793.94112/150: Telegram

The Commander in Chief, United States Asiatic Fleet (Yarnell), to the Chief of Naval Operations (Leahy)91

0005. Following letter written to Admiral Hasegawa this date.

“My dear Admiral Hasegawa: I have been informed by Captain Dundas of H. M. S. Folkestone that upon inquiry he was told by Admiral Sugiyama that it was your policy that merchant ships other than Japanese would not be allowed to proceed up the Yangtze.

On December 28th the American Ambassador in Tokyo informed the Japanese Government92 that the United States claimed absolute freedom for their ships to move and trade on the river and that the United States Government looks to the Japanese authorities to give prior warning in regard to any area on the Yangtze becoming, through steps taken by them, a dangerous area.

In view of the above, I can not accept a policy which prevents the free navigation of the Yangtze River by United States naval or merchant vessels.

Very sincerely, H. E. Yarnell, Admiral United States Navy, Commander-in-Chief, United States Asiatic Fleet.”

  1. Copy transmitted to the Department by the Navy Department.
  2. Foreign Relations, Japan, 1931–1941, vol. i, p. 760.