The Chargé in China (Peck) to the Secretary of State
[Received February 2—1:30 p.m.]
64. Embassy’s 51, January 26, 9 a.m.,14 and other messages regarding Central Executive Committee meetings.
Dr. T. T. Li of the Chinese Foreign Office stated to an officer of the Embassy on January 31 that in his personal opinion the recent session of the Central Executive Committee is the most important to have been held in recent years. In substantiation of this view he pointed out the large number of members present, the length of the session [Page 133] and the importance of the resolutions adopted and added that to his knowledge the reports rendered by party leaders and government ministers were lengthy and met with searching inquiries and criticisms on the part of the members. He mentioned that Chiang Kai Shek presided at all save one of the meetings and that at one session Chiang addressed the assembly for 3 consecutive hours. Dr. T. T. Li declared that a strong spirit of harmony pervaded the meetings and in this connection stated that the three cliques formerly existing in the Kuomintang have now disappeared as a result of the death of Hu Han Min and the departure of Wang Ching Wei, leaving Chiang Kai Shek, the third of triad, supreme. He alleged that there was no talk of peace at the meeting and that the atmosphere indicated rather a grim determination to proceed with hostilities at all costs.
Dr. Li said he believed that the resolution for the establishment of a Supreme National Defense Council was the most important and significant of those voted at the session. Alluding to this new organ as a form of “War Council” composed of leading officials of the Kuomintang Government and army and presided over by the Generalissimo, he said that it is designed to unify party governmental and military affairs for the more efficient prosecution of the war. He said that the new body would supplant the Central Political Council which had been inactive during the course of hostilities and that unlike a previous organization of similar designation which proved ineffective largely because Chiang Kai Shek ignored it the Supreme National Defense Council will hereafter serve as the active central organ for the coordination and control of all matters pertaining to the Government and the army.
Referring to the resolution rejecting the admission of members of other parties into the Kuomintang, Dr. Li said it merely reflected a desire of that party to keep its rank and file “pure” in the same sense that the Democrats in the United States would refuse to accept Republicans as members and vice versa, and that it could in no sense be construed as a deflection from the policy of cooperation with the Chinese Communists and other political groups which he said would be continued.
Dr. Li said that contrary to rumors circulating in Chungking he anticipated that no marked changes in government and party personnel would result from the Central Executive Committee meetings. To his knowledge the only change made and not announced was the revival of the post of Secretary General of the Military Affairs Commission to which General Chang Chun will return.
Repeated to Peiping.
- Not printed.↩