740.0011 Pacific War/1086

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Under Secretary of State (Welles)

Dr. T. V. Soong24 called to see me this afternoon.

Dr. Soong asked if I would transmit to the President the following message from General Chiang Kai-Shek. The latter wished the President to know that China was prepared to declare war immediately upon Japan, Germany and Italy. The Generalissimo, however, said at the same time that this message was sent to Dr. Soong a message was sent urging the Russian Government to declare war upon Japan [Page 738] simultaneously with the declaration of war by China. Chiang had informed Stalin25 that, if Russia and China were both to declare war now upon Japan, Russia could do great damage at this critical moment to Japanese bases and communications. He was awaiting the reply from the Russian Government.

He wished the President further to know as an interesting sidelight that the Russian Military Attaché in Chungking had called yesterday upon the Generalissimo and had intimated that Russia would withhold for the time being a declaration of war upon Japan for fear that if Russia were now to declare war the United States would not be willing to concentrate its full war effort upon Japan and thus hold Japan in check while Russia was continuing its fight in the western front.

The Generalissimo therefore wished to know whether the President had any information regarding the Russian attitude and whether the President believed that the Chinese Government should withhold a declaration of war upon the Axis powers until the Russian attitude was clarified or whether it should go ahead immediately.

I told Dr. Soong that I would transmit this message to the President as soon as possible and inform him of any views which the President might wish to express.

S[umner] W[elles]
  1. Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek’s personal representative in the United States.
  2. Iosif Vissarionovich Stalin, Chairman of the Council of Commissars (Premier) of the Soviet Union.