The Ambassador in China (Gauss) to the Secretary of State
[Received November 1—5:22 a.m.]
1252. Reference my 1168, October 12, 1 p.m. and Department’s 981, October 23, 8 p.m. regarding additional consular offices in China. I called on Political Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs yesterday morning and requested further consideration of the matter along lines of telegrams under reference. During a courtesy call on Foreign Minister Soong, I mentioned that I was proceeding thence to see Vice Minister on a pending matter. He expressed interest and asked me to outline the matter which I did.
Yesterday afternoon Vice Minister telephoned to me that Minister Soong agrees to our sending Embassy officers to Chengtu, Sian and Lanchow and asked that Counselor of Embassy attend at the Foreign Office to receive an oral statement on subject from Dr. Chang, Director of American Department who informed Vincent as follows.
After reviewing position with regard to Lanchow and Kweilin, Chang stated that he was instructed by Foreign Minister to say that it would be agreeable to Chinese Government if American Government stationed at Sian and Chengtu “officers pertaining to personnel [Page 694]of Embassy to take care of American nationals in those localities during present war.”
He then said that “Inasmuch as the Northwest is becoming increasingly important on account of the prospective development of communication, perhaps the American Government may find it practicable to have a consular officer stationed at Tihua for the duration of the war. If so, it would be agreeable to the Chinese Government.”
In our conversations with the Foreign Office on the subject of consular offices, we have never mentioned Tihua but the Department may wish to accept the offer of the Chinese Government which is no doubt prompted by recent developments in Sinkiang. The Russians have a consular office in Tihua and the Chinese probably feel that the presence of an American Consular Officer there would be good political strategy. Our immediate interest there now would be in observing development of transport by the northwest route.
With regard to representation at Lanchow, Sian and Chengtu, I feel that it would be advisable to accept the proposal as a temporary arrangement with the idea of deferring definitive plans for representation in those cities until the conclusion of the new treaty and until time has given an indication of just what type of representation will prove most effective.
The members of the Embassy staff detailed to serve in those centers might also be appointed as Consuls at Kunming which would enable them perform certain essential consular functions. The “consular officer” at Tihua if appointed might also serve in a dual capacity inasmuch as the Chinese Government appears to desire that we have simply a representative there rather than a Consulate.
With regard to Kweilin, the Embassy suggests that the consular office there be placed under the supervision of Kunming and that Kunming office might be raised to a Consulate General in charge of an officer of suitable rank and experience.
The Chinese Government now maintains “delegates for foreign affairs” at Kunming, Kweilin and Lanchow. I mentioned yesterday to Foreign Minister and Vice Minister matter of possible extension of this system. Vice Minister in afternoon told Vincent that he had discussed matter with Dr. Soong; that latter does not now wish to place “delegates” in other cities; but that Foreign Office will consider setting up in municipal governments at Chengtu, et cetera, offices in charge of Chinese familiar with Chinese law and competent to afford assistance to foreigners.