The Consul at Tihwa (Ward) to the Secretary of State 44

No. 4

Sir: I have the honor to refer to this Consulate’s despatch no. 3, dated December 15, 1944, on the subject of the “Basic Factors in the [Page 991] Sinkiang Situation”,45 and, further in that general connection, to submit a brief outline of the history of the Province of Sinkiang.

[Here follows historical survey.]

III. Conclusions.

If the brief historical synopsis given in I above is reasonably accurate, it would appear permissible to conclude that:

The present theoretical basis of Chinese rule, i. e., that the peoples of the area were originally “one race” with the Chinese, and that their language is from the some roots,* is not historically tenable;
The assertion that “Sinkiang has been Chinese for two thousand years” which is not infrequently made, has never been, and is not now, true in a racial, linguistic, or cultural sense; it has been true in a political sense for less than a quarter of that time;
The contention, advanced repeatedly by ranking local officials, that the “natives” are a meek people, who would not revolt unless instigated to do so by some agency outside the Province, is not supported by the history of the region;
The area has never been an integrated, unified, independent state, but has always been either (1) divided into a number of small independent city-states; (2) divided between two or more powerful empires whose borders extended far beyond those of their respective domains in what is now Sinkiang; or (3) controlled by China;
Chinese control has been effective during periods of great vitality or national resurgence in China, but only during such periods;
It has been repeatedly overthrown, frequently by revolts characterized by massacres of Chinese;
At its peaks of stability, Chinese rule appears to have been characterized by a parallel administration (not too dissimilar to that employed by the Manchus in China) under which ultimate power was disposed of by a Chinese (usually military) governor, while the actual administrative authority was to a large extent left in the hands of the natives of the particular locality;
The control of the Kansu corridor is essential to continued Chinese control of Sinkiang.

The first three of these conclusions are for our purposes of only negative importance, in the sense that no government is acting realistically which posits vital claims on allegations which are demonstrably false (cf., Nazi claims of Aryan superiority).

Of much greater importance is the first of the remaining five: the absence of any sanction in history for an independent Sinkiang, the fact that the non-Chinese empires which at one time or another were sovereign in parts of the Province are no longer extant, taken together with the fact of recurrent Chinese control, afford an adequate historical justification for the present Chinese sovereignty in Sinkiang.

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However, reasoning from e, f, and g, it appears clear that Chinese rule, which has historically been rejected by the natives of Sinkiang whenever they were strong enough successfully to do so, could be made acceptable to them only by an adaptation of the administrative forms which have proved more successful in the past. The failure to follow such a course would (if history is any guide) only lead to more, and more serious, revolts.

The last of the conclusions given is a warning that, whatever course is chosen, it cannot be selected or followed out as if Sinkiang were Szechwan, since if, for instance, a course were determined upon which was clearly inimical to Outer Mongolia, the latter could very readily avail itself of its excellent strategic situation to cut the Kansu corridor, whereafter the price of Sinkiang’s recovery might well be war.

Respectfully yours,

Robert S. Ward
  1. Approved by the Embassy in China for transmission to the Department.
  2. Foreign Relations, 1944. vol. vi, p. 821.
  3. This preachment is allegedly based on the 1st Chapter of “China’s Destiny”. [Footnote in the original.]