Memorandum of Conversation, by the Secretary of State
The Chinese Ambassador called on his own request. He said he desired to thank this Government for its protest to Japan against the destruction of a passenger plane and a number of lives.22 He handed me the attached copy of a message23 received by the Chinese Embassy as to the facts.
The Ambassador then brought up the question of the Sino-Japanese situation and, after expressing his appreciation of what this Government has been doing, especially in relation to the purchase of silver, he said he believed this country was now in a state of mind and that the time was ripe for further action along the lines of restraining shipments of important materials, as well as munitions, to Japan, and he hoped this Government would feel justified in taking up the matter. I said that, of course, I could make no commitments whatever in regard to this; that I would keep in mind what he said and bring it to the attention of my associates, especially in the Far Eastern Division. I reminded him that, of course, shipments of most of our aeronautical supplies to Japan have ceased except those under contract. He seemed thoroughly to understand this. I inquired what would be the state of mind of other important governments abroad, such as those in Europe, in regard to his suggestion. He said he had no information of a recent nature but that he would be glad to see our Government take the matter up with the British and other governments. I suggested that [Page 623] those governments are very much preoccupied during present weeks with the Czechoslovak and Spanish situations, and that in any event I would suggest that his Government might more appropriately perhaps take the matter up through its ambassadors and other representatives at European capitals. He said that might be well enough.
He then inquired when the President would return, and I replied that he would be back on Tuesday morning next. He said he would be glad if the State Department would make an engagement for him to see the President; that he desired to bring up this same important point with him. I replied that I would be glad to confer with the Protocol officials, or he could do so as he preferred. He said that he would be glad to see them himself.
In reply to my question, the Ambassador stated that it would be some time yet before Hankow would be occupied by the Japanese.