1942 death march in the Philippines revealed (1-27-44)

U.S. State Department telegrams.

U.S. War Department (January 27, 1944)

Joint Army-Navy Report Concerning Japanese Atrocities in Bataan and Corregidor

For Immediate Release
January 27, 1944

The factual and official story of how the Japanese tortured, starved to death and sometimes wantonly murdered American and Filipino soldiers who had been taken prisoner on Bataan and Corregidor was jointly released today by the Army and Navy.

The facts were taken from reports made by Cdr. Melvyn H. McCoy (USN) of Indianapolis; Lt. Col. S. M. Mellnik (Coast Artillery Corps) of Dunmore, Pennsylvania, and Lt. Col. (then Capt.) William E. Dyess (USAAC) of Albany, Texas, all of whom escaped from the Philippines after almost a year as Japanese prisoners.

Their sworn statements included no hearsay whatever, but only facts which the officers related from their own personal experience and observations. The statements have been verified from other sources. After he made his statement to the War Department, Col. Dyess was killed in a crash of his fighter plane at Burbank, California, while he was preparing to go back and fight the Japanese who had tortured him. Col. Mellnik is now on duty with Gen. Douglas MacArthur and Cdr. McCoy is on duty in this country.

The three officers stated that several times as many American prisoners of war have died, mostly of starvation, forced hard labor and general brutality, as the Japanese have ever reported.

At one prison camp, Camp O’Donnell, about 2,200 American prisoners died in April and May 1942. In the camp at Cabanatuan, about 3,000 Americans had died up to the end of October 1942. Still heavier mortality occurred among the Filipino prisoners of war at Camp O’Donnell.

While this report deals exclusively with the records of Cdr. McCoy, Col. Mellnik and Col. Dyess, other Americans known to have escaped from Japanese prison camps in the Philippines include Maj. Michael Dobervich of Ironton, Minnesota; Maj. Austin C. Shofner of Shelbyville, Tennessee; Maj. Jack Hawkins of Roxton, Texas, and Cpl. Reid Carlos Chamberlain of El Cajon, California, all of them U.S. Marine Corps.

The calculated Japanese campaign of brutality against the battle-spent, hungry American and Filipino soldiers on Bataan began as soon as they surrendered, with what was always thereafter known among its survivors as “the March of Death.” Cdr. McCoy and Col. Mellnik, who were taken at Corregidor, did not take part in this, but Col. Dyess, who did so, said:

Though beaten, hungry and tired from the terrible last days of combat on Bataan, though further resistance was hopeless, our American soldiers and their Filipino comrades in arms would not have surrendered had they known the fate in store for them.

“The March of Death” began when thousands of prisoners were herded together at Mariveles Airfield on Bataan at daylight on April 10, 1942, after their surrender. Though some had food, neither Americans nor Filipinos were permitted to eat any of it by their guards. They were searched and their personal belongings taken from them. Those who had Japanese tokens or money in their possession were beheaded.

In groups of 500 to 1,000 men, the prisoners were marched along the National Road of Bataan toward San Fernando, in Pampanga Province. Those marchers who still had personal belongings were stripped of them. The Japanese slapped and beat them with sticks as the marched along without food or water on a scorching hot day.

Col. Dyess, in a middle group, gave thus description of “the March of Death:”

A Japanese soldier took my canteen, gave the water to a horse, and threw the canteen away. We passed a Filipino prisoner of war who had been bayoneted. Men recently killed were lying along the roadside, many had been run over and flattened by Japanese trucks. Many American prisoners were forced to act as porters for military equipment. Such treatment caused the death of a sergeant in my squadron, the 21st Pursuit. Patients bombed out of a nearby hospital, half-dazed and wandering about in pajamas and slippers, were thrown into our marching column of prisoners. What their fate was I do not know. At 10 o’clock that night, we were forced to retrace our march of two hours, for no apparent reason.

At midnight we were crowded into an enclosure too narrow to lie down. An officer asked permission to get water and a Japanese guard beat him with a rifle butt. Finally, a Japanese officer permitted us to drink water from a nearby carabao wallow.

Before daylight the next morning, the 11th, we were awakened and marched down the road. Japanese trucks speeded by. A Japanese soldier swung his rifle from one of them in passing, and knocked an American soldier unconscious beside the road.

Through the dust clouds and blistering heat, we marched that entire day without food. We were allowed to drink dirty water from a roadside stream at noon. Some time later three officers were taken from our marching column, thrown into an auto and driven off. I never learned what became of them. They never arrived at any of the prison camps.

Our guards repeatedly promised us food, but never produced it. The night of the 11th, we again were searched and then the march resumed. Totally done in, American and Filipino prisoners fell out frequently and threw themselves beside the roadside. The stronger were not permitted to help the weaker. We then would hear shots behind us.

At 3 o’clock on the morning of April 12, they shoved us into a barbed-wire bullpen big enough to accommodate 200, we were 1,200 inside the pen – no room to lie down, human filth and maggots were everywhere.

Throughout the 12th, we were introduced to a form of torture which came to be known as the sun treatment. We were made to sit in the broiling sun all day long without cover. We had very little water; our thirst was intense. Many of us went crazy and several died. The Japanese dragged out the sick and delirious. Three Filipino and three American soldiers were buried while still alive.

On the 13th, each of those who survived was given a mess kit of rice. We were given another full day of the sun treatment. At nightfall, we were forced to resume our march. We marched without water until dawn of April 14, with one two-hour interval when we were permitted to sit beside the roadside.

The very pace of our march itself was a torture. Sometimes we had to go very fast, with the Japanese pacing us on bicycles. At other times, we were forced to shuffle along very slowly. The muscles of my legs began to draw and each step was an agony.

Filipino civilians tried to help both Filipino and American soldiers by tossing food and cigarettes from windows or from behind houses. Those who were caught were beaten. The Japanese had food stores along the roadside. A U.S. Army colonel pointed to some of the cans of salmon and asked for food for his men. A Japanese officer picked up a can and hit the colonel in the face with it, cutting his cheek wide open. Another colonel and a brave Filipino picked up three American soldiers who had collapsed before the Japs could get to them. They placed them on a cart and startled down the road toward San Fernando. The Japanese seized them, as well as the soldiers, who were in a coma, and horse-whipped them fiercely.

Along the road in the province of Pampanga, there are many wells. Half-crazed with thirst, six Filipino soldiers made a dash for one of the wells. All six were killed. As we passed Lubao we marched by a Filipino soldier gutted and hanging over a barbed-wire fence. Late that night of the 14th we were jammed into another bullpen at San Fernando with again no room to lie down. During the night Japanese soldiers with fixed bayonets charged into the compound to terrorize the prisoners.

Before daylight on April 15, we were marched out and 15 of us were packed into a small narrow-gauge boxcar. The doors were closed and locked. Movement was impossible. Many of the prisoners were suffering from diarrhea and dysentery, the heat and stench were unbearable. We all wondered if we would get out of the boxcar alive. At Capiz Tarlac we were taken out and given the sun treatment for three hours. Then we were marched to Camp O’Donnell, a prison camp under construction, surrounded with barbed wire and high towers, with separate inner compounds of wire. On this last leg of the journey, the Japanese permitted the stronger to carry the weaker.

I made that march of about 85 miles in six days on one mess kit of rice. Other Americans made “the March of Death” in 12 days, without any food whatever. Much of the time, of course, they were given the sun treatment along the way.

The prisoners taken at Corregidor, among whom were Cdr. McCoy and Col. Mellnik, had no experience quite like the March of Death. But after the surrender, the 7,000 Americans and 5,000 Filipinos were concentrated in a former balloon station known as the Kindley Field garage area – by that time only a square of concrete about 100 yards to the side, with one side extending into the waters of the bay. The 12,000 prisoners, including all the wounded who were able to walk, were kept on this concrete floor without food for a week. There was only one water spigot for the 12,000 men and a 12-hour wait to fill a canteen was the usual rule. After seven days the men received their first rations – one mess kit of rice and a can of sardines.

The Corregidor prisoners were forced to march through Manila on May 23, 1942, having previously been forced to jump out of the barges, which brought them over from the island, while they were still a hundred yards from the beach.

Col. Mellnik said:

Thus, we were marched through Manila presenting the worst appearance possible – wet, bedraggled, hungry, thirsty, and many so weak from illness they could hardly stand.

Cdr. McCoy added, however, that the Japanese purpose of making this triumphal victory parade was frustrated by the friendliness of Filipino civilians.

Cdr. McCoy said:

All during the march through Manila, the heat was traffic. The weaker ones in our ranks began to stumbled during the first mile. These were cuffed back into the line and made to march until they dropped. If no guards were in the immediate vicinity, the Filipinos along the route tried to revive the prisoners with ices, water and fruit. These Filipinos were severely beaten if caught by the guards.

Col. Dyess’ sworn statement declared that the Japanese officer commanding Camp O’Donnell, where the survivors of the Bataan death march were imprisoned delivered a speech to the American and Filipino soldiers telling them that they were not prisoners of war and would not be treated as such, but were captives without rights or privileges.

There were virtually no water facilities at Camp O’Donnell. Prisoners stood in line for six to 10 hours to get a drink. They wore the same clothing without change for a month and a half. Col. Dyess waited 35 days for his first bath, and then had one gallon of water for it.

The principal food at Camp O’Donnell was rice. The prisoners received meat twice in two months, and then not enough to give as many as a quarter of them a piece an inch square. A few times the prisoners had camotes, an inferior type of sweet potato. Many were rotten and had to be thrown away. prisoners themselves had to post guards to prevent the starving from eating the rotten potatoes. The intermittent ration of potato was one spoonful per man. once or twice the prisoners received a few mango beans, a type of cow pea, a little flour to make a paste gravy for the rice, and spoonful each of coconut lard.

Col. Dyess’ diet for the entire 361 days he was a prisoner of the Japanese, with the exception of some American and British Red Cross food he received, was a sort of watery juice with a little paste and rice.

Some Japanese operated a black market and sold those prisoners who had money a small can of fish for five dollars.

After the prisoners had been at Camp O’Donnell for the week, the death rate among American soldiers was 20 a day, and among Filipino soldiers 150 a day. After two weeks the death rate had increased to 50 a day among Americans and 500 a day among Filipinos. To find men strong enough to dig graves was a problem. Shallow trenches were dug to hold 10 bodies each.

