The Ambassador in China (Stuart) to the Secretary of State
[Received August 25—8:39 a. m.]
1570. I find it difficult to credit reports in Canton’s 180, August 20, repeated Department 168, re Chang Chun’s visit Peiping. My best judgment is that Chang Chun, in consenting to visit north and southwest in behalf Gimo, may have requested more or less casually authority to explore possibility of peace and that Gimo naturally concurred without any consideration of possible political implications such action. Should Gimo have decided on approaching Communists, Li Li-san would have been last person to be approached as he is known to be intimately associated with Moscow. Gimo has, I believe, deep-seated fear of Soviet aggression in China which, regardless of whether he admits it even to himself, influences his decisions in many fields. This is reflected, I believe, in recent efforts of Foreign Minister Wang Shih-chieh to curb our activities in China on plea that Soviets might conceivably some day request equal treatment. I cite as examples refusal permit our planes fly west Lanchow, and present request that we disguise real character our Service Attaché planes by nominally reporting them to FonOff as planes of AAG.
Furthermore my relations with Gimo are such as to cause me seriously to doubt that he would undertake any negotiations with Communists without at least giving me some intimation thereof. I cite [Page 439] in this connection his conversation with me reported in my 1542, August 19 .
T. V. Soong, of whom I saw quite a lot while he was in Nanking, said nothing to confirm information given by T. K. Ho. Also my conversation with Chang Chun and with Gimo indicate that Gimo is using Chang Chun as a traveling emissary to sound out feelings in various parts of country and to try to persuade potentially dissident elements to remain loyal to Nanking. Chang’s present trip to Japan, though unofficial, is in harmony with this idea. He will return and report with authority on our policy in Japan and his opinions will be given credence.
Disturbing element in Canton’s report is possibility, which I am reluctant to credit, that T. V. Soong has some ulterior motive. As reported my 1465, August 9, Soong told me that although he had urged upon Gimo to demand extraordinary powers of Legislative Yuan he was not sanguine Gimo would so act. From reliable sources it has come to me that he advised press, not for quotation, that Gimo planned such action. Such a forecast was subsequently headlined in press as from reliable sources.
We shall watch situation carefully, though I must reiterate my strong conviction that Gimo realizes danger of Communism and of threat from Soviet Union and will resist both with his utmost strength. He would like peace as much as anyone else in China but he will not accept peace on terms he believes inimical to interests of Chinese people or his regime.