793.94/10696: Telegram

The Chargé in France (Wilson) to the Secretary of State

1458–1460. Following from Davies:35

“Moscow, 265, October 14, 10 p.m.

For the President and the Secretary of State.

I have had a long conference with … he stated the following:

In August, last, the Soviet Government agreed to extend to his Government36 a credit of 100,000,000 Chinese dollars for the purchase of war supplies. The deliveries already made have exceeded that amount. 400 Soviet planes of the best bombing and pursuit type have already been shipped to China and at least 40 Soviet instructors thereof are now with Chinese forces. Lighter supplies including airplanes have been shipped overland by air and also by caravans. He stated that 200 trucks are now in actual operation in caravan transport. Plans are also being projected for the shipment of heavy supplies by oversea route via French Indo-China with the cooperation of the French Government. A Chinese military mission has been here 6 weeks in connection with procurement of supplies and military training. He advises that England, France, Belgium, and Czechoslovakia are furnishing war supplies on the basis of part cash and a large part credit and also that up to 10 days ago both Germany and Italy had been furnishing war supplies on a similar basis. The Italian arrangement was made on Italian initiative and provided for 50 percent credit and payment contingent on safe delivery in China. The Italian and German situation, he stated, may possibly have changed during the last 10 days.

Bogomolov, Soviet Ambassador to China, arrived here on October 7 after a 9 day flight. The Soviet Military Attaché, Lapin, is expected in a few days. Their purpose is two-fold: To work out a closer [Page 617] and more extensive plan in connection with procurement of supplies and second to attempt to urge more direct action through actual military participation. The latter, he thinks, is exceedingly doubtful at present as the Government here apparently desires to maintain formally correct diplomatic relations.

He also states that the Chinese Government forces have presently available military supplies sufficient for 6 months’ operations. He expressed confidence that if Japanese successes required it, the Chinese forces could gradually withdraw into the interior and withstand a long war if necessary and would be able to obtain adequate supplies through French Indo-China. I asked him his views as to formula for a possible settlement. His analysis was the following: Japan, he stated, would probably make maximum demands requiring, first, recognition of Manchukuo; second, agreement to the establishment of autonomous regimes in the five northern provinces; and, three, would require substantial concessions in tariff reductions. That their second alternative would be the same as the preceding except to require only two autonomous regimes, namely, Chahar and Hopei. This, he said, would entail giving up Peking which would have a disastrous moral effect upon the Orientals and would also involve difficulties with the Soviet Union and would therefore be practically impossible. He then stated it to be his opinion that the maximum Chinese concession would be the recognition of Manchukuo as a result of a compromise recommended by the powers provided that there would be a complete withdrawal of Japanese troops from China establishing the status quo ante. It occurred to me that it might be valuable for you to have his analysis.

In connection with the transmission of these facts to you, he made the specific request that it be transmitted by code not from here but from Paris. I felt impelled to accede to his request and have sent this by courier to Paris for transmission by code from there. I regret the 48 hour delay involved thereby but it was unavoidable.

I have also to report that the Japanese Ambassador made a friendly call when I was laid up in bed with a cold and in the course of the visit he brought up the Far Eastern situation. He attempted to justify the Japanese position on the widely published basis of the threat of Communism and the aggressive anti-Japanese attitude of the Chinese. In the course of the talk I stated my personal opinion to be that the Western World did not believe these were the true reasons, that Western democratic peoples believed that Japan was trying to gobble up China through sheer military force, and that the civilized world was shocked by the deliberate violation of sacred treaty obligations and by the inhuman air attacks on civilian populations and on women and children in violation of established rules of international law. He replied that that was not the truth. In my reply I suggested that it would be necessary for Japan to do something very vigorous to convince the world of the good faith of her professions as to China. While maintaining an aggressive attitude of loyalty to and wisdom of his Government, he expressed personal regret that the situation had developed in China and expressed the hope that Japan might make a statement or might take some action that would convince the world of its good faith in the near future. The implication was that it would be after the Japanese military success in the Shanghai district and after the face of the Japanese military [Page 618] forces would have been saved. He also stated that in his opinion if economic sanctions were applied and if the Soviet Union would come into the war, there would be nothing for Japan to do but to fight it out to the last man even if it ended in disaster. I obtained two very distinct impressions: First, that he was very much worried over the President’s Chicago speech and the Geneva situation, and, second, that a substantial part of the Japanese Government is badly worried and would welcome a solution provided they could find it and still save face.”

  1. Ambassador in the Soviet Union.
  2. The Chinese Government.