File No. 763.72/3383

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


My telegram of February 8, 12 midnight. Chinese Government has now replied to the following effect to my note in pursuance of your telegram:1

Chinese Government being in accord with the principles set forth in your excellency’s note and firmly associating itself with the Government of the United States, has taken similar action by protesting energetically to the German Government against the new measures of blockade. Chinese Government also proposes to take such action in the future as will be deemed necessary for the maintenance of the principles of international law.

It has at the same time addressed to German Minister note of protest expressing the hope that the proposed measures will not be carried out and adding that—

In case contrary to its expectations its protest be ineffectual, the Government of the Chinese Republic will be constrained to its profound regret to sever the diplomatic relations at present existing between the two countries.

It is also making to me by a note verbale the following confidential communication interpreting the note quoted above:

In case an act should be performed by the German Government which should be considered by the American Government as sufficient cause for declaration of war between the United States and Germany, the Chinese Government should [at] least break its diplomatic relations with Germany.

This identification with the policy [of] the American Government, though conforming incompletely with its action already taken, appears to be the utmost that can be immediately obtained in view of strong German influences and apprehensions of other dangers and obstacles. In order to bring it about, I found it imperatively [Page 408] necessary to give the assurances referred to in my cipher telegram February 7, 6 p.m., which, however, I have pointed out apply to the consequences of action taken concurrently with the United States.

The strongest exertion of influence and persuasion was necessary to obtain this result in the face of numerous unfavorable factors. The most potent [factor] in our favor was the confidence felt by the Chinese in the aims of the American Government and their reluctance to fail to respond when invited to associate themselves with its action.

  1. Department’s telegram, ante, p. 108.