125.313/7–2849: Telegram

The Ambassador in China (Stuart) to the Secretary of State

1639. We concur Department’s suggestion (Deptel 873, July 223) that isolated posts Chungking and Kunming be closed when threatened by Communist occupation. Tihwa even more isolated and bloody history of Sinkiang counsels that staff be removed before breakdown of law and order become imminent. Difficulty obtaining Soviet visa makes unlikely exit via USSR in event emergency, leaving only difficult mountain route to India or Afghanistan. Therefore, recommend immediate steps close Tihwa as a Consulate, evacuating women, children and personal effects, storing Government property. Communist advance south from Paochi already threatens momentarily cut highway communications between Kansu and Szechuan but air travel still possible via Lanchow and Chungking. Past experience indicates such travel will require careful planning well in advance. If Department [Page 1305] considers Tihwa sufficiently valuable as listening post (see Cantel 813, July 24), radio might be maintained and Rinden4 and Dreesen5 remain there as long as safe to do so, prepared when necessary to abandon Government equipment remaining and depart over mountains with small amount personal belongings. We agree with Canton that Lan-chow might be useful listening post if suitable officer available. He could retire to Tihwa and exit with officers there as conditions required if Tihwa also destined as listening post.

Sent Department, repeated OffEmb Canton 689.

  1. Same as telegram telCan No. 486 to Canton, p. 1303.
  2. Robert W. Rinden, Consul at Shanghai, proposed replacement for John Hall Paxton, Consul at Tihwa.
  3. Robert B. Dreesen, Viee Consul at Tihwa.