893.00/12–1846: Telegram

The Ambassador in China (Stuart) to the Secretary of State

2123. Reference Department’s unnumbered, December 9, 11 p.m.,32 and Moscow’s 4348, December 9, 6 a.m.

The Sinkiang delegation to the National Assembly is composed of 18 members of whom only 3 Chinese, which includes those selected by the Chinese Governor-General Chang Chih-chung. The delegation [Page 1222] was quiet for the first few days after its arrival and finally Ahkmed Jan, Vice-Governor of the province and one of the two principal leaders of the Turki revolt and head of the East Turkistan Republic, spoke for the delegation and demanded full internal autonomy for the province and joint Turki-Chinese control of foreign affairs and national defense.

According to reports, [this] provoked an uproar in the Assembly hut it is interesting to note that there was only casual press reference made on the following day and none since. It is not anticipated that there will be any further reference to it. Ward, when he was here, and some of the Turki delegates subsequently have stated that this position is supported by Chang Chih-chung himself on the grounds that matters have gone so far now that the only hope left for China to retain any kind of control or influence in Sinkiang is this proposal. The Turki delegates are frankly pessimistic over the prospects of Chinese agreement. On the basis of the known Chinese minority record, the Embassy is inclined to agree with this estimate. The Turkis, to substantiate their pessimism, point out that with the exception of one letter from the Chinese Government agreeing to consider an extension of cultural autonomy and assistance to Turki schools, the Government has so far failed even to acknowledge any Turki communications on the Sinkiang situation. The delegation claims further that their efforts to have some provision for safeguarding minorities written into the constitution have proved futile and that Government delegates, in fact, in general refuse to discuss the Sinkiang question directly with the Turki delegates but rather say that they will discuss the question among themselves and will inform the Turkis of their decision.

The minorities problem has been additionally complicated by the failure of an attempt to coordinate Mongol, Turki and Tibetan activities. Apparently the Tibetans have been agreeable to any proposal made by anyone since it seems they are not entirely sure of where they are or why they are here. Dissension, however, has arisen between the Mongols and the Turkis since each one feels that his own particular problems should be settled first. It is hardly necessary to state that the Chinese are desperate [in] exploiting this sort of division. In short, there is little or nothing so far in the visit of the Sinkiang delegates to Nanking to suggest that the drift of Sinkiang away from China is being checked.

Department please repeat to Moscow.

  1. This telegram repeated No. 4348, December 9, 6 a.m. supra.