O. Edmund Clubb Oral History Interview

Oral History Interview with
O. Edmund Clubb

United States Foreign Service officer, 1928-52. Served in China, 1929-43, and 1946-50, including duty as Consul General, Mukden, Manchuria, 1946; assigned Consul General, Harbin, 1946; Consul General, Changchun, 1946-47; and Peiping, 1947-50. Also served as Consul General, Vladivostok, U.S.S.R., 1944-46 and as Director, Office of Chinese Affairs, Dept. of State, 1950-51.

New York, New York
June 26, 1974
by Richard D. McKinzie

O. Edmund Clubb

[Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | List of Subjects Discussed]


This is a transcript of a tape-recorded interview conducted for the Harry S. Truman Library. A draft of this transcript was edited by the interviewee but only minor emendations were made; therefore, the reader should remember that this is essentially a transcript of the spoken, rather than the written word.

Numbers appearing in square brackets (ex. [45]) within the transcript indicate the pagination in the original, hardcopy version of the oral history interview.

This oral history transcript may be read, quoted from, cited, and reproduced for purposes of research. It may not be published in full except by permission of the Harry S. Truman Library.

Opened January, 1976
Harry S. Truman Library
Independence, Missouri

[Top of the Page | Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | List of Subjects Discussed]


Oral History Interview with
O. Edmund Clubb


New York, New York
June 26, 1974
by Richard D. McKinzie


MCKINZIE: Mr. Clubb, could you begin with an explanation of how you happened to go into the Foreign Service?

CLUBB: I developed my interest in the Foreign Service largely out of an application of my student time and energies to international law. In connection with my studies I also learned a little bit about Asia, particularly about China, because there was at the University of Minnesota a Professor Harold Quigley, who taught those subjects. I took what courses he offered. So, I had a particular facility,


in professional terms, in international law, for which there is not much outlet. And then I had this very special interest in China, which seemed to be an area promising much in the way of change, therefore in the way of interest. And it was far away -- foreign. International law having driven me in the direction of the Foreign Service, and my interest in China turning me toward the East, I took the exams for the Foreign Service and passed them. And when the Department offered the opportunity of opting for some strange language like Turkish or Russian, Japanese or Chinese, I chose to study Chinese. In those days at the end of the twenties one ordinarily studied his foreign language in the area of specialization, excepting Russian, which was studied in Paris. But Chinese was studied in Peking. And I, after a period of training in the Department, was sent to Peking, where I arrived in 1929. For practically all of my


foreign service I was in the Far East, excepting one brief period in 1944, and the years 1950-52, when I served in the Department. In the Far East, I served most of the time in China, and a little time in Indochina, where however, I operated the office at Hanoi only one half day before the war broke out and I was interned by the Japanese. And then I served in Vladivostok in the Soviet Far East. It was actually there that the beginning of the Truman administration in 1945 found me.

During the war, I had been sent back to China after my internment at Hanoi and Haiphong, and served in Central Asia. But I also spoke, besides Chinese, Russian. They naturally wanted somebody at the post of Vladivostok who spoke Russian, and they wanted a person who was besides a Far Eastern specialist if they could find him. I seemed to fit the bill. And so, despite the circumstance that I had had a long and somewhat arduous period of time overseas and had been


assigned back to the Department, shortly after that assignment -- a few months afterwards actually -- they sent me to Vladivostok.

Now, of course, at the beginning of 1945 you had other developments which are relevant to the situation. One such development took place in China. There were developments in the Far East generally. I should like to suggest that my experience, and what I’m going to tell you, was indicative of certain impending events. Events that were taking shape during wartime, but would be discovered in their full shape only after the war was over.

