893.01/298: Telegram

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

215. Your 516, July 6, 1 p.m. Such conversations as I have had with diplomatic missions here concerning China have been informal. The French Ambassador called on me on June 27 and in the course of a conversation concerning the general situation in China he asked me whether this Government was contemplating any steps with regard to the recognition of the Nationalist Government, stating that it was his understanding that the United States desired to await developments before taking any steps in this regard. I said to the Ambassador that this was quite true, that we had hoped 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, that I felt 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 the fact into consideration and doubtless would at least have to consider negotiations [Page 191] with such a government giving evidence of stability. I pointed out that the United States Government in view of my statement of January, 1927, was in position to commence negotiations at an appropriate time on the subject of the tariff and that we might find it advisable to start some discussion with the Government along this line, and that this would amount to a de facto recognition.

The newspapers having carried report regarding the visit of Sze to the Department, reported to you in my No. 188, June 15, noon, the British Chargé on June 18, during a call mentioned that and I told him that if the Nationalist authorities settled down and established a reasonably stable government, we would have to meet the question of either de facto or de jure recognition of that government as the government of China, that I saw no reason why we should not extend at least de facto recognition and perhaps take up the question of negotiations again. In reply to my question he stated that he was not informed of his own Government’s attitude on this subject but would inquire.

On June 16, the Japanese Chargé, during a conversation with Mr. Johnson, asked whether we had made any decision with regard to recognition and he was told that we had not. He was told that naturally the elimination of Chang Tso-lin and the probable establishment of stability under Nationalist rule brought the question of recognition nearer. In reply to a question as to whether we would enter upon negotiations concerning treaty revision before recognition had been granted, the Chargé was told that there were certain phases of the treaty situation which would not necessarily have to await the question of recognition as we felt that some of these matters should be considered if for no other reason than to prepare the way for some other agreement to be entered into when a government was recognized.

The above is the substance of what has been said on this subject in conversations with the representatives of the Powers here. Memoranda of all these conversations have been sent to you by mail.

[Paraphrase.] It is my opinion that if the question should arise in discussions with your colleagues in Peking, the time has arrived when it should be announced by us that the recognition of the Nationalist Government is regarded by us favorably. Recognition would not, I am impelled to believe, cause us any special risks. On the contrary, it would be helpful not only to us in our relations with the Chinese but also to the Chinese in their efforts to bring about a stabilized condition. [End paraphrase.]