Col. Dyess’ statement reads:

The actual conditions I find impossible to describe. It is impossible from a description to visualize how horrible they really were.

One dilapidated building was set aside and called a hospital. Hundreds of men lay naked on the bare floor without covering of any kind. There was no medicine of any kind. The doctors had not even water to wash human waste from their patients. Some afflicted with dysentery remained out in the weather near the latrines until they died.

Men shrank from 200 pounds to 90. They had no buttocks. They were human skeletons.

Col. Dyess’ statement reads:

It was plain and simple starvation. It was difficult to look at a man lying still and determine whether he was dead or alive.

The Japanese promised medicines, but never produced them. Once the Japanese allowed the Red Cross at Manila to bring in quinine. How much, the prisoners never found out. The Japanese did not issue enough to cure 10 cases of malaria and there were thousands.

The sick as well as those merely starving were forced into labor details by the Japanese. Many times, men did not return from work. By May 1, 1942, only about 20 out of every company of 200 were able to go to work details. Many died in the barracks overnight. Frequently, for no apparent reason, the prisoners were forced to line up and stand in the sun for hours.

Around June 1, the American prisoners at Camp O’Donnell were separated from their Filipino comrades in arms and moved to Cabanatuan concentration camp in Luzon. There Col. Dyess joined Col. Mellnik and Cdr. McCoy.

Conditions at Cabanatuan were slightly improved – there was adequate drinking water and muddy seepage wells provided water for bathing. Japanese brutality continued, however.

Col. Dyess’ statement reads:

I had been at Cabanatuan one day when a Jap came through the barracks looting. He found a watch hidden in some equipment of a man not present. As I was sitting nearby, he punched me severely to show his feeling at the idea of a prisoner still have a watch.

Rice remained the principal diet at Cabanatuan. On one occasion the Japanese gave the American prisoners three chickens for 500 men, and on another occasion 50 eggs for 500 men. As a result, their propaganda later told the world that American prisoners in the Philippines were being fed on chickens and eggs.

Officers were not forced to work at Cabanatuan, but could volunteer to take out work details. Col. Dyess so volunteered.

His statement reads:

The Japs frequently mistreated Americans working for them. Once when a frail American private was not digging a ditch to suit his guard, the guard grabbed the shovel from him and beat him across the back with it. The boy had to be sent to the hospital. One Jap carried a golf club and beat the men working for him the way one wouldn’t beat a horse. When two Americans were caught getting food from a Filipino, they were beaten unmercifully on the face and body. After a doctor dressed their wounds, the Japs took sticks and beat them again.

Men were literally worked to death. I was not unusual for 20 percent of a work detail to be worked to death. In one instance, 75 percent were killed that way.

Cdr. McCoy reported that two American Army officers and a Navy officer attempted to escape from Cabanatuan, which was thickly ringed with barbed wire, and had machine-gun emplacements and towers outside the wire. The officers were caught moving down a drain ditch to get under the wire.

Their Japanese captors beat them about the feet and legs till they could no longer stand, then kicked the officers and jumped on them. The next morning the three Americans stripped to their shorts, were taken out on the road in full view of the camp, their hands were tied behind them, and they were pulled up by ropes from an overhead purchase, so that they had to remain standing, but bent forward to ease the pressure on their arms.

They were kept in this position in the blazing sun for two full days. Periodically the Japanese beat them with a two-by-four, and any Filipino unlucky enough to pass that way was compelled to beat them too. If he failed to beat them hard enough, the Japanese beat them. After two days of this, one of the officers was beheaded and the other two were shot.

The Japanese made every effort to humiliate their prisoners of war. They would force them to stand and call them vile names. When one older American colonel turned away from a Japanese reviling him, he was knocked unconscious with a blackjack. American flags were habitually and designedly used as rags in the Japanese kitchens.

The death rate at Cabanatuan for June and July 1942 was 30 American a day, according to the sworn statements of the three officers. The rate for August 1942 was more than 20 a day. The rate for September, 15 a day – because by that time most of the weaker men were already dead. During October 1942, the rate ranged upward from 16 a day to 19 a day and was increasing when Col. Dyess, Col. Mellnik and Cdr. McCoy left on October 26, 1942.

By that date 3,000 of the 12,200 Army, Navy and Marine Corps prisoners at Cabanatuan had died. There were 2,00 in the hospitals and the American doctors doubted that any of them would live.

The chief cause of death was starvation. This was definitely established by autopsies performed by both American and Japanese doctors. After it was determined that the men were starving to death, the Japanese answer was that there was no food available. There was a great abundance of food available in the Philippines at the time.

Other diseases caused indirectly by starvation were wet beriberi (in which the feet, ankles and head swell to twice their size), dry beriberi, dysentery, diarrhea, malaria, scurvy, blindness, diphtheria, yellow jaundice and dengue fever. Several men went completely blind.

The Japanese eventually permitted the Red Cross in Manila to send medical supplies, but after they arrived, they were not unpacked for many days and during this period many died. Col. Dyess had dengue fever, yellow jaundice and later scurvy sores.

His weight shrank from 175 to 130 pounds and he was given no medicine. At 130 pounds, he was considered a fat man in the camp.

High Japanese officers regularly inspected the camp and knew of conditions. During inspections prisoners were forced to wear their best clothes, which were rags – some men had no shirts, only trousers, and many had no shoes.

One inspection, said Col. Mellnik, was conducted by a Japanese general. An American lieutenant colonel was called out to accompany the general’s group. He pointed out that many officers and enlisted men were too weak to stand in the ranks.

“We have many sick here,” he said courageously. The Japanese general, who spoke excellent English, asked: “Why?”

The mess barracks was nearby. The American lieutenant colonel pointed to a meal of white rice and thin carrot-top soup.

He said:

Here is why. We are all starving.

The Japanese general snapped:

That will be enough. Your men are not starving. They need more exercise.

The lieutenant colonel tried to say more, but Japanese guards quickly stepped in and restrained him. The Japanese general curtly turned on his hell and continued his inspection with an air of boredom and indifference.

The Japanese took 400 prisoners who were technical men, gave them a physical examination, issued clothes to them, and sent them to Japan to work in factories, another shipment of 1,000 technical men for Japan was being arranged when Col. Dyess, Col. Mellnik and Cdr. McCoy left Cabanatuan on October 26, 1942. These three officers and 966 other American officers and enlisted men had been crowded into the hold of a 7,000-ton British-built freighter at Manila for shipment to Davao on the island of Mindanao, with stops at Cebu and Iloilo.

The voyage took 11 days. The hold was filthy and vermin-infested. Some prisoners were lucky enough to get a place on the junk-filled, rain-swept deck. Two men died on the trip.

On November 7, 1942, the Americans were unloaded at Lansang Lumber Company, near the Davao penal colony.

The sun treatment for two hours followed to march more than 15 miles to the penal colony. Many were so weakened they fell by the roadside. In this instance, Japanese picked them up, and threw them into trucks and carried them along.

It developed that the Japanese commanding officer at the penal colony, which in peacetimes had been operated for criminals by the Philippine Bureau of Prisons, was disturbed when he saw the condition of the Americans. He had requested able-bodied laborers. Instead, he shouted, he had been sent walking corpses.

In spite of the condition of the prisoners, they were without exception put to hard labor – chaplains, officers and enlisted men alike, Col. Dyess, barefooted for a month and a half, was forced to clear jungle and plow every day.

During Col. Dyess’ 361 days as a prisoner of war, he received $10 in pay from the Japanese. To get the $10, he was forced to sign a statement saying that he had received more than $250, with clothes, food and lodging. No clothes were issued until American and British Red Cross supplies began to arrive at Davao, an event Col. Dyess’ statement describes as “the salvation of the American prisoners of war.”

Food was slightly better at Davao. In addition to rice, the prisoners received once a day a small portion of mango beans and some camotes, green papayas, cassavas, or cooking bananas.

However, most of the prisoners were already suffering from beriberi and the food was not sufficient to prevent the disease from progressing. Although oranges and lemons were abundant in the vicinity, the Japanese would not allow the prisoners to have them. The brutality of Japanese officers continued.

One lieutenant habitually beat prisoners. According to the statement of Col. Mellnik, this lieutenant had done most of his fighting at the rear when in action and had been assigned to prison duty as a punishment. He avenged himself on the prisoners.

The camp commandant made a speech to the prisoners shortly after their arrival.

He said:

You have been used to a soft, easy life since your capture. All that will be different here. You will learn about hard labor. Every prisoner will continue to work until he is actually hospitalized. Punishment for malingering will be severe.

These orders were rigidly enforced. When Col. Dyess, Col. Mellnik and Cdr. McCoy escaped from Davao in April 1943, only 1,100 of the 2,000 prisoners there were able to work.

The arrival of two Red Cross boxes for each prisoner early in 1943 caused joy beyond description among the prisoners, according to the statements of the three officers. The boxes contained chocolate bars, cheese, tinned meats and sardines, cigarettes, a portion each of tea, coca, salt, pepper and sugar. Most important of all, quinine and sulfa drugs were included.

The Red Cross supplies had been received aboard a diplomatic ship in Japan in June 1942. The prisoners never learned why it took them seven months to reach Davao.

A few days before Cdr. McCoy, Col. Mellnik and Col. Dyess escaped from Davao on April 4, 1943, one of the American prisoners, a hospital orderly, was wantonly murdered by a Japanese sentry.

The orderly was digging camotes, Col. Mellnik reported, outside the hospital stockade and directly beneath a watchtower. It was an extremely hot day. He called to a fellow prisoner to toss him a canteen from the stockade. As the orderly was about t drink from the canteen, the Japanese sentry in the tower shouted at him angrily.

To show that the canteen contained only water, the orderly took it from his mouth and poured a little on the ground. Apparently because he did this, the sentry trained his rifle on him and fired. The bullet entered at the neck and shoulder and came out at the hip.

The orderly cried out: “Don’t shoot me again.”

The sentry fired two more bullets into the man’s body. He then emptied his clip at the man inside the hospital stockade, who ran for his life and was not hit.


