The Ambassador in Japan ( Grew ) to the Secretary of State
[Received February 23—9:37 a.m.]
105. 1. Recent acts of terrorism in Shanghai have given rise in the Diet to a demand, which is generally supported by the press, that the Japanese Government employ all practicable means, including those of force if necessary, to assure the maintenance of peace and order in the Settlement. The Minister for Foreign Affairs5 expressed the [Page 3] opinion that such attacks involve the right of self-defense. Yesterday he stated that the Japanese authorities at Shanghai had been instructed to devise appropriate measures but he explained that the right of self-defense would not be prematurely invoked. He added today “the municipal authorities appear to be partly unable and partly not sincerely willing to maintain peace and order and it is our view that what is needed is that they should be both able and willing to maintain order. We have in mind plans to deal with the situation both for the time being and from a more permanent point of view.”
2. My British colleague6 telegraphed last night to London pointing out that although the Japanese Government probably has to do something in view of the popular clamor it might be well “for us to take the offensive as soon as possible by fastening some of the blame on the Japanese authorities”. He was authorized today to make representations preferably in conjunction with our French colleague and myself.
3. I shall take no action unless specifically instructed by the Department or unless the Japanese forcibly intervene in the Settlement before the Department’s instructions are received. My French colleague has reported to Paris recent developments here but he asked for no instructions and intends in the prevailing circumstances to make no representations on his own initiative.
Repeated to Shanghai.