Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Chief of the Division of Chinese Affairs (Freeman)

During the course of a conversation today with M. Daridan,44 he stated that the French Embassy had recently received a telegram from Paris with regard to a conversation in Hong Kong between Dr. T. V. Soong and M. Maux, a representative of the French Government concerned with economic affairs. This conversation, it was noted, took place subsequent to Soong’s removal from the Governorship of Kwangtung Province.

According to M. Daridan, Soong had approached Maux on several previous occasions with the request that the French Government facilitate the shipment of arms and ammunition to south China for the purpose of strengthening the anti-Communist forces in that area. In this most recent conversation referred to above, Soong reiterated his request that the French Government permit the exportation of a “large amount” of small arms and ammunition to be shipped immediately to south China. Apparently to strengthen his argument, Soong informed Maux that the U.S. Government was presently shipping arms and ammunition to Formosa, thus implying that the U.S. would not object to the French Government making similar shipments to south China.

M. Daridan stated that all previous requests for the shipment of arms and ammunition to south China had been turned down and export licenses denied and that this request would also be refused. He indicated that the real reason for such refusal was based on the concern of the French Government that such materiel might eventually fall into the hands of the Communists or find its way across the border to the Viet Minh. M. Daridan stated, however, that the French Government was interested in Soong’s statement that the U.S. was continuing shipment of arms and ammunition to Formosa and would appreciate information on this point. I pointed out that, at the time of the recent military debacles in north China, there were shipments of materiel [Page 488]purchased by the Chinese under the $125 million grants en route to China which were subsequently diverted to Formosa. I also referred to the legislative history of Section 404(b) of the China Aid Act of 1948 and pointed out that the final decision as to where materiel purchased under this Section was to be shipped was up to the Chinese themselves. I also indicated to M. Daridan that no other authority existed for the transfer of military supplies to China and that the amount of unallotted funds under the $125 million grants was negligible.

M. Daridan appeared reassured and left me with the impression that he had been concerned over the possibility that the U.S. was shipping military supplies to Formosa under a new aid program of which the French Government had not been informed.

  1. Jean Daridan, Counselor of the French Embassy.