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further that commercial aeroplanes can be exported to China or anywhere without reference to Board of Trade or Foreign Office, no export license being required. :
893.113/1329 Memorandum by the Vice Consul at Nanking (Reynolds) of a Con
versation With Major Wu Hjeh-shek of the Aviation Bureau at Nanking 12
[NANKING,] July 31, 1931. Major Wu stated that the Aviation Bureau is in receipt of information that the Cantonese have been successful in purchasing several airplanes from Great Britain and Germany, and that repeated attempts have been made by the Cantonese to purchase American-made airplanes which the Cantonese, as well as the National Government, recognize as being superior to any now manufactured in any other country. Wu repeated several times during the conversation that it was the hope of the Aviation Bureau, as well as of the other branches of the National Government, that the United States Government would take all steps possible to prevent the issuance of export licenses for planes consigned to Canton, or to destinations which would make it evident that Canton was to be the ultimate destination. Mr. Reynolds pointed out the difficulty that is involved in determining the intent for which those planes might be desired, for according to Mr. Reynolds' understanding, the Cantonese had attempted to purchase only civil model airplanes. Major Wu stated that although the planes desired by Canton were, technically, civil models, the ease with which the planes can be fitted with machine guns and bomb racks make the intended use of the planes evident beyond doubt.
893.113/1329 Memorandum by the Consul General at Nanking (Peck) of a Con
versation With the Assistant Director of the Department of General Affairs, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (T. L. Wang) 12
[NANKING,] August 1, 1931. Dr. Wang said that the National Government wondered whether the American authorities could do anything to prevent the shipment of airplanes from Europe to Canton by way of Manila. He empha
Copy transmitted to the Department by the Consul General at Nanking in his despatch No. D-76, August 7; received August 31.
sized that he was not actually asking that anything be done to intercept these planes, but was merely discussing with Mr. Peck the question whether anything could be done. He said that several Junkers planes were coming to Canton, by way of Manila and it occurred to the Chinese Government that the American Government, if it were so disposed, might invoke the Versailles Treaty,14 which forbids Germany to export munitions and to manufacture military planes, and on this basis intercept these planes and prevent their reaching Canton.
Mr. Peck observed that, to the best of his recollection, the portion of the Versailles Treaty mentioned by Dr. Wang 15 was among the sections of the Treaty the right to invoke which was reserved by the United States in the Treaty with Germany.16 However, Mr. Peck said he doubted whether the planes now in question were manufactured in Germany at all. He said that the Junkers planes purchased by the National Government were manufactured in Denmark, while their motors were manufactured in some other country outside of Germany, probably Belgium. The fact that the National Government had likewise purchased Junkers planes might, moreover weaken the force of the appeal which Dr. Wang suggested.
Dr. Wang said that the United States was not a party to the Barcelona Convention, relating to goods in transit, and this Convention, therefore, interposed no obstacle.
Dr. Wang again said that he was not placing any request through Mr. Peck that the American Government do anything in the premises. Such a request might come later, if it appeared that there was something the American Government could do. Mr. Peck said he might refer the matter to the Department of State, for its information.
The Acting Secretary of State to the Minister in China (Johnson)
WASHINGTON, August 5, 1931–5 p. m. 260. Your August 1, 10 a. m."
1. Copy of letter from Douglas Aircraft Company to War Department,17 referred to in memorandum of conversation of June 18,17 as subsequently received by this Department, requested that War Department supply 20 Browning machine guns and 20 Lewis machine guns and other subsidiary equipment. No request was made for supply by War Department of bomb racks. Export license issued by this De
* Signed June 28, 1919; see especially art. 170, Treaties, Conventions, etc., 1910–1923, vol. II, pp. 3329, 3402. 18 1. e., part V.
See art n of treaty signed August 25, 1921, Foreign Relations, 1921, vol. 9, » Not printed.
partment covered 20 Douglas military observation airplanes, each airplane to be equipped with 2 aircraft guns and 2 bomb racks. This equipment coincides as to quantity with that mentioned in the Minister's telegram of May 25, 3 p. m. from Nanking. 18
2. Department is informed by War and Commerce Departments that Vought Corsair planes and Douglas planes, with exception of Douglas amphibian planes, are primarily for military purposes. The Department is therefore notifying the Treasury Department that in the opinion of this Department exportation to China of Vought Corsair planes and of Douglas planes, except amphibian planes, should be permitted only in case application has been made in the regular manner to this Department for license to export and license has been issued. Also, that in case of a shipment of such planes consigned to Macao but with the ultimate destination a point in China,1° application for a license to export should be made; that under present political conditions in China, this Department views the exportation from the United States to Hong Kong and to Macao of arms and munitions of war, including military aircraft, as destined presumptively for China; and that unless that presumption can be overcome by the exporter in the United States, any such exportation should be accompanied by an export license duly issued by this Department. 3. Please inform Nanking, Canton and Hong Kong.
