893.24/1700: Telegram

The Ambassador in the Soviet Union ( Harriman ) to the Secretary of State

1440. At the request of General Deane,33 I informed Molotov in writing on April 22 that the operations of General Chennault’s33a air forces in China were seriously handicapped by the lack of truck transport and that it was of vital importance that this situation be relieved. It had therefore been proposed, provided the Soviet Government would agree, that trucks be sent to General Chennault from the Persian Gulf to Ashkhabad, thence by rail to the vicinity of Alma Ata and thence convoyed into China.

In a conversation on April 25 and in response to my inquiry, Molotov told me that the Foreign Office was studying this question but that it had as yet had no time to prepare a reply. He said that “the Chinese were behaving badly” and that this would have to be considered in connection with the forwarding of the trucks. I pointed out that the trucks were for the use of the American air forces and not for the Chinese; that they were badly needed by General Chennault more effectively to carry on his operation and that the Japanese permit trucks from the United States to be shipped to the Soviet Union without interference through Japanese waters. Molotov gave no indication as to the Soviet reply to my note.

  1. Maj. Gen. John E. Deane, Chief of U. S. Military Mission to the Soviet Union.
  2. Maj. Gen. Claire L. Chennault, Commanding General, U. S. 14th Air Force in China.