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den incident appears to have been caused by an attempt on the part of some three or four hundred Chinese soldiers to blow up the line of the South Manchuria Railway immediately to the north of Mukden. A Japanese force was sent to investigate and prevent further damage to the line but when they arrived they were opposed by the Chinese soldiers and a brief engagement ensued. The Japanese thereupon decided as a precautionary measure to occupy certain parts of the city. In reply to a question he stated there may be no connection between the events of last night and the representations the Japanese Government had made regarding other incidents and that, on the contrary, they had been encouraged by the conciliatory attitude the Chinese had recently shown in connection with the Nakamura [case?]. When asked whether it was true that Japanese troops had occupied Kowpangtze he replied he did not know but doubted it very much.


793.94/1798: Telegram

The Minister in China (Johnson) to the Secretary of State

PEIPING, September 19, 1931-5 p. m. [Received September 19-7 a. m.]

605. Military Attaché's office informs me as follows:

"Japanese Military Attaché and Naval Attaché state that three [or] four days ago several Japanese pickets were ambushed and killed by Chinese soldiers on South Manchuria Railway, that South Manchuria Railway was cut north of Mukden and that due to these events and Nakamura case they have seized Mukden, Changchun, Yingkou and Kowpangtze and railway connecting with last two places. That arsenals in Mukden have been seized and that fighting has occurred there and at Changchun. Chinese troops in neighborhood of Mukden have been disarmed. Further state that occupation of territory laterally from South Manchuria Railway will only be in depth to guard their flanks."


793.94/1796: Telegram

The Chargé in Japan (Neville) to the Secretary of State

TOKYO, September 19, 1931-5 p. m. [Received September 19-7: 33 a. m.]

153. Embassy's 150, September 19, noon. Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs informs me that according to information at hand the South Manchuria Railway guards at Mukden discovered last night about 10 o'clock that part of the track north of Mukden was being torn up. They called assistance and proceeded to break up the interference when

they were confronted by several hundred Chinese soldiers in uniform coming out of the north camp. The Japanese military authorities thereupon sent out a force sufficient to drive off the Chinese and by 10 o'clock this morning had occupied the whole of Mukden and its environment. I am now informed that a special Cabinet meeting was held today and orders have been dispatched to the Japanese commander in chief of the army in Manchuria to stop all further aggressive military operations. The Foreign Office has promised to keep me advised.

Copy to Peiping.


793.94/1799 : Telegram

The Minister in China (Johnson) to the Secretary of State

PEIPING, September 19, 1931-8 p. m. [Received September 19-10: 10 a. m.]

606. Following telegram has been received from Langdon 22 at Dairen.

"September 19, 2 p. m. Consul at Mukden telephones for repetition to you that Japanese took over whole of Mukden at 1 a. m., this morning; they have also occupied Changchun, Antung and Newchwang and are running public services at all these places. Foreigners are all safe."


793.94/1800: Telegram

The Minister in China (Johnson) to the Secretary of State

PEIPING, September 19, 1931-9 p. m. [Received September 19-10:25 a. m.]

607. Following undated from American Consul General at Mukden, repeated by naval radio from Shanghai:

"September 19. 4 p. m. Please forward to Legation at Peiping. Sano, Japanese Consulate, reports South Manchuria Railway cut about 20 miles north of Mukden by 400 Chinese troops from Peitaiying garrison, 150 Japanese troops engaging Chinese. Desultory artillery fire can be heard from Mukden. Obviously not a severe engagement. Chinese Foreign Office telephoned 1:45. Chinese had requested Japanese cease firing but without avail. Japanese have blocked railway settlement to all including foreigners. No danger to foreigners anticipated although serious political complications will very likely arise. Lynch 23.



William R. Langdon, Consul at Dairen. "Andrew G. Lynch, Vice Consul at Mukden.


Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Current Information (McDermott) of the Press Conference on September 19, 1931 [Extract]

China. Secretary Stimson said that the news received by the Department concerning the occurrences at Mukden, Manchuria, substantially confirmed the press despatches. The contents of the telegrams to the Department have been conveyed to the press, not for attribution to the Department of State, because the news contained therein was from Chinese sources. Asked if the telegrams to the Department substantiated this morning's press reports concerning the capture of Mukden by the Japanese, the Secretary replied that Mukden appeared to have been taken by Japanese soldiers against the opposition of their Government representatives. The Secretary said, furthermore, that from the press despatches and the telegraphic despatches received by the Department it appears to be perfectly clear that the incident was caused by the action of the soldiers against the efforts of the representatives of their Government at Mukden. The Secretary said that he was merely giving the correspondents the reports he had received to date and which, so far, had not been contradicted. A correspondent here observed that when Polish soldiers captured a Lithuanian town" they gave out the same story. In reply, Mr. Stimson said he did not remember the details of the Lithuanian incident.

