The Consul General at Shanghai (Gauss) to the Secretary of State
[Received March 1—10:20 a.m.]
168. Reference my 158, February 27, 4 p.m.17
1. The Japanese Consul General called on the Chairman of the Municipal Council yesterday afternoon and handed him a signed reply to the letter of February 25th. The reply states:
“I regret that your reply is not quite as satisfactory as I have expected. Nevertheless I am glad to note that the Municipal Council has given its careful consideration to our requests and expressed its willingness to cooperate with the Japanese authorities in the protection of Japanese residents and the suppression of terrorist activities in the International Settlement, and I take it that the Council is ready to avail itself of such cooperation of the Japanese authorities as will ultimately achieve the desired result. Upon this understanding the Japanese police organs will now proceed to put into practice the proposed cooperation to cope with the present conditions in Shanghai. I hope that the joint efforts of the Municipal Council and the Japanese authorities will prove effective in the maintenance of peace and order in the Settlement so that no such undesirable situation will arise as will compel the Japanese authorities to take measures of self defense.”
2. At the same time Japanese Consul General handed to the Chairman an unsigned memorandum as follows:
“With reference to the five requests put forward in the Japanese Consul General’s letter of February 22, 1939, addressed to the Chairman of the Shanghai Municipal Council, it is understood as follows:
- Number 2 is the request that the Japanese police organs should be authorized at whatever place and time necessary in the International Settlement, to take necessary measures for the protection of Japanese residents and the suppression of terrorism, and thus cooperate with the municipal police force. This does not necessarily mean that the Japanese police organs will take any independent action for the suppression of terrorism in general at this juncture, but in bringing the cooperation into practice they intend to take measures more effective than heretofore. As regards the clothes to be worn by members of the Japanese police organs so cooperating, the Japanese side [Page 12] has no objection to the Municipal Council’s proposal in principle, with a view to effecting smoother cooperation with the municipal police.
- Number 3 and number 5 merely put forward some particular cases of measures mentioned in number 2 and therefore in complying with the measures of number 3 and number 5 the Japanese police organs will substantially cooperate with the municipal police force according to necessity.
- As regards number 4, the Japanese authorities deem the adoption of this proposal vitally important for the effective cooperation with the municipal police in maintaining peace and order in the Settlement. Not only the present vacancies in the Japanese branch of the Municipal Government police force should be filled and its size should be further enhanced but the proposals contained in Mr. Hidaka’s18 letters of November 4, 1938 and December 10, 1938 should be immediately carried out, independently of the question of the opening of the areas of the Settlement lying north of the Soochow Creek, and the powers of the senior Japanese officers of the municipal police should be increased, and, in particular, they should be enabled to participate in all the cases of anti-Japanese activities and invested with powers to take necessary measures.”
3. In connection with the Hidaka proposals mentioned by him, please see my despatch to the Department No. 1861 of December 8 last.19
4. While I understand that certain members of the Municipal Council feel that the Japanese reply is merely face-saving and that the Council has been able to maintain its position, I do not share that view and expect that in due course there will be further friction and further Japanese demands and encroachment on the authority of the Council.
Repeated to Tokyo; to Chungking, Peiping. Admiral informed.