125.0093/10–3045: Telegram

The Consul General at Shanghai (Josselyn) to the Secretary of State

125. [This is] Butrick’s 29. Eeopening Manchurian Consulates.

All preparations practically completed early despatch Dairen by [Page 1466] Seventh Fleet destroyer from Shanghai of group to reopen Dairen [and] Harbin. Action now suspended.
On recent visit Chungking, Robertson,22 Chase23 and I visited Chinese Foreign Minister24 and Soviet Ambassador25 informing them our plans immediate reopening Dairen [and] Harbin. Foreign Minister manifested anxiety and suggested defer departure pending clarification from Chinese for authorities and troops established in Manchuria. Soviet Ambassador manifested no anxiety, raised no objections, merely suggestion group contact Soviet Consuls [at] Dairen [and] Harbin for assistance transportation, other problems encountered.
Recent visit Peiping learned of expulsion on short notice OSS (Office of Strategic Services) group and French Consul from Mukden. OSS group left behind in French Consulate substantial quantities shoes, food, other relief supplies. OSS stated Washington fully informed of their difficulties there and of Russian depredations Manchuria.
Fleet Headquarters now informs me Admiral Settle and cruiser, sent Dairen anticipation landing Chungking troops for occupation Manchuria, requested by Soviet Commander to leave Dairen and on refusal admission Dairen, troops are now being transported Chinwangtao instead. Fleet headquarters promptly removed cruiser and will not detail vessel again to Dairen without Navy Dept’s authorization.
The most practical way to enter Manchuria seems through Dairen In view of circumstances mentioned, that would require special authorization Navy Dept and there would be no assurance that group could land on arrival. Of course, we are prepared to face that situation and to withdraw either with publicity or without publicity if the Dept so desires. Otherwise, two courses appear open: (a) For the Dept to arrange with Moscow that Russian military and civil authorities in Manchuria be instructed to receive group and afford all facilities, or (b) that we await Chinese control of Manchuria. We have also considered landing inconspicuously by coastal steamer or by special plane. We consider it necessary to take in two jeeps and substantial provisions and supplies which would be difficult to transport by coastal steamer and special plane would doubtless require Russian permit to land.
Regarding composition group: (a) Proposed consular personnel comprises Sturgeon,26 Olive27 for Dairen and Chase [and] self in Harbin plus one Russian-speaking Chinese clerk from Shanghai for each office. We also propose to attach Julian Friedman28 to one of the Manchurian offices for a period of a few months. Fleet Headquarters prepared recommend detail Russian-speaking Lieutenant Walter Hellis assist group, including interpreter courier service, and Military Attaché anxious Army officer accompany. We would favor their detail on basis formal attachment Dairen-Harbin Consulates respectively. Highly desirable Army officer also know Russian in light previous evidence troubles Manchuria largely result misunderstandings, (c) USIS (United States Information Service) desires send full unit Manchuria headed by James Stewart. Feel that if any USIS personnel taken should confine for present to one fan engineer operator with transmitting equipment USIS understood ready provide and who is urgently needed radio service Harbin Consulate. (Would contemplate destroyer service Dairen.) However, Soviet consent problematical, (d) OSS anxious send party. In view character OSS work and already manifested Soviet hostility, their presence Manchuria believe would only jeopardize treatment our own group and strongly disapprove for present, (e) Socony and tests [Texaco?] here extremely anxious get one man each Dairen connection important oil installations there. Could be most useful Consulate and strongly recommend the foregoing group provided consistent Dept’s policies. Temporary arrangements for employment by Consulate toward forestalling possible Soviet objections might be considered. (f) In view Clubb’s29 experience dealing Soviets and early need additional personnel for requirements reopening Mukden and probable need new office Changchun (apparently destined administrative center Manchuria) services Clubb highly desirable especially for initial contacts Soviet authorities Dairen. Understand from Sturgeon, Clubb instructed proceed Manchuria observation. Please inform when departed and whether instructed report to me.
Dept’s early instructions (including respectively personnel other agencies) requested get destroyer there. If Dept believes there will be delay of month or more, I desire to detail Sturgeon and Chase temporarily to other posts in China which ought to be established at once. Sturgeon hopes in case long delay, his services can be utilized Japan area, [Butrick.]
  1. Walter S. Robertson, Minister-Counselor of Embassy in China for economic affairs, and. Chargé d’Affaires.
  2. Augustus S. Chase, Consul at Shanghai.
  3. Wang Shih-chieh.
  4. Apollon Aleksandrovich Petrov.
  5. Leo D. Sturgeon, Consul General.
  6. William W. Olive, Vice Consul at Shanghai.
  7. Junior economic analyst at Shanghai.
  8. O. Edmund Clubb, Consul General at Vladivostok.