The Counselor of Embassy in China (Peck) to the Secretary of State
Nanking, October 20, 1936—2 p.m.
[Received 2:10 p.m.]
[Received 2:10 p.m.]
309. My telegram No. 308, October 17, 3 p.m.
- Vice Minister Hsu Mo informed me this morning that the Japanese Ambassador and the Minister of Foreign Affairs in a 3-hour [Page 359]conversation held on October 19 exchanged views on Sino-Japanese matters but arrived at no agreements. The Japanese Ambassador devoted his attention mainly to the North China proposal and joint resistance to Communistic activities which apparently was widened to include joint measures against the spread of Communistic propaganda. The Japanese Ambassador continued to talk in general terms as heretofore. The Vice Minister said no third person was present during the interview and he himself had received as yet only an outline from the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Further discussion between the Ambassador and the Minister for Foreign Affairs being planned but no date has been set. I remarked that the tension of the last few days seemed to have relaxed. The Vice Minister made no comment but observed that no agreement had been reached on any point discussed during the interview. He asked me not to communicate to my colleagues especially the Japanese anything he had said but to use all the information only officially. I gave him an assurance and said that the Department is continuing its keen interest in these matters and is following Sino-Japanese situation both in Tokyo and Nanking.
- An American news correspondent reports that Suma this morning compared the present discussions to the ascent of a mountain and expressed the belief that progress toward an understanding although slow was actual. American informant said that a Japanese newspaper representative intimate with the Japanese Ambassador had told him that the Ambassador was determined to bring about an understanding between the two countries through discussion and persuasion rather than by military threats.
- It may be expected that both negotiators will defend themselves against popular criticism in their respective countries by denying that an agreement has been reached until this becomes an actual fact. Nevertheless, a lessening of the tension is distinctly perceptible in Nanking.
- Chiang Kai Shek returned to Nanking yesterday.
- Sent to Peiping and Shanghai.