installations, and also because some escapes had occurred. States this is contrary to Japanese assurances to observe Geneva Convention. Asks Japanese Government to revise its decision.
24 October 1942 (A-15) Swiss to Foreign Minister (TANI)
Reports 7 October Letter and asks that decision be reversed.
25 October 1942 (A-16) Swiss to Foreign Minister (TANI)
States that some visits have been made to camps in Japan. Asks when visits may be made to camps in occupied territories.
6 November 1942 (A-17) Swiss to Foreign Minister (TANI)
Asks for information as to the attitude of the Japanese Govt. respecting visits to prisoner of war camps in China, Indo-China and Thailand.
13 November 1942 (A-18) Swiss to Foreign Minister (TANI)
Protests at Swiss having been refused permission to visit camps in Thailand and to send gifts in kind. Asks for permission to make such visits and to send such goods. Also asks Japanese Government to communicate lists of names of prisoners of war.
24 December 1942 (A-19) Swiss to Foreign Minister (TANI)
Acknowledges permission to visit certain camps in Japan. Asks for same rights in Japanese occupied territory.
5 February 1943 (A-20) Swiss to Foreign Minister (TANI)
Acknowledges permission to visit certain camps in Japan, Korea, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Asks for similar permission to visit other camps in Japan and in occupied territories.
15 March 1943 (A-21) Swiss to Foreign Minister (TANI)
Asks for right of Swiss representative to converse with prisoners without witnesses. States that previous requests to this effect made on 12 June 1942 and 18 June 1942 have not been replied to.
27 March 1943 (A-22) Swiss to Foreign Minister (TANI)
Reports request made on 13 January 1943 to be permitted to visit camps in Taiwan.
31 March 1943 (A-23) Swiss to Foreign Minister (TANI)
States that several previous requests for permission to visit camps in occupied territories have not received any reply. Once more asks for that permission and also for information to as to internees in Malaya.
22 April 1943 (A-24) Foreign Minister (Shigemitsu) to Swiss
Reply to letters of 24 December and 31 March. States that as was mentioned in the letter of 30 July 1942, visits to camps in occupied territories cannot be permitted.
22 April 1943 (A-25) Foreign Minister (Shigemitsu) to Swiss
Reply to letters of 16 and 19 March. Cannot allow Swiss to make unrestricted visits to prisoners of war and that correspondence of prisoners is permitted according to the circumstances in each camp.
12 May 1943 (A-26) Swiss to Foreign Minister (Shigemitsu)
Refers to previous letters of 26 October and 6 November. States that no permission has yet been obtained to visit camps at Shanghai in spite of many requests. Requests inter alia authority to visit all camps.
2 June 1943 (A-27) Swiss to Foreign Minister (Shigemitsu)
Reports request for permission to visit camps in occupied territories. Requests permission to visit other camps in Japan. Requests information as to when he may revisit camps which have already been visited.
4 June 1943 (A-28) Swiss to Foreign Minister (Shigemitsu)
Requests right to talk to prisoners without witnesses.
24 June 1943 (A-29) Foreign Minister (Shigemitsu) to Swiss
Reply to 4 June. Regulations prohibit talks without guard. Therefore request cannot be granted.
26 June 1943 (A-30) Swiss to Foreign Minister (Shigemitsu)
Requests permission to visit Hakodate prison camp.
6 July 1943 (A-31) Swiss to Foreign Minister (Shigemitsu)
Acknowledges letter of 24 June and asks for text of regulations.
16 July 1943 (A-32) Swiss to Foreign Minister (Shigemitsu)
Requests permission to visit all camps and states that prisoners should be evacuated from the zone of combat.
23 July 1943 (A-33) Foreign Ministry (Shigemitsu) to Swiss
Reply to 2 June. Permission to visit camps in occupied territories will be given as soon as it is opportune. Visits to camps in Japan already visited will be considered when specific applications are made.
29 July 1943 (A-34) Swiss to Foreign Minister (Shigemitsu)
Reports 14 July. Requests permission to visit camps in Philippines.
23 August 1943 (A-35) Swiss to Foreign Ministry (Shigemitsu)
Request to revisits camps at Tokyo and Yokohama.
4 September 1943 (A-36) Swiss to Foreign Ministry (Shigemitsu)
Request to visit Hakodate. Inquires as to attitude of Japanese Government on visits to other camps.
22 October 1943 (A-37) Swiss to Foreign Ministry (Shigemitsu)
Asks for replies to letters of 23 August, also 28 June, 4th September and 29th July re visits to prison camps.
10 December 1943 (A-38) Swiss to Foreign Ministry (Shigemitsu)
Asks for a reply to letter of 22 October re visits to certain camps in Japan.
12 February 1944 (A-39) Swiss to Foreign Minister (Shigemitsu)
Complaining that requests to visit camps sent between August 1943 and February have received no reply. Makes a formal demand to visit all camps.
13 March 1944 (A-40) Swiss to Foreign Ministry (Shigemitsu)
Requests to visit camps. States that British Government has received alarming reports of physical condition and work of prisoners. Asks to be informed as to the physical condition and work of prisoners of war.
25 March 1944 (A-41) Swiss to Foreign Ministry (Shigemitsu)
Requests to visit camps. Quotes statement in Nippon Times that Govt. will facilitate observations by objective parties.
30 March 1944 (A-42) Swiss to Suzuki, Tadakatsu (not accused) of Foreign Ministry
States that from 1 Feb. 1942 to 15 March 1944 Swiss have intervened in writing 134 times re visits to camps. There have been 24 replies received. Most replies have been negative.
10 May 1944 (A-43) Swiss to Foreign Minister (Shigemitsu)
States visits are made by protecting power to Japanese prisoners in America without restriction. Requests visits to prisoner of war camps in Japanese controlled territories.
30 June 1944 (A-44) Swiss to Suzuki, Tadakatsu (not accused) of Foreign Ministry
Sets out that the Japanese raise the question that the Swiss have not received authority to protect British and U.S. subjects in occupied territories, and asks for permission to visit.
1 July 1944 (A-45) Swiss to Foreign Minister (Shigemitsu)
Refers to promise by Shigemitsu to examine the question of visits to prisoner of war camps. Mentions the situation of the U.S. Government re atrocities. Asks for humane treatment of U.S. prisoners.
21 July 1944 (A-46) Swiss to Foreign Minister (Shigemitsu)
Refers to Japanese statement that Swiss will be authorized to visit the prisoner of war camps in Japan. Asks when it can visit camps.
12 August 1944 (A-47) Foreign Minister (Shigemitsu) to Swiss
Sets out attitude of Japanese Government re denying visits to camps in occupied territories.
15 August 1944 (A-48) Foreign Minister (Shigemitsu) to Swiss
Reply to 21 July. Permission to visit camps in Japan will be granted when asked for.
