893.24/1–549

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Chief of the Munitions Division (Cummins)

I called Mr. McAfee of CA4 to check with him on the latest developments as far as he knew relative to the tanks in Great Britain which the Chinese Government wish to acquire through Commerce International Corporation.

Mr. McAfee informed me that the Division of Chinese Affairs was beginning to feel that they would not press or endorse the sending of these tanks to China. They question (1) the need for the tanks, (2) the time element involved in obtaining them, and (3) that the Chinese [Page 473]had recently received a sizeable quantity of tanks from areas in the Pacific (Honolulu and Guam). He said that the matter was going to be given full consideration within the next day or two in CA and would let me know their opinion. He felt that CA might agree with Eur5 that the tanks should not be released to the Chinese because of the unfavorable publicity that would emanate from such a transaction.

Eur’s position is that if our own people, through the press or otherwise, and some of the European countries, found that we were permitting the transfer to China from Europe that the publicity would be bad since we are to ask Congress for military aid, including tanks, to Western Europe.

All of this is developing before we have received a reply from our telegrams to the Embassy in London regarding these tanks.

From the above it begins to appear that the transfer to the Chinese by the British may not be approved.

  1. William McAfee of the Division of Chinese Affairs.
  2. Office of European Affairs.