What Is the Truth About China?
THE GREAT MORAL DECISION OF CHIANG KAI-SHEK AND THE CHINESE PEOPLE
By WALTER H. JUDD, Representative from Minnesota
Delivered in the House of Representatives, Washington, D. C., March 15, 1945
Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol. XI, pp. 490-501.
BECAUSE our forefathers came from Europe, because our sentimental attachments have -been there, and because the foreign history we studied was European history, most Americans have understood fairly well the .nature of the struggle raging in Europe. Because we live in this hemisphere and because we have a Monroe Doctrine and a Panama Canal, naturally we have been concerned and informed about problems in this hemisphere. But up until Pearl Harbor Sunday most Americans simply could not or would not believe that either ancient or modern events in Asia could be of real significance to us. Yet When the war ends in Europe, as we hope and pray it will in not too distant a future, America's attention will inevitably shift more and more to the far Pacific, and we must know and understand the situations there better than we have in the past if we are to adopt wise policies which will bring the war there to a decisive conclusion with a minimum of cost in men money and time, and with a maximum of security and trade for the future.
We got into this war through Asia; and if America gets into another war, almost certainly it will also be through Asia.
There are few subjects about which American thinking is more confused today than it is about China. During 1938, 1939, and 1940, when I was going up and down the country reporting what I had seen in China in the preceding years,
including. a period of 5 months under the Japanese Army, and trying to awaken my fellow citizens to the dangers of Japan's and our own policies at that time, most people were inclined to say "Oh, don't, worry about the Japanese. You are unduly alarmed. After all, the Japanese can't even lick the Chinese, and of course the Chinese can't fight, so what could the Japanese do to us?"
But that easy thinking was based on two false premises. The first was that the Chinese could not fight. I have, always wondered just where anybody got that notion. The. second was that we could fight—on short notice. And I have always wondered where anybody got that notion. Where did anyone get the idea we could bring up a generation of youth believing that never again would Americans need to fight for their country, that they had little or no need to think about anything except their own comfortable ways; and then suddenly take, them out of the university or off the farm or out of the factory and overnight convert them into trained warriors, conditioned emotionally as well as physically to stand up against the hardened veterans of Europe and Asia who had been taught to glory in killing.
A great many American boys are dead today unnecessarily because we engaged in that sort of wishful, thinking.
Then one morning Japan gave us the worst defeat in our whole 168 years of independent history. We woke up with a start and said:. "Why, those Japanese are good. And if they can do that to us, how? in the world have the Chinese been able to hold out against them for four and a half years? The Chinese must be good, too." Our estimate of the Chinese began to soar.
Then Madam Chiang came to this country and she captured American imagination as few foreigners ever had, and certainly as no Asiatic ever had. Our estimate of the Chinese soared still higher—too high. To hear many Americans talk, including commentators and columnists, practically every Chinese was wholly selfless in his devotion to his country, patriotically sacrificing everything for freedom and his nations welfare, and so forth. We who had lived there were concerned, and Chinese leaders were even more disturbed, because we and they knew that it was not a true picture of the situation in China or in any country, and that such over-idealization would inevitably lead to a swing-back into over-disillusionment. We are in the midst of that swing-back now. Those who a year ago could hardly find words good enough with which to describe our Chinese allies, now can hardly find words bad enough. To hear them talk now, all Chinese are lazy, are crooks, and gratters, are obstructionists, anti-foreign, hopelessly inefficient, split up into political factions interested more in preserving themselves than in defeating Japan, expecting us to do all the fighting, and so forth, and so forth. Between those two extremes, where is the truth? Some of you have asked me that question. I thought if you were going to ask my views, I ought to have a fresh look at the situation. I had been home for 6 years and I wanted to get the feel of things as they are in China today. So I went out to China last fell for that purpose.
I had worked there 10 years as a medical missionary, 1 year in Nanking, 5 years in south China, and 4 years in north China. I was able to talk in their own language with many Chinese whom I had known well in the past, doctors with whom I had worked, nurses we had trained in our hospitals, principals and teachers and. students from our schools, presidents and deans of universities, businessmen. These people fled to west China to escape Japanese enslavement. They have fairly frequent contact back and forth across the lines with their relatives in occupied China. They know exactly what is going on. And they would sit down and discuss with me as a friend their thoughts and hopes and fears as freely, I suspect, as they would with new American officials or. Army officers or reporters, or perhaps even as frankly as they would with Mr. Wallace, who drops in for a few days and comes back with positive views as to just what should be done. I did not talk to high Chinese Government officials until the last 2 days. I talked with Chinese people. It is on the basis of such observations that. I want to present some of the high lights, if I can.
The first thing to say, is that we are being deluged, nowadays with a flood of reports from people who do not have an adequate background of experience in Asia.. Some of you have traveled in the Orient and you remember your first glimpse of it. The poverty, the overcrowding, the dirt, the squalor, the disease, were all right out there in full view; and your, first reaction was: "Why, these people are living almost like animals. Their condition is hopeless."
It was just about all you could take under ordinary circumstances, wasn't it? How much worse after almost 8 years of war and invasion?
In former years most reports on China came from Americans who went out as missionaries, or as teachers, or as businessmen, or as long-term reporters, or students. They soon observed, also the tapestries and cloisonnes, and. porcelains, the literary achievements, the mature wisdom, the basic goodness and friendliness of the people. They wanted to live their lives happily there, so they looked for and. found the best. They learned what the Chinese have long known, that the loveliest flower of all, the lotus, frequently grows in the most uninviting surroundings.
But thousands of Americans are there today who are not interested in China's culture. They did not go because they wanted to go. They went because they were sent, by their newspaper or by Uncle Sam. They are not looking for the best. They frequently see only the external things, almost all unprepossessing, and they do not like it. I find our boys abroad: do not like any country except one, and that is the United States of America. They want only to get back to it. They write home to their families about the filth and the cruelties and the antiquated methods and what seem to be lackadaisical attitudes and all the rest The fathers and mothers read it, and then they know all about China because their boy, John, well, he is there and he saw and he knows.
Likewise most reporters—they do not want to he sent to that assignment and they do not like it There are few American girls out in Chungking, and few movies, and hardly any electric light most of the time, no running water, and no fun. It is an awful place to which to be sent
Understandably, these Americans tend tor judge China, not in terms of China's own past but in terms of the West. They assume the bad conditions are the result of the present Government's failures) when in reality conditions became not worse, but very much better under that Government in the years prior to the war.
We must judge China not in relation to conditions in America, but in terms of conditions as they were in China 20 years ago and 200 years ago. Outsiders without adequate background or historical perspective understandably play up the superficial differences, almost all to China's disadvantage.
The second fact which many fail to appreciate fully is that China was still in the midst of a great revolution when she was plunged into this war against her wishes.
Revolutions are almost always disorderly and long-drawn-out affairs. It took the French 80 years to get through their revolution. There was a revolution and a counter revolution ; another revolution and another counter revolution; then the third revolution before: they got political stability. It took us 90 years, including a great Civil War, before we got straightened out after our revolution. You will remember that when our Republic was older than China's is, conditions in this country in the latter part of the War of 1812 were so bad, the corruption and factionalism were so rampant in the Government, inefficiencies in the Army were so notorious, and the administration of affairs was so bad that representatives of the people of New England met in Hartford, Conn., and solemnly voted to secede. They were giving up as hopeless the attempt to get internal unity and stability in this struggling Republic. Their problem was child's play compared to China's.
