Evatt to Eggleston

Cablegram 1208 CANBERRA, 25 August 1945


1. Ref. your 723, August 21st. [1]

I am most anxious that no opportunity be missed to secure immediately from the Japanese not only complete lists of Australian and other Allied P.O.W. and civilian internees, but full records and evidence of their treatment during custody. (See our comments on United Kingdom draft surrender in Telegram 1144 to you). [2] Any evidence of atrocities or suspected violations of International Conventions concerning P.O.W. or internees as well as breaches of rules of warfare against service personnel generally should be made available to national offices of United Nations War Crimes Commission. Personal advice from Lord Wright as Australian representative on Commission emphasises that major responsibility for detection and apprehension of suspect War Criminals must fall upon Allied Military and control authorities.

Every effort should be made in the initial post-surrender period to apprehend and intern all suspected War Criminals as a result of information secured.

2. Additional important evidence may be had from access to Japanese official records indicating attitude towards protests by Allied Governments during the war concerning Japanese treatment of our P.O.W. or other wartime atrocities. Australian Government made several such protests.

3. Please convey above to Secretary of State and request that it be brought to the attention of appropriate representative of Supreme Commander and of Judge Advocate General G.H.Q. General Blamey will be carrying out objective so far as Australian forces are concerned.


1 In fact dispatched 20 August. On file AA : A1066, H45/580/6/2.

2 Dispatched 13 August. On file AA : A1066, P45/10/1/2.


[AA : A3300/2, 45/316]