Taking secrets to the grave

“American suspicion of clandestine militarization had been aroused as early as 1923 when Earle Ellis, a marine corps undercover agent, had disappeared in the mandates after gaining passage to the islands on pretense of doing nature studies. Japanese authorities had informed our naval attaché only that Ellis had died of unknown causes on the island of Palau, in the western Carolines. Chief Pharmacist Lawrence Zembsch, of the American naval hospital in Yokohama that had been established in World War I, was sent to investigate the circumstances of Ellis’s death. Zembsch returned with the major’s ashes, but in a stupor, apparently drug-induced, and suffering from amnesia. He was hospitalized, with some hope that his recovery might clear the mystery. Unfortunately, Zembsch was killed in the naval hospital when it was destroyed in the great earthquake of 1 September 1923.” – Rear Admiral Edwin T. Layton, U.S.N. (Ret.), And I Was There

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