893.00/10–248: Telegram

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

93. Rumors received from two separate sources that dissident zones beginning to discontinue designation of area as “East Turkistan Republic” in favor of “Sinkiang”, to replace independent flag (white star and crescent on green field) with Chinese national standard and even to accompany Turkistan official documents with Chinese text. Abassof, Ili-appointed Vice Secretary General of Provisional Government, is said to be heading organization in Ining for “peace and unity”.

These reports, if true, indicate move toward reconciliation with Central Government or at least with General Chang Chi-chung. Early conciliatory Ili reply to Chang’s letter of April 1 (see mytel to Embassy 106, repeated Department 50, May 4) would provide substantiation.

While certain native anti-Soviet elements in the Ili group such as Rene Bator (see mytel to Embassy 125, repeated Department 66, June 2938) may be responsible for initiative and some Ili leaders appear to consider Soviet aid sufficient to compensate for trade blockade from rest of province and repressive controls in area, highly improbable that actions reported could have been taken without tacit Soviet consent. Conjecture that Foreign Office [delegate] Liu still In Alma Ata (see mytel to Embassy 181, September 2338) may also be negotiating these arrangements.

All advantages possibly anticipated by USSR in exchange for relaxation of their present grasp on three zones not yet clear but arrangements may be under way between General Chang’s representatives and Russians to share benefits of province in event of breakdown of National Government authority. This would at least give them friendly neighbors here and Chang may be hoping to carve out domain for himself in northwest.

[Page 750]

Such a Sino-Soviet alliance might meet Muslim opposition from coalition of Turkistan and Tungan troops similar to that of the Tungan revolt in Chang’s earlier days. Furthermore, Tungans and native Muslims are now stressing religious link and minimizing racial differences. AdGen [As Gen.] Ma Chang-hsiang’s Fifth Cavalry Army from Tsinghai, undoubtedly best regular force in Sinkiang, complains of Han discrimination in equipment and supply and seems strongly anti-Russian, and” the Kazaks, best native fighters, particularly Osman’s men expelled from Ashan zone, are held together precisely because of opposition to Soviet Union, union of these elements might fairly evenly match Sino-Soviet forces unless Red Army troops should give major support. If Red Army Eighth Regiment, with former Sinkiang experience (see Tihwa’s telegram to Embassy 163, repeated Department 83, August 3140), is indeed at Alma Ata, it could, however, assist Chang’s troops against this alliance and might undertake such a foray almost as though maneuvers.

Sent Nanking 190; repeated Department 93.

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