893.00/8181: Telegram

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


107. Your 42, February 2, 2 p.m.3

I am informed by British Minister that O’Malley’s negotiations at Hankow for settlement of the Kiukiang and Hankow questions took place on the lines indicated by the memorandum of the British Ambassador to you January 19, which was quoted in your number 17 of January 20,4 except that there was no broaching of the proposal in regard to customs control which was stated in the seventh paragraph thereof. As my telegram 98 of January 31 reported, on January 28 the same proposals were communicated to the Chinese Foreign Office. Formulation of the negotiations in a treaty has not been contemplated in either case. The British Government is not prepared to give recognition to either the Southern or Northern Administrations as the Chinese Government. The Southerners have acquiesced in this by refraining from pressing any further for recognition at present. Therefore the Hankow negotiations merely contemplated a local understanding with the Nationalist Administration regarding matters within that area where they actually control.
I am further informed by the British Minister that on January 29th the negotiations at Hankow had reached a point where the documents were prepared for signature. Ch’en insisted that certain minor modifications be made, to which O’Malley consented. The next day, the same thing happened. On January 31, when the hour for signing the revised documents had already been set, Ch’en sent word he was unable to sign but that he would meet O’Malley [Page 358] the next day. At that time Ch’en assumed the position that under such duress upon the Nationalist Administration as the British were applying by sending troops to China, the Nationalist Administration could not make any agreement. He was unmoved by any consideration of the troops’ having a purely defensive purpose. He then read the statement, and later gave it to the press, the text of which as received today through Reuters I have sent to you via radio.
It appears from O’Malley’s reports that the negotiations have been interfered with repeatedly and finally brought to suspension by intrigues by the Soviet advisers and their extremist supporters in the Kuomintang. These are actively in opposition to any agreement by which an end would be put to the anti-British movement and presumably other antiforeign movements.
  1. Not printed.
  2. See footnote 76, p. 344.