840.48 Refugees/12–2048

The Consul General at Shanghai (Cabot) to the Secretary of State

No. 1042

Sir: I have the honor to enclose two recently prepared memoranda13 centering on the increasing panic of local White Russians; the ironical apparently preferred position of questionable “White” Russians over more bona fide ones with respect to opportunities for escape by evacuation as DP’s; and Soviet actions suggestive of a newly launched drive to strengthen the Soviet position in local Russian, foreign (especially American and British) and Chinese circles. These memoranda were prepared by a member of the American staff of the Consulate General who has exceptional opportunities for acquiring first-hand information concerning local Russian affairs and who desires not to be here [Page 955] identified. They are largely in accord with material from other sources in so far as such material is available here.

Summary About 2000 Russians in Shanghai who had taken out Soviet passports have relinquished them in recent months and applied for stateless passports. Most of those receiving stateless passports from the Chinese Government have been applying for membership in the White Russian Emigrants Association, which has been screening the applicants before admitting them and has been rejecting a good many. Those who have been rejected (and whose anti-Soviet leaning is presumably open to serious question) are—somewhat ironically—apparently finding it easier to escape from Shanghai as DP evacuees under the IRO program than are persons in good standing in the White Russians Emigrants Association. The Soviet Consulate General, in place of its former vengeful policy toward Russians wishing to return their Soviet passports, has very recently adopted a practice of encouraging many such persons to apply for stateless passports, but at the same time advising them to refrain from public repudiation of their Soviet citizenship and to have the Consulate General keep their passports on deposit for possible future use. Many Russians are availing themselves of this new procedure as it enables them “to keep a leg on each side of the fence.” The system benefits the Soviet authorities by providing them with increased numbers of potential undercover agents in the guise of stateless persons; and a primary Soviet motive appears to have been that of facilitating the obtainment by such persons of employment in American, British, and other firms. That the Soviet Union is in fact engaged in a newly initiated drive to strengthen the Soviet hand in Russian and foreign (especially American and British) as well as Chinese circles here would also seem indicated by the apparently well founded report of the recent arrival at Shanghai of fifty-five young Soviet men, proficient in English and Chinese, and evidently trained for specific tasks here and elsewhere in China. (Ten of them are reported to have proceeded on to Tientsin*). Local White Russians are becoming panic-stricken in the face of a possibly imminent Communist regime which they fear will be preceded by an interim period of terrorism by Soviet agents. (The existence of increasing fright among the White Russians is confirmed by other indications; and, among other factors, reports of a plan of evacuating a group of Russian minor technicians to the Marianas are contributing to the alarm of those to be left behind.)

Respectfully yours,

John M. Cabot
  1. Neither printed.
  2. The Consulate General is endeavoring to obtain more information concerning these agents, including their names. [Footnote in the original.]