File No. 763.72/3230

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


I have discussed Department’s circular of February 3, 1 p.m.,1 with the President, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Premier, and Minister of Finance. Cabinet meeting took place to-day but no decision yet arrived at.

I have been questioned on the following points relating to eventuality of China’s being drawn into the war in consequence of taking the action suggested: first, could assurances be given that Chinese arsenals and military forces would not come under foreign control; secondly, could assurances be given that China would be admitted to [Page 402] full membership in the peace conference; thirdly, what would be relations of the powers now entering the war to the London agreement not to make separate peace? I confined myself to conjectures but should be assisted by having your instructions on these points.

Our influence with the Chinese has been markedly impaired by the publication of the proposed cooperation with Japan in the canal projects, more particularly because the Japanese reports have given rise to the belief that the Americans took the initiative in seeking Japanese assistance.1

Please keep me informed of the action of other neutral powers which would also influence China.