The Japanese Chargé to Acting Secretary of State Adee.
Washington, July 29, 1905.
Sir: I have the honor to inform you, under instructions, that during the battle of Mukden our First Army seized in the battlefield a copy of Order No. 3, issued at Shui-lo-tai village on February 9, 1905 (February 22), by Colonel Muller, in charge of the First Brigade of the Thirty-first Infantry Division of the Russian army, of which copies of the original Russian text and an English translation are herein inclosed. The attention of the Imperial Government have been especially attracted to the passage of the above order that “the noncommissioned officers and men shall beforehand be instructed to the effect that in advancing if they find en route any Japanese soldiers lying flat, especially those lying on the back, they shall not fail to kill them,” because they consider that such a measure is not only not warranted by the necessities of war, but is in direct contravention of the spirit of article 6 of the Geneva convention and article 23 of the “regulations respecting the laws and customs of war on land,” annexed to the Hague convention of 1899, which have been adopted by all the nations of the civilized world, with the object of mitigating the unnecessary horrors of war. Even admitting, as is stated in the order, that the Japanese are wont to assume the appearance of wounded and to fire on the Russian skirmishers after allowing them to pass by, there is no ground whatever for justifying the said order, for, without resorting to such drastic and comprehensive measures, there are ways, authorized by the international usage of civilized warfare, of dealing with the alleged cases.[Page 620]
The Imperial Government, therefore, feel constrained again to ask the good offices of the United States in instructing their ambassador at St. Petersburg to call serious attention of the Imperial Russian Government to the grave infraction of the international conventions by the commander of their troops in Manchuria.