17 August 1944 (A-49) Swiss to Foreign Minister (Shigemitsu)
States Swiss have never received list of prisoner of war camps in Japan and therefore cannot undertake the responsibility of making specific applications. Requests permission to visit all camps and asks for a list of camps in Japan.
12 September 1944 (A-50) Swiss to Foreign Minister (Shigemitsu)
Asks that humane treatment be accorded to British prisoners and asks permission to visit all camps.
28 October 1944 (A-51) Swiss to Foreign Ministry (Shigemitsu)
Reiterates request for permission to visit all camps in occupied territories.
10 November 1944 (A-52) Swiss to Suzuki (not the accused)
Asks for confirmation of promise made by Shigemitsu that permission to visit camps in occupied territories would be given on condition of reciprocity.
13 November 1944 (A-53) Suzuki to Swiss
Visits to Manila, Shonan [Singapore] and Bangkok may be commenced.
16 November 1944 (A-54) Swiss to Foreign Ministry (Shigemitsu)
States that only five camps in Japan have been visited. Asks for permission to visit others.
17 November 1944 (A-55) Swiss to Suzuki
Asks reasons why competent authorities will not permit visits in N.E.I. [Dutch East Indies]
8 December 1944 (A-56) Foreign Minister (Shigemitsu) to Swiss
Reply to 1 July and 12 September. Japanese Government will allow visits to prisoners of war camps in occupied territories provided they do not interfere with military operations and on conditions of reciprocity. Will commence negotiations on this subject with International Red Cross re visits in P.I., Shonan and Thailand.
12 December 1944 (A-57) Swiss to Foreign Minister (Shigemitsu)
Acknowledges 8 December.
3 January 1945 (A-58) Swiss to Foreign Ministry (Shigemitsu)
Asks when camps may be visited.
16 March 1945 (A-59) Swiss to Foreign Ministry (Shigemitsu)
Mentions visits to 2 camps in Japan. Asks when others may be visited.
7 April 1945 (A-60) Swiss to Foreign Minister (Shigemitsu)
Reply to 8 December. States reciprocity already exists and has existed for a long time.
17 April 1945 (A-61) Swiss to Foreign Ministry (Togo)
States only 2 camps in Japan visited in 1945. Asks permission to visit other camps.
19 April 1945 (A-62) Swiss to Foreign Minister (Togo)
Asks permission for M. Rush to visit camps. Mentions that many weeks have elapsed since request was first made.
28 April 1945 (A-63) Swiss to Suzuki (not the accused)
States request made on 16 March, 3, 17 April to visit certain camps in Japan, Formosa and Mukden have been unanswered.
10 May 1945 (A-64) Swiss to Foreign Minister (Togo)
U.S. asks if Japs will allow visits to Singapore, Japan, Formosa and Manchuria.
16 May 1945 (A-65) Swiss to Foreign Minister (Togo)
Asks for permission to visit all camps.
30 May 1945 (A-66) Swiss to Foreign Minister (Togo)
Informs Japanese that visits to camps for Japanese POW’s in Tinian, Saipan, Guam and New Caledonia will be authorized by the United States when the Japanese have given a favorable answer to the letter of 10 May.
30 May 1945 (A-67) Swiss to Foreign Minister (Togo)
Requests to be allowed to visit all camps in Japan.
5 June 1945 (A-68) Foreign Minister (TOGO) to Swiss
Answer to 7 April. Jap. Govt. will lose no time in a representative of International Red Cross visit prisoner of war camps, in Thailand and on conclusion of negotiations with Int. Red Cross committee will authorize visits in Malaya.
13 June 1945 (A-69) Swiss to Foreign Minister (TOGO)
Reiterates that U.S. has agreed to all camps being visited.
14 June 1945 (A-70) Swiss to SUZUKI, Tadakatsu (not the accused) of Foreign Ministry
Asks for visits, notification of all names of all prisoners of war and internees and removal of camps from vicinity of military objectives.
13 July 1945 (A-71) Swiss to SUZUKI, Tadakatsu (not the accused) of Foreign Ministry
Re visit to Shonan. Difficulties raised by Japanese as to the person who is to visit. Japanese will not allow Swiss to select their representative.
13 July 1945 (A-72) Swiss to SUZUKI, Tadakatsu (not the accused) of Foreign Ministry
Reports of Swiss visitors will be sent in the clear as required by the Japanese.
31 July 1945 (A-73) Swiss to SUZUKI, Tadakatsu (not the accused) of Foreign Ministry
Asks when visits to camps in Thailand and Singapore will be permitted.
District of Columbia,) SS.
United States of America.)
I, E. Tomlin Bailey, being duly sworn, on oath depose and say:
I am Assistant Chief of Special Projects Division of the Department of State of the United States, in charge of Prisoners of War Branch of that Division, in which I have served since November, 1942. Since its organization in 1942 and up to the present time, The Prisoners of War Branch has been charged with the duty of initiating and coordinating State Department policy and action in all matters pertaining to civilian internees and prisoners of war and international conventions relating to their status.
The statements hereinafter made are based upon official records of the Department of State, and in particular of the aforesaid Prisoners of War Branch, and related to matters coming under my cognizance or to my attention in connection with the carrying out of the functions of the Prisoners of War Branch.
Immediately after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the Department of State took up with Japan the matter of according proper treatment for American nationals in Japanese hands. Although Japan was not a party to the Geneva Prisoners of War Convention, the Department of State obtained from the Japanese Government a commitment to apply the provisions of that convention to American prisoners of war, and, so far as adaptable, to civilian internees held by Japan.
This commitment was made in a communication by the Japanese Government to the Swiss Minister at Tokyo in Charge of American Interests in Japan. The message was received through the American Legation at Bern in a telegram dated February 4, 1942, and stated that the Japanese Government informed the Swiss Minister that, "although not bound by the Convention relative to prisoners of war, Japan will apply mutatis mutandis provisions of that Convention to American prisoners of war in its power." In a telegram dated February 24, 1942, it was reported that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs declared to the Swiss Minister in Tokyo that Japan would "apply on condition of reciprocity Geneva Convention for treatment of prisoners of war and civilian internees in so far as convention shall be applicable."
Thereafter, the State Department by repeated protests and representations, through the Swiss Government, again and again called to the Japanese Government’s attention failures on the part of Japanese authorities to live up to their Government’s undertakings, and warned the Japanese Government in unequivocal terms that the American Government would hold personally and officially responsible for their acts of depravity and barbarity all officers of the Japanese Government who had participated in their commitment and, with the conclusion of the war, would visit upon such Japanese officers the punishment they deserved for their uncivilized and inhumane acts against American prisoners of war.
These protests, representations and warnings originated in the Prisoners of War Branch, and I personally prepared many of them. They were based upon information obtained from representatives of the Swiss Government in charge of American interests in Japan and in Japanese controlled territory, from the International Red Cross Committee, from repatriates and from recovered military personnel.
