793.94/7229: Telegram

The Second Secretary of Legation in China (Atcheson) to the Secretary of State

223. My 221, August 2, 9 a.m.

In a general conversation this morning the Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs stated to me that the Sino-Japanese situation was [Page 326]superficially calm now; there had been improvement in the feeling between China and Japan; anticipated Japanese activities in the Yangtze Valley; and while Japanese officials in various places continued to talk about Sino-Japanese relations the Japanese had not of late, informally or otherwise, put forth any new proposals or presented any demands to the Foreign Office. However, he said, Japan’s intentions were well known; this was a very dark period for China and no one could tell what would happen next or what demands the Japanese might present at any time.
He said he had heard a great deal of criticism from foreigners that his Government had not given publicity to development in North China or generally in respect to Sino-Japanese issues; but no good purpose would have been served by publicity because the Chinese Government knew that no nation would rush in to China’s rescue. The Chinese Government was therefore keeping very quiet in respect to these matters; it was attempting to avoid irritating the Japanese and was willing to discuss Sino-Japanese problems with them.
He went on to say that there was of course a limit to the extent China could go in meeting Japanese wishes. It was his personal opinion that the Chinese Government must proceed on two fundamental principles. The first was that China, having “temporarily lost control” over Manchuria, could not give up any more territory without resistance; if, for example, the Japanese should ask China to relinquish control over the territory north of the Yellow River, China must fight. The second was that there was no use discussing with the Japanese proposals involving loss of attributes of sovereignty; China could not without resisting by force surrender sovereign rights of any kind.
Chiang Kai-shek, he said, might come to Nanking soon.
To the Department and Peiping. To Tokyo and Moscow by mail.