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June 11, 1944

Harriman and Stalin discuss Chinese Relations

The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Harriman) to President Roosevelt[1]


No. 11.541 (Navy)                        [Moscow,] June 11, 1944,


Yesterday evening in my talk with Stalin he emphasized the need that something be done with respect to the cooperation of the Chinese, whom he said were not fighting, pointing out that 13 Japanese divisions in Loyang had defeated 40 Chinese divisions. That the Generalissimo was the only one who could hold China together, and that he must be supported, Stalin agreed. But he asserted that the Chinese fought better 5 years ago and that anything discussed in Chungking got to the Japanese quickly as the result of the dishonest entourage of the Generalissimo.


Stalin laughingly called the so-called Communists in the North “Margarine Communists” in commenting that Chiang was eyeing them with suspicion. He said that the Generalissimo was committing an error in disputing over ideological questions rather than employing them against the Japanese because the people were real patriots who wanted to join the fight against the Japanese.


In answer to my question of what he thought should e our combined policy with respect to the Generalissimo, he said that the United States must necessarily take the lead and that it was impossible for the British or Russians to do it. Stalin said that we should insist that Chiang eliminate his dishonest aides and permit to take authority the younger men who wanted to fight. The Generalissimo’s present entourage, he said, were accusing the Soviets of having a secret treaty against China with the Japanese.


The border incidents between Sinkiang and Outer Mongolia were explained in some detail by Stalin who added that although things were peaceful, a continuation of such incidents would require support with Soviet Armed Forces for Outer Mongolia.




94[Orig. note] Paraphrase transmitted to the Secretary of State by Lt. Robert Bogue, U.S. Naval Reserve of the White House Office, with his memorandum of June 29.


[1] [Orig. note] Paraphrase transmitted to the Secretary of State by Lt. Robert Bogue, U.S. Naval Reserve of the White House Office, with his memorandum of June 29.

Harriman relays Stalin's concerns about the Chinese and Sino-Soviet relations in Outer Mongolia.

Document Information


Foreign Relations of the United States: Diplomatic Papers, 1944, China, Volume VI, eds.E. Ralph Perkins, S. Everett Gleason, John G. Reid, Velma Hastings Cassidy, Ralph R. Goodwin, Herbert A. Fine, Gustave A. Nuermberger, Francis C. Prescott (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1967), 97.


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