One such event was in China. Patrick J. Hurley had become a Republican Ambassador for a Democratic administration. He had been a Secretary of War under a Republican administration, but President Roosevelt sent him out largely, I assume, for political reasons. We have many strange appointments to ambassadorships. This was strange, because Hurley was no expert with


respect to the Far East. He had an overweening confidence in his ability of interpretation and his judgment. But this brought him chockablock in confrontation with some of the experts who were in the field. It was about the time of Roosevelt's death that Hurley, back in the United States, caused the removal from China, from the staff of General [Albert C.] Wedemeyer, who was acting as Chief of Staff to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, of the four Foreign Service officers who were there on station, and also the removal of his Counselor of Embassy, George Atcheson, because these people during his absence had sent in a long report analyzing the situation and disagreeing fundamentally with the Ambassador's optimistic position and his optimistic interpretation of events. The Ambassador was primarily, fundamentally, pro-Nationalist and was committed entirely to the idea of support of the Chiang Kai-shek regime. The others, the professionals, felt that there


should be more flexibility in the position, this being a carryover from the [Gen. Joseph W.] Stilwell proposition that if we were fighting Japan we should employ the Communist forces as well as the Nationalist forces. I give this as a bit of background, because it's pertinent to my later tale.

In Vladivostok we saw the potential for troubles too. The first Consul General at Valdivostok after the Revolution, the man I replaced (he had not been there long; we had reopened Vladivostok not long before), was Angus Ward. Ward was not a political observer so much as an administrative man. I was a political observer. My Foreign Service career was largely devoted to political reporting, economic reporting, interpretation of events. When we arrived we came to a town that was almost under siege in a certain respect. It was at the far end, of course, of the Soviet Union. But it suffered effects of the war,


because Siberia before the war, had been dependent in large measure upon Western Soviet Union for food supplies. And when the Germans occupied the grainlands, then the West of the Soviet Union said to the East, in essence, "You have to get on by yourself." So the living conditions were bad -- the fare was very sparse. We Americans of the consular staff did not go hungry, because Lend-Lease supplies were at that time being sent to the Soviet Union. Some of the Lend-Lease supplies were going Trans-Pacific, because the Soviet Union was at peace still, of course, with Japan. They therefore used Soviet vessels, naturally; not American, but these ships carrying Soviet Lend-Lease supplies also carried certain commissary supplies for us. So we got along much better than the local population, but we saw what happened to the population. And so while we were eating canned Spam and things like that, they were short of potatoes and cabbage and what not. This was a harsh place


in which to live; there is no doubt about that. It was harsh and it was isolated, because Vladivostok was part of a military zone. All during the war there were people who endeavored to get there -- newspapermen and others -- from the Western part of the Soviet Union, to see what "Vladi" was like, but there was no newspaperman ever made it. The only people who got there were the officials of the three countries that maintained consular offices there. They were the Americans, having recently opened an office; the Chinese, who had interest in the Soviet Far East; and the Japanese. We naturally had no dealings with the Japanese, because we were at war with them although the Soviets were not. And be it remarked that when, for instance, we went on those rare occasions to the theater, the Japanese were seated on one side of the hall, and we on the other, by the Soviets when they dealt out the tickets. I said we went to the theater, and we did; but there was a very little


theater. We Americans were a little better off under my administration than the Chinese, because the Chinese were occupying a strained position already with the Soviets by reason of strained relations in China where the Chinese Nationalists, having won the support, they thought, of the Americans for their conflict with the Soviet Union and with the Chinese Communists, caused the ousting of the Soviet from Sinkiang, where I was stationed in 1943. When I was there I saw the Soviets leaving. They had come in with quantities of equipment as well as some troops, which were stationed to prevent any advance of the Japanese into Central Asia -- any sudden strike or that sort of thing. But this strain between the Chinese and the Russians was reflected at Vladivostok. There was reflected there also what you might say was the "past." There was the immediate reflection of the existing difficulties of the Soviet Union, as I suggested, but also of the "past" in terms of the feeling on the part of the Russians -- a


feeling built up particularly after the revolution in 1917 -- that the capitalist powers were their natural enemies. There was less of this in Moscow. There was a larger residue of it, I would say, in Vladivostok. And so, where in Moscow one occupied the position, essentially, of an ally of the Soviet Union, in Vladivostok we were much more restricted. There was not by any manner of means the suggestion, let it be said, that we were enemies, but we were very closely watched, and there were, if you will, only "correct relations" between us and the diplomatic agent -- the Dipagent, they called him. The first Dipagent was a man named Dyukarev, and he was a very amiable young chap and got along with us very well. And we got on with him. There was however, a successor to Dyukarev,a man named Rychkov, who was a much more sour personality. And even with Dyukarev, when first I and my colleagues met him on two or three occasions alone, he was apparently ticked off in regard to this. Generally


speaking, when we met Soviet officials in Vladivostok, they sat in pairs. They did not want to meet with an American alone for fear of being compromised. Well, that was one of the situations.

