Col. Saito quotes

I am Colonel Saito. In the name of his Imperial Majesty, I welcome you. I am the commanding officer of this camp which is Camp 16 along the great railroad which will soon connect Bangkok with Rangoon. You British prisoners have been chosen to build a bridge across the River Kwai. It will be pleasant work requiring skill. And officers will work as well as men. The Japanese Army cannot have idle mouths to feed. If you work hard, you will be treated well. But if you do not work hard, you will be punished. A word to you about escape. There is no barbed wire, no stockade, no watchtower. They are not necessary. We are an island in the jungle. Escape is impossible. You would die. Today you rest. Tomorrow you begin. Let me remind you of General's...motto:... 'Be happy in your work.' Dismissed.

All men will work. Your officers will work beside you. This is only just. For it is they who betray you by surrender. Your shame is their dishonor. It is they who told you: 'Better to live like a coolie than die like a hero.' It is they who brought you here, not I. Therefore, they will join you in useful labor. That is all.

You and your officers may return to your quarters. As part of this amnesty, it will not be necessary for officers to do manual labor.

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