The Ambassador in China (Johnson) to the Secretary of State
[Received October 18—3:40 p.m.]
825. Peiping’s 659, October 15, 5 p.m. The determination of Nanking to continue the present struggle with Japan is based, if my estimate of the views of local officials responsible for that determination is correct, upon Nanking’s belief that it is waging a defensive struggle against military forces of Japan occupying Chinese territory. I do not discover here any willingness on the part of the Chinese authorities to concede Japan’s right to occupy North China in spite of the collapse of Chinese resistance. On the contrary, I find here a current conviction that North China is still Chinese territory in spite of Japanese military operations and believe that it will be difficult to persuade Nanking to accept any proposals for a peaceful solution of the present hostilities that will leave Japanese forces in possession of those areas. The prevailing opinion here, if I read it correctly, is that it rests with Tokyo to end present difficulties by withdrawing Japanese forces of invasion now operating on Chinese soil in Southern as well as Northern China. Japanese invasion of China has resulted in bringing into one camp all of the hitherto dissenting elements in the political life of China. This leadership of the country, which now includes Chinese who fought for the establishment of a Communist régime in China, would find it now difficult to accept a settlement of the present hostilities which would leave Japanese forces occupying Chinese territory. It is convinced of the righteousness of its position and does not yet feel that its power of resistance is exhausted.
Sent to the Department, Peiping, Tokyo.