This being a military zone, be it remarked, there were limitations with respect to our movement. We were able to leave the center of the town for only nineteen kilometers by one road, and when we were in town the office and the residence of the Consul General and of the others were kept under constant surveillance by the NKVD, that is, the secret police. We got on well enough with other officials besides the diplomatic agent. There was the port authority; there were the people connected with Lend-Lease, that sort of thing. And we, be it said, had on our staff an Assistant Naval Attaché, one George Roullard, who was charged with following Lend-Lease developments, Lend-Lease cargo and that sort of thing. He was not officially there as an Assistant Naval Attaché,


but they knew that he was a naval man. But, as I say, they kept close watch over us all the time.

There were on our staff various Soviet citizens -- clerks, messengers and so forth in the office. And then, of course, maids, cooks and so forth in the households. And they, we always assumed, were always caused to report to the NVKD, and we naturally acted accordingly. Our official relations and our relations with the staff were almost all that we had. We had very little in the way of social relations. We knew that there was a potential in that regard, because of the circumstance, that every once in a while we would establish brief contact with a Soviet citizen, but there was always shortly brought down upon him the knowledge that he should not have close relationships with foreigners in Vladivostok, and particularly with Americans. I don't say "especially." I think that we were in a better position, as I suggested, than the


the Chinese. The Japanese led a very isolated life indeed from our rather general observation of them. But we were never able to develop with more than a handful of people, whom we always assumed had somehow been okayed, such close social relations that we were able to go and have dinner with them or have them in for dinner with us. When we had Soviet officials for dinner, ordinarily we always had to give a reason for having the dinner. It had to be a national holiday or something like that, otherwise they would not necessarily even answer. They wouldn't refuse, but they just didn't appear.

So that was our situation in Vladivostok. We were viewed there as having that function with respect to Lend-Lease, if you will, but we were also a listening post. We naturally were supposed to report anything that came to our attention. Now be it said that, with the limitations upon our movements, we very naturally had relatively


little of prime importance to report; but we did see some things, We did do reporting. We were able to get some provincial newspapers that they couldn't even get in Moscow. And after having gleaned what we could from the newspapers and made reports about it, we would send them on to Moscow, and Moscow would devour them and then send them to the Library of Congress, which seized upon them with great avidity. We, upon occasion, were able to make short trips to Nakhodka, the port which now serves Japan, and to Khabarovsk up the river, places like that. And we were likewise able to give the reactions of Soviets and the others to things that we might say, or give their questions, and report on developments. We earned our salt; there is no doubt about that. The reasons for the strained or limited relationship with the Soviets there were to be found, I think, largely in the political and police setup of the Soviet Union. They were so bureaucratic


in their approach to the question of relations with foreigners, and particularly with people whom they had designated before as imperialists. In that distant region of the Soviet Union -- the Soviet Far East -- so far from the throne, so to speak, the police acted as they had in the earlier days. The new idea of an easier relationship with allies, it just hadn't seeped down. But, of course, this was to be deemed a threat, an ominous sign, of the possibility of bad relations in future or worse relations after the war was over. Now, I don't say that our people in Moscow were ignorant of that, but we had more signs of it in Vladivostok, perhaps, than they did in Moscow.

MCKINZIE: Did you have frequent contacts with Averell Harriman in Moscow?

CLUBB: We had only contact by the post, and then upon occasion, when we had something that had to go safe hand, we sent a courier. We, of course, had our


cabled messages in code, and so we could contact. I made only one trip to Moscow. I'll relate that a little later in place, and on that occasion I did see Harriman, but only very briefly.

