ONLY ONE MAN CAPABLE OF UNITING CHINA
By MICHAEL J. MANSFIELD, Congressman of Montana
Delivered in the House of Representatives, Washington, D. C., January 16, 1945
Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol. XI, pp. 249-255.
MR. SPEAKER: I am presenting herewith for the consideration of the House a candid report of my findings as a result of my mission to China in November and December, 1944. I have tried to look at China's problems realistically and sympathetically because I wanted to get the clearest possible picture. This is necessary if we are to understand our gallant ally, for not to do so would hamstring the possibility of a sound peace in Asia and the Pacific. Furthermore, because of the difficulties China has faced, and is facing, she needs the sympathy, forbearance, and active assistance of all the United Nations.
On arriving in India, I called on Maj. Gen. Frank Merrill at the headquarters of the India-Burma theater in New Delhi and had a long discussion with him concerning the situation in China. He said that the Chinese soldier was very good, if he was given enough to eat, the proper training, adequate materiel, and competent leadership. In his opinion, much of the difficulties of the Chinese armies could be laid to the incompetency of the field commands. When asked about the Chinese Communists he stated that, in his opinion, they were not allied to Moscow but were primarily a Chinese agrarian group interested in land and tax reforms.
He was well pleased with the fact that the British and Indians were now, after 2 1/2 years of relative inactivity, going into the Burmese jungles after the Japanese and were doing a very good job. I noticed, also, on the daily statistics tonnage data, that something like 35,000 tons of supplies was anticipated being shipped over the Hump for the month of November. Coming back from China in December, I checked this particular figure and found that actually 34,929 tons had been shipped, which was a remarkable achievement in itself.
In General Merrill's opinion, a seaport will have to be acquired on the China coast to be of real help to China and that, while the Ledo-Burma Road with its pipe line will be of considerable assistance, it will not be enough to figure decisively in the China theater.
General Merrill invited me to make the trip over the Ledo-Burma Road from Ledo, in Assam, to Myitkyina, in Burma, which I accepted with alacrity, because I felt that it would give me a good insight in the procedure and policy adopted by the United States in that particular part of the world and, at the same time, give me an opportunity to talk to the GI's along the way.
On Monday, November 20, I left for Ledo by plane and stopped at Halminar Hat, and from there went on to my destination where I met with General Pick, the engineer in charge of the building of the Ledo-Burma Road; Colonel Davis, his executive officer; Brig. Gen. Vernon Evans, chief of staff for the India-Burma theater, stationed in that vicinity. General Pick stated that the Ledo-Burma Road would be capable of transporting a minimum of 60,000 tons a month when completed, although I must say that when I saw the General three weeks later he had modified that particular estimate.
I visited the Twentieth General Hospital at Ledo, which has had as many as 2,600 cases at one time and is manned by a staff of 156 American nurses, 80 doctors, and several hundred Medical Corps men. They have done a remarkably good job in this general hospital, as they have in all the hospitals along the Road under the most difficult conditions and the most trying circumstances. The wards, generally speaking, have dirt floors, and the sides are made of bamboo and hessian cloth, while the roofs are thatched affairs. The
buildings last from 9 months to a year and a half, and then new ones have to be built in their place.
In this particular hospital they have done a lot of work in connection with a type of disease known as scrub or mite typhus, for which our typhus shots are of no avail. The cure that the general hospital found most successful in combating this disease was the use of air conditioning. By keeping the wards at a steady temperature, they have reduced the fatalities from 27 percent to less than one percent.
In visiting the 8 hospitals along the Road, I found that the work being done in all of them was outstanding. There was one hospital which had no women nurses and one hospital at Tagap in the process of being activated which would have a complete colored staff of doctors and nurses. From the experiences of over 400 American nurses along the Road, I found that a great many of them had been out there 1 1/2 to 2 years and more, and the remarkable thing to me was how they had been able to sustain their morale and do the fine work they had been doing under the difficulties which were, and are, their daily lot.
