740.00119 Potsdam/8–745: Telegram

No. 1214
The Ambassador in China (Hurley) to the President and the Secretary of State1

top secret

From ComNavGroup China. (The following message is top secret and urgent for the eyes alone of the Secretary of State James S [F.] Byrnes, Potsdam, Germany. For the President from Hurley.)

The following message is from the Generalissimo, President Chiang Kai-shek, for President Truman,

“I saw Soviet Ambassador2 today and requested him to send following message to Generalissimo Stalin:

‘I wish to thank you most warmly for your cordial reception to Dr T V Soong and the frank and forthright conference you had with him.

On the question of Outer Mongolia we had expected that you would be satisfied with our not pressing the question although both in 1924 and in 19363 your Government had given categorical assurances recognizing that Outer Mongolia is an integral part of China, preservation of the status quo could only mean that while the de facto position is to be preserved the legal title of China in Outer Mongolia is likewise to be undisturbed. Your insistence that China should recognize independence of Outer Mongolia comes as complete surprise. It will be against the traditional convictions of our people and it will prove most unwelcome to many members of my Government. Nevertheless provided all other problems are satisfactorily settled I shall not shrink from this greatest sacrifice in order to remove what you consider as the outstanding stumbling block to lasting friendly relations between our two countries.

[Page 1226]

The problems I refer to are (1) in order that administrative and military unity in China be achieved, Soviet Russia should not extend any moral or material aid to Chinese Communists, any assistance given China should be confined to the National Government; (2) all possible assistance to China in the pacification of the rebels in Sinkiang; and (3) the territorial and administrative integrity of China in Manchuria be completely respected. As regards first two problems, I am grateful to Marshal Stalin for his categorical assurances to Dr Soong. As regards the third problem, it relates to the question of the trunk line of the Chinese Eastern Railway and South Manchurian Railways and Dairen and Port Arthur. Knowing that you were leaving for Berlin, I instructed Dr Soong to convey every possible concession to satisfy the Soviet Government, specifically I told him to present them with utmost frankness, laying as it were all cards on the table, without any attempt at bargaining.

The President of the two railways should be naturally Chinese in accordance with respect for the sovereignty and integrity of China. I am ready to agree that a Soviet citizen should be manager of the Chinese Eastern Railway section, while on the South Manchurian Railway section the manager should be Chinese. As regards Dairen we shall declare it a free port so that through traffic with Soviet Russia will not be taxed. In accordance with the principle of administrative integrity of China, Dairen, being the principal port of Manchuria, must be run by a Chinese administration, however, we are ready to employ some Russian technical experts so as to render effective cooperation in meeting Dairen needs. In addition, we are ready to give a long term commercial lease of certain warehouses so that Soviet transit could be facilitated.

As regards Port Arthur I am ready to entrust the defense of the area to the Soviet Government, with a joint Chinese Soviet Military Commission to work out the joint use of the port. However, in order to give due recognition to the administrative integrity of China in Manchuria the civilian administration should be Chinese [and I cannot]4 agree that appointment of Chinese civilian administrators will be made by consultation with Soviet Military Command. Finally the area of Port Arthur should be delimited by a line south of Dairen and the railway leading to Dairen, because the conception of a free port or internationalization of that port is impossible if it is situated within a military area controlled by Soviet Russia. I am ready, however, to have another zone between that line and the bottleneck leading to Dairen, where defense problem could be worked out by the Joint Military Commission, but Dairen and the railways from Changchun to Dairen must be outside the military zone.

I trust that Generalissimo Stalin would recognize that China has made the utmost efforts to meet Soviet needs. I hope that he would realize that after suffering from eight years of war, and at the moment when the tide is definitely turning against Japan, I cannot go entirely beyond what my people are ready to accept. In other words, I have frankly put forward all I could do to meet Soviet needs.

Since the Yalta proposals were put forward through the American Government, and since Mr Harriman on behalf of the President has [Page 1227] asked that the American Government be kept fully informed, I shall inform President Truman of this message to you.’

The above is the substance of my message to Generalissimo Stalin. Although China was not represented at the Yalta Conference, you Mr President, will realize that we have gone the limit to fulfill the Yalta formula. We have even gone beyond it in the case of Outer Mongolia, we have gone as far as the public opinion of China will stand. We may even have already gone beyond the limit that the Chinese people will support. I trust in your conversations with Generalissimo Stalin you would impress him on [sic] the eminently reasonable stand we have taken, so that he will not insist on the impossible. Hoping for your prompt action and support and awaiting your reply,

Sincerely yours,

Chiang Kai-shek

Please acknowledge receipt.

  1. Sent by the Commander, Naval Group, China, via Navy channels.
  2. Appolon Alexandrovich Petrov.
  3. See Treaties and Agreements With and Concerning China, 1919–1929 (Washington, 1929), p. 133; Stephen Heald and John W. Wheeler-Bennett, eds., Documents on International Affairs, 1936 (London, 1937), p. 472.
  4. The words in brackets are supplied from a corrected copy.