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The informant told Mr. Meyer confidentially that on the night of September 10, 1931, President Chiang Kai-shek received an urgent telegram from Marshal Chang Hsueh-liang stating that it had always been his policy to support the National Government; that he realized that should the Nanking Government fall there would be no central Government in China for some time to come; but that, much to his regret, he was obliged to report that a state of affairs then existed in the North which would make it impossible for him again to render assistance to the National Government, even though his assistance might be needed, and that the National Government should no longer rely upon him for such assistance. The informant said that the expression "state of affairs” referred indubitably to the situation created by the Japanese.

The informant stated, also, that the reason why General Chang Tsohsiang had presented his resignation from the post of Chairman of the Provincial Government of Kirin was not the death of his father, as stated, but because General Chang felt himself unable to cope with Japanese pressure in Manchuria.

In a conversation held by me with Mr. T. V. Soong, the Minister of Finance, on September 13, 1931, I asked him whether General Chang Tso-hsiang had resigned for the reason given above. Mr. Soong denied it, and said he had resigned merely because of the death of his father, and the Government had already persuaded him to withdraw his resignation and remain at his post. It is possible that General Chang Tso-hsiang acted from mixed motives.

It was asserted by the informant that the Japanese were assisting the Cantonese group with money and munitions—the result, in part, of Eugene Chen's visit to Japan during the past summer. In this connection I have the honor to refer to my despatch No. L-65, of August 1, 1931, wherein I reported a statement made to me by an officer of the Bureau of Aviation of the National Government, to the effect that the Chinese authorities had precise evidence that General Shih Yu-san received $500,000 Chinese currency from the Japanese to induce him to revolt and that a similar sum was received from the same source by General Han Fu-chu.

There is enclosed with this despatch a copy of a mail press despatch published in Shanghai September 14, 1931,11 in which the United Press Staff correspondent reports that the report is prevalent in Chinese papers in Peiping that the Japanese military party is assisting the faction at Canton.

In view of the wide-spread belief that the Far Eastern Review, published in Shanghai, receives some support and inspiration from Japanese sources, it is interesting to note that in the August number of that

* Not reprinted.

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journal there appear three articles written by Mr. George Bronson Rea, an American citizen, entitled “The Communist Menace in Manchuria”, “Realities”, and “Behind Wanpaoshan", which have bearing on the question of whether Japan is contemplating forcible action in Manchuria. The general idea behind these articles is that China is politically bankrupt, that the country cannot be administratively united, and that the Powers should abandon the attempt to maintain the political and administrative integrity of China and should deal with different portions of the country as separate entities. The paragraph which begins at the bottom of page 466 of this number of the Far Eastern Review is especially emphatic in its forecast of the probability that Japan will take forcible action to protect Japanese interests in Manchuria if the latter are at any time seriously threatened. Respectfully yours,

WILLYS R. PECK

793.94/2053

The Minister in China (Johnson) to the Secretary of State No. 1181

PEIPING, September 16, 1931.

[Received October 10.] Sir: With reference to the Legation's telegram No. 578, of September 12, 5 p. m., concerning the Nakamura incident, I have the honor to transmit herewith an interesting editorial on this subject, which appeared in the Peking & Tientsin T'imes, in three sections, on September 9, 10, and 11, 1931.12

The first section of the editorial asserts that Captain Shintaro Nakamura, of the Japanese General Staff, and said to be a spy, was executed by Chinese soldiers of the Khingan Reclamation Army, in the bandit-infested Solun region of Manchuria, where (according to the second section) he was traveling presumably to investigate the interesting reclamation, colonization and agricultural enterprise which is being carried out in this area, but very possibly to collect political and economic information that would be of interest to the Japanese General Staff.

The Nakamura incident has greatly incensed the Japanese and has led the military clique to demand strong action, if not the occupation of portions of Manchuria itself. Following as it does upon the antiChinese riots in Korea, it has tended to counteract the anti-Japanese propaganda in the Chinese press and may possibly result in a toning down of the Chinese demands upon the Japanese Government for satisfaction and an indemnity for the victims of the riots.

Not reprinted.

It is well known that the Japanese grievances against China are many and, as pointed out in the enclosed editorial, the Nakamura incident is but an expression of the growing animosity between the Chinese and Japanese in Manchuria. So long as the settled policy of the Chinese authorities in Manchuria is one of obstruction and hostility to the Japanese, such incidents are bound to occur and any one of them might precipitate a serious crisis.

Further details of this case are to be found in the press clippings being transmitted to the Department by the same pouch as this despatch.

