793.94 Conference/211: Telegram
The Ambassador in China (Johnson) to the Secretary of State
[Received 1:35 p.m.]
894. 1. We received this morning from Foreign Office following press release:
“That China is not in favor of direct negotiations with Japan in settling the Far Eastern conflict, was made clear by Generalissimo Chiang Kai Shek in an interview this afternoon (November 7th). Generalissimo Chiang expressed himself as being optimistic concerning the military situation, and reaffirmed China’s determination to continue her present struggle until justice is reestablished in this part of the world. The following are the principal questions asked and answers given during the interview.
Question. What does Your Excellency think if direct negotiations between China and Japan should be proposed at the Brussels Conference?
Answer. The proposal you assumed would, if actually made, serve no other purpose than to increase the difficulty of China. Furthermore, such a proposal would be entirely contrary to the spirit of the Brussels Conference. Direct negotiations between China and Japan would merely be another opportunity for Japan to press such terms as were not only unacceptable to China but were also unacceptable to the signatories of the Nine Power Treaty. Furthermore, Japan has clearly proved herself a nation with the habit of dishonoring her solemn pledges and violating even most elementary principles of justice. Whatever terms may be reached directly between China and Japan in the absence of effective guarantees would be in danger of being violated by Japan at any moment. In view of past experience, such terms would constitute neither an asset to Far Eastern stability nor a worthy safeguard of China’s integrity and independence.
Question. What is the present military situation and what is the outlook?
Answer. The plan of China’s resistance is to preserve her own fighting power and at the same time to exhaust the enemy so that the ultimate object which has prompted China to put [up] a determined resistance may be attained. Temporary gains or reserve [reverses?], therefore, do not affect the final outlook as long as China’s capability of resistance remains intact. The fighting during the last 3 months has already shown the initial success of our plan.
As far as the Shanghai and Woosung area is concerned, there were no natural geographical advantages nor any strong fortifications that could facilitate our defense. Yet we have been able to hold our enemy there for so long despite their modern armaments on land, air and sea as well as superior transport facilities. And the initiative still rests with us. The losses on the part of the Japanese are probably the heaviest they have sustained under since the Russo-Japanese war. In Shansi our troops have inflicted heavy punishment on the Japanese forces during the past 2 months. The Japanese have certainly paid a heavy price for a stretch of territory that is restricted to [Page 167]the neighborhood of the railway lines. Further advance on the part of the Japanese into the interior of China will certainly be beset with greater difficulties which will operate in our favor. I am convinced, therefore, that the ultimate victory belongs to China.
Question. What are Your Excellency’s views on the prospect of the Brussels Conference?
Answer. I am fairly convinced that the forces of righteousness and justice, once set in motion, will not fail to achieve the desired goals. I believe the Conference will accomplish worthy results. China’s determination to continue her resistance to the aggressor remains unchanged until the validity of international treaties is restored and international justice firmly reestablished.
Question. Since the opening of the Brussels Conference reports have been circulating that mediatory efforts are being made outside the Conference. What is the truth of these reports?
Answer. They are absolutely groundless; the position of China has from the very outset been based upon unswerving adherence to the Nine Power Treaty and other international treaties. She is cooperating wholeheartedly in the collective effort now being made to compose the Far Eastern situation, and reports of her alleged independent action are obviously conceived in malice.
China is most jealous of the honor of her world [position?]. She certainly will not take any steps contrary to her consistent stand.”
2. Sent Department, repeated Peiping, airmailed Tokyo.