Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State (Johnson)

The French Ambassador came in and during the conversation the Secretary informed him that the Chinese Minister several days ago had stated that the Nationalist Government of China desired to raise its legation in Washington to the status of an embassy and asked whether we would be willing to reciprocate. The Secretary stated that he understood that a similar proposition was being made to the Japanese, British, German, Italian and French Governments and that he was anxious to consult with them and obtain their views before reaching any decision in the matter. He did not know just what should be done, although he could not see any grave objection to the proposal. The Secretary went over the same ground that he went over this morning with the Japanese Ambassador.

The French Ambassador stated that he recalled when he was Ambassador to Japan that the Japanese raised this question, some three or four years ago, and at that time he had had numerous conversations with the Japanese and the reaction of his Government at that time was in the negative. He stated that recently he had received a letter from his Government discussing this matter and saying that they did not believe it was the proper time to take this step, inasmuch as the Nationalist Government of China was very new and gave no promise of permanency. He stated it was the feeling of his Government that it was a serious matter to raise their legation to the status of an embassy under these circumstances. By postponing action in this affair the governments could influence the new Nationalist Government to renew its efforts to stabilize its government. The Ambassador stated, however, that he would be glad to communicate this matter to his Government and report the reply he received. The conversation here ended.

N[elson] T. J[ohnson]