The Minister in China (Johnson) to the Secretary of State
[Received 2:55 p.m.]
156. 1. From what I have learned from other sources I consider outline of developments in my 155, June 14, 11 a.m. a fair and honest opinion subject to criticism chiefly in its understatement. While the additional demands reported in previous telegrams and the press may not all have been written into the memorandum which Ho was asked to sign on June 11, it is my understanding that they were actually presented in some form by Japanese military officials to Chinese officials in the North. The spokesman [?] in particular informed that there were so many Japanese Military Attachés and spokesmen of various Japanese military agencies (Kwantung Army, Tientsin garrison, General Staff, War Ministry) that it was difficult to keep accurate count of every Japanese warning, proposal, demand, [Page 242] threat or restriction which had been laid before Ho and other Chinese functionaries in Hopei. Upon my mentioning that I had heard that the additional demands of June 11 included the removal of Chinese Government troops from the area north of the Yellow River and the return of Chiang Kai-shek to Nanking, he denied that any new demands had been made. Another responsible official of the same Ministry, however, and sources close to the Central Political and National Defense Councils stated that they were among those listed in the June 11 memorandum.
2. It seems generally the policy of the Chinese Government to minimize matters in respect to the current situation in the north and press reports reaching Nanking today state that the Japanese military are now denying that fresh demands were presented June 11; this may possibly be a hopeful sign.
3. I have so far been unable to learn what transpired at meeting late yesterday of Ariyoshi and Wang Ching-wei. It is reported that the Japanese are continuing to press for the return to Nanking of Chiang Kai-shek, but the requirement is now said to be that he come here to talk with Ariyoshi rather than with Japanese military representatives. This may indicate a belated disposition on the part of the concerned Japanese military authorities to bring the Foreign Minister actively into the situation, possibly as a means of counteracting the notoriety which is expected from their disregard of the civil branches of the Government and possibly to obtain the Foreign Office stamp of approval upon their actions in the north.