The Japanese Ambassador (Horinouchi) to the Secretary of State
Statement of the Japanese Government:
As stated by the Foreign Minister to the Chargé d’Affaires of the United States upon the latter’s representation on July 10, the Japanese Government regrets to learn that bombs fell near the official residences of the American Ambassador and Counselor in Chungking and an American warship anchored in the Yangtze, and caused damage to a church owned by American missionaries during the bombing of that place by the Japanese naval air force on the 6th and 7th of July.
However, it should be stated that the occurrence of such an incident was accidental. As described in the report of our Commander-in-Chief of the China Sea Fleet attached hereto, the air force concerned in the accident “is at a loss to know by what chance any bomb could have fallen on the southern bank of the Yangtze River.” It is to be regretted, therefore, that the American authorities, on the basis of this unfortunate occurrence alone, should charge the Japanese naval [Page 668]air force with an indiscriminate and reckless bombing without according due credit to the assiduous care and the sincerity of purpose with which Japanese air forces have been endeavoring not to inflict any damage to the interests of third powers.
It has been repeatedly explained to the American authorities, either orally or in written statement, that the Japanese forces, regardless of whether they belong to the army or the navy, have taken every conceivable measure in their efforts for precluding the possibilities of endangering the lives and property of third power nationals. They have made it their practice to investigate as minutely as possible the relative positions of their bombing objectives and the property of third powers before deciding upon the direction and sphere of their action, and in actual bombing the crews of their planes, though exposed at every moment to the attacks from the land and air forces of the enemy and by no means sure of the safety of their own lives in the next moment, have assiduously striven for accurate aiming and for the prevention thereby of any damage to the interests of third powers. It is earnestly hoped that the American Government will fully appreciate these circumstances and have confidence in the military discipline with which the Japanese air forces are performing their operations.
Notwithstanding these painstaking efforts of our air forces, untoward accidents do occur on account of the extreme difficulties arising from the fact that aerial markings of property are often imperfect and that Chinese forces, military organs and establishments are situated close to the property of third powers, as well as the fact that bombing has to be carried on while our air force is engaged in an aerial combat and is also exposed to fire from the ground. We earnestly hope that the American Government will appreciate the unavoidability of some bombs going astray under circumstances such as these. We are nevertheless very sorry for any damage that might be caused thereby to the interests of third powers. We have been constantly applying ourselves to the problem of discovering a method of minimizing such hazard to third powers, and will put forth still greater efforts with that end in view.
It is earnestly desired in this connection that the American Government will take further measures along practical lines with regard to the marking of property and the furnishing to the Japanese authorities more complete maps that show clearly the location of their rights and interests, as well as the prevention of the Chinese from constructing military establishments and organs, or concentrations of their troops, near such rights and interests.