793.94 Conference/227: Telegram

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

748. [Here follows summary of editorial views in two newspapers.]

Two factors will probably militate to obstruct successful outcome Brussels Conference; namely, (1) Japanese military are determined to crush Chinese resistance and impose their own terms, this determination being strengthened by exasperation at strong Chinese resistance [Page 179]at Shanghai, and at the “interference” of certain western nations, and by Japan’s conviction that if the Sino-Japanese situation is not settled in Japan’s favor now the ultimate effect will be profoundly serious for that country, and (2) the Chinese leaders cannot afford to subscribe as yet to a solution acceptable to Japan as it would mean the elimination from the Government of many of those leaders and as neither their present commitments (for example to the Chinese Communists and to the southern faction) nor the present temper of the people in central and southern China would permit them to subscribe.

It would seem to be logical for Japan to desire an early settlement because of (1) possible ill effects of a prolonged campaign in China on Japanese economy, internal political situation and international relations; (2) the desirability of finding adequate and effective means, through the present Chinese Government, or a new régime, of eliminating “recalcitrant” nationalistic elements which would continue to act militarily against Japanese control; and (3) the possibility of commitments which Japan may have made as a signatory of the Anti-Comintern Pact86 vis-à-vis the Soviet Union and which would make an early termination of hostilities against China desirable; that is, for example, if military action against the Soviet Union might be required now or later under the terms of that pact. If an agreement with the present Chinese Government is impossible, increasing Japanese anger may lead to a declaration of war, or to an effort to oust the National Government from Nanking, and the establishment of a puppet government there subservient to Japan, with perhaps an ineffective purely Chinese Government left in control of certain parts of southeastern, central, and western China. Whatever the developments suggested above, however, it seems doubtful whether the Soviet Union will render any substantial aid to China under the present international situation.

It is obvious that there exists the possibility that Nanking will reach an agreement with Tokyo, but it is also apparent that this is improbable until the Chinese leaders have given up all hope of obtaining help at Brussels. It is fairly probable that such an agreement, if concluded, would lead to the inclusion of China in the anti-Comintern group of powers under the aegis of Japan, that such an alliance would be directed in the first instance against the Soviet Union, that the resources of China would be exploited under the direction of Japan for the benefit of the alliance, and that “foreign rights and interests” in China would in consequence suffer radical changes.

Sent to the Department. Repeated to Nanking. Section 2 repeated to Tokyo, section 1 sent by mail.