The Ambassador in China (Johnson) to the Secretary of State
[Received September 2—1:46 p.m.]
585. My 584, September 1, 8 p.m.8 During conversation which I had today reported in above telegram Madame Chiang,9 who now controls Chinese aviation, complained about United States action in refusing passports to American instructors in aviation whom the Chinese Government had invited to come to China even before the present conflict began. She also complained that four of the instructors recently with the Government had been persuaded to give up their work [Page 524]by Government action at Shanghai and that the aviator operating her private plane who had gone to Hong Kong to test a plane had been persuaded to leave. She argued that to deprive China of this assistance at this time when German and Italian advisers were continuing peaceably with their work was “unneutral” in that it deprives China of instructors necessary to train pilots to operate American planes which make up 90% of China’s Air Force. She also expressed the dire need that the Chinese Government is now in to have replacement parts for the American planes already here and the hope that the United States Government would not do anything to [prevent?] parts reaching China. To use her own words “I hope that the United States will really be neutral in this matter and not place any obstacles in China’s way when it is fighting for its very life.” Mrs. Chiang pointed out that this is not war and the United States Government should not prevent China from obtaining and using the instructors it so urgently needs for the training of pilots. She stated that instructors were not being asked to take part in the fighting.
Sent to Peiping, Shanghai.