File No. 763.72/3397

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


Referring to my cables of February 12, 4 p.m., February 21, 6 p.m.1 Japan is bringing strong pressure to bear to force China to join the Allies. The Vice President, Premier, and other influential leaders, partly from fear of Japan and partly to advance their political ambitions, are disposed to fall into line. The President favors cautious action. It would appear that the only safe position which he can take to resist Japanese importunity and the intrigues to turn this situation against him is that the action of the Chinese Government has thus far been, and will continue to be, planned to harmonize with that of the United States. Without some [assurance] that our Government will concern itself with the maintenance of China’s [independence?] in this matter it will be perhaps impossible for him to resist tendency to forego reliance on the United States and accept the inevitable alternative of entering the war [as] protégé of Japan. An early intimation of the decision contemplated in your February 17, 4 p.m., and such information as may be given in regard to recent developments of relations with Germany would be important for my guidance.

  1. Latter not printed.