The Ambassador in China (Stuart) to the Secretary of State
[Received 7:59 p. m.]
1613. Re Embtel 1611, September 1. Associated Press wrote story on Sino-Soviet airline based entirely on material obtained from Chinese sources though we were previously informed it was to be written. Unless otherwise instructed, Embassy will maintain a no comment policy when queried by other correspondents. Embassy believes story is substantially accurate though it has as yet no definite information as to whether Chinese have actually denounced 1939 agreement as they had informed us they had done and, if not, whether they intend to do so.
Embassy is now reconsidering recommendation made in its 1571, August 25 and will shortly report again to Department. Basis for this reconsideration is opinion of General Thomas,33 Chief Air Division, AAG, that refusal of Chinese request to put Attaché planes under nominal AAG supervision may result in drastic Chinese curtailment of activities, freedom of motion AAG planes. General Thomas says he is fairly certain much of current trouble arises from presence in China of Attaché B–17 which AV [he?] says is red flag before bull since in eyes of Chinese it represents military plane associated with military operations, regardless of fact it is unarmed. General Thomas says he has information Soviets have requested permission for an Attaché plane and Chinese do not wish to grant permission. General Thomas is filing a request through normal channels for permission for an AAG plane to take Minister-Counselor to Tihwa. In this connection see Embassy despatch 342, August 11.
- Brig. Gen. Charles E. Thomas.↩