The Consul General at Peiping (Clubb) to the Ambassador in China (Stuart)7

No. 5

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Embassy’s recent instructions in respect to the matter of evacuation of American citizens from points of possible danger, and to enclose as of pertinency in this general connection a copy of a memorandum of conversation on January 27, 1948,8 between representatives of different American organs located in Peiping and myself on the same subject.

It will be observed that I followed the general line of recommendation set forth in the Embassy’s circular telegram of December 29,9 developing the subject with particular reference to the existing political-military situation in North China. The Embassy will observe that I indicated that Peiping, Tientsin and Tsingtao were points of relative safety at the present time, that certain other points could be considered as not being under immediate threat, but that there were certain areas particularly in which American organizations might well now consider the advisability of removing those American members of their organizations who were classified as non-essential. Further, I indicated that it was deemed desirable to consider the advisability of removal in good time of all persons who might be concerned by further Communist advances, this having particular reference to organizations which did not plan to continue on in the event that the areas in question might fall under Communist control. It [Page 812] will be observed that the participants in the round-table discussion did not give clear indication of their several policies in respect to the matter of carrying on under Communist control. In fact, it would appear that, although they have been giving consideration to the matter, the particular representatives who spoke on the subject had not as yet made up their minds in regard to the question in point.

Those who expressed any opinion in regard to the matter were inclined to the view that the anti-American propaganda carried on by the Chinese Communists had increased in virulence, if anything, in the course of the past year. This is a development which has occurred despite the circumstance that the American forces have been Withdrawn from China and the American policy has been generally ong of non-interference with Chinese internal affairs. There are, in short, indications that the propaganda begun by the Chinese Communists for cold-blooded political purposes has probably aroused a popular emotion which they now would find it difficult to control—even should they desire to do so. That this popular emotion which has been stirred up by the Communists will upon occasion take the same form of bloody incidents as has been true upon occasion of manifestation of Chinese nationalism in the past seems probable. As is known, killings of American missionaries and missionaries of other nationalities have occurred in China during the past year with the guilt evidently on the hands of Communist units or organizations. On the other hand, foreigners continue to reside in important numbers in places under Chinese Communist jurisdiction and the general testimony of UNRRA10 workers who have penetrated Communist districts has been that the Communists purport in principle to be against the policy of the United States Government but not antipathetic toward individual American citizens. The temper of the times is such in both Communist and Nationalist controlled areas, however, that it appears to be only sound judgment to prepare for a recrudescence of aggravated Chinese nationalism in the form of anti-foreignism in 1948. It seems probable to the writer that the extension by the United States Government of more direct and more substantial aid to the National Government than has been forthcoming in the past year could only act as a stimulant to the existing anti-Americanism in the Communist controlled areas. Inviting the attention of the Embassy to the manifestly violent character of the declaration of Yenching University students on the subject of “imperialism” (Peiping’s Chinese Press Review No. 526, January 31, 1948, Yenching News of January 26, 1948), I would reiterate my belief that latent Chinese nationalism might in the event of increased aid to the National Government likewise bring about a renewal of anti-American movements in Nationalist controlled territory.

Respectfully yours,

O. Edmund Clubb
  1. Copy transmitted to the Department by the Ambassador in China in his covering despatch No. 61, February 10; received February 19.
  2. Not printed.
  3. See airgram No. A-1, January 2, from the Ambassador in China, p. 809.
  4. United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration.