740.00119 PW/10–845

The Consul General at Kunming (Langdon)70 to the Secretary of State

Sir: As of interest to the Department, there is given below an account of current conditions in Mukden as recited to me by an old [Page 1031] resident of my acquaintance who was flown to Peking from Mukden yesterday on the Army plane which evacuated the last group of uniformed Americans in Manchuria (a team of four OSS men).

The Japanese troops were disarmed by the Russians without delay or ceremony and are now either interned or doing forced labor on Russian projects, which consist chiefly of dismantling, crating and hauling to railhead machinery and heavy equipment of local plants. The Japanese civilian population has been frozen in certain billets and may not move away from them under any circumstances until repatriation arrangements are ready. Railroad travel is severely restricted, even for Chinese.

Looting by Russians, official and private, by officers as well as by enlisted men, is the outstanding characteristic of the Russian occupation. The Russian state is looting the machinery of all modern plants, including the generators of the great dams built by the Japanese across the Sungari and Yalu Rivers, while the officers and men are looting homes and individuals of whatever takes their fancy. It is common to see a Japanese or a Chinese being held up in the streets and divested of his bicycle, sweater, overcoat, et cetera. A Russian soldier walked into the home of my informant and, disregarding the presence of the lady of the house and servants, went through the bedroom drawers and removed Yen 500 from a handbag found there.

Entering homes in search of women is also common in the Russian army of occupation. For instance, the Mother Superior of the French convent opposite the American consular residence had her face bashed in with a revolver butt when she barred the way of prowling soldiers trying to enter the convent gate.

The “Manchukuo” yuan (par with the Japanese yen) is still the currency of the country. Japanese technicians are being retained in the utilities, telecommunications, railroads, Fushun coal mines, et cetera.

There appears to be no reduction of the Russian forces in process in Mukden. Tanks and artillery units are sometimes seen moving north but new units seem to take their place. “Manchukuo” troops as well as Japanese were disarmed, but no action was evidently taken against “Communist” 8th Route Army guerillas who moved into South Manchuria from the Tongshan-Shanhaikwan districts just south of the Great Wall. Some 3,000 Chinese bearing “8th Route Army” armbands function in Mukden as police. There is no authority in the country and there is unemployment, lawlessness and rapid economic deterioration.

Russians view foreigners with the greatest suspicion. The French Consul in Mukden, who was on the OSS plane with my informant, [Page 1032] was virtually forced out of the country, as was also the last remaining Army (OSS) group—The Russian commander refused to see the Commanding Officer, Major Brady, under any circumstances. Three Chinese commissioners sent by plane to make a preliminary survey were “protected” by the Russians on their arrival and confined to their hotel rooms until bundled back to their plane three weeks later. The occupying Army does not recognize any local Russians as “white” or émigré, but regards them all as Soviet citizens and imprisons or transports to Siberia individuals with bad records or of non-cooperative disposition.

Our 6–aere consular lot has not been built upon and the handsome boundary walls and gates are in good condition. However, the land was used for open storage of coal and building materials and sheds were put here and there, so that some labor will be needed to clean the place up. My informant was questioned late in 1942 in our former office premises and recalls seeing metal cabinets and some desks and chairs but no typewriters. From another source I learned that our archives and records were removed from the premises in 1942.

Clerk Franklyn G. Lewis of the former office, who at the last minute refused repatriation with Consul Krentz and Vice Consul Johnson on the diplomatic exchange ship, was not released by the Japanese but reinterned until the very end. He was recovered by our Army mercy teams employed by them, and did meritorious service for them in our prisoner of war camps in Manchuria. He returned to the United States with the prisoners of war from Manchuria, accompanied by his English wife, whom he married in internment.

Respectfully yours,

Wm. R. Langdon
  1. On temporary duty with Headquarters, III Amphibious Corps.