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

No. 3728

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Legation’s despatch No. 3667 of July 3, 1935, in regard to the Shanghai Defense Scheme and to transmit herewith a copy of the Shanghai Consul General’s despatch to the Legation No. 8773 of July 25, 1935, together with its enclosures.66

From the Consul General’s despatch the Department will note that no progress has been made toward reaching an agreement in regard [Page 327]to the amendment of Part II, Paragraph 4,67 of the (June 1934 revision of68) Defense Scheme, and that Mr. Cunningham inquires whether the letter of Admiral Upham to the Commander of the Japanese Naval Landing Party under date of March 30, 1935, (see enclosure No. 169 to Legation’s despatch No. 3667, July 3, 1935) does not adequately cover the point raised by the Department in its telegram to the Legation No. 366, November 20, 1934, 7 p.m.70 In the event that Admiral Upham’s letter is not considered as meeting the requirements, Mr. Cunningham suggests that, in a final effort to obtain the desired revision embodied in the Defense Scheme, he might convene a conference composed of the Japanese Consul General, the Commander of the Japanese Naval Landing Party, and the Commander of the Fourth United States Marine Corps for discussion of the matter.

The Department will recall that in its telegram No. 557, December 6, 1934, 11 a.m.,71 the Legation quoted the Commander of the United States Marine Corps at Shanghai to the effect that he was quite sure that the intention of the Defense Committee was that the protection outside of the perimeter of foreign life and property should be the responsibility of the Garrison Commander whose nationals were concerned; that as a practical measure the protection of such foreign lives and property could best be handled by the authorities of the nation concerned without calling on the Defense Committee; that even under the original wording of the paragraph in question the Defense Committee would have, in any particular case, left the matter largely, if not entirely, to the Garrison Commander of the forces whose nationals needed protection; and that the revised wording to which the Department took exception merely granted that authority to him.

In view of this fact, and in view of the recent Japanese effort to obtain a revision of the Defense Scheme which would serve the purpose of authorizing a condition similar to that which existed in 1932 in the Hongkew district, (see Legation’s No. 3667, July 3, 1935) the Legation is inclined to the opinion that no useful purpose would be served by proceeding further toward obtaining the revision of Part II, Paragraph 4, of the Defense Scheme desired by the Department; and it would suggest, therefore, that it be authorized to inform Mr. Cunningham that Admiral Upham’s letter to the Commander of the Japanese Naval Landing Party of March 30, 1935, may be considered as covering the questions raised by the Department.

Respectfully yours,

Nelson Trusler Johnson
  1. Despatch No. 8773 and enclosures not printed.
  2. Department notation: “Was parag[raph] 5 in orig[inal] defense scheme of Dec. 1931.”
  3. Department insertion.
  4. Ante, p. 290.
  5. Foreign Relations, 1934, vol. iii, p. 308.
  6. Ibid., p. 330.