Memorandum by the Under Secretary of State (Castle) of a Conversation With the Japanese Ambassador (Debuchi), November 6, 1931

The Japanese Ambassador came in to tell me that he had had a telegram from Baron Shidehara about the fighting at Nonni River. The Ambassador says that when the Japanese determined to repair the bridges and to send troops to protect the construction gangs and engineers, the Japanese Consul in Tsitsihar requested General Ma to instruct his troops in the vicinity not to interfere with the Japanese troops. This General Ma agreed to do. Apparently his instructions did not reach the troops at the front, which attacked the Japanese quite suddenly with machine guns and field artillery. There were fifteen Japanese casualties. Baron Shidehara very deeply regrets this incident. He reiterated the definite intention of the Japanese Government, however, to withdraw all the troops as soon as the construction work was done. It is estimated that this will not take at a maximum more than ten days and it is hoped that it may be completed within a week.

The Ambassador says that there is no intention of sending troops to Tsitsihar. This would probably be provocative to the Russians and Japan has no desire to get in a conflict with the Soviet.

The Ambassador says that unfortunately, the fact that there had been written communication to the Japanese leaked out both in Tokyo and here. I think that he felt that Mr. Byas67 probably got the information from Mr. Forbes, and in this I am inclined to agree. The Ambassador said that in speaking to the press he would say that he knew instructions had been sent to Mr. Forbes and that it was perfectly possible that Mr. Forbes had left a memorandum of his conversation, although he had not delivered an official note from this Government.

W. R. Castle, Jr.
  1. Hugh Byas, Tokyo correspondent of the New York Times.