Asked then if the incident in Mukden came under the provisions of the Four-Power Pacific Treaty,25 the Secretary said he thought not and that, judging from the despatches received, it was not a clash of Governments, but a clash of subordinates of Governments, and that it would not, therefore, come under either the Kellogg Pact or any of the other Treaties. A correspondent then observed that clashes between governments usually grow out of smaller things. In reply, Mr. Stimson said it might lead to something that would call for the invocation of the Kellogg Pact or other Treaties, but it certainly is not yet an act of war by one Government against another, according to the press despatches. The Secretary here said that his remarks were not for attribution to himself or to the Department of State and that they were for guidance only. A correspondent then said he thought he had a right to know whether the United States viewed this incident as coming under the provisions of any of the Treaties above mentioned. He was informed, in reply, that the Secretary had given him all he was entitled to know and that the information given above was merely for his

*Presumably Vilno, seized October 9, 1920.

"Signed at Washington December 13, 1921, Foreign Relations, 1922, vol. 1, p. 33.

guidance. The correspondent then said that the public was not interested in his (the correspondent's) view and that it is interested in the views of the Department of State. The correspondent then asked if he could obtain some statement which he could publish on the authority of the Department of State. Mr. Stimson then said that our information was very imperfect and that the correspondents were trying to make him jump before he was ready. The correspondent then said that he was not attempting to do such a thing or to do anything that would be unfair to the Secretary of State. In reply, Mr. Stimson said he did not mean to use the word "unfair", but the fact of the matter is we are just beginning to receive despatches from the disturbed area. Anyone who has the facts probably would reach the same conclusion which the Department has, which is that so far the matter does not involve the two Governments and is not, therefore, under the provisions of the Kellogg Pact. The correspondent then said that the above statement was proper news and interesting to the reading public because of the great interest in the Kellogg Pact. Mr. Stimson then said that the correspondents might use the following for attribution: The Department is following the matter carefully, but on the news thus far received there seems to be no ground for indicating any violation of the Kellogg Pact.

Asked if the United States has any extensive commercial interests in the region around Mukden, the Secretary said he understood our trade with that district was small.


793.94/1806: Telegram

The Minister in China (Johnson) to the Secretary of State

PEIPING, September 20, 1931-2 a. m. [Received September 19-10 p. m.]

608. Following from Mukden via Shanghai:

"September 19, 8 a. m. All Americans safe although statement in my earlier telegram regarding safety of foreigners was somewhat premature. Japanese machine guns opened [fire on?] motor car carrying Chinese in International Settlement killing chauffeur, wounding occupant, bullets passing over Mukden Club window and automobiles of Americans standing in compound. Japanese troops now control International Settlement and surround native city. At 5 p. m. yesterday Japanese Consulate General assured me that chance of immediate trouble had practically passed due to conciliatory attitude of Chinese. Believe whole episode complete surprise to Japanese Consulate General. International Settlement now quiet. Lynch."


793.94/1807: Telegram

The Minister in China (Johnson) to the Secretary of State

PEIPING, September 20, 1931-11 p. m. [a. m.?] [Received September 20-3 a. m.]

609. Commandant of American Guard who is Senior Commandant informs me that Commandant of Japanese Legation Guard came to him this morning and after informing him of happenings in Manchuria along the lines reported in Tokyo's 153, September 19, 5 p. m., referred to possibility of attacks upon Japanese nationals resident in Peiping. He asked concerning attitude of the Senior Commandant in such eventuality with special reference to general plan of defense of foreigners and Legation Quarter in case of attack. Commandant of American Guard replied with my approval that present situation involving as it does only Japanese would not warrant invoking of general plan. Senior Commandant suggested that if Japanese citizens are threatened outside Legation Quarter obvious step would be for Japanese authorities to bring them into their own Legation.

Repeated to commander in chief.


793.94/1820: Telegram

The Consul at Geneva (Gilbert) to the Secretary of State

GENEVA, September 20, 1931-4 p. m. [Received September 21-2: 15 p. m.]

116. Late Saturday afternoon,26 following a private session of the Council in which the affair was presumably discussed, the Japanese delegate, at the request of the President of the Council, made a brief statement concerning the Mukden incident.

This statement was to the effect that the information received by him was meager and that he had requested further details from his Government and would keep the Council informed of developments. He added that the Japanese Government would doubtless take measures to attempt to insure that this local incident should not lead to more serious complications, and to effect an appeasement of the situation.

Dr. Sze, the Chinese delegate, took the occasion to speak immediately afterwards expressing deep concern in regard to this "highly regrettable incident". He added that the information thus far at hand seemed to indicate that the Chinese were not responsible for *September 19.

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