Cablegram 7908 LONDON, 5 July 1944, 4.25 p.m.
Prisoners of War. Far East.
Proposed American Exchange.
First. Admiral Nimitz has proposed to the American Government that
an approach be made to the Japanese Government for the possible
exchange of 25,000 Japanese-held American prisoners for a similar
number of Japanese troops and Korean labourers in isolated
garrisons on Wake, Wotje, Maloelap, Mili, Jaluit, Ocean and Nauru
who appear without hope of successful evacuation or supply. Nimitz
considers that they are a military liability to Japan and
debatable whether they can be induced to surrender even when it
becomes apparent to them that all hope is lost.
Second. The American proposal is that the Japanese garrison
personnel be exchanged rank for rank for American prisoners from
Bataan, Corregidor, Guam, Wake and Tientsin. Such an exchange, it
is said, would retrieve these unfortunate prisoners who are
suffering from malnutrition and disease and thereby boost the
morale of the American public.
Third. These proposals are to be discussed by the United Kingdom
Government in the next few days. Meanwhile it is thought that you
should have preliminary advice. Would be glad of early advice of
Fourth. It is specially desired that no publicity of any kind be
given to proposals at this stage.
Fifth. You will be advised of any later developments.