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Digital Archive International History Declassified

April 29, 1945

REPORT FROM L. BERIA AND A. VYSHINSKY TO CDE. I.V. STALIN

This document was made possible with support from the MacArthur Foundation

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    Beria and Vyshinsky summarize the prevailing conditions in the Ili District of Xinjiang, describing the equipment and foodstuffs seized by the rebels, the extent of Chinese army losses, and the provisional government headed by Alihan Tore Shakirjan. Urging Stalin to support the Ili Muslims' liberation movement, they offer suggestions for future actions in support of the rebel army.
    "Report from L. Beria and A. Vyshinsky to Cde. I.V. Stalin," April 29, 1945, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, GARF, Fond R-9401ss, Opis' 2, Delo 95, ll. 334-338. Obtained by Jamil Hasanli and translated by Gary Goldberg. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/121724
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Copy. Top Secret

Copy Nº 3

stamp: [SPECIAL FOLDER

Nº 1-1 p. 282]

to Cde. I. V. STALIN

29 April 1945

N 507/b

Having discussed the condition of the national liberation movement of the Muslims in Xinjiang, we report:

The Ili [Yili] District of Xinjiang with the district capital of the city of Ghulja [Yining] has been completely cleared of Chinese troops and administration by the rebels.

The Ili District with a population of about 400,000 people is located in the northwest part of Xinjiang and directly borders the Kazakh SSR. The District is one of the richest regions of Xinjiang and is the main supplier of grain and livestock for the Xinjiang government.

As a result of the combat operations of the rebels the Chinese have lost 2,520 killed and 2,632 captured. There are 50 officers among the prisoners.

The rebels have seized the following equipment:

rifles

-

1,807

machine guns

-

151

mortars

-

17

field guns

-

4

armored cars

-

2

aircraft

-

36

aircraft engines

-

24

radios

-

4

and also depots with weapons, spare parts, food, and clothing.

The rebels have also seized over 300,000 poods of grain, 100,000 poods of wool, 90,000 sheepskins, and more than 40,000 head of cattle and small livestock.

Sovsintorg has bought about 50,000 poods of wool and other raw materials of this quantity at a total cost of 600,000 commodity [tovarnyye] rubles.

[Note at the bottom of the page: One copy made for the special folder.]

The rebels have created a so-called provisional government of East Turkestan headed by ALIHAN TORE SHAKIRJAN in Ghulja, the capital of Ili District.

ALIHAN TORE SHAKIRJAN, DOB 1887, an Uzbek, lived in the USSR until 1931. In 1931 he was arrested for anti-Soviet work, and sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment, but escaped from custody and crossed into Xinjiang. In Xinjiang, as an artful interpreter of the Koran SHAKIRJAN soon gained authority among believing Muslims and later was the chief mullah of the city of Ghulja.

The total strength of the armed forces of the rebels is 9,300 men, from which one cavalry brigade, four rifle regiments, and five independent cavalry squadrons have been formed.

The permanent composition of the rebel forces in Ili District might reach 12,000 men in the next two months.

A further increase of the rebel armed forces is complicated by the peasants' reluctance to tear themselves away from their farms.

In addition, there exists an armed rebel detachment of Altai Kazakhs up to 4,000 strong in the Altai District of Xinjiang headed by a local authority, OSPAN BATYR [Osman Batur].

Koktokay [Keketuohai] and Qinggil [Qinghe] Counties of Altai District directly bordering the Mongolian People's Republic have been occupied by OSPAN's detachments.

OSPAN's detachment is in regions bordering the capital of the Altai District, Shara-Sume [Altai]; however, it is not yet undertaking active operations to seize the city and clear the district of the Chinese.

The rebel armed forces in Xinjiang are still small and are not combat effective, as a consequence of [their] lack of training, poor weaponry, and lack of proper organization because of insufficiently skilled military personnel.

In December 1944 with your consent the USSR NKVD sent General-Major YEGNAROV with a group of officers to the location to help the rebels organize combat operations against the Chinese troops.

