Press Release Issued by the Department of State on November 20, 19392

In response to inquiries at the press conference today concerning the situation at Tientsin, the Acting Secretary said that the American [Page 670]Consul General, Mr. John K. Caldwell, at Tientsin has been reporting that difficulties of transit at the Japanese military barriers around the foreign concessions at Tientsin are increasing. Mr. Caldwell telegraphed under date of November 13 that although there have been reported only a few cases of delay to American citizens he has received many complaints of delays, varying from many hours to more than a day, to American goods. For example, the Japanese military authorities have required that loads of coal and of peanuts be dumped on the street for inspection. He has reported under date November 16 that these transit difficulties are on the increase. An American rug manufacturer has complained that a truckload of rugs proceeding under an American pass bearing a Japanese consular visa was refused permission to pass through the barrier until the rugs had been spread out in the street. Another American had complained of difficulties in bringing food supplies into the concessions. The coal situation was becoming critical although ample supplies of coal are easily available across the river.

  1. Reprinted from Department of State, Bulletin, November 25, 1939 (vol. i, No. 22), p. 589.