893.00 Nanking/27: Telegram
The Consul General at Hankow (Lockhart) to the Secretary of State
[Received April 4—5:20 a.m.]
Eugene Ch’en informed me this afternoon that he has just learned from London and other sources that conversations are taking place between the United States and Great Britain and Japan with a view to communicating demands in connection with the Nanking affair. He inquired “what is this all about?” I replied that I had no information on the subject. He stated that if any note is communicated he would not receive it unless it is addressed to him in his capacity as Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Nationalist Government and that he would not receive it should an identic note be despatched to any other government purporting to reprimand [represent?] the Chinese. He said that he wished to reaffirm what he has often said, that is, that the Nationalist Government desired to be on friendly terms with the American Government and he wished me to give you that assurance. He emphasized that he would not receive any note communicated by the powers simultaneously to other Chinese authorities.
My personal view is that since the Nationalist Government appears to be wholly responsible for the outrage at Nanking it would be advisable for the responsibility to be placed entirely on that Government. Accordingly, it would seem appropriate to address Ch’en independently in the matter, taking pains to have note or memorandum so worded as not to denote any act of recognition.