793.94/4750: Telegram

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

Your 77, March 5, 9 p.m.96

Colleagues referred to hereafter consist of British and French Ministers and Italian Chargé d’Affaires.
Colleagues and I agreed today that time had come when we should invite Quo Tai-chi and Shigemitsu to meet informally with us to explore possibilities of commencing negotiations provided for by League resolution of March 4th for cessation of hostilities and withdrawal of troops.
Shigemitsu and Quo accepted our invitation and met with us this evening. Meeting lasting from 4:30 till 7:15 p.m.
After considerable discussion they agreed to an agenda of three points as a basis for formal negotiations to begin probably Wednesday afternoon.97
In course of discussion Shigemitsu brought up question of reaffirmation Mayor’s letter of January 28th regarding anti-Japanese activities, et cetera. Quo volunteered the statement that his Government would be willing to reaffirm Mayor’s letter but insisted that it should not be made a condition to negotiations. We supported him and after much argument Shigemitsu was persuaded to accept as an outside confidential gentleman’s agreement a voluntary undertaking by Quo subject to reference to his Government that China would reaffirm Mayor’s letter if points set forth under headings (1), (2), and (3) of agenda were accomplished.
Mindful of Department’s instruction I insisted that this reaffirmation by Chinese must be considered as a voluntary act. Matter was covered as above indicated purely as a voluntary offer by Quo to open way to negotiations for it was obvious to all of us that Japanese set much store upon this point.
I assume Department will have no objection to participation by American military and naval officers upon commission which will supervise withdrawal.
Question of policing area to be evacuated was not touched upon.
Texts of agenda and understandings are being separately telegraphed.