The Ambassador in China (Stuart) to the Secretary of State
[Received June 11—10:21 a.m.]
1070. We are not of course competent to comment on military considerations involved in Tsingtao situation, Deptel 854, June 8. From political point of view, however, abandonment Tsingtao at this stage would, we believe, be concrete evidence to all interested that we are unwilling to run any risks in supporting those in China who are resisting communism, with the result that we will hasten, if not precipitate, the fall of Chiang Kai-shek and the disintegration of the present Government. A very considerable element in stiffening Generalissimo’s will to continue fighting and in assisting him to regain his dwindling prestige will be his ability to convince his enemies of the extent to which he can count on American support.
Present anti-American demonstrations are but a manifestation of rapidly increasing feeling hopelessness and seeking in traditional Chinese pattern to find someone else upon whom to place the blame. Attack is in reality as much against Government as against our policy in Japan and is sympathetic [symptomatic?] widespread frustration. Generalissimo loses prestige as each day passes without effective leadership and he is subjected to increasing pressure from those who oppose continued Sino-American cooperation. This element, which is constantly increasing in strength, seeks end to civil war at almost any price and would welcome almost any accommodation with the Communists in the despairing hope that some way will be found other than civil war effectively to counter Communist propaganda and to establish in the country traditional Chinese way of life. Should we abandon Tsingtao such action would encourage these elements and with equal force would discourage Generalissimo, possibly lead to his removal from the scene, and increase possibility of coalition in some form between Nationalists and Communists, with a resulting upsurge of regionalism and particularism which would make eventual Communist domination of all China more easy.[Page 319]
If our overall strategic position is such that we cannot run risks suggested by Admiral Badger at Tsingtao, we feel we should make the decision with clear understanding of political implications of such action in the China scene.