793.94/9599: Telegram

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

302. Department’s 158, August 21, 10 p.m., and our 295, August 23, 10 a.m.2

I have today made oral representations to the Vice Minister in support of the recommendation of the five Ambassadors at Nanking contained in Nanking’s 485, August 21, 1 p.m.,3 to instruct Japanese bombers to avoid operations in a specified area of Nanking.
My Italian and British colleagues have today done likewise. The German and French Embassies state that they have supported or will support the recommendation.
Acting upon the advance information supplied by this Embassy last night (our 295, August 23, 10 a.m., paragraph 1), the Foreign Office last night submitted the recommendation to the Navy Department and has now informed the Embassy (by memorandum in English to be considered as oral reply) as follows:
  • “(1) It is the earnest desire of the Japanese Government to safeguard the Embassies of Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy and America in Nanking and the warships and merchant vessels belonging to these powers anchored there. The Japanese Government have already on their own initiative instructed the authorities concerned to use utmost caution in order to ensure as far as possible under the circumstances the safety of these Embassies and ships and they want to inform the Ambassadors of the powers concerned that the Japanese authorities are acting in conformity with these instructions.
  • (2) The Japanese Government understand that the proposed area is one which embraces the sites of the Embassies above mentioned and the mooring points of the men-of-war and merchant vessels of the powers. In this area, however, there are various Chinese military works and a number of establishments connected with military operation as well as Chinese warships and fortresses. The Japanese Government desire to warn the powers in advance that in case the Chinese should make use of them for any hostile or provocative acts they might be forced to take necessary measures to cope with it.
  • (3) Even in the above-mentioned circumstances the Japanese Government would try as much as possible to avoid inflicting damage upon the Embassies, et cetera, of the powers concerned. They request, therefore, that the powers will, as a precautionary measure, mark plainly their Embassies, warships and merchant vessels so that these may be easily identified from the air.

August 23, 1937.”

Repeated to Shanghai for relay to Nanking.

  1. Neither printed.
  2. Not printed.