The Secretary of State to the British Chargé (Campbell)

The Secretary of State presents his compliments to the British Chargé d’Affaires ad interim and refers to the latter’s communication of August 19, 1943 in which it is stated that His Majesty’s Government are anxious to learn whether the United States Government concurs in a proposal to make certain representations to the Chinese Government with respect to the Sinkiang overland supply route from India to China.

The Secretary of State wishes to express his appreciation of the courtesy of His Majesty’s Government in seeking this Government’s [Page 612] views regarding the proposed action. No objection is perceived to the making by the British Government of the approach which that Government has in contemplation and the recommendation indicated. With reference to the expression of willingness on the part of His Majesty’s Government to make available to the Chinese Government, should that Government so request, the services of road experts, this matter would seem to be one for determination between the Chinese Government and His Majesty’s Government.

This Government regards as important the development of supply routes to China and it offers no objection to any efforts by other Governments in cooperation with the Chinese Government which those Governments may think practicable. His Majesty’s Government will recall, however, that from the beginning of consideration of the proposed northwest supply route from India to China it has been the view of this Government that neither the military nor the economic potentialities of this route are likely to be, comparatively speaking, great. In view of its opinion that development of other routes would offer more of an advantage to the United Nations’ war effort than development of this route, this Government would prefer not to be associated, either directly or by implication, in any approach which the British Government or any other Government might make to the Chinese in promotion of the idea of diverting expert service, materials, et cetera, to the development of this route.