493.11/1516: Telegram

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

471. Following from the Minister at Nanking, June 19, 6 p.m.

“Please repeat to the Department the following: ‘I have not as yet taken up formally with the Minister for Foreign Affairs the matter of agreeing upon a Claims Commission covered by Department’s written instruction number 1467 of February 3rd, for the reason that ever since I arrived the Government has been preoccupied with a military situation threatening its very existence and I have therefore not considered the time opportune. I talked with the Foreign Minister about the Government’s policy in regard to claims the other day and he told me that he was a member of a Commission at the head of which was T. V. Soong; that it had been Soong’s expectation that this Commission would be ready to meet foreign claimants on or about October 1st of this present year but that the Commission appeared marking time now, and prospects were not so good because of the war which was consuming every bit of the Government’s revenues. He said that he thought that it was still Minister Soong’s hope that the Commission would be ready to sit on October 1st. I [He?] said that [Page 598] the rules under which the proposed Commission would act had not yet been drawn up. He expected that when Soong was ready he would communicate the rules to him and he would then be in a position to notify the several foreign powers of their plans. The Foreign Minister told me that their plans did not necessarily exclude the negotiation of Claims Commission agreements with the interested parties.

The political situation and stability of the Government are still so vague that unless the Department desires that I proceed to formal negotiation I shall postpone further action until the situation has cleared up.’”

For the Minister:
  1. Telegram in two sections.