893.24/1718

The Canadian Embassy to the Department of State 8

Memorandum

In the light of information received; concerning the political and military situation in China, the Canadian Government is giving consideration to its policy in respect of the provision of further munitions to China. It would be of material assistance in this consideration if an indication of future United States Government policy regarding deliveries of war supplies to China could be secured.

The Canadian Government shipped late in February, 1944, the first consignment under the Mutual Aid Act of Canadian munitions for China, the chief components being 48 Bofors guns and 106 6 pound anti-tank guns as complete batteries with all ancillary equipment, ammunition and motor transport, together with 7,000 Sten and 5,700 Bren guns. Another shipment is being assembled for possible loading in May or June, and substantial orders for further artillery of various types and for automatic weapons are now in production. These munitions are being shipped at Chinese request to the Senior Chinese Ordnance Officer at Karachi. On delivery there title will be transferred to the Chinese Government.

The Canadian authorities are aware that Chinese negotiations with the Soviet Government for the development of the overland route from Karachi to China through Sinkiang9 have been suspended, and they have no information on Chinese intentions for moving the munitions from Karachi. They understand that virtually all the army equipment which is being sent by the United States to India for China is consigned to General Stilwell,10 who is charged with seeing that it is sent where it can be used effectively against Japan. The Canadian equipment, complete and ready for use, may be the only ordnance over which the Chinese Government has full control after its unloading in India.

The guns requested by China are not in short supply although there are certain shortages of ancillary equipment and motor transport. The guns, therefore, are not urgently needed for use by other forces against the enemy.

All Canadian supplies made available under the Mutual Aid Act must be furnished “in accordance with the strategic needs of the war.” The Combined Chiefs of Staff in Washington are being consulted [Page 960]through the Canadian Joint Staff on the desirability on strategic grounds of continuing these shipments.

The items included in the first consignment and a further programme for future shipment have been cleared with the United States authorities through the Joint War Aid Committee, United States and Canada.

It is felt, however, that other than strategic considerations are involved in this matter. For this reason, the views of the Department of State in regard to questions of policy concerned would be appreciated.

It should be added that the Chinese Government has pressed the Canadian authorities strongly for provision of the munitions referred to above, and there would be some embarrassment in reducing or discontinuing the Canadian programme. Nevertheless, the Canadian authorities do not wish to add to Chinese stockpiles in India until they are better satisfied that the first shipment, now at sea, will be employed “in the joint and effective prosecution of the war”.

  1. Handed to the Chief of the Division of Chinese Affairs by the Minister Counselor of the Canadian Embassy on April 6.
  2. For correspondence on this subject, see Foreign Relations, 1943, China, pp. 590 ff.
  3. Lt. Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell, Commanding General, U. S. Army Forces in China, Burma, and India.