There is one thing to be remarked and that is that some of the reporting we did was on Siberia, its resources, its potential and so forth and so on. And as you will appreciate from reading the press, there is now considerable development of Siberian resources, some of them of very great interest to the United States -- natural gas, the oil of Western Siberia, the coal of Yakutia, of great interest to Japan (it's good coking coal), the oil of the Island of Sakhalin and the rest of it. Siberia is an important part of the economic world. We had, besides the Consulate General in Vladivostok, two weather stations which had been set up in Petropavlovsk, and at Khabarovsk up on the Amur. Of course, we weren't interested only in whether it rained or didn't rain, but this was in anticipation, rather naturally,


of the Soviet Union's coming into the war against Japan. I remind you that we are now talking about April 1945, which was after the Yalta Conference, the Yalta agreements, and of course those of Tehran before. But these weather stations were very limited in terms of contact just like we were. They were more or less seated there and they had to keep to themselves. They were not even permitted code communication between each other. Of course there was indirect communication with them, no doubt, from Washington and what not. But when they communicated by air -- when they talked by radio -- my understanding was that there always had to be a Soviet observer present and that sort of thing. This, then, was looking forward to the war situation, but looking forward also to the postwar situation. I remarked the situation earlier between the Soviet Union and China, and now we have the picture of the potential in the relationship between United States and the Soviet Union.


In early August 1945 I did make a trip to Moscow. I had thought to go at that time and get a little bit of a vacation away from the Soviet Union. I and my wife were headed for Stockholm. The Embassy at Moscow had approved our travel, and we started early in the month. We viewed it as a little bit suspicious that some of our fellow travelers became rather chummy with us and upon occasion would come into our coupe (this was the international car where one has his individual coupe, you know), and start a conversation, but pull down the curtains so that we travelers could not see what was outside. Well, subsequently one might guess that there were troop movements and fortifications, and what not that we were not supposed to see, and naturally with the curtains down we could not see them. But we got to Moscow after this long and arduous trip. It took roughly 12 days in wartime to go from Vladivostok to Moscow by the express. And after


we had been there only a couple of days and were preparing ourselves to carry on and go to Stockholm -- I had not had the opportunity of seeing the Ambassador and I was told nothing -- we learned suddenly of the outbreak of war between the Soviet Union and Japan. I recall standing on the balcony of the Embassy and viewing the lights of Moscow as we heard the news of the outbreak of war. Here I was caught several thousand miles away from my post. The Embassy had let me come on, I think in part so as to make sure that my wife was out. This was obviously only a part of it, another part might have been that they did not want to indicate even to me that I’d better stay there because war was about to break out, for fear of security and that sort of thing. So they probably said to themselves, "Better let him come. Then he can go back."

My wife did go on to Stockholm, and I did turn around and go back. And so I was 24 days of


that one month on rail transportation, which is a little more than one wants -- particularly of trans-Siberian travel. The trip back was, of course, of some interest, because with the war on, one had conversations, as we did regularly, on the train with others who were passengers.

I remember a Soviet major, who said that the war with Japan would soon be over, but there would be more wars to come. And he said that for one thing the Soviet Union was going to return to Manchuria, it was going to get back Port Arthur and the Chinese Eastern Railway and Karafuto, that is, Southern Sakhalin, which had been ceded to Japan long before. Now, these were the provisions of the Yalta Pact. He knew about it, but I didn't know it. And, of course, Hurley didn't know it in China. There was another general aboard, and he speaking on a different occasion said that there should be no more wars, saying that mankind had had enough of war, and the time had come for universal peace. So you


had these two military points of view, held by the major and the general. Well, of course, we are still discussing that subject, and President Nixon will be discussing it in Moscow this week.

In any event, Vladivostok had only one military engagement, so I didn't miss much by not being present. I heard after I got back that on one day there was a lone plane came speeding in at low level, and somebody asked is that theirs or ours, and the reply (this was a Russian who was replying), was "nash," ours. But then the thing opened fire. It was a Japanese plane coming in for an attack. It was shot down, if I remember rightly, by antiaircraft aboard some of the naval vessels there, not by the ground forces at all, which didn't even open up fire apparently. So it caught them rather by surprise. But it was a minor incident and when I got back, why, the war was very effectively over.

I referred to the bad relations between China


and the Soviet Union. It was quite obvious that there was two areas of possibly worsening relations. One area would be Sinkiang -- that is, Chinese Turkestan -- where I had served for a time in 1943, and the other area was the Northeast, Manchuria, enveloped effectively by the Soviet Union. This particular place has been called in the past by authors the "tinder box of Asia" and "cradle of conflict." It really was. There was, one has to note, that trouble within China, which Hurley was sent out to assist with in the first instance -- the trouble between the Communists and the Nationalists. The Communists being the revolutionary challengers to the Nationalist regime -- the people in power. The two were at the time collaborating indeed against the Japanese, but the collaboration had been less than wholehearted. And the Hurley mission failed effectively to achieve that reconciliation that he was charged with striving to nail down. This particular alliance


between the Communists and the Nationalists almost certainly was destined to fail when V-J Day came, and it did fail.