I also found at Ledo that 100 silver rupees were being paid to natives for each bailed out American flyer brought in. Many of out flyers are forced down in the jungles and have to live there for days and weeks, and many of them have never been found. The natives have been responsible for rescuing a great many and bringing them back to American headquarters.
On November 21 I left Ledo by jeep for my trip over the road, but before starting out I visited the plane-loading warehouses and saw how the Quartermaster Corps had developed a system of loading materiel in a very efficient manner and also a system of dropping stuff into the jungle with remarkably little loss. This particular area has had to use this type of transportation because there was no other way of getting the stuff to our men, and they have dropped such things as galvanized barrels of water, motors, and field guns, rations, medical supplies, ammunition, and so forth. Approximately 600 tons are shipped out daily by air from the Ledo fields and a plane can be loaded on an average of 17 minutes.
After leaving Ledo I stopped and visited the Fourteenth Evacuation Hospital, the Three Hundred and Thirty-fifth Hospital at Tagap, and the Seventy-third Evacuation Hospital at Shingbwiyang at the end of the Naga country and the beginning of the Hukawng Valley. The road so far, from Ledo to Shingbwiyang, 102 miles, was a rough one, but all things considered a good road, wide, rocked, and proven in the last monsoon.
On November 22 I left Shingbwiyang and on the road visited the medical battalion station outside of Tingkawk, went through a lot of dense jungle, crossed a number of rivers on pontoon bridges, and observed the extremely good work being done by the engineer battalions, both white and colored, all along the road. I also visited the aviation liaison field at Shadazup and from there went on to Warazup, where there are fighter and transport fields. The route from Warazup was through Kamaing to Mogaung and this was the roughest ride I have ever undertaken. We averaged around 10 miles an hour for about 50 miles. I left Mogaung on November 23 and took the jeep train from there to Myitkyina. However, before I left Mogaung, I had a chance to visit Gen. Liao Yao-hsiang of the Chinese Sixth Army and his American liaison officer, Colonel Philipp. Gen. Liao Yao-hsiang, with his Sixth, and Lt. Gen. Sun Li-jen, of the First, were both doing a grand job to the south of the road and the reason that these two armies had the respect and confidence of the American military was because they were well fed, well trained, well equipped, and well led. It might be well to point out here that one of the chief complaints which I found along the road and in China was the lack of a definite rotation policy. The boys feel that they are the for. gotten men at the end of the line. They resent the secondary status of their area in matters such as priorities and they are fearful of the let-down which will result at home when Germany is defeated. They do not want to be forgotten and they wish their folks could really be made to understand the viciousness of the enemy they face in the Far East and the amount of time it is going to take to defeat Japan. These boys are realists and they know what they are up against be. cause they have learned the hard way. Our men fight bravely and well but not with any crusading spirit. They are interested in getting a dirty job done and coming home. That it their war aim—to come home to "Shangri-la" or the "Old Country," as they refer to the United States, and to get out of the places they are in just as quickly as they can after the job is finished.
It is not our policy to fight in Burma except where necessary to protect the Road. General Sultan claimed that there were 250,000 Japanese in Burma against 6 or 7 divisions of Chinese, British, and American troops under his command The Japanese divisions that he was facing were greatly decimated as to personnel and materiel. The British, I found out later, had at least 13 additional divisions under their own command, in west Burma.
The busiest airfields in the world are at Myitkyina, Chabua, and Kunming. The Myitkyina field is a marvel of efficiency. Indian pioneer troops do the unloading. The British pay them and we feed them. The British also clothe the troops of the First and Sixth Chinese Armies but we furnish them with arms. When food is dropped, American liaison personnel attached to the Chinese armies are there to see that the food is evenly distributed to all concerned. This is very important because otherwise some of the soldiers would have to do without and the result would be impaired efficiency as is the case so often in China itself.
At the Myitkina Airfield, there have been as high as 284 transports loaded and unloaded in a day, in addition to fighter and liaison planes coming on and off the field. In one 13-hour stretch there were 556 landings and take-offs, and during October 1944, 195 transports landed per day.
