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

No. 2062

Sir: I have the honor to refer to my despatch No. 2045 of March 10, 1939, reporting further developments connected with the demands made by the Japanese authorities upon the Shanghai Municipal Council.

Attention is invited to the final paragraph of the above mentioned despatch in which it was pointed out that although the situation facing the Municipal Police is admittedly a difficult one, the tendency shown by the Municipal Police to allow the Japanese Gendarmerie to encroach on their authority is one that may lead to independent action by the Japanese military police in the International Settlement. There is now enclosed a copy of a letter, dated March 13,28 addressed by the Commanding Officer of the U. S. Fourth Marines to the Liaison Officer at Japanese Military Headquarters concerning an incident which occurred within the American Defense Sector on the morning of March 11 in which the Japanese Gendarmerie were discovered to be engaged in the arrest of a Chinese and to be taking action independent of the Shanghai Municipal Police. It will be noted that Colonel Fegan stressed the point that the Japanese Gendarmerie have no right to take independent action in the American Sector. There is also enclosed a copy of a letter, dated March 13,28 addressed by Colonel Fegan to the Commissioner of the Shanghai Municipal Police [Page 19] regarding this same incident, in which the former sets forth his position in regard to the conduct of raids carried out in the American Sector in cooperation with Japanese police organs, and in which he reiterates that independent Japanese action in the conduct of such raids cannot be permitted.

As an instance of further Japanese attempts to encroach upon the authority of the Shanghai Municipal Police, there is enclosed a copy of a police report, dated March 12,29 concerning the attempted establishment by the Japanese Gendarmerie of an office in a Chinese hotel located in the heart of the Settlement and within the British Defense Sector. As will be noted, the Commissioner of Police brought this matter to the attention of the Commandant of the Japanese Gendarmerie and pointed out that the presence of police other than the Municipal Police could not be approved without the consent of the Municipal Council and the military commander in charge of the defense sector concerned, and requested that instructions be issued to this Japanese Gendarmerie office to cease functioning pending discussions between those concerned. At the same time the Commissioner addressed a letter to the British Commandant concerning this matter.

Latest reports received from the Shanghai Municipal Police indicate that some twenty Japanese Gendarmerie officers and men are still in the hotel mentioned above, and it appears that the position taken by the British military authorities is that inasmuch as these Gendarmes are in plain clothes, the establishment of such an office is purely a police matter and not the concern of the foreign military commanders. The British position was revealed at an informal conference held on March 13 between the commanding officers of the various foreign defense forces, including the Italian Commandant, and the Secretary of the Council and the Commissioner of Police. A copy of a letter, dated March 15, addressed to me by Colonel Fegan, outlining the discussions which took place at the conference mentioned, is enclosed.29

It will be noted from Colonel Fegan’s letter that after some discussion the British military commandant apparently agreed to associate himself with the American commandant in supporting the Commissioner of Police in his protest to the Commandant of the Japanese Gendarmerie against the establishment by the Japanese of any offices or police detachments within the International Settlement south of Soochow Creek without the prior approval and sanction of the Municipal Council and the Municipal Police. However, I have ascertained from Police Headquarters that the British military authorities have not replied to the Commissioner’s letter regarding the establishment of the Japanese Gendarmerie office referred to above and [Page 20] that no reply has been received from the Commandant of the Japanese Gendarmerie concerning this matter.

In regard to the question of the conduct of raids at the instigation of the Japanese, the consensus of opinion of the military commandants present at the informal conference held on March 13, was that it was neither necessary nor desirable for military observers to be present at all raids but that they should be informed prior to the inception of any raid within their respective sectors and should reserve the right to have observers present if they so desire.

Respectfully yours,

C. E. Gauss
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