U.S. Army Fort Detrick, associated with the 731 Unit?

On May 2, one of the ten questions asked by Chinese media to U.S. politicians was this: “Fort Detrick Biological and Chemical Weapons Base is the largest biological and chemical weapons research center in the U.S. Army. A spate of cases of pneumonia or pneumonia-like illnesses followed shortly after the closure.

At almost the same time, there was an outbreak of H1N1 influenza in the United States; in October 2019, several U.S. agencies organized a pandemic drill code-named ‘Event201’; in December, the first person to contract new coronary pneumonia in Wuhan showed symptoms; and in February 2020, there was a global outbreak at multiple points. Are these events intrinsically related?”

Fort Detrick Biological and Chemical Weapons Base, United States (information picture)

These are enough questions for some mouthy American politicians to answer for a while, but with respect to Fort Detrick, they may need to explain much more than that.


In August 1945, Japan announced its unconditional surrender, and while the Chinese people celebrated their victory in the war as a nation, the United States, as far away as the east coast of the Pacific, was plotting something in secret.

In October of the same year, then US President Harry S. Truman secretly sent a scientific team to Japan on a secret mission, led by Carl Compton, then president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), to meet the former founder and leader of the 731st Army, the “demon doctor” Ishii Shiro.

“Devil Doctor” Ishii Shiro (Photo)

The infamous Unit 731, which was the name of the Water Supply and Epidemic Prevention Department of the Kanto Army of the old Imperial Japanese Army, under the leadership of Shiro Ishii, conducted a series of human experiments including germ experiments, vivisection and gas experiments during the war of aggression against China and the Second World War, which were inhumane to the bottom line, and at least 3,000 people were mutilated here, according to the confession of senior members of Unit 731.

But some researchers put the number of victims at least in the tens of thousands. With the expansion of the war of aggression, the 731st Army carried out large-scale and horrific bacteriological warfare in Zhejiang and Hunan, as well as in Shandong and Guangdong, China, causing a large number of civilian deaths.

However, the fact that none of the dozens of leading members of the 731 forces, including Shiro Ishii, were indicted at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East trials between 1946 and 1948 is a source of doubt.


The United States, as the victorious nation, went all the way to Japan as soon as World War II ended, what was it up to?

According to the U.S. National Archives documents, as early as the end of World War II, the U.S. Army had learned of the fact that the Japanese were engaged in bacteriological warfare in China, and between 1945 and 1947, the U.S. Army sent scientific research teams five times to investigate and try to learn about the “results” of related experiments through various channels.

In September 1945, Lieutenant Colonel Murray Sanders, a bacteriologist sent by the United States, completed a study on the 731 Force (the Sanders Report) by interrogating Ryoichi Naito, Junichi Kaneko and Chisa Masuda, key members of the “731 Force”. The report is now in the United States National Archives (390/18/24/02).

On October 3, 1945, Carl Compton, personally appointed by President Truman, returned to the United States and reported and submitted a six-page summary of his situation. The report is now in the Truman Museum.

Harry S. Truman (information photo)

On 31 May 1946 Arvo Thompson went to Tokyo to interrogate Shiro Ishii and 25 of his cronies, and completed a “Report on the Study of Biological Warfare in Japan,” presenting a study of 21 bacterial warfare agents, 4 methods of bacterial attack, and 10 drawings of bacterial bombs. The report is now in the US National Archives (270/09/07/04).

In April 1947 Dr. Norbert Fell of Fort Detrick was ordered to go to Japan again to investigate, and in the June 29th issue of the “Summary of New Information on Biological Weapons in Japan,” he stated that “the experiments currently being studied at Fort Detrick have been done by the Japanese, and there are many new studies, including the effects of fungi, bacteria, and nematodes on grains and vegetables in Manchuria and Siberia.” “The report has not been studied at Fort Detrick, but after a preliminary glance one can be sure that it contains a lot of interesting and valuable information.”

The report is said to be 60 pages long and includes research on the amount of infection or death caused by anthrax, plague, typhoid fever, paratyphoid type A and B, dysentery, cholera, nasal gangrene, the mode of infection, bomb tests, spray tests, stability, etc. The report is now in the United States National Archives (290/03/19/02).

Dr. Fehr, “New Information on Japan’s Biological Weapons

Beginning on 29 October 1947, Dr. Edwin Hill of Fort Detrick began 76 interviews with key members of the 731st, covering plant, animal, human experimentation, various viruses and the use of biological weapons in warfare.

The Edwin Hill Report was presented on 12 December and in it, the report strongly defended Ishii’s petition for exoneration. All interview transcripts and materials are in the United States National Archives.

The 1991 paper published by the Keio Economics Society of Japan is also very explicit about the experiences of Sanders, Thomson, Fell and Hill in their research trips to Japan, as well as the report material they left behind after their interviews.

Excerpts from the interview transcripts in the National Archives of the United States


Is it selflessness on the part of the scientists or is there something else going on behind the scenes when Ishiijiro and other leading members of the 731st Force hand over their research?

