740.00119 PW/2–246: Telegram

The Consul General at Shanghai (Josselyn) to the Secretary of State

153. Sturgeon submits following for reference planning entry Manchuria consular officials and representatives American business firms: Information and opinion has been sought in numerous quarters Shanghai, over considerable period, on question when Chinese may gain administrative authority sufficient to permit effective functioning consular offices and entry representatives American business organizations Manchuria. From this inquiry, which has included well informed military and civilian sources, number of obstacles to early Chinese control of Manchuria have become fairly clear.

Although Chinese Govt. proceeds with plans and activities looking toward taking over control Manchuria, it confronts serious problems involving following principal matters:

Effective military control.
Civil Administration.
Rehabilitation industry and trade.
Sino-Soviet treaty9 and Soviet political and economic interest.

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Comprising area twice size pre-war Japanese Empire, effective Chinese military control Manchuria would constitute large problem under favorable conditions; with serious lack of transport for troop movements and supply, such control seems improbable for indefinite time. American newspaper correspondents have called particular attention to poor transport and supply service, also shortage equipment and adequate clothing for troops. Present rate movement and dispersion Chinese troops Manchuria appears slow despite American assistance. (Reference Dept.’s 77 to Shanghai, 112 to Chungking.) Dispersion also appears await and depend upon negotiations and arrangements Soviet authorities. Real administrative authority public affairs apparently cannot precede military control.

When military control established, finding competent civil administrators for provinces and large cities poses special problem for reason heavy demand already made on available personnel in other liberated areas. Weakness in this link of Chinese control promises create dissatisfaction and undermine confidence in new govt. as has reportedly occurred in Formosa; practice of bringing administrators from China proper, lacking adequate knowledge local affairs, probable cause of discontent; also handicap in obtaining cooperation local populations necessary to efficient government and stable political conditions.

In trade and industry problem may prove similar to that of civil administration, i. e., lack of qualified technical personnel to assume responsibility rehabilitation. Failure effect reasonably early return economic conditions, including revival trade and industry, comparing favorably previous regime could seriously reduce influence and authority new administration.

Taking over Manchuria under favorable conditions probably would tax Chinese strength and resource. Should problem carrying out provisions Sino-Soviet treaty and otherwise satisfying Soviet political and economic interest hamper administrative control, Chinese prospect establishing successful regime seemingly greatly reduced. Close survey not possible for some time, however, weight of opinion informed persons is that China will not have unhampered administrative control Manchuria but responsibility without full authority. War Dept.’s Soviet expert China Theatre, Col. Yeaton,10 states strong conviction Soviet definitely intend remain controlling force Manchuria.

Provisions Sino-Soviet agreements regarding Manchurian railways and Port Dairen appear place Soviet strong position exert control difficult to observe from outside. Thus if Soviet policy calls for control superior to that of China, despite professed respect territorial [Page 1133] and administrative integrity, treaty position seems important factor. Points of probable weakness in Chinese position enumerated above appears constitute other factors favoring possible Soviet aim of eventual political control.

Factors appearing in Manchuria situation suggest following main conclusions:

Success of efforts Chinese Govt. gain effective administrative control over Manchuria in near future appear distinctly problematical due magnitude of task and possible Soviet counter aims.
Effective functioning consular offices and early resumption American business activity in area appear dependent upon Soviet concurrence as well as Chinese approval. If this estimate correct, protection American interests in Manchuria, both economic and political, appears call for closest understanding between Governments United States and Soviet Union.

  1. Signed at Moscow, August 14, 1945, United Nations Treaty Series, vol. 10, p. 300, and Department of State, United States Relations With China (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1949), pp. 585–596.
  2. Ivan D. Yeaton, head of the Army Observer Group at Yenan, Chinese Communist headquarters.