The Acting Secretary of State to the Chargé in China (Mayer)
279. With further reference to your No. 439, November 11, 9 a.m. On November 8 the French Ambassador confirmed the suggestion of the French Government outlined in the Department’s No. 272, November 6, 6 p.m. The following is the substance of my reply:
“The Secretary said that he appreciated the force of the Ambassador’s observations; that it was highly desirable that there should be a stable government in China and that the rights which foreigners had should be properly recognized. He called attention to the existing situation. The President had left, attempting to give his authority to a new cabinet. It was difficult to see how this could be called a government entitled to recognition; it was an anomalous condition. However, the future was uncertain. It did not seem [Page 421]to the Secretary wise to lay down a program to cover eventualities which could not now be denned. He had no difference so far as the principle suggested by the Ambassador was concerned, for, of course, when a government was recognized it was either explicit or implicit that international obligations should be performed. A government seeking recognition would be supposed to be willing to give assurances to that effect. The question was whether there was a solid basis for confidence that such assurances would be made good. In China we had a peculiar situation because of the extreme difficulty in establishing a strong central government. It was necessary to encourage a hopeful effort in that direction and on the other hand to have it clearly understood that the rights of other powers could not be trifled with. It seemed to the Secretary necessary to await developments.”
The Italian Ambassador on the same date stated that his Government, before replying to the French note, would like to know the views of the American Government on the French suggestion. The reply made to him was of the same tenor as that to the French Ambassador.
Repeat the above to Tokyo as No. 190, November 12, 6 p.m.; together with the Department’s No. 277, November 11, 4 p.m., as No. 189, November 12, 5 p.m.; and your No. 439, November 11, 9 a.m.