761.93/9–1548: Telegram

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

1692. We have received further information from usually reliable source which helps somewhat to elucidate some of the blank spots and confusion which were described in Embtels 1626, September 4, 1 p. m. and 1660, September 9, 6 p. m.7 concerning Sino-Soviet relations. This information is that a new clique is forming around Foreign Minister, Minister Commerce Yu Ta-wei, Secretary of Executive Yuan Li Wei-kuo, Vice Minister Foreign Affairs George Yeh and Foreign Office Chief of Protocol C. H. Shen. The objective of this clique is to avoid entanglements with the US or the Soviet Union. This group hopes that when war between the US and USSR, which they believe inevitable, actually takes place it will be possible for China to remain neutral.

We also learn that Foreign Minister and Soviet Ambassador have recently had several long conferences and that they have gone to considerable pains to keep these meetings secret. Also fitting into this picture is the report that the proposed ban on operation of Attaché planes in China was instigated by Foreign Minister (see Embtel 1571, [Page 461] August 258) and that Gimo was incensed that such action should be initiated without his approval. He is reported to have ordered its cancellation. On the other hand Vice Minister Foreign Office asserts Gimo and Ministry National Defense issued the order and Foreign Office fought it unsuccessfully. We incline to think latter assertion is untrue.

The above would seem to fit into pattern of a dominant group in Foreign Office which desires neutrality in the event of a Soviet-American conflict and is therefore prepared to go to considerable lengths in appeasement of the Soviets. There is also possibility that this group in seeking justification Soviet appeasement policy will through force of circumstances develop anti-American or at least less friendly orientation. Certain members of group [who?] already hold ideological affinity Marxism express doubts over basic motivations American policy and tend place on US present disturbed international situation. Just what strategy group will use in advancing its position and gaining wider acceptance its views is not yet clear. It is likely they will attempt receipt support in Government circles. One well qualified Chinese observer believes they may attempt replace Wong Wen-hao by Wang Shih-chieh. There is no evidence immediately available to suggest existence of comparable organized group opposed to Soviet appeasement though anti-Soviet sentiment is known to be strong in military circles. Despite his statement that China cannot afford at this time to antagonize the Soviets unduly we believe that basically the Gimo is pro-American in his orientation. He will, of course, continue to be subject to great pressures from all directions and it is difficult at the moment to say which is the more likely to prevail. One important factor in his thinking will be the influence of his son Chiang Ching-kuo who is presently making an enviable record for himself in Shanghai in connection with enforcement of economic relief measures. There is some evidence that suggests that Ching-kuo is fundamentally pro-Soviet in his attitude. A recent speech he made in Shanghai to the Youth group9 very definitely showed the effects of his early Soviet training. Another strong influence will doubtless be the development of a Communist government in North China and the threat of Soviet recognition thereof (see our 1623, September 3, 6 p. m.).

We agree with Moscow’s 1934, September 10, 4 p. m.10 that such recognition is not imminent. On the other hand we continue the belief that Soviets seek eventual control all China through coalition (our 1472, August 10, 10 a. m.). Under coalition agreement Soviets might well arrange to [with?] them sufficiently benevolent Chinese neutrality [Page 462] to warrant them to forego use of Chinese territory for military operations in event outbreak of hostilities with West. This would raise, of course, the question of whether our interests would be better served by Chinese.

Department pass Moscow 65.

  1. Latter not printed.
  2. Post, p. 738.
  3. For summary, see telegram No. 2002, September 13, from the Consul General at Shanghai, vol. viii , “Financial Relations”.
  4. Not printed.