793.94/5679: Telegram

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

11. Following report of events at Shanhaikwan comes from officer in command Italian marines stationed in port commanding view of Shanhaikwan: January 2nd East Gate attacked by Japanese, telephone communication to Chinwangtao interrupted, city bombed by the Japanese aeroplanes. 1,500 Japanese and 1,500 Manchukuo troops participated in attack. There were two armored Chinese trains near Shanhaikwan on the railway.

January 3rd at 10 o’clock in the morning Japanese warships bombarded town, Chinese replying weakly with machine-gun fire. Number of Japanese forces including Manchukuo forces estimated at 5,000. Populace fleeing into the country. Bombardment continued until 1 a.m. Japanese using 75’s in bombardment. At 1:15 Japanese bombardment began to subside, Chinese continued answering with machine guns. At 2:15 Japanese evacuated town through East Gate which had been destroyed by fire which covered the radius of some 300 meters. At 3 a.m. town was completely quiet. Chinese troops retreating in the direction of Chilimatai. Japanese losses reported to be heavy, Chinese losses unknown. At 2:30 Japanese warships proceeded in the direction of Chinwangtao, Japanese commanded by General Suzuki. One Japanese aeroplane followed retreating Chinese troops. In giving the above Italian Chargé d’Affaires explained that report was merely eyewitness statement made by an officer with a view of the city.

Repeated to Tokyo, Nanking and commander in chief.