Demand Probe of Yank Sinkings of Jap Prison Ships


ALBUQUERQUE, AUG. 16, 1945 — The monthly bulletin of the Bataan Relief Organization, published here and distributed nationally, demands editorially in its current issue that the senate investigate reported sinkings of Japanese ships carrying American prisoners of war.


Relatives have received a “flood” of death notices, the publication said, following official announcements of vessels sunk last year.


It credited to the war department these figures on losses: 1,001 of 1,600 aboard an enemy prison ship sunk last Dec. 15, all but nine of 1,800 on a vessel which went down last October, and all but 83 of 750 aboard a ship sunk last September.


“It is reported,” the bulletin said, “that this tremendous loss of life occurred as a result of Japanese ships transporting prisoners of war from the Philippines to camps in Japan being either torpedoed by American submarines or sunk by aircraft from American carriers.”


The publication added:


“No reasons have been advanced in official circles as to why convoys of destroyers and other naval craft in the areas near the submarines’ operation were not contacted to pick up prisoners swimming in the water.


“There has been no record made public, or any evidence of its presence, that an official investigation was made of the first prison ship sinking by American craft. It is self evident that the tragic error was not corrected as sinkings continued.


“The editors of the bulletin believe that the hundreds of mothers and fathers who sacrificed sons in a disaster entirely useless and unnecessary have earned in a grief of a most bitter potence the full right to be told exactly why their sons were killed.


“They should know who is responsible for the orders which directed the killings of Americans by Americans.”