It’s still mind blowing to read about what the American and Filipino POWs went through in Bataan as well as in the Philippines in general. Not to mention the horrors the Filipino civilians went through under the Japanese occupation. Never forget :cry:


The Pittsburgh Press (January 28, 1944)

Escaped officers tell of Philippine horrors

Ex-OWI official says most of 50,000 captured on Bataan murdered

Washington (UP) –
An outraged and furious capital demanded today that vengeance be exacted from the Japs – if not now, at the war’s end – in the name of 7,700 American fighting men and many Filipino soldiers destroyed by the brutal victors of Bataan and Corregidor through deliberate starvation, torture and murder.

Palmer Hoyt, former OWI Domestic Branch manager, declared today in a signed magazine article that the Japs have murdered “most of the 50,000 prisoners taken at Bataan.”

The documented story of Japan’s bestial treatment of war prisoners in the Philippines, jointly published by the Army and Navy, aroused in Congressmen and government officials alike a deep anger which, many of them declared, will be quenched only when retributive justice has been visited upon responsible Jap officials from the Emperor down.

For the present, however, there appeared to be little that this country would do – except to go on killing as many Japs as possible on the fighting fronts. Inquiry in official quarters developed no reason to believe that this government would stoop to Japan’s level by retaliating against Jap war prisoners in American hands. In any event, as of Jan. 7, American fighting men had taken only 377 Jap prisoners – a figure in nowise proportionate to the number of Japs killed in battle.

White House Secretary Stephen T. Early said the reason for releasing the story of Jap atrocities was that the United States can no longer expect to get medicine, clothing, and other supplies to American prisoners of war in the hands of Japs.

Secretary of State Cordell Hull said today it would be necessary to assemble:

…all the demons available from anywhere and combine their fiendishness to describe the conduct of those who inflicted these unthinkable tortures.

Mr. Hull indicated that this government had already protested to the Japs against the atrocities.

But at the same time, he admitted frankly that protests heretofore filed with the Japs in instances of cruelty imposed against war prisoners or interned civilians had proved of little avail.

The Army-Navy story, packed with verified instances of Jap brutality and barbarity, was based on sworn statements by two Army officers and a Navy officer who managed to escape from a prison camp on Davao after 361 days of hell.

What these men had to tell aroused Congress to an unprecedented pitch of rage. Chairman Sol Bloom (D-NY) of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said:

Let these Japanese know in plain and no uncertain terms that we’re going to hold them responsible for this nasty, damnable, despicable business.

We’ll hold the rats – from the Emperor down to the lowest ditch digger – responsible for one million years if necessary.

Jap brutality toward war prisoners – so horrible that the three officers who reported it said the heroes of Bataan and Corregidor would never have surrendered “had they known the fate in store for them” – was not confined to Americans and Filipinos.

In London, British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden reported similar atrocities against British and Indian war captives. He said the British government was making the story public only because all efforts to obtain satisfaction from Japan had failed.

The American report proved conclusively that the Japs have scrapped all civilized rules of treatment of war prisoners.

The report added a new and ugly chapter to the story of Jap atrocities made so clear when the Tokyo government, again in complete violation of accepted rules of war, executed some of the captured American fliers who took part in the historic April 1942 raids on Japan’s principal cities.

In connection with those executions, President Roosevelt sent a stern warning to Japan. He said that if “such acts of barbarity and manifestations of depravity” were continued:

…the American government will hold personally and officially responsible for these diabolical crimes all of those officers of the Japanese government who have participated therein and will in due course bring those officers to justice.

The report disclosed these facts:

At Camp O’Donnell, about 2,200 American prisoners from Bataan died during April and May 1942. The death rate among Filipino prisoners was higher. By October, another 3,000 Americans had died at Camp Cabanatuan and 2,500 others were in such condition that American doctors were certain all would die.

Thus, of the approximately 20,000 American fighting men in the Philippines when the end came, at least 7,700 were dead or dying by October 1942. How many more have died since then is a problem almost too grisly to consider, for the death toll on some occasions reached 50 a day.

For a full week after the American defenders of Corregidor had surrendered, they were denied food. Then they received meager portions of rice and sardines.

Many technical men – at least 400 and possibly 1,400 – were shipped off to Japan for slave labor in war factories in complete defiance of the Geneva Convention on prisoner treatment to which Japan claims she is abiding.

At least three Americans and three Filipinos were buried alive. Others were beheaded.

Many were given the sun treatment, a form of torture in which they were forced to remain under the blistering sun with no covering.

A nightmarish memory to the men who escaped was what the prisoners called the “March of Death.” With no food, water or shelter from the sun, they were forced to make a 12-day march for 85 miles to work in labor battalions.

Those who fell screaming in agony of approaching death were beaten with sticks, whipped or shot if they dared ask for food or water. Some were run over by Jap trucks – deliberately.

Men who once weighed 200 pounds shrank to 90, became human skeletons, and died by the hundreds. Diarrhea and dysentery were almost universal, as was beriberi.

Because they asked for water, six Filipinos were shot, one was disemboweled and others were bayonetted.

Those who survived the bestiality were herded like cattle into small enclosures which reeked with the stench from the decaying bodies of men whom they once knew.

In contrast to the staggering death toll described by the three officers, the Japs have reported only 1,555 Americans as having died from disease in the camps in the Philippines.

The Army and Navy made it clear that nothing in the reports was hearsay – that it contained “only facts which the officers related from their own personal experience and observations.”

The three officers were Cdr. Melvyn H. McCoy (USN) of Indianapolis, now on duty in this country; Lt. Col. S. M. Mellnik (Coast Artillery) of Dunmore, Pennsylvania, now on duty in the Southwest Pacific, and the late Lt. Col. (then Capt.) William E. Dyess (USAAF) of Albany, Texas, who was killed recently in the crash of a fighter plane at Burbank, California.

The Army and Navy disclosed that other Americans are known to have escaped from Jap camps in the Philippines, including Maj. Michael Dobervich of Ironton, Minnesota; Maj. Austin C. Shofner of Shelbyville, Tennessee; Maj. Jack Hawkins of Roxton, Texas, and Cpl. Reid Carlos Chamberlain of El Cajon, California, all U.S. Marines.

Asked specifically whether this government was compiling a list of Jap officers in the Philippines with a view to holding them accountable after the war for the atrocities, Mr. Hull said this government is investigating all phases of the situation in the Philippines, seeking as much information as it possibly can get for use in handling the war guilt problem after the war.

Mr. Hull said that this government had been unable to get information on the disposition of American food, medicine, clothing and supplies bound for American war prisoners and civilian internees in Japan, after they had been transferred from the exchange ship Gripsholm to a Jap vessel some two months ago.

Asked whether the government’s announcement of the Jap atrocity story indicated that hope had been abandoned of repatriating additional American civilians from Japan, Mr. Hull said that no person could foretell with any semblance of accuracy what the chances, nominal or more substantial, would be.

He emphasized, however, that whether these chances be nominal or substantial, this government will continue to pursue what he described as this righteous undertaking of attempting to arrange a third exchange.

It was pointed out that in the past, supplies of medicine, clothing, and food for war prisoners were twice sent to Japan aboard the exchange ship Gripsholm. This avenue of relief, in view of Early’s statement, has apparently been closed.

Mr. Early’s statement made it appear that 1,500 tons of relief supplies sent from West Coast ports on Russian ships to Vladivostok, in the hope that they might be transshipped to prisoners of the Japs, may never reach their destination. The necessary arrangements with the Japs for transshipment of these supplies have not thus far been satisfactorily completed.

Meanwhile, the American Red Cross disclosed that it has never received any official information from prison camps in the Philippines. Thus far, it was said, the Japanese have refused to permit the International Red Cross to send a delegate to the Philippines.

Chairman Andrew J. May (D-KY) of the House Military Affairs Committee, commenting on the atrocity disclosures, said:

We ought to quit fooling around with islands and outposts and steam right into Tokyo and blow it into hades. This shows the kind of barbarian enemy we are fighting.

Andalusia, Pennsylvania (UP) –
Russian-born Lt. Col. Stephen Mellnik, 36, suffered severely from malaria during his imprisonment in Jap internment camps, but appeared in “fairly good health” by the time he returned home, his wife said today.

Col. Mellnik came to this country as a young child. He lived in Dunmore, Pennsylvania. His appointment to West Point followed a three-year term with the Army as a private in the 12th Coast Artillery. He is now on Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s staff in the Southwest Pacific.

U.S. officer intends to square accounts

Seattle, Washington (UP) –
Cdr. Melvyn H. McCoy, one of the three officers who made the report on atrocities in Jap prison camps in the Philippines, said today he has “work to do yet back in the Philippines” and wants to return “to square accounts” with the Japs.

Cdr. McCoy, who celebrated Christmas Day 1941 by escaping from the Japs to Corregidor and eating a ham sandwich for “Christmas dinner,” is now in command of radio activities at the naval station on Bainbridge Island, across Elliott Bay from Seattle.

The 37-year-old commander came here last November, a few months after his arrival in the United States following his escape from the Jap prison camp.

Cdr. McCoy graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1927, went to the Philippines in July 1940, and served as communications officer during the siege of Corregidor and was forced to send the final message marking the fall of that island May 6, 1942. The message said:

Going off the air now, goodbye and good luck, McCoy.

He said:

Then, the Japs got hold of me.

Japs complaining about internees

By the United Press

A few hours before the Army and Navy released the report on Jap atrocities in the Philippines last night, the Tokyo radio broadcast two reports concerning the treatment interned Japs are receiving.

One quoted Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu as telling the Diet that the interned Japs were “faced with all kinds of persecution in enemy countries” and that the Jap government has demanded that their condition be improved.

He said the condition of the internees was “beyond mere words of sympathy” and added that Japan was investigating through the Red Cross and neutral nations.

In the other broadcast, Tadakatsu Suzuki, head of the Jap wartime internee affairs management, was quoted as telling the Diet that the treatment of interned Japs had “improved little by little.”

Col. Dyess was silent on fate of Yanks

Los Angeles, California (UP) –
Mrs. Marajen Stevick Dyess, widow of Lt. Col. William E. Dyess, whose story of Jap brutality to American war prisoners shocked the nation, today said she knew her husband had suffered the first time she saw him after his escape from an enemy internment camp.

