793.94/9375: Telegram

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

436. 1. Foreign Office last night issued lengthy official statement mentioning reconstruction efforts of past few years and stating that in connection with aspirations for national independence she has scrupulously upheld all international treaties such as League Covenant, Nine Power, and Paris Peace Pact. Japanese activities in China are then reviewed from the Manchurian to the Lukouchiao incident which “must be fundamentally attributed to the excessive increase of the Japanese garrison at Tientsin and frequent maneuvers unlawfully held at places not permitted under the treaty of 1901. This was followed by a sudden attack upon Wanping and the Japanese, while giving assurances that their Government did not desire to aggravate the situation, sent large numbers of additional troops into Hopei. On July 12 the Chinese Foreign Minister suggested to the Counselor of the Japanese Embassy immediate cessation of military movements but received no response. On July 19 the Chinese Government formally renewed its proposal in writing proposing also mutual withdrawing of troops to original positions and stating that the Chinese Government was prepared to accept any pacific means recognized by international law and treaties—direct negotiations, good offices, mediations or arbitration. This démarche failed to elicit response.

Meanwhile Chinese local authorities in the North accepted Japanese terms to which the Central Government “with the greatest forebearance” did not raise objections, but Japanese troops without any pretext [Page 418] directed further attacks on Chinese positions at Lukouchiao, Langfang, and other places. A Japanese ultimatum was delivered July 26 demanding inter alia withdrawal of Chinese troops from Peiping which was entirely outside the terms already agreed upon. Without waiting for a reply before the expiration of the time limit, Japanese troops started a fierce offensive against Peiping and Tientsin causing great loss of life and destruction of property. Following these atrocities Japanese forces are now advancing toward southern Hopei and carrying the war into Chahar with attacks on Nanking.

Meanwhile the Chinese Government repeatedly ordered Shanghai local authorities to take precautions against occurrence of incidents there. The August 9 incident was precipitated by Japanese attempt to force entry into the Hungjao military airdrome regardless of Chinese warnings. The local Chinese authorities immediately proposed seeking equitable settlement through diplomatic channels but the Japanese Government despatched large number of warships and additional armed forces to Shanghai and presented demands designed to reduce Chinese strength for self-defense. Japanese planes flew over Shanghai, Hangchow, Ningpo and other cities near the coast with a view to commencing military operations. On July 13 Japanese forces launched vigorous attacks on the Shanghai civic center. Using the 1932 armistice agreement as pretext, Japan sought to prevent China from taking legitimate measures of self-defense during the emergency.

“The Chinese Government now solemnly decrees that China’s territorial integrity and sovereign rights have been wantonly violated by Japan in glaring violation of such peace instruments as the Covenant of the League of Nations, the Nine Power Treaty and Paris Peace Pact. China is in duty bound to defend her territority and her national existence, as well as the sanctity of the above mentioned treaties. We will never surrender any part of our territory. When confronted with aggression, we cannot but exercise our national right of self-defense. If Japan did not entertain territorial design on China, she should use her efforts to seek a rational solution of Sino-Japanese problems and at the same time cease all her armed aggressions and military movements in China. In the event of such a happy change of heart, China would, in conformity with her traditional policy of peace, continue her efforts to avert a situation pregnant with dangerous possibilities both for east Asia and for the world at large.

In this our supreme fight not only for a national but for a world cause, not only for the preservation of our own territory and sovereignty but for the maintenance of international justice, we are confident that all friendly nations, while showing sympathy with us, will be conscious of their obligations under the international treaties to which they have solemnly subscribed.”

2. Sent to the Department only.