In addition to her internal difficulties, she was undergoing constant interference from without. It was only 4 years after the revolution began in 1911 that Japan tried to force on China the 21 demands which would have made China a vassal state. Four years later a group of 4 white men sitting at Versailles took Shantung, the sacred province of China, and tried to award it to Japan. Japan invaded that province again in 1927, took Manchuria in 1931, and bit off 3 other pieces of Chinese territory in the next 6 years before starting full-scale war in 1937. In addition, several other nations were meddling in China's affairs, trying to prevent her achieving real unity and strength. Naturally the Chinese were not able to get their revolution completed and a modern, efficient, unified, and democratic government set up.
During our election last fall there were people in this country who were profoundly concerned as to what the effects on our country of a possible 16-year dynasty might be. But China had been under one dynasty, not for 16 years but for 267 years when her revolution began, and yet she is expected to have no internal trouble.
Superimposed on the inevitable difficulties involved in carrying through a revolution, getting a new type of government established and the people organized and unified, is a third factor. China is suffering acutely from what Mr. Churchill has well called "the diseases of defeat." She has undergone seven and one-half years of almost uninterrupted reverses. She lost 80 per cent of her modern industry in the first 3 months of the war, because that industry was down at the coast, where Japan struck.
She has not had anything that could properly be called an arsenal since the fall of Hankow in 1938—6 1/2 years ago. Yet, we expect her men to be able to fight just as well as our boys can now. But we could not fight very well for a few months after Pearl Harbor, could we? Even with all our industry intact it still took us almost a year to get going. How about the British after Dunkerque? With enormous assistance from us it still took them over 2 years to get back on their feet. And yet the Chinese, after all these catastrophies and with almost negligible supplies, are supposed to be just as fresh as a daisy and are berated as no good if they cannot start right now a vigorous counter-offensive to save our bases in south China.
Mr. Churchill and Mr. Roosevelt made the basic decision right after Pearl Harbor, to hold defensively in the Pacific while disposing of Germany and Italy in Europe. The fundamental strategy was to concentrate on beating Hitler first. So we poured over 98 per cent our our supplies into Europe, and sent less than 2 per cent to east Asia, and less than 10 per cent of that went to the Chinese. Up until a few months ago when we finally began to consider the Chinese armies of sufficient importance to make an all-out effort to get more assistance to them, they had had only two-tenths of 1 per cent of all the supplies that we sent abroad to our allies.
Now, suppose Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill had reversed their decision, had decided to beat Japan first and sent 98 per cent of our aid to Asia. Where would England have been? She would have been gone long ago. Nobody would have cursed the British as cowards and worthless allies because they could not fight without arms. And Russia could not possibly have held as she did at Stalingrad, and she could not be doing what she is doing now, if she had not had help—lots of it. China did not get such help.
We and our western allies made a decision which gave brilliant results in Europe. But that decision inevitably led to almost disastrous results in Asia. If we take the credit for good results in Europe, there is no way we can escape some of the responsibility for the bad results in Asia. We could not fight at full strength on both fronts. So we chose to concentrate first on one. That is nothing to be ashamed of. Why do we not stand up and admit the bad as well as the good effects of our decision, instead of trying to blame our Chinese allies for defeats that were inescapable if m could not help them more? I am not criticizing; I am merely trying to see things in perspective.
China lost her major railroads in the first few months of the war. She lost control of the Yangtze River Valley, which is far more important to her transportation than the whole Mississippi River Valley is to us. These things made it impossible to shift troops rapidly or to get food from the areas of plenty to those of acute deficiency.
You have read of Chinese soldiers foraging on the common people, and of Chinese peasants rising up against their own armies. You probably thought, "What kind of troops are these that take food from their own citizens? What kind of allies are these that will not support their own armies?" But the soldiers simply have to live off the land at times, or starve. And I would remind you that the same thing happened in our Revolution. George Washington's men had to live off the land at times and they were royally hated and resisted by some of the Colonists because of that fact.
Frequently the only way to transport food from areas in China where there are surpluses is for men to carry it. A Chinese coolie will carry about 130 pounds of rice 25 to 30 miles a day; but he has to eat, and by the time he gets to where he is taking the rice, he has eaten it all up and ho no way to get back. It is not as simple as some of the backseat drivers in America imagine.
We supplied the Japanese with Dodges, Fords, Chevrolet, Studebakers—I saw them by the thousand. We even sent over representatives of our great automobile and truck-manufacturing companies to establish plants in Japan, so she would be sure to have enough. Her armies are on wheels. The Chinese are still afoot, leading donkeys, pushing wheelbarrows, carrying loads on poles.
In the Readers Digest of last August, I believe, there was an article written by an American woman who had lived for many years in France. She described the "diseases of defeat" as she saw them developing there. She described friends of hers whom she had known from childhood, people of the noblest birth and background and the finest education and the highest integrity and the most sensitive culture and personal charm. She told how she witnessed those friends being forced by the sheer urge to survive biologically, to abandon step by step all the niceties of civilization and become almost like hungry dogs in the street, fighting bone in order to live.
There are social amenities and graces that we take for granted, but which are general only when people have food and order. This is one of the basic reasons why we simply must succeed in devising some other way than war of settling international disputes, because no civilization, no culture, can stand too prolonged or too frequent or too exhausting wars.
What are the diseases of defeat? First, there is physical deterioration. I was shocked last fall by the appearance of many Chinese, particularly among the soldiers. I had seen
famine refugees in times past, and thought I was used to malnutrition, but this was even worse. The Chinese soldiers will have to have just plain good food for at least 6 months before anyone can possibly expect them to have the strength and vigor and stamina to start a counter-offensive.
We Americans, if we believe all the advertisements we read, have to take a vitamin pill or two every day to get through that little let-down we are said to have in the middle of the afternoon, and most of us are pretty well supplied with vitamins in our regular diet. But the Chinese haven't had enough vitamins for years and years, and they are more jittery and irritable and restless than ordinarily, and they are tired. They are anemic, they are full of parasites and malaria and tuberculosis and dysentery. They have got to have adequate food and medical care.
Then there is economic deterioration. China was able to keep her economy in surprisingly good balance until a complete blockade was slapped upon her in 1942, and that was not her fault. We and the British controlled the seas, but we could not keep the sea lanes open to China and the British could not hold Burma and so China was completely cut off. The blockade had the same effect on her as it had on our South in the War between the States. The South was not industrialized, as China is not industrialized. The South had to get supplies and equipment and machinery and munitions from abroad, just as China did. The South had to sell its cotton and other products abroad in order to get foreign exchange to keep its currency stable, just as China did. When the blockade shut off trade the South had to resort to the printing press and inflation resulted. It was this economic break-down and lack of supplies as a result of the blockade which led to the weakening and defeat of the South more than any other single factor.
That same sort of economic deterioration and inflation has taken place in China since the blockade. And how did we try to cure it? One of the ways was by sending in paper money when we began to be able to fly over the hump. Here is a hundred-dollar bill, Chinese money, printed in America, by one of the American bank-note companies. This hundred-dollar bill is worth about 23 cents in American money at the present time. We flew over the hump 100,000 pounds of this paper money. That is a new way to cure inflation—less goods and more paper money. I talked to American officers over there who were bitter about the way we characteristically assume we can cure any problem with more money—and then blame the Chinese because they could not prevent inflation.
Then there is moral deterioration—graft, corruption, profiteering, black market. These things develop in any country in war, and especially in defeat. But there are several things to say about the graft in China. First, while it is bad, it is not nearly as bad as I expected to find, considering the circumstances. Second, there has always been in China, the "squeeze" system, which we consider graft, but they do not. Any Chinese who handles a transaction for you takes 10 per cent. If he takes 20 per cent, he is dishonest; but, if he does not take 10 per cent, he is not considered honest, he is just dumb. The Chinese say that dishonesty consists in leaving somebody with the wrong impression. So it is not graft from the Chinese point of view, because everybody knows perfectly well it is being done. It is "old custom," has always been done, and everybody understands it.
