745.93/1–2548: Telegram

The Consul at Tihwa ( Paxton ) to the Secretary of State

13. Sources (Turki merchants from Nanchiang in casual conversation) of previous information regarding possible trend toward closer relations with neighboring Muslim states have returned south. [Page 730] Unable discreetly to contact Shipton, former British now Indian Consul General, Kashgar, as British Consulate, Tihwa, which has Government of India code with Kashgar, closed since last February. Few useful messages can be exchanged with Shipton by Chinese telegraph en clair and mail of course insecure. Visit to Nanchiang planned for January now impracticable but will be made as soon as parts for command car (see Tihwa telegram to Department 10,4 repeated Embassy 20, January 22) are received.

ReDeptel 1, January 9. However, certain other items obtained locally follow. Talat Musa Bayev, large-scale Turki trader here, former student in Paris, considers Pakistan possible trade outlet for this area now blocked off by poor communications with China coast and continued absence of commercial agreement with USSR. He states trans-Karakorum route from Kashgar already usable by truck except for two passes only 500 kilometers apart. Completion of connecting road would not be a difficult engineering feat, he says, and Shipton understood to concur but Chinese authorities (see Tihwa telegram to Embassy 259, June 105) disapprove project for strategic reasons.

Informant claims that, though way through Wakhan Valley exodus in Afghanistan is less dangerous topographically than over Indian passes, the Afghans are such lawless robbers that trade over this route to Kabul and beyond involves too great risk.

Tihwa clergy and several Hotien mullahs recently here agree that Sinkiang Muslims approve of the Pakistan faithful more than those of Afghanistan or Iran. They feel that Hindu India is being infiltrated by Soviet influence and charge Muslims from USSR with being “quite godless”. However they distrust Russians only little less than Chinese partly perhaps since some of former at least claim same religion and latter are current “oppressors”.

No confirmation thus far of any “Greater Pakistan” political agents in Sinkiang but in view of its need for outside markets commercial representatives may be increasing in the belief that closer trade relations between this province and Pakistan might assist in solution of common economic problems. South Sinkiang especially lacks other convenient outlets for its export products: silk, carpets, wool and grain. While mutual attraction between Muslims here and to the south based on trade and religion is evident, the difference in language between the two areas will continue to present serious cultural barriers.

Until my visit to Nanchiang is feasible, more information may be obtainable from New Delhi as Shipton is under Government of India [Page 731] and has no codes or direct mail communications with British Embassy, Nanking.

Sent Nanking 23, repeated Department 13.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Text quoted in Embassy’s airgram No. A–136, June 16, 1947, not printed.