The Ambassador in China (Stuart) to the Secretary of State
[Received 1:35 p. m.]
870. Embassy officer called on Peace Preservation Committee to ascertain reason for interdiction traffic at Shanghai Road compounds. Chairman in meeting and unavailable but other officer of committee suggested direct approach military authorities. Embassy officer then went military headquarters where unable see any responsible official, but told that while military phase continued Nanking foreign diplomats should stay off street for own protection. Soldier who carried message refused request for copy of formal order prohibiting circulation foreign diplomats and was unable explain inconsistencies in application of order. Embassy officer returned to Committee where official tried arrange by telephone interview with Communist political officer but failed. He commented Communist military headquarters in state of confusion making it difficult get things done. Also said Communist officials below top rank afraid take any action on or even discuss matters relating to foreign affairs without order from above. He promised inquire of Ma re circular letter mentioned yesterday was to be sent foreign missions, and inform Embassy.
Returning to office Embassy officer stopped by Communist soldiers who told him to get off street as circulation all foreigners was forbidden.[Page 727]
We believe order has been issued at high level to prohibit circulation foreigners and that inconsistency in application due simply to state of confusion prevailing during first days of take-over. We expect situation to be clarified once Military Control Commission takes over, probably within few days. As yet no guards posted Chancery compound, but personnel are being instructed stay off streets unless absolutely necessary go out. No interference thus far with entry and exit Chinese from any compound.
Sent Department 870, repeated Canton 311, Shanghai 451.