793.94/9821: Telegram

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

574. British, French, German, Italian, and American Embassies made representations regarding closing of Yangtze River today by joint note to Minister of Foreign Affairs87 of which following important part is quoted:

“We understand that the purpose of the barrage is to prevent the Japanese Fleet from entering the river. While we do not deny the right of the Chinese Government to take such a step, we would point out that it was taken without any warning whatsoever to the governments represented by the undersigned, with the result that not only some of their merchant vessels and warships, but also large numbers of their nationals find themselves trapped in the river. With the rapid closing of other channels of communication it is becoming increasingly difficult for us either to evacuate our nationals from the river ports or to arrange for them to receive supplies.

It seems to the undersigned that it should not be impossible for the barrage at Kiangyin to be opened sufficiently to permit the passage of a ship, and for such length of time (which need not be more than a few days if sufficient notice is given to enable the necessary preparations to be made) as will enable those who so wish to leave and supplies to be brought in for the remainder, and we now have the honor to submit a request in this sense Excellencies [for an?] early reply.

As regards the difficulty of navigation below the barrage in the absence of marks, this is appreciated but experienced pilots are available and the risk would be faced.”

  1. Wang Chung-hui.