793.94/9357: Telegram

The Ambassador in Japan (Grew) to the Secretary of State

266. 1. With respect to the press reports of the naval bombardment yesterday at Shanghai, a naval informant stated to the Naval Attaché3 that as several Japanese Yangtze River gunboats were leaving for a down river rendezvous yesterday afternoon they were fired on from shore a few miles below Shanghai. The fire was returned and the ships proceeded down river.

2. As regards blocking of the Whangpoo: two Chinese steamers and several large junks were sunk by the Chinese above the naval anchorage, apparently to prevent Japanese gunboats proceeding up river to capture Chinese gunboats undergoing overhaul at the Shanghai Whangpoo dockyard.

3. Informant further stated that 500 additional men were landed last night from the Idzumo (flagship) and other Japanese ships to reinforce the naval landing force, bringing the number of the latter up to 3,500. As all of the landing force is on the front line, there are no reserves which makes the tactical situation precarious. The use of guns from the ships present to support or cover the landing force would be most dangerous to the civilian population and property as it would be necessary to fire over the Settlement.

4. Naval Attaché, from the statements made by informant today and yesterday (Embassy’s 262, August 13, 6 p.m.), is of the opinion that the Cabinet decided at the meeting this morning to send army troops to Shanghai.

5. The Chief Secretary of the Cabinet, after the Cabinet meeting this morning, told to press representatives that the Cabinet had determined “to take concrete measures.” No other statement was made and the Chief Secretary’s words are interpreted by many to mean that military reenforcements will be sent to Shanghai.

Repeated to Nanking.

  1. Commander Harvey M. Bemis.