893.00/10018: Telegram

The Minister in China (MacMurray) to the Secretary of State

412. In response to an invitation extended through the Senior Minister, representatives of the powers met with Chang Tso-lin this afternoon. Chang said that, while in Manchuria, he had had no political ambitions outside the Wall. Latterly however the Communists had become a destructive influence in China and he had felt compelled to take measures against them. He might have followed a course of denouncing the treaties and of refusing to assume any obligations toward other nations as Russia had done but he did not approve of any such policy of radicalism. He went on to say that his defense lines had been drawn up at Liuliho and much would depend upon the outcome of the fighting there. He himself felt very uncertain of the future, but he wishes to assure the foreign representatives that they need have no concern over the safety of their nationals as he would guarantee their protection in both the Peking and Tientsin areas. He said that all knew that his troops had never been defeated, but that he was greatly concerned over the sufferings of the people through the continuance [of] civil warfare.

The Senior Minister made a few remarks in reply, expressing thanks for the protection which had been afforded foreigners during the period which Chang had been in Peking.

Although Chang made no mention of any definite intention to withdraw from Peking, his remarks were generally received as being of the nature of a valedictory and as indicating that he may leave at any time for Manchuria.