893.00/14336: Telegram

The Chargé in China (Peck) to the Secretary of State

129. An American who recently passed through Chungking after spending 5 months at Liaohsien in southeastern Shansi related the following impressions to the local correspondent of the New York Times:

He found the Chinese Communists in control in southeastern Shansi and the area garrisoned by the Eighth Route Army under Chu Teh and Peng Teh Huai. He received the impression that the area was well organized both in a political and military sense (the Japanese did not penetrate this district from the spring of 1938 to January, 1939). He was particularly impressed with the type of soldier now found in the Eighth Route Army, his spirit and discipline and adequacy of his military equipment. He observed that there was no shortage of essential arms and ammunition which are furnished by the Chinese Government and not by Soviet Russia. He saw no Russian at Liaohsien, headquarters [of] Chu Teh for several months.

Informant stated that he left Liaohsien on January 27, evacuating the city in company with the Eighth Route Army and the entire population on the approach of a Japanese army unit from the north. He was informed later that the Japanese entered Liaohsien about January 30 but withdrew northward after a brief occupation, meeting with strong flank attacks and suffering heavy losses from the Eighth Route Army which brought up 8,000 reenforcements from south Shansi for counter-operations. He learned that General Wei Li Hwang, Central Government Commander for Shansi, is strongly standing in the area just north of the Yellow River and that Wei has won several noteworthy victories. He asserted that General Yen Hsi Shan is still leading his provincial troops in southwestern Shansi and to be effective to some extent in harassing the Japanese from his mountain bases.

The American correspondent of the United Press at Chungking returned yesterday from a month’s trip to Sian and Yenan. He professed to perceive a marked lack of cooperation between the authorities of the National Government and the Chinese Communists in the northwest. He saw no Soviet Russians at Yenan, but observed one transport corps of 125 Russians at Sian.

This correspondent obtained an interview with Mao Tse Tung at Yenan in which the latter is reported to have asserted that if the National Government does not take steps soon to adopt the measures so [Page 143] successfully carried out by the Communists in the organization of the Shansi, Chahar, and Hopei frontier government it will find it necessary to fall back to the Himalaya Mountains.

Repeated to Peiping.