73 Mr Torao Wakamatsu, Japanese Consul-General in Sydney, to Sir George Pearce, Minister for External Affairs

Letter SYDNEY, 1 October 1937

I have the honour to invite your attention to reports appearing in the local newspapers of proposals that Japanese goods should be boycotted by the Australian public, and that waterside workers should refuse to work Japanese vessels.

These proposals are the outcome of misleading newspaper reports regarding Japanese bombings in China, which are the false propaganda of the Chinese Government and the fabrications of Chinese correspondents. As an instance of how misleading the reports are, I desire to inform you that, whereas cables transmitted from London and published in the Australian papers stated that 3,000 non-combatants were killed in Canton on September 23rd by bombs dropped by Japanese 'planes, an article that appeared in the 'South China Morning 'Post' (an English newspaper published in Hongkong) runs as follows:-

'Reports which have been sent out from Canton concerning the amount of damage done and the number of casualties have been grossly exaggerated, according to observations made by a representative of the South China Morning Post who visited Canton during the week-end and interviewed numerous foreign residents and Chinese Government officials. Mayor Tseng Yangfu, in a special interview, said that probably not more than 100 had been killed in the air raids on Canton.'

In these circumstances, I desire to ask that you will use your good offices to prevent any such rash actions as those now being proposed, which would no doubt seriously jeopardise the good relations existing between our two countries.

For your information, I beg to enclose herewith two copies of a statement issued by me on September 28th, setting out the Japanese point of view in the present conflict. [2]

1 The reply (Document 74) was sent on 5 October 1937.

2 Not printed (see file AA : A981, China 114, ix).