Memorandum by Mr. O. Edmund Clubb of the Division of Chinese Affairs 10
Sinkiang–U. S. S. R. Relations
With reference to the section of Chungking’s telegram no. 518 of March 23,11 dealing with the alleged bombing of Sinkiang troops by unidentified planes bearing red star markings, information received from the Tihwa Chinese authorities in 1943 with respect to Sinkiang–U. S. S. R. political relations were generally somewhat alarmist but in actual fact have heretofore not been followed by serious developments. It was variously reported to me, for instance, that (1) Soviet agents were crossing the Sinkiang–U. S. S. R. frontier; (2) Soviet troops were massing in the Ferghana region near the southwestern border of Sinkiang; (3) there was evidence of Soviet instigation or support of Kazak rebels which have been operating in the Altai region against the regular Sinkiang forces for the past six months. The Kazaks, who are by nature turbulent, rebelled against the Sinkiang Government in 1936. At that time the Soviet Union lent military assistance to the Sinkiang Government.
The initial Chinese reports of several thousand Kazaks engaged in the present rebellion turned out in the event to have been exaggerated, in as much as subsequent Chinese reports themselves indicated that the irregulars engaged were numbered only in the hundreds. It is to be noted that (1) the exact location of Chingho has not yet been determined (it may be closer to the Sinkiang–Outer Mongolian border than indicated in the report of the Special Commissioner for Foreign Affairs); (2) the Outer Mongolian forces, who maintain a strict watch over adjacent Chinese territory, would have taken aggressive action against any Chinese troops thought to be transgressing; and (3) according to Chungking’s telegram no. 488 of March 19, Dr. Sun Fo indicated to the Counselor of Embassy his belief that possibly the first [Page 764]attack was made by Sinkiang troops on Mongolia planes which were flying over Sinkiang territory for purposes of observation.
I reported several times from Tihwa my impression that the Chinese local authorities were upon occasion interested in the merchandising of reports putting the U. S. S. R. in an unfavorable light as supporting aggressive movements in Sinkiang, hoping thus to obtain American support for their political maneuvers. I believe with the Embassy that it is unlikely under present conditions that the U. S. S. R. would at this time undertake in China (including Sinkiang) any serious military démarche.