793.94/8684: Telegram

The Ambassador in China (Johnson) to the Secretary of State

207. Embassy’s 206, July 8, 11 a.m.

Local Japanese Assistant Military Attaché stated to press representatives this morning that, in view of many rumors arising because of Sung Cheh-yuan’s absence, the Japanese wish to do away with misunderstandings; that this morning’s incident is regrettable; that Chinese troops opened fire on Japanese troops while the latter were maneuvering near Marco Polo Bridge; that the Japanese troops stopped maneuvering, concentrated, and awaited; that Chinese again opened fire at about 5 a, m.; that the Japanese, therefore, had to take self-defense measures; that the incident is undesirable for friendly relations between Japan and Hopei and Chahar; that proper measures must be considered; that Japan does not desire to enlarge this incident; but that that will depend on the Chinese attitude.
According to a statement issued by the office of the Japanese Military Attaché, a Japanese lieutenant was killed, a second lieutenant was injured, and several of lesser rank were killed or injured.
According to Chinese and Japanese sources, two Japanese officers and a few Chinese officers and officials went early this morning to the town of Wanpinghsien to negotiate on the spot. Apparently the second fighting broke out while they were at that town.
The Chinese press has published an account, apparently inspired by Chinese officials, according to which the Japanese military demanded permission to enter Wanpinghsien, following the first encounter, in order to search for those Chinese soldiers who the Japanese alleged were responsible for the clash; permission was refused; and subsequently the Japanese opened fire on the town.

Repeated to Nanking, Shanghai, and Tokyo.