Moscow Embassy Files—710 Sino-Soviet Relations: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Harriman)

[Paraphrase]

White House No. 308. Reference your 031200,71 the President and I feel it would be unwise for this Government to attempt to act as interpreter on this or any other point of the Yalta Agreement in connection with the present bi-lateral Chinese-Soviet talks. However, you may informally confirm to Soong your understanding that in so far as this Government is concerned there was no discussion of interpretation on the sentence of the Yalta decision relating to the status of Outer Mongolia and that in the absence of such discussion the accepted meaning of the words as written would be that the present factual and juridical status of Outer Mongolia are to be preserved. You should make it plain to Soong that this Government cannot give any official interpretation of the words contained in the Yalta decision and that the informal confirmation of your interpretation is for his information only and not for use in his discussion with Soviet officials.

[Page 915]

For your information only as we understand it the status quo is that while the de jure sovereignty of Outer Mongolia remains vested in China de facto this sovereignty is not exercised. In conformity with the Nine Power Treaty of 192272 the United States Government has carefully refrained from any indication that it considered the outlying dependencies of China such as Outer Mongolia to be in a status different from the rest of China.

[Byrnes]
  1. July 3, p. 911.
  2. Signed at Washington, February 6, 1922, Foreign Relations, 1922, vol. i, p. 276.