In 1995, The San Jose Mercury News obtained a 137-page declassified U.S. military counterintelligence file that provides detailed evidence of how the U.S. intelligence unit in Tokyo under General Douglas MacArthur’s command had erected a wall of silence surrounding the human experimental atrocities conducted by Unit 731 doctors – including experiments on U.S. POWs.
“for the first time [ ] clear evidence that American military intelligence officers maneuvered to suppress reports indicating U.S. prisoners of war in Manchuria were the victims of grotesque biological warfare experiments.heir unwillingness to pursue the allegations apparently stemmed from a secret deal granting the Japanese immunity from prosecution in exchange for tissue samples and reports on human experimentation that might help give the U.S. a germ warfare advantage over the Russians.”
“Many of the 1,500 American soldiers who were captured in the Philippines and taken to Mukden, Manchuria, have long suspected that they, too, were victims of germ-warfare experiments. Dozens of Mukden survivors contend that Japanese and U.S. officials have covered up the experiments on Americans for 50 years. Both governments have maintained there is no evidence to support such an allegation…Evidence to the contrary is found in a file from the military’s counterintelligence corps of the Supreme Commander of allied Powers, headed by Gen. Douglas MacArthur.”
“At the request of Nationalist Chinese officials who heard about ”bacteriological experiments upon Chinese and Americans as human guinea pigs,” the U.S. counterintelligence corps prepared a report on Ishii, the head of Unit 731, according to a Sept. 6, 1947, memo. The document makes it clear that a high-level U.S. intelligence officer, Col. Philip Bethune, quashed the report after informing his agents that it involved ”a Top Secret matter.”
(The Mudken Files: POWs Claim Germ Warfare Coverup by U.S. San Jose Mercury News, August 13, 1995 posted Nov. 2014 at Constantine Report)
U.S. POW Victims of Japanese germ warfare experiments
In a secret diary, Maj. Robert Peaty, the senior British officer at Mukden, recorded the regular injections of infectious diseases, disguised as harmless vaccinations, which were given to American POWs by doctors visiting from Unit 731.
His entry for January 30, 1943, records:
“Everyone received a 5cc typhoid-paratyphoid A inoculation.”
On February 23, his entry reads:
“Funeral service for 142 dead. 186 have died in 5 days, all Americans.”
Further “inoculations” followed. (Hudson. Doctors of Depravity, Daily Mail, 2007)
In August 2005, Professor Tsuneishi Keiichi, of Kanagawa University, who specializes in disarmament of biological and chemical weapons, and is the leading specialist on Japan’s wartime biological and chemical warfare Unit 731, gave a public lecture at the Nagasaki Peace Museum co-sponsored by the director of China’s Unit 731 War Crimes Museum in Harbin. In his talk, “The Image and Reality of Unit 731,” he revealed that he had discovered declassified American intelligence memoranda dated 1947, which show that U.S. Occupation authorities not only granted immunity from prosecution to Japanese scientists who committed medical atrocities, in exchange for their biological warfare data, but they also made direct cash payments to obtain reports about the results of those experiments.
U.S. intelligence officials embellished the importance of the evidence obtained
Keiichi had discovered that three English-language reports about germ warfare experiments conducted by Unit 731 – Report ‘A’ [anthrax]; report ‘G’ [glanders]; and Report ‘Q’ [plague] – were paid for in cash by the U.S. intelligence unit in Tokyo. The documents are preserved in the Library of Congress under the title, “Japanese medical experiments during World War II.”
“Is it normal for victors in war to treat losers this way? At the very least it is certainly not something they wish to make public. One would think that in gathering intelligence at war’s end the victor usually commands cooperation based on his superior position, partly through intimidation.”
(Kaiichi. New Facts about US Payoff to Japan’s Biological Warfare Unit 731, Aug, 2005; English translation posted at Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, Aug. 2006)
Kaiichi points out that Dr. Norbert Fell, the biological weapons scientist from Fort Detrick who conducted the investigation of Unit 731’s human experiments, and who directed personnel connected to Unit 731 to prepare the three reports, considered the results to be of only limited value. Fell noted: “The results obtained with human beings were somewhat fragmentary because a sufficiently large number of subjects to permit statistically valid conclusions was not used in any of the experiments.”
However, Keiichi notes that a subtle difference in interpreting the results occurred when, in the middle of Fell’s investigation, it appeared that officials in Washington were about to restrict the use of secret intelligence funds. Brig. Gen. Charles Willoughby headed the military intelligence unit (G-2) during the American occupation. Willoughby authored the memos, greatly inflating the significance of Fell’s findings; designating those findings as “high value” “the greatest value,” which was accepted as established history. Keiichi believes
“this is the result of G-2’s politically motivated manipulation of data, with the aim of maintaining its secret funding from the home government overriding the specialist Fell’s reasoned analysis… Speaking as one who has researched Unit 731 for many years, we need to wipe away the smudge left from the manipulation of intelligence and get at the whole picture by examining the actual medical practice.”
Faustian Bargain struck between U.S. government and Japan’s criminal scientists
The consensus of most scholars and those familiar with the evidence is that the Americans never got much out of the data-for-immunity deal; Ishii and his cohorts got the far better part of the deal. Indeed, as Professor Sheldon Harris stated in a 1999 address in Tokyo:
“The result of this bargain in the long run has been catastrophic. War criminals, free to resume their pre-war careers, dominated Japanese medicine and scientific research for a generation. These killers of innocent humans rose to be Presidents of Universities, Deans of Medical Schools, outstanding research professors whose scholarly research attracted world attention and praise in the scientific community.
Many of the graduates of Unit 731 and the other Units controlled the Ministry of Health and its agencies such as the National Institute of Health (NIH). Former members of Unit 731 dominated the Board of The Japan Medical Society (the JMA) for many years. Other war criminals, such as Naito Ryoichi and Kitano Masaji, formed important pharmaceutical companies. The Green Cross Company, headed by Naito is perhaps the most important of these companies.
The traditions and moral outlook of the men who served in the bw and cw Units continued even beyond the first post-war generation of doctors and scientists. Involuntary human experiments continued to be standard procedure for all too many researchers. Some of the studies were sponsored by the National Institute of Health. Others, were conducted under different agencies concerned with the problems encountered by the Hiroshima survivors. Still others used humans without their knowledge to test unproven vaccines and drugs.” ( Japanese Medical Atrocities in WWII: Unit 731 Was Not An Isolated Aberration, 1999)
Numerous Unit 731 documents were wiped away from American archives until passage of the Japanese Imperial Government Disclosure Act of 2000. The Willoughby memoranda can be found in the U.S. National Archives. They are posted by Christopher Reed (The U.S. and the Japanese Mengele: Payoffs and Amnesty for Unit 731, in Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, 2006) Read more…National Archives. Interagency Working Group. Japanese War Crimes documents)