On November 24, I visited Maj. Gen. Howard Davidson, commander of the Tenth Air Force at his headquarters and sat in on his daily conference. Later that afternoon I tool off in a Billy Mitchell bomber with Col. Rosy Grubb and Lieutenant Colonel Pinkney for Kunming. After leaving Myitkyina we went south to Bhamo and circled the town while American P-51 Thunderbolts came in low and dropped their bomb loads and made some good hits. Then we went over the Hump at 14,000 feet to Kunming, where I stayed with Gen. Claire Chennault. He expressed great confidence in the Chinese. He stated that the tactical situation looked bad due to the loss of our advanced airfields, but that the overall picture was good as he had engaged 350,000 Japanese with his Fourteenth Air Force and he hoped to draw in 150,000 more. He notified me that he was still maintaining a number of American-operated airfields behind the Japanese lines and that while it was a difficult proposition he was continuing to supply them all. In his opinion Japan is moving a great deal of her heavy industry on to the Chinese mainland and he further stated that a China landing is necessary if the war is to be brought to a successful conclusion in that country. He rates the Communists highly as fighters, and declares there is no connection between them and Russia, a conclusion which was borne out in my conversations during the rest of my stay in China. He is, however, sympathetic toChiang Kai-shek in his dealings with the Communists and thinks he is the one man who symbolizes an aggressive China. He has nowhere near enough planes and neither does Chiang Kai-shek have enough supplies even though they have been promised them time and time again.
There was a three-ball alert in Kunming while I was there but the Japanese dropped their bombs at Chenking, 25 miles away. The next day I visited Maj. Gen. G. X. Cheves, the S.O.S. officer of the Chinese theater and he informed me that all the stuff coming into China is shipped to Calcutta and from there to Assam, where it is loaded in planes for flights over the Hump, and that in excess of 90 percent of the food and all building supplies are furnished by the Chinese. He informed me that the Generalissimo had just put him in charge of all internal transportation in China; that he was going to run trucks—not transportation—from Ledo to Kunming over the Ledo-Burma Road on January 22, 1945; and that the Road would be opened for transporting supplies into China from Burma and India by April 1, 1945, at the latest. It is my understanding that General Cheves will be appointed Chief of S.O.S. for the Chinese armies soon and if such is the case, the problem of feeding and supplying the Chinese armies will be well handled.
I have been able to arrive at some conclusions on the basis of my few contacts to date. Under the present system, being conscripted into the Chinese Army is like receiving a death sentence because the soldier receives little training, food, and equipment. They are starved and poorly equipped because of graft up above. The commanders hang on to much of the stuff they receive and then flood the black markets and enrich themselves. The administration of food supply on an equitable basis is necessary or the Chinese Army will not be able to fight as it should.
During my stay in China I noticed many conscripts but I did not think they were being handled very well. Many rich men's sons have bought themselves out of being conscripted into the Army for as little as $50,000 CN. I have been informed that $500,000 CN will make one a regimental commander. Surely no sound type of soldiery can be created on this basis.
On November 26, I left Kunming for Chungking. When I started on this mission I thought that the Chinese problem was supply, but now I feel that the most important factor is cooperation among the Chinese themselves and that this has been the case for some time. Conditions in China are really bad. Some people, for example, working for the Chinese Maritime Commission can work only one-half day because they cannot get enough to eat, and many soldiers die of malnutrition.
I met Maj. Gen. Albert Wedemeyer, commander in chief of American forces in China, and was very favorably impressed by him. It is a tough situation for anyone to be put into "cold," but I feel that if any man can salvage anything out of this, that Wedemeyer will be the one. He recognizes the gravity of the situation. He is not fooling himself. He is not underestimating the abilities of the Japanese, nor is he overestimating the fighting qualities of the Chinese. He wanted to get Gen. Chen Cheng as his field commander against the Japanese, but the Generalissimo appointed Chen Cheng his Minister of War instead and gave Wedemeyer Gen. Hoh Ying-chin as his field commander. While this did not look so good at the time, it very likely was a shrewd move, because Hoh Ying-chin is the Kweichow war lord, and consequently will fight harder to save his province. Hoh Ying-chin is now Chief of Staff of the Chinese Army and commander of the forces in Kweichow and Kwangsi.
