The Consul General at Shanghai (Gauss) to the Secretary of State
[Received September 19—4:28 a.m.]
728. The Japanese Consul General has just handed me the following translation of a statement by the commander in chief of the Japanese Third Fleet, with the request that it be communicated to you for the information of our nationals and with the further request that you communicate it to other foreign embassies and legations at Nanking:
“It being the objective of the Japanese operations to bring the present state of hostilities to an early conclusion by terminating hostile actions of the Chinese forces, and Nanking being the principal base of the Chinese military operations, the Japanese naval air force may, after 12 o’clock noon of September 21, 1937, have to resort to such offensive measures as bombing and otherwise upon the Chinese forces, as well as all establishments pertaining to their military and activities, in and around the city of Nanking.
It needs no reiteration that the safety of the lives and property of nationals of friendly powers will be taken into full consideration during the projected offensive. In view, however, of the possibility of such nationals becoming dangerously involved in the Sino-Japanese hostilities in spite of all precautions, the commander in chief of the Third Fleet, Imperial Japanese Navy, is constrained to earnestly advise such officials and residents as are now living in and around Nanking [Page 500]to take adequate measures for voluntarily moving into areas of greater safety. The foreign warships, as well as those who [which] propose to avoid the danger on the Yangtse-kiang, are advised to moor upstream from Hsiasanshan.”
Sent to Nanking, repeated to Department, commander in chief informed.