740.0011 European War 1939/12420: Telegram

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

255. At his request I had a conference late yesterday afternoon with Generalissimo Chiang who inquired as to the American Government’s attitude toward result of Russo-German hostilities. I stated that I had not yet received any official information on the subject but added my personal view that this act of German aggression would cause unsympathetic reaction in the United States.

He expressed concern as to the effect of the hostilities on Russo-Japanese relations and emphasized and reiterated the wish that the United States would announce substantial assistance to Russia and at the same time express the hope that Russia would cooperate with Great Britain in Europe, and China in the Far East. He believed such an announcement would greatly encourage Russian resistance against Germany and forestall possible arrangement between Russia and Japan. He expressed apprehension that, lacking American assurance [Page 278] of assistance, Russia would seek an arrangement with Japan which would free Russia from attack by Japan and permit the latter to move southwards, a development which he suggested might involve the United States in hostilities. He seemed convinced that Japan would either make an arrangement with Russia or go to war with Russia.

Replying to my question he stated: (1) that the effect of Russo-German hostilities on Russian assistance to China was not important and, (2) that relations between the Chinese Government and the Chinese Communists might “possibly” be improved by the hostilities.

In answer to my inquiry as to any official Chinese pronouncement in regard to Russo-German hostilities he stated that no statement contemplated, adding that Chinese policy is largely dependent on that of the United States. He also indicated that clarification of Japan’s attitude is awaited.

He requested me to communicate his views to the American Government and to inform him of our policy in this matter.

Sent to the Department only.