The Ambassador in China ( Gauss ) to the Secretary of State
[Received 4:55 p.m.]
34. Embassy has been informed by two widely separated and usually reliable sources of existence of group organized among younger army officers with object of ridding Government of corrupt and inefficient high ranking military and civil officials. Organization became known to Generalissimo … and six divisional commanders (Generals) are said to have been arrested at Kunming and Chungking and unknown number other members of group are reportedly being rounded up by Tai Li’s6 organization.[Page 303]
Source states organization became known through a Colonel Wang Ming-chi who traveled between Kunming and India as liaison among members of group. Other source states matter was revealed when a General Wang Feng-chi (divisional commander in Yunnan and probably same person named above) became suspect because of unusual volume of letters addressed to him from various parts of country. Latter source says organization had not been completed when discovery made but that “Putsch” was directed against highest ranking civil and military officials. He feels that even with arrest of unknown number of participants organization has not been quashed as it evidently included officers in many parts of country.
Movement is said to have begun with seventeenth class of military staff college (Luchun Ta Hsueh) near Chungking and rapidly spread to include next nine classes (seventeenth to seventh). Whampoa Military Academy officers are also said to be implicated as well as some persons very close to Generalissimo but it is not known whether movement was directed against latter.
Embassy has not been able to learn identity of ringleaders nor what specific action was planned. Movement apparently had widespread ramifications as indicated by receipt of letter by General Wang from various parts of country and reported participation of persons close to Generalissimo. Premature discovery may kill movement but its existence indicates extent of dissatisfaction with present administration among many apparently unconnected factions.
So far as we have been able to learn Li Chi-shen (Embassy’s despatch 1829, November 187) is not involved. Military Affairs Commission’s] Kweilin office headed by him has, however, been abolished and he has been (promoted) to chairmanship Military Advisory Council at Chungking where he will of course be well under control.