Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs (Hornbeck) of a Conversation With the First Secretary of the French Embassy (Gaucheron)

Mr. Gaucheron called and said that the French Embassy had noted the statement in the newspaper that Mr. Soong was in this country and had called on the President and they would like to have what I might feel that I could tell them with regard to this visit.

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I stated that Mr. Soong was on his way home to China and that, with agreeable recollection of his contacts with the President while on his way to Europe, he had naturally wished and expected to call on the President on his way homeward. I said that the call had been made yesterday and that I did not know what had been discussed but that, in the light of a conversation which I had had earlier with Mr. Soong, I would assume the conversation was along lines similar to those which Mr. Soong had held while in France with high officials of the French Government. Mr. Soong was interested in the economic development of China and was seeking to enlist international interest in industrial developments. There is nothing that is being “negotiated” between China and the United States. I thought that we might regard Mr. Soong’s visit to Hyde Park as a courtesy call; but of course on any such occasion the parties probably discuss questions of “high policy”. I said that Mr. Soong is endeavoring to travel as quietly as possible and as rapidly as possible; that he is going straight across the country, having left New York last night; and that he is apparently endeavoring to transact no business whatever and avoid all publicity while on the way. Mr. Gaucheron said that he would regard all of this as confidential.

I then took advantage of the opportunity presented by Mr. Gaucheron’s having called to say that, doing just that, I would like to inquire whether Mr. Gaucheron had seen in the papers last week statements to the effect that the Japanese Government had “circularized” foreign governments with an expression of view unfavorable toward the effort of the League of Nations to supply to China technical assistance. Mr. Gaucheron said that he had seen those reports. I asked whether I might inquire whether the Japanese had made to the French Government representations on that subject. Mr. Gaucheron said that he was not informed. I said that I would appreciate knowing—if the Embassy could put the matter to the Foreign Office as a very informal inquiry—whether the French Government had been so approached. Mr. Gaucheron said that he thought the Embassy could readily find out.25 (Note: He made no inquiry as to whether we had been approached, and I said nothing to him on that point.)

Mr. Gaucheron thanked me for having answered his questions, and the conversation there ended.

S[tanley] K. H[ornbeck]
  1. The Assistant Chief of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs, on August 12, made the following notation: “Mr. Henry of the French Embassy telephoned Mr. Hornbeck and stated that the French Government had ‘not had any protest’, except that Matsuoka had indicated previously to the French Government that the Japanese would not like an effort of the League to assist China.”