893.00/3231

The Consul General at Tientsin (Heintzleman) to the Minister in China (Reinsch)41

Sir: As previously reported, the Japanese Consul General and I have had frequent conferences in an effort to reach a settlement in the matter of the trouble at Tientsin between Japanese civilians and soldiers and American soldiers in March last. In these conversations Mr. Funatsu has urged that the American authorities admit the presence of American soldiers in the Japanese Concession on the night of March 12, 1919.

I now have the honor to report that my Japanese colleague recently sent me a despatch, dated August 4, 1919, on this particular phase of the subject. In support of the contention that American soldiers entered the Japanese concession on the night in question, Mr. Funatsu forwards a compilation of statements by some seven Japanese who were wounded in the disorders of that night, a Japanese official report on the occurrences, and the sworn statements of four Japanese including Captain Uyeno, a General Staff Officer in the Japanese military contingent stationed here. A report of the French Chief of Police, quoting the statement of a Chinese police in that force, is also enclosed; this particular information had already been handed me by Mr. Funatsu and was transmitted to the Legation with my No. 110 of July 31, 1919. Mr. Funatsu also encloses six certificates by surgeons giving the names of various Japanese admitted into their hospitals and a description of the wounds. This is followed by a summary of Japanese alleged to have been injured, while a map of those sections of the French and Japanese concessions where the [Page 437]trouble occurred is also attached. I beg to transmit, for the information of the Legation and the Department, a copy, in triplicate, of the latest communication, with enclosures, received from the Japanese Consul General.42

The evidence submitted by the Japanese contains nothing new. The investigation was admittedly ex parte and a decision as to whether American soldiers were present in the Japanese Concession on March 12, 1919, turns upon the point as to what weight can be attached to the statements. The evidence in the possession of the American authorities is contrary to that presented by the Japanese. The former, in an effort to find out the actual facts and fix the responsibility for the trouble, formed a Committee of Investigation which took all the testimony obtainable, both American and Japanese, and Japanese witnesses were examined in the presence of the Japanese Consul General. On the basis of this testimony the report of the findings was made. The report gives the firm opinion of the Committee that no American soldiers were in the Japanese concession on the night of March 12, 1919, and completely exonerates them of all responsibility in connection with the incidents of that night. A copy of the report was transmitted to the Legation with my No. 87 of March 28, 1919, and to the Department with my No. 94 of the same date.43 It is the unanimous belief of all Americans who have studied the record in the case that the admission desired by the Japanese cannot be made.

Moreover, there can be no connection between the question of our soldiers having entered the Japanese concession and that of Japanese responsibility for numerous wrongful acts against American soldiers, civilians and officials. A careful study of the enclosures strengthens my opinion that we should continue to maintain the position taken from the first and urge the payment of a solatium to Corporal Rohner and the censure of the Japanese Police Inspector for making false statements on the night of the trouble.

I have [etc.]

P. S. Heintzleman
  1. Copy forwarded to the Department by the Minister in despatch No. 2963, Aug. 21; received Sept. 26.
  2. Documents referred to in this paragraph not printed.
  3. Covering letters and report not printed.