The trip home of Hurley in October of 1945 led in November, as you know, to his resignation -- to the great surprise apparently of President Truman. President Truman, if caught by surprise, nevertheless turned around and named George C. Marshall to be the new mediator, with ambassadorial status, between the Chinese Communists and the Nationalists. We could see the growing conflict even from Vladivostok, because, of course, we did have our radio. We got our news. We did have later papers and what not. And then, I continued still this abiding interest of my spirit in China, and followed developments very closely.

The end of the war meant something immediately for Vladivostok. I have remarked how it had been viewed as a listening post. The Soviets had three listening posts, if I remember rightly, at that time


in the United States. We had only the one. It was my position that Vladivostok should be maintained and built up for the postwar period. I thought it made sense. One didn't see quite what the consular office would do. There would be no great amount of shipping traffic, in all probability. There would be nothing much in the way of cargo to replace the Lend-Lease in the early days, although it was to be remembered that the American business had been quite interested in the Siberia and its riches at one time. But in any event it could be a listening post still. However, the position of the Embassy was effectively that Vladivostok should be sort of toned down and downgraded a bit with V-J Day, that it was no longer as important as it had been before. We indeed had poor communications with the local authorities there, but we had some communications. We had poor service by telephone, poor service in regard to other things, but those services could have been expected


to get better. And if there had been the maintenance of Vladivostok in being, it could perhaps have performed a more valuable function in the postwar period than it did even during the war period. However, this was not of great importance to me personally because in mid-October...

MCKINZIE: Excuse me, sir, were you still on the train when the atomic bombs were exploded over Japan -- and what reaction did you note on the part of the Russians?

CLUBB: No. I was in Moscow, you see. The explosion of the atomic bombs occurred immediately before and then immediately after the Soviet declaration of war. So when I was on the train going back, that event was behind me. There was some discussion of the explosion by some of the passengers, but nobody knew details, and I didn't know anything more than the rest of them. And there was some discussion after we got back to Vladivostok. A Soviet official would bring up the subject, "What about the atomic


bomb?" Well, I didn't know anything about the atomic bomb, It was a known fact, that's about all you could say of it, you see.

But in mid-October, given the developing situation in Manchuria, where the Soviet troops had entered and the Mongols had joined the Soviet effort and had then entered the war too, I was ordered to proceed to Manchuria to make a survey of the United States Government property at Harbin, Mukden and Dairen, three posts where we had kept consular offices before. I was to discover the state of consular property, the whereabouts of archives, et cetera. I was also directed to go any place else that I thought useful, and to remain in Manchuria pending further orders. Well, of course, you see this was a very open-ended assignment giving me all the authority that I needed to observe all Soviet military movements and everything else. Now, of course, when I asked for my visa to leave Vladivostok and to proceed by rail --


and there is the Chinese Eastern Railway, you see, that then ran directly across Northern Manchuria -- to proceed by rail to Harbin in accordance with the orders of my Government, I received no exit visa. I took the matter up at Moscow -- had the Embassy take it up, of course -- but no visas were forthcoming, and that situation continued right down through December. At the beginning of December, the Soviets demanded that the weather stations at Khabarovsk and Petropavlovsk be closed within ten days, that is by December the 15th. This, of course, was a very short period of time, and it was practically impossible to meet the schedule, particularly given the circumstance that we didn't have transportation out for them. But, of course, the jobs were undertaken and people got ready, and in December of that year there was an American naval vessel that came to evacuate the people from Khabarovsk. We, be it said, had made a trip before the arrival of this naval vessel ourselves to


