Memorandum of Conversation, by the Deputy Director of the Office of Far Eastern Affairs (Allison)

Mr. Collins3 called this morning to seek such information as we could give him with regard to the American policy toward the removal of foreign Embassies from Nanking in the event that the Chinese Government left that city. He said that the Chinese Ambassador in [Page 654] Ottawa had made a formal request to the Canadians last Friday, January 14, that the Canadian Ambassador and staff in Nanking be instructed to move with the Chinese Government to Canton at such time as the Chinese Government evacuated Nanking. The Chinese Ambassador stated that quarters would be made available to the foreign diplomatic corps at Canton and that this was the place where the Chinese Foreign Office would be located. According to Mr. Collins, the Canadian representative in Nanking had recommended that the Canadian Embassy not leave Nanking and had stated that this was in accord with the general sentiment prevailing among the diplomatic corps in Nanking. Mr. Collins said that Ottawa is not convinced that it is the best policy for the Embassies to remain in Nanking and feels that there is definite advantage in having the Ambassadors move with the Chinese Government. They point out that if this is done it will:

Encourage the Chinese Government to continue such resistance as is possible and thus delay complete Communist domination of China,
Postpone the necessity of making a decision as to the possible recognition of a Communist-controlled Chinese Government,
Give the remaining free territories of Southeast Asia more time to make plans for such action as may be deemed possible and necessary to ward off Communist infiltration into their territories, and
Postpone the time when a Chinese Communist-dominated government can claim to represent China in the UN4 and when Chinese Communist officials will be attached to Chinese Government missions abroad.

I told Mr. Collins that we had been approached informally by Dr. Tan5 of the Chinese Embassy and that he had been informed that this Government was not prepared at this time to make a decision on the basis of such uncertain information as the Chinese Government is now able to give as to the timing and place of removal of the capital. Mr. Collins was further informed that our Embassy in Nanking had been instructed to take no decision in this matter until further instructed by the State Department6 and to report at once any decisions in this matter by the Chinese Government and any requests from it that the foreign missions accompany the Government when it leaves Nanking. I stated that this Government would then make its final decision based upon circumstances prevailing at the time such a request was finally made.

Mr. Collins said that his Government would want to keep in line with the United States Government on this matter and requested that he be kept informed of our thoughts on this subject. I assured him that we would keep him so informed.

  1. Ralph E. Collins, Second Secretary of the Canadian Embassy.
  2. United Nations.
  3. Dr. Shao-hwa Tan, Chinese Minister-Counselor of Embassy.
  4. See telegram No. 1639, November 16, 1948, 7 p. m., to Ambassador Stuart, Foreign Relations, 1948, vol. vii, p. 853.