Col. Dyess was killed Dec. 22, 1943, when his P-38 plane crashed at Burbank, California.

His widow said Col. Dyess had been besieged by relatives and friends of men on the ill-fated Bataan Peninsula, but “he couldn’t tell them a single thing – it hurt him so.”

Allied HQ, Southwest Pacific (UP) –
Gen. Douglas MacArthur, commander of U.S. forces on Bataan until he was ordered to Australia, declined to comment today on the Army-Navy report of Jap atrocities.

Fort Worth, Texas (UP) –
The sole comment of Maj. Jack Hawkins, listed as one of the four Marines who escaped from Jap prisoners, to the Army-Navy revelation of Jap atrocities against American and Filipino prisoners of war was:

There is some more of the story which will be out later.

Jap prisoners get good U.S. rations

Washington (UP) –
Japs captured by U.S. forces receive virtually the same liberal rations as do our own troops, in comparison with the starvation diet of Americans held prisoners by the Japs.

Army officers said Japs captured by U.S. troops undoubtedly fare better, as far as food is concerned, in captivity than they did when they were fighting under the Rising Sun.

And civilian Jap internees held in War Relocation Authority camps in the West, officials said today, are fed on a “scale only slightly lower than that of the average American civilian” although “considerably lower than the War Department’s feeding of prisoners.”

Japs claim attacks on hospital ships

San Francisco, California (UP) –
Tokyo radio reported a “new” hospital ship incident today and again threatened Jap retaliation, presumably against American prisoners.

It quoted a Dōmei dispatch from the South Pacific which said that it was “learned” that “enemy aircraft attacked the Yoshino Maru, while it was en route to a Japanese base.”

In a statement broadcast by Tokyo radio, Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu said the Jap government was prepared to take “appropriate steps” in the event it does not receive a “satisfactory reply” regarding the asserted U.S. attack on the Jap hospital ship Buenos Aires Maru.


Jap torture of Britons hit by Eden

London, England (UP) –
Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden charged in Commons today that the Japanese had killed thousands of British Empire war prisoners by torture, starvation or refusal of medical attention.

In a statement paralleling U.S. Army-Navy charges that Japan was responsible for the deaths of more than 7,700 American war prisoners, Mr. Eden said:

The Japanese violated not only the principles of international law, but all the canons of decent civilized conduct.

**Even the strongest British representations have brought only “evasive, cynical or otherwise unsatisfactory” replies from Japan, Mr. Eden said.

The [British] government feel, and the Allies and Dominions feel, that there is nothing left for us but to make the facts public and hope, perhaps, that action at long last will being Japanese authorities to an understanding of their responsibilities.

Among the cases of brutality cited by Mr. Eden were these:

BURMA: Indian soldiers roped together were bayonetted from behind.

THE PHILIPPINES: Three British civilian internees who attempted to escape were flogged and shot.

SHANGHAI: An officer of the Municipal Police was tortured until “practically out of mind,” and died a day or two later.

THAILAND: Prisoners were reduced to “ragged skeletons” while being forced to work on railways under tropical jungle conditions without adequate food, clothing, shelter or medical care.

AT SEA: Eight hundred prisoners were left under sealed hatches and drowned after an Allied submarine torpedoed the Lisbon Maru, Nov. 1, 1942.

Mr. Eden estimated that deaths among British and Indian war prisoners in Thailand along ran into the thousands with the health of all survivors deteriorating rapidly.

The latest information indicated that the great majority of British Empire prisoners in Jap hands were being forced to live under much different conditions than those related in postcards and letters.

Some recent communications from prisoners were “in terms dictated by the Jap authorities,” Mr. Eden said in giving Commons what he said was “grave news about the treatment of British prisoners of war and interned civilians in Jap hands.”

Between 80 and 90 percent of the total prisoners and internees held by Japan were confined in the Philippines, the Dutch East Indies, Borneo, Malaya, Thailand or Indochina, Mr. Eden said.

He said:

The Japanese government hitherto has withheld permission for neutral inspection of any camps in question.

Mr. Eden warned the Japs to reflect that “in the time to come the record of their military authorities in this war will not be forgotten.”

He said:

It is with the deepest regret that I am obliged to make such a statement to the House, but after consultation with our Allies who equally are victims of this unspeakable savagery, the government felt it their duty to make public the facts.


Hoyt: Japs murdered bulk of 50,000

Former OWI official hits censorship practices of government

New York (UP) –
Palmer Hoyt, former OWI Domestic Branch director, said in a signed magazine article criticizing the U.S. government’s censorship practices today that the Japs have “brutally murdered most of the 50,000 prisoners taken at Bataan.”

Asserting that the Japs still hold 25,000 American nationals in prison camps, Mr. Hoyt said he did not agree with “some of our leaders” who withheld publication of the fate of Bataan prisoners for fear of retaliation against the “unfortunate hostages” still remaining in Jap hands.

Cleared by censors

The article, to be published next week in The American Magazine, censures military authorities for holding up the release of much vital war news usually on the contention that secrecy is necessary for “reasons of security.” The account was cleared by the Office of Censorship, headed by Byron Price, which he said has taken a “common-sense” attitude.

Mr. Hoyt’s account was released only a few hours after the joint War and Navy Department announced that 7,700 Americans had been tortured and murdered in Jap atrocities.

Crushed by trucks

Mr. Hoyt wrote:

We haven’t known for two years that the Japanese brutally murdered most of the 50,000 prisoners taken at Bataan. They marched them through deadly heat without water, although they had thousands of available vehicles. And they crushed the thousands of men who did not die from exhaustion and thirst by running trucks though their columns.

Mr. Hoyt revealed that military authorities last December withheld for two weeks the story of the attack of German bombers on the Italian port of Bari, in which 17 allied ships were sunk and 1,000 men were killed or wounded.

Danger withheld

Mr. Hoyt continued:

When the Aleutians were seized by the Japanese, there was no hint of the awful danger of our position. Much of our military and naval activities in those regions had to remain military secrets but there could have been no justification for completely drawing the curtain.

That kind of censorship lulls us into indifference and may, if we put up with it, destroy our freedom.

Mr. Hoyt also criticized government officials who warned repatriates arriving recently on the exchange liner Gripsholm against talking of Jap atrocities foe fear of reprisals among prisoners still held by the Japs.

Sees reaction

He said:

I don’t agree with this. If we tell the story of Japanese bestiality, frankly and boldly, and as a part of each day’s news, I think the Japanese will treat their captives better. With the war going against them, they will fear to do otherwise.

Mr. Hoyt said he did not charge there was:

…malicious obstructionism or a sinister conspiracy to withhold the truth from the people of this nation.

It is simply that there are too many men in the Army and Navy, sustained by too many like men in civil life, who do not think it necessary to keep the people informed.

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Editorial: Jap atrocities

Nothing that has happened in this war has so shocked the American people as the Army and Navy report on Jap atrocities. The eyewitness story of the starving, the torture, the deliberate murder of more than 5,000 American and Filipino soldiers captured on Bataan and Corregidor seems too terrible for belief. But it is true. Three American officers, after a year’s imprisonment, escaped to tell the awful truth.

In this country there is a mighty surge of indignation. Our sympathy goes out to all the families of the victims, who fought and suffered and died for us. We are choked by wrath against the bestial criminals.

But our anger will not help the dead, will not hurt the guilty Japs. Emotion is not enough. We must do something about it, more than swear or weep.

Here at home, we may feel there is nothing much we can do. But there is. Nothing very dramatic, and nothing heroic certainly. But we can help win the war. The fighting front does depend on the home front. And we are the home front – all of us little people, doing little jobs, which add up to such a vastly important total.

We make the home morale, which sustains or undermines the spirit of our fighting men at sea and in the skies and in the foxholes and in the prison camps. We can strengthen that morale. We can be ashamed to think, much less speak, of our own petty inconveniences and minor sacrifices compared with the real sacrifices. We can refrain from the partisan bickering that wears away national unity.

We can put an end to strikes and slowdowns that hold back production. We can stop the profiteering and selfish maneuvering for business advantage. We can speed up the flow of planes and munitions and ships, without which our Army and Navy cannot avenge the victims of prison camps in the Philippines.

And we can be on guard against the insidious whispers and the vile propaganda of a few politicians and newspapers, which play upon our hatred of the Jap criminals to divide us from our European allies.

When you are told that our government is fighting for British and Russian interests in Europe and sacrificing American interests in the Pacific, don’t believe it. That is not true.

When you are told that administration politics determines military strategy in the Southwest Pacific to the detriment of Gen. MacArthur, don’t believe it. That is not true.

When you are told that the best way to lick the Japs is to forget about Hitler, don’t believe it. That is not true. This is a global war and we must win a global victory with our allies – or lose the war and lose the peace.

What a blessed relief it would be if we could turn on those Jap fiends, who have starved and tortured and murdered our men in the prison camps, and wipe them out tomorrow, or next week, or next month! But swinging blind won’t help. It will only delay the knockout. There is no quick way, no easy way. The steady way is the sure way.

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The Pittsburgh Press (January 29, 1944)

Punish Japs, nation asks

Sneering at atrocity story, Tokyo says Allies troops ‘can’t take it’

A new battle cry – “vengeance!” – echoed through the United States today after disclosure of Jap war prison camp atrocities, and the conviction grew that only the razing of Tokyo and bringing home the horrors of war to the Japanese people could still the clamor for revenge.

Meanwhile, the Tokyo radio blared forth in ridicule over the atrocity report, taunting the Allies that United Nations fighting men “can’t take it.”

U.S. promises vengeance

Washington (UP) –
A Senate Committee chairman promised today to dig out still-unpublished facts about Jap prison camp atrocities which have already roused the nation to concentration fury and given it a blazing new battle cry – “vengeance!”

This promise, underscoring a White House hint that the full story has yet to be told, came as the conviction grew among Congressional and military leaders that only the destruction of Tokyo and the unleashing of war’s horror upon the Japanese people at home can quench this country’s thirst for revenge against an obscenely brutal and sadistic enemy.

There was no doubt that the American people had been aroused to a pitch of anger unparalleled since Pearl Harbor by the Army-Navy disclosure that the Japs – employing starvation, torture and butchery – had exterminated at least 7,700 American and many more Filipino heroes of Bataan and Corregidor.

