793.94/8687: Telegram

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

256. Peiping’s 206, July 8, 11 a.m.,49 and 207, July 8, 3 p.m.50

1.
An officer of the Embassy has just been informed by a responsible official of the Foreign Office that another clash occurred last night and that the Foreign Minister, who left July 2 for the Kuling summer capital, is returning here this afternoon by plane.
2.
The Foreign Office official stated that (1) the Foreign Office last evening lodged with the Japanese Embassy here an oral protest against “attack by Japanese troops upon Chinese troops” and requested immediate cessation of hostilities, and (2) the Japanese Embassy replied that it would telegraph the request to the Japanese military authorities in North China.
3.
The informant stated that the incident was clearly premeditated by the Japanese and has the following background: (1) It has been known for some time that Konoye51 has been planning to make extensive changes among commissioned personnel of Japanese forces in North China with a view to eliminating junior leaguers; (2) the “increasing influence” of the National Government in North China, as evidenced by preparations there for selection of delegates for forthcoming National People’s Assembly and Government opposition to the Tientsin–Tokyo air line, has greatly displeased Japanese military in North China; (3) the Japanese military have for some time made known their desires that Chinese troops withdraw from Lukouchiao (Marco Polo Bridge) and Wanping to sector west of the Yungting River, Lukouchiao being important to the Japanese as a military station because it is junction of three rail lines; (4) Japanese military have been displeased at Sung Che Yuan’s52 lengthy absence from his post which has been presumably in part due to his desire to avoid discussion with them concerning Japanese economic and other aims.
4.
He says that Wanping was still being besieged; the Japanese had demanded permission to enter that town and search for an allegedly missing Japanese soldier whose absence had been discovered during the night maneuvers of July 7 following the sound of rifle shots in the distance. The Chinese troops, who had not emerged [Page 130]from Wanping during July 7, refused the Japanese permission to enter, and latter surrounded the town although the missing soldier had subsequently been found.
5.
Among the speculated [speculative?] reports from unofficial Chinese sources is one that the Japanese, displeased at Sung’s continuous absence, are taking this means toward eliminating him as Chairman of the Hopei-Chahar Council and causing the transfer of Sung’s unfriendly 29th Army.
6.
Kawagoe54 sailed yesterday from Shanghai for Tsingtau and North China.
7.
Sent to Peiping and Tokyo, by courier to Shanghai.
Peck
  1. Foreign Relations, Japan, 1931–1941, vol. i, p. 313.
  2. Ibid., p. 314.
  3. Prince Fumimaro Konoye, Japanese Prime Minister.
  4. Chairman of the Hopei-Chahar Political Council.
  5. Japanese Ambassador in China.