For scientists, research results are like their own children, so how could Ishiijiro not bear to hand over to the United States the child he had nurtured for so many years? One can’t help but wonder if the United States made some kind of deal with Ishii and his men.

This suspicion has been verified in quite a bit of first-hand secondary literature.

American journalist John Powell’s 1980 article “Japanese Bacteriological Warfare: U.S. Cover-up of War Crimes” quotes a telegram sent to Washington by an American biological weapons expert sent to Tokyo on May 6, 1947: “Ishii expressed his willingness to describe the experiment in detail if he himself and his superiors and men could be spared prosecution for war crimes.”

Also on July 1 of that year, Dr. Edward Wettle wrote a memorandum to the U.S. State Army-Navy Adjustment Commission (SWNCC) that “(Ishii and his colleagues) are willing to provide 8,000 slides obtained from human and animal experimental dissections…Any ‘war crimes’ trial will result in full disclosure of this data to all nations and should therefore be avoided (in the interest of U.S. defense and national security).” Wittel even directly suggests that “Japanese biological weapons data is far more valuable to the United States than (Ishii and his colleagues) being indicted.”

An excerpt from “Japanese Bacteriological Warfare: The U.S. Cover-up of War Crimes” by American journalist John Powell

There is no more convincing evidence of Ishii’s secret verbal agreement with U.S. Commander MacArthur than the one mentioned in “731 Ishii Shiro and the Bacteriological Warfare Force Unveiled” by Japanese journalist Tomoko Aoki.

Tomoko Aoki wrote that she had seen the Kamakura Agreement in the U.S. National Archives, which included nine agreements, including “the secret investigation report was limited to Dr. Hill and Americans in the Allied General Command in Japan, as well as Shiro Ishii and about 20 researchers,” and “Japanese researchers would be absolutely protected from being held accountable for war crimes.

Yet the United States not only helped Ishii and his colleagues escape a war crimes trial, many historians suspect that Fort Detrick hired Ishii to research biological weapons for the United States.

In a March 18, 1995 New York Times article titled “Crimes of the 731st Force,” it was written that “The U.S. wants Japanese biological weapons data for its military use. (The data) not only exonerated the head of the 731st from war crimes trials, but also gave them an American paycheck for initiating them.”

The British Guardian, in “A Blank Moral Check” by Cambridge University lecturer Richard Drayton, published on May 10, 2005, also wrote that “Japanese Ishii Shiro, who had conducted human experiments in Manchuria, was later hired by the US as a biological weapons consultant.”

If these allegations are mere speculation on the part of historians, the telegram sent secretly to Washington on July 22, 1947 by General Willoughby, then head of U.S. intelligence, is the hammer.

Willoughby wrote in the telegram, “I must point out that this is the wise use of confidential MID funds (and the main use of this money) … If we cannot keep these people, lose face or fail to meet their demands, it will destroy the relationship that has been successfully developed so far.”

Willoughby’s secret telegram to Washington.

Thus, after carefully considering the importance of the 731st’s experimental results data to “the national defense and security of the United States,” General Herbert of the SWNCC wrote in an August 27 memo suggesting some changes to the final position paper, including the following: “The current data … do not appear to be sufficient to sustain the war crimes charges against Ishii and his colleagues.” The memorandum is now in the United States National Archives (250/68/05/03).

In the International Military Tribunal for the Far East trials of 1946-1948, due to the manipulation and cover of a major power, none of the participants in the 731 forces, including Shiro Ishii, who had committed serious germ warfare crimes in China, was prosecuted for “lack of evidence”.


What does the ever hot Fort Detrick Biological Laboratory have to do with the 731st Force?

The official name of the Fort Detrick Biological Laboratory is the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, which has had a great influence in the field of infectious disease research and control. In recent years, however, Fort Detrick has made headlines frequently for other reasons.

The presence of Fort Detrick can be clearly seen from the description of the 1989 American documentary work on Ebola in Reston, “The Blood Plague And the book was adapted for film and television by the National Geographic Channel in 2019.

The 2001 anthrax attack, in which Detrick microbiologist Bruce E. Ivins removed anthrax spores and sent them by mail, killed five people and infected 17 others. And just in 2008, when the FBI found him suspicious and would arrest Evans, the “highly respected” scientist chose to commit suicide.

From 2011 to 2016, surrounding residents petitioned for the closure of Fort Detrick, with the petitioner writing, “Fort Detrick’s weapons have seeped underground and severely impacted our lives. This irresponsible behavior has affected thousands of people and has given my family, friends and neighbors a rare form of cancer. It has taken more than 2,500 lives.” Researchers found leaks of Agent Orange, anthrax, weaponized botulism poisoning and radiocarbon xiv near Fort Detrick.

