861.00/7043: Telegram

The Chargé in Japan (Bell) to the Secretary of State

302. My June 15, 3 p.m. The Foreign Office issued yesterday the following statement concerning the Nikolaiefsk affair:

“When it was learned that the Japanese garrison at Nikolaiefsk had been attacked by the Bolsheviks in March last and that the [Page 515] Japanese troops together with hundreds of Japanese residents including the Japanese consul and his family had been massacred, the Japanese Government instructed the Japanese consular and the military authorities at Vladivostok to investigate the affair in cooperation with the Russian authorities and to take measures for the relief of the Japanese who had survived the massacre.

It having been ascertained that the only means to afford such relief was to forward an expedition to Nikolaiefsk, a military detail was at once sent to Alexandrovsk, north Saghalin, whence it was to go to Nikolaiefsk as stated in a former communiqué. In view of the situation at Nikolaievsk reenforcements were sent to Alexandrovsk as well as a naval expedition. This expedition arrived at Nikolaievsk on June 3rd.

The investigation which was at once begun was handicapped by the fact that the Bolsheviks had fled after firing the town while no Japanese had survived the second massacre and the majority of the Russians also had fled.

Judging however from the information it has been possible to gather, it is certain that the Bolsheviks enlisted the assistance of turbulent [?] Russians, Chinese, and Koreans and attacked the Japanese garrison between March 12th and 14th almost annihilating them, the Japanese consul and other Japanese residents sharing the fate of the troops. The Japanese who survived this massacre numbered about 130. Though all of them were sick, wounded, children, or aged persons, they were thrown into the prison of Churem nuye.46 They seem to have all been killed by the Bolsheviks on May 25th before the latter fled on the approach of the Japanese expedition.

The number of Japanese massacred is not known definitely. According, however, to statistics at the end of June last year there were 353 Japanese resident in Nikolaievsk, 169 men and 184 women. Their occupations were traders, carpenters, joiners, tailors, barbers, and goldsmiths. Some changes may have taken place in these figures. At a conservative estimate, however, 350 residents and 306 soldiers seem to have fallen victims to the Bolshevik atrocities.”

  1. Probably tyuremnoe (Russian adj., meaning prison).