740.00119 PW/3–2346: Telegram
The Counselor of Embassy in China (Smyth) to the Secretary of State
[Received March 23—8:25 a.m.]
552. This afternoon Dr. Liu Chieh, Vice Minister [for] Foreign Affairs, invited me to Foreign Office and said that yesterday afternoon Soviet Ambassador handed Foreign Office a note, stating that Soviet forces would be withdrawn from all Manchuria by end of April. Soviet note said delay in withdrawal had been due to climatic condition. Dr. Liu said this was first Soviet reply to the several Chinese requests for information about Soviet withdrawal. Dr. Liu said Soviet note gave no schedule of withdrawal; he commented that in case of Soviet withdrawals from Mukden area, no notice had been given Chinese Government by Soviets, thus causing difficulties for Government and making it possible for other forces (obviously Communists) to create trouble. Dr. Liu appeared somewhat apprehensive that, if further Soviet withdrawals should be without notice, “other forces” might be able to move in ahead of Government troops. [Page 596]He said Chinese Government was considering answering Soviet note, and, although he did not say so, inference was that contemplated Chinese note might raise questions of schedules and definite notice of withdrawals from definite localities.