Domestic life has not been established in the territory occupied by the rebels as a consequence of a lack of officials having experience in administrative, economic, and political work. The government does not have the monetary resources to maintain a government apparatus and armed forces.

Nevertheless, the rebel government enjoys authority among the Muslim population of both the Ili District itself as well as the districts of Xinjiang which border it.

Under the influence of the rebel movement attempts at anti-Chinese actions are being noted among the Muslim population in Ili District, in Tarbagatai [Tacheng] and Altai Districts in the north, and Aksu and Kashgar [Districts] - in the south.

According to USSR NKVD information the national Chinese government, concerned by events in the Ili and Altai Districts, intends to switch to active operations to put down the national liberation movement of the Muslims.

The command of the Chinese Army is increasing the strength of their troops in Xinjiang, where about 80,000 men are concentrated at the present time.

Considering the obvious superiority of the armed forces of the Chinese in Xinjiang one must think that in the event of counteroffensive operations on the part of the Chinese forces the rebels might be defeated and the national liberation movement of the Muslims of Xinjiang crushed if this movement does not get appropriate support from us.

For our part we consider it advisable to support the national liberation movement of the Muslims in Ili and Altai Districts and help the rebels expand this movement to other districts of Xinjiang.

In the event of a favorable solution of the question, in our opinion the following measures need to be adopted in the near future:

1. Use the armed forces of the rebels to organize a defense of the Ili District from offensive operations of the Chinese forces.

At the same time as the organization of a defense of the Ili District give the Provisional Government of East Turkestan held in spreading the national liberation movement of Muslims in the Tarbaghatai [Tacheng], Altai, Aksu [Akesu], and Kashgar [Kashi] Districts of Xinjiang.

2. To create intolerable conditions for the Chinese troops in Xinjiang help the rebels of the Ili District organize sabotage groups of rebels and infiltrate them into the cities of Urumqi, Kashgar, Shara-Sume [Altai], Qoqek [Tacheng], Aksu, and others to conduct sabotage, mainly killing personnel, destroying equipment, and disrupting the communications of the Chinese troops.

3. Hold the NKO [People's Commissariat of Defense] (Cde. BULGANIN) responsible for:

a) Demobilizing 500 officers and 2,000 enlisted men of Central Asian nationalities from the Red Army for their use in rebel formations under the disguise of inhabitants of Xinjiang;

b) allocate captured rifles and mortars and the ammunition for them for 15,000 men for the needs of the rebel detachments of the Muslims of Xinjiang.

4. Considering the possibility and the need for the use of aircraft by the rebels in combat operations against the Chinese forces consider it expedient to replace 36 aircraft seized from the Chinese by the rebels with nine aircraft fit for use, of which three are SB [high-speed bombers] and six are I-16 fighters.

5. Recommend that the Provisional Government of East Turkestan [do the following] through the USSR NKVD representative, General-Major Cde. YEGNAROV:

a) Organize the necessary preparatory measures and start to grant the Muslim underclass land from the land which previously belonged to landowners and rich peasants [kulaki];

b) Enlist representatives of the workers of Muslim regions cleared of Chinese troops and administration in order to democratize the government;

c) Issue an internal loan, introduce a taxation system, and organize state trade to ease the financial situation of the government.

6. Hold the CC's CP(b) of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan responsible for helping the Provisional Government of East Turkestan regulate administrative and economic activity in coordination with the USSR NKVD, and identify and send one experienced political worker and one specialist each in finance, trade, and health to Ghulja from among local nationalities.

7. Suggest that in trade with the Provisional Government of East Turkestan the USSR People's Commissariat of Foreign Trade expand the range of consumer goods being released in exchange for raw materials received, taking into account the requests of the population of the regions liberated from Chinese administration.

Request your decision.

(L. BERIA)

(A. VYSHINSKY)

Four copies printed

1-2 - to the addressees

3-2 [SIC]- to the NKVD Secretariat

4-2 - [left blank]

Drafted by Cde. [left blank]   At the instruction of Cde. Lyudvigov one copy was made to be sent to Cde. Stalin.

2 June 1945

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