811.30 Asiatic Fleet/763: Telegram

The Consul General at Shanghai (Gauss) to the Secretary of State

520. Reference my No. 519, June 21, 4 p.m. I have received the following message from the Commander-in-Chief, United States Asiatic Fleet and have communicated it to the Japanese Consul General with the request that he inform the senior Japanese naval authorities: [Page 787]

“Please inform Japanese Consul General and request that he inform senior Japanese naval authorities that the paramount duty of United States naval vessels is the protection of American citizens and will go wherever it is necessary at any time to carry out that mission and will remain in such places as long as American citizens are in need of protection or assistance. Every effort will be made to avoid interference with Japanese operations consistent with the above mission. The Commander-in-Chief cannot accept the statement that the Japanese authorities cannot take any responsibility for damages incurred if vessels not withdrawn. It is not considered that this warning relieves the Japanese authorities in the slightest degree of responsibility for damage or injury to United States naval vessels or personnel.”

Repeated to Chungking and Peiping. By air mail to Tokyo.