793.94/7022: Telegram

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

259. Situation in North China remains obscure in spite of the fact that newspapermen and others in contact with Chinese and Japanese here and in Tientsin express the belief that Japanese indicate satisfaction with efforts Chinese are making to meet Japanese demands. I [Page 223]gather that Japanese military are prepared to insist on eventual liquidation of Kuomintang activities in North China; that they will not be satisfied with mere removal of Tangpu to Paotingfu. I gather also that they are going to insist that Chiang Kai-shek as principal leader become more active in meeting Japanese approaches and that he accept full responsibility for carrying out such desires as the Japanese may have in mind, specifically, that he discontinue present apparent policy of absenting himself from Nanking while at the same time controlling Nanking and all Government activities.

In pursuing their ends Japanese military have inspired such excitement in the minds of the Chinese that they have to continue a strict censorship on all [messages?] prepared for despatch by foreign news correspondents except Japan. They themselves are afraid to telegraph facts. I infer that they are even afraid to instruct their Ministers abroad to explain the situation to foreign countries lest in so doing they further excite the wrath of Japanese military who demand that all questions relating to China must be settled in accordance with the wishes of Tokyo and are not to be discussed in other parts of the world. In this connection they have taken to heart Japanese military censure of the Chinese Minister at Tokyo who attempted to defend publicly General Chiang Kai-shek.

There is no doubt in my mind ultimate aim of Japanese military is to purge North China over an indefinite area of all Chinese political activity as hitherto expressed by the Kuomintang through its local party headquarters and that if demands are met North China will have such officials and only such officials as are acceptable to the Japanese military. The difficulty in this matter, according to Chinese with whom I have talked, lies in the fact that they appear to be unable to determine how far Japanese desire [to] go and therefore cannot tell when some unsatisfied demand of the Japanese military may be used as an excuse for actual military occupation here in North China. Japanese military for instance demand cessation of all anti-Japanese activities, liquidation of all secret organizations, and Chinese profess to be powerless in regard to secret organizations of which they claim to have no knowledge or control, and they further claim that they are never certain as to what activities or statement by Chinese may at one time or another be determined by the Japanese as anti-Japanese. Such a situation leaves the future very obscure. The only settlement that can be adequately acceptable to the Japanese would be the demand in which the Japanese themselves would deal directly with those judged by them to be anti-Japanese in speech or action.

Repeated to Tokyo, paraphrase to Nanking.

Johnson