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Chino-Japanese Relations

October 26, 1936

Report Outline
Negotiation of Chino-Japanese Differences
Growing Japanese Penetration in China
Chinese Nationalists and Chinese Communists
Soviet Russia and Tokyo's Aspirations in China

Negotiation of Chino-Japanese Differences

Negotiations at Nanking on the latest series of Japanese demands upon China appear to have reached a deadlock. While conversations are continuing between Foreign Minister Chang Chun of China and Ambassador Kawagoe of Japan, it is a matter of speculation as to how long Tokyo will refrain from positive action in the event that Chinese officials maintain an unyielding attitude. Japan's willingness to resort to negotiation instead of force or threats of force, in the situation created by the murder of five Japanese subjects in China in August and September, has been generally attributed to realization that conditions in China are now such that demands involving further encroachments on that country's prerogatives as an independent nation could not be enforced by measures short of war.

Although displaying on the surface an uncommonly mild attitude toward the Chinese authorities, Japan nevertheless utilized the situation created by the outrages against its citizens to present at Nanking a group of proposals reminiscent of the famous Twenty-One Demands of 1915. Unofficial versions of their contents support the assertion that acceptance would seriously restrict the Chinese government's freedom of action and greatly increase Japan's influence on the Asiatic mainland. While some disposition toward modification has been evident, it is recalled that presentation of the Twenty-One Demands on January 18, 1915, was followed, after a period of negotiation, by delivery of a 48-hour ultimatum on May 7, 1915. Events in the Far East during the last five years tend to heighten apprehensions that, if conditions became propitious, Japan might seize the opportunity to attempt another forward move in its progressive penetration of China.

Japan's Current Demands and Hirota's Three Points

As in 1915, efforts were made to keep the current proposals secret. No official statement detailing their terms has been made, but in a dispatch from Shanghai published on September 28, 1936, a correspondent of the New York Times reported that he had learned from “an unimpeachable source” that the three major demands were:

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