Nanking Embassy Files, Lot F79, 820 Surplus Property

Brigadier General Bernhard A. Johnson to the Chargé in China (Robertson)

My Dear Mr. Robertson: In answer to your wire of December 2560 with reference to 90012, I wired you this morning61 regarding the meeting yesterday with Dr. Soong62 and my hopes for an early acceptance, partial acceptance or rejection of the property in question.

Dr. Soong left this morning quite early for a trip up north, but the entire data which include an inventory (detailed) and a recapitulation, by categories, of the goods in question went to Dr. Peng Hsuehpei, [Page 1063]Dr. Soong’s personal representative here. I tried to impress upon them this morning that I had to have an answer almost at once.

Yesterday in the meeting with Dr. Soong he showed little interest in the supplies in India, But when I asked for a formal rejection, he then asked for the inventory. I have felt right along that the United States has no commitment to the Chinese Government on these supplies, they having been turned down by Dr. Soong last summer when Mr. Crowley offered him at 50 cents on the dollar.

The supplies in question total approximately 61,000 tons, of which 34,600 tons are in Calcutta, 20,300 tons in Chabua and 6,300 tons in Sukhur. Of the overall total there are a little in excess of 35,000 tons representing vehicles as follows:

At Calcutta unassembled 5571 trucks
At Calcutta assembled 107 trucks
In Assam assembled 1578 trucks

These trucks are heavy duty 3–ton Dodge vehicles and are especially adaptable to Chinese roads. It is possible that Dr. Soong will express an interest in only the trucks at Calcutta.

Of the balance of 36,000 tons, approximately 20,000 tons lie outside of Calcutta, and in my mind, unless the supplies are most critical for China, it would not be a very easy task, nor an economical job, to load on railway, unload at Calcutta, load on ship and unload at Shanghai, prior to distributing those goods in China.

You will doubtlessly recall that both [John] K. Howard63 and I three or four weeks ago recommended to Washington that all of this 61,000 tons be declared surplus in India and sold in that market.64

The above résumé may be long-winded, but I want to bring you up to date, and just as soon as Dr. Soong, or his representative, gives us the final word, we shall wire you.

With best personal regards [etc.]

B. A. Johnson
  1. Not printed.
  2. Telegram No. 114, not printed.
  3. T. V. Soong, President of the Chinese Executive Yuan.
  4. Central Field Commissioner, Pacific and China, OFLC.
  5. See telegram No. 16087, November 29, 1945, Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. vii, p. 1188.