Bond buying booms

A United Press survey showed that throughout the country, war bond sales skyrocketed yesterday as angered citizens jammed booths and banks, many of them speaking harshly of the Japs and vowing vengeance as they made their purchases.

White House Secretary Stephen T. Early intimated yesterday that the account of Jap barbarity was a continued story when he said:

The time has come to release factual, carefully-authenticated reports of Japanese atrocities.

Today, Chairman Elbert D. Thomas (D-UT) of a Senate Military Affairs Subcommittee on wear prisoners announced that he would soon summon Army and Navy intelligence officers to closed hearings.

Expresses surprise

Expressing surprise that his group had not been told in advance of the facts in the Army-Navy report, he added:

My committee is going to get all the information it can through the proper channels.

Later, in Los Angeles, Capt. Samuel R. Grashio, companion of the late Lt. Col. William Dyess in the infamous “March of Death,” told how 1,100 Americans and 1,400 Filipino prisoners died horribly in Camp O’ Donnell.

His descriptions, and the figures he quoted were apparently part of the general picture disclosed earlier by the Army and Navy.

Won’t alter strategy

Despite the rising demand for vengeance against the Japs – a demand which found its most clamorous expression among Congressmen – there was nothing to indicate that Allied staff chiefs would permit popular anger, however just, to alter strategic decisions reached after long and careful consideration of all military necessities involved.

These decisions, calling for the smashing of Germany and Japan in that order, will be adhered to unswervingly despite such demands as that of Chairman Andrew J. May (D-KY) of the House Military Affairs Committee that the entire fleet move at once upon Tokyo and “blow it into Hades.”

Plan heavy blows

This does not mean, however, that Tokyo will not one day be destroyed or that Japan’s bestiality will go unpunished until some dim and distant future time when individual and national war criminals shall have been brought to justice.

It is no secret that even now heavy new blows are being mounted in the Pacific, and observers here would not be surprised if Jap garrisons in the Marshall Islands were soon introduced violently to overwhelming force and sudden death.

Although the Allied timetable calls for defeat of Germany first, Adm. Ernest J. King, Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Fleet and Chief of Naval Operations, announced only recently that American naval strength in the

Temper of people high

On the home front, there were plenty of indications that Americans will manifest their anger against the Japs coldly and practically as well as emotionally – through grater purchases of war binds and increased production of the weapons needed to make the Japs pay for their crimes against decency.

The temper of the people was high, however, as indicated in dispatches from all over the country and in statements by Congressmen. In San Francisco, Lt. Gen. Delos C. Emmons, commander of the Western Defense Command, warned the public not to attempt retaliations against Japanese-Americans. At the proper time, he promised, “unremitting justice will be meted out to the Japanese who have been guilty of these dastardly and cowardly acts.”

Asks personal punishment

In the Senate, acting Republican Leader Wallace H. White Jr. (R-ME) said he hoped vengeance would be “visited not alone on the Japanese Army but on the authorities and the people of Japan.”

Senate Democratic Leader Alben W. Barkley (D-KY) declared:

Retribution will be meted out to these brutes, these uncivilized pigs in the form of men. We will be satisfied with nothing less than personal punishment for those in Japan who have been guilty ever since Pearl Harbor of these unspeakable atrocities.

Hits scrap shipments

Senator Styles Bridges (R-NH) criticized the administration for failure to stop scrap iron shipments to Japan in 1937, but agreed that “Japan should be wiped off the face of the earth.”

Meanwhile, officials concerned with procuring the tools of battle recalled the spurt in wear production and the marked drop in absenteeism which followed disclosure that the Jap government – in its first bloody break with civilized conventions since Pearl Harbor – had executed some of the Tokyo raiders. They felt that the new disclosures might have a similar but greater effect.

Sees greater production

Cdr. Samuel J. Singer, acting chief of the Navy’s Industrial Incentive division, said that:

Everyone in America is shocked and incensed by this latest revelation of Japanese barbarism, and it can be assumed that this anger will be translated into even greater production efforts.

Joseph C. Grew, former Ambassador to Japan, said Americans will “want to fight this war on the home front with grimmer determination than ever before.”

Knowledge of what Secretary of State Cordell Hull called the “unthinkable tortures” inflicted on defenseless American and Filipino war prisoners was also expected to have its effect at the fighting fronts.

Bismarck battle cited

In military circles, it was freely predicted that there would be more “revenge operations” like that of the Bismarck Sea battle in which U.S. fliers destroyed 22 Jap ships and killed upwards of 15,000 Japs.

In that battle, Jap airmen made the fatal mistake of machine-gunning parachuting U.S. fliers. The Americans retaliated by sinking every ship in the enemy convoy and by strafing Jap troops struggling in the water. Not a Jap escaped.

Another way in which the atrocity report may have its effect at the front was suggested by a War Department officer.

Won’t surrender

He said:

From now on, nobody will let himself be captured by the Japs. He will shoot it out, no matter what the odds are.

One thing was certain – the Japs have contributed irrefutable evidence against themselves in the war criminal trials which will follow the war. Secretary of State Cordell Hull disclosed yesterday that this government is methodically collecting information which will assure punishment of those guilty of the atrocities.

This data, as it is compiled by the War, Navy and State Departments, will be transmitted to the United Nations commission for investigation of war crimes, sitting in London, the American representative of which is Herbert C. Pell.

Fate of captives uncertain

Active in collating such evidence on this side will be the State Department’s Far Eastern Division headed by Joseph W. Ballantine and the legal adviser to the Secretary of State, Green H. Hackworth.

Meanwhile, the fate of American fighting men still in Jap ear prisons remained uncertain. As of Nov. 30, these prisoners numbered at least 18,200, according to official estimates made before revelation of the deaths disclosed by the atrocity report. This total did not take into account the fact that some of the 5,000 soldiers listed as missing in the war with Japan may be captives.

Protests futile

Mr. Early disclosed yesterday that this government no longer had any hope of getting relief supplies to Americans in Jap prison camps, and Mr. Hull reported that American protests against Jap conduct had failed to produce satisfaction.

Mr. Hull also disclosed that attempts to arrange a third exchange of Jap and American civilian internees – like the two thus far carried out aboard the Swedish liner Gripsholm - have thus far proved futile.

He added, however, that this government, at least, would keep on trying.

Japs ridicule atrocity story

By the United Press

A Jap radio spokesman today ridiculed charged that Allied prisoners of war have been mistreated by Japan and taunted sarcastically, “Why don’t they teach their men to stand up and fight to the finish?”

He said, in a Tokyo radio broadcast record by the United Press in London:

The way Americans threw up their hands at Corregidor, the way the British gave up at Singapore – on the heels of loud-mouthed assertions that they would fight to the finish – surely shows that these men must have carried on their backs a pretty wide streak of yellow.

He added that Americans and British “can’t take it.”

Ridiculous stories

He ridiculed the atrocity stories as:

…the final propaganda measure to which the enemy is forced to resort, due to the lack of any other favorable propaganda which they can dish up to their publics.

He charged that Jap women and children caught in the United States at the outbreak of the war were “fed only bread And water for days on end,” and that U.S. troops evacuating Davao in the Philippine campaign “lined up the Japanese residents including women and children and mowed them down with machine-gun fire.”

Allege Allied brutality

The first Jap reaction came last night when the Jap Dōmei News Agency described the atrocity charges as mere “vicious propaganda” and “not worth paying attention to.”

In a wireless dispatch for American consumption, Dōmei said the charges were actually designed to “cover up” United Nations “brutality.”

Jap military quarters, Dōmei said:

…marvel at the Anglo-American audacity to make such groundless accusations after the cold-blooded butcherings of our wounded soldiers by enemy troops at Guadalcanal.

The broadcast, recorded by U.S. government monitors, also reiterated charges that the Allies had “brutal assaults on our helpless hospital ships.”

A Tokyo radio broadcast quoted Jap Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu as telling his people in a nationwide broadcast that “if the enemy did not change his inhuman tactics” in sinking hospital ships, “Japan was preparing retaliatory measures.”

Japs don’t hear charges

Dōmei said the Japs will:

…not be surprised to see another recurrence of similar Anglo-American vicious accusations in the future whenever the enemy cares to resort to inhuman attacks, which are quite to be expected.

Government monitors reported they heard no mention of the Allied charges on any Tokyo broadcast to the Japanese people.

Earlier, the Tokyo radio beamed to the United States a talk entitled “Friendship in Wartime” in which a propagandist bemoaned the “misunderstanding” of Japan.


Political repercussion seen over atrocities

Washington (UP) –
Rep. Gerald W. Landis (R-IN) believes the report of Jap atrocities will have an effect on domestic politics.

He predicted yesterday that President Roosevelt “will not run for a fourth term because of the exposure of the Japanese atrocities on the men of Bataan.”

He charged:

Mr. Roosevelt and Harry Hopkins are directly responsible for not getting supplies to Gen. Douglas MacArthur that would have saved those men.

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Jap guards put Filipino’s head on top of pole

Further horrors in prison camp told by U.S. Army captain

Los Angeles, California (UP) –
Capt. Samuel R. Grashio of Spokane, Washington, today added to the story of American soldiers who stumbled across Bataan under the lash of their Jap captors, then died of starvation and infection in a prison camp around which gleeful guards paraded with the head of a Filipino on the end of a pole.

Covered with lice and open sores, in agony from hunger and dysentery, the captured Americans watched their well-fed guards smoke American cigarettes from a “new-type package,” presumably sent by the Red Cross for the prisoners.

He told of the pluck of a 19-year-old member of the Air Force who died from the barbarism of his Jap captors.

Skeleton in skin

Capt. Grashio said:

He was a skeleton in skin lying by a garbage pit. Blowflies swarmed over countless sores on his body. They were eating him alive. I asked him if I could do anything for him.

He asked me to take him away somewhere so the other boys wouldn’t see him dying there like a rat.

The hero of Capot. Grashio’s story was Lt. Col. William Edwin Dyess of Albany, Texas, with whom he surrendered to the overwhelming Jap horde, and with whom he escaped. Col. Dyess was killed in the crash of a P-38 at Burbank, California, on Dec. 22.