On January 27, 1944, the State Department dispatched to the Japanese Government, via the Swiss Government, two telegrams which were personally drafted by me, summarizing the protests and representations which had theretofore been submitted to the Japanese Government and demanding amelioration of the treatment being accorded American nationals in Japanese custody. The first of these telegrams listed the principal categories of deprivations of rights, cruelties, wanton neglect and mistreatment and referred to the specific Article of the Geneva Prisoners of War Convention, or other undertaking, violated: the second recited specific instances coming under each category.
... [recites charges I through XVIII] ...
From January 27, 1944 until the end of hostilities the State Department made to the Japanese Government numerous additional protests and representations concerning instances similar to these hereinabove set forth. A few of these instances were:
On June 14, 1944 further representations were made regarding visits to prisoners of war camps.
On July 7, 1944 a protest was made against the inadequate housing facilities and medical care given to the aged, ill and helpless American civilian internees at Shanghai.
On August 25, 1944 a further protest was made regarding the inadequacy of food, clothing and medical supplies accorded American civilian internees in China.
On August 31, 1944 a protest was made against the torture and decapitation of an American airman by the Japanese in New Guinea.
On September 11, 1944 a protest was made against the removal of certain civilians from the internment camp at Los Banos, Philippine Islands, to Fort McKinley near Manila, where the Japanese maintained an ammunition dump.
On September 15, 1944 a protest was made against the Japanese order issued to their armed forces in Siam that enemy air personnel were not to be treated as prisoners of war.
On September 26, 1944 a protest was made concerning the torture and execution of an American soldier near Arayat, Pampanga, Philippines, on September 21, 1943.
On November 1, 1944 a protest was made against the failure of the Japanese Government to report promptly information necessary to enable the United States Government to keep up to date individual records for each prisoner of war. This protest cited the case of an American who was shot by the Japanese and the incident reported one and a half years later.
On January 23, 1945 a protest was made against the treatment and conditions of internment of American prisoners of war at Camp Kawasaki No. 2.
On February 20, 1945 messages were dispatched to the effect that the United States Government did not consider that the reply made by the Japanese Government to early protests were satisfactory and that the American Government would continue to hold the Japanese Government responsible.
On March 9, 1945 another protest was made against the continued action of the Japanese Government in locating prisoner of war camps in close proximity to military objectives.
On March 10, 1945 a protest was made regarding the conditions of captivity of American prisoners of war being held at Lasang Air Field, Philippine Islands, and the inhumane treatment characterizing the administration of prisoner of war camps in the Philippines. On the same day, another protest was made, this time relating to the cruel treatment of American prisoners of war who were aboard a Japanese freighter sunk off Mindanao, Philippine Islands, on September 7, 1944, and the savage behavior of the Japanese after the vessel was torpedoed.
On April 6, 1945 a protest was made concerning the murder of Messrs. Calkins, Grinnell, Duggleby, and Johnson, who had been held at the Santo Tomas Internment Camp.
On May 12, 1945 a protest was made against the orders issued by the Japanese 14th Army Headquarters and Kaki Forces Headquarters attached to the Ishibashi Unit, to the effect that persons captured by or surrendering to Japanese armed forces in the Philippines would be murdered in cold blood.
On May 19, 1945 a protest was made against the brutal massacre on December 14, 1944 of 150 prisoners of war at Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippine Islands.
On May 29, 1945 the Swiss Government was requested to make a strong protest to the Japanese Government against the forced labor of prisoners of war in the fortification of Shinagawa and on the naval docks at Tokyo Bay, and the brutal treatment of these prisoners.
On June 23, 1945 a protest was made against the location of prisoner of war camps in Siam in close proximity to piers, railroad yards, and other military objectives and the employment of prisoners of war labor on projects having direct relation with war operations.
Virtually all of the protests filed with the American Government by the Japanese Government during the period herein covered related to alleged mistreatment of Japanese nationals who had been evacuated from the West Coast areas of the United States. In none of the instances covered by the Japanese Government’s representations was the alleged mistreatment of Japanese nations comparable even in remote degree to the mistreatment of American nations which formed the basis for the American Government’s protests. In the State Department’s telegram of January 27, 1944 the Japanese Government was advised as follows:
"The Government of the United States also desires to state most emphatically that, as the Japanese Government can assure itself from an objective examination of the reports submitted to it by the Spanish, Swedish, and International Red Cross representatives who have repeatedly visited all places where Japanese are held by the United States, the United States has consistently and fully applied the provisions of the Geneva Prisoners of War Convention in the treatment of all Japanese nationals held by it as prisoners of war or (so far as they are adaptable) as civilian internees, detainees or evacuees in relocation centers. Japanese nations have enjoyed high standards of housing, food, clothing, and medical care. The American authorities have furthermore freely and willingly accepted from the representatives of the protecting Powers and the International Red Cross Committee suggestions for the improvement of conditions under which Japanese nationals live in American camps and centers and have given effect to many of these suggestions, most of which, in view of the high standards normally maintained, are directed toward the obtaining of extraordinary benefits and privileges of a recreational educational of spiritual nature."
/ s / E. Tomlin Bailey.
SWORN TO BEFORE ME THIS 28TH DAY OF JUNE, A. D., 1946.
/s/ David H. Scull
Notary Public in and for the District of Columbia
By commission expires July 14, 1946.
December 12, 1942AMERICAN LEGATION
Request the Swiss Government to have its Minister in Tokyo communicate the following to the Japanese Government:
From American citizens repatriated from Japan and Japanese-controlled territories, the Government of the United States has learned of instances of gross mistreatment suffered by American civilians and prisoners of war in the power of the Japanese Government in violation of the undertaking of that Government to apply the provisions of the Geneva Prisoners of War Convention of 1929 to American prisoners of war taken by Japanese forces and, in so far as they may be adaptable to civilians, to American civilian internees in Japan and Japanese-controlled territories. It is evident that the Japanese Government has failed to fulfill its undertaking in this regard and that some officers and agencies of that Government have violated the principles of the Geneva Convention in their treatment of certain American nationals not only by positive mistreatment but by failure to provide for these American nationals necessities of life that should in accordance with the provisions of the Convention, be furnished by the holding authorities. The Government of the United States therefore, lodges with the Japanese Government a most emphatic protest and expects that the inhumane and uncivilized treatment accorded American nationals, both civilians and prisoners of war, will be made a matter of immediate investigation and that the Japanese Government will give assurances that treatment inconsistent with the provisions and spirit of the Geneva Convention is not now and will not in the future be inflicted upon American nationals detained, interned, or held as prisoners of war in Japan or Japanese controlled territory. The American Government also expects the Japanese Government to take necessary disciplinary action with regard to agents or officers of that Government who have inflicted mistreatment upon American nationals or who have neglected their obligations to supply to American nationals in their care the necessities of life, which the Geneva Convention provides shall be applied.
There follows a statement citing cases of mistreatment of American nationals in Japanese hands:
This situation apparently still exists in certain areas.
