293.0022/251: Telegram

The Consul General at Hong Kong (McConaughy) to the Secretary of State


2112. Re Deptel 2027 January 12.1 Following information developed from interrogation approximately 20 American missionaries arrived Hong Kong during January from Canton, Shanghai, Nanking, Szechuan, Kiangsi and Hunan. Most emphasize these points:

Violent suppression during past few months of persons in active opposition to Communists or considered unreliable has strengthened Communist control. Guerrilla activity appears to have decreased. Fear and lack of leadership have paralyzed many opposed to Communist regime. Feeling growing that resistance hopeless unless outbreak world war brings drastic change.
Communists concentrating efforts on youth and achieving large measure success. Through combination unceasing indoctrination pressure on non-conformists appeal to partriotism they manipulate youth [Page 1553] at will. One measure their success is large number young people volunteering military cadre training. Facilitated by nature Communist system which has eliminated almost all non-Government job opportunities for educated youth. Parents now reluctant discuss anything before their children for fear may be revealed to Communists.
During last several months, education in schools secondary to political indoctrination and activity. Suspension all classes for periods up to two weeks in favor political activities not uncommon.
Through fear monopolization information and appeal to patriotism, Communists have largely succeeded in neutralizing educated in large cities. Communists realize background this group makes them greatest potential threat to CCP control and therefore incessantly require from them demonstrations support. As Communist settle more firmly in saddle these people increasingly tend make mental accommodations to permit their continued survival under regime. Urban uneducated in contrast under less direct pressure and speak mind more freely.
Christians regarded [with] suspicion and under attack even places where no foreigners involved.
Dislike for Communism growing. Except among educated class, this not specifically related Communist international policy, but rather depressed economic conditions and increasingly stringent police controls.
Anti-American propaganda has not caused people general manifest any dislike Americans although children reported beginning display antagonism some places. Contrast several cases reported Nanking foreigners mistaken for Russians being roughly treated on street. Russians mostly kept out of sight and when do appear have armed Chinese Communist guards.
Generally believed that when Americans gone, American-educated Chinese and persons formerly identified with American institutions next object Communist hate campaign.
Prices everywhere reported stable and low although when questioned on specific items informants usually recalled some items whose price has substantially increased particularly cotton cloth. Practically all missionaries questioned were poor observers of economic conditions.
Persons questioned unable give information beyond that reported above which would shed light on Sino-Soviet military strategy or capabilities.

  1. The reference telegram asked the Consulate General to interview missionaries arriving in Hong Kong from the China mainland, particularly with regard to the Communist regime’s international intentions, military capabilities, and internal vulnerabilities, and to cable a summary of their views to the Department (293.0022/1–1251).