793.94116/47: Telegram

The Ambassador in Japan (Grew) to the Secretary of State

357. Our 356, June 4, noon, bombing of Canton. My British colleague has supplied me with the substance, as follows, of his telegram to London describing his conversation on June 4 with the Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs:

“I spoke to Vice Minister today as instructed, pointing out that in view of urgency of matter I had thought it best not to await return of Minister for Foreign Affairs to Tokyo. I made use of the information contained in the various telegrams from His Majesty’s Consul General at Canton.

His Excellency inquired whether our representations were based on grounds of humanity? I replied in the affirmative, adding that they were also made in the interests of Anglo-Japanese relations, having regard to the most unfavorable impression made on British public opinion by the appalling loss of life amongst the civilian population.

Vice Minister stated that reports received from Japanese Navy indicated the utmost care had been taken to confine attacks to military objectives and that no Japanese planes had flown over Shameen. Nevertheless, in view of my statement that official reports we had received were based on personal investigation and not merely on accounts from Chinese sources, Vice Minister promised that careful inquiry would be made into the facts on which His Majesty’s Government’s representations had been based.”12

Repeated to Shanghai for Hankow.

  1. Further British representations were made on June 6 and 8.