793.94/5668: Telegram

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

5. 1. General Tang,6 aide to Marshal Chang Hsueh-liang, has just called. He handed me a typewritten statement as follows:

“January 1st: At half past 9 in the evening some Japanese plainclothes men opened fire in the direction of Shanhaikwan city wall; after a few minutes some Japanese soldiers threw a bomb at the [Page 3] Shanhaikwan station and simultaneously the Manchukuo police opened several tens of shots. Our Shanhaikwan headquarters immediately sent over the Chief of the Bureau of Foreign Affairs to question the Japanese why the fire had been opened. In reply the Japanese argued that we had fired upon them first producing the smashed window panes of their gendarmery quarter as an evidence; and at the same time demanded us to ask Shanhaikwan residents to leave and our defense corps at Nankwan (South Gate of Shanhaikwan) to withdraw. We refused entirely.

January 2nd: About 10 o’clock in the morning two Japanese armored trains fired again in the direction of Shanhaikwan city and about 200 soldiers climbed up the city wall by wooden ladders. Finally they failed getting into the city because for the sake of self-defense we resisted them with big swords and grenades.

About midnoon three Japanese armored trains loaded with about 3,000 men and over 20 cannons arrived at Shanhaikwan; and they attacked us seriously from Wouyenchen (outside of Shanhaikwan).

At 3 o’clock in the afternoon six Japanese bombing planes circled around the city throwing down many bombs; consequently many Chinese were slaughtered and wounded.

At midnight the firing still could be heard”.

He stated that fighting was still going on.

2. French Minister and British Chargé d’Affaires met with me this afternoon to discuss situation and we agreed that situation was serious but that until more was known it was too soon to reach any conclusions. All is quiet here and at Tientsin.

3. British Chargé d’Affaires informs me of receipt of telegram from Tokyo stating that British Military Attaché was informed at General Staff headquarters that commanders in chief in Manchuria and Tientsin have been instructed to localize incident but that Japanese would have to consider counter-measures if Chinese made further attacks.

4. At a military conference at Tientsin last night Japanese commandant is reported to have stated that Japanese objectives were Jehol and Shanhaikwan. My estimate of the situation is that Japanese intend to occupy and hold Shanhaikwan in connection with efforts to occupy Jehol. Chinese are evidently determined to resist.

Repeated to Tokyo.

  1. Gen. Tang Chu-wu.