Memorandum by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern, South Asian, and African Affairs (Hare) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Rusk)
Subject: Danger that Chinese Communist Troops May Enter Burmese Territory
I should like to invite your attention to telegrams No. 947 of June 28 from New Delhi and No. 369 of June 29 from Rangoon1 in which our Ambassadors at those posts report on the danger that Chinese Communist troops may enter Burma to disarm elements of the Chinese Nationalist Army which had retreated into northern Burma from Yunnan.
Telegrams from our Embassy in Rangoon during the past few months have reported varying estimates of the numbers of Chinese Nationalist troops present in Burma. These estimates have ranged from 2,000 to 5,000; and it is, therefore, believed that the figure of 20,000 cited in New Delhi’s telegram of June 28 is in error.
In response to a request from the Burmese Prime Minister, Thakin Nu, Prime Minister Nehru of India has instructed the Indian Ambassador in Peking to endeavor to dissuade the Chinese Communists from entering Burma and to give the Government of Burma time to disarm the Nationalist troops.
Nehru suggested to Thakin Nu that he request the American Government to ask Chiang Kai-shek to instruct the Chinese Nationalists in Burma to permit themselves to be disarmed and interned by the Burmese Government. The telegram of June 29 from Rangoon reports that the Burmese Prime Minister has now officially requested our [Page 245] Ambassador to inquire whether the US Government would use its good offices in asking the Chinese Nationalist Government to issue instructions to the Chinese Nationalist forces in northern Burma to lay down their arms and allow themselves to be interned by the Government of Burma.
Although the Burmese Chargé d’Affaires in Peking has received assurances that the Chinese Communists would not send troops into Burma to disarm the Nationalists located there, the Chinese Communists have apparently given these assurances only on the condition that the Government of Burma disarm and intern the Chinese Nationalists. The Burma Government had previously indicated optimism regarding its ability to disarm these troops, but the Burmese Prime Minister states in his letter to Nehru that the Chinese Nationalist troops are now assuming a belligerent attitude and conducting themselves as an occupying force.
I understand that the Department has also been approached by the Chinese Embassy in Washington with an expression of concern from the Nationalist Government about the welfare of the Chinese Nationalist troops in Burma and a request that this be transmitted to the Government of Burma.
It is recommended that
- You call in the Chinese Ambassador to inform him of the approaches made to us by the Governments of India and Burma and ask that he transmit to his Government the request of the US Government that the Chinese Nationalist troops in Burma be instructed to lay down their arms and permit themselves to be interned by the Government of Burma. It is suggested that you emphasize to the Chinese Ambassador that the presence of these armed Nationalist troops surrender, they will be well treated and no reprisals will be Burmese territory. It is also suggested that you invite the attention of the Ambassador to the assurances given to our Ambassador in Rangoon by the Prime Minister of Burma that if the Nationalist troops surrender, they will be well treated and no reprisals will be taken for past resistance.
- The attached telegrams be sent to Rangoon and New Delhi instructing our Embassies to inform the Governments of India and Burma of the action we have taken and to transmit to the Government of Burma the Chinese Nationalists Government’s expression of concern for the welfare of the Nationalist troops in Burma.2
- Neither printed.↩
- At this point in the source text a handwritten note reads “(These telegrams not attached. Being redrafted by SOA.)”. On July 7 Rusk called in Ambassador Koo of China and informed him of the United States position as indicated in recommendation (1). On the same day telegrams were sent to Rangoon and New Delhi reporting the substance of Rusk’s interview with Koo. A memorandum of Rusk’s conversation with Koo (not printed) is in file 793.54/7–750. Copies of the telegrams to Rangoon and New Delhi, numbers 16 and 31, respectively, are in files 793.54/7–750 and 790B.00/6–2850).↩