25.4.42

U.S. airmen making a forced landing on Russian soil after bombing Tokio have been interned. According to the Japanese wireless the Russians are expediting the movement of Japanese agents across Russia from Sweden (and hence from Germany) to Japan. [If true, this is a new development, this traffic having been stopped at the time when Germany attacked the USSR.]

The mystery of Subhas Chandra Bose’s whereabouts remains impenetrable. [The leading facts are: –

  1. i.                     At the time of his disappearance, the British government declared that he had gone to Berlin.
  2. ii.                   A voice, identified as his, broadcasts on the Free India radio (Germany).
  3. iii.                  The Italian radio has claimed at least once that Bose is in Japanese territory.
  4. iv.                 Indians here seem on the whole to think that he is in Japanese territory.
  5. v.                   Escape into Japanese territory would have been physically easier than escape in the other direction, though the latter would not have been impossible.
  6. vi.                 The Vichy report of his death in a plane accident between Bangkok and Tokio, though almost certainly mistaken, seemed to suggest that Vichy quarters took it for granted that he was in Japanese territory.
  7. vii.                According to engineers it would not be impossible to broadcast his voice scrambled from Tokio to Berlin and there unscramble and rebroadcast it.

There are innumerable other considerations and endless rumours.] The two questions hardest to answer are: If Bose is in Japanese territory, why this elaborate effort to make it appear that he is in Berlin, where he is comparatively ineffectual? If Bose is in German territory, how did he get there? Of course it is quite reasonably likely that he got there with Russian connivance. Then the question arises, if the Russians had previously passed Bose through, did they afterwards tip us off when they came into the war on our side? To know the answer to that would give one useful clue to their attitude towards ourselves. Of course one can get no information about questions of that type here. One has to do one’s propaganda in the dark, discreetly sabotaging the policy directives when they seem more than usually silly. [1]

To judge from their wireless, the Germans believe in a forthcoming invasion, either from France or Norway. What a chance to have a go at Spain! As, however, they have fixed a date of it (May 1st) they may merely be discussing the possibility of invasion in order to jeer when it does not come off. No sign here of any invasion preparations – no rumours about assembly of troops or boats, re-arrangement of railway schedules etc. The most positive sign is Beaverbrook’s pro-invasion speech in the USA.

[There seems to be no news whatever. It must be months since the papers were so empty.]

Struck by the mediocre physique and poor general appearance of the American soldiers one seems from time to time in the street. The officers usually better than the men, however.

[1] Bose escaped from India, with German help, via Afghanistan, in the winter of 1940-41. When he reached Moscow, the Russians ‘were extremely hospitable but determinedly evasive about helping him. In Berlin the Germans were more receptive’ (Mihir Bose, The Lost Hero, p. 162). He was in Germany until 8 February 1943, when he sailed from Kiel in a U-boat (p. 205). 

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