1. Bridge House, Shanghai.
More than fifty-three Americans have been imprisoned for varying periods of up to over six months in Gendarmerie prison, Bridge House, where they were crowded into vermin-infested cells with common criminals, some of whom suffered from loathsome contagious diseases. Sanitary facilities were primitive and inadequate, food was far below standard necessary to maintain health, no heat was supplied from December to June and medical care was virtually nonexistent. Americans were compelled to sit by day and to sleep by night, provided only with filthy and inadequate blankets, on cold floor. They were not allowed to converse with each other or smoke at any time. An outstanding example of effects incarceration this prison is condition of J. B. Powell, who through lack medical attention developed gangrene and lost front half of both feet.
4. Fort Santiago, Manila
Roy Bennett, Robert Abbott, and other Americans are reported to be imprisoned under barbarous conditions in Fort Santiago. They were reported practically unrecognizable in June as a result hardships and mistreatment suffered. This Government insists that they be released immediately and receive medical care.
6. Santo Tomas, Manila
Americans at Santo Tomas because of lack of preparations were forced to sleep on floors without mosquito nets or covering for at least three nights before they were permitted to obtain necessities form their houses. They were offered a choice of being fed by holding authorities at cost of twenty-five centavos per day or of feeding themselves with funds American Red Cross had in Philippine National Bank. They were refused permission to use Red Cross funds for supplementing food which holding authorities should have supplied and not being able to exist on twenty-five centavos were obliged to depend entirely on Red Cross funds to feed themselves. These funds may be exhausted and this Government is gravely concerned regarding the welfare of these internees.
7. Davao and other internment camps in the Philippines.
In Davao interned Americans were forced to perform hard labor during first six weeks of internment. They were at first provided with an inadequate ration of cornmeal and fish. In April they were informed that they would have to provide for their own sustenance and would have to reimburse Japanese authorities for the food previously furnished.
From information received conditions other internment camps in Philippines appear equally bad.
The American Government expects that the Japanese Government will take immediate steps to fulfill its undertaking to furnish American nationals held by it with suitable and adequate housing and sustenance under humane and hygienic conditions.
II. Mistreatment and Torture.
1. Torture and physical violence.
Japanese authorities have resorted to physical torture of American nationals and numerous of them were subjected to great mental torture by being constantly threatened with treatment far worse than that they were already suffering.
(a). Three American missionaries in Korea were subjected to “water cure” and brutal beatings. In Keijo, R.O. Reiner, aged fifty-nine, suffered this torture six times during period May 1 to May 16. In one instance he collapsed from effect of blows and while lying unconscious on floor was kicked by gendarmerie (Eric)? Employee named Gyo with such force that his rib was broken. When he requested medical attention and pointed to broken rib gendarmerie employee named Kim struck him vicious blow directly over broken rib. On one occasion Reiner was given fifty of sixty lashes with rubber hose and pulley belting making half inch deep cuts on his arms and legs.
Edwin W. Keene, aged sixty-two, suffered same torture Kyusan Police Station as did E.N. Miller, aged sixty-nine, Yongsan Police station.
(b). In Ichang, Elsie W. Riebe and Walter P. Morse were taken without explanation to Japanese Headquarters where she was struck many times with bamboo pole and he was beaten for two hours with iron rod one-half inch thick. These acts of cruelty were committed in presence of commanding officer of Japanese police in Ichang.
(c). Joseph L. McSparren was arrested on December 8th at Yokohama, bound with a rope and taken to Yokohama prison. During his imprisonment in dark unfurnished cell he had three hemorrhages from duodenal ulcers, but was denied medical attention despite numerous requests. While undergoing questioning he collapsed from internal hemorrhage and was unable to stand or walk without assistance, yet he was handcuffed as usual when returned to his cell.
2. Solitary Confinement.
Many American citizens were kept in solitary confinement for periods ranging from a few days to many weeks in cells, unheated rooms or other equally unhealthful places, in some cases deprived of all reading matter, and subjected to indignities from their guards. The following are typical cases:
1. N.W. Meyers, aged 70, missionary in Japan since [illegible], after harsh treatment during nearly five months in prison at Kobe, was deprived of all books, and on May 1 put in solitary confinement at Osaka until his release for repatriation on June 7.
2. William Mackesy, solitary confinement in one room of his house at Tsu, Nie-Ken, Japan, from December 10, to March 30, 142.
3. Mrs. Alice C. Grube, solitary confinement from December 25, 1941, to April 8, 1942 in unheated room of Osaka prison.
4. J.B.N. Talmadge, aged 57, solitary confinement in common jail Koshu December 8, 1941, to April 9, 1942.
5. Edward Adams, in a common jail at Taikyu from December 8 to 28.
B. Prisoners of war.
Reports have been received of inhuman treatment accorded prisoners of war by the Japanese authorities which is completely inconsistent with the provisions and spirit of the Geneva Convention.
American and Filipino troops taken at Bataan were forced to march ninety miles despite fatigue, sickness and wounds, to Camp O’Donnell near Tarlac. During march sick and wounded dropped by the roadside and were left without medical care and when those who survived reached Camp O’Donnell they were without food for thirty-six hours and without shelter for three days, sick and well equally exposed to the elements. Japanese authorities made no effort to give medical care to sick and wounded and American and Filipino nurses and doctors who volunteered their service were refused permission to enter camp. Death rate estimated at twenty-five percent was the result of this neglect.
Seven American commissioned officers were brought from Samboanga to Davao, where Japanese authorities forced them to work stripped to the waist in a river bed, as a result of which they were severely sunburned. They were given no medical attention and only after lapse of several days was Filipino doctor permitted to visit them. Their food was entirely insufficient, and Japanese would not allow Filipinos to supplement meager diet with gifts of food. These officers and Filipino officers who were later confined with them were subjected to harsh treatment and indignities from their Japanese guards.
This Government must insist that the treatment of these prisoners be in accordance with the provisions of the Geneva Convention, that their names be reported and, that representatives of the Protecting Power be permitted access to them.
This Government also protests the mistreatment of four United States Marines, Corporals Stewart, Gerald Story, Brimmer and Battles, who after an unsuccessful attempt to escape from Woosung war prisoner camp were imprisoned in the Bridge House at Shanghai and later transferred to gendarmerie Western District sub-station prison, 94 Jessefield Road, where they were subjected to the so-called “electric treatment” in violation of the provisions of the Geneva Convention regarding admissible punishments.
This Government insists that the sentences imposed on these prisoners be canceled, that their punishment be in accordance with the Prisoners of War Convention and that their treatment be in accordance with their rank.
Ask that in this connection the Minister be authorized to request on behalf of the Swiss Government, as the Protecting Power for American interests in Japan and Japanese controlled territory, like cooperation from the Japanese Government.
HULLSD:GB:LMV FE LE A-L A-L/B
A Protocol on the treatments of American and Filipino
prisoners of war after the termination of the Bataan Campaign.
