793.00/2–1050: Telegram

The Chargé in China ( Strong ) to the Secretary of State

secret

248. Deptel 121 February 8, repeated Shanghai 509. Note delivered Foreign Minister Yeh 4 p. m. February 9 and verbal statements made accord Deptel.

[Page 308]

Without much enthusiasm Yeh attempted first to maintain attack not deliberate and then to justify attack, saying Shanghai Power Company supplying power for military purposes and it would guarantee power used only for civilian purposes would not be attacked again.

He added Chinese Government aware adverse effect bombing crowded areas. I told Yeh this evaded main issues and that we had been assured once every effort would be made avoid American property, also reiterated our complete report left no doubt attack deliberate. Told him if CAF got away with this it doubtless would next attack American oil installations in which case Americans definitely would be killed along with a lot more Chinese. Yeh said CAF did plan attack oil installations but first would warn staff to get out. This, I told him, would not work.

It was difficult to tell whether Yeh defending CAF for face purposes, whether he can not believe US protests serious, or whether he wishes cover fact he cannot control CAF; probably some of each. To avoid further discussion which could be of no benefit I again referred him to note and to further views expressed verbally (of which he has full notes) and told him that in my personal view serious difficulties would arise if such things continued. He nodded in rather weary and resigned manner.

In company with Col. Gabbert1 (in absence acting air attaché) early today delivered verbal statement to Chou Chih-jo and advised him formal note handed Foreign Office.

Chou had absolutely no comment.

Chen Cheng and Kwei not in Taipei. Upon their return Osborn2 will carry out instructions. (Signed Strong).

Strong
  1. Lt. Col. John T. L. D. Gabbert, Assistant Naval Attaché and Assistant Naval Attaché for Air.
  2. David L. Osborn, Vice Consul at Taipei.