893.00/13478: Telegram

The Counselor of Embassy in China (Peck) to the Secretary of State

110. Although there has existed some suspicion that the strenuous efforts of the National Government to improve its military position are being exerted primarily to meet criticism of southwestern and other leaders that Chiang Kai Shek does not intend to resist foreign aggression, there is increasing evidence here that preparations for actual warfare are being seriously undertaken. For example, the [Page 123] Nanking Embassy learns from an authoritative source that the [National] Health Administration for the past 10 weeks has been expending monthly $1,000,000 for the purchase of bandages, cotton, surplus medicines, materials for manufacture of artificial limbs, and other articles required to equip the Chinese Army Medical Corps; 120 trucks have recently been purchased for use as ambulances; 2 recently completed hospitals at Nanchang have been reserved for anticipated use by wounded soldiers; and the military authorities have been discussing a proposed purchase of an electric light plant sufficient to operate all branches of its local establishments.

From another reliable source it is learned that an airplane factory similar to that described in my 60, March 21, 9 a.m.59 is to be constructed at Loyang with assistance of the Eurasia Company, engines to be 1000 horsepower hornet type manufactured in Germany; the Nanking arsenal is working night and day on 3 shifts and has increased its output of heavy machine guns to 120 per month. Woodland, mountain and most elevated places in vicinity of Nanking and as far as Chinkiang have been made military reservations closed to the public; it is understood that they are being utilized for gun emplacements, chiefly anti-aircraft.
According to several reliable sources, the principal railways operating in or through the Yangtze Valley region have been ordered to acquire 1 year’s supply of fuel and maintenance equipment including couplers, wheels, and similar articles.
The Ministry of Industries is reliably reported to have purchased an electric plant for its own use in emergency. Other Government departments, including the Ministry of Finance, have formulated plans for the removal of archives and equipment in case of necessity.
Some officials express with apparent sincerity fear that Nanking will be attacked (see paragraph 4, my 91, April 16, 2 p.m.59); others scout such possibility and it does not seem reasonable to anticipate any incident here unless one should be caused in order to exert pressure upon the Chinese Government in connection with some serious incident elsewhere. In this connection, a well-informed Chinese who is the confidential assistant of a ranking official of the Government recently stated to an officer of the Embassy that an enemy blockade of the Chekiang, Kiangsu or Shantung coast would definitely result in Chinese resistance from the air. This official anticipated the possibility of an incident at Tsingtau and according to him and other Chinese and foreign sources it is learned that two of Chiang Kai Shek’s best divisions have been despatched to the vicinity of Tsingtau, (1) in preparation for possible foreign aggression in Shantung and, [Page 124] (2) in case Han Fu Chu should deviate in his loyalty to the Government (see paragraph 3, Nanking Embassy’s 91, April 16, 2 p.m.).
To Department. By mail to Peiping and Tokyo.
  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed.