The Minister in China (Johnson) to the Secretary of State
[Received August 28—11:45 a.m.]
442. My 421, August 19, 4 p.m.79 The situation in North China appears to be on the verge of considerable clarification. Wang Kehmin left Peiping for Nanking, August 24, presumably for the purpose of, (1) reporting on conditions in North China; (2) being told the results of the Kuling and Nanking conferences; and (3) participating in decisions on changes primarily personnel in the North China situation. Press reports of his resignation were based on a misapprehension and his return to Peiping in the near future is expected.
- According to the best information available here the following probabilities exist: (1) Lieutenant General Wang Ching-kuo, commander of 70th Division and concurrently Director General of Reclamation Affairs in Suiyuan, will become Chairman of Chahar. (This would bring Chahar as well as Shansi and Suiyuan under Yen Hsishan’s control perhaps for the purpose of placating him for the [Page 342]allegedly imminent declaration of independence of Inner Mongolia which will include parts of Suiyuan and Chahar.) (2) All Chahar troops will move in to Northern Hopei; Sung Che-yuan will be made Tientsin-Peiping garrison commander; and Chin Teh-chun will be given a post possibly the Mayorship of Peiping (reference is made to paragraph 2, section 2, of my 342, July 6, 5 p.m.80). (3) Shang Chen will continue only as Hopei Chairman and will move his troops to the vicinity of Paoting. (4) Wan Fu-lin and his troops will move into Honan thus clearing Hopei of the last of Chang Hsueh-liang’s men. (5) The Peiping Political Affairs Readjustment Committee will be changed into an economic organization in order to demonstrate to the Japanese that the Chinese intend to cooperate with them economically in North China. This organization will have Wang Kehmin as chairman. (6) Provincial Chairmen in North China will communicate directly with Nanking instead of through the Political Committee. (7) Ho Ying-chin will return to continue as Chairman of the Peiping branch of Military Council.
- These changes if they occur should (1) facilitate leadership political penetration into Yen Hsi-shan’s enlarged sphere; (2) facilitate economic developments in Hopei; and (3) render less likely the occurrence of trouble between Chinese factions in the North as well as between them and the Japanese (information about Shantung is lacking). There would seem to be nothing in the proposed changes to irritate the Japanese military, provided that reports to the effect that they no longer dislike Sung Che-yuan are true.
- Additional information with regard to independent movement of Inner Mongolia is lacking, except that recent visits of Japanese Consuls to Taiyuan and Kueihwa were probably for the purpose of legalizing it with Yen and Fu Tso-yi (the significance of the recent assignment of Japanese resident officers of junior rank under the Tokyo general staff to these two cities is not yet clear but is stated by the Japanese to be a routine measure). Reliable informants state that only Chinese Peace Preservation Corps troops will be north of Kalgan, with the exception of some Chinese troops in Changpei district.
- It is believed locally that the recent conferences at Kuling and Nanking resulted in (1) endorsement by Chiang Kai-shek of Wang Ching-wei’s Japanese policy, (2) the silencing of Wang’s enemies in the Kuomintang and the Government, and (3) the decision that T. V. Soong and some Kwangsi men should be brought into the National Government at the expense of some of Wang’s followers. It is expected that announcement of this realignment will be made at the Sixth Plenary Session of the fourth Central Executive Committee meeting September 20th.
Repeated by mail to Tokyo and Nanking.