Prodded, beaten

On April 9, 1942, Capt. Grashio said, he and Col. Dyess were captured by a tank-led Jap spearhead while trying to help enlisted men in their unit prepare a couple of boats to flee Bataan.

Dyess and I were ordered out of a car we had gotten into and herded over by the tanks.

They took all our personal things like rings and watches.

Jap enlisted men had a field day. They were under ordered not to treat officers as officers. We were prodded and beaten with gun butts and taunted. About three or four thousand of us were grouped together.

Describes death march

After we surrendered, the Japs grouped some of us around artillery objectives being shelled from Corregidor so that some of our men were killed by our own artillery.

The “death march” toward a prison camp started about 10:30 a.m. PHT, Capt. Grashio said.

He said:

We all prayed for death and cursed the day we surrendered. I am here today because I followed Dyess out. He is the greatest man of the war to me.

The Japs prodded us in relays so they wouldn’t get tired themselves. We got a little water out of a caribou wallow, but had no food.

Legless boy crawls

A Filipino boy with both legs off crawled along on his stomach and was finally abandoned. Many were on crutches.

We vomited as we walked along, always with the Japs shoving and beating us. We couldn’t stop to take care of ourselves, and we had to do that, too, as we walked and stumbled.

Once, Capt. Grashio said, a Jap soldier clubbed Col. Dyess into a ditch for no purpose at all, and he was forced to march on and leave him.

Hit in face

Capt. Grashio said:

At Hermosa a Jap hit me in the face for nothing and knocked my teeth out with a bamboo cane the size of a two-by-hour. In seven days, we got to San Fernando, but we still had no food. Pretty soon they gave us a little rice.

Occasionally American soldiers would go out of their mind and rush for a well. They were beaten back by clubs and guns.

Once a light Jap tank met us head-on. The driver purposely swerved the machine and ran over a soldier, crushing him into the road.

Stand for hours

At San Fernando, the Americans were forced to stand for hours in the hot rays of the sun. Then they were crowded into small freight cars and five hours later were pushed out at the village of Capris.

They marched the remaining nine miles to Camp O’Donnell.

He said:

We again got a few handfuls of rice. We couldn’t wash. I figured there were four or five thousand U.S. troops and seven or eight thousand Filipino soldiers there. I estimated that I saw 1,100 American and 14,000 Filipino soldiers buried.

Two Filipinos help Yanks to escape

Miami, Florida (UP) –
Two Filipino prisoners at the Davao Penal Colony assisted in the escape of three American officers on whose sworn statements the Army-Navy account of Jap prison camp atrocities was based, according to Philippine President Manuel Quezon.

Mr. Quezon said last night that when he heard what the two Filipinos had done, he granted them “absolute pardon” for the pre-war offenses which had occasioned their commitment to the Penal Colony by the Philippine government.

The American officers were the late Lt. Col. William E. Dyess, Cdr. Melvin H. McCoy, and Lt. Cdr. S. M. Mellnik. Whether the aides escaped, too, Quezon did not say. Nor did he disclose their names.

Allied HQ, New Guinea (UP) –
Gen. Douglas MacArthur, commenting on revelations of Jap atrocities against Allied war prisoners, said today “the stories speak for themselves.”

Minneapolis, Minnesota (UP) –
Marine Maj. Michael Dobervich, 28, of Ironton, Minnesota, said today that he had received a vicious blow with a rifle butt when he was a Jap prisoner and that he knows “those atrocity stories are no baloney.” He is another of the few fighting men who escaped after being captured at Bataan with Lt. Col. W. E. Dyess.

Davis explains delay in story

Says U.S. feared news would hit exchanges

Washington (UP) –
Director Elmer Davis of the Office of War Information disclosed today that the OWI wanted to “break” the Jap prison camp atrocity report long before the Army and Navy made it public.

But the report was held up, he added, for fear that its release would jeopardize further exchange of civilian internees between the United States and Japan. Efforts to arrange a third exchange apparently have broken down.

Got news in November

Mr. Davis said the OWI learned last November of the existence of an atrocity report made by the late Lt. Col. William E. Dyess, Cdr. Melvyn H. McCoy and Lt. Col. S. M. Mellnik after they escaped from a prison camp in the Philippines.

He said:

The OWI was hoping for a change in policy quite a while back. If the decision had rested with us, the story would have been out long before this.

Part withheld

It was learned from other sources that, for security reasons, a considerable portion of the accounts given by the three officers was withheld from the public. The withheld parts, it was said, dealt chiefly with their methods of escape.

It was also learned that the atrocity account might have been kept secret even longer had not the British decided to publish a comparable report yesterday.

Mr. Davis scoffed at any suggestion that the report’s release was timed to coincide with the Fourth War Loan Drive.

Americans in dark on fate of kin

Washington (UP) –
American kin of men who were taken prisoner by the Japs on Bataan and Corregidor are at the mercy of the enemy on the score of learning whether their captured relatives are still alive or have died in captivity.

The Army-Navy revelation of Jap atrocities said at least 5,200 Americans had died in two prison camps in the Philippines by October 1942, with another 2,500 in such condition that doctors were convinced they could not live long. But Japan has reported the names of only 1,555 Americans as having died in prison camps.

The American Red Cross expects a surge of anguished inquiries as a result of the Army-Navy revelation of torture, starvation and murder of American soldiers but, it said today, it has no means of obtaining the answers.

Albuquerque, New Mexico (UP) –
Dr. V. H. Spensley, president of the Bataan Relief Organization and father of a soldier who died in a Jap prison camp, said today he doubted the “entire truth” of stories of enemy atrocities in the Philippines and asked if such “propaganda” is required to “sell war bonds.”

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The Pittsburgh Press (January 30, 1944)

More atrocities revealed –
Covit: Playful Jap amputates arm of Yank prisoner

Manila internee says another U.S. soldier was clubbed in back with rifle butt when he stumbled in hot sun
By Bernard Covit, United Press staff writer

Revelation on the Army and Navy of Jap atrocities against U.S. and Filipino prisoners of war has enabled Bernard Covit, former member of the United Press Manila staff who was interned by the Japs, to write about atrocities which came to his attention while he was awaiting repatriation.

New York –
Disclosure of the Jap atrocities to our American and Filipino last-ditch fighters on Bataan and Corregidor, horrible as it is to every civilized person, came almost as a relief to those of us who had borne the knowledge as an awful, secret burden when we returned to the United States aboard the exchange liner Gripsholm.

Reports of the treatment of our soldiers seeped past the barbed-wire fences of our civilian internment camp at Santo Tomas. Our own conditions were far from good, but the knowledge of what was going on at Cabanatuan, 60 miles from Manila, made us almost ashamed of our comparative good fortune.

Many of those in our civilian camp on the University of Santo Tomas campus were relatives and friends of the unhappy men penned like beasts at Cabanatuan and Camp O’Donnell.

Hear of death march

We learned, of course, of the “march of death” – how the miserable, weakened men wee marched into Manila, the stragglers shot and bayonetted. It wrung our hearts to learn that some of the men – some 5,000 or 6,000 – had been marched all the way up to Cabanatuan and housed without bedding on dirt or plank floors, and without what is all-important in the Philippines, mosquito nets to keep off the malaria-spreading insects.

This is the story of a friend of mine – a lieutenant at Cabanatuan:

We are being worked 10 to 12 hours a day. It isn’t so much the work a it is being out under the hot, tropical sun of the Philippines all the time.

Lack hats

Many of the boys have worn out their shoes, pants and shirts. A real hardship is the lack of hats to shade us.

My job is hoeing a long line of vegetables. My back is in pretty bad shape from bending over, but many of the men are suffering worse than I am.

There is practically no medicine at all, and a majority of us are suffering from dysentery and many have malaria badly.

Half die

In my group there were originally about 1,000 men. Today there are a little less than 500 left, most of them having died from malaria and dysentery.

I hate to think of the dozens who have been beaten, mutilated and tortured to death.

I was out in the field yesterday when one of my friends, a sergeant tumbled over as he worked. The poor chap had been wounded on Bataan. He had a badly-infected shoulder and the sun was too much for him.

A Jap guard approached and whacked the butt end of his rifle into the sergeant’s back. I heard a terrible crunching sound and when I ran forward to intervene, I received a backhand blow across the face that sent me sprawling.

Jap lops off arm

Last week one of the men lost his arm from the elbow down when he was so unfortunate as to trip and fall out of line as we were marching back the five miles to camp. A Jap guard playfully made a pass at him with his razor-sharp bayonet and severed his arm. It was lucky one of our men there knew how to take care of him, applying a tourniquet and binding the arm.

There have been dozens of such cases here in camp. The food we receive is usually some rice and mango beans. Once in a great while we are given a banana. Our sole drink is tea or water, which we boil.

Another lieutenant, a medical officer, supplies a list of names of Americans in the camp who had been civilians in the Philippines before the attack on Dec. 8, 1941, and who had volunteered in the Armed Forces. This list was of great interest to those in Santo Tomas because they were in many cases close friends or relatives.

Of 20 names, 10 had died in Cabanatuan. Six had succumbed to malaria, two to dysentery and two of wound infections. Of the 10 remaining alive, three were mutilated.

Beriberi, a malnutrition disease which swells the victims; joints, arms and legs grotesquely, was rife in the camp. When these swellings are lanced, the stench is terrible. In the cramped quarters of the prison camp the well grew almost to hate the ill because of this unpleasantness.

Like punch drunk

My informant told how imprisonment had begun to affect the men’s minds:

The boys walked around as if they were punch drunk. They are absentminded and vacant-eyed. You have to call them several times before they know they are addressed.

Many of them live in a world of their own. At night they babble about home and loved ones in the States [this was a year and a half after the fall of Manila].

It is heartbreaking to hear the boys muttering in their sleep. There have been a few violent cases and the Japs have taken them away. What has been done with them, we have no idea. None has ever returned to the camp.

We learned of a number of attempts at escape from the military camps. Im March 1942, two Australians and a Britisher attempted to escape from our own civilian internment at Santo Tomas. They were beaten and lugged to a narrow out in the cemetery. They were compelled to stand in the pit, knee deep and then the Japs discharged their pistols into them. Some of the officials of our camp who had gone to the cemetery with the men to ease their last moments saw them shot.

