The Consul General at Shanghai (Gauss) to the Secretary of State
[Received February 22—2 p.m.]
139. The Japanese Consul General2 accompanied by the commanders of the Japanese naval landing party and the Japanese Army garrison called on the Chairman of the Shanghai Municipal Council3 this afternoon and handed him a communication which is summarized below. At the same time the Japanese Consul General stated orally that the requests made in the communication were presented in a genuine spirit of cooperation and good will with a view to the suppression of terrorist activities, adding that there is reason to believe that these activities are being carried on for the purpose of causing a direct clash between Japan and the Municipal Council and also with some third powers especially Great Britain and “we must be very careful not to be trapped by such a sinister strategy.”
The written communication refers to various representations made to the Council regarding terrorist activities and comments that while the Council must have been in possession of reports that such activities were contemplated during Chinese New Year holidays and the Council should have taken strict precautionary measures during these days, according to reliable information the Council sent a large number of police off duty on New Year’s Day, thus weakening the actual strength of the force at a time when it ought to have been augmented. The letter says that such an attitude on the part of the Council is difficult to understand and “I cannot help expressing my doubt about its sincere sympathy.”
The letter proceeds to comment on recent occurrences and the ineffectiveness of the police in dealing with them and states that breach [Page 2] of peace and order in Shanghai has serious effects upon peace and order and the pacification of the people in the whole Japanese occupied area and therefore “cannot be viewed with indifference by the Japanese authorities who are endeavoring for the establishment of a new order in East Asia.”
The letter finally submits the following requests:
- That the emergency proclamation of the Municipal Council dated July 19, 1938,4 concerning the arrest and expulsion of criminals shall be strictly enforced.
- That the Japanese police organs, including the gendarmerie and the consular police, should at whatever place and time necessary in the International Settlement take necessary measures for the protection of the Japanese subjects and the suppression of terrorism and thus cooperate with the municipal police force.
- That the Japanese authorities when they deem it necessary should in cooperation with the municipal authorities search the Chinese people entering the Settlement from or leaving it to the Whangpoo River or the Soochow Creek and the goods carried by them and detain them if not allowed.
- That the Japanese branch of the municipal police should immediately be strengthened.
- That the search of Chinese people at key points in the Settlement should be enforced immediately.
The letter then adds that the Japanese authorities reserve the right to make other demands in connection with the matter and asks for a reply at the earliest convenience.
The contents of the communication have not been published here but at a press conference this evening the spokesman stated that the Japanese authorities had presented the Council with “a plan” to deal with the situation.
Developments will be reported.
Repeated to Chungking, Peiping and Tokyo.