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793.94/1813 : Telegram

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

PEIPING, September 21, 1931-3 p. m. [Received September 21-9: 20 a. m.]

616. Reuter report from Nanking, 20th:

"A second note was handed to Mr. Shigemitsu 30 this afternoon demanding immediate withdrawal of Japanese troops from territories forcibly occupied and the restoring of normal conditions. Note says that Chinese Government also reserves all rights to adopt future appropriate action.


Central Executive Committee 1 held 5-hour session today to consider the position and decide[d] to declare September 23d as a national humiliation day in connection with recent events, when all flags will be flown at half mast, places of amusement closed and social functions suspended."


793.94/1817: Telegram

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

PEIPING, September 21, 1931-5 p. m. [Received September 21-11:45 a. m.]

617. Assistant Military Attaché of this Legation called on Japanese Military Attaché this afternoon and obtained from him following information:

"Japanese subjects in Harbin and Kirin are in a dangerous position. In Kirin they have all been collected in the Japanese Consulate and have sent an appeal to the military authorities in Mukden for protection. Chang Tso-hsiang, Governor of Kirin, is apparently away and his second in command says that he is unable to protect Japanese subjects. In Harbin the situation is also grave, accordingly General Honjo has ordered the Second Japanese Division to proceed to Kirin and Harbin from the neighborhood of Mukden. This movement as I understand it has not begun as yet. Japanese Military Attaché said that Chinese troops were gathering for an attack on Szepingkai, the Fushun coal mines, and implied that they were also about to attack Japanese in Kirin.

When asked as to what Soviet Russia would say to the occupation of Harbin he replied that he did not think they would actually fight or move any troops but that Japanese would be exposed to all kinds of subversive tactics.

He further stated that a mixed brigade was being held on the Yalu River under readiness for duty in Manchuria and that he considered that reenforcements of the Manchurian garrison were absolutely

"Japanese Minister in China.

"Of the Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang).

necessary although he claims that he does not know that these reenforcements will take place.

Japanese Military Attaché denies that Kowpangtze and Hulutao have been occupied."

Repeated to Tokyo.



The Chinese Chargé (Yung Kwai) to the Secretary of State

WASHINGTON, September 21, 1931.

SIR: I have the honor to inform you that I am instructed by my Government to bring to your attention the occupation of Chinese territory by Japanese troops in Manchuria.

Japanese troops near Shenyang (Mukden), without the slightest provocation, opened an attack on the Chinese barracks on September 18, at 10 P. M. and continued bombarding the Chinese camps and arsenal, killing a large number of Chinese people in spite of the complete nonresistance of the Chinese troops. The whole city of Shenyang and its vicinity were occupied by Japanese troops by September 19, at 6:30 A. M. The occupation of Antung is already confirmed, and possibly other places also are now under Japanese military control.

As the United States, China and Japan are all signatory powers of the Kellogg Pact, and as the United States is the sponsor of the sacred engagements contained in this Treaty, the American Government must be deeply interested in this case of unprovoked and unwarranted attack and subsequent occupation of Chinese cities by Japanese troops, which constitutes a deliberate violation of the Pact. The Chinese Government urgently appeals to the American Government to take such steps as will insure the preservation of peace in the Far East and the upholding of the principle of peaceful settlement of international disputes.

Accept [etc.]

793.94/1821 : Telegram


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

GENEVA, September 21, 1931-5 p. m. [Received 7 p. m.]

118. Consulate's number 116, September 20, 4 p. m. The Secretary General circulated to the Council late this afternoon a note which he had just received from a representative of China on the Council. The Secretary General in agreement with the President of the Council has convoked the Council to meet tomorrow morning to take up this matter.

The Chinese note dated today is as follows:

"I am instructed by the National Government of China to bring to your attention the facts stated below and to request that in virtue of article 11 of the Covenant of the League of Nations you forthwith summon a meeting of the Council of the League in order that it may take such action as it may deem wise and effectual so that the peace of nations may be safeguarded.

Through statements made to it at its meeting on September 19 by the representatives of China and Japan, the Council was advised of the fact that a serious situation had been created in Manchuria. In his statement at that meeting the representative of China declared that the information which he then had, indicated that the situation had been created through no fault on the part of the Chinese. Since September 19 the undersigned has received from his Government information which discloses a situation of greater gravity than had appeared by the first report and which revealed that beginning from 10 o'clock of the night of September 18th regular troops of Japanese soldiers without provocation of any kind opened rifle and artillery fire upon Chinese soldiers at or near the city of Mukden, bombarded the arsenal and barracks of the Chinese soldiers, set fire to the ammunition depot, disarmed the Chinese troops in Changchun (Kwangchengtse) and other places, and later took military occupation of the cities of Mukden and Antung and other places and of public buildings therein, and are now in such occupation. Lines of communication have also been seized by Japanese troops.

To these acts of violence the Chinese soldiers and populace acting under instructions from the Chinese Government have made no resistance and have refrained from conduct which might in any way aggravate the situation.

