893.102 Tientsin/230: Telegram

The Consul General at Tientsin (Caldwell) to the Secretary of State

47. My 43, March 23, 6 p.m. At a meeting of the Consular Body today the Japanese Consul General stated that he was unable to state when the proposed new restrictions on movement of persons in Tientsin would become effective and that he hoped they would be postponed indefinitely, but it was clear that plans have been made by the Japanese military of very much greater restrictions than existed previously.

According to the present plan all “third power nationals” would have to go in person to the Japanese General to obtain passes issued by the Japanese military, although the Japanese Consul General assured me that such passes would be issued without discrimination to all Americans approved by this Consulate General. The Japanese Consul General stated that such passes are not “required” but would be issued as a convenience to expedite the passage of the barriers by [Page 169] Americans, who, if they preferred not to carry such passes, could go through the barriers on documents issued by their own officials but subject to the delay experienced by the Chinese and other persons not in possession of the Japanese military passes.

The preference of the Japanese military for the use of their passes rather than the visaeing by them of the identification cards previously issued by the various consular authorities in Tientsin was that the cards are not uniform and that sentries would not be familiar with the appearance of these several forms of cards. This objection is hardly valid, as all cards I have seen (which include those of all principal nationalities here) are practically identical in form, size and text, the principal difference being in the national flag on the face. The French Consul, Mr. Colin, who recently arrived from Hankow, stated that this situation was met there by the use of 2-page passes on uniform forms supplied by the Japanese military, one page of which was filled in by the consular authority concerned (with photograph bearing a consular seal), and the other page of which was filled in and sealed by the Japanese Consulate General.

No thought seems to have been given by the Japanese military to the matter of passes for Chinese employees of “third power nationals”.

At the request of the consular representatives present at the meeting today, all of whom reserved their positions concerning the question of Japanese military passes for their nationals, the Japanese Consul General undertook to confer further with the Japanese military concerning all the points raised at the meeting and to inform his colleagues of the results of his conference.

The Japanese Consul General was insistent on learning from me before the 30th the number of Americans in Tientsin, and I am giving him the approximate figure, exclusive of members of the marine corps and their families, with the statement that I have no means of knowing the precise number and that I reserve my position on the question of Japanese military passes for Americans in Tientsin, which is left for further discussion should it become necessary.

Repeated to Chungking, Peiping. Code text of this and my 43, March 23, 6 p.m. by airmail to Tokyo.