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pound was provisionally handed over to my representative, Dr. R. Hoeppli, while the American archives were jointly sealed both by my representative and the Japanese Embassy officials. According to arrangements made, the latter were to be handed over to the exclusive custody of Dr. Hoeppli at a later date.

Under the pretext of proceeding with the official handing over, Dr. Hoeppli was summoned by the Japanese Embassy to present himself at the American Consulate Compound on April 6th of this year. When he arrived at the appointed date and place, he found that besides the Japanese Embassy officials, there were a number of Japanese soldiers who received orders to examine the American archives and to remove certain records. Copies of Dr. Hoeppli’s and Dr. Vargas' reports on the subject are herewith

As was the case in Canton, Dr. Hoeppli subsequently filed a strong protest against the action of the Japanese Authorities. 3) Eviction from American Embassy and consular premises :

a) Shanghai. Shortly after the taking over of the American Consular offices in Shanghai (March 7th 1942) consisting of four large floors and one Vice-Consul's apartment in the Development building, the Japanese Consulate General informed me that owing to the lack of office space in Shanghai, the premises occupied by the former American Consulate were urgently needed and they accordingly requested me to vacate the offices as soon as possible. Upon my representations that the American consular offices should be duly respected, the Japanese consular officials stressed that as the lease for the premises in question had expired they were entirely in their right to demand vacant possession of the same.

Following further negotiations and with the approval of the State Department, it was finally agreed to vacate two of the floors as well as the Vice-Consul's apartment and to remove all archives and properties into the offices on the two remaining floors in the Development building (4th and 5th floors). Accordingly a new lease was signed with the Japanese supervised Realty Company in charge of the Development building.

In the course of the last few weeks, the Japanese Consulate again approached me with the request to vacate also the two remaining floors now holding the American consular archives and properties. Negotiations are still pending, but in all probability I shall have no other alternative but to again remove all the properties in question to some other storage place.62

61 Neither printed.

Telegram 4724, August 4, 1943, from Bern, reported that Mr. Fontanel had been obliged to consent to removal of the furniture and archives stored on the two floors (703.5493/106).

6) Nanking. The American Embassy in Nanking consists of a large leased property owned by a Chinese and administered by the Sin Hua Trust and Savings Bank Limited. The lease expires in 1947, but contains the option of renewal. For some time past the lessors have informed me that the Japanese Authorities are very anxious to take over the American compound in Nanking and requested that the existing lease should be cancelled. Being put under strong pressure by the Japanese Authorities and notwithstanding my demand that the lease agreement must be fully respected, the lessor, acting under duress, finally signed a new lease with the Japanese Embassy officials in Nanking. Cables exchanged with Berne on the matter elicited a reply from the United States Department [of State) that they wish to retain their premises at Nanking and that I should insist with the Authorities here that they should respect the latter in the same way that the United States Government respects all Japanese consular or Embassy properties, whether owned or leased, in the United States. Although I duly informed the local Japanese Consulate of the State Department's wishes, the latter at the instigation of the Japanese Embassy in Nanking recently urged me to send a delegate to Nanking in order to arrange for the removal of the Nanking archives and properties stored there. Without in any way agreeing to this request, I sent one of my staff members to Nanking in order to examine the situation on the spot and to ascertain whether in case of need the American properties could be stored in the British Embassy compound.

To my surprise, my representative reported that the former American Ambassador's residence and the American Embassy compound had already been occupied by the Japanese Ambassador towards the end of May of this year and that my caretaker had been forced to surrender the keys and leave the compound.

On being informed of these developments, the State Department replied via Berne that they had requested you to intervene with the Gaimusho in the matter and that pending a decision from the latter they expect that the Japanese Authorities would not take any further action. At the same time, they asked me to do my utmost to protect the Embassy archives and to arrange, in case of need, for their transfer to another place of safe-keeping:63

c) Hankow: Although the lease for the American Consulate General at Hankow was still in force, the Japanese Military Authorities there insisted that my representative remove all the archives and official properties for storage in the British Compound; they claimed that by military necessity they required the building in question (Shell Building) and under these circumstances, I authorised my representative to effect the removal, which took place on December 5th 1942.

* Telegram 7408, Novemer 23, 1943, 2 p. m., from Bern, reported Japanese sale of perishable material and furniture which had been under seal in the former American Embassy in Nanking (703.5493/118).

d) Tsinanfu: As in the case of Hankow, the Japanese Military Authorities at the beginning of December 1942 claimed to require the building housing the former Ainerican Consulate General at Tsinanfu for which the lease was still valid. In order to avoid the risk of seeing the property removed by the Japanese Military Authorities themselves, I instructed my representative to proceed to Tsinanfu and to supervise the removal to the British consular compound.64



740.00119 PW/9-2644

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Secretary of State

[WASHINGTON,] September 26, 1944. The British Ambassador 65 called at his request and left with me the attached copies of paraphrases of telegrams from the Foreign Office relating to a Japanese peace feeler. I thanked him and said the letter would receive appropriate attention.


