The Consul at Kunming (Perkins) to the Secretary of State

No. 186


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Chinese-British Defense Cooperation

From Chinese sources which are non-military but which are believed to be informed, it is learned that active Chinese and British cooperation for defense in the event of a Japanese attack on British Far Eastern possessions is being discussed and plans considered for the use of Chinese troops in British territory, as well as the use of Chinese bases for British planes. A high-ranking British military official recently passed through Kunming en route to Chungking; while no information has been vouchsafed by local British officials as to the object of his journey, an American who talked with a member of the party stated that the British military authorities in Burma were interested in seeing British or American supervision of the Burma Highway instituted in order to ensure transport of high octane gasoline for British use should Chinese air bases be secured by them for the defense of Hong Kong.

A Chinese military mission, headed by General Shang Chen (former Chairman of Hopei and Honan Provinces and at present chief of the Administrative Office of the Military Affairs Commission), which includes seven high Chinese military officials, is now proceeding to Burma purportedly to return the call of the recent Burmese mission to Chungking.* It is understood that the principal object of this group’s visit will be to discuss Chinese military cooperation with the British should a Japanese advance across Indochina or Siam toward northern Burma occur.

Respectfully yours,

Troy L. Perkins
  1. Kunming’s telegram to the Embassy, Chungking, February 15, 12 noon. [Footnote in the original; telegram not found in Department files.]