Japan denies asking U.S. to mediate in China (5-19-41)

The Pittsburgh Press (May 19, 1941)


Tokyo, May 19 (UP) –
Reports circulated by Russia that Japan had asked the United States to mediate in the China conflict were described today as “unthinkable.”

Japan would make no such request because of the United States’ past attitude toward Japan, an authoritative source said.

Besides, such a request would conflict with recent statements of Kumatarō Honda, ambassador to the Japanese-sponsored Nanking regime, rejecting mediation by any third parties, it was said.

Moscow, May 19 –
Pravda, the official Communist Party organ, circulated a dispatch under a New York dateline quoting “reliable Japanese circles” there that Japan had asked the United States to mediate in the Far Eastern situation.

The dispatch said Japan had offered to withdraw troops from the Chinese interior if the United States recognized Japan’s dominant position in China.

Some circles believed the United States government was seriously considering these proposals, Pravda said.

Japanese opinion, according to Pravda, was divided; one group favoring an understanding with Chiang Kai-shek, Chinese Generalissimo, another wanting to continue the war.

Arab nationalists in Syria, Palestine and Transjordan are demonstrating sympathy with Iraq, and the British bombing of Syrian airports attests the wide expansion of the conflict in the Near East, Pravda also said.