Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs (Hornbeck) of a Conversation With the Counselor of the Chinese Embassy (Ing)
Mr. Ing called this morning at 11 o’clock by appointment made by the Chinese Ambassador yesterday.
Mr. Ing gave me the paper here attached66 which he said was a very brief digest of information received by the Chinese Embassy.[Page 143]
I read this paper and inquired whether this was all that the Embassy had received. Mr. Ing replied that this was merely a digest and that they had received several messages this morning which were at the moment being decoded.
I asked Mr. Ing how he viewed the situation. Mr. Ing replied: “I am afraid it means war.” I made rejoinder: “Surely you do not mean that either the Chinese Government or the Japanese Government want war.” Mr. Ing then said that the Japanese, especially the Kwantung Army, had long wanted to cut north China off from the rest of China and that the operations of the Japanese troops last week and now appear to be deliberately provocative. He said that they had made the excuse that one of their men had been found missing and had demanded that they be permitted to search the village of Wanpinghsien but that later the allegedly missing man had been found unharmed among the men of his own unit.
Mr. Ing said that the Japanese were moving in troops from Manchuria and that Nanking had ordered six divisions to move northward.
Mr. Ing asked what would be my advice to China. I said that I was not in position to offer advice but that I felt warranted in expressing the hope that each and both sides would exercise restraint; that I could point out that neither side could afford terrific costs which war would involve; that each and both sides must consider a great variety of interests, including both the interests of their own people and the interests of the whole world; and that no country should permit itself to be rushed into war.
Mr. Ing said that he would send me as soon as possible the additional information which his Embassy had. I suggested that he keep us as fully informed as he might feel appropriate.
The conversation there ended.
- Not printed.↩