740.0011 European War 1939/16427

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

No. 171

Sir: I have the honor to transmit, as being of possible interest to the Department, a translation98 of the leading article of October 4, 1941, in the influential local newspaper, the Ta Kung Pao.

Summary: Although China did not participate in the Moscow Conference,99 she was present in spirit. The Conference could not have limited its discussions to Europe and must have considered general plans of war strategy and laid the plans for the world-wide campaigns of 1942. The situation on the two main anti-aggression fronts, Europe and the Pacific, has now been stabilized and in future the democracies must coordinate their efforts in order to assume the offensive. To this end diplomatic maneuvers, such as the American-Japanese conversations, must be abandoned, all illusions regarding the far-reaching unity and interdependence of Axis aggressive plans must be discarded and there must be a thorough-going apportionment of the manpower and resources of the democracies between the various fronts.

The article, appearing in a paper which is read by and generally reflects the views and opinions of most influential and well-informed Chinese, is notable for several reasons. It indirectly mirrors Chinese disappointment at China’s not being asked to participate in any way in the Moscow consultations and reflects Chinese concern over the exploratory conversations between America and Japan. The talks are referred to as a “comedy”, and the United States is urged to abandon such diplomatic “sleight of hand” and to give up its futile hope of conciliating Japan. Also it reflects a recent tendency of Chinese public opinion to regard Great Britain rather than the United States as the strongest supporter of China and the moving spirit behind the united front of the democracies. Thus, Great Britain is given credit for enlisting American support of Russia and special notice is taken of British assistance to China while American help is not mentioned.

The article is one of many indications that the goodwill and gratitude which the United States might expect from the Chinese as a result of American aid to China have been clouded and compromised by the misunderstanding in China of American motives in entering upon conversations with Japan and by a feeling that America considers aid to China secondary to help for Great Britain, and perhaps Russia, and is giving it not so much with a view to making possible a Chinese victory as to embarrass Japan and thereby strengthen the democracies’ diplomatic and strategic position vis-à-vis that country.

Respectfully yours,

C. E. Gauss
  1. Not printed.
  2. The Soviet Union, United Kingdom, and United States were represented; see Department of State Bulletin, November 8, 1941, p. 364.