893.50 Recovery/4–1849: Telegram

The Deputy Chief of the ECA China Mission (Griffin) to Mr. Harlan Cleveland, of the Economic Cooperation Administration

Toeca 368. 1. Political conditions here require us to ask more clear-cut Washington definition ECA policy than that in amendment extending aid program. If peace delegates agree that Shanghai is to fall under coalition government, that obviously will be Communist-dominated, do we immediately divert ships? It is also possible, despite peace agreement affecting Shanghai, that Tang En-po1 will nevertheless seek to defend city or delay its occupation for some weeks. Also possible this city may come theoretically under coalition but city itself not Communist-dominated for some weeks or months due chiefly to Communist unpreparedness to administer city of this scope.

2. All quarters convinced that if peace negotiations fail or if Li Tsung-jen unable to deliver, renewed civil war will last but short time and result in nothing but further national collapse.

3. Lack of teamwork between Generalissimo and Acting President now obvious to all, whether in military, political or foreign field.

4. We are preparing to move yarn and cloth so far as possible to Hong Kong for safekeeping and for later apportionment substantial quantities for financing JCRR. JCRR will require experienced China trader to handle commodity program.

5. Conversations of American top businessmen this weekend all affirm their deep concern over ability to pay their employees in near future. All expect complete financial prostration within two weeks. Effort being organized now among British, French and American business interests to find means to sustain public utilities.

6. It must be understood there is no definite pattern on which this Mission can make a decision at this time in planning evacuation as we have no information concerning future course events or definitiveness of Washington policy. Washington must realize that first act of diversion of ships en route Shanghai will cause extremely unfavorable attitude of all elements towards this Mission.

7. In face these conditions we must know more in detail about Washington thinking on policy. Chinese have no stockpiles of food in event our ships diverted. Furthermore, public utilities, now living hand-to-mouth, will collapse when ECA aid abandons this community. Must know whether Washington will permit flexible policy to prevent complete loss prestige foreigners and collapse [and] disorder [in] this city in event coalition takes over without resistance [Page 637]or despite brief period resistance Tang En-po’s troops. This is required so that we may do our own planning and avoid last minute appeals. Meiklejohn2 now in Japan feeling out SCAP on question of accepting diverted cargos. Please reply soonest and as definitely as possible.

Sent Washington Toeca 1368; repeated Nanking.

  1. Commander of the Nanking–Shanghai–Hangchow garrison forces.
  2. Norman V. Meiklejohn, Special Assistant to the Chief of the ECA China Mission.