793.94/10637: Telegram

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

653. Embassy’s 644, October 11, 4 p.m.18

There are indications that the Japanese military are making efforts to solve the North China situation with as little further delay as possible. (There are even signs that they hope to solve the whole Sino-Japanese situation in the near future.) An early solution would be desirable to the Japanese in view of the rather unsatisfactory state into which Japanese foreign relations have recently drifted, the expense of a prolonged conflict, the extension of Japanese influence in North China already achieved, and the approach of winter. Indications are outlined in the following paragraph.
Military operations are being pushed successfully in Suiyuan, Shansi, and Hopei and there is little provision [reason to believe] that effective Chinese resistance will be necessary [likely?] in those provinces (or any north of the Lunghai Railway). The situation in Shantung is still confused but there is evidence that the Japanese plan is to gain control of that province through peaceful means if possible. For example, there has been but little military activity there during the past few days and there has been a report that some sort of a Chinese [Page 606] Committee has recently been formed in Tsinanfu allegedly for the purpose of negotiating with the Japanese for a peaceful settlement of the Shantung problem. Also, a joint declaration of the Peiping and Tientsin local maintenance societies, text of which was issued today, may have significance, inasmuch as it was probably inspired by Japanese. This declaration refers to defeats of the Chinese and destruction of Chinese property and to the [evils] of prolonged resistance, alleges that only Communists will be the gainers by such tactics, advocates Sino-Japanese friendship and cooperation, and appeals to the two governments to suspend hostilities immediately and settle their differences by diplomatic and peaceful means. The renewed Japanese offensive in Shanghai, reported in Shanghai’s 843, October 12, 7 p.m.,19 is perhaps linked with the Japanese plan for an early solution of the North China situation as a decisive victory at Shanghai would be valuable in that regard.
2. [3]
It still seems doubtful, however, whether they are ready for the establishment of a new regime for North China. Two recent minor developments are regarded locally as possible preparatory steps for the establishment of such a regime. One is the order of the Peiping local maintenance society changing the name of Peiping back to Peking and the other is an order of that society to the association of the district maintenance society of Hopei provinces, inaugurated August 10, to wind up its affairs within the next few days.

Repeated to Nanking and Tokyo.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed.