861.77 Chinese Eastern/1265

The Consul General at Harbin (Hanson) to the Minister in China (Johnson)41

No. 2703

Sir: I have the honor to enclose herewith, for convenience of reference, a copy of an English translation of a Soviet Government note,42 recently addressed to the Japanese Government, stating that the former had knowledge that the “Manchukuo” authorities, acting under instructions of the Japanese Government, had determined to violate the rights of the Soviet Government on the Chinese Eastern Railway and that the Japanese Government would have to bear the responsibility for all violations of the treaties regarding the Chinese Eastern Railway as well as the preparation for seizing the railway.

It will be remembered that the Japanese Government replied to this to the effect that it was wrongly addressed, but that its contents would be brought to the attention of the “Manchukuo”, if desired. This translation was published in the local Harbin Observer on September 25.

“Manchukuo” answered this note by arresting four chiefs of departments on the railway, as reported in my despatch No. 2686, dated September 25, 1933,42 on the subject of “Arrests of Leading Soviet Railway Officials at Harbin.”

There is also enclosed a copy of an English translation of a Soviet Government note delivered to the Japanese Government on September 28th,42 stating that the arrests, mentioned above, were illegal, that the plan to seize the administration of the railway was initiated by the Japanese military, that the Japanese Government is responsible for the execution of the plan to deprive the Soviet Government of its rights on the railway and that the Soviet Government may consider the action taken by the Japanese authorities relative to the railway as a rupture of the negotiations for the sale of the railway, the responsibility of which lies also with the Japanese Government.

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It is true that Japanese officials (“Manchukuo”) led the parties making the arrests.

A copy of the English translation of this note was kindly furnished this office by Mr. B. Hayton Fleet, owner and editor of the Harbin Observer.

Neither the Russian nor the Chinese press has published these notes, evidently having been forbidden to do so by the police.

It might be added that recently the local press has not commented on the fate of the four arrested railway officials. It is known that one of them, Mr. Kubli, chief bookkeeper, has been transferred from a room in police headquarters to the regular jail.

Respectfully yours,

G. C. Hanson
  1. Copy transmitted to the Department by the Consul General at Harbin in his despatch No. 5872, October 3; received October 31.
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