494.11/119: Telegram

The Ambassador in Japan (Grew) to the Secretary of State

706. Our 688, December 18, 11 p.m.,6a paragraph 3. The following is our translation of an informal letter dated December 23 which Dooman received today from Yoshizawa:

“On the occasion of Ambassador Grew’s interview with Foreign Minister Nomura on December 18, the Ambassador expressed dissatisfaction concerning the explanations contained in the majority of some fifty-nine notes recently sent by this Minister in reply to various representations by the Embassy on cases involving damage to American rights and interests in China. He characterized them as denials of Japanese responsibility and he invited the attention of the Foreign Minister to them. These cases of damage for the most part grow out of action taken by Japanese military airplanes, and the majority occurred in areas not yet under Japanese occupation, the demand precluding the conduct by us of investigations on the spot. The abovementioned replies, therefore, communicated certain conclusions reached on the basis of conditions resulting from military operations taking place when the cases occurred. The dissatisfaction which is felt on your side is appreciated, but I believe it will also be appreciated on your side that there is no way open to us to make investigations over and beyond those already made.

Our notes are intended not merely to communicate the results of investigations (which were as complete as possible) carried out conformably to your representations, but to show our readiness to give renewed consideration to the circumstances of the various bombing and other cases and to the actual damage done if and when further representations are made on the basis of fresh investigations conducted by you in the light of our reports. Therefore, the assertion that our attitude is one of attempting to evade responsibility is believed to be unjustified.”

Text by air mail to Shanghai and Peiping.

  1. Not printed.