The Ambassador in China (Gauss) to the Secretary of State

No. 475

Sir: I have the honor to transmit a copy of a memorandum of a conversation between a member of this Embassy and Mr. C. C. Chien, Vice Chairman of the National Resources Commission, regarding Mr. Chien’s views on the desirability from China’s standpoint of Russo-Japanese hostilities.

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Although as far as is known Mr. Chien was not voicing the Government’s attitude, it is believed that his views are shared by the majority of Chinese officials.

Respectfully yours,

C. E. Gauss

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Second Secretary of Embassy in China (Macdonald)

I called on Mr. C. C. Chien yesterday afternoon regarding strategic materials. Following our discussion he turned the conversation to Sino-Soviet relations and gave his reasons why he considered war between Russia and Japan highly desirable from China’s standpoint.

Mr. Chien said that China has not received any supplies from Russia for the past year. It is his opinion that the Soviets are being ultra cautious in order not to offend Japan by giving assistance to the latter’s enemies. Consequently, according to Mr. Chien, Russia will not give China permission to import supplies from abroad over the northwest route. He added that China has experienced great difficulty in negotiating with the Soviets in the past.

I inquired if all the material supplied by Russia has been transported into China and whether China has fulfilled its barter agreements with Russia. Mr. Chien replied in the affirmative to both questions. (According to information from reliable sources, China has not fulfilled its barter agreements with Russia. A considerable amount of Russian material which was delivered at Hami and other points by Russia has been waiting for some time to be transported south by the Chinese.)

Mr. Chien said that if Stalin had been a good statesman he would have declared war on Japan last December. Mr. Chien resents Russia’s present argument that a second front in Europe should be established and said that China also wants and needs a second front in Asia. According to him there is no possibility that China will receive any assistance from Russia until that country is involved in war with Japan. He thinks that the Soviets will exert every effort to avoid hostilities with Japan but feels confident that Japan will attack Russia thereby opening the second front which he claims China desires so much.

I remarked that in the event of Russo-Japanese hostilities Russia might require all supplies and means of transportation available to meet its own requirements and, therefore, China would be no better off from that standpoint. To this observation Mr. Chien replied that Russian assistance will be forthcoming because China will be in a [Page 84] better position to negotiate as soon as Russia becomes involved in war with Japan.

From Mr. Chien’s last remark it is quite obvious that China would open negotiations on the basis that Chinese resistance might collapse unless Russian assistance were received. At present such a threat probably would not influence Russia, which is an important reason why China is so anxious to see Russo-Japanese hostilities.

In this connection the question also arises whether China would make use of any assistance received from Russia in prosecuting the present war. One of the reasons why Russia has stopped sending materials to China is due to the fact that China has not been making proper use of them in resisting Japan.

John J. Macdonald