The Counselor of Embassy in China (Lochhart) to the Secretary of State
[Received January 12—4:23 p.m.]
25. 1. Following is a summary of comments made to an officer of the Embassy by Fukuoka, Domei correspondent from Tokyo, who has been making a tour of occupied areas including Canton, Hankow, Shanghai, Peiping and who purports to have had numerous conversations with high Japanese military and civil officials at these places.
2. The Yangtze will probably be opened soon to commercial navigation as far as Wuhu. The reason for its continued closure has not been a desire to monopolize all trade, which the Japanese know could not be accomplished, but to prevent foreign shipping and other firms from acquiring the bulk of the trade for themselves during a period when Japanese commercial vessels are commandeered for military purposes and are not available for purely commercial purposes. Even the reactionary Japanese military present policy of excluding foreign trade is unprofitable; what Japan has done there was to “export” a large number of Japanese civilians to places such as Nanking and now finds that it must export food and clothing to keep them alive; this is not expanding Japanese trade and is not profitable.
3. General Kita6 is no longer strongly opposed to Doihara’s7 plan for a “federal” government headed by Wu Pei Fu8 but the Japanese have come to realize that Wu is too old-fashioned to be of great use, his name means little to the people any more, and probably means nothing to the people in Central China. One reason why plans of this sort have not succeeded is because of disagreement among interested Japanese. There is too much “spot psychology” among Japanese military leaders in China; i. e., the commander in Peiping insists on going his own way and does not always take kindly to advice from Tokyo. This is true in Hankow, Canton and Shanghai and prevents adoption of policies originated in Tokyo where the military and civil [Page 127] officials have achieved a fair amount of unity of purpose any [and?] agreement as to ways and means.
4. The restrictions against the British and French Concessions at Tientsin are evidence of this “spot psychology”. They are much more an expression of the wishes of the local Japanese military than of the Government in Tokyo which has tried to be conciliatory with foreign powers and will undoubtedly continue as much as it can a conciliatory policy now that the Home Minister Suetsugu has been eliminated from the Cabinet.
5. If Wang Ching Wei’s defection was “by connivance with Japanese” it would be most unwise for the Japanese to attempt to set him up as the head of a government in Nanking or elsewhere in the occupied areas. If Wang were to be of practical use in the cause of peace he should have been left in Chungking to influence his colleagues in the party and Government in that direction. In occupied territories he would be merely a traitor and useless. The best thing for him to do now is to go abroad for a while.
6. Repeated to Chungking, Nanking, Shanghai. By mail to Tokyo.