893.00 Tsinan/8: Telegram

The Consul General at Shanghai (Cunningham) to the Secretary of State

Following telegram has been received somewhat garbled from Tsinanfu and repeated to the Legation:

“May 4, 11 a.m. On the morning of May 3rd at about 10 o’clock there occurred a clash between Japanese and Nationalist troops, the precise cause of which is as yet unknown. General firing from both sides then ensued, the Japanese sending out armored cars and detachments to clear the settlement of Southern troops. In the course of the fighting which continued with considerable intensity until 6 p.m. and intermittently all night, it is understood the Japanese employed field artillery with which the Chinese wireless station was destroyed. Both sides suffered casualties the precise extent of which as yet unknown but which is believed to be heavy.

This consulate during the day made every effort to persuade both sides to cease firing but each side claimed that while strict orders had been issued to that effect the other side continued firing. The fact appears to be that units from both sides had become isolated and that orders could not be got through, but eventually apparently the Chinese troops were withdrawn from the foreign settlement which it is understood is now clear of Nationalist[s]. Negotiations between representatives of Chiang Kai-shek, who is now here, and the Japanese commander in chief took place last night, the principal result of which was apparently that the Nationalist troops should be withdrawn 20 li beyond the borders of the foreign settlement.

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The American, British, and French consulates have been requested by the Chamber of Commerce and other Chinese organizations to mediate but our position is that beyond the use of good offices to attempt to persuade both sides to cease actual fighting endangering lives and property of our nationals we cannot assist in subsequent negotiations except at the request of both sides and under the specific instructions of our Governments.

All American lives and property believed to be safe. Representatives of General Chiang called at the consulate last night offering us safe conduct to the Nationalist headquarters which I declined. They then offered special police guard for the consulate which I accepted.

German consul requests that the German Minister be informed that all Germans safe but that Nationalist troops looted Stein Hotel. Please repeat to Department and Legation. Price.”

Local Commissioner of Foreign Affairs this morning transmitted message to this consulate general from Minister for Foreign Affairs Huang Fu, now at Tsinanfu, informing me that American consul and all American nationals Tsinanfu safe. Assurances made American citizens are being and will be given full protection by Nationalist military authorities there.