740.0011 P. W./517

Representative John M. Vorys, of Ohio, to President Roosevelt 89

My Dear Mr. President: I have learned of possibilities for successful mediation of the Chino-Japanese incident, which I believe should have the immediate attention of those who are charged with the conduct of our foreign relations.

Dr. E. Stanley Jones, our most famous Methodist missionary, stopped in my office this week and told me of conversations he had had with very high Chinese and Japanese officials as to a possible basis for peace. The conversations were, of course, informal and unofficial, but they showed an astoundingly wide area of agreement, in contrast with the popular conception of a hopelessly confused and deteriorating situation. Dr. Jones said he had gone as far as he could at this time and wondered how these possibilities could be called to the attention of the proper government officials, without publicity, but in a manner that would assure careful consideration. He was leaving the city immediately and asked me to undertake this. I asked him to prepare a memorandum of his conversations, which I submit to you herewith. I have talked over the telephone about this with Mr. Acheson of the Department of State and am submitting a copy of this memorandum to him for consideration by Mr. Hamilton of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs.

I am not submitting this memorandum to anyone else at this time.

[Page 307]

I taught school in China, served in the Secretariat of the Conference on Pacific and Far Eastern Affairs in Washington in 1921–22 and have, therefore, had an interest in the Far Eastern situation for many years. In a sense, it can be said that World War II had its origin in the Orient in 1931. Conversely, if a peaceful and satisfactory adjustment of the Far Eastern situation could now be worked out, this would go far toward stabilizing the situation around the world.

Dr. Jones is on his way to the World Sunday School Convention in Mexico City and will be at Occidental College, Los Angeles, from July 18 to July 30, in case it might be desirable to contact him directly in the near future.

I am at your service in this matter, if there is any way in which I may help. I am always ready to serve you in your labors for peace.90


John M. Vorys

Memorandum by Dr. E. Stanley Jones

Memorandum of Conversations Regarding Possible Peace Between Japan and China

In informal conversations between Dr. Miao, Secretary of the National Christian Council of China, and Dr. Kagawa, well-known author of Japan, regarding a possible basis for peace between China and Japan, I found the following:

They both agree that the time is ripe for a consideration of a possible peace if a basis could be found. They were both speaking individually, of course, and were not representing in any way anyone officially. But each thought that he was expressing the opinions of a large number in each country and possibly on some points the official attitude.
Dr. Kagawa said that he thought Japan was prepared to make peace on the basis of four points:
The recognition of Manchukuo.
The suppression of Communism in China.
The elimination of anti-Japanese agitation in China.
The recognition of the territorial and political integrity of China by Japan.

He suggested that there might be other points raised by some, such as (a) a creation of a joint defense system in Mongolia against Russian Communism, (b) the port of Shanghai under Japanese control, (c) a concession between Hongkong and Indo-China for immigration. But these were subsidiary—the four points above were the main bases of peace from the Japanese viewpoint.

Dr. Miao said that if the intention of the peace between China and Japan is that Japan’s hands may be freed to carry out aggressive intentions elsewhere, then the peace would not be a real peace. China wants real peace. He said that if China could get two things nailed down she would be prepared to negotiate the rest:

The territorial and political integrity and sovereignty of China.
The recognition of Chiang Kai Shek as the head of China.

If these two things were agreed upon China would feel that there is a basis on which peace could be considered, not that she recognizes that the other points raised are necessarily legitimate, but they might be made subjects for negotiation. Dr. Miao suggested, for instance, that some agreement might be worked out for joint control of Manchuria.

It will be noted that there is one area of agreement between the two suggestions, namely the territorial and political integrity of China. This is important for this area of agreement is not a marginal matter, it is central.

As to the recognition of Chiang Kai Shek, Dr. Kagawa thought it might be brought about in time, but Japan’s face would have to be saved in the matter, for Wang Ching Wei had been recognized. He thought it might be possible to solve the matter if Wang Ching Wei should agree to give away to Chiang Kai Shek for the sake of peace and the unifying of China. Dr. Miao thought that Wang Ching Wei would have to give way entirely and that there could be no place for him in the government after what he had done. Dr. Kagawa said that the recognition of Chiang Kai Shek is not impossible as many Japanese considered him as a great man. Both agreed that peace could be scarcely hoped for if Chiang Kai Shek were left out for he represents China in a way that no one else does.

