No. 1218
The Ambassador to the Soviet Union (Harriman) to the Secretary of State

top secret

Memorandum for the Secretary

Subject: China

In connection with Dr. Soong’s discussions with Stalin it seems clear that Soong has carried the negotiations as far as the Chinese Government is able to do so. It comes now to a question of the interpretation of the Yalta Agreement in connection with the points remaining at difference. China is not in a strong position to resist unaided the present exaggerated Soviet demands. Since the United States is involved by the Yalta Agreement in the contemplated settlement [Page 1244] between China and the Soviet Union, I believe it is in our interest that the President give his interpretation of the Yalta Agreement specifically in connection with the differences over the arrangements for the port of Dairen and the operation of the railroads. I am fearful that unless this is done Soong will be forced to make concessions which are at variance with our fundamental policies towards China and adverse to our national interests. The United States Government has taken the initiative in inducing the Chinese Government to discuss with the Soviet Government the subject of the Manchurian railroads and ports. If the resulting arrangements between the Chinese and Soviet Governments would have the effect of giving the Soviet Government special advantages over American and other foreign commerce with Manchuria or even shutting out foreign trade, the United States Government could not escape the responsibility of not having the “open door” policy in that area.

The President’s views can be put before Stalin here or else I can be instructed to inform Stalin at some stage of the further conversations which will be held when Soong returns to Moscow.

Although it may not be desirable for us at this time to show any concern over the question of Russia’s entry into the war against Japan, it would seem that there are substantial advantages in the reestablishment of friendly relations between the Soviet Union and China, particularly the agreement that the Soviet Government will support the Chinese National Government as the unifying force in China.

If agreement is reached between the Chinese Government and the Soviet Government I believe that it is important for us to obtain from the Soviet Government reaffirmation in writing of the verbal assurances of Stalin to support our “open door” policy and specifically in its application to Manchuria. In the event the Soviet Government uses the privileges granted to it in Manchuria against our interests, such an agreement would be of value in giving us the opportunity to deal with the Soviet Government directly.

I am attaching a draft1 of a possible memorandum to be agreed to between the Soviet and United States Governments with this objective in view. Such an agreement could be negotiated with Stalin in Moscow at the time of the forthcoming discussions with Soong.

W. A. H[arriman]
  1. The attached draft is identical with the attachment to document No. 1217.