Foreign Relations of the United States: Diplomatic Papers, 1945,
The British Commonwealth, The Far East, Volume VI Document 336
The Swiss Legation to the Department of State
The Legation of Switzerland in charge of Japanese interests has received an urgent cable from the authorities abroad, requesting that the Department of State be immediately apprised of the following communication from the Japanese Government, reading, in translation, as follows:
“On August 6, 1945, American airplanes released on the residential district of the town of Hiroshima bombs of a new type, killing and injuring in one second a large number of civilians and destroying a great part of the town. Not only is the city of Hiroshima a provincial town without any protection or special military installations of any kind, but also none of the neighboring region of this town constitutes a military objective.
“In a declaration President Truman has asserted that he would use these bombs for the destruction of docks, factories, and installations of transportation. However, this bomb, provided with a parachute, in falling has a destructive force of a great scope as a result of its explosion in the air. It is evident, therefore, that it is technically impossible to limit the effect of its use to special objectives such as designated by President Truman, and the American authorities are perfectly aware of this. In fact, it has been established on the scene that the damage extends over a great area and that combatant and non-combatant men and women, old and young, are massacred without discrimination by the atmospheric pressure of the explosion, as well as by the radiating heat which results therefrom. Consequently there is involved a bomb having the most cruel effects humanity has ever known, not only as far as the extensive and immense damage is concerned,
but also for reasons of suffering endured by each victim.
“It is an elementary principle of international public law that in time of war the belligerents do not have unlimited right in the choice of the means of attack and that they cannot resort to projectile arms or any other means capable of causing the enemy needless suffering. These principles are stipulated in the Convention respecting the laws and customs of war on land and in Article 22, as well as under letter (E) of Article 23 of the rules concerning the laws and customs of war on land. Since the beginning of the present war, the American Government has declared on various occasions that the use of gas or other inhuman means of combat were considered illegal in the public opinion of civilized human society and that it would not avail itself of these means before enemy countries resorted to them. The bombs in question, used by the Americans, by their cruelty and by their terrorizing effects, surpass by far gas or any other arm the use of which is prohibited by the treaties for reasons of their characteristics.
“The Americans have effected bombardments of towns in the greatest part of Japanese territory, without discrimination massacring a great number of old people, women, children; destroying and burning down Shinto and Buddhist temples, schools, hospitals, living quarters, etc. This fact alone means that they have shown complete defiance of the essential principles of humanitarian laws, as well as international law. They now use this new bomb, having an uncontrollable and cruel effect much greater than any other arms or projectiles ever used to date. This constitutes a new crime against humanity and civilization. The Government of Japan, in its own name and at the same time in the name of all of humanity and civilization, accuses the American Government with the present note of the use of an inhuman weapon of this nature and demands energetically abstinence from its use.”
Washington , August 11, 1945
Selden, Kyoko; Selden, Mark, eds. (1989).
"The Atomic Bomb: Voices from Hiroshima and Nagasaki".
Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe. ISBN 978-0-873-32556-1.
On 11 August 1945, the Japanese government filed an official protest over the atomic bombing to the U.S. State Department through the Swiss Legation in Tokyo, observing:
Combatant and noncombatant men and women, old and young, are massacred without discrimination by the atmospheric pressure of the explosion, as well as by the radiating heat which result therefrom. Consequently there is involved a bomb having the most cruel effects humanity has ever known ... The bombs in question, used by the Americans, by their cruelty and by their terrorizing effects, surpass by far gas or any other arm, the use of which is prohibited. Japanese protests against U.S. desecration of international principles of war paired the use of the atomic bomb with the earlier firebombing, which massacred old people, women and children, destroying and burning down Shinto and Buddhist temples, schools, hospitals, living quarters, etc ... They now use this new bomb, having an uncontrollable and cruel effect much greater than any other arms or projectiles ever used to date. This constitutes a new crime against humanity and civilization.
On Aug. 10, the Imperial authorities delivered a protest to Washington via the Swiss government, saying that although the U.S. had disavowed the use of poison gas on account of its indiscriminate nature, this bomb was far worse.
The protest accused the U.S. of committing “a sin against the culture of the human race by using a bomb which harms more indiscriminately and is more cruel than any weapon or missile which has been used in the past.”
It described Hiroshima as “a common ordinary urban community without any particular military defense facilities. … By individual cases of damage done, it was unprecedentedly cruel.”
Tsuyoshi Hasegawa 長谷川毅 "Racing the Enemy" page 299
On August 10 the Japanese government sent a letter of protest through the Swiss legation to the United States government. This letter declared the American use of the atomic bombs to be a violation of Articles 22 and 23 of the Hague Convention Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, which prohibited the use of cruel weapons. It declared “in the name of the Japanese Imperial Government as well as in the name of humanity and civilization” that “the use of the atomic bombs, which surpass the indiscriminate cruelty of any other existing weapons and projectiles,” was a crime against humanity, and demanded that “the further use of such inhumane weapons be immediately ceased.” Needless to say, Truman did not respond to this letter. After Japan accepted the American occupation and became an important ally of the United States, the Japanese government has never raised any protest about the American use of the atomic bombs. The August 10 letter remains the only, and now forgotten, protest lodged by the Japanese government against the use of the atomic bomb.