893.71 Manchuria/76

The Chargé in China (Gauss) to the Secretary of State

No. 3175

Sir: I have the honor to report that, according to information obtained from Chinese and Japanese sources, the re-establishment of normal postal communications between North China and Manchuria will be effected within the next few weeks.

These sources, however, differ over what has actually taken place so far in this regard. An official of the Peiping Political Affairs Readjustment Committee has informed a member of the Legation most emphatically that a detailed agreement for re-establishment was signed on November 25 at Peiping by Chinese authorities, following which it was immediately forwarded to the National Government for action. This official claims that the Chinese authorities signed the agreement because the Japanese authorities warned them that if it were not signed by November 25 the Japanese authorities could not be responsible for what might occur thereafter. Subordinate Chinese officials in Tientsin informed the Consulate General of that city that an agreement had been signed (Tientsin’s despatch to the Legation No. 831 of November 28, 1934). According to the Japanese Counselor at Nanking, an agreement in principle was signed (Nanking’s despatch to the Legation No. 527 of December 4, 193445). However, a Secretary of the Japanese Legation stationed at Peiping claims that no agreement has yet been signed although agreement in principle has been reached.

That an agreement was entered into is further supported by several recent occurrences. Mr. T’ang Yu-jen, Administrative Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, who is said to be strongly in favor of the policy of conciliating the Japanese, arrived at Peiping on November 22 and departed on November 25. It is presumed that his brief visit was for the purpose of lending moral support to General Huang Fu in concluding [Page 337] the agreement. Furthermore, Lieutenant-Colonel Seiya Giga, Chief of the Special Japanese Military Mission at Shanhaikwan and a representative of “Manchukuo” in negotiations relating to North China, arrived in Peiping on November 22 and departed, it is understood, on November 24 for Hsinking in company with Lieutenant-Colonel Shibayama, Japanese Assistant Military Attaché stationed at Peiping.

There is some evidence to support the statement that the Japanese obtained Chinese agreement as a result of a warning or threat. I informed the Department in my despatch No. 3127 of November 9, 1934, that it was understood at that time that the re-establishment of postal communications would occur in the near future. (The Japanese Minister had so informed press representatives during his visit to Peiping in early November.) Subsequently, however, I reported in my despatch No. 3156 of November 24, 1934, that, according to the local foreign Postal Commissioner, the postal question had again become deadlocked. This deadlock was caused, according to other information from presumably reliable sources, by severe opposition arising on November 14 at a meeting at Nanking of the Central Political Council of the Kuomintang. So sudden an alteration in the situation as that which seems recently to have occurred could, therefore, be explained most easily as the result of renewed Japanese pressure in the form of a warning. As I reported in my despatch No. 3127 of November 9, 1934, there have been indications of continuing irritation on the part of the Japanese military with regard to the progress of Sino-Japanese-“Manchukuo” relations. A recent evidence of this irritation appeared in a Rengo (Japanese) News Agency Report of November 21 (copy enclosed)46 to the effect that ten leading Japanese military officers stationed in China met November 17 and 18 at Shanghai, subsequently issuing a statement complaining of the Chinese attitude toward Japan and of Chinese efforts “to prolong the fulfillment of stipulations” of the Sino-Japanese truce which was signed on May 31, 1933, at Tangku. The Legation has been informed by a Chinese official and by a Japanese official that the resumption of postal communications had been promised by the Chinese in one of the unpublished clauses of that truce. A delay of 18 months in carrying out this clause could not reasonably be supposed to be viewed by the Japanese military with entire good humor.

In discussing the question of re-establishment of postal communications, I refer again to Tientsin’s despatch to the Legation No. 831 of November 28. According to this despatch, the Consulate General was informed that agreement on questions other than postal communications [Page 338] had been reached, such as, for example, extension of through passenger traffic on the Peiping-Liaoning Railway westward to Paot’ou in Suiyuan Province. The Legation has been unable to obtain substantiation of this report. The Chinese official of the Peiping Political Affairs Readjustment Committee, referred to above, informed a member of the Legation that he had seen a copy of the postal agreement and that it referred to no matters other than postal. He stated that he had no knowledge of any other agreements.

It may be mentioned that there are, at this time, an unusual number of rumors current, some of them allegedly being fabricated by one Chinese faction in North China to embarrass another faction. However, the transfer of the capital of Hopei Province from Tientsin to Paoting, which will result in weakening the position of General Yu Hsueh-chung and in strengthening that of General Huang Fu, seems to be assured by the recent approval of the transfer by the Executive Yuan. The press also reports that General Huang Fu has just been appointed Minister of the Interior, an appointment which is probably for the purpose of further increasing his prestige, although it may, conceivably, envisage his departure from North China.

Respectfully yours,

C. E. Gauss
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