The Counselor of Embassy in China (Lockhart) to the Secretary of State
[Received February 13—6:30 a.m.]
79. 1. Fisher of The United Press has informed an officer of the Embassy that Wang Keh Min20 made to him during a private interview the following remarks not for publication:
- China must continue fighting Japan because the longer China fights the better will be the peace terms;
- there is at present in Japan no one man or group of men strong enough to stop the war and the same is true in China;
- every one in Japan nevertheless wants a settlement of the hostilities but the Japanese idea is different from mine which is that we must retain the right to decide our own affairs;
- it will be quite some time before a settlement occurs but I hope that one will [be] effected by the end of this year;
- during my 14 months in office things have not developed as I expected because the Japanese keep postponing the fulfillment of their promises to me;
- the political situation in North China is not the key to any settlement but is a side issue which may aid in reaching a settlement;
- the Japanese are just beginning to try to pacify the occupied areas district by district;
- if a 6 months’ effort at pacification succeeds it will complicate the situation and postpone a settlement because attainment of peace can come only through continuing Japanese failure and resultant increasing anxiety for peace;
- I do not expect that the Japanese will meet with too much success in their efforts to pacify the interior;
- originally Japanese plans for North and Central China were separate but now they are concentrating on stabilizing this area because it is the most important to them.
2. For publication Wang said:
“The most important accomplishment of the Provisional Government in the past year is that there has been no additional loss or suffering on the part of the people and my personal view is that the lot of the people has improved at least to some extent. A most encouraging factor is that my Government has been able to speak in behalf of the Chinese and make its voice heard and the Japanese are at least to some extent taking into consideration the Chinese point of view. I believe the majority of people in Japan and China want a settlement of the hostilities. We desire an honorable peace”.
3. Wang’s stubbornness and argumentativeness in dealing with his Japanese masters has won him some respect and while he is not considered a man of much ability and renders public lip service to the Japanese it is believed that he has striven to maintain the Chinese position. His statements in paragraph 1 appear to be characteristic of his attitude and of that of most of the puppet officials of the Provisional Government.
4. Repeated to Chungking. Code text by mail to Tokyo.
- Chairman, Executive Committee of the “Provisional Government” at Peiping.↩