The Secretary of State to the Consul General at Shanghai (Gauss)
Washington, September 3, 1937—7 p.m.
321. Your 557, August 25, 7 p.m. and 564, August 26, 9 a.m.
- With reference to paragraph 8 of the Commander in Chief’s memorandum quoted in your 557 and to your 447 of August 10, 8 p.m., the Department would expect that the consular representatives of the interested powers in consultation with the interested naval commanders at Shanghai, would, if and when they consider that circumstances and developments warrant such action, make representations, in such form and manner as might be agreed upon, to the appropriate Japanese authorities at Shanghai against the use of the Settlement as a base for Japanese military operations.
- With regard to the problems suggested in your 564, we feel that insistence by the Municipal Council and the Consular Body upon respect for their responsibilities and functions in the field of administration of the International Settlement is fully warranted and constantly desirable. In so far as any interference with Chinese Government offices (revenue services, communications facilities, et cetera) located in the Settlement might constitute disregard for or usurpation of responsibilities and functions of the Council and the Consular Body with regard to the administration of the Settlement, it would seem to [Page 511]be incumbent upon the Council and the Consular Body to endeavor to avert or remove, if practicable, such interference through appropriate local representations.
- You will realize of course that the formulation now of a specific or even general plan of action to meet problems of an undetermined character would not be feasible. The form and line of any action taken to meet a specific problem would of necessity be conditioned upon the character, manner, and circumstance in which each problem might present itself, and also upon agreement among the Governments or their representatives having common interests and responsibilities.
- With regard to paragraph 2 of your 564, there follows a brief summary of pertinent developments at Tientsin in so far as known to the Department: (1) British and French Consuls General have informed the Japanese Consul General that Japanese troops could not pass through the British and French concessions (the Japanese have indicated acquiescence); (2) the British and French authorities have refused to permit the establishment of Japanese censorship of postal and telegraph communication handled in their respective concessions; (3) our Consul General has, under authorization, informed his Japanese colleague that Japanese censorship of American mail in Third Special Area would be an unwarranted invasion of the rights of American nationals concerned and would constitute grounds for protest by the American Government, and other consular officials in Tientsin are taking similar action; (4) reports indicate that the Japanese co-district inspector has taken over the Chinese salt revenue offices in the British and Italian concessions; and (5) with regard to the Chinese Maritime Customs in Tientsin, you have received Nanking’s 576, August 31, 8 p.m.3