When Chinese come to this country and do business with us, they have to do it on our terms. And, Mr. Chairman, when we do business with them in their country, we have got to do it on their terms, that is if we want to get much accomplished. More missionary wives have lost both their money and their religion trying in vain to beat this "squeeze" system than from any other cause.
When the Chinese do it, it is "graft"; when we do it, it is a commission. But it is the same thing.
If some Americans, whether in the General Accounting Office or the War Department, or elsewhere, try to insist that the Chinese do just as we wish, they will not rudely defy us, they will be very obliging and sweet about it, but things will not get done just the same. All through history people have been trying to force the Chinese to do this or that. No one has yet succeeded for long. We will save effort and money, and get better results if we have the sense not to try, even as we are not trying to force Stalin to let his handling of our lend-lease goods be supervised by us.
Newly arrived Americans may be unable to understand why Chinese do not instantly see how much "better" our ways are than theirs. Well, we are only 168 years old and not doing so well in spots. They will wait until we are 1,000 years old and then see how we are coming along before they will scrap all they have learned and take over our system en bloc. Our gadgets are better than theirs, but our manners are much worse. Of the two the latter is to them the more important. They have been as unfavorably impressed by many of our aggressive, rude go-getters as some of our people there have been unfavorably impressed by their mechanical backwardness and their refusal to get as excited about things as we do.
Doubtless you have read Leland Stowe's book or other reports about the graft on the Burma Road—and the graft was there. But, as one American colonel, who has been out there all the time, told me, "If the Chinese had stolen everything we sent over the Burma Road, it still would have been nothing compared to what some of our other allies have stolen." Chiang Kai-shek shot some ringleaders and tried his best to clean things up, but he could not completely eliminate the graft any more than we have been able to stop it in our own Army.
That is the third thing to say. Look at the graft by Americans—and with far less excuse. After I got to China and saw what some Americans were doing, I felt ashamed. You have not heard much about it there, but recently you have read some sorry stories out of France, where hundreds of Americans are engaged in cheating their own Government. And they do not need to do it, in order to exist. They get $50 a month and good food. And there are officers involved, too. When we look at our own corruption without any cause except moral break-down, it seems to me that we ought to be slow about jumping too severely on people who are starving and drain some gasoline out of a bomber or jeep, when no one is looking, and sell it in the black market to keep their families alive another week or so. Let him that is without sin in this respect cast the first stone. If America were to go through half of what China has gone through, for half as long, and come through in no worse condition internally, I should be astonished and proud.
Then there is political deterioration. In any country the "outs" want to get in, and, when the "ins" have almost nothing but defeats to show, the "outs" inevitably increase their opposition. They complain to those in power, "Why did not you follow our advice, our policy, then the country would not be in such trouble? Get out! Let us have some other party in control." You know, we in America do not wait to attack our leaders until they have defeats. We start sniping at them if their victories are not right on schedule—our schedule.
The surprising thing is not that there has been and is opposition in China to Chiang Kai-shek. The miracle is that after 7 years of almost unending defeats he still has the confidence of an overwhelming majority of the Chinese people, that he is still in the ring—a little wobbly, to be sure, but not on the ropes—and that he is still slugging away on our side. We ought to be thanking God that he is still able to divert much of Japan's strength from ourselves, instead of complaining too bitterly because he has not been able in the midst of all his disasters to carry out a lot of internal reforms, desirable and important as they are. Where isf out sense of proportion?
And when there is political deterioration, and opposition grows and there are "subversive" attacks on those in power, then, of course, there follows governmental deterioration. When a Nation's unity begins to break down, those responsible for order always reach out and restrict freedoms. They increase censorship, they tighten up on the radio, tighten up on the newspapers, they hand out propaganda instead of information, they have agents to keep watch over any suspected malcontents. If it is in some other country, we call it a Gestapo. If it is in our own country, we call it an F. B. I.
Not a bomb has dropped in our American streets. There has been no internal violence or armed rebellion, and yet would anyone contend that we have all our democratic freedoms in America today?
Mr. Churchill announced today they are going to hold an election in England after the war. England, the mother of parliaments and the oldest democracy, has not dared risk an election for 10 years in a time of tremble. Yet you have heard Chiang Kai-shek cursed' up and down because he has not held an election m the midst of a cruel war for sheer survival and m a country which has never before held an election in its 4,000 years of history, and half of which is occupied by an enemy and 80 per cent of whose people cannot read and write. It is ridiculous. Yet he has gone to the extreme length of saying that he will call next November, even before the war is over, the constitutional convention which was scheduled for 1937 but which had to be postponed because of the war's outbreak.
The established democracies all restrict their people's freedoms in war, even in victory; but Chiang is supposed to extend freedoms in his country even in the midst of defeat. It is an absurd counsel of perfection.
Then there is deterioration of morale, one more of the diseases of defeat. Yon can hold on indefinitely as long as you have hope, or can see a turn in the road ahead; but if you begin to lose faith in the ultimate objectives of some of your allies, then something goes out of you. That is what is happening in China's heart and therefore to morale. Under Chiang's leadership they have done their best to hold the line against Japan so that we in the West could concentrate on beating Hitler first. They have tried to do their part loyally according to the strategy which we determined. They do not wholly like that strategy because it put them last, though they had been fighting tyranny first, but they accepted it without complaining. But now there is a mounting fear that, no matter how great their efforts and their sacrifices, they are not going to be given a chance to become really strong, free and independent in their own right. They wonder whether they may not be sold down the river in the peacemaking, whether the western nations in the old power-politics way are not already dividing up Asia and even China into spheres of influence, and will demand so-called friendly, that is, puppet, not free governments.
I witnessed this effect last fall when I was in Chungking. Two white men who had not been in China met in Quebec, and there in North America, in the Western Hemisphere, and without a single Asiatic present, they announced that they had come to settle the fate of Asia, where live one-half of all the people in the world. Was that calculated to increase Chinese confidence and morale? Why should they fight for white men's schemes?
Defeats from one's enemy are bad enough; verbal attack and pressures from one's allies are even worse. They are the straw which has threatened to break the back of China's resistance.
For over a year there has been in this country a concerted propaganda campaign against the Central Government of China and the Generalissimo. There are three main sources. One is some of the imperialists of Europe. They know the foundation stone of the whole colonial system in Asia is people's continuing to believe that all Orientals are congenially incapable of governing themselves as democracies. If China gets on her feet and moves along progressively under her own power, that fallacy is automatically exploded and the foundation of the empires begins to collapse. Even if the Filipinos succeed, it will endanger the colonial system, Therefore the imperialists seldom miss an opportunity to point out faults and defects in China.
When Mr. Churchill got back from Quebec, he said, in his first speech in Parliament that "after all the lavish aid which America has given to China, these defeats in China are most disappointing and vexatious."
I was reminded of a story Jesus once told, about a man who had some very great debts, and he and his family were going to be sold into slavery because he could not pay the debts; but he plead that he be given another chance, and he was forgiven. And then the self-same man went out and grabbed somebody who owed him a hundred pence and without mercy threw him in jail.
England did not do so well in Belgium and France. Did we jump on her? No. She had some rather "disappointing and vexatious" defeats in Greece and Crete and Tobruk and m Burma. Did we spend our rime pointing them out? No—we redoubled our efforts to help hold her up. And she had had really lavish aid—millions of tons and billions of dollars worth of supplies. How much had China had?
