793.94/16754: Telegram

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

443. 1. Report was received from Attaché at Chungking July 30, giving account of operations by 26 Japanese heavy bombers. In paraphrase:

These bombers approached from northwest at height about fifteen thousand feet in ideal weather conditions. Upon reaching city they changed course to the line crossing directly over the Tutuila and the Embassy. Having crossed the city without firing, they dropped bomb-load on foreshore across river opposite Tutuila. Left center of formation dropping last bombs swept across river and passed directly overhead. One bomb struck near stern Tutuila, shattered an outboard motor boat and threw it upon motor sampan which, sinking by stern, was saved by bowline. Gunboat’s stern superstructure was bent inward by blast and swept by a huge wave which collapsed awning and washed away ship’s gear and gasoline containers. Personnel escaped injuries from fragments only by miracle which apparently was due to funneling of bombs in water. Last bomb was dropped about four hundred yards eastward of and behind Embassy. All this was witnessed by three U. S. officials from Embassy hill immediately overlooking ship. Unanimous opinion of these officials is that the bombing was a deliberate attack on Embassy area and Tutuila which missed its targets only by a fraction of a second.

2. I called the Japanese Ambassador in this morning. I handed him a copy of the report and asked him for answers to questions as follows: (1) Did this take place upon instruction by or knowledge of responsible authorities; (2) what responsibility, if any, does the Japanese Government assume for it; (3) what precise measures in detail does the Japanese Government intend to take toward effectively preventing recurrence of any such action. I reminded him of the pledge solemnly given by the Japanese Government, with, I understand, the knowledge and approval of the Emperor, at the time of the sinking of the Panay, [Page 720]that such action would not be repeated; also, of the fact similar pledges have repeatedly been given since then and have repeatedly been disregarded.

3. I desire that you also take this matter up urgently and with great emphasis with the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Welles