The Ambassador in Japan ( Grew ) to the Secretary of State
[Received October 20—9:44 a.m.]
481. Our 444, October 4, 2 p.m. The following is text in translation of a memorandum in which the Foreign Office replies:
“Number 130, Asia I. Department of Foreign Affairs, Tokyo, October 19, 1937.
The Japanese Foreign Office presents its compliments to the American Embassy and, having duly noted the proposal set forth in the aide-mémoire of October 4 from the Embassy of the United States in Tokyo46 with regard to the use by the Japanese forces of the Shanghai International Settlement, has the honor to make the following reply:
Japan’s present military operations at Shanghai had their origin in the fact that China massed quantities of troops around the Settlement and defied the Japanese landing force charged with protection of Japanese residents there. Thereafter China mobilized and rapidly brought up a large number of troops over a wide area in the rear of Shanghai, and assumed an antagonistic attitude against the greatly outnumbered Japanese forces. The Japanese army was therefore obliged to despatch reenforcements for reasons of defense. The area of military operations has been necessarily enlarged. Because of the need of protecting the International Settlement and because of the inherent right to protect Japanese residents, the Japanese Government is of opinion exception cannot properly be taken to the action of the Japanese army in landing troops necessary for defense, and munitions of war, in the northern area of Shanghai, an area allotted to Japan for purposes of guarding, in order to carry on military operations against Chinese forces which constitute the menace.
Japan, as one power in the International Settlement, has large rights and interests there, as have also other powers. As a result of military operations against China, which assumed an unwarrantably provocative attitude in the present instance, Japan is now sustaining heavy sacrifices. In view of the fact that the Japanese Government is keenly alive to the safety and the rights and interests of nationals of other powers, it is bending every effort to the protection of such rights and interests, and is consequently obliged to use part of the International Settlement in the present military operations.”
Repeated to Nanking.