Petition initiated by residents of the Detrick neighborhood

Interestingly, most of the above were studied at Ishii and his colleagues’ 731st unit. This is also detailed in the above-mentioned article by American journalist John Powell, “Japanese Bacteriological Warfare: The U.S. Cover-up of War Crimes”: “Apparently, researchers at Fort Detrick learned a great deal from their Japanese counterparts… one researcher called the report (obtained) ‘priceless’. The biological weapons later developed by the United States were extremely similar to those already developed in Japan, for example, infecting the spore virus with feathers was one of Ishii’s ideas, and later, feather bombs became the basic configuration in the American biological arsenal.” (pictured)

And this passage from Powell’s book is from this report from Fort Detrick, marked by a footnote of 42.

Agent Orange, which was used in the Vietnam War, was developed and tested at the Chemical Weapons Research Laboratory at Fort Detrick, the lead agency for the development and testing of so-called “tactical herbicides” (including Agent Orange), according to Alvin L. Young, a scholar who helped the U.S. Department of Agriculture compile the literature on Agent Orange, in his book “The History, Uses, Properties and Environmental Homes of Agent Orange.

The book also contains many pictures and documentation of Fort Detrick’s “tactical herbicide” research.

Indeed, it can be seen from the records in the National Archives database that nearly 60 731 Force-related interviews and research were conducted at Fort Detrick between 1946 and 1949. These American research results, which were obtained from the “demon doctor” Ishii, came to Fort Detrick and “shone” again.

In July and August 2019, two leaks were reported internally at Fort Detrick, which halted the lab’s research program after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted on-site inspections and assessments.

Since the outbreak of the new crown outbreak, a handful of U.S. politicians have repeatedly accused the virus, the source of which has not been investigated, of being created in a Chinese laboratory. This is in spite of the fact that their words are firm, their assertions and even the inconsistent formulation of their allegations. But the evidence is as vapid as the ivory in their mouths.

Instead, Fort Detrick gives us too much of the unknown and uncertainty. What is even more worrying is that this base, located in “sweet air” Maryland, has taken over the “research results” of the 731st Army, which has done the most harm to the Chinese people, and what it is used for, we do not know. The “real-world experience” of its virus leak is even more chilling. Because here are preserved other viruses that are much more worrisome and dangerous than the new crown virus.

Writing at the end: the US cover-up of Ishii et al.’s war crimes and Fort Detrick’s takeover of the 731st, in an age when important national politicians are free to make unfounded and random disinformation, how many people will see the truth even if it is true? Perhaps, as British virologist Dr. Alastair Hay wrote in Nature in 2004, “Unfortunately, few Chinese scholars working in this field have access to the relevant archives.”

A century ago, during the First World War, mustard gas and other noxious gases were released by participating troops, killing tens of thousands of people on the battlefields of Europe. The use of such gases has outraged the world and has led to the adoption of the Geneva Convention of 1925, which banned the use of chemical weapons. The subsequent Second World War, although a historically costly war, was fought without the use of chemical weapons by either side. However, such acts have not gone extinct, starting with the use of chemical weapons by Iraq in the 1980s in the war against Iran and again in the subsequent war against its Kurds. Now, the conflict in Syria has compelled the civilized world to fight this scourge once again.

Now look again at the U.S. Embassy’s February 28, 2018 tweet, intriguing.

And at the same day, the U.S. Embassy modified WEIBO1

Thanks to all of you who responded to this post, we have reported back to Washington and the original post has been revised.

A century ago, during World War I, participating troops released mustard gas and other toxic gases that killed tens of thousands of people on European battlefields. The use of such gases caused worldwide outrage, and the Geneva Convention of 1925 was adopted to ban the use of chemical weapons. However, such acts have not gone away, particularly the use of chemical weapons by Iraq in the 1980s in the war against Iran and their subsequent reuse against its Kurdish minority. Now, the Syrian conflict has compelled the civilized world to fight this scourge once again.


  • U.S. National Archives Japanese war crimes excerpts
  • https://www.archives.gov/files/iwg/japanese-war-crimes/select-documents.pdf
  • Byrd,G.D, General Ishii Shiro: His Legacy is That of Genius and Madman, East Tennessee State University. https://dc.etsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2167&context=”etd”
  • Guillemin, J. (2017). Hidden Atrocities: Japanese Germ Warfare and American Obstruction of Justice at the Tokyo Trial. New York: Columbia University Press. doi:10.7312/guil18352
  • Hay, A. Japan’s secret weapons. Nature 427, 396 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1038/427396a
  • John W. Powell (1980) Japan’s germ warfare: The U.S. cover-up of a war crime, Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars, 12:4, 2-17, DOI: 10.1080/14672715.1980.10405225
  • Reed C (2006) The United States and the Japanese Mengele: Payoffs and Amnesty for Unit 73, The Asian-Pacific Journal.
  • New York Times (1923-Current file).The Crimes of Unit 73. Mar 18, 1995;
  • Shahid M.(2016). This Is What Happens When Our Institutions Fail to Protect Us. https://time.com/4289156/fort-detrick-lawsuit/
  • Sheldon H. Harris. Factories of Death: Japanese Biological Warfare, 1932-1945, and the American Cover-up. New York and London: Routledge, 2002
  • 731 Shiro Ishii and the Bacterial Warfare Force Revealed by Tomoko Aoki
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