The Consul General at Shanghai (Gauss) to the Secretary of State
[Received May 2.]
Sir: With reference to my telegram No. 230 of March 24, 9 a.m., reporting that the Japanese forces were employing armed Chinese auxiliaries in the areas of the Settlement north of Soochow Creek, and that the Japanese Naval Landing Party had recently promulgated new traffic regulations for the areas of the Settlement north of the Creek, thus arrogating to themselves authority vested in the municipal police, I have the honor to enclose copies of the following Consular Body circulars:36
- Circular 101–G–VII, quoting a letter from the Chairman of the Shanghai Municipal Council to the Senior Consul, regarding Chinese auxiliaries.
- Circular 99–G–VII, a letter from the Chairman of the Council enclosing a copy of a letter from the Chairman to the Japanese Consul General, regarding traffic regulations.
- Circular 113–G–VII, letter from the Chairman of the Council enclosing copy of a letter from the Japanese Consul General; also regarding traffic regulations.
My British colleague and I both addressed the Senior Consul suggesting that these matters should be considered at an early meeting of the Treaty Power Consuls. A meeting was called for March 30th. I enclose copies of the draft minutes37 of the discussion at this meeting on the two questions. These draft minutes require yet to be corrected and approved by the several consular officers concerned; but the drafts represent a reasonably accurate account of what transpired. In brief, the American and British Consul General supported the protests of the Municipal Council, recording their opinions and urging the matters to the attention of the Japanese Consul General.
In the matter of the traffic regulations promulgated by the Japanese Naval Landing Party, there was some support of the Council and of the American and British position from other consular representatives who pointed out that the Japanese regulations could not be enforced in their consular courts. The Japanese Consul General curtly announced that he had replied to the protest of the Council and had nothing further to add.
In the matter of the armed Chinese auxiliaries of the Japanese Gendarmerie (military police), the Japanese Consul General complained that the Chairman of the Council had made no representations [Page 24] to him in the matter before addressing the Senior Consul. He also complained that the Council had issued a press release reporting the protest to the Senior Consul and that this press release had appeared even before the protest to the Senior Consul had reached the interested consular representatives.
We were disposed to admit that the publicity given by the Council was “perhaps premature”, but I pointed out that during the recent exchanges between the Japanese authorities and the Council in regard to terrorism at Shanghai there had been extensive, inaccurate and unfair publicity emanating from the Japanese side.
On the point of the Council’s protest, I had suggested that the protest should be supported by the Treaty Consuls and brought to the attention of the Japanese Consul General with the request that the latter take up the matter with the Japanese authorities concerned. The Japanese Consul General commented that the Treaty Consuls “had better not take such collective action”; he said that apparently the Chairman of the Council in conversation with a Japanese member of the Council had not regarded the matter very seriously; and he added that if the Consuls “pressed him harder and harder the reaction would be bigger and bigger”. This Japanese attitude was not satisfactory; but my British colleague and I had ascertained before the meeting that the Chinese armed auxiliaries of the Japanese Gendarmerie had disappeared from the Garden Bridge—for the time being, at least—and we did not consider it necessary or desirable at the moment to press the Council’s protest further or more vigorously than had been done. I emphasized that the presence of these armed Chinese auxiliaries might lead to a spread of terrorism, but added that I did not consider it necessary that any communication be addressed to the Japanese Consul General; he had been made aware of the protest and of the views and suggestions of his colleagues.