393.1123 Winterle/6: Telegram

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

17. My 10, September 24, 3 p.m.,85 paragraph 1. Following from Chefoo:

“September 25, 6 p.m.

I have just received a reply from the Japanese Consulate acknowledging my letter of September 23rd, requesting a formal complaint from Honda, and informing me ‘that the present difficulties are not a merely personal question, namely a question of such a serious nature that a mass of the navy men and citizen[s] of your country repeated blows against the Japanese officials and people and injured them. Even more we have in hand convincing evidence about the case and intend to settle the case through diplomatic negotiations.’ I am withholding reply pending instructions.
A representative of the Japanese Consulate called today and orally repeated the request for compliance with the three demands already reported. After repeating orally, as I had already written, that the matter had been referred to the Ambassador, I requested that the communication be put in writing. The gist thereof will be telegraphed when it is received.
The representative showed me chits signed by C. K. Skoof or Spoof, Black Hawk, reported to have been an American naval officer involved in the brawl. No such officer is listed in the Navy roster and no proof of his connection with the affidavit submitted. He might be a petty officer.
Dunlap reported that Young, a British subject, admitted having been actively involved in the attack and struck a Japanese. Dunlap, however, only saw his skinned knuckles and blood on his shirt.
Winterle has agreed to waive hearing and is willing to proceed to Shanghai when a sailing can be arranged. Not repeated to the Department or Peiping.”

Following reply sent to Chefoo, September 26, noon.

“Your September 25, 6 p.m.

You may inform your Japanese colleague that the Embassy does not authorize you to give the apology or guarantee which constituted demands 1 and 3 mentioned in your September 19, 3 p.m.86
You should offer to receive and transmit to the appropriate American Naval authorities any charges and evidence your Japanese colleague may wish to submit against naval personnel.
You should cooperate in friendly spirit with your Japanese colleague in effort to reach accurate understanding of the facts of this occurrence.
Your telegram and this reply repeated to Peiping and Department. [”]
At Suma’s desire Peck talked with him again September 25th and during the conversation Suma said that under Japanese regulations the settlement of this incident lay within the competence of the Japanese Consul at Chefoo and the Japanese Embassy proposed to instruct him that he must assume the responsibility for settling it amicably in consultation with the American Consul. The [Suma?] deprecated any attempt by the two Embassies themselves to settle the case both because of irreconcilable differences in the reports submitted to them and because of the undue importance which would thus be given to a trivial incident.
  1. Not printed.
  2. See Embassy’s telegram No. 7, September 21, noon, paragraph numbered (1), p. 1087.