Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. O. Edmund Clubb of the Division of Chinese Affairs

Participants: Dr. T. F. Tsiang,27 UNRRA
Mr. Harry Price, China Defense Supplies
Major Herlee Creel
O. Edmund Clubb

At lunch today, Mr. Harry Price (China Defense Supplies) said that a friend of his had been asked by Vice President Wallace what he, Mr. Wallace, might say or do when in Chungking that would conceivably be of real assistance in the present situation. The party agreed that the question was one for Dr. Tsiang’s consideration.

Dr. Tsiang said that he thought that there were some things the Chinese would like to hear about from Mr. Wallace, if the latter would speak. Dr. Tsiang said that the Chungking authorities would like very much the following assurances: (1) that the United States Government would make the greatest possible effort early to open ports on the coast of China, and to send in needed supplies for the rehabilitation of the transportation system (Dr. Tsiang explained in reply to my pertinent question that he referred not only to the military [Page 225] transportation system, although he said that that would be in itself a tremendous problem); (2) that the United States would subsequently do everything possible to send in other Lend-Lease supplies for the implementation of the war effort; (3) that, in the postwar period, the United States would give sympathetic consideration to China’s desire to have transferred to it substantial quantities of used materials and that, in so far as used materials were not suitable for use in rehabilitation of Chinese economic life, to supply new materials on an appropriate loan basis.

Dr. Tsiang went on to say that there was one additional point that he might make. He said that he thought that the people in the United States did not adequately appreciate how the United States was able by its use and distribution of Lend-Lease supplies in the course of the war to influence the balance of political power in the postwar period. Dr. Tsiang made no reference in this connection to the distribution of supplies to Chinese factions which might not be in full sympathy with the National Government at Chungking, but went on to say that if, for instance, the Soviet Union were to enter the Pacific war presumably certain Lend-Lease materials would be given to the Soviet army for the purposes of carrying on the war in the Far East; and that, subsequently, possible Soviet actions which might be taken in support of a so-called independent Manchurian movement, with the transfer of such Lend-Lease supplies to that group which the Soviet Union might support in Manchuria, would constitute obviously embarrassing problems for the National Government. Dr. Tsiang said that if Mr. Wallace could give satisfactory assurances to the Chinese authorities in this regard, such assurances would be much appreciated.

Mr. Price and I both commented that it was hardly to be considered practical in the present circumstances for Mr. Wallace to make any statement along the lines suggested by Dr. Tsiang with reference to Lend-Lease supplies which might be delivered to the Soviet Union for use in the Far East and that point was not further discussed. Mr. Price observed that Mr. Wallace might be in a position to say something in regard to the matter of ultimate utilization of existing Government supplies, but that it would obviously be difficult for him, by reason of the interest of Congress, to give any commitment with regard to the supply by the Government of new goods in the postwar period.

The discussion subsequently developed into a consideration of factors involved in China’s probable postwar economic and international-trade position.

  1. Director of Political Affairs of the Chinese Executive Yuan and delegate to United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration.