893.00B/6–249: Telegram

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

1951. Signs suggest Communists have adopted wary attitude toward involvement complex Shanghai politics—especially with respect encouragement [Page 361] ambitious local groups (including perhaps their own pre-established Communist underground) which seem vying to prove their “popular” character and facilities for helping Communists as partners and media in establishing new regime’s control of city: Communist leaders seem accordingly have acted swiftly in making it quite clear that displays of helpfulness and democratic ebullience will be strictly as dictated by Communist high command:

Two rival “popular” bodies were formed about May 25 to maintain order and protect city in interval between Nationalist evacuation and Communist take-over: Shanghai Security Council organized jointly by Shanghai city council and leaders of “trade, industry and charity groups” and purportedly headed by W. W. Yen;68 and People’s Security Corps formed by Federation of People’s Organizations of Shanghai (stressing workers and students). Former organization was disapproved by Communists and accordingly disowned by Yen and shortly folded up. Latter organization had Communist support but closed promptly May 28 after “accomplishing mission”.
Reliably reported a statement prepared by Shanghai Democratic League leaders May 27 was suppressed by Communists.
“China Democratic Joint Army” manifesto of May 26 (ConGentel 1952, June 269) which was published as if with approval of Chang Po-chung70 as [was] subsequently denied by Chang. Significant manifesto played up achievements of CDJA as on par with PLA71—hardly likely to please Communists.
Text of May 28 joint announcement of democratic parties and groups in Shanghai (ConGentel 1952) gives every evidence of being result of Communist ultimatum insisting on dictatorship which other groups have ruefully accepted.
Reliable source states demand by Hsu Hsu, underground Communist member police force, to be made police commissioner was rejected by Chen Yi72 (see also ConGentel 1829, May 25).
Well-informed source with Communist contacts states few days ago Mao Tse-tung wired Chen Yi instruct any Shanghai local elements throwing weight around should be promptly put in place.
One of Yang Hu’s73 chief assistants who has been in frequent contact with officer of Consulate General has changed attitude abruptly since Communist take-over. He had previously looked with certainty and relish to Yang’s and his taking important posts in “coalition” regime. He now says Communists offered him one of city’s deputy mayorships; that he turned it down though offering serve as informal advisor; and that while he might accept post if and when real coalition is established he is dubious this will materialize in view of new signs that Communists are veering from their “sensible decisions reached at Shihchiachuang”.

[Page 362]

Such slapping down and disillusionment fellow traveler and local groups is presumably common feature of victory flushed Communist take-overs. Believe, however, it may have more significance in Shanghai in view greater strength and apparently greater solidarity of “friendly” opposition forces resulting from size and political-social complexity of city and especially from circumstance that Yang Hu and his chief lieutenants are concurrently (1) members of KmtRC,74 (2) fairly close friends of Democratic Leaguers and Chen Ming-shu’s association of comrades of Three Principles and three (bosses of ancient “Green-Red Gang”) secret societies. Liberal-Leftist intellectual groups are thus superimposed upon social substratum of considerable strength and political toughness. While thus constituted heterogeneous opposition is clearly much inferior in power, coordination and dynamic urge to Communists, it might nevertheless if treated too cavalierly by latter and with possible aid of stubborn Shanghai merchant guilds provide resistance to point where Communists might have to choose between compromise or drastic purge methods.

Communist action likely to be tempered for while by fact they owe debt of gratitude to Yang Hu for all-important role which his underground social organization—and to lesser extent KmtRC and Chen Ming-shu’s organization [—] displayed in effecting easy turnover of city. Also, they need his help for present. His prospects for long political (if not physical) survival seem questionable, however.

Sent Department 1951, repeated Nanking 1065, Canton 606, Peiping 162.

  1. Head of Shanghai peace delegation to Peiping in February; former Chinese premier.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Known also as Chang Pai-chun, leader of the Chinese Peasants and Workers Democratic Party.
  4. Communist People’s Liberation Army.
  5. Communist Mayor of Shanghai.
  6. A Shanghai leader.
  7. Kuomintang Revolutionary Committee, headed by Marshal Li Chi-shen at Peiping.