The Central Committee of Investigation
for the investigation of matters concerning prisoners of war
In this protocol we wish to describe the transportation of prisoners of war immediately after the termination of the Bataan campaign and the administration of the prisoners of war at O’Donnell Camp.
1. A letter to the Imperial Japanese Foreign Minister, from the Swiss Minister Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, dated December 23, 1942.
(1) The American and Filipino troops who surrendered at Bataan were forced to walk ninety miles long up to the O'Donnell Camp, in spite of their fatigue, illness, and wounds. During the walk the diseased and wounded who dropped behind were left by the roadside helpless and unattended.
(2) Even after arriving at O’Donnell, both the diseased and the healthy alike were not provided with [cooks? socks?] for 36 hours and were not placed indoors for 3 long days.
(3) The Japanese authorities did not even try to care for the diseased but also refused the services of American and Filipino doctors and nurses and did not permit them to enter the camp.
(4) As a result of this negligence the death rate ran up to twenty-five percent.
2. A letter to the Imperial Japanese Foreign Minister from the Swiss Minister Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, dated Feb 5, 1944.
(1) While walking from Bataan to San Fernando, Japanese snatched shoes belonging to American officers who were forced to walk without shoes.
(2) Despite the fact that these prisoners of war were constantly suffering from lack of drinking water, canteens belonging to some of them were taken away.
(3) The condition of health of the prisoners of war in the Philippines is pitiful. At San Fernando in April, 1942, the American and Filipino prisoners of war were inside a settlement which was surrounded by wire entanglements, and the place was so heavily crowded that it was practically impossible for them to sleep or rest. Moreover, many of them were sick, but no one received any medical treatment. The place also was full of their discharges.
(4) The cruel treatments at San Fernando which is more than 100 miles away from Bataan cannot be explained because of the conditions of the battle at that time. The prisoners of war were mercilessly driven to walk this distance for seven days. Many of them, dropping behind, were shot or bayoneted by the guards. They also were left under the heating sun even when they were able to gather under shades. It was discovered that American and Filipino prisoners of war were buried alive along the roadsides, and further information revealed that those who tried to creep out of their graves were knocked down by shovels and buried alive.
(5) Reliable reports reveal that the treatment at the O’Donnell Camp was so bad that more than 2,200 Americans and 20,000 Filipinos died within the several months period after they have been camped. If the Japanese authorities had given the least necessary amount of medical treatment most of those dead could have been prevented from dying. The so-called hospitals there did not care about situations there and those sick prisoners were left to die nakedly on the floor, without receiving any medical treatment, and without being able to take care of their own discharges. Since the hospital was crowded over capacity, the Americans were left to lie on the ground outdoors exposed to the hot sun. American doctors at the camp were not given medicine or even enough water to take care of the patients discharges. Though thousands of them were suffering from malaria, when they were given any supply of quinine it was only enough to cure 10 patients. Out of 300 prisoners at O’Donnell Camp who were sent to Batangas for labor, more than 200 died.
(6) At the O’Donnell camp during 1942, many of the men were made to live at places without shelters. In a certain case, 23 officers were taken into a temporary barrack, which was only 14 ft. wide and 20 ft. long. There was such a scarcity of water that they had to wait in lines for more than 6 hours to 10 hours to get a cup of water. Officers could not take a bath during the first 35 days until they were given only one gallon of water per each to bathe in. All they could get, for kitchen wares, were a cauldron and a drum can with the capacity of 55 gallons. Sweet potatoes were boiled in the cauldron and smashed up by a stick and only a spoonful per each were distributed to them.
(7) Many were tortured by the Japanese guards during their march from Bataan to San Fernando. The guards struck down some prisoners who tried to drink water. One of them, trying to save one of his comrades who was hit by a Japanese truck was struck on the head by a stick. When a Colonel found a can of salmon on the roadside and demanded that it be given them as their food, a Japanese officer threw the can into his face thereby cutting his face. Another Colonel was struck in the face, when he tried to place a member, who was unable to walk on, to a cart belonging to a kind Filipino.
2. Gist of the answers sent by the Imperial Japanese Govt.
The gist of answers sent by the Imperial Japanese Govt. to the First Protest is as follows:
1. A letter to the Swiss Ambassador, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, from the Imperial Japanese, Foreign Minister, dated April 24, 1944.
(1) Since it was immediately after the occupation of Bataan Peninsula recovery of public peace had not yet taken place.
(2). Transportation facilities there had been destroyed and all food and medical supplies had been burnt, due to the scorched-earth policy adopted by the Americans prior to their retreat or surrender.
(3) Owing to the phase of the battle at that time, Japanese troops also were suffering from lack of food and medical supplies.
(4). The Japanese did not have enough provisions to take care of the unexpected large number of American prisoners. In view of the above, the fact that we were not able to take care of the American prisoners for a time immediately after the surrender was based solely on the uncontrollable situation at the time. In spite of all these difficult situations the Japanese authorities took proper measures to provide supplies and medical treatment to the American P.O.W. The very fact that these prisoners who surrendered at Bataan Peninsula were capable to walk to reach the O’Donnell Camp, was due to what we explained in the above, that the actual situation was so that it was impossible. However, all efforts were made to send them by automobile since all other transportation facilities were destroyed.
Moreover, many instances of cruelty to prisoners of war, on their way or after, have not been discovered as a result of thorough investigations that we carried out in overcoming many difficulties.
2. A letter to the Swiss Ambassador at Tokyo from The Japanese Imperial Foreign Minister, dated [month missing] 28, 1944.
(1) It is clear from a report by an American army surgeon who is in the hands of the Japanese army that at the time of the Japanese occupation of the Philippines, the American Army’s food was very poor and that their general hygienic and physical conditions were in a dreadful state.
The gist of the report by the American surgeon is as follows:
The effects caused by worsening nourishments after meals have been reduced to two per day since the latter part of Jan. 1942.
(a) Field Artillery Units.
Some soldiers who showed signs of lack of Vitamins came to suffer paralysis and dropsy of their legs and dropsy around their eyelids or around their eyes. They devoured in eating various plants and some mistakenly ate poisonous plants.
Calories taken by the soldiers to have amounted to less than 1500, and it was recognizable that these engaged in heavy labor were gradually becoming weak.
(b) The Second Field Artillery Reg.
Many personnel became pale as a result of malnutrition.
(c) Air Force.
Some soldiers got dropsy on the legs and others had bleeding gums. In general the soldiers lost weight, and two thirds of the men were sick as a result of malaria and malnutrition.
Around the end of March there were men who ate “coupon nuts” and “Bataan nuts” and those who ate too much of the former got giddy and those overeating “Bataan nuts” had loose bowels, however, knowing this, soldiers were not able to stop eating these because of the lack of food.
(d) Field Hospitals.
Among those sent to the hospital, many of them suffered from malaria and there were many who turned pale, became feeble, and got dropsy on their legs because of malnutrition.
