244 Officer to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 98 CHUNGKING, 1 August 1944

On 25th July the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the Chinese and Czecho-Slovak Governments were elevating their respective Missions from Legations to Embassies.

2. This means that we are now the only Legation in Chungking.

3. Neither the Minister [1] nor the Vice-Minister [2] whom I have seen in the last week referred to the matter, which in the absence of instructions I have avoided. Yesterday in a private conversation with Booker [3], the head of the European department [4] referred to it.

He expressed the personal view that the situation if it continued might suggest that we cared less about our relations with China than certain other Countries whose interests in Pacific Affairs and relations with China were much less important than Australia's. He stated that he knew that the Generalissimo [5] and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would be glad to see the Legation become an Embassy and that the Chinese Government would be prepared to take the necessary initiative if it would be welcomed by the Australian Government. He asked that further information be conveyed to me.

As the matter may be raised with me in the near future, would be glad of guidance as to the line I should take. [8]

OFFICER

1 Dr T. V. Soong.

2 Wu Kuo-chen.

3 Acting Second Secretary at the Legation in Chungking.

4 Lone Liang.

5 Chiang Kai-shek, Chinese President and, until 4 December, President of the Executive Yuan.

6 No guidance appears to have been given. Officer had been Charge d'Affaires since 25 February, following Eggleston's return to Australia. D. B. Copland presented his credentials as Minister to China on 23 March 1946, and on 16 February 1948, H. V. Evatt announced that the Legation was to be elevated to embassy status.

[AA:A3195, 1944, 1.28223]