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The Australian Pursuit of Japanese War Criminals, 1943-1957From Foe to Friend$

Dean Aszkielowicz

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9789888390724

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888390724.001.0001

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Building a Case against the War Criminals

Building a Case against the War Criminals

Law and Investigation

(p.34) 2 Building a Case against the War Criminals
The Australian Pursuit of Japanese War Criminals, 1943-1957

Dean Aszkielowicz

Hong Kong University Press

Abstract and Keywords

Long before the Second World War ended, the Allies were planning to prosecute Axis war criminals, including both those in positions of leadership and the perpetrators of individual crimes. There was no standing war crimes court at the end of the Second World War, however, and the post-war trials were a watershed in international law. For the trials at Nuremberg and Tokyo, Allied planners drew on the development of international humanitarian law and international agreements signed by the combatants over the decades preceding the war. The vast majority of war criminals who were prosecuted did not face the court at Nuremberg or Tokyo: they appeared before national military tribunals which were conducted according to each prosecuting country’s war crimes law. The Australian War Crimes Act passed through the parliament in October 1945, shortly before trials began.

Keywords:   War crimes law, Australian war crimes law, Investigation

As the end of the Second World War drew near there was broad agreement among the Allies that Axis war crimes had been widespread and the perpetrators of these crimes needed to be identified and punished. Both Prime Minister Winston Churchill and President Franklin D. Roosevelt at different times during the war considered preparing a list of around a hundred Axis leaders who would be summarily executed once captured.1 By the time Axis forces surrendered, however, Allied leaders had established that the pursuit of war criminals needed to be an example of fair and reasonable international justice and, therefore, needed to be carried out in courtrooms.

Establishing the Class A courtrooms to pursue the major Axis war criminals was not a straightforward task. At the end of the war, a standing international war crimes court did not exist. Moreover, all previous attempts to hold war crimes trials on a large scale at the end of a conflict had, in the eyes of the countries that demanded the trials, produced largely unsatisfactory results. Problematic also was that, to some, the jurisdiction the Allies had over the Axis leadership was shaky. To establish the legal basis for the prosecution of the Axis leadership, Allied leaders and legal thinkers leant heavily on the development of war crimes law and several international agreements from the decades that preceded the Second World War.

In the case of the Class BC war criminals, concerns over jurisdiction were far less salient because most of the Allies had existing military law that in some way acknowledged the power of military commanders to punish war crimes.2 Each country still had to decide, however, what the best way to approach the process was, under which legislation to hold trials, and under what procedures war crimes courts could operate.

In the aftermath of Japan’s surrender, Australia was well placed to build on Webb’s wartime investigations and both to make a contribution to the multinational effort to (p.35) bring the Japanese leadership to trial, and to proceed quickly with its own Class BC prosecutions. Several hurdles needed to be overcome before the trials began. Australia did not have legislation covering war crimes at the end of the war. The government needed to establish a legal framework for trials and elected to create Australian war crimes laws in the parliament, the Australian War Crimes Act 1945, which was then applied retrospectively to the post-war BC trials. The military also had to build on Webb’s earlier work and to gather the evidence required to punish war criminals in court. This chapter examines the process the government undertook to establish its case against the alleged Japanese war criminals and developments in international law that the Allies felt justified their pursuit of war criminals.

Establishing the Trials: The Development of War Crimes Law

In some ways, Allied policy makers viewed the post-war trials as a culmination of decades of development in international law. Although no codified international war crimes laws existed, discussion on the laws of war had begun around the beginning of the century. The Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 attempted, amongst other things, to develop a set of rules and customs for the conduct of war and the treatment of POWs.3 The Treaty of Versailles, signed on 28 June 1919, also included statements by the victors in the First World War that war crimes trials would be convened and details of how the courts would function. The Treaty of Versailles is highly significant in the development of war crimes law because it was the first time the war effort of one nation, namely Germany, was condemned as a criminal action.4 The First World War had been the bloodiest conflict to that point in European history, and there was a strong desire to apportion blame for the war and its costs. With the fighting over, courtrooms and international politics were the only remaining arenas in which Germany could be brought to justice. The application of international agreements to war crimes trials, however, was not easy. Prosecutions of accused German war criminals were launched by the German government in Leipzig in 1921, but with very limited results. In the aftermath of a conflict that had killed around sixteen million people, including roughly nine million civilians, only twelve people were tried and six found guilty. The court imposed only light sentences and the Leipzig trial process is regarded now as a deeply flawed undertaking.5

