793.94/7013: Telegram

The Ambassador in Japan (Grew) to the Secretary of State

123. In answer to a telegram from the Legation in Peiping requesting any available information concerning the Japanese attitude toward Chiang Kai-shek, the Embassy has replied as follows:

An informant in a position to know said to a member of my staff yesterday that while at first the Foreign Office was inclined to regard the murder of two pro-Japanese Chinese editors in Tientsin as purely local in origin, evidence was now coming to light which might implicate Chiang Kai-shek himself. It appears that there is reason to believe that the notorious Blue Shirt Society according to Japanese information is in some way affiliated with him. This connection is [Page 219]not through the Kuomintang but is, they believe, a personal connection outside of Government circles. Our informant stated that of course convincing proof was difficult to obtain. Asked what the Army people thought of the matter, he said that they were the first to get on to the trail. A further inquiry as to who was conducting the investigation elicited the reply that the Japanese consular authorities in China were doing it.

In the opinion of foreign Military Attachés in Tokyo who are in close touch with Japanese Army officers the accusations against Chiang Kai-shek uttered by some Japanese military officers in China do not mean that the Japanese Army intends for the present at least to overthrow Chiang Kai-shek and the Central Government at Nanking principally because there would be nothing to fill the vacuum caused by their elimination and the Japanese Army needs the cooperation of a Central Government in order to carry out the alterations which they desire in the administration of North China. The Military Attachés believe that the remarks against Chiang are intended as a sort of intimidation designed to frighten him into compliance with the Japanese demands.