393.115/1161

The Department of State to the Japanese Embassy

On July 31, 1941 the Japanese Ambassador to the United States, Admiral Nomura, called on the Under Secretary, Mr. Welles, and, reading from notes, stated that he, the Ambassador, was instructed by his Government to inform the President officially of the deep regret of the Japanese Government over the bombing of the U.S.S. Tutuila at Chungking; to say that the Japanese Government desired to assure this Government that the bombing was, an accident pure and simple; to say that, in order to make sure that no further incident of this kind would take place, the Japanese Government had decided to suspend all bombing operations over the city area of Chungking; to say that the Japanese Government offered to pay full indemnity [Page 724]for any damage occasioned American properties immediately upon the completion of the necessary investigations; to say that the Japanese Government requested that its decision with regard to the suspension of bombing operations over the city area of Chungking be regarded as strictly confidential. Further, the Ambassador gave the Under Secretary to understand that it was he himself, the Ambassador, who had recommended this procedure to the Japanese Government.

Shortly after the conversation under reference, the Under Secretary, having communicated the Ambassador’s statement to the President, announced that, in view of the action taken by the Japanese Government, the American Government considered the incident to which it related closed. On August 8, 10, and 12, there have appeared in the press news dispatches from Chungking giving accounts of bombings by Japanese planes at and in the neighborhood of Chungking. This Government is now in receipt of a telegram dated August 11 from the American Ambassador at Chungking stating that Chungking has during the past four days been subjected to unusually heavy and prolonged air raids; and that not only districts outside of the city proper but also the city area have been repeatedly bombed although no bombs have been dropped in that part of the city area which is directly opposite the anchorage of the American gunboat and the location of the United States Embassy’s chancery. News dispatches indicate that at least one American residence was demolished and that there was bombing around another residence which is everywhere known to be within the city area.

This Government requests an explanation and a definitive indication of the Japanese Government’s attitude and intentions regarding the pledge which was given on July 31.