The Consul General at Tientsin (Heintzleman) to the Secretary of State

No. 185

Sir: With reference to previous reports of this Consulate General regarding the efforts being made to reach a settlement in the matter of the trouble at Tientsin in March last between Japanese civilians and soldiers and American soldiers, I have the honor to transmit for the information of the Department copy of a memorandum of today’s date reporting recent conversations held with the Japanese Consul General on the subject. In this connection there is also furnished the Department copy of the letter of October 13, 1919, addressed to me by Colonel Charles T. Smart,45 15th United States Infantry, as referred to in the enclosed memorandum.

I have [etc.]

P. S. Heintzleman

Memorandum of the Consul General at Tientsin (Heintzleman)

The Japanese Consul General called November 6, 1919. He stated he had a telegram from the Foreign Office regarding the terms of settlement of the incident between Japanese and American soldiers at Tientsin in March last.

(Note. On October 14, 1919, at the conclusion of a conversation during a call by Mr. Funatsu on the subject of the alleged activities of the American Methodist Mission and the “I Shih Pao” in the anti-Japanese movement, I handed him copy of a letter of October 13, 1919, by Colonel Smart containing a report by the surgeon of the United States China Expedition on the physical condition of Corporal Rohner at the time of the latter’s departure for Manila in June last. Mr. Funatsu was interested in Dr. Guthrie’s statement that Rohner was gradually improving and that complete recovery from his wounds was not impossible. Mr. Funatsu said he would send the report to Tokyo; he thought that if Corporal Rohner should recover it would affect the American claim for solatium, a difficult point of controversy in connection with the adjustment of the incident.

Mr. Funatsu stated that another unsettled point was the American request that Mr. C. Kaneko, the Japanese Police Inspector, who made [Page 439] false statements to me on the night of the trouble, should receive some form of censure, and that in this connection he could inform me that Mr. Kaneko had recently been transferred from Tientsin to the Chientao region on the Korea-Manchuria frontier. Mr. Funatsu added that he was willing to telegraph his Government recommending that he be authorized to state that the transfer was “not unrelated” to the incident of March last. Mr. Funatsu hoped that these developments might open a way for a full settlement of the case. Besides telegraphing to the Foreign Office in the sense above indicated relative to Kaneko’s transfer, Mr. Funatsu would request his Government not to press for an admission on our part that American soldiers had entered the Japanese Concession on the night of March 12th; on the other hand, if the Japanese side would first yield these two points I would be willing to recommend to the Department: (1) that, on the basis of Dr. Guthrie’s statement, the question of a money payment to Corporal Rohner be waived; and (2) that, on the Japanese assertion that Kaneko’s transfer grew out of the trouble, no further mention of his censure be made. I assured Mr. Funatsu of my willingness to do everything possible to assist in reaching a mutually satisfactory settlement, and added that if, after conferring with the Foreign Office, he proposed terms looking toward adjustment that were such as to lead me to believe that there was a likelihood of their being acceptable, I would transmit them to the Department.)

Mr. Funatsu read to me “a free translation” of the telegram received from the Foreign Office in reply to a message he had sent in line with his statement to me of October 14th; the telegram as read to me was in the following sense:

The transfer of Mr. Kaneko, the Police Inspector, to the Chientao region was merely an act of administrative routine and has no connection with the incident. However, the Japanese Government is willing to admit that, though Mr. Kaneko’s motives were good, he spoke “carelessly” to the American Consul General and that his transfer was, therefore, made in a desire to “facilitate a settlement”.
The Japanese Government would not regard as adequate a statement by the American authorities “admitting the possibility of American soldiers having entered the Japanese Concession on the night of March 12th”. The Japanese Government would expect the American authorities to acknowledge that American soldiers entered the Japanese Concession on the night in question, and publicly express regret at the wrongful acts they had committed there. The entire Japanese case turns on this point which can not be waived.
If the American authorities waive solatium for Corporal Rohner, the Japanese authorities will refrain from asking that their nationals be reimbursed for expenses incurred as the result of injuries sustained at the hands of American soldiers in the Japanese Concession.

I said I was sure the Department would not consent to consider these terms; that they did not offer a solution or in any way advance [Page 440] a settlement; moreover, it would be futile for me to write or telegraph to Washington concerning these terms.

Mr. Funatsu then mentioned that the Embassy at Washington had telegraphed recently that the Department was firm in its position in this case and had again informed the Japanese Chargé d’Affaires that the American authorities would not admit that American soldiers had entered the Japanese Concession on the night of March 12th; also, that the Japanese would be expected to make amends for the arrest and detention of Corporal de Cordova on the last night of the trouble.

Mr. Funatsu stated that he had called and explained his Government’s position in the matter merely for my information; and that he shared my view that it would probably serve no useful purpose to telegraph. He added that he intended to let his case rest with his letter to me of August 4, 1919,46 wherein he submitted evidence to prove conclusively that American soldiers had entered the Japanese Concession on the night of March 12th and committed the assaults complained of by his nationals.

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