793.94/9366: Telegram

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

149. Your 269, August 14, 6 p.m., paragraph 4, and Department’s 146, August 13, midnight.

1. Counselor of Japanese Embassy called on Chief of Far Eastern Division this morning and began a narration “for information” of events at Shanghai, attributing all blame to the Chinese. Speaking under authorization, and saying so, Hornbeck then reiterated what had been said by the Secretary yesterday to Saito as reported to you in Department’s 146, first paragraph, emphasizing the point that the military situation at Shanghai is a situation to the making of which both Japan and China have contributed and for which neither country can, in the opinion of this Government, repudiate responsibility.

This view, thus communicated here yesterday and today, coincides with that expressed by the British Foreign Office to the Japanese Foreign Office through the British Chargé d’Affaires at Tokyo as reported in your 269 under reference.

Department is by no means sure that Japanese Embassy reports fully to Japanese Foreign Office.

The only hope of there being averted probably extremely dangerous and destructive military operations at Shanghai would seem to lie in the possibility that one or both sides withdraw armed forces from that locality.

2. In the light of all of the above, Department feels that, without making a special occasion, you should take advantage of the first possible opportunity to present to the Minister for Foreign Affairs the view that, if the Shanghai region is made a theater of battle, neither side can divest itself of responsibility by accusing the other. You might urge that, although withdrawal might be psychologically difficult for either side, it would be physically easier for the Japanese than for the Chinese. You could also say that your Government has urged upon the Chinese that their forces should be withdrawn. You may use your discretion both as to action and as to substance.