The Chinese had never complained publicly about the smallness of the assistance they had received but after that statement by Mr. Churchill, a Chinese official spokesman in Chungking called in the newspaper reporters the next day, not to complain even then, but merely to set the record straight. He told them just how much aid the Chinese had received from America. It was the amount required to keep one American division in the field for 1 week.
The next day reporters in Washington asked a high American official about that and he got around it with one of the fast curves at which he is so skillful. He said, "Why, we are shipping more than 20,000 tons a month over the lump to China." That seemed to give the lie to what the Chinese were saying. But it did not. What he said was perfectly true, but it was one of those technically correct statements that nevertheless leave a wrong impression. The catch was in the word "China." The material was going to the place on the map called China, yes, but almost all of it was going to the American Air Force in China. Only a dribble got to the Chinese.
We have trained and equipped two Chinese Armies to fight in Burma. They have done a magnificent job, liberating Burma so it can be taken back into one of the empires. But, to put as much into training Chinese for saving their own country—no.
Now, I understand the military reasons for what we have done in Burma and so do you, but, if you were the last stop on the longest line of communications in the world, and if the stuff which was started to you got diverted elsewhere if anyone anywhere along the line wanted it, and if you
had been fighting and starving .all these years, you, too, would wonder whether you were not being played for a sucker, whether you were not just being used to hold the line for the white man until he could finish in Europe and then come to Asia to make the .final kill, and reestablish himself on top once more, the old status quo restored, with its special privileges for white men. Would that encourage you to fight?
I am not saying anything here which we did not say to members of the British Government, including Mr. Eden—Mr. Churchill was in Quebec—when some of us Congressmen were over there last fall. True friendship for England and determination to cooperate closely with her in the days ahead required us to lay the cards on the table. It is unfair to the British and to our other allies not to make clear that we Americans will never pledge our men and resources to maintain any empire or to prevent other people from doing the same sort of thing we ourselves did in 1776.
One of the reasons that took some of us to England—both Democrats and Republicans—was to try to establish contacts with younger men in the British Parliament and Government with whom we could talk a common language in planning for the future. I speak with the utmost respect and admiration and gratitude for Mr. Churchill as a war leader. America can never fully repay its debt to him. He is unquestionably the authentic voice of the British people for the war. I hope, and I believe I can assure you, that he is not the authentic voice of all the British people for the peace.
I take off my hat to the greatness of the men who build the world's empires. They were giants, but of a day that is gone. I am not talking about the British Commonwealth. That sort of voluntary free association is the hope of the future. But empires are the way of the past. Let us not delude ourselves or anyone else.
Nobody can accuse me of being anti-British. I went up and down this country urging assistance for England 2 years before most .Americans would admit her fate was any of our business. It is just because I want closest collaboration with the British people in the years ahead that I plead with them not to make it impossible by trying to restore the status quo an Asia.
Do you remember when we landed in north Africa, and, for the first time in all the war, the tide turned and it became reasonably certain that we could win? Within a week Mr. Churchill made the speech in which he made it clear that he "did not become His Majesty's First Minister to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire." You see, he gets there first. He declares his objectives and then, if any of us naive persons come along with the idea that this war has something to do with human freedom, even for Asiatics, we are told, "Oh, you mustn't say that; you are creating disunity among the Allies." What I would like to know is why don't we get there first once? Why not let him or someone else be the one that is creating disunity?
I am not ashamed of the principles of freedom and equality on which this Nation was founded and for which it has stood. Our allies do not hesitate to declare their position, frankly and frequently, just in case, as Mr. Churchill put it, "there should be any mistake about it in any quarter." Why should we be less forthright? Instead of timidly wondering, "What will Churchill do? What will Mr. Stalin say? What will somebody else think?" Why do not we decide what we ourselves think and then make it clear in unmistakable terms? We do not need to condemn any other nation's position. All we need to do is to declare our own. Seventy-five per cent of the people of the world would rally in eager support of a clear statement of what we really believe and stand for in Asia as well as elsewhere. If we do not do it quickly, it will soon be too late to do it without risking serious clashes with our allies.
Just a year ago in this city an eminent Chinese physician—he is not an official or a politician, he was here on a scientific mission—said, "When we lost our great cities back in 1937, 1938, and 1939, and our cause seemed hopeless, our hearts were heavy, but our spirits were high. We knew we were on the side of right and justice. We knew that eventually even you and the others who were helping the Japanese would realize the true situation and come to our side. Now you are in the war on our side and we have powerful allies. It is clear we can win over Japan. But we are more discouraged now than ever before." I asked, "Why?" He said, "Because, despite all our sacrifices, despite our bleeding ourselves white to buy for you the precious months in which you could rearm and carry out your strategy of beating Hitler first, despite all our efforts to cooperate, loyally, we fear that we are likely to be betrayed in the political settlements, that we may not be permitted a real chance to establish a truly free republic."
I asked, "Why do you fear that?" He said, "Because we know Tory England and other imperialist powers do not want us to be free and strong, for that would put 'dangerous' ideas into the minds of other Asiatic peoples. We have reason to fear that the Russians do not want us to be really free, strong, and independent. We know you Americans do. Your record is perfectly clear. It has been during all your years of contact with Asia and especially in the Philippines. We know you want us to be free, hut we fear you are already so deeply involved in compromises and these power-politics deals that when it comes to a show-down you will not be willing to stand up and be counted on the side of human freedom, if to do so means that you have to oppose the wishes and views of your powerful allies, England and Russia. They have might. We Chinese do have only right"
They could have had peace by deserting their allies. Instead they have spent themselves to exhaustion; their military weakness is :not a disgrace but a badge of honor. But they fear honor will not count—only power. Surely we can understand why there has been deterioration of morale in China.
We have only one objective in Asia, and that is to defeat Japan, but some other nations have two objectives. The second one is to defeat Japan, the first is to restore their empires or to block out new spheres of influence.
We want only to make Japan lose so we can come home; but there are others who want to win the war so they can stay on in control of the resources, man-power, bases, industry, and markets of Asia.
I tell you, the American people have to get down to bedrock and see also that it is not enough to beat Japan, if we would have peace. We have to win the war so it will stay won, and for freedom, or we will have to do it over again under infinitely more difficult circumstances.
The second source of the propaganda against the Government of China and against the Chiangs personally, is the Communist group in China, and the Communists in America. I will put documents on this into the Record at a later date. I want to be careful not to be misunderstood at this point, because to many Americans, the word "Communist" automatically means Russia. One of the things I wanted to find out in China was how much, if any, is the Kremlin behind the Communists in China. Russia's official conduct with regard to the Chinese Communists since they made a pact with Chiang in September 1937, has been perfectly correct and circumspect. There was no evidence that I could find or hear about that Moscow has been backing or supplying, either with materials or with guidance, the Communist government in China during the last 7 years.
So I am not making charges against the Russians. But I am charging that the Communists in China and the Communists and fellow-travelers in this country are working primarily in terms of what they believe will best serve Russia's future policies and interests. I am increasingly convinced the Chinese Communists are first Communist and second Chinese, just as we know American Communists are first Communists and second Americans. In the case of the Chinese Communists this is a reluctant reversal of the opinion I held some years ago. I, too, was taken in for a time by the talk of their being just agrarian reformers, just Chinese patriots struggling only for the freedom of China and for democracy. I am convinced now the primary allegiance of the Chinese Communists is to Russia, whether Russia wants it that way or not, and their purpose is to make Russia overwhelmingly the strongest power in Asia as well as in Europe, which I think would be as bad in the long run for Russia as it would for Asia and for ourselves, requiring enormous armaments and constant tensions and suspicions which I hope profoundly will not have to be in the post-war world.
