Saturday April 16, 2005
An American Vietnam veteran could be about to answer one of the most intriguing questions arising from the second world war: was Japan preparing to seek peace with the allies more than a year before the war ended?
Paul Tidwell, a shipwreck salvager, said yesterday he believes wreckage of a Japanese submarine sunk by US warplanes in the Atlantic on June 23 1944 could contain a peace proposal from Tokyo that never made it into the hands of its intended recipient.
He plans to raise the sub, the I-52, from its resting place 5,500 metres (18,000ft) below the surface between Cape Verde and Barbados, 1,000 miles from the nearest land.
The vessel is thought to be carrying the remains of 112 crew, two tonnes of gold and a similar quantity of opium.
With a large quantity of opium still thought to be on board, the US drug enforcement administration says it wants to post two agents on the salvage ship.