740.0011 Pacific War/2602: Telegram

The Ambassador in China (Gauss) to the Secretary of State 51

786. Following comments are submitted in supplement to Embassy’s monthly summary for June.52

Loss of larger Chinese airfields in Chekiang and Kiangsi deprives us of bases which were important for an air offensive against Japan [Page 92] and Formosa. Chinese military officers charge failure of Chinese forces to hold those areas to lack of air support which China has been expecting from United States.

General Stilwell tells me that when he recently informed General Chiang of diversion to Middle East of certain air units intended for China Chiang showed extreme irritation and asked that Washington be informed of his desire to know whether China theater is still regarded as meriting aid so that he may plan for future while Madame Chiang who was present at conversation remarked in an aside in English that this implied possibility of peace with Japan, a remark which I am firmly convinced merely represents her own impatient and captious attitude rather than any serious thought on part of Chiang or on her own part of any move for such a peace.

Chinese reaction[s] to general war situation follow trend of fortunes of United Nations and at moment there are indications of discouragement and irritation.

The Embassy has noted a revival of speculation as to possibility of separate peace between China and Japan but it has been unable to obtain any information pointing to peace discussions in any responsible quarter. All commentators agree that it is entirely out of the question that General Chiang could under any circumstances be induced to consider any such proposals. In general in all responsible quarters there is continued confidence in ultimate victory for United Nations.

While according to reports China’s requisitions under Lend-Lease call for much more than can reasonably be expected to be spared or to be used effectively in China at this time, it is evident that there is real need of air support and of munitions. The requirements for China theater are understood not to be extensive in comparison with those for other areas and it would seem desirable to meet China’s actual needs with least possible delay.

The all out Japanese offensive in China which was scare headlined after the fall of Burma has not yet materialized but sober military and other observers point out that increased Japanese pressure on China is a real possibility within next few months if Japan does not become involved in a sub[sequent effort on ma]jor fronts elsewhere. While Embassy deprecates defeatist attitude taken by some of our military men after fall of Burma, it does recommend that possibility of serious developments in China theater be borne in mind in connection with air support and munitions and supplies for China.

  1. Notations: “Shown to Mr. Currie, July 3, 1942. M[axwell] M. H[amilton]”; “Mr. Currie told me that on July 3 he in turn showed a copy of this to the President. A[lger] H[iss].”
  2. Not printed.