(p.36) After Leipzig, discussion of the laws of war continued. Although it did not specifically deal with the laws of war, or war crimes, the Kellogg-Briand Pact, signed in 1928, proved to be significant in the development of war crimes law as the fifteen original signatories to the pact, which included Germany and Japan, renounced war as an instrument of foreign policy. The Kellogg-Briand Pact later formed the basis of the charge of ‘crimes against peace’ in trials after the Second World War. Similar to the Hague conventions, the Third Geneva Convention of 1929—that is, the agreement commonly known as the Geneva Convention—specifically dealt with the treatment of prisoners of war and constituted another step towards international consensus on an acceptable code of conduct for waging war.6

The outbreak of hostilities in Europe in September 1939, however, preceded any serious international attempts to formalize war crimes courts, and the eventual trials were essentially ad hoc creations. The devastation caused by the Second World War and the information that emerged relatively early on about atrocities in both Europe and the Pacific meant there was always a strong likelihood that trials would be held after the conflict ended. Much of the legal basis and jurisdiction for war crimes trials was based on the international agreements mentioned above and was set more specifically by various decrees and declarations originating in wartime conferences among Allied leaders. In October 1943, the leaders of the three major Allied powers, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, and the United States, signed the Moscow Declaration, which indicated that those responsible for Nazi atrocities would be pursued and brought to justice.7 At the Yalta Conference in February 1945, the Allies reiterated that Nazi war criminals would be pursued.8 On 8 August 1945, three months after the surrender of Germany and one week before Japan’s surrender, the London Charter of the International Military Tribunal was signed by the United States, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and France, beginning the process that led to the Nuremberg trials.9 Twenty-four key Nazi leaders were charged as war criminals, and twenty-two of them were eventually tried at Nuremberg between November 1945 and October 1946.10

(p.37) In the Pacific, the situation was different. Japan had not ratified the Third Geneva Convention of 1929 and it was difficult to determine the international framework under which trials could be held. As noted above, a comprehensive and compelling international legal framework for war crimes trials did not exist. When Japan signed the instrument of surrender on 2 September 1945, however, it accepted the terms of the Potsdam Declaration with its promise that ‘stern justice shall be meted out to all war criminals, including those who have visited cruelties upon our prisoners.’11 Acceptance of the wording of the Potsdam Declaration made an international tribunal to prosecute Japanese war crimes legally possible. The specific legal framework of the Class A trial in Japan, namely the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, was set forth in a SCAP proclamation on 19 January 1946.12

Establishing Australia’s War Crimes Law

The Australian government charted the prospective course of the war crimes trials in broad terms before the public outcry over the treatment of POWs began in September 1945. In October 1945, however, officials were still gathering evidence, the parameters of the trials were still being decided, in secret, and goals were being set for the number of trials there would be.13 In truth, at the end of the war, the specifics of how best to try Japanese war criminals were far from clear.

At the conclusion of the war the Australian government had two main courses of action available. The government could try war criminals under the existing British royal warrant for war crimes, or could devise new legislation of its own. Existing Australian military law was evidently considered insufficient for the prosecution of war criminals. In the Australian Edition of Manual of Military Law 1941, war crimes were only briefly defined as ‘violations of the recognized rules of warfare by members of the armed forces’.14 The British royal warrant for war criminals, issued on 14 June 1945, was the instrument applied by British war crimes courts. A royal warrant is essentially an expression of the royal prerogative and the authority of the Crown. In practice, the warrant defined the jurisdiction and the structure of British war crimes courts, stating that ‘His Majesty deems it expedient to make provision for the trial and punishment of violations of the laws and usages of war.’ The Australian (p.38) government, however, decided that its BC trials should be conducted under new legislation and the separate Australian War Crimes Act was speedily put together in October 1945, allowing the military and government to try Japanese war criminals on their own terms.15 The act was based on the British warrant but provided a greater jurisdiction to charge alleged war criminals with offences and a degree of flexibility in determining what a war crime was.16 For example, the War Crimes Act, in addition to defining a war crime as a violation of the laws of war, also included any crime defined by a board of inquiry as a war crime. The offence in question could have been committed in ‘any place whatsoever, whether within or beyond Australia, during any war’.17

Australia’s war crimes legislation departed from that used by other governments conducting BC trials in a few respects. The most significant was that the act specifically listed rape and enslaving women into prostitution as war crimes, even though such crimes are generally regarded as having been overlooked in international military law.18 On the whole, however, the Australian War Crimes Act closely resembled other nations’ legislation.19 The wish to try alleged Japanese war criminals under a specifically Australian act confirms the pattern in Australian foreign policy that I have already mentioned: the government was continuing to exhibit the growing independence from British foreign policy that had been evident during and near the end of the war. The Australian War Crimes Act was a further sign that the government wished to handle sensitive matters itself. Australians felt so strongly about alleged Japanese war crimes in particular that leaving the trials in other countries’ hands was not acceptable. The idea of a specifically Australian reckoning with Japan was powerful.