In Chungking Maj. Gen. Pat Hurley informed me that the United States objectives were, first, to keep China from collapsing, and second, to unify, replenish, and regroup Chinese military forces for the purpose of carrying on the struggle and thereby saving American lives. There was some talk at that time that General Hurley would be appointed Ambassador, and later, when that news became definite, there was a feeling of relief on the part of all hands. No better choice could be made for this very important position. General Hurley tried, and is trying, to get the different elements in the country together so that a unified China will result and a greater degree of cooperation brought about.
The Communists are a force to be reckoned with in China. They have approximately 90,000,000 people in the territories under their control and they seem to have evolved a system of government which is quite democratiC., and they also are strong enough to have their authority recognized in the areas they rule. They make their own laws, collect their own taxes, and issue their own paper money. The Centrol Government has somewhere around 300,000 troops in the Communist area and the result is that the Communist and Central Government troops that could be used in fighting the Japanese are being used to blockade one another, and consequently the rift in China remains quite wide. The biggest single problem in the country today is this disunity within China itself. Our military and diplomatic representatives are doing all that they can do to close this breach and to bring about greater cooperation among the Chinese. This is the crux of the whole Chinese picture, and much will depend on this gulf between these two elements being closed.
The Communists are well disciplined. They teach their young boys and girls how to use hand grenades. They have developed small cannons out of bored elms, which they set off by a fuze or a match lock. For armament they use captured Japanese guns, and when they do not have guns they use spears and clubs. Japanese steel helmets, telephones, and wires are other things which they have captured and used.
The Communists have gone into villages which they captured, told the people they were spreading democracy, asked how many were in favor of reducing land taxes, interest rates, and so forth, and then allowed them to vote. Young girls go in and propagandize the women, getting them to make rugs, blankets, and so forth, which the Communist Army buys, and thus they are given a better economic standing. Then they form ladies' societies of various kinds and in this way help to lift themselves out of the rut they have always been in. The Communists at this time look upon the United States as their great ally because they know that we are really fighting their enemy, the Japanese, and every time a B-20 flies over their territory, they know it is an assurance that we are their friends.
The Communist Party is the chief opposition group in China. They are not Communists in the sense that Russians are as their interests seem to focus on primarily agrarian reforms. Whereas they used to execute landlords and expropriate their estates to divide up among the peasants, today they try to cooperate with landlords or anyone else who will help them in their fight against Japan. They are more reformers than revolutionaries and they have attacked the problems most deep-seated in agricultural China—namely high rents, taxes, and interest rates—and they have developed cooperatives and a system of local democracy. They are organized effectively in the region under their control to carry on the war and to maintain their own standing. There is a theoretical agreement between them and Chiang Kai-shek wherein their armies—the Fourth and Eighth Route—are under Chungking, but such is not the case and the result sis that they maintain their separate status militarily, economically, and politically. The Soviets send in no aid to them. Consequently they are dependent on their own resources and what they capture from the Japanese. The Generalissimo looks askance at the Communists because he feels that they are too strong, that they will extend their influence wherever and whenever possible and, if allowed to continue unchecked they might supersede the Kuomintang. While there have been incidents between the Kuomintang and the Communists there has probably been no civil war. We do not know all that has gone on between them because of the rigid censorship which exists, but we do know that negotiations have been carried on looking to a settlement of their differences; that Chou En-lai has made many trips to Chungking to discuss matters with the Central Government, and that at the present time a small amount of medical supplies—2 per cent of a 20-ton American shipment—has been sent to Yenan.
American influence has been to try to get the divergent elements in China together. This is important and necessary to prevent a possible civil war; to bring about as great a degree of unification as possible to carry on the war; and to help the Chinese to help themselves in settling their own internal problems. There is a bare possibility that the present crisis which confronts China may be a means of bringing these two groups together.
