740.00119 PW/3–1846: Telegram
The Vice Consul at Tsingtao (Service) to the Secretary of State
[Received March 19—7:15 a.m.]
20. Following from Sturgeon.2
(Sent to Chungking as 19, repeated to Dept 20 and Shanghai 17, March 18, 11 a.m.)
“No. 6, March 18.
Summary situation at Dairen in respect consular representation:
- Soviet authorities maintain that conditions of peace and civil order not established Dairen area. Accordingly they are applying military law and regard that as still necessary.
- Civil administration appears nominal character with locally elected Chinese mayor and small Chinese police force apparently performing minor functions, while main responsibility for maintenance of civil order in hands of Soviet military authorities.
- [Apparent omission] law and order reported to US by authorities as very unsettled, due to continuance of warborn strife among Chinese and Japanese population and continued opposition of certain Japanese and former Manchukuo puppet elements to Soviet control. Most activities take place during daylight hours as streets considered unsafe at night.
- From physical appearance city appears not to have suffered seriously from destruction of industrial plants, commercial, and residential buildings. Much evidence of minor damage to buildings and neglect of upkeep. Condition of streets near normal but traffic extremely light.
- Living conditions for general population appear to be at bare subsistence level with respect to food. Shops and markets selling food few in number and prices generally high. Housing appear adequate owing to marked growth of city and apparent decrease in population probably due to evacuation of much of foreign and Japanese population. Public utilities including light and power systems apparently operating on a restricted base.
- With respect public transportation, local facilities appear confined to infrequent street car service, few horse-drawn carriages, taxis non-existent. Passenger train service consists of two in and out bound trains daily connecting with Harbin on the Chinese Changchun Railway. Freight understood limited to 20 cars per day.
- Very little industrial or economic activity is apparent. No commercial ships appear to be entering harbor other than Russian and these few in number. Trade slight consisting of small exports to Russia. Bean milling, principal industry, appears to be in Russian hands but unable to determine extent of activity. Banking limited to one Soviet and two Chinese banks, latter reported inactive.
- With regard consular representation, Commandant emphasized that this subject and related matters should be dealt with in light of military situation and with due regard to the special position Dairen assumes under the terms of the Sino-Soviet treaty. In view of this and conditions described above, possible functions of consular staff will naturally be limited for indefinite time. Also appears advisable select staff adaptable to existing conditions and to provide special instructions covering duties and relations with Soviet authorities. Believe highly important that Soviet treaty position be frankly recognized and carefully respected and that this constitutes best basis for consular relations with Soviet authorities.
- Further believe Dairen situation offers special opportunities consular officials contribute to development favorable attitude on part Soviet authorities toward representatives American firms and business enterprises. Establishment consular representation on basis which Soviet authorities would understand as friendly and of mutual benefit should also contribute in large measure to American interest and Soviet-American relations generally. Under present conditions consular activities should probably be at first restricted to accord with existing military and political situation, and be extended only as an atmosphere of understanding and cooperation is established. Seems not too much to expect that creation good working relations Dairen may favorably affect US–Soviet cooperation elsewhere in Far East. From this viewpoint objective at Dairen may be regarded broader character than usual consular function.
- Despite limited sphere of activities, the task of functioning under special and difficult conditions, while laying groundwork for activity on broader scope, appears to warrant a capable and well-equipped staff.
- It has been made clear by Commandant and his representatives that facilities available to consular officials for communication will be subject for arrangement between respective governments. The question of other available facilities apparently must also await establishment of representation and subsequent arrangement. This applies also to question of entry representatives of American business firms. Our discussions appear to make it quite clear that, owing to abnormal situation prevailing, work of consular officials in Dairen will be regulated by the need to obtain permission from Soviet authorities at various times.
- Recommendations regarding staff, consular and residential quarters, supplies and equipment being made in separate telegram.”
- Mr. Sturgeon had left Dairen on March 16 for Shanghai via Tsingtao.↩