Col Williams and Major Hurt raised white fag through the line at Lamao, this morning and arranged a conference with the Jap CG, a Lieutenant General Homma. Later, General King. Major Cothran, and I went forward thru the
lines with Col Collier and Major Hurt. Col Willams was kept by the Japs as a hostage. We traveled in two jeeps, and three fleets of dive bombers overhead bombed and strafed us all the way, repeatedly. We left at day break and met the first Japanese on our side of the bridge at Lamao. Everytime we were strafed, we stopped the car in the center of the road and flattened ourselves into the ditches and when the planes were almost overhead, Col Collier in first jeep, and I in the General’s jeep ran out of the ditch and waved the white flags hopIng the Japs would see them. If they did, they paid no attention. I made these white flags out of my bed sheet.
When we reached the bridge at Lamao, we were conducted to the major general commanding the division, at his headquarters in Rodriquez Park, and saw Colonel Williams waiting there. The division commander explained to us thru a very poor interpreter that he was not empowered to deal with General King and that we must wait for the arrival of some one from General Homma’s headquarters. We arrived around 0800 hours and Col Nakayama and a captain, aide, arrived at 1100 hours and sat down at the table which had been brought outside for the interview. As they approached us, General King rose from his chair. The Jap colonel ignored him and sr down stiffly at the end of the table.General King resumed his seat across the table, sitting erect with his hands folded in front of him. I never saw him look more like a soldier than in this hour of defeat. The aide stood at one end of the table and I stood at the other end. The aide –interpreter– turned to General King and said:
“You are General Wainwright?” the interpreter snapped speaking English with a harsh Prussian accent.
General King replied that he was General King, commander of the Luzon Force.
“Where is General Wainwright?” he Jap demanded.
General King ignored this and said, “I’ve come to ask for terms for the troops in Bataan.”
“We want to see General Wainwright. You must go and bring General Wainwright,” said the aide.
General King reiterated be did not represent General Wainwright but only himself and the troops on Bataan. After this unexpected development the colonel, representing General Homma, and the aide held an excited colloquy, after which the interpreter asked, “For what purpose have you come?”
General King explained slowly and distinctly that he came to ask tor an armistice of twelve hours during which time the Japs would remain in their present position while couriers notified forward elements of our surrender. General King also explained with great emphasis that we had preserved sufficient trucks and passenger transportation to move the prisoners to any place of internment that the Japs sbould name. There was more conferring in Japanese and then the interpreter turned back to General King and said the surrender must be unconditional. Ignoring the statement, General King repeated his request for the arrangement of the movement of the troops. The Jap colonel gave some instruction to the interpreter who repeated the surrender must be unconditional. General King then asked how the prisoners would be treated. Following another conference in Japanese, the interpreter turned back and said. “You must surrender unconditionally.”
General King then asked, “Will you treat the prisoners well?”
The interpreter conferred again with the colonel representing Genera Homma and turned back again to General King and blurted incisively, “After all, we are not barbarians.” And this was the most General King was able to secure in the way of a promise from the Japanese. He then agreed to surrender. The aide turned angrily to General King and said, “Your saber.”
General King did not have a saber because when we took the field in Bataan I had left it in Manila. The General reiterated that he did not have a saber. This outrageous violation of ethics of surrender angered the interpreter and it looked for a short time as though the Japanese might break off the negotiations. However, they agreed to accept the General’s pistol and other American staff officers and I laid down our pistols, we were taken captives.
We were taken to Balanga and there, outside the school house where General Homma’s headquarters was located, General King and the rest of us were questioned by other staff officers through the same interpreter. We were questioned concerning the troops and materials on Bataan and then of the number of Japanese prisoners we had. We answered these questions truthfully and told the Japanese that there are 70,000 troops on Bataan. They were much disgruntled when they learned there were no tanks, artillery nor ammunition to be taken as war booty and angrily demanded why there was none. General King, cooly but politely, told them that he had ordered all materiel except trucks and gasoline destroyed. The Japanese blew up but did not strike the general as I expected them to do. Following our questioning about Bataan we were questioned concerning Corregidor defenses. As before, they questioned General King first and the general gave the rest of us his cue by refusing to discuss Corregidor at all. His words were “It is not possible for me to give you information concerning Corregidor. I can only answer questions about Bataan.” Af this time the lapanese did not try to force us to testify concerning Corregidor. We were taken from Balanga to Orani, and there placed in a room over a store overlooking the road and the military police headquarters across the way. We were questioned here and all questioned jointly and separately at different hours of the day and during the night for the next two days.