Memorandum by Consul General Sturgeon to the Acting Chief of the Division of Foreign Service Administration (Butrick), Temporarily in Shanghai

From what I have been able to learn through conversations and material in the papers, it appears that Chinese National Government officials, including a Foreign Office representative, are going into Changchun in considerable numbers under the terms of the Sino-Soviet treaty of August 14, 1945.30 Article 3 of the section of the treaty dealing with the “Chinese Changchun Railway”, the new name for the railway network of Manchuria, states that the board of directors shall be in Changchun. In addition, a Chinese military mission is provided for in the treaty, and has been appointed, “to ensure contact between the Commander-in-Chief of the Soviet forces and the Chinese National Government,” an Economic Commission has been appointed, and the Central Bank has arranged for representation in Changchun.

These developments, coupled with the fact that Changchun underwent extensive development as the capital of Manchuria under the Japanese regime, appear to give the city a place of special importance. It seems fairly certain, therefore, that political and economic policies for Manchuria will be formulated wholly or in substantial part in Changchun. It should also be the best place to observe the operation of the many-sided Sino-Soviet treaty and its effects on the American position in Manchuria—both political and economic observations can be made from Dairen, Mukden and Harbin, but in respect to the purpose and significance of day to day developments close and continuous contacts at that point would seem to be essential and of the greatest importance. It also appears that the time of greatest need for this close touch with Changchun authorities, Soviet and Chinese, should be in the period of transition from Soviet military to Chinese civilian control.

I have had opportunity to discuss the above phases of the Manchurian situation with a number of well-informed people here, including Mr. Dawson,31 General McMenmon of the U. S. Economic Mission to China, and find that they view it in much the same light.

In the circumstances, and if you think the idea has merit, I would suggest recommending to the Department that our principal and perhaps first attention in Manchuria be given to the establishment [Page 1469] of a mission or office in Changchun capable of keeping our Government fully acquainted with all political and economic developments of interest to the United States. I believe that this action would enable the Department, with other concerned agencies of the Government, to check on and analyze developments as they occur and in so doing to safeguard such long range interest as we may have in Manchuria.

I only want to add that it is not my thought that present plans to open offices in Dairen and Harbin would be disturbed, but simply that careful emphasis be placed on the leading and vital role that Changchun has assumed in the situation; particularly in view of over-all political conditions. I am naturally most interested in the broader phases of the picture which may determine future opportunity for American nationals to live, trade, or move about in Manchuria. As I have previously indicated, however, I am thinking mainly of participating in this work only in the period of emergency and re-establishment and not in terms of permanent assignment to any of the prospective posts.

Leo D. Sturgeon
  1. Signed at Moscow; Department of State, United States Relations With China (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1949), p. 585.
  2. Owen L. Dawson, Agricultural Attaché in China.