231 Officer to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 25 NANKING, 20 January 1949, 4.45 p.m.

IMMEDIATE CONFIDENIAL Proposed move to Canton. My telegram 23. [1]

Last night the Ambassadors of the 'North Atlantic' group and later the Commonwealth met to discuss the situation.

2. Everyone was bewildered at the timing of the request, at a moment when the Government decided to negotiate with the Communists. General view was that the move had been agreed on a week or more ago and was intended to strengthen the prestige of the Government.

3. Everyone considered it would be unwise to move from Nanking so long as it remained the Capital (spokesman said yesterday that although Ministries and corps will move, Nanking remains the Capital). They felt all members of these groups should adopt the same policy.

4. All felt that before a move was agreed upon, assurances should be secured:-

(A) That the Head of the State and Government actually were moving to Canton;

(B) That accommodation and transport provided would be adequate for all whom it was necessary to move;

(C) That proper arrangements should be made for protection of persons and property left in Nanking;

5. All proposed if they remained at Nanking, to send a representative to Canton (if they had no one there already) to maintain touch with Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

1 Dispatched 19 January, it reported that the Government was moving to Canton and foreign missions were requested to relocate there.

[AA:A1838/1, 494/1/22/1]