98 Mr S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner in the United Kingdom, to Mr John Curtin, Prime Minister

Cablegram 86 LONDON, 4 November 1941, 8.06 p.m.

IMMEDIATE FOR THE PRIME MINISTER MOST SECRET

CHINA Dominions Office cabling text of personal message Chiang Kai-shek [1] has sent to the Prime Minister and President Roosevelt. In considering this message the fact has to be borne in mind that China's not unnatural desire is that the United States and the British Empire should become embroiled with Japan. Equally Chiang Kai-shek's remarkable personality and qualities and the fact that never previously despite all reversals China has suffered has he taken so gloomy a view of the position.

Weighing these two aspects my own impression is that Chiang Kaishek's message is as genuine as it is impressive.

In my view it should be taken most seriously and should be made the basis of an attempt to clarify the position in the Far East in its widest aspects through the medium of a personal communication from Churchill to Roosevelt.

Have not had opportunity of discussing the above with Page [2] to- night and it represents my personal view, subject to consideration with him in the morning.

BRUCE

1 The Chinese Prime Minister's message to Churchill and Roosevelt was conveyed to the Commonwealth Govt in circular cablegram M349 of 4 November (on file AA : A1608,A41/1/6, vi). It requested British and American air support against an expected Japanese attack on Kunming (the northern terminus of the Burma Road) which, Chiang believed, threatened not only China's lines of communication with the United Kingdom and the United States but the security of the whole Pacific area.

2 Special Representative in the United Kingdom.

[AA : A1608, A41/1/6, vi]