793.94119/499: Telegram

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

60. Department’s [Embassy’s] 56, January 28, 4 p.m.10

A “Society for Peace and National Salvation” issued yesterday a manifesto signed by the leaders of the Provisional and Reformed Government asking Wu Pei Fu to head a peace movement.
Wu Pei Fu received the press before noon today and made an oral statement of which the following is the gist:

Because the people know I have always believed in peace, many, including my friends, have asked me to lead a peace movement. There are three prerequisites to any successful effort to achieve a real peace: real force; a suitable place; and real political power. The place undoubtedly is Peiping. There is no doubt I can show real force. There remains the question of real political power. I have heard that the Japanese Military Headquarters will return real political power to the Chinese. After this is done my aim in making peace and saving the country can be realized.

There were no Japanese military officers present when Wu made his statement. Its wording indicates that his negotiations with the Japanese have not yet been concluded. For example he did not admit taking office and failure to be specific on that point lends color to reports from some of his followers that the Japanese have been attempting to force his hand by premature announcements of his agreement to their plans. This view is also supported by his naming Peiping for his headquarters instead of Kaifeng as mentioned in Japanese inspired press announcements, some of which have indicated that he would eventually move from [to?] Kaifeng to assume charge of a new regime there.
The implications in the proposed establishment of the commission at Kaifeng “outside the territorial jurisdiction of the Provisional and Reformed Governments” are not yet clear. Some observers consider it an effort at compromise to permit Wu’s emergence without weakening those two regimes whose leaders have until recently opposed his emergence. The plan to pacify Honan and Hupeh by winning over guerrillas and Nationalist troops to the Peace Commission is regarded by others as a move designed to permit the Japanese to withdraw large military units from that area with a view to eventual withdrawal of most of their army from China if Wu should succeed. This opinion is based on Wu’s original demand of the Japa- [Page 131] nese (paragraph 3, Embassy’s 634 [684?], November 17, 3 p.m.11) that Japanese troops must be withdrawn before he would head a new “central” government.
Repeated to Chungking, Shanghai, Tokyo.
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