711.94/1894: Telegram

The First Secretary of Embassy in China (Smyth) to the Secretary of State

2. Peiping’s 1, January 1, noon. Colonel Turnage states that this morning he requested Major Miyamoto, a staff officer on the headquarters of the Japanese North China army and concurrently commandant of the Japanese Embassy guard, to call. The Major called and Colonel Turnage recited in detail his findings in the case, as taken from the testimony of 20 of his men who in one way or another were connected with the incident; Colonel Turnage also produced the service record books of the 5 arrested men and showed the Major that none of them had ever been punished for any offense whatsoever. Colonel Turnage informed Major Miyamoto that he considered the incident a most serious matter and an insult to the American Embassy guard. Colonel Turnage then informed Major Miyamoto orally as follows:

“On December 30 you expressed a desire to close the case locally. I will agree to close the case and carry no further provided (1) the chief of the Japanese gendarmerie in Peiping apologizes to me for having arrested five marines and for unwarranted use of force in so doing, (2) a promise is given that steps will be taken to ensure that there will be no repetition of such incidents, and (3) that the persons responsible for the unlawful arrest and use of force be punished. Unless these demands are complied with, I cannot consider the incident closed and will refer the matter to the higher American authorities.”

Major Miyamoto refrained from comment, except to state that the Colonel’s version and the Japanese version did not agree; he said that he would convey the Colonel’s statement to the proper Japanese authorities and would make a further call on the Colonel as soon as possible.

The four injured marines are rapidly improving. As a precautionary measure Colonel Turnage has for the time being restricted marine liberty to their own clubs and private houses.

It should be mentioned that upon the refusal of the local Japanese controlled telegraph office to accept an Associated Press message on the incident (see Peiping’s telegram under reference), the Associated Press [Page 458] correspondent asked Colonel Turnage to request permission from Admiral Hart to send messages on the case over naval radio to Shanghai where they can be relayed commercially to the United States. Admiral Hart approved the request and press messages were sent yesterday by naval radio to Shanghai for the Associated Press and also the International News Service; both of these news services are represented in Peiping by American correspondents.

No publicity on this incident has so far appeared in the local Japanese or China press.

Further developments will be promptly reported.

Sent to the Department, repeated to Chungking, Tokyo, Shanghai.