793.94/5206: Telegram

The Consul General at Shanghai (Cunningham) to the Acting Secretary of State

236. My telegram No. 234, May 10, 4 p.m. Incident evening May 3rd as reported by commanding officer 15th [31st] Infantry and municipal police was substantially as follows: Japanese sentries stationed on Wu Chen Road bridge alleged that stones had been thrown at them by Chinese coolies whereupon a Japanese patrol of about 60 men commanded by an officer crossed bridge to the southern side of Soochow Creek which is in the 31st Infantry sector. Chinese civilians were clubbed and bayoneted both on the street and in houses. Several Chinese were seized by the Japanese who endeavored to take them across the bridge. Assistance was requested from 31st Infantry and a detachment under command of Major Gerow proceeded there, also a number of senior European officered police. After much arguing the Japanese officer in charge of the detachment was persuaded to withdraw his men back across the creek. The Chinese who had been seized were released to the police. Altogether 10 Chinese received injuries.

Chamber [Chairman] of the Council reporting incident to Senior Consul May 9th states inter alia,

“Without going into the history of other instances of objectionable conduct on the part of Japanese marines in the Settlement, I feel constrained to represent to the consular body that this force has repeatedly interfered with and obstructed municipal administration without any reasonable justification whatever and has been, and still is, a source of much anxiety to the Council.

It is almost incredible that the responsible officers of the supposedly highly disciplined troops of modern first-class power like Japan could seriously contend, as in the Wu Chen Road incident, that the throwing of stones and the shouting of objectionable epithets by a comparatively small number of the lower classes of Chinese affords a reasonable pretext for the forcible invasion of the Settlement by those troops and the indiscriminate bayoneting and wounding of Chinese pedestrians who were in no way responsible, to say nothing of the provocative threatening of the municipal police and armed forces of a friendly foreign power who were engaged solely in trying to maintain peace and order in the Settlement.

At present there appears to be little prospect that the recently concluded Sino-Japanese agreement will result in the complete withdrawal from the Settlement of Japanese marines and I, therefore, venture to express the hope that the consular body will exercise its utmost influence with the Japanese authorities to put a definite end [Page 12] to the interference of the Japanese forces with the municipal administration of the Settlement.”

Department’s telegram of May 9, 5 p.m.12 Subsequent to this incident all troops have been withdrawn from Settlement border from Soochow Creek, Markham Road bridge around to North Honan Road, and the border guarded by police only. The troops are in billets and available in case of emergency.

Repeated to the Legation, copy to commander in chief.

  1. Not printed; it requested information.