793.94/12318: Telegram

The Consul General at Canton ( Linnell ) to the Secretary of State

Bocca Tigris forts bombarded intensely today by three Japanese ships. Foreign vessels starting this morning from Hong Kong to Canton and Canton to Hong Kong returned to port of departure, those from Canton under orders of Chinese military authorities. Understood Pearl River not physically blocked as yet. Official notice has been received that the channels into the West River have been completely blocked and it is reported from Kongmoon that this has been done in anticipation of surprise attack. Local authorities there say they expect about 100 fishing junks and motor boats to come from Formosa with 7000 marines.93

Military has been recently removing airplanes repair factory and other military equipment from Canton; southward troops movements evidently to meet expected Japanese naval attacks below Bocca Tigris and Bias Bay are reported.

Strict martial law enforced last night, police and gendarmes searching and later stopping all street traffic. Restrictions relaxed today but authorities still displaying special vigilance. Informed by military headquarters spokesman that precautions due to intelligence reports that Japanese have been assisting Chinese traitors in plot to organize anti-Central Government agitation awards [among] disgruntled statesmen, officials and National Council groups, timed to coincide with intensive air and naval attacks. Numerous arrests of Japanese spies at Canton reported. Likelihood of any pro-Japanese coup believed remote.

As predicted Japanese planes appeared over Canton today in repeated flights of small groups which scouted extensively over city at low attitude [altitude] but dropped no bombs in city proper. Samshui Railway heavily bombed. Chinese ground fire most vigorous yet seen reportedly brought down two planes. Japanese scouting flights are becoming increasingly extensive. Yesterday about 40 planes in small groups engaged in some 15 flights over all railways, principal highways, delta and other points but actual raiding practically confined to a few bombs on main railways.

Mailed Hong Kong.

  1. Navigation on the river was reopened February 15.