893.00/7–1447: Telegram

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

1521. Following is Changchun’s 294 to Embassy, July 9, 11 a.m.:

“Against background of Nationalists’ relief of Ssupingkai and Nanking’s proclamation of all-out war against Communists, offer following brief analysis of present military situation Manchuria.

Only 1 year after Communists were ejected from Ssupingkai and Changchun, in defeat which NECC28a commander Tu Yu-ming said would prevent them from ever rising again, Communist army which Gimo put at 300,000 troops and which probably comprised approximately half that number was able to mount drive which badly shook whole Nationalist position.
In that drive Communists wiped out important elements of Nationalist forces, effectively crippled communications between Changchun and Mukden for some time to come, and removed, destroyed, or distributed important stocks of foodstuffs.
Communists made serious effort capture Ssupingkai and lost heavily there; thoroughgoing: character of destruction of railway lines south of Changchun nevertheless introduces doubt as to whether original plans were based on assumption that they would be able at this stage of campaign to establish effective control over east-west corridor between Changchun, Kirin, Mukden and reduce two first-named towns.
Communist advance was checked by arrival Nationalist reinforcements but it is problematical whether those limited reinforcements (5 divisions) constitute absolute strengthening of Nationalist position in view admitted losses; whether there has been relative improvement of Nationalist position vis-à-vis Communists depends on extent Communist losses; although Communist losses at Ssupingkai are still undetermined they are indubitably heaviest at that point; new First Army Chief of Staff informed American Military Attaché29 and myself that reports Communist losses are exaggerated, that he believed Communist dead and wounded at Ssupingkai were about 20,000 with total for campaign 30,000; Nationalists failed to bag any large Communist force at Ssupingkai.
Communists can depend on their control of greater part Manchuria for replacements whereas Nationalist forces must transfer units from intramural China where such units still badly needed.
Nationalists are now committed to all-out campaign and their success at Ssupingkai, with consequent stimulus to badly sagging self-confidence, may again lead to over-extension of essentially weak Nationalist forces badly supported by wrecked communications system.
Communists instead of returning en masse north of Sungari will probably choose to maintain strong contingent south of that line perhaps deployed in main west of Changchun and east of Kirin-Mukden rail line in effort to develop their hold on corridor which they already [Page 241] have footing and to campaign over more of Manchuria than heretofore. Their ability to implement such strategy would depend on unknown factors of capacity to maintain supply and to regroup after strains of present campaign.
National Government has evidently already been spending most of its material substance on anti-Communist campaign, and implication of general mobilization order that present effort will be extended is therefore apparently based on assumption that increased material aid will be forthcoming from abroad, that is from USA. Open charges of Soviet aid to Communists, where before were only references to ‘support from a certain country’ if unaccompanied by evidence and without matters being brought before UNO,30 would appear to reflect move more in nature political manipulation than legal action and may indicate advance of belief widely held in Kuomintang circles that war between USA and USSR is inevitable, with possible estimate in those circles that Manchuria is now potential point of international friction where embroilment two powers in question would (still in Kuomintang thinking) ‘save situation for National Government’.

In sum National position in Northeast has notably deteriorated in past year and Communist position has considerably strengthened. In those circumstances return to status quo ante May 1 cannot be expected to result from limited Nationalist reinforcement and Nationalist defensive victory at Ssupingkai. Clubb.”31

Sent Nanking, repeated Mukden, Peiping.

  1. Northeast China Command (Manchuria).
  2. Brig. Gen. Robert H. Soule.
  3. United Nations Organization.
  4. O. Edmund Clubb, Consul General at Changchun.