761.9315 Manchuria/205: Telegram
The Ambassador in the Soviet Union ( Steinhardt ) to the Secretary of State
[Received January 4—5:50 p.m.]
16. The Chinese Ambassador7 called on me this afternoon and told me that he is leaving Moscow on January 12 to return to China [Page 635] to resume his military career as a member of Chiang Kai Shek’s8 staff. The Ambassador informed me in the strictest confidence that up to the present Soviet military supplies to China have been continuing and that Molotov had recently renewed to him promises of further Soviet aid. The Ambassador stated, however, that he does not place much reliance on these promises inasmuch as in his opinion although there are no immediate indications thereof, a general political agreement between the Soviet Union and Japan is not improbable. He stated in this connection that although he understood the original gesture had come from the Soviet Union the initiative in respect of the agreements thus far achieved between the two countries had come from Japan and that in the settlement of the Mongolian-Manchurian boundary dispute Japan had made substantial concessions. He added that the entire boundary dispute had been disposed of at Chita and the meeting still to be held at Harbin would be a mere formality. The Ambassador expressed the opinion that as the Soviet Union is now seriously engaged in Finland and Japan has for some time been desirous of transferring the troops along the Siberian border for use in China, a political agreement which would permit the mutual withdrawal of troops along the Siberian-Manchurian border would be in the interest of both countries. In conclusion the Ambassador stated that it is his opinion that the Soviet Government is becoming nervous over the possible international consequences of its venture in Finland and that this might be a contributory factor leading to an agreement with Japan.