The Ambassador in China ( Gauss ) to the Secretary of State
[Received April 4—11:28 a.m.]
588. General Wu Teh-chen18 has told the Counselor that he does not think the incident of much importance and that the Chinese “can get it settled if there is no outside interference,” a statement he did [Page 768] not explain. As regards the reputedly related question of Russo-Jap relations, he said that the Sakhalin and fishery agreement19 was sure indication that the Japanese and Russians were not becoming closer friends (this refers to our 518, March 2320 and related).
According to informed official of Foreign Office, Soviets not only deny that any Soviet planes were involved in the incident but accuse the Chinese of sending a Chinese plane across the border. He states that Foreign Office has not yet come to conclusion whether the incident has special significance, inclination being to consider it as minor matter arising from bad relations between Sinkiang Chairman and Soviets. Director of European Department, however, told privately that he fears the matter is becoming enlarged and that there are now rumors of “trouble near Tihwa” due to the incursion into the region of “some guerrillas, possibly Kazaks”. While Consul at Tihwa reported March 30 that the Mongolian border was quiet, there are also rumors that Central Government is sending three divisions of troops into Sinkiang and it now seems not unlikely that Generalissimo has determined to make something of an issue of the matter. It may or may not be of significance in this connection that (so we understand) he has recently again declined to send into the Burma campaign his troops in Yunnan Province.