The Commander in Chief of the United States Asiatic Fleet (Yarnell), et at., to the Commander of the Japanese Third Battle Fleet at Shanghai (Hasegawa)
My Dear Admiral Hasegawa: For several nights it has been the practice for a Japanese destroyer to anchor near the Augusta. Last night for some time this destroyer was almost abreast of the bow of the Augusta. On the night of August 20th this destroyer opened fire on some buildings on the Pootung side of the river, the shells passing close to the bow of this vessel.
As you are doubtless aware, the Chinese government demanded of the neutral powers on August 19th that they remove all of their menof-war and merchant vessels at least five nautical miles from Japanese naval vessels, or to require the Japanese vessels to move five miles from neutral vessels. If this demand was not complied with within 12 hours from date of notification the Chinese government refused to assume any responsibility for any damages which might be caused to the menof-war or merchant vessels of neutral countries during the engagements taking place between the Chinese and Japanese forces.
Due to the necessity of evacuating the nationals of the several countries from the International Settlement and for other obvious reasons, this demand can not be complied with.[Page 488]
On August 20th, several shell[s] fell in the water in the immediate vicinity of the Augusta. One fell on the deck of the Augusta killing one man and wounding 18 others. Three large shell[s] passed over the Lamotte-Picquet and Sacramento striking a Chinese Customs vessel and a building in the French Concession. The danger to which the neutral vessels are placed by this gunfire of the opposing forces in their immediate vicinity is apparent.
The neutral men-of-war must remain in this vicinity to have access to their sectors in the perimeter of the Settlement and to protect their nationals. They cannot be withdrawn.
In order to reduce the danger to neutral vessels, at the naval buoys it is strongly urged that Japanese men-of-war be kept below Hongkew Creek at all times in order that as great an interval as possible be kept between the vessels under your command and those of the neutral powers. It is observed that the Japanese Naval buoys have now been vacated and it is hoped that this berth will be left vacant as long as the present situation continues.
You have clearly expressed your understanding of our position in the present unfortunate situation and your desire to refrain from any military operations tending to embarrass the fulfillment of our difficult task. We therefore do not hesitate to bring this matter to your attention and know you will appreciate that occurrences such as the above no matter what their significance can only tend toward a complication of the existing situation.
We have [etc.]
Admiral, U. S. Navy Commander in Chief U. S. Asiatic Fleet
Admiral, Royal Navy Commander in Chief British Naval Forces, China Station
Vice-Admiral, French Navy Commander in Chief French Naval Forces in the Far East