The Department of State to the Japanese Embassy21

A complaint against Mr. T. Fukuma, Japanese Consul General at Honolulu, for unwarranted action in seizing and detaining A. J. Carroll, Chief Photographer, United States Navy.

According to reports made to the Department, there occurred at Honolulu on April 8, 1937, when the Japanese naval tanker Hayatomo, which had been moored to the United States Navy Pier in Honolulu Harbor, was completing preparation for departure, an incident as follows:

A member of the Hayatomo’s crew had set up on her deck a large camera to take pictures of certain groups of persons on the pier, in one of which groups were the Japanese Consul General and some members of his staff. During the posing of this group Carroll, who was on the pier in civilian clothing, took a photograph of the group, after which he was grasped by the arm from behind and jerked around by the Japanese Consul General, who demanded that the roll of films in the camera be surrendered to him. When Carroll refused to comply he was surrounded by a group of Japanese from the Consul General’s party, one of whom demanded the film stating that the picture of the [Page 809] Consul General had been taken without the Consul General’s permission. Carroll again refused to surrender the film, whereupon the Consul General again seized him by the arm. When Carroll persisted in refusing to give up the film he was seized by two Japanese, forced into the back seat of an automobile, and taken to the Honolulu Police Station. Two of these Japanese are members of the Consul General’s staff and the third, who is manager of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce at Honolulu and who acted as spokesman at the police station, stated that he wanted Carroll arrested for taking the picture of the Consul General and demanded that the film be turned over to the Consul General. He was informed by the police authorities that any American citizen was free to take pictures anywhere in the territory, except in restricted areas.

On the following day Captain W. K. Kilpatrick, Acting Chief of Staff, called on the Japanese Consul General who stated that he objected to having his picture taken without permission, that he had asked that the film be surrendered to him, that he regarded the whole thing a minor incident, and that he did not consider that any assault had been committed.

Although the Department is bringing the matter to the attention of the Ambassador orally and informally, it should be understood that this Government considers the action of the Consul General and his associates in this incident highly objectionable.

  1. Handed to the Japanese Ambassador on June 12 by the Chief of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs “as an aide-mémoire in record of an oral statement”.