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nebulous. The yen rates are approximately normal, [being] held to normal by the pegging operations of the Yokohama Specie Bank. The death of Takahashi is expected by bankers to have an adverse effect on the market for Japanese bonds and may cause serious disturbances in the Japanese money market.

4. The newspapers are permitted to publish only the meager official statements which are obviously designed to minimize the affair as much as possible. The foreign press correspondents are now able to send messages abroad but they expect that under martial law their telegrams will be strictly censored.

5. According to the best information available to the Embassy, about half of the insurgent troops have returned to their barracks; the other half has been gradually evacuating the Government buildings occupied yesterday and has been concentrated in the Premier's official residence. Martial law was proclaimed largely to enable the army to negotiate with the insurgents on an entirely legal basis without involving other interests. It is within the power of the General in command of the martial law area to order the arrest of the men who refuse to return to their commands but it is not likely that this will be done except as a last resort when all other methods fail. From the Premier's residence the young officers who directed the uprising are negotiating with the present Government and the army authorities. Exact facts in regard to these negotiations are impossible to obtain but it is understood that at first the insurgents demanded a military dictatorship for Japan. This demand was immediately rejected by the Government (then meeting in Council at the Palace) which suggested Prince Konoye or General Araki as Premier. The insurgents recommended Admiral Kanji Kato or Baron Hiranuma. The negotiations are continuing and will probably result in a compromise Premier. General Araki, Prince Higashi Kuni and Admiral Eisuke Yamamoto, Supreme War Councilor [s], are being most prominently mentioned at the moment.

6. No forceful measures are being taken nor, as far as the Embassy is aware, are being contemplated against the insurgent troops. It is explained that to arrest them would involve fighting in the heart of Tokyo and might result in the destruction of buildings and loss of life among the civilian population; that the use of force against political insurgents is opposed to Japanese custom; that no Japanese Army officer would order the Emperor's soldiers to fire on other soldiers of the Emperor; that the fighting if it took place would be too close to the Palace of the Emperor; and that in any case there is considerable sympathy among the people for the motives which animated the misguided young men and consequently a certain amount of consideration must be shown them or the army will find itself possessed of a crowd of martyrs which must be avoided at almost any cost.

7. The Embassy feels that until the present emergency situation is further clarified and settled there is not sufficient ground to justify diagnosis of the full import of the affair or conjecture as to its bearing on future policy.

Repeated to Peiping.

894.00/573: Telegram


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

NANKING, February 27, 1936-2 p. m. [Received February 27-9:45 a. m.]

42. A Japanese Embassy spokesman here has told a foreign news correspondent that the officials killed were Okada, Takahashi, Saito and Watanabe.

2. The news of the coup was at first received in local Chinese official circles with considerable pessimism as probably portending increased Japanese pressure upon China by a military controlled government. The Minister for Foreign Affairs,26 however, last night gave me his opinion that Japanese pressure and chauvinistic activities in China would probably lessen for a time because of the need for the Japanese to concentrate upon keeping the domestic situation in hand. Rather strangely, his principal concern seemed to be over the harm the uprising presaged for Japan. He said that the military clique had successively removed trusted advisers from around the person of the Emperor in order to control the Emperor themselves.

3. Telegraphic messages which he received from Japan while I was with him and which he showed to me were similar to Reuter's despatches. Information from foreign news sources in Shanghai indicates that because of rigorous censorship in Japan confirmation of the various reports is still lacking, actual details are not known and doubt exists even as to the identity of all officials killed or wounded. The reports in general agree that at least Okada, Saito and Watanabe are dead.

4. Repeated to the Department, Peiping and Tokyo.

894.00/576: Telegram


The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Bullitt) to the Secretary

of State

Moscow, February 27, 1936-7 p. m. [Received February 27-3 p. m.]

71. Stomoniakoff, Assistant Commissar for Foreign Affairs in charge of Far Eastern Affairs, stated to me this evening that he

* General Chang Chun.


had just received telegrams from Tokyo reporting the following facts:

1. The mutinous officers supported by soldiers of the 3rd and 6th Regiments of the First Division are still occupying the War Ministry and police headquarters but have announced that they are ready to surrender under certain conditions.

2. The entire Government spent the night in the Imperial Palace afraid to leave.

3. Goto, after being appointed Prime Minister ad interim and resigning, was again appointed Prime Minister ad interim.

4. The Soviet Ambassador in Tokyo believes that the Emperor is weakening in his opposition to the militarists and that it is possible that a general will be appointed Prime Minister.