Uncovering the Crimes

Though Australia’s war crimes legislation was not in place until October 1945, there was little doubt that prosecutions would go ahead and preparations for trials had started during the conflict itself. In December 1942 the Australian government had expressed interest in joining the United Nations War Crimes Commission (UNWCC), a combined US and UK initiative to coordinate the investigation of alleged Axis war crimes.20 This body, which began operating in October 1943, focused chiefly (p.39) on alleged crimes in the European theatre, but in 1944 the Far Eastern and Pacific Sub-Commission was established.21 Much of the early discussion on jurisdiction, trial procedures, and suspects took place within the UNWCC, but its influence on the trials in Asia and the Pacific waned. Official Australian investigations into alleged Japanese war crimes began as early as 1942, and in June 1943 Webb began his inquiry.22 By this time International Red Cross reports had suggested that war crimes were occurring. Red Cross representatives in Australia then petitioned the government to investigate, expressing serious doubts over Japanese claims that conditions in POW camps were suitable. The Red Cross maintained that reports from its representatives were being altered by the Japanese.23 The Australian government does not appear to have made the Red Cross claims public, but Webb’s commission to investigate war crimes was made partly in response to this evidence. Webb’s report covers this investigation process, the ways in which specific rules or conventions had been broken by the Japanese, and details of the kind of atrocities being committed. It also sought to justify the secrecy surrounding investigations of alleged crimes by claiming that a more open approach would endanger troops in Japanese-held areas,24 presumably as Japanese soldiers might worsen their treatment of Australian soldiers as a reprisal. After Webb’s inquiry in 1943, an Australian body to coordinate the ongoing investigation into alleged Japanese war crimes was created on 8 June 1944: the Australian War Crimes Commission. Once Australian forces began to prevail in Japanese-occupied areas in early 1945, the Australian military applied itself ever more diligently to the task of preparing as complete a record as possible of war crimes and indeed to trying to ascertain the fate of all its servicemen. By May 1945, the military had gathered significant of evidence of crimes.

The majority of personnel involved in the trials were responsible for the investigation of possible crimes.25 Webb’s early report on Japanese atrocities was not the only source of leads for investigators to pursue. As POWs were liberated and returned home, the Australian government issued questionnaires to all those who had been in Japanese prison camps. Between twelve thousand and fourteen thousand completed questionnaires, virtually all the surveys originally sent out, were recorded by the military.26 The questionnaires were two pages long, with one to two further pages of a full statement by the ex-POW if he had indicated that he had witnessed or had knowledge of a war crime. The questionnaires were completed in the presence of an officer who countersigned the document and commented in writing on (p.40) the reliability of the witness. Completed questionnaires were used both to pursue investigations and to provide evidence in court, though only 248 were used directly in the trials.27 They proved useful to prosecutors; legal personnel believed they had helped in gaining guilty verdicts.28 Other Allied governments used similar means of gathering information.

If written or verbal evidence from an Australian soldier indicated that a war crime might have occurred, the army investigated further, beginning by identifying the area in which the crime was alleged to have occurred. Evidence was also gathered separately by the air force. A number of cases dealt with crimes against Australian airmen who had crashed in Japanese-occupied areas. The air force investigated crash sites to discover the fate of the plane and crew. If it appeared that the crew had survived the crash but had later died, the cause of death was then investigated. Once it was decided that a war crime was likely to have occurred, a process began to find which Japanese units had been in the area and who had commanded those units. It was not always easy to find the commanding officers. Australian units had received the surrender of many thousands of Japanese soldiers in areas where the two sides had been fighting. The Australian War Crimes Commission requested at the end of the war that all Japanese commanders and staffof POW camps be detained in the area in which they had surrendered. Although many arrests were made, it appears that this directive was not always followed, despite a further instruction that staffof POW camps should be held even if there was no evidence of wrongdoing.29 Many Japanese were allowed to leave the area to which they had been posted—to be repatriated to Japan, for example—and this must have made it far more complicated to identify suspects.

