Moscow Embassy Files—710 Sino-Soviet Relations: Telegram

The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Harriman) to President Truman and the Secretary of State


Stalin, in discussing the operation of the Chinese Eastern and South Manchurian railroads, proposed that the ownership of the railroads should be Russian, that they should be operated by a joint Soviet-Chinese board, but that the management should be Russian. Soong contended that the ownership of the railroads should be Chinese and that they should be operated by a Soviet-Chinese company with [Page 913] joint responsibility and a mixed management, partly Chinese and partly Russian. Stalin indicated that he was not interested in the subsidiary lines, but only in the main lines. However, Molotov raised the question of control of the coal production for the operation of the railroad. Stalin agreed that Russia should have the right to move troops only in time of war or in preparation for threat of war. He further agreed that Russia should not have the right to station troops in Manchuria.

With reference to the port of Dairen, Stalin interpreted “internationalization” as meaning that it should be subject to Chinese and Russian control, that no other country was to be involved and that Russia should have a preeminent interest in the port as against China and there should be a Russian management. Half the revenues of the port should go to Russia and half to China. Soong maintained that the port should be a free port under Chinese administration with some Russian technical assistance and with full rights for Russia to use the port freely.

With reference to Port Arthur, Stalin agreed to eliminate the word “lease” and work for some basis by which both countries could have naval facilities.

Generalissimo Stalin proposed that the agreement regarding the railroads and ports should be for a 45-year period. There was no attempt to arrive at a decision as these discussions were of an exploratory nature.

I was asked by Soong what was the understanding of the United States Government as to the proposed arrangements in connection with the railroads and the ports. I told him I knew of no detailed understandings other than as expressed in the agreement. He is anxious to know urgently what is the interpretation of the United States Government of these provisions and particularly what we have in mind in connection with the “internationalization of the port of Dairen”. He feels that if China herself does not control the operations of the port it would interfere with Chinese sovereignty.

Soong was reassured by Stalin’s statements on the question of the sovereignty of China in Manchuria. Stalin agreed that representatives of the Chinese National Government should accompany the Red Army when it advances into Manchuria, to organize the government. Stalin told Soong it was important that competent individuals be appointed by the National Government.

In response to Stalin’s inquiry regarding the National Government’s attitude toward the Communists, Soong told him that the Generalissimo was prepared to bring Communist representation into the government but that the Kuomintang should be in control. Soong [Page 914] said Stalin appeared to agree in principle but there was no detailed discussion or agreement as to the understanding to be reached with the Communists. Again this discussion appeared to be preliminary.

There was no discussion of the problems in Sinkiang. However, Soong told me that the Generalissimo was considering the appointment of his son as Governor of Sinkiang, believing that this would improve relations with the Soviets in this province because of his sympathetic attitude toward the Soviets.

With reference to Korea, Stalin confirmed to Soong his agreement to establish a 4-power trusteeship. Molotov interjected that this was an unusual arrangement with no parallel and that therefore it would be necessary to come to a detailed understanding. Stalin stated that there should be no foreign troops or foreign police in Korea. Soong understands that the Russians have two Korean divisions trained in Siberia. He believes that these troops will be left in Korea and that there will be Soviet-trained political personnel who will also be brought into the country. He is fearful that under these conditions the Soviets will obtain domination of Korean affairs even with a 4-power trusteeship.