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

No. 297

Sir: With reference to my despatch no. 248 of December 20, 1941,6 regarding the so-called “Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea”, I have the honor to report that some days ago Mr. Tjosowang, who represents himself to be the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the “Provisional Government” requested an interview with me. I consented to receive him unofficially. He sought American recognition and financial and military aid for the “Provisional Government”, but was most vague and unsatisfactory in his presentation of the case for his “government”.

Asked whether the “provisional government” had been recognized by the Chinese National Government, he admitted that it had not, and whisperingly suggested that he felt that this was perhaps due to the desire of China after the defeat of Japan to bring Korea under Chinese suzerainty. To others, Mr. Tjosowang has persistently indicated that the provisional government is “on the point of being recognized” by the Chinese Government. I have also heard it credited to Mr. Tjosowang that the provisional government [Page 861] is being financially supported by Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek;7 but there is no confirmation of such report.

Inquiry at the Chinese Foreign Office has produced nothing of value or interest in reference to the Korean “Provisional Government”. The officials there have indicated that they are “investigating” the Korean set-up, but they display no enthusiasm regarding it nor do they suggest that it is likely to be accorded recognition by the National Government of China.

Questions directed to Mr. Tjosowang regarding the Korean independence groups in Manchuria—believed to include principally radical, pro-Communist groups—are evaded; and I was unable to obtain from Mr. Tjo any definite and precise statement of the relationship between his “provisional government” and such outside groups except his assertion that the Koreans are now all one in the effort for independence and that his “provisional government” is the one representative body of Korean independents.

On the subject of financial aid to the “provisional government” I avoided any discussion. Mr. Tjo was unable or unwilling to tell me how the movement is at present financed.

On the subject of any possible military aid to Korean independents, Mr. Tjo was likewise unenlightening; he admitted that it would not be possible for the United States to supply arms and ammunition to the Korean patriots at this time, but suggested that the situation might later develop to a point where this could be done.

Mr. Tjo speaks English fairly well, and there was no difficulty in having him understand my questions. I considered that he was evasive and secretive. I received him with appropriate cordiality and friendliness and encouraged him to talk about his provisional government, its organization, the Korean volunteers in China and Manchuria, et cetera, but the result was unsatisfactory. I then suggested that perhaps Mr. Tjo would care to give me a written statement of pertinent information regarding the provisional regime and its affiliations. He undertook to do so, and has now sent me a letter with enclosures, in English, a copy of which I enclose for the information of the Department.8

Within the past few days Mr. Tjo has approached the Embassy for a “passport” to permit him to proceed to the United States. His request has been placed before the Department by telegraph.9

Respectfully yours,

C. E. Gauss
  1. Not printed.
  2. President of the Chinese Executive Yuan (Premier).
  3. Not printed. Copies of a “Provisional Draft of the Constitution of the Korean Republic” and the Provisional Government’s “Principles and Plans for National Reconstruction” were forwarded to the Department by the Ambassador in China in his despatch No. 369, April 14, 1942, not printed (895.01/120).
  4. Telegram No. 80, January 31, 10 a.m., not printed.