Bern, October 27, 1944
Division of Foreign Internees
To the Legation of the United States of America, Bern.
B.24.US (13)51-Weihsien Camp-HE/sch.
In accordance with the wish expressed in the kind note A.f. No. 9739 of October 11, 1944, the Division of Foreign Interests of the Federal Political Department has the honor to inform the Legation of the United States of America that the Swiss Consulate General at Shanghai has transmitted to it the following information supplied by Messrs. Egger and Joerg, Swiss representatives at Shantung and Tientsin, after visits which they made at the end of August, 1944, to the civilian internment camp of Weihsien.
If the Italian section is excluded, the internees number 1424, of whom 204 are Americans, 103 Filipinos and 2 Panamanians. They have established a General Committee and various Commissions to insure good operation of the camp.
It is installed on a large tract of land belonging to a Mission. The internees there are somewhat crowded; the installations and furniture are not satisfactory and must frequently be repaired or replaced, generally at the expense of the internees.
The camp is administered by Mr. Kita, Japanese Consul General at Tsingtao, and by Mr. Taukikawa, Commander of Weihsien. Generally speaking they appear to be favorably disposed toward the internees, despite the poor treatment which is said to have been accorded them previously at Honolulu.
The food is almost satisfactory; in any case it is much superior in quantity and quality to that supplied in the Shanghai camps. Meat and eggs were scarce during the summer but the situation improved at the end of August.
The canteen sells particularly fruits, eggs, various other foodstuffs and cigarettes but it is often poorly stocked.
A large number of internees receive each month a parcel of from ten to fifteen books forwarded by friends who reside in northern China. Formerly these parcels were subject to pilfering whilst in transit.
Mr. Egger is making every effort to supply the internees with shoes and clothing of which they are in urgent need.
The health of the internees in general is good. During the summer there were various light ailments. The sick are treated by doctor internees. Most of the hospital equipment, instruments and medicament have been furnished by the Swiss representatives with the aid of official funds placed at their disposal. A good radio set was recently acquired.
Great efforts have been exerted in order to ensure the education of some four hundred interned children.
Religious services are celebrated in satisfactory manner.
The Swiss representatives have been able to discuss all problems relating to camp life with the members of the Committee in the presence of the Japanese authorities.
The Japanese authorities do little to improve the camp on the pretext that the lack funds and the Swiss representatives found it necessary strongly to insist in order to obtain a few small improvements.
These conditions, relief of 2,000 CRB dollars is wholly inadequate. In addition the Swiss representatives are obliged to finance among others a large number of necessary purchases (medicaments, dietetic foods, clothing, etc.).
In conclusion the Swiss Consulate General has expressed the view that the conditions of internment at Weihsien are satisfactory, especially if this camp is compared with those in the Shanghai region.