Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Secretary of State (Berle)

The Chinese Ambassador came in to see me, at my request.

I referred to the fact that on April 17th the Chinese Embassy had consulted the Department with a view to obtaining, in strict confidence, the view of this Government with regard to the question of the recognition of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea, at Chungking, China.

I said that the matter had been discussed in the Department, and by instruction of Secretary Hull I could state the following:

On April [March] 29th, Mr. T. V. Soong had called on Mr. Welles and at that time Mr. Welles had said that the Governments of Britain, the United States and China, with respect to Korea seemed to have similar ideas.

I said that while we envisaged an independent Korea after the war, we felt that the matter of recognition had better rest in abeyance for the time being. There were a number of countries not yet liberated, in respect of which groups of citizens were clamoring for recognition as provisional governments. The recognition of any provisional government would probably lead to increasing demands of this kind, and in most of these cases we did not have information sufficient to give assurance that any such group would be acceptable to the people of the country. We were in this same state of mind with regard to Korea. I said that we were aware of the fact that the Chinese Government, being closer to the situation, might have better information; and we would of course be very glad to consider with great sympathy any views which the Chinese Government cared to express.

The Chinese Ambassador thanked me and said that he gathered that the ideas of our Government were substantially the same as their own. Rumors had reached his Government, which were given some color by speeches in Congress and publicity here, suggesting that this Government might be considering the Korean matter; and his Government had at all times wished to keep in close harmony with our own views and actions on these subjects. This was the reason for the Chinese inquiry.

He said that the Chinese view favored letting the matter rest in its present position for the time being.

A[dolf] A. B[erle], Jr.

Note: See memorandum of Mr. Maxwell Hamilton to the Secretary, dated April 22, 1943; and OK’d by the Secretary. A. A. B., Jr.