The Ambassador in Japan (Grew) to the Secretary of State
[Received September 1—12:15 p.m.]
334. Embassy’s 297, August 23, 1 p.m. In the course of my interview today with the Minister of Foreign Affairs he handed to me the reply of the Japanese Government to my note of August 27 89 appealing for the avoidance of hostilities in Tsingtao. Hirota said that the wholesale evacuation of Japanese from Tsingtao was carried out for the particular purpose of avoiding hostilities but that Japanese property is being looted and that even the Japanese officials who remained behind are in constant danger. He expressed the hope that something might be done in Nanking to ensure the protection of Japanese life and property in Tsingtao. I replied that I would bring the Minister’s written and oral observations to the attention of my Government and to Mr. Johnson.
An official translation of the Japanese note follows:
“The Japanese Government have always been solicitous of preserving tranquillity in the Tsingtao District. Unfortunately, despite the fact that every effort has been exerted by the Japanese Government in order to forestall the occurrence of any untoward incidents in that district, the measures taken in this connection by the authorities of Tsingtao have not come up to the expectations of the Japanese Government. Consequently, the situation there grew worse rapidly so that the Japanese Government were at last forced to decide upon a [Page 503] complete evacuation of Japanese from that city with a view to forestalling any untoward events involving Japanese which might lead to the disturbance of peace and order in the district. In view of the fact that Japan possesses vast rights and interests there and that Japanese residents have established the business through efforts of many years, the above-mentioned action taken by the Japanese Government entailed the greatest of sacrifices on their part. This fact alone should be sufficient to demonstrate the sincerity of the Japanese Government in their desire for the preservation of peace in the Tsingtao district.
Since, however, the Japanese Government have gone the length of ordering their nationals to evacuate the city at an immense sacrifice, they believe that the Chinese authorities should assume on their part full responsibility for the protection of the rights and interests as well as of the property of the Japanese which have been left in the district and also of the few Japanese who may have had to remain there under unavoidable circumstances. They believe also that inasmuch as Chinese military activities in and around Tsingtao have been rendered absolutely unnecessary by reason of the peaceful steps taken by the Japanese Government, the district should be restored to normal conditions. The Japanese Government, desirous of obtaining a definite assurance from the Chinese authorities on this point, have been conducting negotiations with them. However, according to reports received up to date from their Consul General at Tsingtao, the attitude of the mayor of the city seems to be extremely unsatisfactory. Moreover, there are occurring already at sundry places lootings of Japanese property, and even the Japanese Consul General himself cannot be assured of his personal safety in the event he remains in the city. Under these circumstances, the Japanese Government are urging upon the Chinese authorities to refrain from taxing unduly the patience of the Japanese Government by ignoring their friendly action and their most reasonable wishes.”
Repeated to Shanghai for relay to Nanking.