893.77/2771: Telegram

The Minister in China (Johnson) to the Secretary of State

1061. Tokyo’s 249, December 15, 3 [2] p.m.

The Rengo Japanese Press Agency has lately issued reports at Tokyo that the Chinese are adopting a more aggressive attitude toward Japanese railway interests in Manchuria and that there is reason to fear that the construction of Chinese railways will “envelop” the South Manchuria Railway vitally and adversely affecting its interests (see Mukden’s despatch number 365 [375], November 2870).
I am inclined to believe that the Japanese nervousness in this reputed accusation have [has] been much accentuated by the recent visit to Nanking of Marshal Chang who acted quite independently of his Japanese advisers. There is no doubt but that the Japanese are opposed to this visit and are much disturbed over the developments which may come from any identification of interests between Mukden and Nanking such as the possible use of a general boycott for the purposes of reenforcing the Chinese position vis-à-vis Japanese in Manchurian questions.
As far as I can ascertain here the Japanese are disposed to a policy of cooperation in railway matters unless pushed too hard by a Chinese policy which may seek to hamstring the South Manchuria Railway.
Code text to Tokyo by mail.
For the Minister:
  1. Not printed.