693.9431/5–1149: Telegram

The Consul General at Tientsin (Smyth) to the Secretary of State

306. ReDeptel 87, May 570 (quoting Peiping’s 732, April 30) and Deptel unnumbered May 8.71 Our declared export figures show shipments to United States during April about $629,000 US and in first 10 days May US $277,000 or total of $906,000 US. Other data indicates Tientsin exports to Canada and Hong Kong during period April 1–May 10 exceed US $900,000. Total exports from Tientsin therefore nearly one and one-half millions US dollars, or 7 times figure given by source mentioned in Peiping telegram 732. (Peiping’s source obviously not well informed in trade matters.)

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Reference Japan trade (as reported in several of our previous telegrams), various exporters here, who quoted Communists on copper wire and other items from Japan, say manner of Communist approach for quotations and other information on possible trade or barter with SCAP gives them impression these are feelers for information upon which eventual trade policy may be based rather than indication of formulated plan. General feeling here that all high Communist economic officials have eyes focussed on Shanghai and most their foreign trade transactions this area so far either to meet immediate urgent needs or else experimental.

Growing feeling here Communists softening somewhat toward foreigners and towards both private Chinese and foreign enterprise, perhaps as propaganda move to lessen fears in Shanghai prior Communist entry, possibly also as preparation for seeking recognition from US72 and other countries upon whom they are commencing realize more and more dependent in reviving trade and building economic independence. Next few weeks should give clearer indication of direction Communists taking this regard.

We concur in proposed action suggested in Deptel May 8 rather than in Peiping’s 732. Meanwhile stimulation trade contact with SCAP and other US private and public agencies may well hasten development of “working contacts” with Communists and their recognition our consular establishments but much may still have to await outcome developments in Shanghai.

Sent Department as 306, repeated Nanking as 191, Shanghai as 211.

  1. Not printed.
  2. See No. 265 to the Consul General at Peiping, p. 980.
  3. For correspondence on this subject, see pp. 1 ff.