Memorandum by the Assistant Chief of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs (Hamilton) of a Conversation With the Chinese Minister (Sze)2

Acting on the authorization of Mr. Phillips3 and Mr. Hornbeck,4 Mr. Hamilton referred to Dr. Sze’s note to the Department under date April 20, 1934, in regard to the shipment to China of arms and munitions of war and, as more fully explained in the attached memorandum of April 26, 1934,5 called Dr. Sze’s attention to the constant wish of the American Government to cooperate with the Chinese Government in effectively controlling the shipment to China of arms and munitions of war. Mr. Hamilton stated that, in considering the request made of the Department to the effect that export licenses be withheld unless the arms and munitions of war in question are covered by official huchaos of the Central Government or permits from the Chinese Legation, the Department desired to be more adequately informed in regard to the factors underlying such a request; that according to the Department’s records there would appear to be no basis for the statement contained in the aide-mémoire of the Chinese Minister of War to the effect that large purchases have been made of American aircraft by provinces not under the complete control of the Central Government; that, judging by past experience, compliance with the request contained in the Chinese Legation’s note of April 20, 1934, would place American shippers to south China under a serious handicap, particularly with regard to their British competitors; that the Department wishes to know whether the Chinese Government has made of other governments requests in regard to this subject similar to that made of the American Government; and that confidentially, and entirely off the record, the feeling has been expressed by some individuals that the action of the Chinese Government in regard to this matter may have been Japanese inspired. Mr. Hamilton stated that if in connection with a particular shipment to a particular area the Chinese Government should desire the Department to enforce restrictive measures, such measures could be taken without conflicting with existing regulations. Mr. Hamilton also stated that there are now before the Department for consideration only two applications for export licenses and that as both cover goods destined for the Central Government, and therefore presumably not open to objection, the present intention is to approve of such applications.

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Dr. Sze recalled the fact that the Department’s procedure in regard to the issuance of export licenses for the shipment to China of arms and munitions of war was last year discussed with him and with Dr. T. V. Soong by Dr. Hornbeck.6 Dr. Sze asked if in considering applications for export licenses the Department is supplied with information in regard to the consignees in China of the goods in question. Dr. Sze was informed in the affirmative and was given copies of the Department’s form of application. Dr. Sze made certain penciled notes in regard to the Department’s desire for additional information and in his remarks at leave-taking created the impression that he would at once communicate with his Government by telegraph.

M[axwell] M. H[amilton]
  1. Raymond C. Mackay, of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs, was also present.
  2. William Phillips, Under Secretary of State.
  3. Stanley K. Hornbeck, Chief of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs.
  4. Not printed.
  5. See point 4 of memorandum dated May 19, 1933, handed to Dr. Soong by Dr. Hornbeck, Foreign Relations, 1933, vol. iii, p. 528.