How can the Chinese Government be asked to furnish arms to a rebel government whose primary allegiance it has every reason to believe is to a foreign power? No government in the world could be rightly expected to do that. The Communists cannot be given full recognition in China until they are willing to give up their separate army. That they have never been, and, I think, never will be, willing to do.
Let me just sketch their history.
Beginning in 1927, the Communists tried to win in China by bloody revolution. For 8 months, May to December in 1930 I was in an area under their control down in south China. I saw first-hand their utterly ruthless purges and slaughterings of anyone who crossed their will. But they could not win converts by that method because the Chinese are basically too peace loving and orderly a people. Then they shifted the party line to confiscation of all property and redistribution among the workers. That too failed. It may be possible in some countries to buy the good will and support of a good many by taking other people's things, whether by taxation or otherwise, and redistributing them by government hand-outs, but the Communists couldn't do it on any large scale with the Chinese because the Chinese have too highly developed a sense of private property, what is mine and what is thine. So, when the Communists in China had reached the end of their rope, they shifted to another method. They adopted a great propaganda program to sell to the world the belief that they are merely downtrodden patriots, seeking to escape the tyranny and oppressions of Chiang Kai-shek in order to get freedom and establish democracy—just like our forefathers were in 1776. By talking about freedom and democracy and unity and so forth, and by calling all who disagree with them Fascists and dictators, they have succeeded in selling to millions of Americans one of the greatest hoaxes any unsuspecting people ever bought in all history. I spent more time and effort in China on this than on any other subject, including a morning discussing it with Mr. Lin Tsu-han, the chairman of their soviet government, the so-called border region government, and I can assure you that their propaganda is a gigantic fraud. They know, like Hitler, that if a big claim is made often enough, a lot of people will come to believe it is the truth. It is amazing how many American people will gullibly take good words as a substitute for facts.
The Communists have said, first of all, that Chiang Kai-shek and his Government will not unite with them in the fight against Japan. Now is it not to our country's interest to have China united? Therefore, must we not insist that Chiang Kai-shek and the established Government of China cooperate with the Communists?
But is it not strange that no one ever insists that the Communists cooperate with the government?
Their argument is given credence by some Americans on the naive assumption that the Communists are just a political faction, a minority or an opposition and in war we need cooperation, even a coalition, of all parties. We ask why will not Chiang take in the Communists as Roosevelt takes a few Republicans into his Cabinet. But there is a very considerable difference. We Republicans do not maintain a private army exercising arbitrary armed control over whole sections of the country because we do not like some New Deal policies. But the Communists do have a private army and a separate government. They are not just a political party. They are an armed rebellion.
We in America ought to understand such a situation, We had a slavery party in our country, and for 50 years we had compromises such as the Missouri Compromise, the 1850 Compromise, trying to cooperate, reconcile, unite. But when the slavery faction pulled away and went down to Alabama and set up a separate government with a separate flag and a separate currency and separate taxes and a separate army under a separate command, did we unify then? Or reconcile ourselves to the situation? No. We fought them for 4 years in one of the bloodiest wars of all history. We, who fought for 4 years against our brothers to prevent a splitting of our country, are now in the intolerable position of constantly condemning Chiang Kai-shek because he will not consent to a splitting of his country—and under the name of unity.
Perhaps you recall seeing this three-quarter page advertisement by the Communists last summer in papers all over the country, in which Earl Browder says: "The time is more than ripe for the United States to insist that the Chungking Government shall put its house in order with a real, not a formal, unification of all Chinese fighting forces," Mr. Chairman, the United States has no more right to insist that Chiang start arming the Communists against himself than Chiang has to insist that Roosevelt "put his house in order" by getting a real unification of all anti-Japanese forces in America. He would have to take into his Cabinet as a starter, William Randolph Hearst, Col. Robert McCormick, and Hamilton Fish, because they were anti-Japanese long before he was.
Mr. Chairman, the word "unity" means one, not two; one government, not two; and one army, not two. Chiang has said from the beginning and during all these 7 years, and reiterated the offer last month, that he will accept them in a coalition government immediately if they will become just a political party; that is, will give up their separate army and their separate government. For us to insist that Chiang Kai-shek reconcile himself to a splitting of his own country and send military supplies to an armed rebellion is to ask him to be a traitor. Of course, he has not been willing to do it, and will not, unless the Communists will, first of all, give up their separate government and army. There is no law or logic whereby the head of a legitimate government can be asked to recognize, let alone assist, a wholly independent sovereignty within his own country.
But Chiang has leaned over backward in long suffering and patience trying to get the Communists to play ball fa the war against Japan. He offered last fall to put the Chinese Government's armies under an American general's command if the Communists would do the same. They refused. In recent negotiations he suggested a committee to try to work out a way to get all the Chinese forces coordinated against Japan. He would put the Chinese Government on
a basis of equality with the Communists, each having one representative, and the third man of the committee an American officer if the United States would consent to that. The Communists rejected the offer. Well, just what do they want? Do they expect to appoint all three of the members of the committee? Their pretenses are clearly exposed. It is impossible to get unity with them because there is no concession Chiang can make, short of complete surrender, which they will accept. They do not want unity. What they want & all the advantages of appearing to want unity so they can get arms and sympathy and support from abroad, while at the same time having all the advantages of complete independence. They are stalling along, taking advantage of Chiang's tolerance to expand their own strength while he weakens his in fighting the Japanese.
If they can stall along thus until the war in Europe ends, then they can hope for powerful support from Russia. They can try an "October revolution" in the hope of getting control of all of China. If that fails, they can at least rebel and try to split off north China, including Manchuria—of course, in the name of freedom—and then the new "independent democracy" can invite Russia in to protect it as she is protecting the new "independent" governments in eastern Europe. The new "North China" can even voluntarily insist, if it desires, on being taken in as one of the united socialist soviet republics. I do not like to make such suggestions. But I do not believe any unbiased person can go through all the evidence and escape the belief that this is the sort of thing Communists in China have in mind.
They claim they must have their separate army, because otherwise Chiang will destroy them, and that he is more interested in fighting Communists than in fighting the Japanese. There is no evidence whatsoever in his record to support that accusation. Look at the number of men who fought Chiang Kai-shek and who, after he defeated them, were not destroyed but were taken into his army and government and are today being used in high positions. I do not know of any other record in history that will surpass his in this respect. Feng Yu-hsiang, the Christian general, fought him for years. When Feng had a change of heart, Chiang Kai-shek took him in, and he is now in charge of training Chiang's troops. Yen Hsi-shan, the Governor of Shansi Province, fought Chiang for years. I served as physician for Yen and his family. He finally agreed to unite with the Central Government and he is still in charge of his own troops as a part of the Chinese Armies. Man after man of the war lords and independent leaders, like Li Tsung-jen and Pai Chung-hsi, agreed to give up their separate armies and come in with Chiang Kai-shek, when the nation faced the Japanese peril, and he has not destroyed a single one of them. Only the Communists have refused to unite against the common enemy.
If Chiang's primary purpose had been to destroy the Communists, why did he not do it in 1938 or 1939 when they were much weaker and he much stronger? Can anyone imagine a real dictator or tyrant allowing a rebellion to simmer along for 7 years within his own domain? Such a claim does not make sense. Yet many have believed it.
The Communists are selling us a gold brick when they try to make us think that they must maintain their army or be destroyed. They maintain their separate army because they want to seize power after Chiang has armed them with American supplies under the pretext of unity.
