The Counselor of Embassy in China (Lockhart) to the Secretary of State
[Received 8:30 p.m.]
174. Peiping’s 48, January 23, 4 p.m., 167, April 3, 3 p.m. and 168, April 3, 10 p.m.35 According to Chinese sources who have good contacts with the “Provisional Government” there are reports current here that General Doihara has gone to Hong Kong or vicinity where he is secretly negotiating with representatives of Wang Ching Wei; that the Japanese have more or less given up hope of persuading Wu Pei Fu to accept office in their regimes and are making a determined effort to induce Wang Ching Wei to assume office as head of some sort of central government for the occupied areas; and that Wang Keh Min, who has hitherto opposed any plan to establish a new Federal Government under Wu Wei Fu or under anyone who would overshadow him, has now agreed or been persuaded to agree to the plan to place Wang Ching Wei at the head of a central government. These sources state that the Japanese are encouraged in their efforts by the report that Wang Ching Wei was greatly angered by the attempt to assassinate him which resulted in the death of his secretary and old friend, Tseng Chung Ming.
The above information is reported for what it may be worth. I understood that the Japanese urgently desire to obtain the cooperation of Chinese in “pacifying” the occupied areas and in eliminating guerrillas and irregulars in order to induce a flow of products from those areas (such as cotton from North China) and to release troops for use elsewhere. It is reliably reported for example that approximately two Japanese divisions have been engaged in the campaign against guerrillas in central and southern Hopei during the past 2 months and that another large force has been stationed or operating in eastern Hopei for the same purpose. In these areas alone therefore it would appear that some 50,000 Japanese troops have been immobilized [Page 158] by the presence and activities of guerrillas and irregulars and have thereby been prevented from reinforcing the Japanese forces on the so-called “fighting fronts”; if these troops and others immobilized elsewhere in the occupied areas in northern China were free to reinforce the Japanese forces in Honan and Shansi the Japanese High Command might be better prepared to undertake a campaign with the objective of severing the Chinese northwest line of communications through Sianfu and points west.
Repeated to Chungking. Code text by air mail to Tokyo.
- Telegrams Nos. 48 and 168 not printed.↩