On November 28, I visited several businessmen and friends in downtown Chungking and tried to get their views on the present situation. It appeared to me that the Chinese businessmen had adopted a "wait and see" attitude. All depended on what would happen at Kweiwang. If it stood, well and good; if it fell, the great retreat from Chungking would begin. As of this date, China's house has a leaky roof, and a shaky foundation. Whether or not that house can be put in order is a question mark.
I had a conference with Dr. Sun Fo, son of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, who told me that there used to be a connection between Yenan and Russia, but since the dissolution of the Comintern it has disappeared, although it might rise again as there is an idealistic bond between the two. Dr. Sun Fo said that the Generalissimo is now becoming more realistic; that previously he did not like to hear bad things, saying it was enemy propaganda and his subordinates, therefore, told him only the good things and consequently conditions went from bad to worse. Finally, the Generalissimo set out to find what was wrong and sent his two sons out to investigate the conscription policy. When they came back with their story of ill-treatment, graft, and corruption he made a personal trip to the conscription center in Chungking, saw what they had told him was true, and jailed and court-martialed the administrator in charge. Sun Fo told me that about 100,000 of the two hundred and fifty to three hundred thousand troops under General Hu Tsungnan in the Northwest area have been shifted to the Kweichow-Kwangsi front and that the old "sit back and let the United States do the job" attitude is changing. Sun Fo said the Generalissimo was the one man, in China, capable of bringing all elements together because of his ability and prestige.
On the basis of information which I have been able to gather, it appears to me that both the Communists and the Kuomintang are more interested in preserving their respective parties at the present time, and have been for the past 2 years, than they are in carrying on the war against Japan. Each party is more interested in its own status because both feel that America will guarantee victory.
The Kuomintang is disliked more every day and this is due to fear of the army and the attitude of tax collectors; and is proved by the revolts of the peasantry, the party criticism by provincial leaders, and student revolts against conscription. It speaks democratically but acts dictatorially The Kuomintang is afraid of the will of the people, has lost much of its popular support, and will not allow any of its power to be used in the way of agrarian reforms. However the Kuomintang is still the party in China. It has its leader in the Generalissimo who has the franchise in the war against Japan. It has a powerful army. The middle class leans toward it and it still has the support of America. On the other hand, the Communists have their elements of strength and weakness. Among their weak points is their spirit of sanctimoniousness. They look upon themselves as pious crusaders and do-gooders. Their knowledge of the outside world is primitive; there are social distinctions among them, and they are totalitarian and dictatorial in their own way. Their points of strength are they have a good military force, estimated at around 600,000 and there is more democracy in their territory than in the rest of China.
I saw the Generalissimo on Thursday, November 30, and told him that the United States had sent over three of its very best men in Generals Hurley and Wedemeyer and Donald Nelson. He answered that if they had been there a year ago the situation would be different now. I said that we must forget the past and look to the present and the future; that the United States had a great admiration for China and wanted to see her a strong power so that she could make herself a bulwark for peace in the Orient.
When I saw the Generalissimo again he expressed his belief that China would hold at Kweiyang. When the Generalissimo asked Donald Nelson, who was with us, what differences he noted between his first trip and this one, Nelson told him that he found less talk of post-war development and a greater concentration on the present need of China.
On Saturday, December 2, I went to Chengtu and saw the fields at which the B-29's were refueled and serviced going to and coming from Japan. The morale at Chengtu is not too good, and the reason is the faulty rotation program. Among the bomber crews, morale is fairly good; among the fighters it is fair; but in the supply units, it is poor. Further more, the rotation policy seems to work better for the officers than the enlisted men and it creates a bad situation.
In this area, $40,000 CN are paid to the Chinese bringing in grounded American flyers. This goes to pay for porters, and so forth. The guerillas pick many of the grounded Americans up inside the Japanese lines and carry them out, and sometimes the process takes a matter of weeks. Then they notify a magistrate or some other official who in turn notifies American headquarters, which in turn sends out a plane to pick them up.
