The Acting Political Adviser in Japan (Atcheson) to the Secretary of State
[Received December 10—4:27 p.m.]
194. Some newspaper clarification has reached us of Mr. Hurley’s charges that Foreign Service Officers in China were aligned with a British, French and Dutch “imperialist bloc” which wished to see the downfall of the Chinese Govt.
From conversations in Chungking with Mr. Hurley, it is my impression that his ideas on this subject flowed from some oral instructions from the late President to keep an eye on European imperialistic activities in southeast Asia, with especial reference to French Indo-China and Siam and which were not intended to have reference to China itself. I remember commenting to Mr. Hurley in Chungking last autumn that it would be difficult to assume that Great Britain, in the light of her hopes to restoration of her large commercial interests in China, would wish anything but a peaceful and stable China and that the same consideration would logically apply to French policy, as a disturbed China would not be conducive to revival of French trade or to the benefit of Indo-China.[Page 732]
I am positive from my 2 years in Chungking that there was no “alignment” by any Foreign Service Officer with any European imperialistic activities as mentioned by General Hurley. I myself saw no evidence of any activities on the part of British, French or Dutch diplomatic representatives seeking any derogation of the authority of the Chinese National Government or of any desire that China should emerge from the war anything but a stable and unified nation.
A few days before my departure in April, General Carton De Wiart, Prime Minister Churchill’s personal representative whom I knew well, invited me to luncheon and during a discussion of the Generalissimo’s difficulties, was emphatic in stating his conviction in favor of continuing aid to Chiang and the Central Government. The attitude of the British Ambassador had been consistently in support of Chiang Kai-shek, and I think that it would be very difficult for an objective observer to believe that there existed anything in the nature of a plot against China by the three powers in question.