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

My Dear Mr. Secretary: With reference to my letter of September 28th, and in the desire to keep you informed of the progress of the Hurley–Nelson mission to China, I enclose a memorandum recording the attitude of President Chiang Kai-shek toward the Hurley proposals as disclosed at a recent meeting of the Standing Committee of the Central Executive Committee of the Kuomintang. This information has come to me in strict confidence from a member of the Standing Committee who attended the meeting. I have communicated the information orally and in confidence to General Hurley, leaving it to him to make any report to the President.

Hurley’s task is not an easy one. Nelson came to China on a mission which would give something to China. Hurley is here to seek something for ourselves—something to assist in the early winning of the war.

Personally, I feel that Nelson and his proposed mission of experts “bearing gifts” should not return to China until Hurley has been successful in getting what we may want in the way of a military understanding.

Respectfully yours,

C. E. Gauss
[Page 265]

Memorandum by the Ambassador in China (Gauss)

Following is a transcript of my stenographic notes on an oral communication made to me in strict confidence this morning regarding statements made by President Chiang Kai-shek at a meeting on the morning of October 2d of the Standing Committee of the Central Executive Committee of the Kuomintang.

Without disclosing what proposals Major General Hurley had made to him, Generalissimo Chiang informed the meeting—speaking heatedly and banging the table—that he is insisting and will continue to insist:

That General Stilwell “must go”.
That all lend-lease matériel must come to him (the Generalissimo) for distribution. (Note: Control of allocation of military lend-lease now rests with Stilwell. CEG).
That if there is to be an American commander-in-chief in China, he must be under the Generalissimo’s command; and this American commander-in-chief must maintain contact only with the units of the Chinese forces which are put at his disposal by the Generalissimo. (Note: This would mean that, unless the Communist forces were put at his disposal, an American field commander could not contact them. CEG).

In stating his position, the Generalissimo said that China is grateful for the abolition of extraterritoriality and of the Exclusion Act, etc., but now it seems that the Americans are trying to infringe on China’s sovereignty in another direction. China was better off before the Pacific War started; then the Chinese were able to hold the Japanese; now, since the Pacific War began, China is suffering losses and reverses. “I am not going to compromise because this is against our sovereign rights”. “This is a new form of imperialism; if we agree, then we should be nothing but puppets; we might just as well go over to Wang Ching-wei”.

Chiang told the meeting that Stilwell must go because he disobeyed Chiang’s orders to advance on Bhamo after Myitkyina was taken. He also stated that Stilwell had boasted that if he went to Yenan he would be able to get the Red Army to cooperate immediately. “That is nonsense,” said Chiang. “I will never permit Stilwell to go until the Communists submit to my orders; there can be no compromise with the Communists; if we give in now we shall have to surrender more later.”

Chiang told the meeting: “Do not be afraid if the Americans will not do as I want them to; we can get along without them—without their help; we can still stand on our feet in four provinces.”

Having stated his non-compromising position as above, Chiang then asked for opinions. Only one member of the Standing Committee commented openly: [Page 266]

He stated that this is no time for personalities; the U. S. wants to shorten the war; he does not believe there is any sort of new imperialism or infringement of China’s sovereignty intended; we must understand the Americans and they must try to understand us; as regards Stilwell he may be the best man they have got who understands China and the ways of the people; if a new man comes it might be worse because the usual American is not so considerate and he may want things done quicker and he may be more brusque.

It was stated that after the meeting, the members of the Standing Committee of the C. E. C. were whispering amongst themselves (but only one was forthright enough to stand up and answer the Generalissimo). One member remarked that the Generalissimo acted as “though he were crazy”.

C. E. G[auss]