[Annex 1] The British Ambassador (Halifax) to the Secretary of State


SEPTEMBER 24TH, 1944 Please convey to Mr. Hull the contents of Stockholm telegram of September 24th 66 and inform him that we propose to answer the Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs 66 that we are not in fact prepared to return any reply to the indirect approach from the Japanese. It will therefore be open to the Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs to reply, if he so wishes, in the sense of the last sentence in paragraph 4 of the telegram under reference.

64 Airgram 305, August 30, 1943, from Bern, reported seizure by “Manchukuoan" authorities of "plot of land former American Consulate Mukden, using it partly for vegetable garden, partly storage material.” (703.5493 Manchuria/8) Telegram 431, January 19, 1944, from Bern, reported that the Japanese Consul at Chefoo had occupied the premises of the former American Consulate there since December 1, 1943 (703.5493/123).

65 The Earl of Halifax.
68 Annex 2, p. 1184.
88a Christian E. Günther.

2. Provided that the United States Government concur, I propose to inform the Soviet Government in accordance with the resolution adopted at the Moscow Conference October 1943 67 on the action to be taken in the event of peace feelers being received from enemy countries.

3. Please inform me as soon as possible of the United States reply.

[Annex 2]
The British Ambassador (IIalifax) to the Secretary of State


STOCKHOLM, DATED 24T1 SEPTEMBER, 1944 The Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs sent for me this afternoon to communicate text of a telegram just received from the Swedish Minister at Tokyo 67a whom he described as a man of calm and good judgment.

2. The substance of the telegram was as follows: Begins:

I learn from a very reliable source that in important civilian circles in Japan the peace problem is being discussed with increasing anxiety. A speedy German collapse is expected and it is not believed that Japan can then continue the war. It is therefore considered necessary to get peace as soon as possible before the country and towns are destroyed.

In order to obtain peace, Japan is prepared to surrender territories which during the war have been taken from Great Britain and to recognize all

former British investments and interests in East Asia. It is also realized that all other territories occupied during the war must be restored to their former owners; it is even recognized that sacrifice of Manchukuo may also be necessary.

It is desired that London should be sounded on this question and it is believed that perhaps this could best be done through Swedish channels under a guarantee that no publicity whatever should be given. If any willingness appeared to exist in London the Japanese would be ready for preliminary discussions through Swedish channels.

Behind the man who gave me this message there stands one of the best known statesmen in Japan and there is no doubt that this attempt must be considered as a serious one.


3. The Minister for Foreign Affairs said he thought at first sight that it looked rather like an attempt by the Japanese to get at Great Britain behind the back of the United States. Of course he realised that you would wish to pass on this information to the United States


87 See Declaration of Four Nations on General Security, October 30, 1943, Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. I, p. 755.

67a Widar Bagge.

Government but he hoped you would impress upon them the importance of avoiding publicity and that even if any leakage occurred the name of Sweden should not appear.

4. The Minister for Foreign Affairs quite realised that our terms were unconditional surrender. He told me that he would be grateful for your guidance as to how you would like him to answer the Swedish Minister at Tokyo. If you wished he could quite well reply that the Swedish Government considered it useless to deliver such a message to His Majesty's Government.

5. The Minister for Foreign Affairs added that his information from Tokyo all went to show that there was great anxiety and unrest in Japanese political circles and that the war was not popular in the country itself.

740.00119 PW/9–2644

The Secretary of State to the British Ambassador (Halifax)

WASHINGTON, September 29, 1944. MY DEAR MR. AMBASSADOR: On September 26 you came in to see me and left with me a copy of a paraphrase of a telegram dated September 24 from the Foreign Office in regard to a Japanese peace feeler which was communicated to the British Minister in Stockholm by the Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs.

I have noted that the British Government proposes to inform the Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs in reply that the British Government is not in fact prepared to return any reply to this indirect approach from the Japanese and that it will therefore be open to the Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs to reply, if he so wishes, that the Swedish Government considered it useless to deliver such a message to His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. I agree with this proposed procedure.

I concur in the view of your Government that the Soviet Government should be informed by the British Government of this approach in accordance with the resolution adopted at the Moscow Conference in October 1943 on the action to be taken in the event of peace feelers being received from enemy countries. Since the message was directed to your Government and not to the American Government, we shall not ourselves send anything to the Soviet Government about this approach.68 Sincerely yours,


* By telegram 2344, October 3, 1 p. m., the Ambassador in the Soviet Union was informed of this peace feeler and of the reply made to the British Ambassador (740.00119 PW/9-2644).

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