2. According to investigations made by the Imperial Japanese Govt. and American field hospital near Cabcaben was holding 6,000 American and Filipino army patients (including those wounded in battle and many of those suffering from malaria) were driven away from the hospital by the American Army which blamed it on supply shortage, and because of this many of them died.
3. Judging from the above facts, it is clear that the health situation of the American Army had been in a dreadful condition prior to their surrender as a result of malnutrition, asthma, beriberi, and the spreading of malaria. In addition to the above the following factors could be accounted for, namely, the loss and burning of stored food supplies and medicine due the American army’s scorched-earth tactics. The Japanese Army did not have sufficient supplies on their part under the conditions at that time, there was an unexpectedly large number of American prisoners of war, and moreover the Japanese Army was not able to obtain food supplies for the natives who also were distressed by shortage of food.
Taking all these factors into consideration despite the insufficiency of food supplies and the fact that medical treatment were not always given as was intended to prisoners of war, the Japanese authorities did their utmost to provide for the prisoners of war.
4. The fact that condition of health of the prisoners of war was improved thereafter is clearly confirmed by their number of deaths. Among prisoners of war during the year of 1943, out of approximately 10,000 American prisoners of war in the Philippines, 168 died, while in Nov. of the same year, there was only one dead.
5. In Nov. 1942, a unit for the prevention and investigation of infectious diseases were formed in the Philippines for the sole purpose of taking steps of preventing diseases; and, as a result, the hygienic conditions of the various war prisoners camps in the Philippines improved remarkably, and they were able to bring about a decrease in the number of deaths as mentioned above. This it can be said is all due to the unselfish and unswerving efforts of the Japanese Medical Corps.
6. In regard to the transportation of prisoners of war the circumstances under which these prisoners of war were compelled to walk immediately after the end of the Bataan campaign are as explained above. In this connection we wish to add that about 200 prisoners of war, captured at Limay during the period from 10th to 20th May, 1942, were all transported by automobiles after being provided with meals, and accompanied by Japanese officers. About 300 prisoners, who surrendered during the period from 12th to 20th May in the same year, also, were sent by ammunition supply cars to Balangao after being provided with provisions.
Regarding the statement that the American prisoners of war in the Philippines were deprived of their personal belonging at the time of their surrender to the Japanese Army, we have not been able so far to discover any such facts, according to investigational data in the hands of the Imperial Japanese Govt. As for the various cases of cruelty to prisoners of war reported to have taken place at the time of the Japanese occupation of the Philippines, investigations were carried out under difficult conditions do to lapse of time, however, so far we have not discovered any such cases.
3. Results of further Investigation and its Explanation.
The most serious problems in the administration of the Prisoners of War at O’Donnell and in the treatment of prisoners of war after the “Bataan” operation are:
A. The prisoners of war were forced to walk long distance under difficult conditions.
B. Many had died after being sheltered in O’Donnell.
Concerning this matter, the Imperial Japanese Govt. has explained in its reply that although it is regrettable, it was inevitable under the prevailing circumstances. We shall further inform you all the matters in detail.
(1) The transportation of the Prisoners of War after the Bataan operation American and Filipino prisoners of war were moved from Bataan to San Fernando on foot and from there to O’Donnell by train. The provisions, sanitation, and emergency rescue during the transportation of prisoners of war on foot and train were conducted under various difficult conditions and were unsatisfactory. As a result it might be mistaken that, the prisoners of war were cruelly treated intentionally, but that is not the case. However we regret deeply what has happened.
(2) Let us explain the various difficulties during that time.
(1) In view of the failure of the first offensive operation on Bataan and the American defense works on the Southern tip of Bataan Peninsula, the Imperial Japanese Army judged that one month would be necessary for the complete capture of the Peninsula and made every effort to make the thorough-going preparations. Therefore, the Army service command was so fully occupied with production, transportation, supply, and accumulations of ammunitions that it had been unable to afford to make enough preparation for receiving war prisoners until the initial stage of the attack. As a result of the attack, however, the American and Filipino forces surrendered within a week, and its strength, which we had estimated about 40,000 amounted to more than 70,000. Furthermore, many refugees were also put under the control of the Japanese Army. Confronted with the surrender of such a large number at one time, the Japanese Army’s provisions, sanitation, and other facilities at prisoners camps, partly due to our judgment of the progress of operations as stated previously. Under such incomplete conditions to receive the prisoners of war, each Army service command did its best hurriedly for the administration of war prisoners, but did not successfully surmount the prevailing difficulties.
(2) To detain war prisoners at the Bataan Peninsula until the completion of preparations to receive them was impossible due to the inability to forward tremendous quantities of provisions for war prisoner and also due to the shortage of accommodation facilities at the epidemic infected area. Therefore, it was incumbent that the war prisoners had to be moved to central Luzon. For this reason, they were ordered to make a hard march to San Fernando. At that time, all transportation cars were used for transporting munitions and others pursuant to the preparation of the Corregidor operation and the redeployment of the 16th Division, 65th Brigade, Nagano Detachment, etc.; and they were not available for transporting such a tremendous number of war prisoners, totaling 70,000. Furthermore, the war prisoners were not the only ones who made a difficult march; namely, the 65th Brigade and the 16th Div. were also forced to make a much harder march from Bataan to Northern Luzon, and from Bataan to Southern Luzon.
(3) In the course of transportation of war prisoners, a single guard escorted several hundred and they were not under severe control; therefore, war prisoners had certain freedom of action as far as their own personal conducts are concerned, and it is assumed that no action on the part of the Japanese guards, was taken on purpose as to expose them under a burning sun or to obstruct them to get water. Moreover, although many cases of atrocity by guards are enumerated, the guards themselves marched with the war prisoners at that time and were deadly tired; therefore, it is believed that not a bit of strength left for them to do atrocities on war prisoners. Especially, it is assumed that they did not commit such a cruel act as to bury alive stragglers. However, as for the protest that the Japanese soldiers took up watches or canteens of war prisoners, no evidence is available, but such cases might have happened in the front line immediately after the fighting had ceased. Since much of the war prisoners were transported in a rather liberal way as stated above, it is believed that runaways amounted to a considerable number; therefore, it is an undeniable fact that it is suspected that guards might have fired in order to intimidate and stop these runaways, but it is impossible to investigate at this time the veracity of the fact that these runaways were shot to death. In the protest filed by the United States Govt. many cases of atrocities by the Japanese guards against the war prisoners are enumerated, but there are some persons who witnessed that some guards in spite of their fatigue took sugar canes at the roadside and gave them to the war prisoners.
(4) Supplies during the transportation of war prisoners.
The stiffened situation of provisions at that time will be related later, but we did not have prepared provisions sufficient to provided 70,000 war prisoners with (larger than the Japanese troops participating in the Bataan operation), and although emergency rations (boiled rice) were distributed among war prisoners during their transfer, the supply of provisions in general tended to be insufficient due to the prevailing conditions.
