393.1115/5–2748: Telegram

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

229. [To Nanking:] Would summarize my interpretation consensus of opinion as derived from conversations with Minister Clark, Consul Hinke, Military Attaché Soule and Asta Military Attaché Barrett45 and as conveyed Consul General Cabot essentially as follows:

[Page 832]

(ReEmbtel 109, May 2046) (1) No emergency military situation exists North China at this time which would require urgent evacuation either official dependents or other Americans. (2) Peiping–Tientsin area, however, may properly be considered to have reached phase one and therefore extension to local Americans of warning similar to but less strong than that previously sent Americans in outlying points east of Sian and north of Yangtze is now appropriate. (3) Such warning should be based primarily upon uncertainty maintenance communications and would propose that those persons desirous either of shipping effects or of themselves leaving before further deterioration military situation would be well advised to undertake matter now while removal by regular commercial facilities is still feasible. (4) That warning would be issued only after notification by Embassy to Foreign Office and would be couched in terms avoiding if feasible overt reference possible occupation Peiping by Communists. (5) Notification would perferably be paralleled by discussion of matter in conference with heads interested American organizations.

Reference Tientsin’s 275, May 2547 expresses opinion that issue projected warning (which is logical step from present position) will possibly cause some local popular excitement but that even so will possibly not result in any considerable exodus Americans from North China, many of whom plan to stay even under threat of Communist occupation. Believe, therefore, that provision for any substantial increase transportation facilities should come only after appearance real demand. Suggest that character of demand would become apparent shortly after issue of circular letter of warning and conference with heads of American organs.

ReContel 355, May 22,48 tentatively offer estimate that (1) there will develop no major danger for Peiping–Tientsin area until such time as present Communist forces this area have been strengthened by other units coming from either south (improbable) or north from Manchuria either through Jehol or via Chinchow corridor; (2) it will probably be some time before Nationalist position Jehol or Chinchow will be broken since Communists logically can be expected hold in Manchuria adequate troops to [deal] with moves by Nationalists in Mukden sector and it would also take some time to build up base for Communist advance against North China from Manchuria; (3) present warning will suffice to stimulate those persons desirous of leaving before Communists arrive to step up their plans; (4) Americans and other foreigners this area who choose remain behind even [Page 833] in event there develops real threat of Communist occupation Tientsin–Peiping area should not (especially in view importance American political and economic interests in Asia) be pressed to [depart] contrary to their own judgment and thus leave field open to influence inimical to American interests (Contel 341, May 1949). Note troubled conditions have been experienced by Americans in China with nearly constant regularity since 1911 and present conditions therefore are in good measure susceptible to their own judgment. Remark here that course military developments Manchuria where Changchun and Mukden still hold gives lesson for future North China. Note that with hypothetical increase Communist strength from north Fu Tso-yi50 with reinforcements would probably be forced to withdraw west into Suiyuan and alternatively with possible reinforcement from Chin-chow area would probably choose make East Hopeh and Great Wall main arena for battle rather than metropolitan centers Peiping–Tientsin. Granted that situation in respect communications from Peiping to Tientsin will probably continue deteriorate, it is nevertheless felt that present warning should be directed primarily to communications problem and to emphasize to concerned Americans that cannot depend upon emergency evacuation by American official transport in event they choose to leave later when communications are worse.

Sent Nanking 371, repeated SecState 229.

  1. Col. David D. Barrett, Assistant Military Attaché.
  2. Sent to the Department as telegram No. 911, p. 829.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Not found in Department files.
  5. Not printed.
  6. Commander in Chief of North China Bandit Suppression Forces; Deputy Director of Peiping Headquarters of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek.