Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs (Hornbeck)
Mr. Jean Monnet called on me. He stated that he was on his way to China. In view of T. V. Soong’s resignation, he did not know [Page 521]what situation he would find there, but he had promised Soong some months ago that he would come, and he was on his way. He said that the project which Soong had been working on when in Europe and in the United States for an international consultative committee to assist China had met with opposition in various quarters, in consequence of which it is now in abeyance: In particular, the British Foreign Office had definitely informed Sir Charles Addis that the British Government did not look with favor on the project and had discouraged acceptance of membership on the committee by British nationals; Mr. Thomas Lamont had declined to serve; and when Soong had arrived back in China, Soong had found that there was opposition there in consequence of Japanese pressure.
There followed some discussion in the course of which it developed that both Mr. Monnet and Mr. Hornbeck are of the opinion that, although an international consultative committee might be of value, there is probably nothing which such a committee could do with regard to the problem of China’s debts and credit which could not be done equally well or better by a small group of qualified persons who would address themselves to the problem of formulating, with authority from the Chinese Government, a program to be followed by China for the handling of those questions. It was pointed out that for at least seven years past the Chinese Government has been declaring that it would formulate and adopt a plan and that no evidence has been forthcoming of its having done anything serious in that direction. There was concurrence in the view that the adoption and carrying out by China of a program is more to be desired than perfection of the details which may make up the program. Mr. Monnet concluded with the statement that he was going out to China to see what could be done in that direction.