793.94/9037: Telegram

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


230. Department’s 128, July 27, 1 p.m.18

1. The British Chargé d’Affaires and I saw the Minister for Foreign Affairs separately this morning. I carried out your instructions fully and with emphasis. In the course of my representations I made the following oral statement:

“Information issuing from various authoritative Japanese sources indicates that military operations may be imminently initiated by the Japanese military command in North China.

Since the initiation on July 7th of the current incident in North China, the Japanese Government has on various occasions and in various ways taken cognizance of the presence of American nationals, along with nationals of other foreign countries, in the affected area, and of the existence in that area of the rights and interests of the United States, along with rights and interests of other foreign countries, which are based on the Boxer Protocol19 and on other international instruments. There are cited in this relation a memorandum of the Japanese Ambassador which was delivered to the American Government on July 12th by the Japanese Ambassador at Washington, numbered paragraph 6 of which concludes: ‘In any case the Japanese Government is prepared to give full consideration to the rights and interests of the Powers in China;’ and to the statement issued yesterday by the Cabinet, in which there is contained the statement: ‘It goes without saying that Japan will make every effort to give protection to the vested rights and interests in China of other foreign powers.’

It is earnestly hoped that the Japanese Government will give effect to the assurances which it has directly and indirectly conveyed to the American Government and that it willtake effective measures toward [Page 338] dissuading the Japanese command in North China from proceeding with any plan for military operations which would be likely to endanger lives and property of American nationals.”

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5. The Minister for Foreign Affairs stated to me categorically that it is not true that the Japanese intend to launch a general attack against all Chinese forces both within and without the city of Peiping regardless of whether the withdrawal of the 37th Division is proceeding satisfactorily. He said that over 2 weeks’ warning had been given to the Chinese troops to withdraw from Peiping on the basis of the agreement of July 11 and that since this warning had not been acted upon it had finally become necessary to set a time limit at noon today and that a Japanese attack would be carried out only if withdrawal of the 37th Division has not already taken place. He said he had no news today as to whether this withdrawal had been effected. The Minister appeared to ignore the sporadic Japanese attacks already reported from Peiping.

6. The Minister gave me explicit assurances that every effort would be made to protect the lives and property of American and other foreign nationals and the rights and interests of the United States and other powers in the affected area and he has confidence in General Katsuki who, the Minister says, has complete control of his troops. The Minister added however that the Japanese Consulate in Peiping had informed other foreign consuls that Japanese subjects in outlying districts had been advised to concentrate in the Legation quarter in Peiping. The Minister thought that similar steps would therefore have been taken by the other foreign consuls with respect to their own nationals.

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Repeated to Peiping.