(5) The preparation for receiving war prisoners was the worst in facilities of accommodation and stocks of provisions. At O’Donnell, the facilities were devastated and limited so that, it is believed at the first, a considerable number of war prisoners were obliged to bivouac. Not only stocks of provisions were insufficient, but cooking instruments were also in short to cope with 70,000; consequently, it is our great regret that rations were not sufficient and its distribution not smoothly carried out.
2. General Condition of Health.
It is true that the health condition of war prisoners was bad in the beginning and, as was indicated in the reply of the Imperial Japanese Govt., it was unavoidable under the prevailing conditions at that time, but it is our great regret that so many had to die. According to the report from the 14th Army to the central authorities, dated June 21, 1942 the American and Filipino prisoners of war were 68,575 in the total and the numbers of the dead and the sick up to June 10 are 16,872 and 15,091 respectively. In investigating the reasons which caused such a miserable result, it is found that the general condition of sanitation at that time was as stated below, and medical organizations and medicines fell far short of demand, so that there were many difficulties to improve the health conditions of the war prisoners, not to mention the Japanese Army itself.
(1) The organizations and equipment of medical corps of the Japanese Army in the Philippines were very poor and constituted the greatest cause for the deterioration of the health of the Japanese Army and American and Filipino war prisoners. Units which participated in the Bataan operation were the 4th Div., the 16th Div., the 65th Brig., the Nagano detachment and other units under the direct command of the Army Hq., however, these units which had medical organs were the 4th and 16th Div., only. There was tremendous shortage of medical units and temporary medical parties were formed by local natives or natives from Formosa. It was even necessary to dispatch members attached to the Army Hq. to front line units.
(2) The medical facilities of the Japanese army also were insufficient and prior to the beginning of the second Bataan operations, the Medical officer who was serving at the Army Hq. and who, at that time, was in charge of the entire distribution of medical supplies, died as a result of a nervous breakdown caused by worries over the shortage of medical supplies. Medicine for Malaria was especially lacking and the supply of preventative medicine for malaria which was provided was not effective enough. There also was a shortage of transportation facilities, lowered the nutritious conditions of the Japanese troops in the front to such an extent that there were many who showed symptoms of extreme malnutrition, dropsy, loose bowels, heart palpitation and others. As there were no medicine for cure coconuts were squeezed in order to obtain supplies of vitamin "C". Despite every effort that has been made nothing could be made to fulfill the requirements. Certain units following what natives taught them boiled and drank bitter tasting barks in place of quinine. It was also extremely difficult to send the patients back to the hospitals, therefore, medical organs proceeded near the front to provided medical treatments. The conditions were such, however, that many died in shelterless hospitals.
(3) In the middle of April many malaria patients were discovered among Japanese Forces in Luzon, especially among these troops attacking Corregidor, and within ten days of so later, the number of patients totaling 25,000, while up to the end of May, 50,000 patients were discovered at one time. Moreover, during the latter part of April because of the mass outbreak of malaria stricken patients it was feared that the Corregidor operation may have to be suspended for some time, however, this threatening situation was settled only after doctors and medical supplies were urgently sent by air from Japan proper and Formosa.
(4) As mentioned in the above, in view of the mass outbreaks of patients, all hospitals were overcrowded; for instance, a certain clearing hospital was established at the front and took in over more than 5,000 patients, in spite of its capacity of 1,000 and suffered under lack of medicine and poor food supplies. Speaking of medicine, “Atebulin” for drinking was used for injection and table sugar was injected into veins as inverted sugar; but such emergency measures could not fill up the lack of medicine. The number of deaths therefore from malaria rose to a large number presenting a miserable state of affairs. This miserable situation as closely connected with the shortage of food supplies and, as the general situation improved, it gradually turned to the better from around Sept. 1942, however, the after-effects were recognizable up to the end of 1943.
(5) The miserable sanitary conditions of the Imperial Japanese Army was as stated in the above. At that time, for the purpose of accomplishing the operational aims of the Japanese Army, it was a matter of necessity to use most of the medical units and medical supplies for the Japanese Army itself. It is most regrettable that, as a result of this, satisfactory treatments could not always be given to the American and Filipino prisoners. In this connection attention should be made of the fact that during the hundred or more days from their withdrawal from Manila in January up to April, the American and Filipino troops entrenched themselves at Bataan peninsula which was a malaria infected place where there were not enough facilities. From a sanitary point of view this exposed them to a very dangerous situated and it was an established fact that there were many malaria stricken patients before the surrender as was stated clearly in the previous reply of the Imperial Japanese Govt. However if this fact had been notified to the Japanese Army immediately before their surrender more attentions could have been made in transporting and nursing of patients which could have prevented in easing the miserable outcome. The very fact that the Japanese army accepted the offer of the American Field Hospital in Cabadbaran to suspend its removal to some other place despite the fact it caused many inconveniences in the course of carrying out the Japanese Army’s operations serves to prove the case.
(6) The sanitary conditions of the Prisoners of War were not entirely satisfactory during the beginning but with the progress of the operation in general and the improvement of supply together with the efforts made by various organs concerned the sanitary conditions gradually improved.
Note: According to the report to the Central Authorities by the Chief of the Philippine Prisoners of war Camp Sept. 13, 1942, “patients during the 8 months period totaled 8,755 persons (namely 60%) while 303 persons died (2.5%). However, now with hospitals being established and efforts being made to place them in hospitals the number of patients are gradually decreasing. The main patients are those who have malaria, dysentery and malnutrition. In Aug. medicine for malaria were fully supplied and the death rate among prisoners decreased remarkably. It is considered that dysentery was of the “Amoeba” type: Due to the scarcity of good medicine for dysentery patients, the death rate was about 35%. The army dispatched epidemic-prevention squads and endeavored prevent epidemics. Also in a report dated Sept. 19 it was stated that the death rate at present of Americans decreased to about 10 persons per day. At the O’Donnell Camp, as is described later, because of the efforts by various organs concerned and especially by the earnest endeavors by the chief of the camp sanitary conditions there gradually improved as a result the number of dead decreased.
3. The General condition of food and clothing.
(1) After the occupation of the Philippines by the Japanese forces, due to uncertainty of public peace, lack of communications and etc., the collection of the transportation of rice was efficiently carried out. As a result, the difficult food condition which existed even during peacetime in the Philippines, became more acute; and the army as well as the populace in general were disturbed by food shortage. The army planned to import approximately 100,000 tons of Saigon rice, however because of shipping shortage, the supply was not enough to meet the requirements.
Especially the food problem at Mindanao Island was in such a critical stage that, although army food supplies were sent by air it was not enough to ameliorate the shortage.
(2) That the condition of food supplies for the prisoners of war was not entirely satisfactory during the beginning as is stated in the above. Preparations, therefore, to receive prisoners of war were not completed and the situation was such that it was a matter of impossibility to collect food supplies for prisoners of war which amounted to more than that needed by the Japanese forces at Bataan.
