Dear Irene (26 October 1945)

October 26, 1945

Dear Irene:

You have no idea how terribly busy I have been the last two weeks. yet never so excitingly busy in my life. My present position is head of the Research and Analysis branch of the Counter-Intelligence Section of GHQ — and it is every bit as interesting as it sounds. My best, the head of CIS is General Thorpe — a frank, blunt, rough-tongued soldier but so honest and modest at the same time that it is a pleasure to work with him. He accepts suggestions with such ease and affability that sometimes astounds me.

My immediate associates are young officers who are as pleasant and agreeable as can be. It is rather a strange position to be a civilian in charge of a U.S. army unit. I have 1 major, 1 captain, 5 Lieutenants and 25 enlisted men working in the section and a larger number working very closely in related sections.

Incidentally, here are some of the jobs I’ve got into. Interviewing political prisoners and leaders — collecting books and magazines on politics etc. The most exciting experience of my life was to drive out to a prison 20 miles from Tokyo with another officer and be the first Allied officials to enter a prison with 16 leading political prisoners, including 2 communists (in prison for 18 and 19 years) 2 Korean Independence leaders, anti-Fascist intellectuals (independent) Tenrikyo religious leaders (a sect which does not believe in the divinity of the Emperor). The reception we got was something beyond description. I have never enjoyed anything so much as being able to tell them that according to General MacArthur’s order they were to be released within a week. Later we had the opportunity to interview them at greater length andafter a few days of liberty they were able to give us political information on current affairs of the utmost interest.

Recent arrivals of old friends include Pat Ayres, T.A. Bisson (Strategic Bombing Survey) Bill Holland, Smith-Hutton, and now Owen Lattimore is due to arrive soon.

I’m so tired I can’t write anymore. I work from 8.30 — 12; 1 — 5.30 and again in the evenings, On Sunday I am driving out with John Emerson and Shigeto to visit Riho’s home in the country.

Write Mother and Howie for me. I’ll be writing them soon.


Source: UBC Special Collections, Roger Bowen Collection, Norman, E.H., Dear Irene (26 October 1945), October 26, 1945

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