Khabarovsk and were able to see the conditions under which they lived there, and we appreciated how restricted it was. But then, of course, we ourselves were used to restrictions too. In due course of time the Khabarovsk station was evacuated, and I don't remember now whether the Petropavlovsk station was evacuated before or after that at Khabarovsk. And I'm not sure whether it was the U.S.S. Starr that picked them up or some other vessel. But we closed down these stations, their functions having been primarily the military. But had the Soviets granted the permission, we doubtless would have carried on for a time, because we still had forces in the Far East and all the rest. But this was an example of the lack of generosity on the part of the more police-minded or military-minded of the Soviet bureaucracy at that particular juncture. In mid-December, not having been able to take up my first roving assignment, I got a new assignment. I was assigned


Consul General to Harbin; and I made a new request of the Soviet authorities, naturally, to be permitted to take up my post. I still got no acquiescence to this request for exit visas for myself and wife. (Be it remarked that women were not supposed to be permitted to go to such posts as Vladivostok when I was assigned, but I had just come back from a long period overseas with internment in Indochina, a post in Chungking, a post in Lanchow and then service in Central Asia -- four years away from my family. And when they asked me to take up the Vladivostok post I said, well, I would if they would permit my wife to go with me. And so she was there with me.) But we didn't get our authority to go to Harbin. But at the end of the month the Edwin J. Berwind -- an American merchant vessel -- arrived in port, and I asked for permission to board the merchant vessel and to proceed to my post, via Shanghai, which was its next port of call. And within days I got my exit


visa and in January we -- I and my wife -- got aboard and left the Golden Horn, the Zolotoi Rog, of Vladivostok and sailed out of the harbor, and out of the Soviet Union. We were back in China at the port of Woosung three days later, after that long period of waiting for an exit visa, and then dropped anchor at the mouth of the Woosung River, the Woosung being the river on which Shanghai is located. A small tributary of the Yangtze. But there were many ships in port at that time, American ships coming in with all sorts of supplies and everything else, you know, and there was no sign of movement up the river.

I sent telegrams to the consulate and told them I was there and said, "Please send a boat down and pick us up," that sort of thing. I sent more telegrams and finally telegraphed the Department. Then I got word from Shanghai, if I remember rightly, that they were sending a boat. But by this time we had already sailed


up the Woosung, and we were in the harbor of Shanghai eight days after arrival at Woosung. So it was a three-day trip down, but eight days waiting in Shanghai by reason of -- I call it bureaucratic incompetency of the person who happened to be in charge of the matter in the consulate general.

But ashore I was hospitalized, and so was my wife. We needed some patching up after our service in Vladivostok. And so, instead of proceeding immediately to Harbin we remained in the hospital, and there various people came to see us -- people who were headed for Manchuria. There Sabe [Augustus S.] Chase, who had been assigned as consul in Mukden, and Bob Rigg, an Assistant Military Attaché, who had been told to go to Manchuria -- others. They got as far as North China and then they were stopped and not able to proceed.

We got ourselves patched up, but the transportation


was "on the slow side," if you will, by reason of the worsening conditions in the Northeast. This, of course, was at the time of the Marshall Mission, which I've mentioned before. Here was a situation in which the American mission had good intent to mediate between the two warring sides, but was awfully late. Late because of the incompatibility of the objectives of the two sides. One has to recognize the changed Communist position, changed Communist position in military terms as well as in political terms. The changed position of the Nationalists in both terms too, because where the Communists had been bringing better discipline and experience to their armed forces, the Nationalist forces had been permitted to rot in certain respects. Then you had the political position of the Nationalists changed for the worse, because the Chinese were beginning to choose sides and more were going to the Communist side. There were the unsolved agrarian problem,


the matter of land tenure, the matter of land rents, the economic problem where there was growing inflation. You had a reactionary regime in a situation that, in short, demanded change. The American policy at that time was the one inherited not from Stilwell and [Clarence E.] Gauss, the former Ambassador, but inherited effectively from the Hurley period, when he had come out in favor of working entirely for the one side -- for the Nationalists -- thus causing the United States to abandon neutrality to a degree. And that abandonment of neutrality rather naturally was the first count against the Marshall Mission, because one of the first requirements of a mediator is neutrality, if he is to be effective. Of course, Hurley had also planted other seeds, because when he suddenly retired in November of 1945 he let out a blast against the Foreign Service charging effectively that the China policy of the United States was being molded by people who had Communist


inclinations and all the rest of it. And he suggested likewise that there was a Communist conspiracy that had infected, if you will, the State Department. It was long afterwards that Joe [Senator Joseph R.] McCarthy got into the act. It was Hurley -- Patrick J. Hurley -- really, who planted the seed of McCarthyism.

