793.94/12207: Telegram

The Consul General at Shanghai (Gauss) to the Secretary of State

135. Ambassador’s January 21, 5 p.m., to the Consulate General: Tokyo’s 39, January 19, noon36a concerning actions of Japanese troops. With reference to behavior of Japanese troops in immediate vicinity of Shanghai and such cities as Soochow and Hangchow, the following information is offered based on written reports on file here and oral statements made by American missionaries:

Shanghai and environs: As result of heavy and protracted hostilities in immediate vicinity of Shanghai almost the entire Chinese population of these areas fled, some seeking refuge in the interior and others fleeing to the International Settlement and French Concession. In consequence the Japanese found the areas around Shanghai practically uninhabited with the exception of Pootung and Nantao. With reference to Pootung few if any foreigners have penetrated in the hinterland and no reports have been received from foreign sources regarding the behavior of Japanese troops in that area. Chinese reports, some of which are undoubtedly credible, indicate that there has been some killing of Chinese civilians, raping of women, and looting and burning of private property. With reference to Nantao, American doctors and missionaries report a number of cases of rape, the shooting of approximately 80 Chinese civilians, and the burning and looting of much Chinese private property shortly after the Japanese [Page 570]occupied that area. Conditions in Nantao are slowly improving but cases of rape are still reported from time to time.
Hangchow: Reports from American missionaries at Hangchow indicate that between December 24 and January 5 there was much raping of women and looting and destruction of Chinese private property by Japanese troops and that in a number of instances women who had taken refuge in American and other foreign mission property were dragged away and raped by Japanese soldiers. A considerable force of Japanese military police is now functioning in the city and conditions are reported to have improved.
Soochow: Detailed reports just received from American missionaries who remained to care for refugees at Kwangfoh, some ten miles southwest of Soochow, and who visited Soochow several times between November 21 and December 21 indicated that Japanese troops indulged in an appalling orgy of raping and looting. One report states that: “In our visits to the different mission compounds of Soochow, it was necessary for us to pass through the most important business and residential sections of the city. Every shop, bank, and residence that came under our review had been broken into and uniformed Japanese soldiers were seen going in and coming out of these buildings, coming out loaded down with bales of silk, eiderdown quilts, pillows, clothing, et cetera. That this looting was not something done for the sole benefit of the individual soldiers who were doing the work but for the benefit of the Japanese Army and with the knowledge and consent of the officers, is proved by the fact that we saw some of this loot being loaded on Army trucks. We saw one big truck standing in front of the military headquarters loaded to the top with fine blackwood Chinese furniture. All this robbing by Japanese in Soochow was terrible, but the worst remains to be told … the violation of Chinese women of all classes by the Nipponese marauders. The number of victims was great.” Similar depredations undoubtedly occurred in many other cities and towns but authenticated reports are not likely to be received until the missionaries are allowed to return to their stations.

Sent to Hankow, repeated to Tokyo.

  1. Not printed.