The Consul General at Mukden ( Ward ) to the Secretary of State
[Received March 4—8:26 a. m.]
113. General Wei in conference today with Military Attaché Soule93 and me reiterated confidence his ability hold Chinchow and Mukden “islands” if sufficient troops sent NE restore and keep open rail communication between Mukden and North China but admitted without such communications in Mukden area without much hope. I have no reason disbelieve Wei. Wei reasonably certain additional troops will be forthcoming even though may mean serious weakening and loss territory intramural China to Communists. Although seriousness situation not minimized by Wei, he is not as pessimistic as 2 weeks [Page 128] ago. Appears to have excellent defensive system worked out for Mukden. Unusually early thaws south Liaoning working Government advantage. Expeditious and intelligent recent use 155 mm artillery by American-trained artillery officer Wei staff Hsinmin and Suchiatun areas indicated to Communists [that] Government would not tolerate loss either point passively. Communists now making general withdrawal northwards including troops formerly in Hsinmin area and Communist 4th and 8th column in Anshan and Yingkow; areas. Communists apparently do not want tired and somewhat disorganized troops remain south Mukden–Hsinmin line and be caught between flooding rivers. This factor may well give Government forces Mukden–Hsinmin–Chinchow area one month support unity, bring in reinforcements and reopen rail communications. There is definitely no indication Mukden will fall to Communists through military engagement in near future as was held by many circles some weeks ago. If Govt can succeed in restoring rail communication on Mukden–Peiping rail line, belief growing here Mukden can be held successfully unless local resistance is weakened by crisis at Nanking or serious military reverses North China.
Sent Dept, repeated Embassy as 158.
- Brig. Gen. Robert H. Soule.↩