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Historical documents

156 Forde to Curtin (in London)

Cablegram 68 CANBERRA, 19 May 1944


At the last meeting of the Advisory War Council, reference was
made to the forward thrust by Japan in China and to the serious
consequences which would follow if the Japanese were able to
reduce or neutralise China before Germany is defeated.

2. It is noted that the Dominions Office, in cablegram D.705 of
9th May [1], communicated information furnished by the British
Ambassador at Chungking [2] as to the present situation in China.

The opinion is expressed by him that the Chinese could not be
expected to resist a full scale Japanese attack and the following
conclusion is stated:-

'General picture is thus somewhat gloomy and Chinese react
nervously to any setback. On the other hand they have been much
encouraged by developments in Pacific, increase of our strength in
Indian Ocean and by war developments in general. Troubles of China
are increasing but unless there is serious crop failure (present
forecasts are good), accompanied by serious Japanese attack,
Chinese Government should be able to carry on. Nevertheless strain
is getting very heavy and Chinese are tired.'

3. The situation appears to have deteriorated further since this
cablegram was received.

4. The discussions on China at the Prime Ministers' Conference,
communicated in paragraph 10 of your cablegram 12 of 9th May [3],
were noted by the Council. In view of the deterioration of the
situation, it was recommended that the matter should be brought to
your notice because of the wide implications of a Chinese collapse
from the aspect of the prolongation of the war against Japan, the
new and difficult problems with which the United Nations would
then be confronted and their relation to the strategy and plans
for the defeat of Japan. It was asked that information be
furnished on the situation in China with special reference to the
foregoing aspects.

5. I should be glad if a statement on the matter could be cabled
for the Council.


1 On file AA:A989, 43-44/150/4/3, i.

2 Sir Horace Seymour.

3 Document 141.

[AA:A5954, BOX 436]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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