The guards did not have shovels but merely kicked dirt over the bodies with their boots. As the group turned away, one of the figures in the grave stirred. A Jap guard turned and poured several more shots into him.

‘Please tell my wife’

The Britisher, a mate on a merchant ship which had been caught in Manila Bay, turned to the internment camp officials just before he died and said: “Please tell my wife.” He had married an English girl two weeks before he sailed for the Far East.

One of the witnesses told me:

It was terrible. The men had no ides until they saw the grave that they were to be killed.

The court martial which had pronounced this barbaric sentence had held its proceedings without the presence of the accused. The death sentence for civilians attempting to escape internment is of course in complete contravention of international law.

Even the commandant of Jap gendarmes, Lt. Tomayusu, was shocked. Removing his uniform to humble himself he went in old slacks and bedroom slippers to army headquarters to plead with the military that the death sentence be remanded. He was paid no heed.

It is my observation that whenever the attention of the world has been called to Jap atrocities, there has been some effort on the part of Jap authorities to mitigate their brutality.

MacArthur ready to avenge heroes

Denver, Colorado (UP) – (Jan. 29)
Senator A. B. Chandler (D-KY) said today that Gen. Douglas MacArthur, fully aware of the Jap atrocities, is determined to avenge each and every one of them.

Senator Chandler, who made a tour of war fronts last fall, said:

Gen. MacArthur told me of the atrocities. He is intensely determined to avenge each hero’s death.

Senator Chandler is in Denver to attend a mining conference. Asked about the atrocities, he recalled previous stories of Gen. MacArthur’s Doomsday Book.

In this book, he said, Gen. MacArthur is keeping a list of each atrocity as it is reported to him, with the names of hundreds of men who have been subjected to him.

Some of his information was obtained from diaries taken from dead Japs, and these diaries confirmed the reports of the atrocities, Senator Chandler said.

The diaries told of operations which Jap physicians performed on American soldiers without the use of anesthetics, “to see how white men would react to torture.”

They also told of one American officer being smothered to death under the heel of a Jap soldier, when he did not revolt at the task of cleaning a cattle field.

Senator Chandler said:

These stories should make us want to go ahead, full speed, in our war with Japan. I have been demanding that we speed up the fight against Japan for two years.

Kirkpatrick: British join in cry against Jap ‘apes’

By Helen Kirkpatrick

London, England –
Britain has reacted with the same horror and loathing which characterized the American reception of reports on the Japanese treatment of prisoners – reports which will do more than any other one thing to impress the British with the greatness of the menace which Japan represents to the civilized world.

As the London *Daily Express” says:

If there lingered in any man’s mind a thread of doubt that Britain would throw the whole terrible weight of her military power against the Japanese the day Hitler is dead and done for, it must snap now, today, on reading what Anthony Eden said to the House of Commons. The bestiality of our other enemy commands the full hatred of all Englishmen. The sword must retrieve our honor as a nation… his honor is the honor of apes, his code is the code of the drooling lunatic.

The Daily Mail says:

The Japanese have proved themselves a subhuman race. It is in that regard that they must in the future be treated. There can be no place for them after this war in the concourse of civilized nations, in the common relations of human beings. Let us resolve to outlaw them.

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‘Drums of death beating’ –
No-quarter war on Japs to result from atrocities

Enemy accused of using hospital insignia on ships to ward off air attacks

Washington (UP) – (Jan. 29)
The Army and Navy Journal suggested today that the Japs may be using hospital insignia to ward off U.S. aerial blows against their steadily shrinking merchant fleet.

The Journal’s suggestion, following exposure by the Army and Navy of Jap atrocities against American and Filipino war prisoners, was in reply to enemy threats of retaliation for alleged sinking of hospital ships by U.S. airmen. The Journal’s attitude was the Japs may be making a belated effort “to conciliate world opinion.”

Meanwhile, military observers here agreed that from now on it will be a no-surrender, no-quarter war against the Japs. The Army-Navy story of Japan’s mass murder of more than 7,700 American and 14,000 Filipino heroes of Bataan and Corregidor makes any other kind of war impossible, they felt.

Senator Styles Bridges (R-NH), whose son, Lt. (jg.) Henry Styles Bridges, is on a warship in the South Pacific, said:

They’ve demanded a no-quarter war, and icy American wrath will give it to them. The drums of death are beating in American hearts tonight.

Senator Dennis Chavez (D-NM), from whose state went thousands of young men who were killed or captured in the Philippines, called for “complete, total, absolute destruction of Jap military power.” Senator Chavez said, “From now on, it is no quarter.”

There were indications, too, that home front endeavors against the Japs would be intensified as a result of the atrocity disclosures. Dispatches from all over the country showed War Bond sales soaring.

The futility of expecting civilized conduct by Japan toward war prisoners was summed up in Los Angeles by Capt. Samuel R. Grashio of Spokane, Washington, who escaped from an enemy prison camp with a few other survivors of Bataan and Corregidor: “We all prayed for death and cursed the day we surrendered.”

Want to kill more Japs

A War Department observer here had this to say about the attitude of American fighting men toward their enemy in the Pacific:

We see a lot of soldiers who have come back from Europe and the Pacific. The boys from Europe speak impersonally of the enemy. Those from the Pacific do not. They all want to go back and kill more Japs.

Their motive is revenge. What they have seen makes them hate the Japs personally. They know all about the Japs. They enjoy killing them.

‘No-quarter war’

At the Navy Department, an observer put it this way:

It is a knockdown, drag-out, no-quarter war. You can’t fight Japs any other way. There are no cases on record of any American actually giving up to the Japs since Bataan and Corregidor – and those boys couldn’t help themselves; they were smothered.

If you have been reading the communiqués, you will notice that for some time now neither side has exhibited any great eagerness to take prisoners. Our men feel that not even a dead Jap is a good Jap, but that he is better that way than alive.

This was the attitude of the men who fight. The attitude of civilians was expressed by Congressional demands for “vengeance,” “retribution,” “justice.” Editorials from all over the country spoke of the Japs as “animals who sometimes stand erect,” given to the “congenital bestiality of a subhuman breed,” fit only in the words of the Army and Navy Register, to “be treated as common outlaws.”

The Army and Navy Journal’s view on the Jap hospital ship charges was that:

Insofar as the Japs are concerned, we may infer it was perhaps with some dim notion that it is desirable to conciliate world opinion that they advanced the claim that the action to be taken by them is in retaliation for such acts by our forces.

Probably the truth is their merchantmen losses have become so stupendous, as a result of the hunting of our planes and submarines, and so serious in the effect upon their war effort and standard of living, that they are hopeful of saving tonnage, perhaps by misuse of the International Red Cross code.

The Journal, warning the Japs that their conduct “will bring to them a harvest of heartache and bodily pain,” proposed an International Red Cross investigation into the hospital ship charges, and added:

There could be only one result from such a probe, the fact that American fliers do not attack hospital ships and that such a practice is one of the Japanese methods of conducting war.

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The Pittsburgh Press (January 31, 1944)

300 fliers honor Bataan hero at fete he planned

Hollywood, California (UP) –
Lt. Col. William E. Dyess, who survived “the march of death” as a Jap captive in the Philippines only to die in the flaming crash of his plane here months later rather than endanger the life of a motorist, was acclaimed a hero at a party he planned three days before his death.

‘Exploits are legend’

The Hollywood Masquers Club staged the party, for 300 officers and men from March Field Air Base, as Lt. Col. Dyess had planned, but instead of a greeting from their host, the guests heard Lt. Col. Dyess’ widow read the following letter from Gen. H. H. Arnold, head of the Army Air Forces:

His exploits are legend. Courage like his helped this country face extreme adversity in the Philippines campaign. We will never forget his heroism, which with his splendid character and personality won him a high place in the Air Forces.

He was decorated many times, in comparison with which words seem of little consequence. We are proud of have had him in our organization.

Accompanied by Capt. Samuel C. Grashio, who only last night related the horrible tortures, he and Lt. Col. Dyess were subjected to before the Jap prison camp, Mrs. Dyess told how the party came to be.

Go on with party

She said:

Col. Dyess and I were guests of the Masquers one Saturday night last fall soon after he came back to this country. It was the most memorable event in his life in more than a year. He wanted some of the other boys in the Air Corps to share in his enjoyment and arranged this party. The following Tuesday, he was killed. We decided to go on with the party as he had wished.

Movie actor Edward Arnold, president of the Masquers, who with Charles Coburn delivered a eulogy at funeral services for Col. Dyess, presided at the memorial.

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Connally: Punish all Japs

Washington (UP) –
Chairman Tom Connally (D-TX) of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said today that all Jap elements, “from the Emperor to the soldier,” must be made to pay for the treachery at Pearl Harbor and the mass murder of war prisoners in the Philippines.

Deploring what he called a tendency in Washington to say, “oh, well, the Emperor’s all right – it’s the military clique that’s to blame,” Mr. Connally asserted that Hirohito “must bear his responsibility for the cruelties and outrages and the war itself.”

Aroused over the Army-Navy disclosure of Jap prison camp atrocities, which have already cost the lives of more than 7,700 American and 14,000 Filipino heroes of Bataan and Corregidor, Mr. Connally continued:

The Emperor, the military group and the people of Japan are all our enemies. They are all fighting us savagely with instruments of death and torture.

We can’t discriminate among internal groups. Our sword is drawn and every one from the Emperor to the soldier shall feel its edge.

Senator Styles Bridges (R-NH) said Americans must translate their anger over the Jap atrocities into “redoubled effort on the home front.”

He said:

No more strikes – striking at this time is unthinkable, unforgivable, and un-American. Supplies, equipment and men must go forward to Adm. William E. Halsey Jr., Gen. Douglas MacArthur and their associates to speed them on their way to Tokyo.

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Writers go to work on ‘March of Death’ film

Hollywood, California (UP) –
The writing staff at Republic Studio has started work on a script based upon the “March of Death” inflicted upon the defenders of Bataan by the Japanese, a spokesman reported today.

The picture probably will be ready for production in about three weeks and “will pull no punches,” the spokesman said.

