The Counselor of Embassy in China (Lockhart) to the Secretary of State
[Received February 24—10:30 a.m.]
97. A responsible American educator well known to the Department24 informed me yesterday that Wang Keh Min sent for him February 22 and informed him that General Kita returned from Tokyo a few days ago to which place he had gone (allegedly) to discuss possible peace terms with Tokyo authorities. Kita informed Wang Keh Min, according to my informant, that the Japanese Government now has a plan which contemplates that Wang Ching Wei shall proceed to Nanking and there establish a new Kuomintang Government; that North China will continue to have Japanese garrisons and that this area will be reserved for economic development; that troops in South and Central China will be either completely removed or reduced as rapidly as possible; that before definitely advancing the proposal to the Chinese the American and British Governments will be consulted and their approval sought; that the hope of success of the plan rests somewhat on the Japanese belief that Wang Ching Wei has not completely broken with Chiang Kai Shek and that the former might be the means of conciliating the latter. Kita predicts that about 2 months will be required before the plan can be developed to the point where it can be seriously advanced. If there is actually any warrant for the optimism apparently possessed by Kita, it was not made clear by my informant. The chief significance (if the information which Kita has given Wang Keh Min is correct) appears to be that the Japanese Government now seems willing to consult the American and British Governments and seek their approval for a plan to end hostilities. This appears to be wholly at variance with the attitude previously assumed by the Japanese Government.
The above is submitted for what it may be worth. On inquiring of my informant whether he had any reason to suspect that Wang Keh Min had informed him of the above, at the instance of Kita, with a [Page 144] view to its being brought to the attention of the Department as a preliminary move, he answered in the negative.
Repeated to Chungking, code text to Tokyo.
- J. Leighton Stuart, president of Yenching University, Peiping.↩