893.00/6–249: Telegram

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

928. ReContel 917, June 1. In absence definitive information, two alternative explanations available in logic for Chou En-lai demarche: (1) Chou and his group may be seriously at odds with so-called radical wing and may be straining toward Titoism,76 or (2) Chou took action with full knowledge and accord party apparatus with political design which perhaps even would have approval USSR.

My belief in possibility development China Titoism has been expressed before. Events in Manchuria where there are new reports of Soviet troop movements (being reported today by AstAMilAt77) may have placed new strains on Communist credulity and camaraderie. Present move could reflect divergence opinion in high Communist councils greater than heretofore suspected by observers, when it would show Chou’s fear of possibility party split near future and of possible purge elements non-sympathetic to Soviet line (Dairen’s 160, May 27 [26] to Department78). Chou controls no troops and unless his views have support important military elements he and other potential Titos would assuredly lose out in any attempt palace coup. My own estimate of situation from data at hand is that it would be premature accept development Titoism this juncture before party rank and file have really appreciated gravity their economic and political predicament (Contel 898, May 2578) and that particularly where development in any event still uncrystallized our action had best be based on realization that China and particularly Chinese Communists are always closer each [other] than to any foreigners and present move therefore very possibly had authoritative approval Chou’s own camp.

Second alternative, that move is one of high Communist policy, finds logical basis in grave economic debility China and seems indicated in Chou’s recommendation that US aid China. Aid as conceived by him must be economic rather than political in nature. China’s [Page 364] economic crisis still unarrived in full force but with partial crop failure present year, occupation Shanghai before foreign trade channels have been opened to give China access to food South Seas, extremely deteriorated condition industrial equipment, financial bankruptcy, and generally bad political relations with all countries but “China’s great friend Russia”, widespread famine by spring 1950 can be forecast high degree certainty (Contel 699, April 2579).

In circumstances must conclude greater probability that Communist desire continue diet Soviet political bread but eke out diet with American economic cake. Until such time as there may be actual break with USSR Communists must be assumed remaining in Soviet political camp. It is probably already clear [to] both Soviets and Communists that USSR unable supply China economic needs, both may be reconciled to necessity China’s having deal with USA to avoid calamitous economic collapse. China unable pay for food, raw materials and machinery it needs, both Communists and USSR probably now would be willing have USA resurrect something in nature ECA80 and “beg” China to accept aid even as to grant foreign relations (Contel 869, May 20 [19?]79). Chang Tsung-ping81 in three different conversations unsolicitedly indicated belief Communists would eventually “be prepared accept American aid”. Chou démarche must have had particular relationship inter alia anticipate grave food shortage facing nation within year. Communist China, aided [by] economic grants by USA while retaining close political ties with USSR, would be strengthened so that it could better aid USSR politically and militarily against USA in hypothetical future contingencies. That particular booby trap is easily avoided. For so long as Communist China is run for political benefit USSR let it pay on barrel head for what it receives, either in economic equivalent or in terms political concessions designed break up its alliance with USSR.

Chou asked no reply but believe one could well be given, along following lines: USA has long been friend Chinese nation and hopes remain so, it is ready even desire develop social, economic and political relations with China nation insofar as those relations may meet like aspirations from Chinese side; such relations however, as can be deduced from knowledge of American policies in international affairs, must be based on mutual understanding respect and cooperation, on reciprocity as well as egalitarianism, and it is hardly to be expected that where those elements are lacking, full fruits of intercourse can be obtained.

Sent Department, repeated Nanking 608, OffEmb Canton 143.

  1. Defection from Moscow party line of Marshal Josip Broz Tito, head of Yugoslav State and Communist Party, June 1948.
  2. Col. David D. Barrett, Assistant American Military Attaché.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Not printed.
  5. Not printed.
  6. Economic Cooperation Administration.
  7. Not printed.
  8. Son of Chang Tung-sun, Peiping leader of the Democratic League.