893.00/13185: Telegram

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

247. My 246, August 20, 10 a.m.74

Wang Ching-wei proceeded from Tsingtau to Shanghai yesterday. Sun Fo and the Vice Minister of Railways, Tseng Chung-ming, who has been in charge of the Ministry during the Minister’s long absence, have returned to Nanking. T. V. Soong came to Nanking this morning with Kung. Chu Chia-hua, Minister of Communications, who is reliably reported to have reconsidered his resignation, is again in Nanking and Chang Chun has returned here from Tsingtau. Madame Chiang Kai-shek came here with the Generalissimo.
The Chinese Central News agency at Nanking today reports an interview here with Chang Chun August 19th in which Chang allegedly stated that “Wang has consented to withdraw his resignation”75 and that Wang will return to the capital “shortly”. In the same report the agency quotes Sun Fo as saying that Wang had not yet taken a final stand with respect to his resignation but feels, in view of the urgent requests of the Government and the Party, that Wang’s resignation would eventually be withdrawn. The same agency also reports an interview with Wang on August 19th following his arrival at Shanghai in which Wang is said to have reiterated “his firm desire to be relieved” from the posts of President of the Executive Yuan and Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs, but to have signified his willingness to come on to Nanking and continue his duties in the Central Party headquarters as soon as his resignations are accepted.
I am confidentially informed by a ranking official of the Foreign Office that his Ministry has not received any word from Wang indicating that the alleged statements of Chang Chun above mentioned are true or that Wang is reconsidering his expressed determination to retire from the Government. The official stated that in any case Wang would definitely not return to the Foreign Office.
He stated confidentially that there was a possibility now that China’s policy toward Japan might be stiffened and that certainly there would be now a clarification of policy. He said that Chiang Kai-shek would not enter into any personal discussions with Japanese representatives and that if the Japanese should attempt to approach him they would be referred to regular diplomatic channels. He said that Chiang’s policy, which had also been the policy of Wang, was to avoid an impasse with the Japanese for the time being and meanwhile to prepare for eventualities about 3 years hence. The Japanese wanted a “show down” but he did not think they would achieve their wishes at the present juncture.
He went on to say “privately” that the Chinese Government was very disappointed in the failure of the United States and Great Britain to assist China in her difficulties with the Japanese when China was “at the crossroads”. He said that the Chinese Government was glad, however, that the United States Government had not made any public declaration against Japan or formal protest to the Japanese Government over the actions of the Japanese military in the North because a purely diplomatic démarche, unless supported by force of arms, would have been of more harm than help to China. China he stated knew positively that she could expect no real assistance from the [Page 337]United States or any of the powers and only two roads seemed open: a combination with Japan which would mean Japanese domination of China and opposition to West or an alignment with Soviet Russia against the common enemy if such alignment could be attained.
To the Department and the Legation. To Tokyo by mail.
  1. Telegram in three sections.
  2. Not printed.
  3. In telegram No. 230, August 10, 9 a.m., Mr. Atcheson reported that Wang Ching-wei had resigned from his concurrent posts of President of the Executive Yuan and Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs (893.00/13172).