393.115/642: Telegram

The Chargé in Japan (Dooman) to the Secretary of State

241. Department’s 138, May 20, 4 p.m.,90 bombing of American properties.

1. The text of the note presented today to the Foreign Office is as follows:

“Excellency: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of Your Excellency’s note No. 51 dated May 17, 1939 replying to Mr. Grew’s note No. 1230 dated March 30, 1939 in which Mr. Grew informed [Page 651]Your Excellency that the American Government formally and emphatically protests the continued disregard by the Japanese military forces of American lives and property in China—a disregard manifested by constant, and, in many cases repeated, bombings of American property. I have not failed to communicate to my Government the text of the note under acknowledgment, but pending the receipt of instructions which my Government may give me on the basis of Your Excellency’s note it is my painful duty to bring to your attention the recent recrudescence of bombing by Japanese military of American property, as indicated in my two notes of even date, No. 1272 and No. 1273.91

According to reports received from reliable sources, the American Lutheran Brethren Mission property at Tangho, Honan Province, was bombed on May 4, and on May 2 the property of the same mission at Tungpeh was bombed and the church and school belonging to the mission were destroyed. Both properties were marked, the report concerning the latter case stating specifically that a large American flag was flying from a high pole at the time of bombing and that the American flag was painted on the roof. A bomb was also dropped on April 27 on hospital property at Kingmen, Hupeh, belonging to the Covenant Missionary Society.

In view of the killing or wounding of members of the Nyhus family during the bombing of the Lutheran Brethren Mission properties at Tungpeh, on October 24, 1938, and of the improbability that the Japanese military could have been ignorant of the location of that property, the bombing and destruction of that property which occurred on May 2 is regarded by my Government as especially flagrant. Similarly, the property at Kingmen was unmistakably known to the Japanese military in view of the representations made in regard to the bombing of the property there on February 22.

In addition to the cases above cited, there are reports of other instances of bombing.

Your Excellency, in the note under acknowledgment the steps calculated to cause the Japanese military in China to avoid doing damage to third-party properties in China have not been taken. It is justly clear, from the fact that American property, the existence and location of which must have been known to the responsible Japanese authorities, have again been bombed, that such authorities are not uniformly animated by that measure of concern for avoiding injury to the interests of the United States which the United States can rightfully expect of servants of a nation with which it maintains relations of peace. The persistence of incidents of the character under reference, must have had, as was emphatically stated by Mr. Grew, deplorable effects on the American public mind, and I venture to hope that the Japanese Government will take steps which; will promptly yield results which would warrant the allaying of anxiety on this score.

I avail myself, et cetera”.

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Repeated to Peiping, Chungking.

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