Memorandum of Conversation, by the Second Secretary of Embassy in the United Kingdom (Allison)2

During the course of a conversation this afternoon at the Foreign Office on Far Eastern matters Mr. Ashley Clarke3 had the following to say, in substance, about two matters of general interest.

In discussing the growth of authoritarian tendencies in China, concern was expressed at a law which has recently been promulgated in [Page 1113]China regarding study abroad by young Chinese. During the coming year it has been planned to send considerable numbers of young Chinese students to Great Britain and to the United States for advanced study. According to the provisions of this new law the students selected for foreign study must be chosen with a view to their political suitability, presumably as regards their attitude towards the domination of the Kuomintang, and prior to going abroad they must attend a course at the National People’s Political Council University. This will apparently instill in them the proper party line. The law also provides that the Government should select and send to the countries where the students go a supervisor whose duties will be to watch over the conduct of the students while abroad and to see that their activities are not at variance with the wishes of the Party. Ashley Clarke said he had expressed his concern at this law to members of the Chinese Mission at present in England and had found a sympathetic response. It was hoped that after the war such a law would be modified.

Ashley Clarke stated that in all his present dealings with the Chinese he tried to keep in mind two encouraging factors which gave him faith in the future of China as a great liberal power. The first of these was the constantly reiterated statements of the Generalissimo that after the war modern constitutional government would be established throughout China on a democratic basis. Secondly, and perhaps even more important, was his belief in the character of the Chinese people, their fundamental common sense and their love of individualism.

Ashley Clarke also discussed his reaction to the reports of former Ambassador Grew’s recent speech4 in which Mr. Grew suggested the possibility of using the Japanese Emperor as a stabilizing force in a post-war Japan, together with State Shinto, or what can be called Emperor worship. While Ashley Clarke agreed that the Japanese Imperial family might be used, he expressed doubts about retaining the present Emperor. He stated definitely that he believed State Shinto should go—“lock, stock and barrel”. In general, however, Ashley Clarke was inclined to the view that the Japanese people must make up their own minds as to the form of government they want and that this might not of necessity mean the Emperor, at least as presently conceived.

J[ohn] M. A[llison]
  1. Copy transmitted to the Department by the Ambassador in the United Kingdom in his despatch No. 13430, January 21; received February 2.
  2. Head of the Far Eastern Department of the British Foreign Office.
  3. Delivered at Chicago, December 29, 1943, Department of State Bulletin, January 1, 1944, p. 8.