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The Pittsburgh Press (February 1, 1944)

We know, now –
Japs revealed as ‘worse’ than anybody thought

Col. Romulo, on bond trip to Pittsburgh area, tells of warnings that went unheeded

While a smug world was still viewing the invasion of China as an isolated incident, Col. Carlos P. Romulo, then the civilian publisher of a chain of Philippine newspapers, was seeking to shake his brethren out of their lethargy by reporting the atrocities which the Japs were committing against the Chinese.

Col. Romulo explained here today:

But everyone who read the stories simply said, “The Japs can’t be that bad.” And they refused to believe it until they saw the same things happening to their own people.

And that’s the same situation with many Americans. We still can’t believe the Japs can be that bad. I agree the Japs aren’t as bad as the recent War Department report shows them to be. They are worse.

Col. Romulo, personal aide-de-camp to Gen. Douglas MacArthur during the defense of the Philippines and literally the last man to leave Bataan, came to Pittsburgh today with three other distinguished personalities to aid in the Fourth War Loan Drive.

The other guests of honor were authors Louis Bromfield, Fannie Hurst and Clifton Fadiman, who is master of ceremonies of the Information Please radio program.

Col. Romulo left Bataan three hours before the U.S. surrender in an improvised plane held together with bamboo sticks, which had been fished out of the bay and pieced together by soldiers under the late Lt. Col. (then Capt.) W. E. Dyess, one of the officers who escaped Jap internment to tell the world of Nipponese barbarism.

The Philippine colonel said:> When I left Bataan, Capt. Dyess was already emaciated, he had fought alongside the men of Bataan for 4½ months.

Shadow of a shadow

For two months he and the rest of the men had eaten only canned salmon and rice twice a day, and for the last 2½ months we had only a handful of rice each day at 5:00 p.m. [PHT].

But when I next saw Capt. Dyess in a hospital in America, after his escape from the Japs, he was only a shadow of his former self – a shadow of a shadow.

Col. Romulo, who had been ordered to leave Bataan by Gen. MacArthur, said Capt. Dyess told him he was shocked by the Jap cruelties and solicited his aid “to get the War Department to release the story.”

Although anxious to get the story to the public, the colonel defended the delay of the Navy and War Departments in releasing it, on grounds that the government had hoped to get the Japs to change their ways and improve prisoner-of-war treatment.

He said:

Now, the State Department reports it had filed 89 protests with the Japs. From what I know of the Japs, even 8,900 protests won’t change them.

Civilians suffer, too

Jap cruelties, he said, were being perpetrated against Americans and Filipinos while fighting was still going on. The colonel told of one specific instance when he found a captured Filipino Scout hanging from a tree with his face slit from ear to ear.

He added:

And right now, the civilian population in the Philippines is suffering terribly from starvation and lack of medicine.

True to America

Nevertheless, he said, Filipinos are standing by America, “the only people in the Far East to stick by their mother country in time of need.” This he attributed to the absence of American imperialistic designs.

During the Battle of the Philippines, Col. Romulo said the Japs sought to divide the Filipinos and the Americans.

He related:

The Japs directed their propaganda at the Filipinos, calling on us to lay down our arms and be treated as common brothers of a common color.

A whirlwind tour

The Japs pointed out to us that we outnumbered the Americans and they called on the Filipinos to turn on the Americans and help beat them.

But we Filipinos are not brothers of the Japs. We are brother Americans.

The itinerary of the four guests of honor included a breakfast with 300 bond-buyers at Joseph Horne’s Tea Room: a “Dutch treat” luncheon at the Penn-Lincoln Hotel, Wilkinsburg; a rally at 1:30 p.m. ET in the Wilkinsburg High School auditorium; a tea at 3:30 p.m. at the Women’s Club of Mt. Lebanon and a rally at 8:00 p.m. in Syria Mosque.

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State Department shows –
Only Allied bullets, bombs can end tortures by Japs

Scores of U.S. protests on atrocities against military, civilian prisoners ignored by Tokyo

Washington (UP) –
Bullets and bayonets and bombs are the only language the Japs can understand.

The State Department made that clear today with the publication of new chapters in the continued story of Jap cruelties committed not only against prisoners of war but also against civilian internees.

Neither threats of retaliation against Jap prisoners in American hands, the promise of certain punishment after the war, not appeals that she abide by her pledged word, the State Department disclosed, have swerved Japan from the campaign of abuse she launched against her hapless captives in the early weeks of the war.

Radio Tokyo, commenting on the American disclosure that 7,700 U.S. troops had been tortured and slain after the fall of Bataan and Corregidor, announced today that “there will be no change” in the Jap policy in regard to treatment of prisoners of war.

New horrors revealed

The State Department story was released late yesterday by Secretary of State Cordell Hull after an hour-long conference with President Roosevelt. It added new horrors to the account of war camp atrocities published by the Army and Navy last Thursday night.

The Army-Navy account revealed the mass murder of more than 7,700 American and 14,000 Filipino heroes of Bataan and Corregidor. The State Department release went less into statistical detail, but it itemized “categories of abuse and neglect” to which not only war prisoners but also civilian internees were subjected by their “brutal” and “barbarous” and “depraved” captors.

Congress seethes

Congress still seethed with indignation over the earlier revealed atrocities. Rep. Augustine B. Kelley (D-PA) introduced a resolution urging President Roosevelt to enter into agreement with Allied governments to make certain that war criminals shall not find sanctuary in neutral countries “but shall be brought to justice and punished for their barbaric crimes.”

The State Department story disclosed that starting on Jan. 13, 1942, five weeks after Pearl Harbor, this government had sent Japan from one to 11 protests a month – 89 in all – charging such crimes against American prisoners as starvation, torture, solitary confinement, illegal prison terms, corporal punishment and plain murder.

All of protests futile

Mr. Hull said the list of protests was released to acquaint the American public with the department’s attempts to persuade Japan “to treat American nationals in its hands in accordance to human and civilized principles.”

Significantly, the last of the protests, dated the very day on which the Army-Navy atrocity account was published, listed 18 specific complaints – all of which had been cited repeatedly in previous representations. Two years of diplomatic spade work through “the protecting power,” Switzerland, had succeeded in removing not a single ground for protest.

Jap promise recalled

The list of representations disclosed that as early as Nov. 17, 1942, the State Department was protesting against crimes so serious as to warrant the use of the word “atrocity.” On that date, this government protested against “six cases of atrocities perpetrated by Japanese authorities.”

The protests constantly called to Japan’s attention the fact that although she is not a signatory to the Geneva prisoners of war convention, she had promised to apply the humane principles of that convention to U.S. prisoners.

Threatened retaliation

The State Department release disclosed that early in he war this country threatened – in the mild language of diplomacy – to retaliate against Japs in American hands unless the enemy changed his tactics. There has never been any indication, however, that the U.S. government ever carried out such a threat or even seriously considered doing so.

On Feb. 14, 1942, the State Department disclosed, the United States informed Japan that this government might:

…have to reconsider its policy of extending liberal treatment to Japanese if assurances are not given by the Japanese that liberal principles will be applied to Americans.

The promise of punishment for those responsible for crimes against U.S. prisoners had been published before. It was made on April 12, 1943, after the Jap government executed U.S. airmen who fall into enemy hands after the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo.

Ask list of wounded

Through the list of protests there ran repeated requests “for lists of American wounded, sick and dead;” for permission for Swiss and International Red Cross representatives to visit prison camps in Japan, China, Thailand and Burma; for adequate food, heat, clothing, medicine.

In connection with efforts to get names of prisoners, the list revealed that on May 25, 1943, the State Department was still trying to get a list of civilians captured when the Japs conquered Wake Island on Dec. 22, 1941.

Senator condemns atrocity release

Washington (UP) –
Senator Dennis Chavez (D-NM) charged yesterday that the government release of the story of the Bataan atrocities more than a year after they occurred was “inopportune and inhuman.”

Senator Chavez said mothers throughout the nation, who had been told for many months that help was reaching their sons in prison camps, were now told that they “suffered the agony of the damned.”

Senator Chavez shouted:

Why was it necessary? I have only heard one answer. The Secretary of the Treasury says we will sell more bonds.

New Mexico, he said, felt the blow deeply for the entire New Mexican National Guard was lost on Bataan.

Senator Chavez cried:

It is a shame that American mothers have to suffer as they have suffered without our at least holding out the hope that Gen. MacArthur will receive 1,000 planes instead of a negligible number.

Red Cross explains delay in report


New York (UP) –
Richard F. Allen, vice chairman of the American Red Cross in charge of insular and foreign operations, said yesterday the report on Jap atrocities was suppressed six months ago while an attempt was made to send supplies to American prisoners.

He said at the North Atlantic Conference of the Red Cross:

We thought it more important for the prisoners of war to get relief than for the American public to know what happened.

Mr. Allen said that at the time the Red Cross learned of the atrocities committed against American prisoners in the Philippines, it also received a Jap suggestion that supplies be sent via Vladivostok.

The Japs proposed to transship the supplies to prison camps, Mr. Allen said. The supplies were sent six months ago, but it is reported that they are still in the Soviet port.

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The Pittsburgh Press (February 2, 1944)

Editorial: Not propaganda

There has been widespread public protest that the government used the Jap prison atrocity report for propaganda purposes. Because it was made in the midst of the Fourth War Loan Drive, many people accepted it as a horror story designed to boost bond sales.

This charge isn’t true. The report was not timed for the bond drive – that was accidental.

The Chicago Tribune had obtained and widely syndicated a story written by Lt. Col. W. E. Dyess, one of the escaped prisoners. This forced the government to reconsider its policy of withholding the story, which it could no longer enforce. We believe that the government acted wisely in making the report official, instead of permitting a portion of it to be revealed through the medium of a Chicago paper.

The Army and Navy apparently realized that publication of the story would bring shock and grief and terrible uncertainty to the families of every American soldier or sailo9r reported missing in the Pacific theater of war. Therefore it had refused to sacrifice, for propaganda effect, the feelings of those American families. When it became impossible any longer to do so, the story was released. And it was merely by chance that the release came in the midst of the War Bond drive.

But once the report was made public, inevitably and legitimately it was used as an added reason for buying bonds and for increased effort all along the home front. There is only one answer to the Jap atrocities – the retribution of complete and final Jap defeat at the earliest possible moment.

Let us get on with the job!

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