I had a conference with T. V. Soong, Chinese Foreign Minister, on Friday, December 8. He informed me that he and the Generalissimo were in full accord and also that the condition of the Chinese soldiers, who were ill fed and ill cared for, is being attended to. T. V. Soong is probably the best known of China's leaders abroad. He does not have a large following in China but he has great personal prestige there and among Americans. He is modern in his outlook understands China's needs, and now that he is Acting President of the Executive Yuan, he can, I believe, be depended upon to do his utmost to see that the necessary reforms are administered. Politically Dr. Soong informed me that the Government was making at long last overtures toward the Communists. He was quite hopeful some solution could be worked out. He said China would have to unify internally to win the war and to have a strong position at the peace table. Economically, he admitted the situation in China was bad but one of his policies is going to keep inflation from spreading. He said that the Generalissimo had too much tolook after personally, that there were too many "yes men" around him, that bad news worried him, but that now the Generalissimo was going to take a more active interest in military affairs and that he, T. V. Soong, would help him in administrative affairs.
On Sunday, December 10, the Chinese situation took a turn for the better with the recapture of Tushan, although it must be admitted that this 'Victory" was due not to actual fighting, but to the withdrawal of the Japanese some time before. This was brought about because the Japs had evidently overextended themselves and had pushed ahead too rapidly. Furthermore, it has been confirmed that the Japanese are pulling up the rails of the railroads in western Kwangsi and transporting them to complete the link between Manning and Dong Dang in French Indo-China and which when completed will create an all-rail transportation link between Indo-China in the south Manchukuo and Korea in the north.
I had a conference that same day with one of the Generalissimo's closest advisers, and he informed me that the recent cabinet shake-up was demanded by groups in China long before it took place. The Generalissimo refused to accede to these demands until he was ready to make the move, and then he wanted to make it appear that it was his own doing. This, of course, was a matter of face, and is a factor of great importance in comprehending the Chinese situation. This adviser realized the great need for food, training and leadership in the Chinese Army, and he has made it a point to stress these lacks to Chiang Kai-shek from time to time. He made a report on the bad conditions in the army in Hunan and Kwangsi, sent a memorandum to the Generalissimo, who visited these areas and confirmed what he had found. He stated that his report and the Generalissimo's visit was in part responsible for the removal of several cabinet members. He said, further, that the Generalissimo could not consent to General Wedemeyer's placing Chen Cheng in command before Kweiwang, because Chen as War Minister was in a better position to push needed army reforms. I was further informed by this adviser that the Generalissimo lacks confidence in the Communists, war lords, and intellectuals, and makes his decisions with these groups in mind. Later in the day I spent an hour with Mme. Sun Yat-sen, who said that the only solution to China's problem is a coalition government. She is not unfriendly toward the Communists but thinks that the Generalissimo will not have anything to do with them. She further stated that China, to be a great power, must form such a government, and she thought that such a move would in reality strengthen the Kuomintang rather than weaken it. She made the statement that all factions of Chinese are "very much pleased with America's disinterested attitude" and that they realize that we have no ulterior motive in their country. Before leaving Mme. Sun Yat-sen, she told me that many people were very much worried and wanted to get out of Chungking, because they felt that the situation could not be saved.
On Monday, December 11, I saw Gen Chen Cheng, Minister of War, and referred to him a Reuter's dispatch quoting certain Americans to the effect that we would lose all our air fields in China unless a miracle occurred. He termed the statement "politics" and said it was only helping the enemy. He was very confident of China's ability to hold and he stated that he could be of much more use as War Minister than in the field in the way of executing reforms, as he puts fit, "at the rear where it has to be done for those at the front who need it." In other words, he has the authority now which he lacked as a commander in the field. We discussed the reforms needed in the Chinese Army, the Burma Road, and the present situation. He impressed me as a man who will do his job and do it well, or know the reason why. Chen Cheng, according to all American military men, is China's best soldier. His appointment as War Minister was the best possible move that the Generalissimo could make to bolster China's armies and lagging war morale. His loyalty to Chiang Kai-shek is unquestioned and he is personally incorruptible. Among the many leading generals in China he stands out because of his devotion to his country, his word which is his bond, and his courage.
