The British Chargé (Campbell) to the Secretary of State

No. 534
His Majesty’s Chargé d’Affaires presents his compliments to the Secretary of State and has the honour to refer to the question of the Sinkiang overland supply route from India to China.
As Mr. Hull will be aware, the limited capacity of the Burma road and of the air route from India has made it necessary to envisage the possible need of an additional high capacity supply route to China. With a view eventually to meeting this need, steps have been taken to develop the Sinkiang route, and, as this route may shortly begin operating on a small scale, consideration has been given by the appropriate departments of His Majesty’s Government to the necessity for proper maintenance of the roads. It has been established that transport and vehicle repair facilities can only be obtained with great difficulty, and it is considered undesirable that unnecessary strain should be thrown on these facilities by the bad condition of the roads.
Sir R. Campbell is informed that the recently opened route has only been used by a small volume of traffic, and it is probable that some survey and maintenance work will be necessary if the present target of capacity (2,000 tons per month) is to be reached and maintained efficiently. It should also be remembered in considering the importance of maintaining the roads in good order, that the figure of 2,000 tons a month is not necessarily the maximum which the route may eventually have to carry.
Sir R. Campbell accordingly has the honour to inform Mr. Hull that His Majesty’s Government are proposing to put the above views to the Chinese Government, with the recommendation that they should, in cooperation with the Soviet Government (in so far as this may be required), take such steps as may be necessary for the repair and maintenance of Sections IV and V of the Sinkiang route. Should the Chinese Government make a request for the services of road experts to advise, His Majesty’s Government would be very willing to cooperate in lending such assistance.
Before making such an approach to the Chinese Government, however, His Majesty’s Government are anxious to learn whether the United States Government concur in the action proposed, and Sir R. Campbell would be grateful if he might receive from Mr. Hull an early indication of the views of the United States Government on this matter.