The Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs (Hirota) to the American Ambassador in Japan (Grew)

No. 112, Asia I

Excellency: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of Your Excellency’s note No. 788 of September 6.

The Japanese Government is of opinion that arrangements of the kind proposed require first of all practical study by officers on the spot. With regard to the present proposal a reply has been received from the officer in command of Japanese naval forces at Shanghai stating that he has already informed the senior officers of the American, French, and British naval forces at Shanghai to the effect that even though Japan and China should mutually withdraw their respective warships and troops from the areas specified, it is very likely that Chinese forces would launch attacks from points outside those areas, and in that event Japanese warships would inevitably be obliged to respond, thus endangering quarters where nationals of third countries are residing in the concessions, although Japan desires to avoid that danger. It is therefore deemed imperative that all Chinese troops, including plain clothes corps, be withdrawn from the areas of Pootung and Nanshih which are within a six-kilometer curve with [Page 497]Pootung Point as center, in which the right bank of the Whangpoo includes an area from the vicinity of the Hai Feng shipyard to the southern boundary of the French Concession. If such withdrawal be carried out, the commander is ready to give consideration to cessation of bombardment of Pootung and Nanshih by Japanese war vessels from above Section 7 of the river.

I avail myself [etc.]

Koki Hirota