The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant) to the Secretary of State
[Received 4:20 p.m.]
11385. Although local press continues to play up stories of armed clashes in North China and forecasts trouble in Manchuria, Sterndale Bennett75 told us this morning that Foreign Office had no information from British Embassy [at] Chungking to indicate trouble is as serious as papers make out. However, Foreign Office is not happy about situation in North China and Manchuria as reflected in such reports as are available to it. It is feared that agreement by Chinese Communists to withdraw their forces south of the Yangtse to North China may involve merely a greater concentration of Communist forces in North China and only intensify tendency towards partition of the country between the Government and Communist forces.
With respect to Manchuria, Foreign Office is not certain that recent Sino-Soviet treaty is having beneficial effects which were at first anticipated. Report that units of Eighth Route Army were marching into Mukden and other cities by Soviet permission is considered disturbing. Soviets apparently contend that Eighth Route Army can be considered Chinese Government troops within meaning of Sino-Soviet treaty and although this argument may be technically correct Foreign Office says no one outside of Moscow seems to have interpreted the treaty in this way before. It is feared that by allowing Communist troops into Russian occupation zone difficulty of Chungking Government in establishing effective authority in Manchuria [Page 1037] after Soviet withdrawal will be increased. Foreign Office believes it possible that Soviet policy is to build up Communist strength in Manchuria as check on Chungking and for use as lever in any difficulties which may arise over railways, bases and other matters considered in the treaty without giving Communists exclusive authority which would expose Soviets to charge of breaking the treaty and might also make Chinese Communists too independent of Soviet support.
Sent to Department as 11385; repeated to Moscow as 372.76