811.015394/51: Telegram

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

88. Yesterday morning a foreign newspaperman informed the Consulate General that a Japanese flag was observed flying over an American flag on a factory in the area north of Soochow Creek. Investigation disclosed that the Japanese flag had been raised on same staff over American flag. Officers Chinese tobacco factory claimed to be held under lease by an American leaf tobacco importer and that the Japanese flag had apparently been so raised by Japanese civilians claiming possession of the factory. We complained immediately to Japanese [Consul?] General of the disrespect thus shown to American flag and asked for the removal of the Japanese flag from its offending position. Japanese [Consul?] General promised to investigate and when later pressed for action argued that there was a question in regard to the ownership of the factory. We replied that any question of ownership or possession might be discussed later and that the matter demanding immediate attention and satisfaction was the removal of the [Page 271] Japanese flag from its offending position on the staff over the American flag. Assurance was later given that orders had been issued to remove the Japanese flag from its offending position and we have subsequently confirmed that this has been done, the Japanese flag now flying elsewhere on the factory.

Repeated to Peiping, by mail to Tokyo.