893.77/9–2345: Telegram

The Chargé in the Soviet Union (Kennan) to the Secretary of State

3354. The following telegram has been received from Vladivostok.

“173, September 19, 11 a.m. Report of an interview September 13, at Harbin with Director General Zhuravlev, sometime director of Primorsk railway but now evidently charged with direction of freight traffic on former Chinese Eastern Railway, contained in Vladivostok organ September 16. Director General was quoted as asserting that railway was taken in chaotic state, Japanese inter alia having blown up between Manchuli and Pogranichnaya 11 bridges including several multispan structures such as those at Mutankiang, Hailar and Chalainor. Two other bridges were blown up on the Harbin-Heiho line. Japanese damaged telegraph system and destroyed many railway stations. Two kilometer long tunnel through Hsingan Range, however, saved by action Soviet military unit from planned destruction of entrances. Bands of Japanese suicide squads are still roaming along railway system and attack repair gangs and destroy communication points. Work of rehabilitation of line now being completed and movement trains over full length of line has begun and telephone [Page 1029] and telegraph communications are being put in order. Harbin is becoming most important railway point in Manchuria and in future trains will arrive there by both broad (Soviet) and narrow (standard American) gauge. There have been established both gauges at Harbin for unloading [despatching?] of military echelons arriving there from Mukden, Port Arthur, North Korea and Heiho. Harbin railway repair shops have again begun to function. Trains now leave Harbin daily for Manchuli, Pogranichnaya, Mukden, Port Arthur, Heiho and in near future first passenger trains will depart for Vladivostok, Khabarovsk (via Vladivostok) and Chita. Clubb.”