493.11/1691: Telegram

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

268. Following from Nanking:

“March 20, 11 a.m. Soong sent for me and asked that I telegraph you his earnest request that you recommend to the Department of State that consent be given to further postponement of the Boxer Indemnity. He said that military expenditures with prospect of worse to follow have placed Government finances in a precarious position, much worse than he would have the public know. He promises continuance of dependent institutions in present status.

He said incidentally that the Government has serious grounds for expecting Japanese occupation of Peiping area and that China would resist as desperately as at Shanghai. Wang Ching-wei refuses to resume post46 but Soong is returning to Shanghai tonight hoping to force Wang to resume.”

The British and Italian Legations are still without instructions from their respective Governments and as there has been ample time to receive such instructions I am convinced that they are waiting for us to take the lead in this matter. In view of foregoing please instruct me whether you wish me to continue to wait upon the British and Italians, whether I should reply independently declining to agree to further postponement or whether I should accept this latest proposal of Soong as it stands or on condition that subventions to China Foundation and educational institutions shall be increased over those of last year. I recommend the last.

  1. As President of the Executive Yuan, National Government.