793.94/14047: Telegram

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

657. Hostilities in China. The communication quoted below was brought to us this morning by the Foreign Office, with the request that it be treated as a statement made directly by the Vice Minister to me. We are informed that identic communications are being delivered to other missions. Quotation follows in full:

“With the imminent fall of Hankow and the elimination from Central China of the influence of the Chiang Kai-shek regime, which will thereby become a merely local regime, the Imperial Japanese forces have decided upon launching military operations along the coast of Kwangtung Province with the object of dealing more effective blows at Chiang’s regime and thereby accomplish the purpose of the present expedition.

The said operations are purely military and are to be undertaken for the sole purpose of intercepting the principal route of the arms and munitions supply for the Chinese forces and destroy the major points of hostile machinations against Japan.

The policy hitherto pursued by the Imperial Japanese Government with regard to the rights and interests of third powers in China remains unchanged and, of course, the best of efforts will be done to prevent any damage to them in the pending operations.

The Imperial Government, therefore, requests that third powers will understand the real intentions of Japan and pay special attention, extending cooperation to the efforts of the Imperial forces for minimizing as far as possible any damages to the rights and interests of third powers, with a view to precluding the occurrence [of] untoward incidents, and at the same time forestall Chinese machinations to drag third powers into the maelstrom of armed conflict.

I hereby make informal notification of our request, pending further notification of our request in concrete form for the prevention of untoward incidents which will be made in due course of time, both at Tokyo and on the spot.”

The press announces that the landing of Japanese forces on the coast of Kwangtung Province took place this morning.

Sent to Chungking, Hong Kong, Canton, and Peiping.