793.94 Manchuria/25: Telegram

The Chargé in Japan (Neville) to the Secretary of State

94. My 91, August 1, 5 p.m.24 The Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs in conversation today said that the Japanese Government for the moment was unable to admit that the Nationalist Government had proved itself; that there was no immediate prospect of its being able to establish a stable regime in China, and that the Japanese felt it would be extremely unwise to allow them to spread their control over Manchuria. He disclaimed any intention on the part of Japan to prevent political development in China; and stated that Japan was now willing as she always had been to negotiate new treaties with China, but the Japanese Government had to protect the interests of Japanese domiciled in that country and that in the present turmoil it was useless to expect any sense of political responsibility on the part of the Nationalist leaders. The Japanese were too close to China and had too many interests there to allow their people to be placed under the control of such governmental machinery as the Nationalists had. To date, Japan had received nothing but abuse from the Nanking regime and all efforts to reach a basis for negotiation had failed. He said that in these circumstances and in view of the disturbed conditions the best policy was simply to “wait and see.” He assured me that Japan was not seeking any new advantage but was determined to maintain as far as possible the status quo, at least in Manchuria.

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He said that he knew that there were many rumors current in the United States and elsewhere in regard to Japan’s aggressive intentions. He was emphatic in asserting that these rumors were entirely without foundation. To begin with, it would be foolish for Japan to attempt any sort of political control in Manchuria or elsewhere [Page 423] in China apart altogether from this country’s obligation under the Washington treaties.25 What Japan wanted was a measure of political stability which would enable economic and commercial development to continue there. This required peaceful conditions and peaceful conditions would be seriously jeopardized by Japan’s attempt to establish a protectorate so-called or “autonomous government”.

Copy to Peking.