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

No. 5645

Subject: Bombing of Methodist Episcopal Mission Property at Chungking by Japanese Aircraft on June 1, 1941.

[Page 714]

Sir: With reference to my telegram no. 771 dated June 5, 9 p.m.,40 reporting the conversation I had with the Minister for Foreign Affairs on the above subject, I have the honor to enclose a copy of the signed note I handed him at the time, together with a copy of my memorandum of our conversation.

On the following day, June 6, 1941, the Foreign Minister sent me a message through his secretary stating that he had on that day taken up with the War Minister at the Cabinet meeting the question of aerial bombardment in China affecting American property, and that the War Minister had given him assurances that special care would be taken in the future. The receipt of this message was reported in the Embassy’s telegram no. 781 of June 6, 8 p.m.40

Respectfully yours,

Joseph C. Grew
[Enclosure 1]

The American Ambassador in Japan (Grew) to the Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs (Matsuoka)

No. 1817

Excellency: With reference to my note to Your Excellency no. 1803 of May 22, 1941,40 concerning damage inflicted on properties of the Methodist Episcopal Mission at Chungking by Japanese aircraft on May 9 and May 10, 1941, I have the honor to inform Your Excellency that properties of the same Mission at Chungking were again seriously damaged by Japanese aerial bombardment on June 1, 1941.

According to information received from the American Embassy at Chungking, a section of the hospital of the Mission at Tai Chiahang, in the center of the city, was badly damaged by a direct hit. A second bomb damaged the compound wall, and the home of an American missionary received damage from stones through the roof. This property has been damaged on at least four previous occasions.

In addition, the newly built Lewis Memorial Institutional Church of the same Mission, located at a distance of about seven hundred yards from the hospital mentioned above, was completely wrecked by a direct hit. This property has likewise been damaged on at least four previous occasions.

Although fortunately there were no casualties, it has been estimated that the cost of “restoring the buildings to use” will be about $150,000 Chinese currency.

In bringing to Your Excellency’s attention this last instance of destruction of the Methodist Episcopal Mission’s property during the wanton and random bombardment of Chungking by Japanese aerial forces, I feel impelled to repeat my previous emphatic protests on this [Page 715]subject. It is again pointed out that the placing in jeopardy of American lives and the damaging of American property can hardly have a stabilizing effect on public opinion in the United States, and it is urgently requested that immediate steps be taken to put a stop to these attacks on American lives and property in China.

I avail myself [etc.]

Joseph C. Grew
[Enclosure 2]

Memorandum by the Ambassador in Japan (Grew)

In an interview with the Minister for Foreign Affairs today I made emphatic representations and delivered a first person note protesting the bombing and serious damage of the properties of the Methodist Episcopal Mission at Chungking by Japanese aircraft on June 1, properties which had been similarly damaged on at least four previous occasions. I dwelt at length on the steadily growing list of such depredations at the hands of the Japanese forces in China and spoke of the accumulating evidence that American properties seemed to be marked out for purposeful attack, having in mind the repeated assurances given me by the Japanese Government that such attacks were aimed only at military objectives. The location[s] of these properties, I said, were notified to the Japanese military authorities and they were carefully marked with American flags. It seemed to me preposterous to credit the Japanese aviators with such lack of skill. My note spoke of the inevitable effect on American public opinion of such wanton and random bombardment.

The Minister appeared to be impressed with these representations. He called in his secretary and asked that a memorandum be prepared for him to take up the matter with the War and Navy Ministers in Cabinet meeting tomorrow morning.

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