The Minister in China (Johnson) to the Secretary of State
[Received August 29—1:35 p.m.26]
763. 1. No great change has occurred in the politico-military situation since my telegram No. 739 of August 22, 11 p.m.27 A spectacular [Page 31]but unimportant incident was the bombing of Peiping reported in my telegram No. 758 of August 28, 3 p.m.,28 and previous. Several not fully substantiated reports were current during the week to the effect that Chang Hsueh-liang is to take part in the civil war. The American Consul at Harbin in a telegram of August 25, 4 p.m., stated that he had been informed that the Governor of Kirin had instructed Harbin by telegraph that North Manchuria, under instructions from Marshal Chang Hsueh-liang, should immediately despatch 8 brigades, 40,000 troops, south for campaign in support of the National Government.
In a telegram of August 27, 11 a.m., the American Consul [General] at Mukden, to whom the matter was referred, stated that Chang’s orders to the Kirin Governor were denied at Mukden.
2. In a subsequent telegram dated August 27, 5 p.m., Mukden reported as follows:
“Harbin report regarding troop orders probably partially correct. However, my informant does not believe Mukden will abandon attitude of neutrality. States that whichever side wins, Mukden will be requested to take over increased areas south of wall, hence military preparations; information believed reliable.”
3. The following strictly confidential telegram of August 28, noon, from the Consul General at Mukden was received today:
“Strictly confidential. According to reliable information, General Chang Hsueh-liang sanctioned the despatch a few days ago of a press message from Peitaiho to London to the effect that the growing Red menace may impel him to send Manchurian troops into China to crush Reds and to put a stop to useless civil war. In strict confidence, learned that General is deeply concerned over possible occupation of Hopei Province by Southern forces and is ready to forestall that contingency by moving troops into that Province in cooperation with Nanking should Northern troops be forced to evacuate present positions northern Shantung. He says there now seems to be no prospect of an early change in neutral attitude.
It is claimed that Hu Je-yu, [sworn] brother of General, will shortly take the position of Tsingtau Mayor.”