A second and more thorough investigation is now being conducted
by the Chinese authorities, and the Legation will not fail to keep the
Department fully informed of subsequent developments.
Respectfully yours,

NELSON TRUSLER JOHNSON

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793.94/2346
Memorandum by the Minister in China (Johnson) of a Conversation

With Mr. W. H. Donald, Adviser to Marshal Chang Hsueh-liang of
Manchuria 13

PEIPING, September 19, 1931—2:30 a. m. Mr. Donald just called me by telephone and said that Marshal Chang Hsueh-liang had received a telegram from Mukden stating that a little before 10 p. m. the evening of the 18th a squad of Japanese soldiers had left the Japanese area and proceeding southeast of Mukden had commenced firing with rifles at the east camp and at the arsenal. He said they were also using a cannon and were apparently firing shells on the city at the rate of one every ten minutes; that one had landed somewhere near the Japanese monument. He said that at that time it was reported that some seventy Chinese soldiers had been killed in the east camp but they had no information as to what damage had been done in the city. He informed me that Marshal Chang Hsueh-liang had issued orders restricting troops to barracks and depoting all arms and had forbade any retaliatory measures.

Mr. Donald stated that he had received a personal message to the effect that firing was continuing at one o'clock this morning and that Japanese soldiers had been seen marching in the direction of the west gate of the city, the inference being that the Japanese were making a move to occupy the city of Mukden. Mr. Donald stated that their information was that apparently the Japanese military had got completely out of hand at Mukden, that the Japanese civilian authorities, namely the consul general, were powerless to do anything.

NELSON TRUSLER JOHNSON

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Copy transmitted to the Department by the Minister in his despatch No. 1203, October 1; received October 26.

793.94/1796 : Telegram

The Ambassador in Japan (Forbes) to the Secretary of State

TOKYO, September 19, 1931—noon.

[Received September 1942:31 a. m.] 150. Peiping's 599, September 19th, 2:30 a. m.14 Japanese newspapers today published extras indicating a state of war between Japan and China. The Foreign Office stated to a member of the staff that the facts seem to be a minor clash between Japanese South Manchurian

a Railway guards and Chinese soldiers growing out of damage to a section of railway track just north of Mukden, which the Japanese Army has since occupied. The Japanese assure us they are determined upon a peaceful settlement of whatever controversy arises.

Under the circumstances I think it would be unwise to cancel voyage home and stay here as such action might be misconstrued so I shall sail on Empress of Japan this afternoon. Repeated to Peiping.

FORBES

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793.94/1797 : Telegram

The Minister in China (Johnson) to the Secretary of State

PEIPING, September 19, 1931—noon.

[Received September 1945:58 a. m.] 600. My September 19, 2:30 p. m. [a. m.] 14 Same source informs me that two train loads of Japanese soldiers arrived Yingkou this morning proceeding thence to Kowpangtze where they disarmed railway police and all others, occupying town. Japanese warship is reported to have arrived at Yingkou this morning. Communication from Mukden ceased at 3 a. m. at which time Japanese soldiers reported entered city.

Mayer, Military Attaché's office, 15 is proceeding Mukden to ascertain facts.

Please inform War and Navy. Repeated to commander in chief and Tokyo.

JOHNSON

15

** Foreign Relations, Japan, 1931–1941, vol. I, p. 1.

Captain William Mayer, language officer of the Legation in China.

793.94/1804 : Telegram

The Minister in China (Johnson) to the Secretary of State

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PEIPING, September 19, 1931—2 p. m.

[Received September 1947 a. m.] 602. My 599, September 19 17 and 600, September 19, 11 a. m. [noon].

Wellington Koo 18 has just come to me from Marshal Chang Hsuehliang to confirm reports contained in my two telegrams above referred to and to say that Japanese military forces were in occupation of the city of Mukden and that they had placed troops at all administrative offices including the Marshal's headquarters. Occupation of Kowpangtze cuts Manchuria off completely from China. Koo stated that Marshal Chang had reported matter to Nanking. In the course of conversation Koo brought up League possible action on the part of China or powers either under the Covenant of the League, the Kellogg pact 20 or article VII of the Nine-Power Treaty regarding principles and policies.21 With reference to the treaty regarding principles and policies he suggested possibility of the United States starting a discussion among interested powers.

I told Koo that I had informed Department of incidents thus far reported to me, that I was not in a position to know what attitude my Government would take as to the basis for the dispute and that I thought it would take a little time to learn what it was about and what

a should be done. Koo departed asking me to inform him of any

views that Washington might have in regard to this matter.

In a separate telegram I am communicating substance of conversation member of staff had with Counselor of Japanese Legation at noon today regarding Japanese version of last night's events at Mukden.

JOHNSON

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793.94/1805 : Telegram

The Minister in China (Johnson) to the Secretary of State

PEIPING, September 19, 1931–3 p. m.

[Received September 1947 a. m.] 603. Legation's 602, September 19, 2 p. m. Member of my staff called on Counselor of Japanese Legation in the absence of the Japanese Minister who is in Shanghai. He was informed that the Muk

17

18

Foreign Relations, Japan, 1931-1941, vol. I, p. 1. * V. K. Wellington Koo, formerly Minister for Foreign Affairs and Premier of Peking Government.

19 Treaties, Conventions, etc., Between the United States and Other Powers, 1910-1923 (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1923), vol. II, p. 3336.

Foreign Relations, 1928, vol. 1, p. 153.
Ibid., 1922, vol. I, p. 276.

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