And that brings up the next argument; that Chiang Kai-shek is not democratic, but that the Communists are—that since we Americans are democratic, therefore, we should support all democratic movements and that means support the Communists. But of course, neither Chiang Kai-shek's government nor the Communists are democratic in our sense of protecting the full rights of minorities and of opposition parties. China has never in her history had a political democracy, although there is more social democracy, less of class, than in America.
I investigated this talk about democracy. Since most of the Chinese people still cannot read and write, I asked Mr. Lin how the Communists mark their ballots in their so-called elections. "Well," I was told, "We have a system of bowls, and the voter who cannot read or write drops a bean into the bowl of the man who is his choice."
I said, "I would like to know whether the voting is in private or out in public, because, if it is done in secret, I can imagine how easy it would be for some people I have read about in some cities in America to stuff that ballot box. They could fill the bowl with beans out of their sleeves in one trip into the booth. And if it is out in public so that the ever-present Communist police can be sure that the voter drops in only one bean, you do not imagine he would drop his bean into the wrong bowl, do you, if he wanted to retain his head?" All Mr. Lin could do was grin.
The real low-down on this pretense of democracy came from the experience of the newspaper reporters who went up to the Communist area last fall. Some of them were taken in by the show that was presented to them and are now bringing out the sort of reports I spoke about earlier. But two of them told me that in the whole 5 weeks they were not permitted to talk privately to any Chinese they wished. That tells the story. Of course, they did not hear anything unfavorable. All those Chinese that are living, or that want to live, ardently praised the Communist regime.
It is perfectly true the indoctrinated members are fanatical in their loyalty to it. They are almost monastic in their devotion, as a Catholic priest put it. Unfortunately, a great many people accept such devotion to a cause as meaning the cause must be a good, or even a righteous, cause. But would we admit that Hitler's cause is good just because his storm troopers are utterly devoted to him? The Japanese on Iwo Jima support their Emperor fanatically. That does not mean we should support him, does it?
I have never seen such absolute devotion voluntarily given as in the Communist armies and among their political agitators. I have never seen vice or a case of venereal disease among them, which surely is unique. It is also true that they have done a lot with very little and have improved the condition of some groups, partly by giving the have-nots what they confiscated from the haves, partly by brilliantly skillful propaganda and organization of the peasants. But it is at the price of rigid regimentation and the loss of basic freedoms.
True Marxism cannot win in China as it did in Russia, because its primary appeal is to the totally dispossessed, such as the serfs in Russia were. But China is not a nation of serfs. It is predominantly a nation of lower middle-class people. Most every family has had a little piece of land for centuries. A hard-headed Chinese family does not take the little piece of land that it has, and just because it is inadequate dump it into a common pot on somebody's promise that up around the corner somewhere is something better. Therefore, those whom the Communists cannot persuade they either coerce, or liquidate as "anti-Marxist counter-revolutionaries"—their own spokesman's phrase.
I think they have real democracy within their own party—that is the source of much of their strength—but when it comes to extending democratic rights to those who disagree with them, their record is infinitely worse than that of the Central Government. They use the word as a slogan by which to get support from abroad.
The most devastating exposure of the fraudulent nature of their so-called democracy is (the document I hold in my hand.
it is the annual report of Chairman Lin Tsuihan last year to the Communist government. You will note it is not an ancient document from the days before the Communists became, we are told, just agrarian reformers. It is dated August 1944, and Mr. Lin gave it to me personally last October. He thought it would win me over. Actually nothing else could be so eloquent in refuting their claim .of democracy. May I read a sentence or two?
He is talking about the four main "defects" in their Communist government "which they have striven to remedy. He says one was "the tendency of liberalism which found its expression in the nominal obedience but actual disobedience of Government policies, in the neglect of discipline, in the indifference to the mistakes of other fellow workers"—that is, the party members are not "spying with proper diligence on other citizens and even other party members—"and in the want of alertness against bad elements." It is a vice if the Communist government is not alert to "bad elements"; that is, to any who disagree with it. But it is a crime if Chiang is alert to "bad elements"; that is, to his opposition, namely, the Communists.
Mr. Lin continues, "Last year this tendency was corrected after the continued movement for purging non-Marxist ideology." That tells you how much freedom -of thought and real democracy there are in the movement we are asked to support on those grounds.
The other main Communist argument for foreign consumption is that they are doing the bulk of the fighting against Japan and therefore we should support them just as we supported Tito rather than Mihailovitch, because Tito was allegedly doing most of the fighting against Germany. Mihailovitch was said to be a collaborationist, and therefore we should not support him. But no one can accuse Chiang of being a collaborationist. As a matter of painful fact, we were the collaborationists with Japan—for four and a half years; and I fear might still be today if Japan had not been so stupid as to attack us. Chiang is the one political leader among the Big Four who has not been a collaborationist, whose record is completely clear on that point.
What are the facts on this matter of fighting the Japanese? There have been hundreds of skirmishes between the Communists and the Japanese, especially when the latter sent out expeditions to seize or destroy the crops. But no neutral observer has seen anything that could be called a battle between the Communists and the Japanese since September 1937. On the other hand, they have witnessed a dozen terrific battles between Chiang's troops and the Japanese, several in the last year.
The Japanese have made no serious effort to destroy the bases of Communists who are alleged to be the real anti-Japanese elements, but the Japanese have launched repeated campaigns to destroy "Chiang Kai-shek's bases and his armies, which are said not to be fighting the Japanese. Is that not odd?
The definitive answer to this argument that Communists are doing most of the fighting can readily be determined from observing the behavior of the Japanese. Let me make it concrete. I was working in our hospital in Fenchow, Shansi Province, when the Japanese finally captured the city on February 17, 1938. In the next 2 weeks they pushed on west 75 miles to the Yellow River, which separates us from the Communist province of Shensi. There the Japanese have been within a hundred miles of the Communist capital, Yenan, for just over 7 years, and have not made a single major effort to get that Communist capital. I wish somebody would explain that. Have the Japanese ever allowed grass to grow under their feet when there was a real threat to them? When we got air bases in south China last summer that threatened the Japanese, they drove down a thousand miles at terrific cost and captured those bases. No reasonable person can come to any other conclusion than that the Japanese have been shrewd enough to see that since it had proved most difficult to knock the Chinese out by direct assault, then the best way to weaken China is to allow the Communists to continue their work of disrupting and disk-unifying and discrediting the government of China, breaking it down from within. The real "secret weapon" of the Japanese against China and therefore against us has been the Communists of China, ably assisted by some of our own people, sincere, but in my judgment grievously misguided.
What I want to ask is, whom do such Americans think they are hurting by their propaganda for the Communists? Surely our own country most of all. That means it involves the life of every American boy fighting against Japan.
I dislike even more to mention the third main source of the propaganda against the Government of China. A lot of it is approved, even inspired, by persons in out own War and State Departments. There are several reasons for this sorry spectacle. There has been a fundamental difference of opinion from the beginning between Chiang Kai-shek and some of our leaders as to the best way to fight the war. Chiang Kai-shek maintained we could not beat the Japanese from the air m from the sea; they must be beaten on the mainland of Asia. That means huge ground forces. Did we prefer to use American ground troops or Chinese? If the latter, then we must build up China and her industry. Chiang Kai-shek argued, in effect, that the more limited our tonnage over the hump, the more imperative that we use that tonnage, not for finished munitions, rifles, bullets and bombs, but rather for machinery to make the munitions in China.
