Skip to main content

Historical documents

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).

Last Updated: 11 September 2013
Back to top