The Consul General at Shanghai (Gauss) to the Secretary of State
[Received January 4—8 a.m.]
8. Abend of New York Times has informed us that he has been informed by three highly placed Japanese diplomatic and military representatives and asked to cable home a story indicating that the Japanese authorities had planned to reopen a portion of the Yangtze River in October but that the publicity given to the American protest of October 699 and subsequent publicity given to the firming of the attitude of the American Government has retarded partial reopening [Page 775]of the river since such action would appear to be yielding to American and British pressure. Mr. Abend also stated he ascertained that the Japanese are considering reopening the river as far as Wuhu some time this month and that the plan is to institute a system of convoys for foreign merchant vessels. Abend appears to be uncertain whether to despatch this story.
The above is being reported as a matter of information and as indicating that the Japanese are perhaps giving serious consideration to the question of partial reopening of the Yangtze River. I might add that Captain Mitsunobu, Japanese naval spokesman at Shanghai, during the course of a recent conversation with a member of my staff mentioned that the Japanese naval authorities here are giving consideration to the reopening of the lower portion of the river to foreign commercial vessels.1
Repeated to Peiping, Chungking, Nanking and Hankow. Code text by air mail to Tokyo.