The Ambassador in the Soviet Union ( Steinhardt ) to the Secretary of State
[Received 11:10 p.m.]
253. In the course of a conversation with the Chinese Ambassador this morning, he expressed his concern at the Japanese mediation of the Thailand-French Indo-China dispute59 on the grounds that it would not only tend to distract the attention of the Japanese public from their difficulties but would enhance their feeling of self importance.
In connection with Soviet deliveries of war material to Chiang Kai Shek, the Ambassador informed me in response to a general inquiry I made of him at our previous conference that the existing credit of $250,000,000 extended by the Soviet Government to Chiang Kai Shek in 1939 was the third such credit since the outbreak of the Chinese-Japanese hostilities. He said that the first credit had been for “somewhat more than $100,000,000” and that the second credit had been for $150,000,000.
Of the existing credit of $250,000,000, the Ambassador stated that Soviet deliveries had amounted to approximately $20,000,000 prior to his arrival in Moscow in June 1940 and that since his arrival the deliveries had aggregated approximately $60,000,000 so that approximately $170,000,000 of the credit remains unexpended. He explained, however, that the deliveries now taking place include planes and artillery so that the sums involved are considerably greater than in respect of the deliveries made during the past 7 months and that in consequence he anticipated the entire credit would be exhausted before the end of 1941. He expressed doubt as to the willingness of the Soviet Government to grant a further credit when the existing credit has been exhausted in view of the international situation and “increasing evidence that the United States is prepared to finance Chiang Kai-shek.”
The Ambassador further said that the Soviet authorities had at no time been willing to disclose to him the deliveries being made to Chiang Kai-shek and had stated to him that Chiang Kai-shek was fully informed by the Soviet representatives in Chungking concerning the deliveries. The Ambassador said, however, that he would be able to give me the details concerning the deliveries over the past few months as soon as he received the information from Chungking and on the basis of which the accounts are periodically balanced in Moscow.