761.93/6–646: Telegram

The Ambassador in the Soviet Union ( Smith ) to the Secretary of State

1770. Essential difference between developments in Azerbaijan and those in Sinkiang (Nanking’s 879, May 29) is one of timing. USSR manipulation of Azerbaijan situation was precipitate and therefore Soviet tactics were necessarily heavy-handed and obvious. Overt nature of Soviet aggression in Azerbaijan aroused rest of world and [Page 1207] caused strong international opposition which proved embarrassing to USSR and obstructive to smooth realization of Soviet aims.

Soviet timing in Sinkiang has been most deliberate and cautious. USSR is taking its time with regard to Sinkiang, quietly assisting or perhaps only standing by and watching genuinely indigenous forces accomplish changes favorable to USSR. By not forcing pace of developments in Sinkiang, USSR may get what it seeks—effective control over province—without arousing international alarm and concerted resistance.

Agreement reached by Government and rebels as reported by Ward represents a considerable Soviet advance. This is certainly so if rebels are witting or unwitting tools of Soviet. It is still so even if rebels are in no respect—which hardly seems likely—subject to Soviet influence, because rebel gains mean weakening of Government authority which in turn means strengthening of Soviet position in Sinkiang.

We concur with Ward’s comment that only way in which Nanking will be able to maintain its authority in Sinkiang is to institute provincial administrative housecleaning and general reforms.

Our attitude in this respect is based on our general belief that most effective way to combat Soviet political expansionism is to cut the ground out from under Soviet case by ourselves supporting reform. Elimination of just causes for complaint, whether they be in Sinkiang, Azerbaijan or Greece, is to heighten domestic resistance to Soviet intrigue and to expose any Soviet expansionist movements as pure aggression.

Request Nanking give copy of this to General Marshall11 at once. Department relay this to Nanking as Moscow’s 79.

Smith
  1. General of the Army George C. Marshall, Special Representative of President Truman in China.