The Minister in China (Johnson) to the Secretary of State
[Received 3:09 p.m.]
148. 1. I am confidentially informed by ranking official of the Foreign Office that the Chinese Government is still uncertain as to whether or not Japanese troops may yet take direct action in North China and that this uncertainty will continue until after the Japanese military conference scheduled to be held at Tientsin tomorrow and after the expected arrival on the same day of Japanese reenforcements from Dairen originally stated to have been sent to Tientsin as replacement troops.
2. The official stated, however, that it was not anticipated that the Japanese forces would occupy the Peiping-Tientsin area with a view to including it in the demilitarized zone; the Japanese forces desired rather a Chinese administration in the North financed by China and compliant to their wishes. The Japanese Army spokesmen had orally demanded the elimination from North China of Yu Hsueh-chung and other officials, the removal from Hopei Province of the remaining units of the northeastern armies (chiefly Yu’s 51st Army Corps) and of all Central Government troops in addition so that the area would in fact be demilitarized, and the suppression of the Kuomintang and other organizations inimical to Japanese. He said that the Chinese had now complied with all these demands in fact or in principle.
3. The Japanese military démarche in North China, he stated, was undertaken without the consent or prior knowledge of the Foreign Office and the responsible Japanese military officers in the North had, according to reliable information received by the Chinese Foreign Office, vitiated their scheme against even the instructions of the General Staff although possibly with the tacit consent of the War Minister who at least during his visit to “Manchukuo” has been under the domination of the Kwantung Army.
4. With surprising frankness the official took pains to say that the outbursts of the Japanese military against General Chiang Kai-shek [Page 230]were due to their knowledge that Chiang is irreconcilably anti-Japanese and that while he has been making conciliatory public statements in connection with the Sino-Japanese “rapprochement” he has meanwhile continued his unremitting efforts to strengthen the national defense and has been the moving spirit behind continuing anti-Japanese activities. The official stated that the steady increase in Chiang’s personal power and prestige, with consequent progress in the unification of China, was alone sufficient to cause the Japanese to consider him their worst enemy in this country; in addition, he said, no one in China is more anti-Japanese than Chiang Kai-shek and the Japanese have come to realize this fact.