The Chinese Embassy to the Department of State

With the collapse of French resistance in Europe, the possibility of Japanese invasion of French Indo-China is becoming increasingly imminent. In the meantime, the authorities of Indo-China, under the pressure of Japanese threats, have placed a ban on the exportation to China of arms, munitions, petroleum and a great variety of other articles.

It is estimated that goods belonging to the Chinese Government and at present stored in Indo-China amount to no less than 90,000 tons, and will require approximately one year under existing conditions to complete their transportation to the Chinese interior provinces. These goods include considerable quantities of manufactured and agricultural products which the Chinese Government has purchased from the United States by means of the commercial loans, as well as large stocks of minerals and materials which the Chinese Government has earmarked for export to the United States.

Should these goods be prevented from reaching China, or allowed to fall into the hands of the Japanese, it would seriously undermine China’s power of resistance against aggression, and would nullify the efforts of the American Government to assist China in that resistance.

The Chinese Government, in anticipation of Japan’s designs against Indo-China, has in recent months repeatedly urged upon the Governments of Great Britain and France and the authorities of Indo-China the desirability of a joint defense plan for Indo-China in which the Chinese Government was prepared to participate with all available resources [Page 33] in its power. Unfortunately, however, these proposals of the Chinese Government have not been acted upon by the Allied Powers.

At the present moment, while the Chinese forces are busily engaged with the enemy in Western Hupeh, the massing of Japanese naval and army units on Hainan Island establishes beyond doubt Japan’s sinister designs against Indo-China. Once this French possession is occupied by Japan, it is feared that, besides being in a position to attack China from the rear, she will in all probability direct her next move against the Dutch East Indies. It is the opinion of the Chinese Government, therefore, that the status quo of Indo-China as well as that of the Dutch East Indies, must be safeguarded if peace in the southern Pacific is to be maintained.

In view of the extreme gravity of the situation, it is felt that a definite declaration of policy by the American Government in respect of Indo-China, either in a public statement as in the case of the Dutch East Indies or in a confidential communication to the Japanese Government, may yet prove effective in forestalling Japan’s threatened action against Indo-China.60

  1. In telegram No. 280, June 21, noon, the Ambassador in China reported that on June 20 the Chinese Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs made a similar statement informally to a member of the American Embassy in China (893.24/749).