Later in the afternoon, I talked to Ambassador Hurley and he told me that the Generalissimo had offered the Communists the following proposals:
(1) Recognition as a legal party.
(2) Equipment of their armies on the basis of equality.
(3) Participation in the government.
The Communists would not accept these proposals because they feared their participation in the government would be very limited and their armies would be wiped out. They, therefore, turned down the Generalissimo's three-point program.
That evening I saw the Generalissimo for the third time and spent an hour and a half with him, and at his request, gave him a frank recital of my findings. I pointed out the full extent of our lend-lease support to him and emphasized that in an effort to assist China we have done everything humanly possible and some things which were thought impossible. To evaluate fully our assistance we should keep in mind the following points:
(1) We have performed superhuman feats in getting material over the Hump to aid in China's defense.
(2) We are doing a tremendous job in building the Ledo-Burma Road and its auxiliary pipe line.
(3) We have carried on operations in the Pacific which were all aimed at weakening China's—and our—enemy, Japan, and which must be included in any reckoning of assistance to our Asiatic ally.
(4) We have given China much in the way of financial aid through loans, credits, and so forth.
(5) We have tried to assist in a reorganization of the Chinese Army through developing training schools in this country and China; through detailing liaison personnel to the different armies; though better feeding methods; and through the activation of the Chinese-American composite wing of the Fourteenth Air Force.
We have done all within our means to assist China because we want to see her use everything she has to bring the war in the Far East to a successful conclusion. We want to see China a great power because we feel that as such she will be a decided factor in maintaining the peace in the Orient. We want to get out of China as soon as victory is won.
Last but most important, every move we have made and will make in China is dictated by one primary consideration and that is to save as many American lives as possible. Everything else—everything—is predicated on this.
I told the Generalissimo that he had had and would continue to have, our full support, but that he should take the necessary steps to bring about the needed internal reforms in his civil, military, and economic administration, and I also mentioned several times our lack of any designs on China. I further stated that my opinion of the Chinese situation had changed from one wherein supplies to China was most important to one which stressed the need of cooperation among the Chinese people themselves. He replied by saying America
did not understand a country in revolution and he compared China today with its dissident elements and the Kuomintang to the dissident elements and the revolutionary soldiers of George Washington's time. He stated that he would continue to try for a settlement with the Communists in a political way. I pointed out different possibilities to him and he answered that he had considered them all. Americans, he continued, expect his government to make all the concessions. Why don't we try to get the Yenan group to make some? This sounds like a good suggestion.
Chiang Kai-shek is a dictator in name only. It is true that he is president of the Republic and Commander-in-Chief of the army, but his power is limited because he has to recognize all factions within the Kuomintang—and some outside—with the result that he serves as a balance wheel and has to resort to compromise to keep a semblance of unity. No one would acknowledge this more quickly than Chiang himself Though constantly subject to pressures he has shown great skill in maintaining the stability of his government over the years he has been its head. He has been a remarkable leader, and today he is the one man in China with sufficient prestige to carry her through the war. He has had to be a politician primarily, a military leader secondarily. To maintain himself in power he has had to manipulate these groups as the occasions demanded. The results have been a hodge-podge of policies which the western mind finds hard to comprehend. The disastrous results of this maneuvering have been manifested in many ways:
1. He has used something like 16 divisions to blockade the Communists and has thus lost the use of large numbers of troops to fight Japan.
2. He has allowed Chinese military strength to deteriorate in other ways through his inability to mobilize China's resources; to conscript the college students and the rich men's sons; to see that his troops received food and medical supplies.
3. He has not checked hoarding; he has not stopped inflation; and has allowed merchants and landlords to profiteer tremendously.
4. He has failed to improve the condition of the peasantry in regard to high rents and high rates of interest.
On the other hand, he is the one leader in China. It has been under him that China has attained political freedom and the status of a great power. He is the one man who can make Chinese independence and unity a reality. His faults can be understood when the complexity of the Chinese puzzle are studied in detail, and they are no more uncommon than the faults of the other leaders of the United Nations.
