Tuesday, 14 November

View Originals

Tuesday, 14 November


From 9.00 a.m. to 12.00 a.m. we had the second meeting of the Sixth Plenum. President Kung made an administration report and Wang Chonghui reported on diplomacy. 1) The League Council passed the 16th clause of the alliance treaty with regard to the regulation of sanctions last September, which could apply to the Sino-Japanese Incident, but it was unable to launch a collective sanction. Therefore our side strongly demanded the establishment of a committee for readjusting sanction actions among various countries at the League of Nations meeting this January, but it was still not passed. In other words, various countries were unwilling to carry out sanctions. When Japan occupied the Spratly Islands which threatened Britain and France, we took the opportunity to request the establishment of the readjusting committee, still Britain and France did not agree, but only noted Japanese behavior as aggression in the resolution. It was originally scheduled for that September meeting, but because of the European war, it would be postponed to 4 December. But yesterday we received a cablegram saying that issues concerning Poland and Czechoslovakia were difficult to handle and some advocated that a cancellation of the meeting was very likely to happen. 2) With regard to the Sino-Japanese Incident, there were three international conferences. A) Assembly of the League of Nations and the League Council. B) the meeting of the Far East Advisory Committee C) The meeting for the Nine Power Treaty in the capital of Belgium. There were five resolutions, three reports and two declarations. The summary of their contents was as follows: 1. Japan was recognized as a country of aggression. 2. It was recognized that the Sino-Japanese issue was related to the Nine Power Treaty and it was unable to be solved by China and Japan on their own. 3. The 16th clause of the alliance treaty could apply to Japan. 4. Various countries should not weaken the fighting resistance of China and should consider methods of assistance. 3) With regard to the deployment of individual action of various countries, as for the Soviet side, this March the Ministry of Foreign Affairs prepared the draft of the Sino-Soviet Commercial Treaty and forwarded it to President Sun Fo to bring to the Soviet Union and formally signed it with the Soviet representative, Minister of Foreign Trade, Anastas Mikoyan, on 16 June. In September when the new Soviet Ambassador to China Panyushkin presented his diplomatic credentials, what he said and his sentiments exceeded normal diplomatic practice. He not only showed deep sympathy and put great emphasis on our resistance efforts, but also hoped that we would score a complete victory. He also said that the assistance his country offered was not paying lip service but substantial. The Soviet Union not only helped us on material aspects such as planes and various weapons as well as others, but also tried its best to help us at various international conferences. On 15 September, though an armistice agreement had been reached between the Soviet Union and Japan, the Soviet attitude to us did not change at all and it continued providing assistance to us as usual. So we should not take the Soviet-Japanese agreement too seriously. 2) With regard to the British-Japanese Joint Declaration, our side had expressed great dissatisfaction. The British Foreign Minister replied to us explaining that this declaration referred, in particular, to local incidents, and absolutely did not change fundamental British policy towards China. We asked the British Ambassador to China regarding the re-opening of British-Japanese negotiations in Tokyo, and he said that it was exclusively on the local issues in Tianjin. Recently Britain provided assistance to us in the form of a security loan for export credit and organised a balance foreign exchange fund with us with a capital of 5,000,000 pounds. Concerning providing materials and transportation, both Britain and France helped us substantially. 3) The United States protested to Japan on 6 October 1938 and 31 December 1938. Besides lending us US$25,000,000, the United States even had more stern expressions towards Japan such as A) In the memorandum sent to Japan on 17 May this year with regard to the demands for changes from the Japanese side over the Public Concession in Shanghai, the United States showed stern language. B) On 26 July 1939, the United States notified Japan of the abolition of the American-Japanese Commercial Treaty in 1911. C) Key Pittman proposed to impose an embargo of raw materials for weapons on Japan. This proposal seemed likely to be passed. As a matter of fact since the start of the European war, Britain and France, as well as other countries, paid high prices to buy enormous amounts of raw materials for making military products.  Even the United States had concerns that their supplies would be completely depleted and nothing left for its own use. Therefore Japan certainly had difficulty in buying from the United States. American policies were strongly influenced by public opinion. According to the results of the latest opinion polls on 30 August, 80 per cent of people agreed to abolish the American-Japanese Commercial Treaty and 19 per cent disagreed, while 82 per cent of people agreed on imposing an embargo of raw materials for weapons on Japan, and 18 per cent disagreed. According to reports, Japanese exports to the United States decreased by 40 per cent as compared with before the war. 4) As for Germany and Italy, our side still maintained cordial relationships. 5) Materials and transportation: Vietnam had allowed us to pass through their territory free of tax. Concerning Yunnan-Burma, the highway had been completed. As for the railway, it was because the Burmese feared China would experience massive migration and the manipulation of foreign investment, as well as the British side not believing our side having adequate preparation, that it was still under way. In total the report took more than an hour and Wang Chonghui was really good in choosing the appropriate information. His Mandarin has also improved a lot. (He employed a Northern Chinese to teach him to read the Book of Songs.) Xu Keting (徐可亭) sat next to me. He also joked in his report that Wang Chonghui was making progress. In the past Chen Gongbo (陳公博)[1] composed a jovial poem saying that when Wang Chonghui made a report (in Mandarin) it took him a lot of time but it did not work and did not warrant a good mention. What he said was unclear to all. But that could not apply to Wang Chonghui now.


At 3.00 p.m. we had the examination meeting of the political penal. I, and Cheng Tianfang, took the jobs of examining the diplomatic reports, the affairs of the Overseas Chinese and the implementation of the resolutions of the Fifth Plenum meeting. When I was back I asked Counsellor Feng Ruofei (馮若飛) to prepare the diplomatic report.


At 7.00 I went to the Shengsheng restaurant to have dinner with He Boping (何伯平), Zhou Yanming(周演明), Huang Junbi and Tianjuan. He Boping told me that Li Hanhun (李漢魂)[2] asked him to be the Magistrate of Lian County. I told him that it was most difficult to be a magistrate during this period of time. Also what he was doing now was related to his study so it was not wise to change to another job. He agreed too and decided to return to Neijiang.

[1]Chen Gongbo(1892-1946) was Cantonese. He was a KMT politician and was close to Wang Jingwei. He was sentenced to death for treason and executed by shooting in 1946. He had studied at Peking and Columbia Universities.

[2] Li Hanyun(1895-1987) was a Cantonese military leader.