The Minister in China (Johnson) to the Acting Secretary of State
PEIPING, August 19, 1931.
[Received September 14.] SIR: Referring to the Department's telegram No. 60, July 27, 4 p. m., to the Consulate General at Nanking with regard to the export of airplanes to the Canton authorities, I have the honor to enclose a copy of the Legation's note No. 333 of August 4, 1931, to the Minister for Foreign Affairs,18 informing Dr. Wang that the United States Government is taking steps with a view to preventing the shipment of eight Lockheed Vega planes to Canton. There is likewise enclosed a copy, in translation, of Foreign Office note No. L-334 of August 14, 1931,18 expressing gratitude for any assistance which may be rendered the National Government in this matter. Respectfully yours,
NELSON TRUSLER JOHNSON
The Treasury Department, in reply on August 12, 1931, denied any shipment to Macao (893.113/1324).
The Minister in China (Johnson) to the Secretary of State
PEIPING, October 23, 1931–5 p. m.
[Received October 23—2:03 p. m.] 815. Department's 258, July 31, 6 p. m.* The following has been
6 received from the Consul General at Canton:
"October 22, noon. Referring to the Legation's telegrams of July 20, 2 p. m. and August 3, 3 p. m., I have been informed by Gale's Hong Kong representative that Far East Aviation Company had delivered second single place Armstrong Whitford pursuit plane to Canton Aviation Bureau this morning. Although this ship was flown to Canton from Hong Kong with machine-gun mounts but unarmed, buyers claim that the plane was sold armed. Order for three more British manufactured ships of the same kind is reported to have been signed and the Bureau is said to be planning addi. tional purchase of British ships since American military planes are not obtainable. Gale's representative objected that unless British competitors were prevented from selling military aircraft to Canton, American aircraft trade would be adversely affected."
For the Minister:
893.113/1341 The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Great Britain (Dawes)
WASHINGTON, November 13, 1931. Sir: Referring to the Department's telegraphic instruction No. 238 of July 27, 1931, 4 p. m.,22 and to your telegraphic reply No. 276 of July 30, 11 a. m., in regard to British policy and procedure respecting shipments via or from Hong Kong to the Cantonese revolutionary government of arms and munitions of war and of airplanes, there is enclosed a copy of telegram No. 815 of October 23, 5 p. m., from Peiping, quoting a telegram from the American Consul General at Canton in regard to the reported delivery to the Canton Aviation Bureau of military planes of British manufacture.
In this connection it is requested that you discreetly and informally bring to the attention of the Foreign Office this reported delivery to the Cantonese authorities of British military planes. The Department would be interested in being informed of any comment that the Foreign Office may make on this subject. Very truly yours,
For the Secretary of State: 893.113/1347 : Telegram The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Great Britain (Dawes)
HARVEY H. BUNDY
a See footnote 10, p. 1022. Not printed.
WASHINGTON, December 12, 1931—noon. 339. Reference Department's mail instruction 990, November 13, 1931.
Department now has from Department of Commerce data submitted by that Department's representative at Hong Kong confirming and adding detail to the telegraphic report by American Consul General at Canton, copy of which was enclosed in the instruction under reference. Department requests early action and report by Embassy.
893.113/1346 : Telegram The Ambassador in Great Britain (Dawes) to the Secretary of State
LONDON, December 14, 1931-1 p. m.
[Received December 14–9:10 a. m.] 461. Department's telegram 339, December 12, noon. Matter was taken up with Foreign Office November 25th and inquiry has since been made and today in reply to further inquiry the Embassy was informed that the Foreign Office is not yet able to make any comment.
The Minister in China (Johnson) to the Secretary of State
PEIPING, December 23, 1931.
[Received January 18, 1932.] Sir: Referring to despatch No. 7 of December 9, 1931, to this Legation from the Consul at Hongkong, 23 copies of which were forwarded to the Department by Mr. Putnam, concerning the sale of military supplies to the Canton Government, I have the honor to suggest that the difficulties encountered by American firms in the sale of aeroplanes in South China, as pointed out in the despatch under reference, will probably disappear with the present reorganization of the National Government.
Should a political reconciliation not be effected between the various Chinese factions it would appear unjust for us to handicap our merchants at Canton, as has apparently been the case in the past, in
23 Not printed.