861.00/6816: Telegram

The Ambassador in Japan (Morris) to the Secretary of State

201. Foreign Office yesterday issued following statement:

“The conditions in the district of Nikolaevsk which have been assuming a serious aspect since the beginning March appear to have culminated in a serious upheaval.

The suspending [suspension of] communications renders it absolutely impossible to gain knowledge of the real state of affairs; but all the reports so far received point to the conclusion that the Japanese guards in the locality were annihilated and that several hundred Japanese residents, including the Japanese consul there, have been massacred;

In view of the seriousness of the whole situation, efforts have been made by the Japanese consul and military authorities in Siberia to ascertain the truth, [through] open negotiations with the Russian authorities, and on the other hand to take the necessary steps for the rescue of the sufferers. The attempt however has been practically fruitless because of complete lack of communications in the disturbed district, in addition to the hindrance caused by the frozen character of the locality.

The hopelessly chaotic condition into which the neighboring localities have been thrown makes it quite clear that the attainment of the object for which the Japanese have so far made efforts will be a plain impossibility unless more drastic steps than the [usual means] are taken.

The Japanese Government therefore has decided to despatch a contingent to Nikolaevsk for the purpose of protecting the Japanese residents. As it is impossible however on account of the ice to go direct to the district, Japanese to send the contingent via Saghalin and to land them at Alexandrofski where they will stay until the freezing season is over, in the meantime protecting the Japanese residents in the locality of Alexandrofski.

In accordance with this decision the contingent departed for their destination on April 19th under the escort of the warships Mikasa and Mishima arriving at Alexandrofski early on the morning of the 22nd. The troops were able to land without meeting with any resistance.

The Japanese residents in the district were all found to be safe and the most of them were taken on board the Mikasa.”

This is the first public announcement of Japanese activities in northern Saghalin which were first reported in Macgowan’s telegram to the Department from Vladivostok, repeated to me February 19, 11 p.m.44

Reports [not yet officially confirmed] of a massacre of Japanese troops and city [sic] at Nikolaevsk have been current since April 1st [Page 512]and I understand Minister for Foreign Affairs has received a radio message from Tchicherin “regretting what had occurred” at Nikolaevsk without giving details.

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