The Counselor of Embassy in China ( Lockhart ) to the Secretary of State
Peiping , February 1, 1939—3 p.m.
[Received 8:12 p.m.]
[Received 8:12 p.m.]
62. Embassy’s 60, January 31, 5 p.m.
- A retired Chinese official and adherent [of] Wu Pei Fu with whom an officer of the Embassy has friendly personal relations called on the officer this morning. He said Wu had sent him to relate privately what he had actually said yesterday to the press correspondents because the purport of his statement had been vitiated and his position grossly misinterpreted by the local press and by publication of a written statement attributed to him which he had not made nor approved. (A translation of this statement will be transmitted in a separate telegram.)15
- The caller’s account of the oral statement coincided with that reported in the Embassy’s telegram under reference. He repudiated press reports that Wu had (a) definitely accepted office, (b) denounced Chiang Kai Shek, (c) proposed to fight National Government troops, and (d) intended to suppress’ Chinese Communist troops. He said that the Marshal positively had not accepted any political or military office and did not intend to accept any such office unless or until the Japanese met his conditions particularly in respect to the withdrawal of their troops. Wu’s position on this question was that “the guest (the Japanese) cannot usurp the host’s (China) peace [place] as head of the host’s house” and he would not associate himself with any Chinese Government that did not have full “political power”. If his conditions were met and he should head the projected pacification commission, his army would work to pacify Honan, Hupeh and other areas. By pacify he meant clearing the areas of bandits and not undertaking a campaign against Chinese troops.
- Incidentally he said that Wu had always been grateful for American and British friendship to China and had noted with pleasure the recent expression of that friendship in the form of the recent American and British credits.
- Repeated to Chungking, Shanghai, Tokyo.
- Telegram No. 63, February 1, 4 p.m., not printed.↩