It was suggested by Dr. Kagawa that if I want to get the official viewpoint it might be well for me to see the Japanese Ambassador. Accordingly, I endeavored to see both the Japanese Ambassador and the Chinese Ambassador during a short visit to Washington. The Chinese Ambassador was absent speaking at the University of Michigan and the Japanese Ambassador was tied up with engagements and [Page 309] could not give me the time during the period at my disposal. But the Japanese Minister invited me to see him instead. Apparently the Japanese Minister is the diplomatic advisor to the Ambassador.

I made it plain to the Minister that I did not represent anything official, that I was only there in the capacity of one who desired to see these two nations come together on a just basis, and that it was also clear that the opinions I was interpreting from Dr. Miao and Dr. Kagawa were entirely unofficial and were elicited by my own initiative. In other words, they did not raise the matter with me—I raised it with them. I also suggested that I knew the Minister’s situation as a diplomatic official and that he need not give anything on the matters raised, but that I would put the matter before him and he could comment on it or not, and I would understand. After I had placed the conversations I had had before him, he replied he would comment on the matter, but in an unofficial capacity.

He said that Dr. Kagawa left out one important point, namely, the economic cooperation of Japan and China. When I asked if the economic cooperation meant the political dominance of the country by economic control, as many Chinese and others thought it would, he replied that it need not necessarily mean this. He further stated that although the territorial and political integrity of China was not specifically stated in the government statements regarding a basis of peace, it was implied in the other three points, because these points inferred a sovereign and independent China. He also added that the government of Japan had stated that there would be no indemnities and no territory demanded of China. This, too, he said implied the political and territorial integrity of China.

He suggested that Japan would desire a joint defense in Mongolia and North China against possible Russian aggression in these sections. When I pointed out that in the minds of the Chinese this planting of Japanese soldiers in North China and Mongolia would cancel the point about the territorial and political integrity of China he replied that on the face of it it would and that the demand might seem to be harsh, but in international law a nation might still be sovereign if she requested another nation to help her in the joint defense of territory.

In regard to the recognition of Chiang Kai Shek as the head of China, he stated that the Japanese government recognized Wang Ching Wei because he was willing to accept Japan’s basis of cooperation and that if Chiang Kai Shek would be willing to do so then Japan would not mind who it was at the head of the government.

It seems to me that this left open the possibility of Japan’s recognition of Chiang Kai Shek if a new basis could be worked out which the latter could accept.

At the close of my talk one thing seemed to be intact in both viewpoints, namely, the territorial and political integrity of China. Of [Page 310] course, there was the possibility of this being threatened by the proposal of joint action in North China and Mongolia. But on the whole it remained. There was also the possibility of the recognition of Chiang Kai Shek under certain conditions—conditions held by both sides. It was not ruled out.

When I came to the point of the possible mediation of the United States to bring peace in the Far East, I again urged on the Minister that he need not answer if he did not see fit. He replied that he would comment not as giving an official but a personal view, that if my suggestion meant that America was to interfere in the Far East and try to impose her own terms, then the reply is, No. But if she should offer her good offices to help China and Japan to settle their own differences, then, Yes.

When I asked if I might express the substance of our conversation to any one of my friends who might be in a position to pass it on to those who would be in a position to do something, he replied that I might, provided it was understood that all of these opinions were simply explorative and were personal and private and not official. He added that the world must have peace and that America is in a position to help toward peace. When I suggested if America offered her good offices to help bring peace between China and Japan it might mean that she would thereby be led to straighten out her own differences with Japan, he agreed.

It seems therefore that the situation may be ripe for America to mediate between China and Japan. It appears to be the one possible door to peace in the world situation. If it begins there, it may spread.

E. Stanley Jones

New York City

  1. Transmitted on July 14 to the Assistant Secretary of State (Acheson) with notation: “To do the necessary. F[ranklin] D. R[oosevelt].”
  2. Notation by the Assistant Secretary of State, attached to the original, reads: “Reply sent 7/23/41 stating that various points in Dr. Jones’ memo have been brought to Dep[artmen]t’s attention from time to time. That Dept. takes into consideration also fundamental national policies, etc. That contents of agreement with Wang Ching-wei [signed at Nanking, November 30, 1940, Foreign Relations, Japan, 1931–1941, Vol. ii, p. 117] afford concrete indication of nature of settlement Japan has in mind. That Government has made efforts to persuade Japan that its real interests lie in adopting policies in line with thought and procedures in which this country believes. States if Mr. Vorys still wishes to discuss the subject with an officer of the Department, will be delighted to have him do so. If Dr. Jones is in Washington, Department would welcome opportunity to talk with him.” For memorandum of conversation, by the Chief of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs, September 17, see p. 455.