But that program looked so hopelessly long to us, and we could not wait. We were going to lick Japan in a hurry. So we put practically all of our supplies to China into our Air Force. I spent hours last spring arguing against this policy with some of our leaders. I do not know much about military strategy, but I do know something about the Japanese Armies. I lived under them. I begged our experts not to put all their eggs in one basket—air power. You cannot beat a people just by air attack. It has never been done yet. But we thought we could in the case of Japan, and so we poured everything into our Air Force, and one of our air officers in China last September, the day after they blew up our air base at Kweilin, told me: "We were wrong." But some in Washington want to lay on the Chinese all the blame for our reverses.
An air force is no good without air bases, and it is proved that air bases cannot be defended against determined ground assault without ground troops. We did not have any combat ground troops in China. And I was told by Americans there that we did not give the Chinese infantry who had to defend those bases one rifle or one machine gun or even one bullet for the job. We put $60,000,000 into one base at Kweilin and now the Japanese have the base because we did not equip the Chinese to defend it. Does it do anybody any good to alibi by shouting that the Chinese cannot fight? Of course they cannot under those circumstances.
After going along according to our own views for almost 3 years, we were further back in China than when we began, and so last fall, we finally had to send out Donald Nelson to start building up China's industry, doing the thing that Chiang Kai-shek had told us 3 years earlier we would have to do. It was a bitter pill for our military pride to swallow. We were wrong in this respect—and the Chinese were right,
and we did not like to admit it. It was easier to lay the blame for our failures on someone else; so, the constant barrage from Washington about the inefficiency, cowardice, corruption, and so forth, of Chiangs armies—partly true, but not the whole truth.
You read the article by Hanson Baldwin in the Readers Digest last summer telling how generally no good the Chinese armies are. Where did he get that line? He hadn't been out there; He got it from our War Department. Where do the columnists get their gossip about conditions in China? Mostly from our own War Department and other Washington officials. I am sorry to say this, and I say ft not to criticize our leaders but only because I see what it is doing to the hearts of Allies on whose ability to hold on in confidence, our own hopes of early victory depend. It is too dangerous a pastime.
hi a recent issue of the Saturday Evening Post there was a typical article called Vinegar Joe and the Reluctant Dragon. Its main facts were essentially correct, but the main conclusions drawn therefrom, were essentially incorrect. Chiang's inability to give General Stilwell all the properly trained troops the latter wanted just when he wanted them was attributed to obstinate refusal by Chiang to cooperate, persistently defensive and obstructionist psychology so that the Chinese are practically incapable of taking the offensive and expect us to fight their war for them, greater concern on Chiang's part with his own internal problems than with fighting Japan, et cetera.
But one could use the same arguments to write just as convincing an article on Uncle Joe and the Reluctant Eagle and Lion. Mr. Stalin wanted us and the British to take the offensive and invade western Europe in 1941. Did we doit? No. He wanted us to do it in 1942. Did we do it? No. Apparently we, too, were obstructionists and defensive-minded, wanting Russia to do our fighting for us, et cetera. Uncle Joe could not force us into a counter-offensive until we were prepared and equipped. Neither could Vinegar Joe nor can anyone else force Chiang to take the offensive until he is prepared and equipped.
Chiang said when tie war began that there would be three stages: First, the stage of strategic retreat, trading space for time; second, the stage of stalemate in which China has been for almost 3 years; and, third, the stage of counter-offensive to drive the Japanese out of China. He will not start the third until he is ready, any more than we would.
When we delay till ready, it is to save precious American lives. If he delays, till ready, it is because he is a poor ally, a reluctant dragon. Do we expect him to care less about his people's lives and his country's interests than we care about our own? Sometimes I think our intolerable arrogance regarding other peoples is surpassed only by our incredible ignorance of them.
The Chinese have been studying and dealing with Asia and the Japanese a good deal longer than we have. Surely it is not surprising and nothing to be ashamed of that they know more about the situation in some respects than we do. Is it a disgrace for a white man to learn anything from a Chinese?
We do not fool others with our pretenses. Then why fool ourselves with our air of omniscient infallibility? Why cannot we admit it frankly when we make an honest miscalculation—whether it is manpower in this country, or quantities of munitions needed, or our policy in China—then just tighten our belts and go ahead. A Senator on the Truman committee remarked last year, "The Army seldom will correct, it just covers up." That is why in the last analysis we do not dare allow our country ever to get completely under a military clique or any other hierarchy with absolute power. It would happen here as has happened elsewhere.
All these complicated factors have led to a great struggle in China between three main groups, although not as acute now perhaps as it was last fall—I think we may be around the corner. First, is a group of Chinese who are completely disillusioned regarding the white man. Some of them are in the Japanese puppet governments. They do not consider themselves traitors. They consider themselves the hard-headed patriots and Chiang a misguided fool for trusting the West. Their argument goes like this, "When have white men ever treated colored peoples on a basis of equality? Now, Chiang Kai-shek, come down out of the clouds and get your feet on the ground. Why are we pulling England's and America's chestnuts out of the fire? Why are we having our cities laid waste, our women raped, our economy destroyed, our people homeless and starved? Why are we holding the line in Asia so the white men can concentrate on saving their precious Europe first? Will they treat us decently and justly afterward? Well, why not get peace for ourselves now, stop this slaughter and suffering? How can we fight with nothing but bare hands? Let America and England fight it out with Japan. They made the money arming her, did they not? Why not let them do the fighting? We Chinese will never get a chance to be really free unless the white men and his empires are kicked clear out of Asia. Japan is the only Asiatic nation with the military know-how to do it. All right, let Japan kick the white man out. Let her weaken herself, while we get peace and build ourselves up. Then when the war is over and the white man is out of Asia, we Chinese will be strong. We can defeat the Japanese or absorb them. This- is- the only way to get real freedom for China and for Asia." These men are not pro-Japanese. They are merely pro-Chinese, and disillusioned regarding the West. I submit that has been a rather potent argument, and all the more honor to Chiang and his government for resisting it.
There is a second group, led by the Chinese Communists. Their argument goes like this-: "For 200 years our communication with the rest of the world has been largely by the sea, and therefore we got our ideas—political, economic, social—from the nations that controlled the sea, England and America, the democracies. But now another avenue of communication has been opened up—to Russia. This is a day of land and air transportation. We are no longer dependent solely upon the sea. Now, which of the white allies has been utterly realistic in its thinking and called the turns in this war correctly from the start? Russia. "Which is the one that started at scratch and industrialized in 15 years, which is what we Chinese want to do? Russia. Which is the one that has proved itself a master of transportation and supply, by railroads, highways, busses, trucks, and airplanes? Russia. Which is the one that does not discriminate against people of a different color? Russia. Then where do our real Chinese interests lie—in going in with the white countries with their empires and spheres of influence in Asia? Or in going in with Russia?
Their argument continues, "Our great natural resources in China are not at the coast, where we built our great cities, Canton, Tientsin, Shanghai, because it was more convenient for the white man's ships. Most of our iron, our coal, our oil, our copper, our natural resources are way up in the interior, right next to Russia. Well, then, isn't it sensible for us to go in with the Russians and use, not unemployed American engineers, but Russian engineers and experts to guide our industrialization? Not technology from Chicago or Detroit, but from Russia. Why not build up trade and markets for Russia, rather than for America and England?
In cooperation with Russia, we Chinese can build in Central Asia the greatest industrial bloc in the world, in the midst of the greatest land and population bloc on the earth."
That, too, is a rather potent argument, is it not? Would it be in America's interest? And yet some sincere but mistaken Americans vigorously support the Chinese Communist program.