In view of the foregoing facts the Republic of China, a member of the League of Nations, asserts that a situation has arisen which calls for action under the terms of article 11 of the Covenant. I am therefore instructed by my Government to request that, in pursuance of authority given to it by article 11 of the Covenant, the Council take immediate steps: to prevent the further development of a situation endangering the peace of nations; to reestablish the status quo ante; and to determine the amounts and character of such reparations as may be found due to the Republic of China.

I will add that the Government of China is fully prepared to act in conformity with whatever recommendations it may receive from the Council, and to abide by whatever decisions the League of Nations may adopt in the premises.

793.94/1825: Telegram


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

PEIPING, September 22, 1931-11 a. m. [Received September 22-9: 55 a. m.]

620. Following from Mukden:

"September 21, 8 p. m. Japanese military occupation is being extended to Kirin for the purpose of maintaining order in that city.

Heavy movement of troops and artillery north from Mukden yesterday. Main body of Japanese troops now at Changchun. Practically all Chinese forces have been brought down the Peiping-Mukden Railway to Chinchow and Shanhaikwan. Japanese have taken no point west of Mukden on the Peiping-Mukden Railway. It is estimated that over 20,000 panic-stricken Chinese have already fled on trains towards Shanhaikwan. A provisional administration of Chinese has been appointed in Mukden walled city under the direction of the Japanese in an attempt to reassure Chinese and stop the exodus. Chinese banks have been taken by the Japanese and reports are that they are removing stocks of silver. A request from the Japanese authorities for information concerning Chang Hsueh-liang bank account was refused politely today by the National City Bank. Mukden has been quiet today."


793.94/1816: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Minister in Switzerland (Wilson), at



WASHINGTON, September 22, 1931—1 p. m. 119. You may inform Drummond that I too am insufficiently informed of the facts of the situation. Nevertheless, it is apparent that the Japanese military have initiated a widely extended movement of aggression only after careful preparation with a strategic goal in mind. The military chiefs and Foreign Office are evidently sharply at variance as to intention and opinion. Consequently, it would be advisable, in preparations to strengthen and support treaty obligations, that Japanese nationalistic feeling be not aroused against the Foreign Office and in support of the Army. The Department is watching with concern the development of events there and the relationship of the events and situation to obligations under the treaties, especially the Nine-Power Treaty of February 6, 1922, and the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928.


793.94/1827 : Telegram

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

PEIPING, September 22, 1931-3 p. m. [Received September 22-10:25 a. m.]

624. Following from Consul General, Nanking:

"September 21, 4 p. m.

1. In conversations with Hsu Mo and Tyau of the Foreign Office September 21, 3 p. m., I have learned following interesting rumors:

Reported from the United States that the Secretary of State has been following Manchurian situation closely and has stated that at time of speaking Kellogg Pact was not involved. This report was given me by a Chinese as being refusal of the United States to intervene against Japan. Second rumor is that at least 24 hours before Japanese action at Mukden the Japanese Government inquired of important Governments, notably Great Britain and the United States, whether they would consent to such action by Japan, the answer being in the affirmative, but that Japan must not push action too far. Third rumor is that Russia has concentrated 30,000 troops near Manchouli.

2. I urged on Hsu Mo the desirability of my being kept fully informed so that I might in turn keep the Department of State fully cognizant of the changing situation. Apparently in response to this Hsu Mo told me Karakhan 32 had inquired of Mo Te-hui 38 in Moscow regarding course of controversy with Japan, and the Chinese Foreign Office had replied giving desired information. Answering my question Hsu said that Karakhan indicated no sympathy for China in the dispute nor any intention of safeguarding by military force Russian interests in Manchuria if or when threatened by Japan.

3. Central Party Headquarters of the Nationalist Party has declared September 23rd day of humiliation for Japan's recent actions. There is a feeling here that if the Western Powers maintain an attitude of detachment in this controversy the Nationalist Party, the Chinese Government, and the people of China may seek Russian alliance with far-reaching results."


793.94/1830: Telegram

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

GENEVA, September 22, 1931-4 p. m. [Received September 22-12:40 p. m.]

120. Consulate's 118, September 21, 5 p. m. The Sino-Japanese conflict was taken up by Council this morning. After a lengthy debate between the Chinese and Japanese representatives Lord Cecil 34 made a statement in regard to the procedure which the Council should follow and closed his remarks in the following words:

"One other matter I think I ought to mention. We are all aware that [there] are certain treaty obligations-or international instruments, let me call them—which affect this dispute beyond the League of Nations. There is, of course, the Briand-Kellogg Pact-the Pact of Paris, and there is also the treaty relative to the principle[s] and policy concerning China signed by the United States and other powers. In both these instruments the United States of America are very closely interested, in the first place as one of the promoters of the Pact of Paris and in the second as one of the signatories of the latter

Soviet Vice Commissar for Foreign Affairs.

"Chinese delegate at Chinese-Soviet conference in Moscow.
"British representative on the Council of the League of Nations.

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