Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State (Johnson)

The French Ambassador during a call on the Secretary this morning asked whether there was [were] any new reports concerning China. The Secretary asked Mr. Johnson to furnish any information which had been received recently and Mr. Johnson said that nothing new had come in except a telegram96 indicating that there had developed a certain amount of friction in Peking over appointments between Yen Hsi Shan97 and Nanking.

The Ambassador asked whether the United States Government was contemplating any steps with regard to recognition of the Nationalists in China and stated that it was his understanding that the United States Government desired to await developments before taking any steps in this regard. The Secretary stated that this was quite true, that he had been hoping all along that signs would develop of ability on the part of the Nationalists to stabilize the situation in China, demobilize their troops and cease the fighting among the Chinese. He felt that if it should appear that the Nationalist Government was setting about this work in good earnest the United States Government would of course have to take this fact into consideration and doubtless would at least have to consider negotiations [Page 189] with such a government giving evidence of stability. He pointed out that the United States Government, in view of his statement of January, 1927, was in a position to commence negotiations at an appropriate time on the subject of the tariff and that we might find it advisable to start some discussions with the government along this line. He could see that this would amount at the most to a de facto recognition.

The Ambassador said that of course what everyone desired was the re-establishment of some security in China. The Secretary said of course this was true but that he did not feel confident that security could be established throughout China in any foreseeable future.

N[elson] T. J[ohnson]
  1. Not printed.
  2. Commander in chief of the Peking and Tientsin Garrison.