Moreover another factor that hampered the feeding of prisoners of war was the lack of kitchen ware dishes and plates. The Japanese army headquarters in the surrender leaflets which were dropped from airplanes stated that those surrendering should bring table ware with them.
(3) As was explained in the above foodstuffs for prisoners of war during the beginning were very poor. However, with the gradual restoration of public peace after the latter part of 1942, the situation began to look brighter as measures for the improvement of food were being put into effect and the release of certain prisoners reduced the number of those requiring food.
4. The condition of the administration of the prisoners of war at the O’Donnell Camp.
(1) As it was explained previously during the early period the situation was such that satisfactory treatment and administration could not be given prisoners of war.
Especially, during the first month administrative affairs were handled by a small number of personnel headed by a reserve army Captain, therefore there may have been some cases of negligence.
The reason why such a small number of personnel was ordered to handle the administration of the camp can be explained as follows: At the time all units, which were engaged in supply service, had to arm all their men who were capable of carrying rifles for the purpose of guarding various areas or for mop up operations against Fili-American guerrilla forces, aside from those engaged in supplying military goods or those handling administrative affairs of the P.O.W. camps. The condition was such that there was a shortage of men behind the front lines.
(2) After the end of the Corregidor operations and after the basic disposition of the troops had been finished for the occupational campaign for the entire Philippine Islands in the middle of May, staff officers of the Army Headquarters inspected the O’Donnell Prisoners of War Camp and recognized the administration for P.O.W. were in a very serious condition. They immediately took steps for its improvement. The first of these steps were the appointment of a capable commanding officer with the rank of Lt. Colonel (one having a good command of English as well as an excellent character) to be the Chief of the Prisoners of War Camp, and also the increase of necessary administrative personnel.
Therefore, the new commanding officer of the P.O.W. camp, with utmost efforts, endeavored to improve the accommodating and sanitary conditions, and above all did everything possible to eliminate death among the P.O.W.
(3) Improvement of food.
(A) Even at that time, the amount of the main diet in the Japanese Army was reduced; and conditions were such that food-stuffs for the P.O.W. also were reduced, however, every effort was made to keep the amount of food equal to that of the Japanese Army.
(B) Subsidiary diet.
Since there was a serious shortage of meat and vegetables, self-proportions were made to raise an allotted number of cattle and hogs as well as to cultivate vegetables locally and at the same time distribute them.
Note: In comparison with Americans the Filipinos in Bataan were so undernourished that at the time of placing them in camps they were already exhausted both physically and spiritually, and as a result many died of malaria, dysentery and etc.
(4) Improvements on living facilities.
(A) Due to the reduction of administrative personnel and for the purpose of facilitating the guarding of P.O.W. camps, it was impracticable to disperse these camps over too large an area and, as a result, conditions were such that these camps were crowded. However, later additional building and improvements thereon were made for the purpose of enlarging billeting quarters.
(B) Water supply facilities.
Since there were places where water supplies were insufficient, water pipe lines were laid to facilitate water supplies.
Note: The O’Donnell P.O.W. camp, situated on the high plateau area was the place where American and Philippine Army Field Camps were located. Within the area of 1000 meters east and west and 2000 meters south and north, there were temporary shelters, most of them being “nippa” houses with a few wooden houses included. However, as some of them had been destroyed by equal the accommodating capacity there was not sufficient; therefore after additional buildings were established and improvements were made by the end of July, 1942 there were about 600 houses, each having an accommodating capacity of 50 to 100 men.
(5) Improvements of sanitary facilities.
In the beginning there were no sanitary facilities as such to speak of, therefore, efforts were made to improve hospital facilities, medical supplies, and enforcing of disinfection, and many other amelioration measures.
After the middle of June 1942, the American field Army hospital at Little Bagio moved to O’Donnell, and sanitary conditions improved remarkably.
Dysentery patients were speedily separated, and the Japanese Army had the American and Filipino medical officers mainly to attend to the patients, thereby prevent the spread of the disease.
(B) Disinfection of excrements.
Excrements of dysentery patients foster the disease and, recognizing that to prevent it disinfection was of primary importance, medical officers were encouraged to use disinfection of lime and other medical materials. Efforts were also made to construct additional toilet rooms.
(C) For the treatment of malaria Quinine and other medicines were tried to be obtained, although the amount was too small at first for the expected cure. However, as the supplies of medicine of the Japanese army increased, the supplies of the prisoners were also gradually increased; and malaria was gradually suppressed, thereby making the rate of the dead decreased.
(6) Preparation of records of the deceased.
Special files were prepared with the death of every American or Filipino prisoner and records of the conditions of the deceased were made clear with the cause of their death investigated upon for the purpose of taking steps to reduce the death rate.
Death rates during the initial period was of a high percentage, with the establishment of hospital facilities and the improvement of housing and food, there was a remarkable decrease.
(7) Facilities for recreation.
Musical instruments and sporting goods (for baseball and others) were supplied to be utilized for the purpose of amusement and to lift up the spiritual and physical strength of the P.O.W.
(8) Miscellaneous matters.
Graves for each American and Filipino dead were cleaned and well taken care of for the purpose of consoling the souls of the deceased. All efforts were made for the realization of the above, and it was noticeable that good results were gradually being attained.
5. Removal of the P.O.W. camps and the release of the Filipino prisoners.
(1) American P.O.W. were transferred to Cabanatuan successfully. In July a proper organization for administrating P.O.W., headed by a Major General, the members of which received special education for their business, was sent from Tokyo; and it commenced the administration of American P.O.W at the Cabanatuan and other places from August 1st on.
(2) Release of Filipino P.O.W. were commenced, from about June successively from those with definite references first.
(3) In order to lighten the burden and to improve further the administration of P.O.W a great number of them were removed to the barracks at Stotsenburg, where they were trained physically to some extent and were educated on professional matters by those members additionally sent from the Military Administration Section; and then were released from there.
(4) In the above mentioned course, all Filipino P.O.W. were released in January of 1943, and in the same month the camps at O’Donnell and Stotsenburg were closed.
And it may be added that potential malaria patients were given some quantity of Quinine when released.
As described, the treatment and administration of P.O.W. were conducted under conditions of various difficulties immediately after the termination of Bataan operation; and it is most regrettable that certain defects have arisen as a result. However, this situation was confronted by the Japanese army which similarly suffered under every imaginable difficulties. Evidences will serve to prove the fact that the administration of prisoners of war gradually improved with the easing of the general situation.
It may be considered that the Bataan and Corregidor operation were operations full of miseries and sufferings in which both the American and Japanese armies alike suffered great losses. Especially, it is a matter of deep regret when one thinks these many American and Filipino prisoners who died of illness after the end of the operations had for themselves nothing to be blamed of.
The Japanese authorities in the Philippines at the time, in cooperation with the Philippine Govt., planned and established a memorial tomb for the deceased; and in Nov. with the participation of many of those families of the deceased, a ceremony was held to console the souls of deceased officers and men.