Memorandum by the First Secretary of Embassy in the United Kingdom (Millard)52

In the course of a conversation today with Ronald, Assistant Chief of the Far Eastern Department, he gave me the following information concerning the steps taken by the Italian Ambassador to China towards mediation.

Ronald said the middle of July the British Ambassador to China had reported from Hankow a conversation with General Chiang Kai-shek who stated that the end of June the Italian Ambassador had sent a Secretary to see the Chinese Minister for Foreign Affairs with a message to the effect that the Italian Ambassador had the best reasons to believe that the Japanese wanted peace at once and were ready to offer terms much more favorable to China than those communicated through the German Ambassador in the spring [winter]. It was proposed that the Chinese Minister for Foreign Affairs write to the Japanese Prime Minister to the effect that henceforward “the policy of the Chinese Government will not be anti-Japanese.” The Italian Secretary said that the Japanese attached importance to the sending of a letter from the Chinese Minister for Foreign Affairs rather than Chiang Kai-shek with whom their repeated declarations made it difficult for them to deal.

According to this account the Chinese Minister for Foreign Affairs told the Italian Secretary in reply that the proposal could not be considered in its present form excluding, as it did, Chiang Kai-shek. He said, however, the Chinese were equally anxious for peace and would accept mediation. The Chinese Foreign Minister also informed the Italian Secretary that China did not want to do anything without the approval of the British Government.

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Ronald added that since the above nothing had occurred. Asked whether the British Ambassador made any comment to General Chiang Kai-shek, Ronald replied that he had not.

H[ugh] M[illard]
  1. Copy transmitted to the Department by the Chargé in the United Kingdom in his despatch No. 932, August 5; received August 16.