The Department of State to the Japanese Embassy91

Recent Cases of Interference With American Rights and Interests in Japan and in Japanese-Occupied Areas of China

Information received by the Department of State from American diplomatic and consular offices in Japan and in Japanese-occupied areas of China indicates that the Japanese authorities and Japanese-sponsored authorities have recently undertaken widespread and expanding activities of an arbitrary nature against American official establishments, American officials, and American rights and interests.

In north China the travel of Americans, including American consular officers, is being stopped, severely restricted, or delayed by a [Page 909] system of travel permits set up by the Japanese military authorities and by refusal of permits or delay in their issuance. At Chinwangtao, Americans embarking for Shanghai are required not only to have a permit for rail travel to Chinwangtao but also a landing permit from the Japanese naval authorities which requires at least one week to obtain. (It is assumed that similar requirements are in force at Tientsin and Tsingtao.) At Peitaiho, where a large number of Americans and other foreigners pass the summer, transportation of baggage of Americans to the railway station is forbidden and the railway refuses to receive baggage for checking. Travel of American citizens in Japan has been restricted so that Americans desiring to proceed to Shanghai to obtain available accommodations for travel to the United States have been unable to proceed.

At Tsingtao the mail of American citizens, including the official mail of the American Consulate, is apparently being held up and censored, American firms are being prohibited from moving their stocks and carrying on business and are not permitted to draw funds from Japanese banks to pay their staff salaries. The premises of the Standard-Vacuum and Texas Oil Companies and of the Universal Leaf Tobacco Company have been occupied by Japanese gendarmes. Protests against the smoking of cigarettes by Japanese sentries in the oil installations of American companies have been without avail. Garages have been forbidden to furnish taxicabs to American citizens, including the American Consul, or to do automotive repair work for American citizens. It is reported on good authority that the restrictions imposed by the Japanese authorities on Americans there include, in addition to some of those listed above, a prohibition of coal deliveries to American citizens and the withholding of American Red Cross famine relief wheat from distribution to refugees by the International Relief Association. Chinese have been intimidated and instructed not to sell food products to or engage in other transactions with Americans if the products exceed in value, or the transactions involve more than, twenty local dollars, and orders have been issued for the cancellation of American insurance policies.

At Chefoo mail addressed to Americans is being held up and registered mail received by the American Consulate has shown evidence of having been opened by censors. The stocks of the Standard-Vacuum Oil Company and the Texas Company have been placed under the control of the Japanese special military mission; sales may only be made by permit and the proceeds must be handed over to the Japanese; and American firms cannot withdraw funds from the Yokohama Specie Bank to meet their payrolls.

At Hwanghsien, Shantung, the Baptist Mission is being picketed, no American is allowed to move his personal effects, the American [Page 910] members of the mission are restricted to the immediate vicinity of the compound and are prohibited from using their automobiles, as well as being prevented from traveling to Chefoo.

At Tientsin, American firms are unable to make rail shipments and the post office has in one instance refused to accept a registered letter addressed by an American firm to the United States.

At Foochow, two policemen visited the Consulate stating that they had been instructed by the Japanese authorities to see that “nothing passed in or out” and asking to be given quarters in the Consulate. (The policemen departed upon being asked to do so by the Consul.) Similar activities were undertaken by the police with more success against American firms and missionary institutions.

At Tsinan, a virtual blockade of Cheeloo University (Anglo-American) and Cheeloo Hospital (American) has been established, no foodstuffs or other articles being allowed to enter those two missionary institutions.

At Kobe, the telephone service of the Standard Oil Company was cut off because the company was unable to draw funds to pay the telephone bill.

At Swatow, unwarranted interference by the Japanese with American firms engaged in the linen drawn work trade has occurred and shipments have been obstructed.

In Japan, by the restrictions on the use of the English language over the telephone, American diplomatic and consular offices are denied a facility which is essential to the proper functioning of those offices.

At Mukden, control over the movements and activities of Americans has been rigid. American Catholic mission sisters at Fushun were permitted by police to visit the Consulate for passport service only on the condition that they would guarantee to return to Fushun the same day. Long distance telephone calls have been restricted to the Japanese or Chinese languages and when the Consulate at Mukden attempted to telephone to the Consulate at Dairen it was informed that it “had better cancel the call.”

At Dairen, consular officials are under police surveillance and are followed in all their movements, persons entering and leaving the Consulate are stopped by police and questioned, the Consulate’s messengers are stopped by police and the mail and telegrams in their care taken for scrutiny, and in general the conduct of the Dairen authorities toward, and their interference with the legitimate activities of, the American Consulate seem to show a desire by those authorities to make the position of the Consul untenable.

  1. Handed to the Japanese Ambassador (Nomura) by the Secretary of State, August 13, 1941.