893.6359/3–2448: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in China (Stuart)

437. A ReDeptel 279, Feb 19.10 Please submit to Chinese authorities following version of draft agreement relating to proposed field exploration in China.

“(First five paragraphs are the same as in urtel 2265 Nov. 20.)11

The United States Government agrees to furnish to the Chinese Government complete reports of the field explorations made, including [Page 742] analyses and estimates of reserves and on its part the Chinese Government agrees not to make such information available to any third party without due prior consultation with the United States Government. It will also furnish on a loan basis for the period of the joint exploration portable field counters for the use of the Chinese members of the Party. Instruction manuals and literature pertaining to the construction and application of said field counters will be provided by the United States Government, and also detailed information as to methods, materials, and equipment required for accurate chemical, mineralogical, and radiometric determinations of the uranium, thorium, and other valuable metal content of the samples collected during the field exploration. The American Leader will demonstrate to the Chinese members the application of the field counters. The United States Government also agrees to assist the Chinese Government in arranging for the export to China of such materials and equipment that the Chinese Government and the United States Government agree are necessary to implement the exploration proposed. Such materials and equipment will enter China duty free.
The Chinese Government agrees to furnish to the United States Government complete information relative to the known occurrences of uranium and thorium in China, and also complete reports of the field explorations made, including analyses of samples and estimates of reserves. The Chinese Government will permit the export to the United States of adequate samples for laboratory analyses and also of other adequate samples for metallurgical tests.
It is agreed that the cooperative work outlined above will have a term of 2 years counted from the day of arrival of American members of the Party in China, after which further cooperation with respect to production of source materials, if deemed desirable, will be mutually considered.
The Chinese Government further agrees that during the term of the field exploration referred to above it will not enter into technical cooperation with any other foreign country for the purpose of exploring in China for uranium, thorium, and other minerals of importance in the atomic energy program of the two Governments or the production thereof.”

B. For your information, this draft sets forth what Dept believes to be as much as we can offer Chinese at this time in terms of information and facilities relating to atomic energy.

C. Principal difference between latest Chinese draft and above text is omission of the provision engaging US to establish laboratory in China for exploitation of results of the survey and for subsequent peaceful utilization of atomic energy and elimination of undertaking to train Chinese atomic physicists in this country. The new paragraph 6 also includes a stipulation that Chinese will not reveal information to a third party, which is consistent with a similar provision in new paragraph 9. Moreover, procurement of materials for the project in this country is to be by cooperation between Chinese and US Govt which is more appropriate since account must be taken [Page 743] of possible US production and export control requirements, which would be adapted to accommodate such procurement and transfer. Such materials would enter China duty free.

D. The last part of last sentence of old paragraph 7 appears unnecessarily restrictive and has been dropped.

E. In presenting this new version to Chinese you might say that what both parties primarily want to accomplish is a fact-finding survey. When it is known what may be available, how much, and where, the two parties would then be in better position to discuss future collaboration like that envisaged in paragraph 9 of latest Chinese text. In meanwhile, of course, possibilities of further fruitful cooperation would be affected by concessions to third parties before the facts were established.

F. The Chinese draft seems to reveal that Chinese and US seem to be thinking along similar lines as to initial exploration. As to next stage, that of exploitation, the parliamentary and interior situation in each country would have to be considered by its govt.

G. It is probably wiser not to prejudice that consideration in advance by making too many stipulations now. If there should be material of interest to us in China, then US would certainly be prepared to consider further plans for facilitating its exploitation in interest of our common security and benefit.

H. Incidentally, old paragraph 9 in Chinese text seems to strike too optimistic note with respect to imminence of peaceful uses of atomic energy. Except for some research uses, these seem to be still remote, and require vast capital and industrial plant to realize.

I. In addition to above you may say, in your discretion, if necessary, that what Chinese ask of us in old paragraph 9 of their text is more than that required by any other country which has permitted or requested us to undertake similar joint surveys. Also, for your own information or most discreet use, the Atomic Energy Act of 1946,12 Section 10 (copy being forwarded to you airmail) contains stringent provisions with respect to dissemination of information about industrial uses of atomic energy. Eventual application of these provisions to Chinese situation can only be measured in light of extent and value to us of material ultimately to be found in China.

J. With reference to last paragraph of urtel 2265, present thinking in Dept is that agreements should be as informal as possible; verbal understanding evidenced by some agreed record of conversation would probably be satisfactory. Question is under consideration and you will be advised further, but meantime for purposes of discussion you should proceed in negotiations with Chinese on basis of provisional [Page 744] formal draft text given above. You may explain to Chinese that any eventual understanding should probably be in such form that it would not require registration with the UN under the terms of the Charter.

K. You may discuss this message with your British colleague and keep him informed. Dept in contact with British Emb here. Participation by British in survey or discussions at this stage not at present contemplated subject to further instructions.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Foreign Relations, 1947, vol. vii, p. 1025.
  3. Public Law 585, approved August 1, 1946; 60 Stat. 755.