893.00/14683: Telegram

The Ambassador in China (Johnson) to the Secretary of State

110. My 102, March 15, noon,71 on Kuomintang-Communist developments.

On March 22 Tong and another high official of the Central Publicity Board separately informed officers of the Embassy that following conversations held between Chou En-lai and Kuomintang officials during the course of the last week and particularly on March 20 there is good reason to believe that a satisfactory solution of the existing impasse is likely to be achieved in the near future. Informants failed to reveal nature of the expected settlement although it was emphasized that a pledge would be required of the Communists to comply with military orders of the high command.
On the other hand, however, Durdin of the New York Times reports that he was told by Chou on March 21 that no progress has been made in effecting a settlement, that New Fourth Army units are continuing to remain in their present stations in Central China, that Government military forces are gradually taking encirclement positions and that the Communists are reluctant to order removal northward of their forces in Central China for fear that they will be attacked while on the march.
The Assistant Naval Attaché has this morning received a message from Naval Intelligence officers in Shanghai to the effect that four officers of the New Fourth Army are now in Shanghai conferring with the Japanese.
Recent reports of Government troop dispositions and statements of high Government officials suggest that the Government is embarking on a policy of encircling and blockading the New Fourth Army forces in Central China and not of resorting to actual military clashes in an endeavor to force the Communist forces involved to comply with the main desideratum of the Government, that is to move to designated areas north of the Yellow River.
  1. Not printed.