893.24/752: Telegram

The Ambassador in China (Johnson) to the Secretary of State

287. During a call on the Minister for Foreign Affairs61 June 22 he informed me that the ban on export of gasoline imposed by the Government of Indo-China on June 17 and on all other commodities two days later would have a very serious effect on China’s military resistance to Japan. He pointed out that Japan had centered its pressure on Great Britain as the result of the Tientsin dispute and on France in the matter of through shipments of materials. He was informed that France had already followed the lead of Great Britain at Tientsin and he fully expected that the Japanese would endeavor to induce Great Britain to adopt measures in Burma similar to the French measures in Indo-China. If that step succeeded, China’s situation would be one of the greatest gravity. He inquired whether the American Government would be able to take any remedial measures.

I replied that the American Consul at Hanoi had reported matters fully to the Department and that I could not see at the moment [Page 34] what our Government could do, especially if the French authorities were to requisition China’s supplies and offer to pay for them. The Minister for Foreign Affairs shared the common belief here that Japan would probably occupy at least northern Indo-China with troops. The Minister stated that it had been his intention to address a note to me on the matter of the embargo in Indo-China but in view of my request for an interview he would not write; he hoped I would nevertheless telegraph the substance of his observations to the Department and said he would be grateful to learn the Government’s reaction.

Sent to the Department. Repeated to Peiping.

  1. Wang Chung-hui.