245 Officer to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 81 NANKING, 22 February 1949, 4.30 p.m.

IMMEDIATE TOP SECRET

Your telegram No. 30 [1]

I reported in my telegram No. 71 [2] the reluctance of the Acting President to express any opinion at present and Sun Fo's support of the proposition. As Sun is a very lukewarm supporter of negotiation, his attitude is more calculated to embarrass the efforts of the Acting President than to help them.

2. The only response from the Communist side was in a broadcast from North Shensi on 13th February. It was against any mediation or intervention. But as these broadcasts are for propaganda purposes mainly, I am waiting in hope of getting some clearer indication of the real views of the Communist leaders. Such can come only by very indirect ways which take time.

3. The Acting President's efforts to open negotiations are at a very delicate stage.

His personal emissaries in Peking are believed to be on the point of making direct contact with Mao Tse Tung. Shao Li Tse, the Acting President's chief emissary, is said to be 'somewhat optimistic'. But there are strong influences at work to wreck negotiations (see Lee's telegram No. C4, paragraph 3) and it would be very easy to do so.

4. I think that it is best to make no move for the moment but to allow time for Li Tsung Jen to work on the lines he thinks best.

If he appeared to be faced by failure the time would be ripe probably for a fresh suggestion.

1 Dispatched 21 February, it expressed surprise that officer had made no mention of Minister's suggestion on mediation or possible response from other party.

2 Document 244.

[AA:1838/2, 490/1, iii]