The Counselor of Embassy in China (Lockhart) to the Secretary of State
[Received October 15—1:30 p.m.]
659. The Mayor, accompanied by four members of the Peace Maintenance Society, called on me late Wednesday afternoon. The first theme of their conversation and apparently the object of the call was to emphasize their desire for early peace. I associated their call with the statement issued on October 13 and briefly described in my No. 653, October 13, 5 p.m., which statement I am convinced was inspired by the Japanese, even though it may be only a feeler. The Mayor dwelt at some length on the need for assistance from the United States towards achieving peace at an early date. I reminded him of the President’s recent speech and the efforts of the Secretary of State to prevent a prolongation of the present struggle and said that it must be evident to all concerned that the Government of the United States would enthusiastically welcome some overtures for peace coming from either side. Supplementing my telegram No. 653, October 13, 5 p.m., I believe that, at least so far as offer to China is concerned, there is a clear indication of a movement taking form, participated in by both Chinese and Japanese, to bring hostilities to an end at an early date if that is at all possible. It is significant that the southward advance of the Japanese has apparently been practically unopposed since the fall of Paotingfu and Tsangchow. If there is a determination to continue the struggle, I am disposed to believe that it is centered largely at Nanking (rather than Tokyo) and is based not only on the belief that China can hold out for a long time on the Shanghai front, but on a hope that active assistance will be forthcoming from a third [Page 612]power plus moral support from some of the western powers. Briefly, if there is in fact a desire on the part of either the Japanese or the Chinese for an early termination of hostilities, it might possibly be an opportune moment to renew efforts to persuade the two countries to go the rest of the way to early and just peace by diplomatic negotiation, especially since they have already tested their mettle by force of arms.
Repeated to Nanking and by courier to Tokyo.