The search for written records of confinement and treatment of Allied POWs was often fruitless. In at least one case, though, the prosecution surprisingly claimed to have received a great deal of help from Japanese authorities, who provided them with documentation on the soldiers under investigation, probably in order to ensure that other innocent soldiers were not tried mistakenly for the alleged crime.30 But in general it seems highly unlikely that the Japanese navy or army provided any significant assistance in the pursuit of their men. In most cases, the investigation process was fairly rudimentary and focused on line-ups and photo identification of suspects by Australian soldiers. Even these procedures were time consuming and difficult given that many Allied soldiers struggled to distinguish accurately between Japanese people, even though they had been their captives for a considerable time. In one particular case concerning alleged crimes on Ambon Island in the Dutch East Indies, (p.41) several Australian soldiers in turn failed to identify in a line-up the Japanese soldier suspected of committing the crimes. The case was nevertheless successful in the end because one Australian soldier did recognize the alleged criminal. In fact, where several soldiers had failed to recognize even a single suspect, this one soldier was able to recognize over forty across a number of cases.31 The investigating and prosecuting authorities, however, do not seem to have acknowledged any problem in accepting one soldier’s word over that of many others.

Identifying Japanese suspects by name was also difficult. Many Japanese had given false names when they surrendered, fearing reprisals from their own military.32 The resulting confusion was then compounded by the difficulty that Australians had with spelling Japanese names and the fact that there were some very common surnames, such as Tanaka, Suzuki, and Watanabe.

Investigating and prosecuting Japanese war criminals uncovered issues about Australian as well as Japanese conduct during and after the war. Japanese prisoners made several accusations of ill treatment against their Australian guards. For example, an Allied interrogator, Captain Sylvester, was the subject of a relatively lengthy investigation into his interrogation techniques, which allegedly included coercing confessions and evidence out of Japanese soldiers by somewhat violent means. The investigation ultimately found, however, that Sylvester did not have a case to answer.33 It appears that the Australian military authorities took such accusations seriously and attempted to investigate them thoroughly. Investigations were not received well by Australian personnel; the investigators were referred to as ‘white nips’.34 Investigations also uncovered accusations of poor, or self-serving, behaviour among some Australian soldiers during the war. Australian POWs were alleged to have stolen from each other or otherwise to have taken advantage of each other.35 The details in the trial records thus reveal that not everyone was able to cope with the intense pressure on Australian POWs as stoically as the popular stereotype suggests.

The Australian trial authorities originally intended to investigate all instances of alleged war crimes and to prosecute all suspected Japanese war criminals. Given that crimes included slapping prisoners and depriving them of food or medicine, there must have been a daunting number of ‘leads’ to pursue. By the end of the trials, the Australian authorities had prosecuted 814 Japanese soldiers, which is a considerable number at face value. Roughly 142,000 Japanese soldiers were in Australian (p.42) controlled areas after the surrender,36 however, and the number was higher initially, before some were transferred to Dutch and British control. Therefore, 814 represents a very small proportion. Trials were aimed at soldiers associated with POW camps in particular, and the total number of Japanese prisoners included many who were not. Nevertheless, it must have been a demanding task for the Australian troops to identify suspected criminals and to arrest most of the ‘notorious’ candidates. Australian units receiving the surrender of the Japanese in Australian-held areas numbered roughly half the Japanese forces, and apprehending war criminals was only one of their three major responsibilities. In addition to the arrest of suspected war criminals, priority was given to the liberation of prisoners in these areas and the disarmament of Japanese forces and securing of the armaments that were recovered.37

Such was the fervour surrounding Japanese war crimes, partly by government design, that an ambitious attempt to bring as many war criminals to justice as possible was apparently the only realistic way of appeasing returned soldiers and the public. It is difficult, though, to assess how comprehensive Australian investigations were. Most Australian soldiers returning from the war seem to have claimed that Japanese war crimes were very common. Webb’s report also highlighted widespread crimes. Government officials had known of war crimes since 1943, while the public and army claimed that it had known about them ‘all along’. Moreover, the Australian War Crimes Act allowed authorities broad jurisdiction. Yet with 142,000 surrendered Japanese at their disposal, Australian authorities charged fewer than 1,000. It is fair to conclude that either trial authorities fell woefully short of the goal to prosecute all Japanese war criminals, or the frequency of crimes had been considerably exaggerated. If the allegations that crimes were widespread are true, as some Australian historians assert,38 then one point that has been overlooked is how statistically unlucky a Japanese soldier had to be to be convicted of a war crime.

