793.94/9492: Telegram

The Commander in Chief of the United States Asiatic Fleet (Yarnell) to the Secretary of State

0019. Following received from American Consul General, Shanghai:

“Japanese Consul General has notified the Senior Consul that the Commander in Chief of the Third Japanese Fleet has ordered the closing of section 6, 7 and 8 of the river to Chinese vessels between 1900 and 0500 and that other vessels should notify the Japanese of their movements in advance in order to avoid any misunderstanding.”

Following reply made to Japanese Commander in Chief via American Consul General:

“The American Naval Commander in Chief has considered the oral message received by the American Consul General from the Japanese Consul General through the Senior Consul, stating that sections 6, 7 and 8 of the Whangpoo will be closed from 1900 to 0500 daily to Chinese vessels and that other vessels should give due notice.

The Commander in Chief observes that Vice Admiral Hasegawa, Japanese Commander in Chief, has not conferred with him in regard to this matter.

He has guards of marines and blue jackets at properties below this area to which access is required at any time at short notice. He must also have free communication with his ships, both men-of-war and merchants at Woosung at all times of the day and night.

The Commander in Chief will therefore be unable to comply with the proposal that he should notify the Japanese Commander in Chief of any movement between 1900 and 0500. In order to facilitate identification, however, he will arrange [that] any United States man-of-war, ship, boat or merchant vessel proceeding after dark will burn her navigation lights and fly her ensign or national flag as the case may be and will pass as close as practicable to the first Japanese man-of-war encountered up or down stream, reducing speed while passing her.”

British and French Commanders in Chief have sent identic messages.