800.51W89 U.S.S.R./139

Memorandum by the Under Secretary of State (Phillips)

The Soviet Ambassador called this morning to take leave before returning to Moscow; he said he expected to be back by the end of October and felt confident that, in conversation with the Soviet officials, he could accomplish much more than by correspondence. I promptly expressed the hope that this would prove to be the result.99

I took occasion to ask the Ambassador if he had any recent knowledge about the sale of the Chinese Eastern Railway; he had no details, but felt sure that the few remaining points would be settled before long. In reply to my inquiry as to whether he thought the Japanese had any ambitions with regard to Inner and Outer Mongolia, the Ambassador said he did not think so; he pointed out that there was nothing of value to Japan in that region; there was no mineral wealth; there was no population to speak of and he did not believe, therefore, that Japan would pay much attention to it; on the contrary he thought that Japanese eyes were directed towards the Chinese market. I asked him this question in view of the recent despatch from Bullitt,1 reporting his conversation with the British Chargé d’Affaires just returned from London, who had indicated the British Government’s belief that Japan might very likely extend its influence into Mongolia through Manchukuo and thus be persuaded to keep her hands off southern China.

William Phillips
  1. For correspondence relating to negotiations with the Soviet Union, see Foreign Relations, The Soviet Union, 1933–1939, section on 1934.
  2. Telegram No. 320, September 24, 9 a.m., not printed.