793.94/9418: Telegram

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

444. Following has just been sent to Shanghai:

“August 16, noon. My British, French, Italian and German colleagues have discussed following suggestion which I now quote to you for communication to the Commander-in-Chief. We are firmly convinced that it is a complete waste of time to discuss any solution based on a ‘withdrawal to original positions.’

The Japanese maintain that the presence of their landing party is necessary for the protection of their nationals; the danger envisaged being (1) organized attack by Chinese armed forces from outside the Settlement, (2) sporadic attacks on individuals by anti-Japanese fanatics inside the Settlement; in which connection they complain that they receive insufficient protection from the Shanghai Municipal Police.

It is clear that it is the presence of the Japanese armed forces in Shanghai which is attracting the danger to the life and property of Japanese nationals. The Japanese authorities must make up their minds whether they are more interested in the presence of their armed forces or in the safety of their nationals. If the former there is nothing for it [to do?] and the issue must be fought out; if the latter then they can be assured most positively that the best way of securing the safety of their nationals in Shanghai is to withdraw their armed forces subject to arrangements on the following lines: (a) simultaneous withdrawal of all Chinese armed forces from the Shanghai zone; (b) temporary protection to be afforded by other foreign forces pari passu with Japanese withdrawal of Japanese nationals until Chinese evacuation is completed and until (c) a considerable increase has been effected in the number of Japanese officers of the Shanghai Municipal Police so as to afford confidence to the Japanese community. The figure I have in mind is about 100.

In my opinion if these terms could be accepted they would afford complete security to the Japanese.

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It may be pointed out to them that once Chinese armed forces are withdrawn all Japanese nationals in Shanghai need fear is an outcrop of incidents with which the augmented police force should be quite capable of dealing. I am well aware of the objections to increasing the Japanese personnel of the police, but the situation is so serious that other considerations take second place.

Please discuss urgently with Commander-in-Chief, Council authorities, your Japanese colleague and any others you think desire it, and see whether there is any possibility of a solution on these lines”.

I commend this plan for discussion. I am communicating it to the Department recommending that we cooperate in considering this plan.