The Consul General at Mukden (Clubb) to General Marshall56

No. 11

Sir: I have the honor to report that General Tu Yu-ming’s Chief of Staff, Chao Chia-hsiang, in conversation with me yesterday referred to a current charge by the Moscow organ Pravda that Kuomintang forces had incorporated Japanese elements into ranks and expressed anticipation that this might presage a new move by the Soviets. Questioned in regard to what form the hypothetical move might take he stated that it would presumably be not in the form of a physical clash but would be in the diplomatic field, and he added that diplomatic relations between the two countries were at present more tense than heretofore. He expanded his thesis by saying that he surmised that the Soviets might make the Chinese-Ch’angch’un Railway the nominal cause for their démarche, in the form of an argument that if the Chinese could not run it the Soviets ought to do so. He then made what appeared possibly to be some shift in chronology of anticipation by stating that it was believed that the Soviets [Page 1294]would “do some talking” by winter of this year, by which time American forces would be reduced and the Soviet forces thus comparatively strengthened in the Far East: the situation was such, he said, that “a child could understand.”

General Chao stated further that Soviet military officers were now at Harbin, Dairen and Ch’ihfeng. Questioned, he indicated that this was not a new development, but he nevertheless gave the impression that the Kuomintang side had at least just learned of the real situation. He stated further that the deduction from Chinese Communist moves was that, “as if the Soviets played the music and the Communists danced,” those moves were synchronized with Soviet pronouncements. Thus, he said, the Pravda item probably heralded some move by the Chinese Communists as well. In stating further that the Chinese knew nothing of what was happening in North Korea, General Chao left it to be inferred that what was going on there probably promised no good.

As of incidental interest, there may be reported here General Chao’s interpretation of post-truce arrangements as requiring maintenance by both sides of their present general positions, with movements within general boundaries permitted but with advance over those boundaries ruled out. Although such an interpretation would permit either or both sides to build up existing positions, it would appear to contemplate no advance by the Kuomintang forces side in the near future. General Chao said that there were currently small clashes and interruption of communications, but no major engagements in Manchuria.

I invite the Embassy’s attention to the circumstances that although the Chief-of-Staff professed that his “feeling” regarding imminent action from the Soviet side came from a process of reasoning—and he emphasized that the event might prove his reasoning false—it is highly probable that his feeling was based upon information more substantial in character than that given in the reported conversation.

Respectfully yours,

O. Edmund Clubb
  1. Copy transmitted to the Department by the Embassy in China without covering despatch; received July 22.