124.932/550: Telegram

The Third Secretary of Embassy in China ( Allison ) to the Secretary of State

8. During the last week of December Japanese soldiers broke into both Embassy compounds frequently and in addition to taking the two motor cars previously reported took money and property, including jewelry and watches, belonging to members of the Chinese staff and servants totalling in value several hundred dollars Chinese currency. With the exception of the motor cars, property belonging to American members of staff has suffered little or no damage. On December 30 representatives of the Japanese Embassy offered to recompense all Chinese in the compound for losses sustained and after consultation with American residents here Mr. Seldon, Embassy clerk, accepted Chinese dollars 801.30 to be distributed among the Chinese.

In conversation with Mr. Okamura of the Japanese Embassy yesterday I pointed out the serious nature of this violation of American Embassy property and employees and stated that some form of redress must be made. Mr. Okamura admitted the violation of Embassy property and stated that the Japanese Government was willing to make an official apology. He inquired whether in view of the fact that the Japanese Commander-in-Chief in this area is an Imperial Prince8 an apology tendered by his Chief of Staff to me as the American representative would be sufficient. If not, Mr. Okamura asked if an apology by the Japanese Ambassador to the American Ambassador would be required on [or?] whether the American Government would require an official apology from the Japanese Government tendered by the Japanese Ambassador at Washington. Mr. Okamura said that his Government hoped that the affair could be settled by a local apology in Nanking for it feared that if much publicity were given the matter as a result of a more formal apology public opinion in both Japan and the United States would become inflamed and perhaps lead to further tension between the two countries. I replied that it would be necessary for me to consult the Ambassador and the State Department before I could inform him what form of apology would be satisfactory. Instructions are requested in this regard.

Besides the foregoing, ample details regarding other American property violations follow tomorrow.

Sent to Hankow. Repeated to Department and Shanghai.

  1. Yasuhiko Asaka.