123 C 353/224: Telegram

The Minister in China (Johnson) to the Secretary of State

35. Legation’s 22, January 5, 10 [7?] p.m. Following from American Consul General at Harbin:

“January 6, 3 p.m. Chamberlain states as follows:

‘1. At one time early in the interview while seated in the car I caught hold of the coat of the plain-clothes man who was standing in the door of the car and pulled it lightly to attract his attention. No offense was intended nor apparently taken at the time. It was several minutes afterwards that I alighted from the car after which the fistic attack was made. Under the circumstances Japanese allegation regarding pulling one man into the car obviously absurd. No provocation whatever for attack. Two men in civilian attire were principal offenders although one soldier was also active in threatening with rifle, and striking me. All three were belligerent and abusive.’”

“January 6, 5 p.m.

Lieutenant Colonel Hyakutake, chief of the local Japanese military mission dressed in military uniform wearing his sword and decorations and accompanied by Vice Consul Takigawa who interpreted, acting under instructions of General Ninomiya, chief of the gendarmes of the Kuantung army, called at this Consulate General at 3 o’clock today and tendered in the presence of Captain Nimmer and myself to Chamberlain the formal apology of General Ninomiya for the assault by the Japanese patrol on Chamberlain at Mukden on January 3d.
Chamberlain expressed his appreciation of the thought which prompted this apology of the General but added that the case was now out of his hands.
Just before departing the Lieutenant Colonel expressed his personal regrets and offered Chamberlain a present sent by the General, but which Chamberlain politely and rightly refused to accept.
Consul General Ohashi called at this Consulate this morning and expressed to Chamberlain his unofficial and personal regrets and stated that his departure for Hailar at 3 o’clock today would prevent his accompanying the Lieutenant Colonel when the latter called to apologize.”