He–Umezu Agreement

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The He-Umezu Agreement (梅津・何応欽協定 Umezu-Ka Okin Kyōtei?) was a secret agreement between the Empire of Japan and the Republic of China concluded on 10 June 1935 immediately prior to the outbreak of general hostilities in the Second Sino-Japanese War.

Background and history[edit]

Following the invasion of Manchuria and the Battle of Rehe, the Imperial Japanese Army continued to encroach on Chinese territory. The Tanggu Truce established a demilitarized zone between Japanese-occupied territories and northern China in 1933, but conflict continued unabated via proxy armies in Inner Mongolia. However, with the appointment of Kōki Hirota as Foreign Minister of Japan, the Japanese civilian government attempted to improve Sino-Japanese relations, and on 22 January 1935, Japan announced a policy of non-aggression against China. In response, Wang Jingwei of the Chinese government announced a suspension of the Chinese boycott of Japanese goods, and the two countries agreed to upgrade relations to the ambassadorial level. However, these improved relations between Japan and China were counter to the aims of the Japanese Kwantung Army for further territorial expansion.

On 29 May 1935 General Takashi Sakai, Chief of Staff of the Japanese China Garrison Army based in Tianjin, acting on the pretext that two pro-Japanese heads of a local news service had been assassinated, raised a formal protest to Kuomintang General He Yingqin, Acting Chairman of the Peiping National Military Council. The Japanese Army demanded that:

  • [1] That Hebei Provincial Chairman General Yu Xuezhong be dismissed from his posts.
  • [2] That the Kuomintang cease all political activities in Hebei, including the cities of Tianjin and Beijing (then Peiping).

On 30 May, Japanese armored forces paraded in front of the Chinese government offices in a show of force, and on 4 June, Sakai repeated his demands and threatened drastic action if the demands were not agreed to in full. However, on 5 June, additional demands were added:

  • [3] That Tianjin Mayor Zhang Tingpo and Chief of Police Li Chun-hsiang be replaced and that Commander of the 3rd Military Police Regiment Chiang Hsiao-hsien, and Director of the Political Training Department Tseng Kuang-ching also be relieved.
  • [4] That the all Kuomintang military forces withdraw from Hebei.
  • [5] That all anti-Japanese organizations, especially the Blue Shirts Society be disbanded throughout China.
  • [6] That the assassins of the heads of the pro-Japanese news services be apprehended and dealt with, and that compensation be paid to the families of the victims.

On 7 June, forward units of the Kwantung Army moved to the front lines at the Great Wall. A verbal ultimatum was issued on 9 June, with a deadline for compliance set of 12 June.

Not prepared at the time to go to war with Japan when his forces were still tied down in a campaign to exterminate the Chinese Communist Party, Chiang Kai-shek agreed to comply. The Agreement was between General Yoshijirō Umezu, Commander in chief of the Kwantung Army for Japan and He Yingqin for China.[1]

Consequences[edit]

The terms of the Agreement gave Japan virtual control over the province of Hebei, under the aegis of the East Hebei Autonomous Council.[2]Although the Agreement was reached in secret, its details were soon leaked to the press, causing an upsurge in indignation and anti-Japanese sentiment in China. The truce lasted until 7 July 1937, with the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Long-hsuen Hsu; Ming-kai Zhang (1972). History of the Sino-Japanese war (1937-1945). Taipei, Taiwan: Chung Wu Publishing Co. pp. 161–162. 
  2. ^ Madeleine Yue Dong (4 August 2003). Republican Beijing: The City and Its Histories. University of California Press. p. 79. ISBN 978-0-520-92763-6. 
  • [1] The He–Umezu Agreement on www.republicanchina.org

See also[edit]