Stomoniakoff said that in his opinion the general would be either Araki or Masaki. He added that he feared that appointment of Masaki would produce the gravest consequences. He alleged that the Soviet Government had information which indicated that Masaki might be behind the present mutiny and said that the Soviet Government considers him the most dangerous of all Japanese militarists. Stomoniakoff also said that he considered the summoning of Prince Chichibu 27 to Tokyo an ominous sign and alleged that Chichibu was more friendly to the Japanese militarists than any other member of the Imperial Family.

In commenting on the whole situation Stomoniakoff said that he expected an immediate brutal advance of the Japanese Army against China. He said that he would not be surprised if there should be a similar advance against Outer Mongolia but that he considered an advance against the Chinese more likely because it would meet with less resistance than an advance against the Mongolians and would give the militarists an easy victory to display to the Japanese populace. Stomoniakoff added that he did not anticipate any attack under any circumstances by Japan on the territory of the Soviet Union until the Japanese had made considerable further advances in North China and Outer Mongolia.


894.00/574: Telegram

The Ambassador in Japan (Grew) to the Secretary of State

TOKYO, February 27, 1936-11 p. m. [Received February 27-11:05 a. m.]

43. Embassy's 41, February 27, 1 p. m. Latest intelligence indicates that an ultimatum was issued at 8 o'clock tonight by the Govern

"Younger brother of Emperor Hirohito.

ment to the insurgents and that at least a temporary compromise was reached, the nature of which has not been revealed.

There are many rumors of possible military action tonight probably based on considerable movements of troops and machine guns throughout the city but up to the present moment there appears to be no grounds to justify serious apprehension. The Embassy is heavily guarded by Government troops.

Repeated to Peiping.


894.00/577: Telegram

The Ambassador in Japan (Grew) to the Secretary of State

TOKYO, February 28, 1936-noon. [Received February 28-6:58 a. m.]

44. Embassy's 43, February 27, 11 p. m.

1. Loyal Government troops with tanks are being concentrated in the vicinity of the British Embassy. Other dispositions indicate preparations for a possible attack from the east on the Premier's official residence and the Sanno Hotel where the insurgent troops now


2. This morning a general staff officer attached to the martial law headquarters called at the Embassy and stated that the Embassy is situated in a zone which may possibly become dangerous during the day from flying bullets should fighting take place; and that therefore the martial law authorities had arranged to transfer the personnel of the Embassy to the Military Academy as a place of safety if I should consent to such a move. He added that similar arrangements were being made for other Embassies and Legations situated in the danger zone. I have declined the offer with thanks but have warned all members of the staff and their families not to expose themselves needlessly. There is adequate protection in the Embassy in case of necessity.

3. Everything indicates that some sort of an ultimatum has been given by the Government to the insurgents and that in all probability it expires sometime today.

Repeated to Peiping.


894.00/580: Telegram

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

NANKING, February 28, 1936-noon. [Received February 28-7:15 a. m.]

44. My 42, February 27, 2 p. m. Comment on recent events in Japan among important Chinese officials with whom I have talked is gen

erally to the effect that action of Japanese Army presages a more drastic attitude toward China and Russia by Japan. Chinese now as in the past are speculating upon probabilities of an early outbreak of hostilities between Japan and Russia. Russian Ambassador expresses confidence that Japan will hesitate to attack strongly fortified and armed Russian position in Siberia and believes Japan will concentrate upon a China that is weak and disunited. He expresses belief that further aggression by Japan in China will precipitate a revival of civil war. He looks upon recent events in Japan as a natural Fascist evolution which will bring inflation, increased trade and larger military expenses.

By mail to Peiping and Tokyo.


894.00/577: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Japan (Grew)

WASHINGTON, February 28, 1936-noon.

27. Your 44, February 28, noon, paragraph 2. I appreciate very much the high sense of official responsibility and duty which you and your staff are displaying during the present emergency situation; also the timely and helpful telegrams which you are sending the Department. I realize that the information contained in these telegrams has been difficult to obtain. We have complete reliance upon the soundness of your judgment in deciding whether or not the personnel of the Embassy should be temporarily transferred to a place removed from the danger zone. You will of course keep in mind that we would not wish that the Embassy staff be exposed unnecessarily to danger.

Should any moves of persons or property be needed involving expenditures, a special allowance will be granted upon telegraphic request therefor.


894.00/582: Telegram

The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Bullitt) to the Secretary

of State

Moscow, February 28, 1936-5 p. m. [Received February 28-1:25 p. m.]

73. Litvinov has just informed me that he has received today the following reports from the Soviet Ambassador in Tokyo:

Prince Saionji advised the Emperor to have no negotiations with the mutineers but to treat them with the utmost severity.

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