893.102S/2463: Telegram

The Consul General at Shanghai (Lockhart) to the Secretary of State

Chungking’s April 11, 10 a.m. and April 11, 11 a.m. It is not understood how the Chinese authorities could expect my British colleague and me the object [to obtain?] assurance that the four Chinese members of the Provisional Council will be chosen from among the present five members. It is obviously improper, and politically inadvisable, for us to identify ourselves with the selection of the Chinese members. It has not been done heretofore. That function belongs to the Chinese ratepayers or to some other recognized Chinese authority. We have worked diligently for weeks trying to evolve a plan that we had hoped would temporarily relieve the situation here and provide administrative machinery for the Settlement and at the same time maintain balance of responsibility and authority. Apparently the Chinese authorities at Chungking do not realize the potential trouble that lies ahead if we cannot work out an amicable adjustment of the present difficulties. That is made manifest by the fact that they appear to be reluctant to move towards seeing that the four representatives on the Provisional Council are selected. Instead they expect my British colleague and me to guarantee their selection. I am [Page 850] not disposed to become enmeshed in local Chinese political controversies. If the Chinese authorities continue their reluctance to take appropriate action towards selecting the four councilors, I can only suggest that the Department might wish to bring the matter urgently and pointedly to the attention of the Chinese Ambassador at Washington.99 At the same time it would be helpful if the Ambassador at Chungking should take similar action with the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Unless the Chungking Government can be brought to realize the situation, I foresee far reaching complications here. As I see it, the Chinese Government lays down conditions impossible on their part to fulfill as regards the selection of the Chinese councilors. As regards the time limit of 2 years the unique situation has arisen where the Japanese held out strenuously for a 1 year limit whereas the Chinese want a 2 year limit. In any event, there is certainly no intention of going beyond the latter period as indicated in my April 14 [11], 2 p.m. to Chungking.

Sent to Chungking. Repeated to Department. Repeated to Peiping. Code text by air mail to Tokyo.

  1. Hu Shih.