The Australian government took active steps to ensure its interests were protected in all matters relating to war crimes trials. The cabinet cabled Evatt in October 1945 and suggested that Australia should, in negotiations with its allies, state its desire to investigate all war crimes in South East Asia, as recognition of the scale of its war effort.39 The language used by the government not only addressed its legal rights to pursue war criminals but again took the opportunity to make a political point and to draw the Allies’ attention to Australia’s war effort. In actual fact, each of the seven governments conducting Class B and C trials had the right to try Japanese soldiers for (p.43) war crimes committed against its own soldiers and for crimes committed against native civilians in Japanese-occupied areas in which the Allied country’s troops were stationed at the time of the Japanese surrender. The Australian trials were conducted within the area of the Pacific that during the war had been subject to the US-led South East Asia Command (SEAC), the headquarters of Allied military operations in the South East Pacific. According to a US directive, war crimes trials in the SEAC area were the responsibility of the Commander in Chief of SEAC in the case of the United States, or otherwise of the individual governments whose troops were active in that area.40 It was similar elsewhere in the Pacific; trials were conducted by the Allied wartime military command in a particular area, the occupying Allied nation, or the individual Allied government that believed a crime had occurred in that area against its personnel or interests.41 Local agreements, for example within SEAC, ensured that in cases where more than one government was interested in trying a particular suspect, each nation concerned could send a representative to observe the trial and would retain the right to try the suspect if the original prosecuting government dropped the charges against him.42 An external affairs telegram in December 1945 asked the British Foreign Office to allow an Australian military representative to be present at all British trials that involved an Australian in any way.43 It is evident that the Australian military and government were determined not only to take responsibility for Australia’s own trials but also to ensure that justice was served to their satisfaction whenever Australians were involved.

Under the Department of Army’s Directorate of Prisoners of War and Internees, 1 Australian War Crimes Section was set up and attached to South East Asia Command in Singapore.44 The directorate served as the headquarters for all the initial Australian trials. As noted earlier, trials were held at Darwin, Labuan, Rabaul, Morotai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Wewak, and Manus Island. It is not absolutely clear why, other than Manus, each venue was chosen. It seems likely, however, that trials were conducted at the closest and most suitable venue in relation to where Australian personnel had uncovered war crimes or arrested suspected war criminals.

By October 1945 Australian authorities had been gathering evidence on alleged war crimes for several years and the parliament had created Australia’s first legislation (p.44) for the prosecution of war crimes. There were, however, further hurdles to be overcome before trials could go ahead. Since the creation of the UNWCC, legal experts had contemplated how war crimes could successfully be prosecuted. The consensus among those at the UNWCC was that procedures normally found in civilian courts, and even some in courts martial, would need to be changed to allow prosecutions to be successful in what they viewed as extraordinary circumstances.45


(1.) War Cabinet 34 (44), ‘Conclusions of a Meeting of the War Cabinet Held at 10 Downing Street, S.W.1, on Monday, 13/3/44, at 6.30 p.m.’, National Archives (UK), CAB/65/41/34, 158–59; Arieh J. Kochavi, Prelude to Nuremberg: Allied War Crimes Policy and the Question of Punishment (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998), 63–91. See also War Cabinet, Minute by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs [Eden], ‘Treatment of War Criminals’, 22 June 1942, 2–3, NA (UK), CAB/66/25/44.

(2.) Tim McCormack, ‘Jurisdiction of Australian Military Courts, 1945–1951’, in Fitzpatrick, McCormack, and Morris, Australia’s War Crimes Trials.

(3.) Frederick W. Holls, The Peace Conference at the Hague: And Its Bearings on International Law and Policy (New York: Macmillan, 1900); Adam Roberts and Richard Guelff, eds., Documents on the Laws of War (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000).

(4.) Gerry J. Simpson, Law, War and Crime: War Crimes Trials and the Re-invention of International Law (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2007), 59.

(5.) Richard L. Lael, The Yamashita Precedent: War Crimes and Command Responsibility (Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 1982), 42–43; War Department, ‘G-I Roundtable: What Shall Be Done with War Criminals?’, EM 11 G-I Roundtable Series, Special Board of the American Historical Association, Wisconsin, 1944, 13–18.

(7.) ‘Moscow Declaration’, in Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, A Decade of American Foreign Policy: Basic Documents, 1941–49 (Washington DC: Government Printing Office, 1950), 9–13.

(8.) ‘Yalta Conference’, in Senate Committee, Decade of American Foreign Policy, 27.

(9.) Lael, Yamashita Precedent, 56–59‘London Charter of the International Military Tribunal’, London, 8 August 1945, Avalon Project, Yale Law School, accessed 24 April 2012, http://avalon.law.yale.edu/imt/imtchart.asp.

(10.) Roger S. Clark, ‘Nuremberg and Tokyo in Contemporary Perspective’, in The Law of War Crimes: National and International Approaches, ed. Timothy L. H. McCormack and Gerry J. Simpson (The Hague: Kluwer Law International, 1997), 172.

(13.) ‘External Affairs to Sir William Webb’, 25 October 1945, NAA, Canberra, A816, 170273.

(14.) Military Board (Australia), Australian Edition of Manual of Military Law 1941 (Including Army Act and Rules of Procedure as Modified and Adapted by the Defence Act 1903–1939 and the Australian Military Regulations) (Canberra: Commonwealth Government Printer, 1941), 287. This definition was similar to the one used by the US during the BC trials. See United States Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States VI: Diplomatic Papers 1945. The British Commonwealth, the Far East, VI (Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1945), 932–33, accessed 29 April 2012, http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/cgi-bin/FRUS/FRUS-idx?id=FRUS.FRUS1945v06.

(16.) United Nations War Crimes Commission, Law Reports of Trials of War Criminals (Buffalo, NY: William S. Hein & Co., 1997), 105–10Piccigallo, Japanese on Trial, 124–25

(18.) Helen Durham and Narrelle Morris, ‘Women’s Bodies and International Military Law’, in Beyond Victor’s Justice? The Tokyo War Crimes Trial Revisited, ed. Tanaka, McCormack, and Simpson, 284–90.

(19.) Ben J. Dunn, ‘Trial of War Criminals’, Australian Law Journal 19 (15 March 1946): 361–63.

(23.) Alfred Broam, ‘Report from Australian Red Cross’, 14 April 1943, NAA, Melbourne, B1535, 392337.

(26.) H. V. Evatt, ‘Revealing Details of Investigations Processes’, Parliamentary Debates (Hansard) / House of Representatives 186, 10 April 1946 (Canberra: Government Printing, 1953), 1294–95.

(27.) David Sissons, ‘Details on POW Questionnaire’, Papers of D. C. S. Sissons, folder 28, box 3.

(28.) ‘Captain Williams to Lt Van Nooten’, 21 February 1946, Papers of John Myles Williams (manuscript), Mitchell Library, Sydney, 1927–1989, MLMSS 5426 Vol. 3.

(30.) ‘Captain Williams to Lt Van Nooten’, 21 February 1946, Papers of John Myles Williams.

(32.) ‘Cable from External Affairs to Australian War Crimes Commission’, 26 November 1945, NAA, Canberra, A6238, 3073837.

(33.) ‘Investigations into Cpt. Sylvester – Oshima Claims’, 8 September 1950, NAA, Melbourne, MP742/1, 698424.

(34.) ‘Investigations into POW Conduct’, NAA, Melbourne, MP742/1, 391800.

(35.) ‘Memo from Chief Justice Chambers to Sinclair at Department of Army’, NAA, Melbourne, MP742/1, 391800. For other examples of misdemeanours among Australian soldiers, see Joan Beaumont, ‘Prisoners of War in Australian National Memory’, in Moore and Hately-Broad, Prisoners of War, Prisoners of Peace, 191.

(36.) Military History Section (now Australian Army History Unit), ‘Report on the Directorate of Prisoners of War and Internees at Army Headquarters Melbourne 1939–1951’, Part V, Ch. 9, NAA, Melbourne, A7711, 1898192, 206.

(37.) Ibid., 207–8.

(39.) Cable from cabinet to Evatt, 8 October 1945, in Japanese Atrocities, NAA, Canberra, A816, 170273.

(40.) Memorandum from State-War-Navy Coordinating Sub Committee for the Far East—War Criminals, 5 November 1945, Decimal 390–39–14–1, NARA, Washington DC, RG 165, box 612.

(42.) ‘Minutes of SEAC Meeting on War Criminals Procedures’, 3 November 1945, NAA, Canberra, A6238, 3073837.

(43.) Secretary of the army in contact with British external affairs, 19 December 1945, NAA source in Papers of D. C. S. Sissons, manuscript, National Library of Australia, Canberra, box 36.