Memorandum by the Adviser on Political Relations (Hornbeck)

After a conference held in the office of the Secretary of the Treasury this morning (see separate memorandum83), in which Mr. Morgenthau had in effect informed Mr. Soong that he had thus far not succeeded in finding any way of giving financial assistance to China, I went to the office of Mr. White (Treasury). I found Mr. Soong just leaving that office.—Mr. White informed me that Mr. Soong was disappointed and greatly distressed over the negative character of the information which Mr. Morgenthau had imparted to him. However, he (Mr. White) said that he (Mr. White) has not given up hope that some means may be found of giving some help.—Mr. Soong waited for me, and he walked with me from the Treasury to the Department of State. Mr. Soong said that he was disappointed and greatly worried. He said that it would be difficult to say what he felt that he must now say and that what he was about to say must be kept in strictest confidence. He said: China has been fighting for three years—against great odds: China’s battle is China’s battle but its outcome, whatever and how, will greatly affect the interests of other countries—of the whole world; the Chinese have the will to fight on and on; much has been said in praise of and in confidence of Chinese morale; that morale is a fact—and it is today in no way impaired; but, to fight, a people must have weapons, must have economic sinews that make the physical effort of battle possible; with no sign of a crack or cracking yet, and with no realization on the part of most Chinese that it is a fact, China—he bitterly regretted, he hated to have to say, and he hesitated to say—is nearing the breaking point on the material side and is desperately in need of assistance. He asked whether I could offer any hope and what I might suggest that he do at this point: Would there be any use in his staying in this country and making further effort or should he go back to China?

I said that I could readily understand Mr. Soong’s disappointment and that I greatly regretted hearing that the situation in China is as he had just portrayed it. I said that I hoped that he would not [Page 667] consider the negative developments up to date with regard to further financial assistance to China as being conclusive and that I thought that he should continue to hope that something might be achieved before long. I would suggest, I said, that he wait a few days and then have a conversation with Mr. Jesse Jones, and that he make his plans so as to have, after Mr. Morgenthau’s return, further conversations with Mr. Morgenthau. Mr. Soong said that he had it in mind to ask for another interview with the President, and he asked whether I thought that that would be a good idea. I said that I could not see offhand just what there would be for him to discuss with the President but that it might perhaps be well for him, after the Secretary of State returns to Washington, to give the Secretary an account of his, Mr. Soong’s, view of the situation in China.mr. Soong said that he thought it would be well for him to proceed along those lines, and he asked whether I would make an appointment for him to see the Secretary. I said that I would try to do so.

S[tanley] K. H[ornbeck]
  1. Supra.