72 Dr C. J. Pao, Chinese Consul-General in Australia, to Mr R. G. Menzies, Prime Minister

Letter SYDNEY, 22 February 1940

I have the honour to convey to you my compliments and high esteem of the policy of His Majesty's Government of the Commonwealth of Australia, under your leadership, in endeavouring to achieve peace with justice throughout the world. On behalf of my Government I wish to assure you of China's readiness to collaborate with Australia to maintain law and order in the Pacific.

With reference to our conversation in regard to the question of exchanging diplomatic representatives between Pacific nations, I consider that should the plan be fully realised, the elimination of misunderstandings and international co-operation would be accelerated. The aim of China's international policy has always been to achieve the coexistence and co-prosperity among the family of nations. No country would extend warmer welcome and reciprocate more sincerely than China if Australia is to send a Minister there. I was instructed by my Government to express such a view and to assure every possible facilitation China could give.

The peoples of your great country and of China have enjoyed a cordial relationship for more than a century. Between His Majesty's Government of the Commonwealth of Australia and the Government of China, happy official relations have been existing since 1908, when the Chinese Consulate-General was first established in this smiling land. In pioneer days, my people who were here helped in your struggle to conquer nature to build a solid foundation suitable for settlement. Twenty five years ago when 150,000 industrious and hard-working sons of China met the gallant soldiers of Australia in the battle-fields of Europe jointly defending liberty of mankind, the vital importance and the great future of this country was fully recognised by China. Six years ago, when Australia appointed a trade commissioner to China [1], trade relations between our two countries were brought to the highway of development.

As much as we have such cordial relationships, it is undoubtedly a fact that there is room for us to bring it closer. Australia and China are similar in this that both countries are in the making as modem nations in the Pacific since the last European war. A closer tie between Australia and China will not only lead to mutual benefit, but together with other friendly powers, will form a cornerstone of peace in the Pacific.

Your Government is to be congratulated in having appointed a Minister to Washington [2] and, according to press reports, in planning to send one to Tokyo. Australia-America co-operation is vitally important to the solution of the Pacific problems. Pacific problems become thorny mainly because of Japan's misunderstanding of her neighbours, and if your plan to exchange diplomatic representatives with that country is successful, it would help to cure this 'disease'.

However, as I mentioned in our conversation, co-operation between Pacific nations would not be successful and peace with justice could never be achieved, should China be ignored. The value of China's contribution to make democracy safe in the Pacific by means of engaging the Japanese can never be over-emphasised. China will never vanish, because she is a civilization. A civilization that existed for thousands of years and is still flourishing can never be wiped out by tanks, battleships and aeroplanes. China's present war of resistance is but her means to an end, which is to achieve national reconstruction. Events of the past two years and seven months convinced us that we are not far from our goal. We must, however, depend upon co-operation and assistance from friendly powers, so as to enable us to maintain the principle of equality of opportunity in China for the advancement of civilization of mankind. Time has become matured for the exchange of diplomatic representatives between Australia and China, not only for the purpose to bring our relations closer, but also to complete Australia's plan for the maintenance of peace with justice in the Pacific.

If Australia were to send a Minister to Japan without simultaneously appointing one to China, China's enemy may fabricate stories which may not justify the traditional cordial relations between Australia and China. The world has become such that the problem of peace is no longer divisible. Not that China would misunderstand Australia, but the Sino-Australian relations would be alienated by any such step that may be mistaken as ignoring my country. Forty years ago, John Hays, one-time Secretary of State of the United States of America, said that whoever understands China socially, culturally, economically and politically holds the key of the world for the next five hundred years. I like Australia and China to know each other better. I hope that the exchange of diplomatic representatives between our two countries would be realised simultaneously with that of Australia and Japan.

As to the present conditions in China, I submitted a report a few weeks ago to Sir Henry Gullett. [3] In Chungking today, most leading nations have their embassies and legations. It would not be difficult for Australia to establish her legation there if she is prepared to do so. I shall be grateful if I can be advised as to your Government's plan in regard to this matter. My Government is anxiously waiting to hear my report. [4]

C. J. PAO

1 V. G. Bowden was appointed Australian Trade Commissioner in China in 1935 with an office in Shanghai.

2 R. G. Casey.

3 Minister for External Affairs.

4 Pao also sent a copy of this letter to Gullett (on file AA:

A981, Australia 162, i).

[AA: CP290/2, 9]