Well, in any event, in due course of time I was let out of the hospital, and my wife too was rehabilitated, and we arrived in Mukden on March the 20th. I now had a new assignment, because Sabe Chase had been -- let's say immobile. When I was immobilized in Shanghai, he had been given the Harbin assignment, and had gone North ahead of me. But, as I say, he was stopped in North China, and as I passed Tientsin I dropped off to see him in the hospital -- because he had been in turn hospitalized. I went on to open up the first Consulate General in postwar Manchuria, that at Mukden.


Mukden conditions at that particular juncture were very difficult indeed. We found rather sparse habitation in the sometime Yamamoto but now Intourist Hotel, under Soviet control. The situation was such that although we were only a few miles from the biggest open coal pit in the world they were burning soybean cake in their furnaces for want of coal. Manchuria, of course, being the home of the soybean. Their burning of soybean cakes didn't prevent UNRRA from sending soybean meal and so forth to Manchuria. But that was another bureaucratic mix-up, of course. But there was a shortage of coal because the Soviets were in control of Fushun, where the big open-pit coal mine was, and communications had effectively broken down. The Soviet troops had withdrawn from Mukden, but they had not yet withdrawn from all of Manchuria. They were to withdraw a couple of months later.

I was charged, as I had been charged originally, with ascertaining the condition of the old Consul-


ate General. I looked it up, and it was in terrible shape. I was supposed to look up the archives and American property. I never found the archives or American property. The problem was to find a new residence. The search, however, was rendered very difficult, in part because of the corruption that attended the Chinese Nationalists' return to authority and power in other parts of China and in Manchuria. There was a great deal of carpet bagging, looting, taking over of desirable residences, and all that sort of thing. And so, although there were on the part of Chinese officials various expressions of sympathy and desire to help, we got very little more than sympathy. The lodgings that we found eventually were found through our own efforts.

The Chinese Communists were present in Manchuria at that time, with their armed forces. The Nationalists were also present. There were no truce teams there. One of the early accomplish-


ments of General Marshall was, of course, to bring about signature of a truce on January 10 of 1946. But, the Nationalists desired to keep the truce teams out of Manchuria until they had a chance -- it was with the desire clearly to clobber the Communists -- to get full control of this rich area that had been developed very substantially by the Japanese, who had been there not since the beginning of the war in 1937 with China, but since 1931 when they had taken Manchuria over. And they had developed its rich resources, including the coal, iron and all the rest of it, and it was something to be desired. And then besides, Manchuria did occupy that strategic position which had caused it to be called earlier "the cradle of conflict," if you will. The Nationalists' position was in part further crystallized, let us say, or made stronger -- more determined -- by their feeling sure that the United States was on their side, not on the Communist side. The traditional Nationalist tactic,


and the traditional Chinese tactic, is to use one force against another, particularly in international plays. And there was a common Nationalist expectation at that time, which was as a matter fact rather frequently voiced, that in due course, and it wouldn't be long, there would be war between the United States and the Soviet Union, and that China would profit from that war, that it would profit in international terms, but likewise in national terms. And that consequently there was no need, whatsoever, for anything in the nature of compromise with their Chinese Communist antagonists. Well, in due course of time this Intourist Hotel became the Shenyang Railway Hotel. The Chinese went in and almost forcibly took it back from the Soviets. For a time the Soviet flag was left flying, but the Soviet personnel were all ousted. And in the same way they recovered certain other industrial and other enterprises that the Soviets had latched onto and were trying to use as a bargaining weapon in the negotiations with the


Chinese Nationalists. The Soviets, given their renewed position in Manchuria (renewed by reason of the Yalta Agreement), were endeavoring to get a share in the further development of and the operation of the ex-Japanese enterprises there. The Chinese were proving very obdurate: they wanted full control for themselves, saying that they were the proper inheritors of anything that was Japanese. In fact, what happened was that the Chinese recovered most of the industrial plants, but the Soviets had taken out a large amount of the equipment and removed it to the Soviet Union. And be it said, that even on the way back from Moscow on my trip in August, I saw on sidings and elsewhere variou