898.24/1555: Telegram

The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Standley) to the Secretary of State 19

183. The new Chinese Ambassador has informed me that in his initial conversations Molotov20 and Kalinin21 had emphasized the great strength and endurance of Japan and had given the Ambassador [Page 601] the impression that the Soviet Union was determined to be most circumspect in its relations with Japan in order not to permit development of any untoward incident.

He stated that in his conversations with Molotov and Mikoyan22 on the question of transit shipments through the Soviet Union a figure of 2,000 tons a month had finally been agreed upon; that although the Russians at first had insisted upon return freight of a like tonnage consisting of minerals and agricultural products they finally had accepted a figure of 1,000 tons and payment in cash of 75% of the freight costs involved in sending the trucks back empty; that 500 tons of oil would be included in the outbound tonnage and that as transport facilities improved the oil tonnage would be in addition to the original tonnage. The Ambassador stated that 1,056 trucks would be needed on the Alma Ata–Hami run and 2,000 additional trucks on the Hami–Chungking run to move this tonnage and that he had requested T. V. Soong to urge through Harry Hopkins that every effort be made to supply the trucks necessary to put this line in operation and I informed him that I would also emphasize to the Department the importance of expediting action in this respect.

The Ambassador stated that he felt that the agreement with the Russians was a real accomplishment in view of present Soviet caution vis-à-vis Japan and that it was vital that the route be put into operation as soon as possible not only because of its political significance but also in order to develop the transport facilities so that freight tonnages could only be increased.

  1. Paraphrase of this telegram sent March 24 to the Secretary of War, and its substance sent to the Chargé in China in Department’s telegram No. 401, March 25, 8 p.m.
  2. V. M. Molotov, Soviet Commissar for Foreign Affairs.
  3. Mikhail Ivanovich Kalinin, President of the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the Soviet Union.
  4. Anastas Ivanovich Mikoyan, Soviet Commissar for Foreign Trade.