Memorandum of Conversation, by the Adviser to the Liberated Areas Division (Moffat)

Participants: Mr. F. R. Hoyer Millar, British Secretariat,
Mr. John S. Dent, British Civil Secretariat,
Mr. Roger B. Stevens, (Mr. Hoyer Millar’s successor);
Mr. Abbot Low Moffat, LA.

I handed the memorandum15 to Mr. Hoyer Millar and Mr. Dent who were appreciative of the full and detailed statement of American supply policy and procedure, but who were disappointed that we did not agree to a mutual exchange of all information in Chungking and a mutual exchange on available supplies in India. I emphasized again the view that there were really three stages involved. The fully post-war for which no screening would presumably be desirable; the immediate, urgent demands for limited amounts of supplies to be flown in by air transport within a reasonably short period of time; and the interim period between the two when new routes could be opened. For the immediate period, I explained our view was primarily that of a one-way road, not from the point of view of policy but solely from the point of view of efficiency; that the bulk of material is being furnished by the United States which also controls air transport; that, of course, the British representative in Chungking could ask Joyner15a with regard to any order requested of him by the Chinese to ascertain whether it had been turned down or was being filled. Similarly, Joyner very probably would talk with the British representative, but I could not agree that he should be required to discuss with the British representative every request presented to the Americans.

I explained that it seemed important to me to clear the way of any mutual suspicions that might have existed by furnishing the British Government with a full and detailed statement of American policy and procedure. Mr. Hoyer Millar stated that he had already shown to the Canadians their memorandum to us, and inquired whether I would have any objection to their showing the Canadians our reply. I explained that I expected Mr. Pearson of the Canadian Embassy at 12:30, and proposed to give him a memorandum that set forth in the same language the complete American supply policies and procedures so as likewise to eliminate any mutual suspicions that might exist between the United States and Canada. I added that it was our hope that with regard to the interim period there could be worked out a really satisfactory machinery, probably tri-partite, in as much as [Page 968]we felt that whatever policy we adopted with relation to the U.K., we should also adopt with relation to Canada.

The matter of mobile power units was raised. Mr. Hoyer Millar stated that furnishing these was under consideration by the British who had discussed the whole problem with the American representative in Chungking. He read from certain cables which indicated that the British had stated that they would not be able to supply such units within less than two years, and asking their representative to consult the United States representative as to essentiality. The reply indicated that the total kilowatt output required could be reduced, that both the U.S. and the U.K. considered these units essential; that the Americans considered the units should be complete on barges. I explained that the U.S. had already once before rejected this proposal on the ground that the military maintained they were not essential; that the matter had recently been raised again; but that under our present policy, we would not undertake to furnish these units because they could not be delivered within the reasonably foreseeable future; that it was exactly this type of matter on which there should be joint consideration. Mr. Hoyer Millar said that he had laid the entire matter before the British representative on the C.P.R.B. who stated he was going to take the matter up with his opposite American number.

I explained that our policies related only to those matters which required government action; that I had heard that China had under consideration the purchase of some second-hand machinery which it might ship to China after the war; that since these involved no critical materials it did not come before W.P.B., and we had no official action or concern with regard thereto. Mr. Dent pointed out that the British policy as set forth in their aide-mémoire of March 29 did not limit the British Government in the manufacture or procurement of material for the Chinese and retention of such material in the U.K.; only the shipping to India was limited by a requirement that on-shipment take place within a reasonable period.

I telephoned Mr. Hoyer Millar to inquire as to the scope of the recently announced “$50,000,000 [£50,000,000] lend-lease credit” for China, and whether this was limited to military lend-lease or would include ordinary civilian purchases.

He called back and explained that only straight medical and military equipment were subject to British “lend-lease”, i. e. mutual aid or gift. This recent credit is available for civilian requirements provided (a) purchase is made in the sterling area, and (b) that the material actually is a wartime necessity.

  1. Supra.
  2. Calvin Joyner, F. E. A. representative in China.