The Ambassador in China ( Gauss ) to the Secretary of State
[Received March 19—1:34 p.m.]
488. Sun Fo, President of Legislative Yuan, told Counselor7 this morning that according to his information the incident occurred close to the Mongolian rather than Soviet border and that planes came from Mongolia (re Embassy’s 479, March 17). His explanation is that the provincial troops had been rounding up some Kazak raiders and Mongolian planes came to locality first for observation purposes, flew low and attacked provincial troops with machine guns and possibly bombs, [Page 762] perhaps because troops fired on them with rifles. He points out that Mongolian planes were of course of Soviet make and for that reason might bear a red star emblem and that Sinkiang chairman may merely have assumed from emblem that planes came from Soviet territory. Thus he considers incident is of small moment and that even if it should develop that planes were actually Soviet planes deliberately attacking Sinkiang troops it would mean merely that Soviet Government, which now disliked the chairman (Sheng Shih-tsai), was exercising its displeasure in a characteristic way and that “border incident” could be expected to recur so long as Sheng should remain in office.
Sun said also he understood Foreign Office had asked Soviet Embassy here whether or not planes were Soviet.
Repeated to Moscow [as] No. 10.
- George Atcheson, Jr.↩