893.00/9863: Telegram

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

229. 1. Following from Shanghai:

“April 10, 6 p.m. Chiang Kai-shek in mandate published in local vernacular press on April 8th and in foreign press on following day [made] inter alia following statements:

China’s civil war continues because of constant support by ‘the imperialists’ of munitions and secret loans to ‘the militarists’. Unless this practice ceases another world war will ensue in the Far East involving all the great powers;
The Chinese question is one of self-determination and will be determined by the Kuomintang revolutionary forces who will press their anti-Northern campaign. Militarism is the vanguard of imperialistic [exploitation; the] militarists must be able to agree as [a] preliminary to China’s fight for freedom and equality.
Northern militarists have been saying that Nationalist Government [is impotent] and it is hoped that friendships [friendly powers] will not be misled by this imperialistic people.

[Page 131]

Chiang then made the following statement relative to the protection of foreign lives and property:

‘By virtue of the authority entrusted to me as commander in chief of the Nationalist armies, I hereby guarantee to assume full responsibility for my troops’ behaviour. I guarantee that, wherever the Nationalist troops are stationed, there shall be no antiforeign movements. I guarantee that the Kuomintang and the revolutionary forces shall shoulder full responsibility for the protection of foreign lives and property.

At the same time, it is my earnest hope that all foreign friends will understand that, if they support the Northern militarists, they will be prolonging China’s civil warfare and causing a breach of world peace. I earnestly appeal to all foreign friends immediately to stop supplying arms and ammunition or secretly making loans or in any way supporting the Northern militarists. I appeal to all foreigners and the friendships [friendly powers] to maintain a strictly neutral attitude so far as China’s civil warfare is concerned.

Come what may, the revolutionary movement will be successful. If foreigners maintain a friendly attitude towards us, the Chinese people will always be grateful, but if they interfere without reason and attempt to prevent the progress of the revolutionary movement, they will make themselves the enemies of the Chinese people and will have only themselves to blame.’

While these promises may be considered as friendly gesture … There are abundant proofs that the military pay little if any attention to the orders of Nanking, while various Nationalist military units now engaged in the anti-Northern advance have most noted reputations in reference to their flagrant disregard of foreign property lights. On the day following signing of the Nanking agreement,23 Nationalist troops occupied hitherto unmolested American mission property at Woosung while other American mission property in environs of Shanghai has been occupied by troops for a number of months in spite of repeated assurances of protection from Chiang and the Minister of Foreign Affairs.”

2. [Paraphrase.] As to the statement contained in the first paragraph of the manifesto … The record of the Italian Government, as well as that of certain French Government representatives, in regard to the supplying of munitions is very unsatisfactory, it is true. Likewise, it is possible the Japanese in past years have been lax, although at the present time such does not seem to be the case. The governments party to the Chinese arms embargo agreement24 have, on the whole, abided by the provisions of that arrangement, and it has been necessary for the Chinese to procure munitions wherever they could, largely by means of purchases from nationals of nonadhering governments.

3. It is doubtful, in regard to loans, whether Chinese militarists have made any foreign loans for some time. It would seem that the closest approach to such loans are advance payments of special taxes upon tobacco and oil which, for the most part, have been made to the Nationalist authorities themselves. [End paraphrase.]

  1. Telegram in two sections.
  2. See telegram of Mar. 30, 8 p.m., from the Minister in China, p. 331.
  3. See Foreign Relations, 1919, vol. i, pp. 667 ff.