793.94/7623: Telegram

The Counselor of Embassy in China (Peck) to the Secretary of State

4. My 160, December 31, 11 a.m.8

Chen Chieh, administrative Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, told me yesterday that it was expected that the Japanese Government would agree in principle to the proposal for a conference to effect a comprehensive adjustment of Sino-Japanese relations although no official agreement had yet been obtained. Hsu Mo, the political Vice Minister, told me the Chinese plans contemplated some kind of commission with special plenipotentiaries at their head. In regard to the scope of discussion the latter criticized as unreasonable the reported Japanese demand that China advance concrete proposals based on Hirota’s “three principles”9 since Japan not China originated these principles. He added that China had not agreed to avoid any specified subjects such as extraterritoriality.
From another Foreign Office source it is confirmed that there has been no change in the status of this matter since its inception. According to a Domei despatch from Tokyo dated January 5 the Japanese Foreign Office will insist upon (1) the prior submission by the Chinese of a concrete list of proposals and (2) prior acceptance by China of Hirota’s three point program; and before agreeing to formal discussion will obtain approval of the Japanese Ministries of War, Navy and Finance. This despatch states that the situation in China does not warrant optimism because of the undercurrent of anti-Japanese activity and regretfully expresses belief that the Nanking Government intends to bring up the question of the abrogation of the “unequal treaties.”
By mail to Peiping.
  1. Foreign Relations, 1935, vol. iii, p. 502.
  2. Koki Hirota, Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs; for his policy, see telegram No. 72, November 11, 1935, 2 p.m., from the Embassy in China, Foreign Relations, 1935, vol. iii, p. 404.