The Ambassador in China (Johnson) to the Secretary of State

No. 825

Sir: With reference to my despatch no. 280, dated July 18, 1939,72 on the subject “Progress of ‘National Spiritual Mobilization’”, and to my despatch no. 439 [493] dated March 29, 1940,73 regarding General Chiang Kai-shek’s broadcast on the first anniversary of the inauguration of the movement, I have the honor to enclose, for the information of the Department, a copy of a translation73—released by the China Information Committee on March 21, 1941—of a broadcast delivered by General Chiang on the second anniversary of the inauguration of the movement in question; and to submit certain observations on the extent to which “spiritual mobilization” has been realized in China.

[Here follows a summary of the broadcast and of the Ambassador’s commentary.]

It is hardly necessary to add that the most glaring evidence of a lack of spiritual unity is the unfortunate struggle between the Communists and the Kuomintang.

Spiritual mobilization or no spiritual mobilization, however, the fact remains that the National Government has survived more than three and a half years of hostilities with a powerful enemy. Fear of Japanese domination and the inspiration of General Chiang’s leadership have tended to create a greater degree of unity among the Chinese people than they have known at any other time since the formation of the Republic. Judged by Western standards, the calibre of officials in general is probably higher than it has ever been before, and their devotion to duty under the most trying conditions, including some of the most vicious aerial bombardments ever carried out, is worthy of the greatest admiration.

The fact that the “Spiritual Mobilization Movement” has apparently had little effect on the Chinese people need not, therefore, be regarded with too great concern. The survival of the National Government speaks for itself. A real cause for concern is the question as to whether concrete forms of assistance from the United States can and will arrive in time to strengthen and maintain the resistance which has been carried on during the last three and a half years.

Respectfully yours,

Nelson Trusler Johnson