And then there is the third group, the central Government of China led by Chiang Kai-shek and men who are mostly western-trained students, from America and England. There are unquestionably some who have been in power too long, are reactionary, even corrupt. But on the whole they have been loyal to the ideas and ideals they learned here and have tried their best under enormous difficulties to make China a sister republic in Asia. Now for their effort they get kicked in the teeth by the nation whom they tried most to imitate and support.
In a sense, if one wants to be cynical, Chiang Kai-shek has made only two major mistakes. One was that he did not give up at the end of the first three months of the war. Nobody would have criticized him then. That was what everybody expected him to do. How could the unarmed Chinese fight against such superior military might? Nobody criticized the Poles when their nation went down in 18 days, or the Norwegians and Greeks because they could carry on formal resistance for only a few weeks. Nobody criticized the Russians when they retreated 1,000 miles before superior German armored might. Nobody would have said a word against the Chinese if they had folded up after the fall of Nanking in December 1937. But, poor fools, they did not fold up. They kept on fighting almost alone for 7 long years, and now they get criticized because they cannot go on for 7 more, I guess, without help. I ask again, where is our sense of propriety and of elementary fairness?
The second mistake Chiang has made, if one wants to be really cynical, is that he did not completely clean out the Communists in '38 and '39, when some of his generals wanted him to. They said, "You can't trust the Communists. They are just playing for time. They are using the truce to expand their own power and control and to organize all of North China. Clean them out now while there are only 70,000 of them." He could have done it then, liquidated them the way Stalin liquidated the Kulaks, 3,000,000 of them. Of course, he would have been called a great heathen, oriental, barbarian war lord. So was Stalin, but everybody has forgotten it. He is a great hero now, is he not?
But Chiang Kai-shek, instead of being a heathen, barbarian, war lord, was a Christian. He surrounded the Communists so they could not start civil war in China and has spent 7 years trying to get them to give up their separate government, and come along with the rest of China in a united effort against Japan. I talked to him about this. He did not bring it up; I brought it up. It is pretty hard to have the nation which sent over missionaries to ask him and his people to become Christians, now berate him because he tried to act as a Christian.
The situation is nearing the crisis. The Japanese made one incredible mistake—they did not knock China out or win the Chinese over to their side by treating them decently, before they attacked us at Pearl Harbor. Now it is a race between Japan's desperate attempt to repair that blunder, knock the Chinese out and get land lines of communication established to take the place of the sea lines that are being destroyed by our air and sea power, and get the coast of China fortified before we can capture the Philippines and get onto the continent with large beach-heads where we can unload men and supplies in shiploads. On the surface, it looks as if Japan has the race won, as if once more we are "too little and too late." But I do not think so. One reason is because I have more confidence than ever before in the American fighting man and his officers in the field. And I have confidence in the Chinese. I have learned never to sell them short. They always seem to be able to reach down and get from some invisible source extra reserves of ability to hang on a little longer. I believe they will do it this time. I am sure they will if they know we will stand by them, both in the war and in the peace settlements, as faithfully as they have stood by us.
What can we do to help win the race? Four or five things. I have time only to enumerate them. First, we have got to cut out this irresponsible, unbalanced criticism of the Chinese for things that do not exist or are not their fault or would be present in any country after comparable disasters. We have got to stop trying to force the Chinese to do what we think is best. They are an eminently reasonable people, but they cannot be browbeaten or coerced.
Second, we have got to make constructive the criticisms that are justified, of things that are bad, sometimes very bad indeed. I want to pay tribute to General Hurley and Donald Nelson in this respect. They got off to a wonderful start because they have been sympathetic and constructive as well as critical. Their approach was not, "Now China, you are our problem. What shall we do with you?" But rather, "China, you have some problems. How can we help you with the problems? How can we help each other most?" There is a world of difference.
Third, we have got to get more material assistance, more supplies to China, quickly. I know it seems impossible. It was impossible for China to hold out 7 years, but she has. It was impossible for the British to hold out in the summer and fall of 1940, but they did. It was impossible for the Russians to hold at Leningrad and Moscow and Stalingrad, but they did. Now, we have got to perform a miracle, too. We have got to get across to the Continent of Asia quickly, and I thing we will.
Fourth, we have got to get more political assistance to the Chinese, more spiritual assistance. They can and will fight on valiantly and with increasing effectiveness if we will make it clear to them that this is a war for their freedom, too. That will save a good many American divisions and billions of dollars.
Fifth, we here at home have got to get a deeper understanding of the real nature and significance of this struggle in Asia. That is the only reason I have taken your time today to try and present these high lights of the picture. Wis must be better prepared for the tough going ahead. I told you here in a speech 2 years ago that the Japanese used to say to me when I was under them, "We will probably have a war with your country eventually. It will be a hard war, because you are stronger and richer and have greater resources and manpower and industry than we have. Nevertheless, we Japanese will win—because we have spirit. Oh, we may not win the first time; but, if we do not win the first time, we will win the second time. And if we do not win the second time, then we will win the next time. Some day, we Japanese will win. Or," as one said to me one day, "At least, you will lose." Which is just as good, of course, from their point of view.
Now, they know they are not going to win this time; but I venture the prediction there is not- one-half of 1 percent of the Japanese in or out of the army that is not perfectly convinced—and with some good reasons—that we are going to lose, that we do not have what it takes to carry through.
They are prepared to lose 8,000,000 men and never flicker an eyelash. Are we? Indeed we are not. They are prepared to work without any profits whatsoever or any increase in wages, and nothing but sheer subsistence for 20 years, and never waver. Are we? Indeed we are not—yet.
Our test will come when the war in Europe ends. The armed forces cannot decide it. You and I have got to decide it, and we will decide it rightly only if in our hearts we fully understand what is involved.
Here is Mrs. Smith and her boy is home from Europe. Next door is Mrs. Jones and her boy is still out in the jungles or swamps or mountains of Asia, and may be for 2 or 3 years more. There inevitably will be a strong urge, a subtle temptation to let down and not carry through to complete liberation of China. Well, have we not freed the Philippines and discharged our obligations there, clipped Japan's wings so she cannot attack us again in the Aleutians or Hawaii? Surely we have no obligations to the Chinese that justify our sacrificing more American lives and piling up additional debt. Why, the Chinese cannot govern themselves anyway. Look at them quarreling among themselves. Why not be sensible and get out of this mess and get our boys home and tend to our own business and get back to normal living?
That will be the way the temptation will present itself. If we yield to it, then God help our children's children, because next time the Chinese will not be on our side. The only thing that saved us this time, Mr. Chairman, was a great moral decision on the part of Chiang Kai-shek and of the Chinese people to fight, not on the basis of blood and color but on the basis of principle; a decision to fight against those of their own race and with us of an alien race because they believed it was a war for human freedom. But if after they have held the line so valiantly, they are let down and our commitments are not fulfilled, then there is no place they can go next time except to the Communists and a world class war, or to Japan and a world race war. If we fail this time, we will have two-thirds of the people in the world who are colored against the one-third who are white. We can win all the battles, but we will still lose that war because they can out-work and under-eat the white man, they will out-suffer him, they will out-wait him, and they will out-breed him.
This is the issue that we have got to understand if our children would be free and at peace. The decision that is being hammered out in Asia these critical days is not one for 4 years, but one for 40 years or even 400 years. Are the Chinese, the most numerous and incomparably the strongest of the colored peoples, to stay on the side of the democracies, or are they to be driven in despair to the other side? The answer to that is still in our own hands.
We must understand what we are up against, grit our teeth and stay at it until we get, not just defeat of Japan, but a victory which really frees China and assures all Asia of ultimate freedom as its peoples work and struggle and grow to full nationhood and independence.