893.00/2–2145: Telegram

The Chargé in China (Atcheson) to the Secretary of State 46

271. 1. Following is a summary of Tihwa’s despatch No. 7, February 7 to Department47 going forward by pouch: In five-day battle between Ining insurgents and Chinese relief column numbering 5,000 troops, Chinese were defeated and forced to retire with remaining defenders of Ining air field to Chingho. Insurgents now attacking Erhtai. If this city falls, Chingho itself may be next objective. Insurgent regime at Ining said to be headed by triumvirate, including a White Russian, a Uigur and a Kazak. There are increasing indications that revolt is racial in character and directed against ruling Chinese minority. Feeling persists in Tihwa that revolt is Soviet inspired. In air base, continued success of rebellion may make Soviet involvement inevitable.

2. Liu Tse-yung (ReEmbstel 41, January 11) had confidentially informed officer of this Embassy that troops now available in Sinkiang are insufficiently strong to cope with insurgents: that although the rebellion may have received support from Kazakistan, especially from the younger Communist-trained elements, there is no evidence it was inspired by Moscow. He believes Soviets have no territorial ambitions in Sinkiang, but do desire the establishment in Tihwa of regime disposed to be friendly with USSR and are prepared to take concrete steps leading to resumption of trade with [apparent omission] some feels until or unless fundamental reforms beneficial to the indigenous population are effected unrest in Sinkiang will continue. He states, since arrival in Chungking several conferences on Sinkiang have been held and certain concessions have already been agreed upon, including admission of non-Chinese into provincial and district governments.

  1. The text of this telegram was repeated to the Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Harriman) by the Acting Secretary of State in his telegram No. 450, February 28, 7 p.m., with a request that Ambassador Harriman forward to the Department “any information the Embassy might have in regard to recent developments in Sinkiang and Soviet attitude thereto.” For Ambassador Harriman’s reply, see his telegram No. 690, March 9, 2 p.m., p. 995.
  2. Not printed.