REPRODUCED AT THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES
Enclosure to dispatch No. 3072, dated October 18,
1944, from the American Embassy,
Headquarters Hsiao Ho Tzu. 26/6/44
To: British and American Embassies,
Report of mission from
Nationals interned: (Men, women and children respectively) American: 89, 78, 38 – total 205. British: 358, 394, 324 – total 1076. Italians: 44, 30, 19 – total 93. Others: 46, 48 – total 146. Total 1520. (Aged over 60 – 142. Average sick 200).
In general except for food and finance, there has been little change in camp conditions since the American evacuation in September, 1943. Health good with no epidemics but present reduced rations are lowering resistance and increased sickness is anticipated during the summer. There has bee gradual reduction in the quantity and quality of the food during the past six months. Present supplies allow one bowl cereal (beans, kaoliang or corn meal) for breakfast, meat or vegetable stew at and a bowl of soup in the evening. The quantity of food is insufficient for manual labor. There are two sources of additional foodstuffs, the Canteen and the Black Market. The former supplies eggs, peanuts, peanut oil, fruit, honey, etc. and necessities such as shoes, soap, matches, candles, cigarettes, etc. The latter supplies sugar, jam, tinned milk, cereals, etc. but owing to lack of funds has not been operating for the past three months.
Monthly Comfort Money payments have
been at FRB$150.- per head but insomuch as the Japanese have insisted upon a
more favorable rate of exchange no Comfort Money has been received for the
past four months. Personal funds confiscated upon internees’ arrival may
now be withdrawn at the rate of FRB$50. - per month, but the greater majority
of the internees have either no credit balance or sufficient only for 2/3
months. At present prices, FRB$50.- does not even allow purchase of necessities
from the Canteen, much less additional Canteen issued foodstuffs, upon which
the internees have come to rely – particularly children, aged and medical
cases. The emergency relief fund established by the internees’ Committee is
already exhausted and the internal financial situation prevents possibility of
reimbursement. The visits of the Swiss Consul from
Since the camp was completely isolated
from reliable Chinese contacts, the internees were completely ignorant of the
true local conditions. It was generally believed that the areas in the
immediate vicinity north and south of the railway were controlled by groups of
bandits and semi-independent units of the 8th route Army. With the
1. Investigate and ascertain as far as possible reliability and suitability of the connection.
2. Explain reasons whereby conditions inside camp make evacuation by air impracticable,
3. Establish reliable means of communication with camp,
4. Investigate possibilities of financial relief,
5. Investigate possibilities of landing field,
6. Make provision for adequate protection of the, camp if necessary,
7. Arrange for provision of food in case of emergency.
1. We were agreeably surprised to find
so large a body of disciplined troops in close proximity to the camp and we
consider we have been most fortunate in establishing this connection with
Commander Wang, who both in personality and military position is best fitted to
be of assistance to the camp. He is 38 years old, a University and
2. The plan put forward for the evacuation of the camp by air included the construction of a landing field, the taking over of the camp by armed forces, transportation of internees to vicinity of air-field and housing and protection of same for a period of 5 days during which transportation by relays of planes would be effected. We have explained to Commander Wang that this plan is neither desirable nor practical ― particularly on account of the large percentage of aged, sick, women and children.
3. Arrangements are being made to place a reliable and trustworthy contact within the camp, as an employee of the Japanese.
4. Current prices make FRB$150.- per
head per month the minimum requirement to take up Canteen issues of necessities
and foodstuffs, but this does not allow purchase of additional foodstuffs on
the Black Market. Immediate financial assistance is urgently required in the
camp and to meet this situation Commander Wang will advance FRB$100,000. -
which will be forwarded to the camp in installments as soon as contact is
established. This sum is to be used for the relief of urgent cases. The extent
of future financial assistance will depend on the amount of Comfort Money
received ― if any. Commander Wang will supply up to FRB$100,000. - per
month, this sum being considered the maximum amount that can be absorbed in the
camp without arousing the Japanese suspicions. It is presumed that the Red
Cross is in a position to make funds available but failing this we suggest
consideration be given to obtaining funds by donation from Catholic and
Protestant Missions and the leading business firms. As a further means of
alleviating the food situation in camp, we are investigating the possibilities
of purchasing foodstuffs in bulk at
5. Under the original proposed evacuation plan, three prospective sites were selected for an airfield. We are of the opinion that anyone of these would be suitable and allow the construction of a landing field with tamped earth runaways. Although the evacuation plan is abandoned shipment of arms, ammunition, medicines, etc. could be effected by the use of such a landing field or by parachute. Such shipments should be of great assistance in strengthening Commander Wang’s position and thereby the security of the camp.
6. We have explained to Commander Wang the apprehension in regard to the safety of the camp in the event of hostilities in the vicinity or the sudden withdrawal of the Japanese. He has promised us that everything possible will be done to protect the camp and he assures us that there is little reason to fear the occupation of the camp by undisciplined forces as long as he is able to maintain his position in the area.
7. Commander Wang has promised to take care of the food supply to the camp in the event of an emergency.
We strongly suggest that a suitable English-speaking Chinese be sent to this area as soon as possible to deal with and be responsible for all matters pertaining to the camp, both at the present time and during the period of transition, when his assistance would be invaluable.
We would like to express our appreciation of the interest that Commander Wang has shown in the welfare of the camp and his concern for us personally ― he has treated us with every courtesy and has made every provision for our comfort.
Although we realize some of the difficulties involved both here and in Chungking, we feel that it is time some effort was made to relieve the present situation, if only through unofficial channels. We also feel that some consideration should now be given to the question of securing the safety of the internees should the local situation make protection necessary and we hope that, having established this connection, it will be put to good use.
Any additional information that you may
require, other that that pertaining to the camp, may be obtained from Mr. Li
Tzu-Lien ( ) Commander Wang’s
We have endeavored to give you a summary of the existing situation both here and in the camp, and we hope that our suggestions will be of some assistance to you in formulating any plans you may deem advisable.
Arthur M. Hummel, (American).
L. Tipton, (British).
Yee Tsoong Tobacco Dist. Ltd.
* As a precautionary measure we considered it advisable to delete this from text of report.