The seriousness of the situation in China has brought home to him the need for some reforms and he has applied himself to bringing order out of chaos. He has withdrawn some of his Communist blockading divisions from the northwest to the Kweichow-Kwangsi front; he has continued to carry on negotiations with Chou En-lai, the No. 3 Communist, with the hope, as he expressed it to me, "that a political settlement can be made"; he has given his full support to the Chinese W.P.B. set up by Donald Nelson and administered by Won Wen-hao; he has called for 100,000 volunteers from among the college students though he has not conscripted them; and he is seeing to it, under American help and supervision, that the Chinese soldier is now being fed and that the Chinese conscripts are now being treated better.
He has reorganized his cabinet and given the more democratic elements a chance to be represented and he has pledged his full support to the American team of Wedemeyer and Hurley. His intentions are good and he has shed some of his administrative burdens on T. V. Soong, now acting president of the Executive Yuan, so that he can devote moreof his time to strictly military affairs.
All these moves are in the right direction, but the question is, has he gone far enough or does he intend to, and is there still time? China used to be able to trade space for time, but now she has very little space and not much time, As I tried to impress on Chiang, the responsibility is now his as we have done everything we possibly could do to assist him. If he holds we will get the stuff through to him; if he fails, all our efforts in Burma; over the Hump, and the magnificent work of the Tenth and Fourteenth Air Forces and the Twentieth Bomber Command will have been for naught.
We are committed to Chiang Kai-shek and we will help him to the best of our ability. The decision, though, rests not on our shoulders, but on the Generalissimo's, He and he alone, can untangle the present situation, because on the basis of what he has done and in spite of some of the thing he has done, he is China.
The American Government through General Wedemeyer, Ambassador Hurley, and Donald Nelson has been doing all in its power to bring the different groups in China together. This policy has been pursued not because we want to dictate in China's internal affairs but because we want tic Chinese to cooperate with one another so that the full forces of their resources and manpower can be brought to bear against Japan. They realize that Chiang Kai-shek's position is a difficult one and that he fears giving in to the Communists because of the effect it might have on him and his party. They think, though, that if the Chinese themselves can get together it would be to the best interests of China. If they do not get together the seeds of dissension will only continue to grow and the eventual harvest will be of such a nature as to make the Taiping Rebellion of the last century a minor revolution in comparison. It might even mean the intervention of a great power in the Chinese internal situation.
I should like to state, once again at this point, that the policy of the United States in China is one in which no ulterior motives are involved. In that country—and in that country only, so far as I know—our foreign policy is clear, clean, and definite. We are in China to help China and ourselves against a common enemy; we intend to get out ol China just as soon as victory is won; and we, alone among the great nations, want China to be a world power, because we feel she will become the bastion of peace in Asia, The Chinese know all this and because of it they trust implicity.
I left Chungking on December 13, and I must say that my conclusions are in close accord with the thoughts of the majority of the American civil, diplomatic, and military officials there. They want the Chinese to get together so that we can win the war in Asia, and they want to get the boys out of China just as soon as victory is won. The main concern of all of them is the saving of American lives. They do not care whether a Chinese is an agrarian or not, just so he fights Japan and takes that much of the burden off our soldiers.
The weakness of the Generalissimo's government are apparent, as I have tried to point out in this report—its durability a question which only Chiang Kai-shek himself can answer. It is my belief that he will do all that he can, according to his views, to bring about the necessary reforms and to achieve a degree of unity. It is his purpose, he informed me, to try and get democracy to the people as soon as possible, and he intends to call a constitutional convention some time during 1945.
He has had, and will continue to have, a difficult problemon his hands. I feel we should give him every possible support, because he alone can bring China together. There is no other person in that country who has the prestige or his
ability, and I say this in spite of the weaknesses in his government which I have called to your attention. In retrospect, be has been a great leader for China. No other country has ever fought so long with so little against such great odds. Furthermore, China is doubly important now because of the fact that Japanese heavy industry has been moving to the Chinese mainland since the Doolittle bombing of Tokyo, and this adds up to the war ending in China, where it began in 1931—a grim picture to look forward to.