893.50 Recovery/11–2448

The Consul General at Peiping (Clubb) to the Secretary of State

No. 157

Sir: I have the honor to refer to this Consulate General’s telegram No. 488 of even date78 in regard to the policies of ECA in North China after the hypothetical occupation of this area by the Communist forces and to enclose as of possible interest in this general connection a copy of a memorandum of conversation of November 1, 1948 between Mr. Robert Allen Griffin of ECA and myself on the subject.79

The substance of that memorandum as far as recommendations are concerned, was contained in this office’s reference telegram. The essential motivation for the argument is (1) that belief that a discontinuation of ECA food supply upon the change in political complexion of this area would result inevitably in an unfavorable popular reaction against the United States, and (2) my further estimate that the experimental continuation contrariwise of that food supply program would possibly give the United States Government a point d’appui for the exercise of American policy vis-à-vis the new situation which would have developed in North China. The United States Government will inevitably remain technically interested in this area by the probable circumstance that there would evidently remain behind in this area, after the postulated fall of the Nationalist power, American interests of both missionary and commercial character. It is to be noted that ECA’s remaining in North China on a tentative basis would by no manner of means in the first instance commit the United States to any considerable political or economic investment to be extended through ECA, that such continuation could be put entirely on the basis of the principle that ECA would continue only insofar as its activities were facilitated and the United States got what would be considered a proper return for its effort, that if the experiment failed ECA could then withdraw—pointing out that it had endeavored to render assistance but had been unable to continue because of (say) lack of cooperation from the Chinese Communist side; but that withdrawal of ECA from the area on the eve of Communist occupation would (a) create the aforementioned supposed bad impression and (b) make it from the practical standpoint more difficult in the future for the United States Government to cause the return to this area of ECA or other relief organs or otherwise to expand its official establishment in this area.

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The attention of the Department is further invited to the circumstances that, with the breaking down of the economic cordons which at the present time keep the grain in the countryside from moving freely into the Nationalist-held towns, the actual amount of relief foodstuffs required by this region after Communist occupation would in all probability be considerably reduced; and that the program is scheduled to terminate April 3, 1949 in any event. Continuation would seem to offer little risk for a possible gain which, if problematical, might be discovered not unsubstantial.

Respectfully yours,

O. Edmund Clubb
  1. Dated November 26, infra.
  2. Not printed.