740.00114 Pacific War/2–2247: Telegram

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

340. 1. Information requested in second paragraph of Deptel 196, Feb 18, 11 a.m.10 follows:

Evidence which can be furnished Chinese Govt of presence of Japanese forces:
In order to minimize embarrassment to the Chinese Govt, it should simply be informed (1) that the U. S. Govt understands there are sizeable Japanese holdout troops in Manchuria located generally in the Changpai Mountain, Chingpo Hu area, Mutankiang area and the Hsingan Mountains; (2) that the U. S. Govt would appreciate being informed of any plans of the Chinese Govt for repatriation of these Japanese forces; and (3) that, if desired, the U. S. Govt will determine extent to which SCAP shipping can be made available.
Logistical feasibility of these Japanese moving overland into National Govt territory:
The report on Japanese holdout troops states that it is feasible logistically for the Japanese troops in the Changpai Mountain region to move overland to Tunghua into National Govt territory, and for the Japanese troops in the Chingpo Hu area to move overland to Lafa and into Nationalist territory. There are some Communists in the area which these Japanese troops would have to traverse; but the report alleges that the Japanese are capable of protecting themselves during the trek. The other Japanese troops are behind the Communist lines, at such a distance and in such inaccessible areas that it is considered logistically impracticable as well as dangerous for these forces under present conditions to attempt an overland movement to territory now under control of the National Govt. From a purely logistical standpoint [Page 992] the only practicable method open now would be for these troops to be repatriated over the Chinese Eastern Railroad to Soviet Russia, thence via the trans-Siberian railroad to Vladivostok, provided suitable arrangements could be made with the Russian Govt.
Practicability of ordering such a move:
An order for the movement of the two groups to Tunghua and Lafa probably should be issued by SCAP, should make reference to the Emperor’s desire for their repatriation, should state that the Chinese Govt will act as SCAP’s agent, and should contain appropriate assurances from the Chinese Govt and SCAP as to proper treatment and prompt repatriation.…
Nature and extent of American assistance or participation which might be practicable in connection with repatriation:
American assistance and participation should, in Embassy’s opinion, be limited to provision of shipping by SCAP to transport the troops from Hulutao to Japan.

2. It is not clear to the Embassy whether first paragraph of Deptel 196 is intended to mean that Dept does not wish to take cognizance of political implications in presence of the forces and wishes to reduce the problem to mechanics of accomplishing repatriation.

3. If Dept does not wish to approach Russians on the matter, although most accessible ports are under Russian control, Embassy considers it premature to approach Chinese Govt at this time, since none of the Japanese forces is in Chinese Govt-controlled areas and approach to the Chinese Govt on the matter could be interpreted as indirect American approval of military operations by Chinese Govt to uncover the four areas. The Chinese can be expected to claim that it is logistically infeasible for any of the four groups of Japanese troops to reach Govt-controlled areas. If, as our information indicates, the Chinese are attempting to use the Changpai and Chingpo Hu forces to their advantage against the Communists, they will possibly claim that it will be necessary to launch a campaign against the Communists to insure the safety of the Japanese holdout forces and also request American logistical support in the campaign.

4. It is considered desirable to remain silent until either Chinese Govt has overrun the four areas or has significantly increased its capabilities of removing these Japanese without American assistance other than shipping. Present indications are that Japanese will cooperate fully in surrender and repatriation only if U. S. provides observers as guarantee of reasonably fair treatment, food, shelter and prompt repatriation after surrender. The presence of U. S. personnel in forward areas of Manchuria at a time when public attention is focused on American withdrawal from China would provide the Chinese Communists and Russians with effective propaganda ammunition.

Sent Department 340. Please repeat to Tokyo as 11.

  1. See footnote 6, p. 990.