The Ambassador in China ( Gauss ) to the Secretary of State
[Received February 1.]
Sir: Referring to the Embassy’s despatch no. 1943 of December 22, 1943,8 in regard to the activities of Marshal Li Chi-shen, former head of the Kweilin office of the National Military Affairs Commission, I have the honor to enclose a copy of airgram A–26, December 30, 11:30 a.m., from the Consulate at Kweilin,9 in regard to Marshal Li’s appointment [Page 304] as Chairman of the Military Advisory Council at Chungking.
Summary. Mr. Service states that reliable sources at Kweilin believe that Marshal Li will nominally accept the appointment as Chairman of the Military Advisory Council under the National Military Affairs Commission (announced by the National Government on December 30—Embassy’s Political Review for December,12 Section A, 2 (c)) but that he will in fact retire to his home in south Kwangsi.
Reliable sources state that General Cheng Chien, Chairman of the Joint Commission for Political Work and Party Affairs in the War Areas, will be named head of a new military office to be established at Kweilin to replace the former branch office headed by Marshal Li. Other reports have it that no such office will be formed at Kweilin but that a branch of the Generalissimo’s headquarters will be established at Nanyoh, Hunan, with General Chen Cheng as a possible candidate for the chairmanship. It is generally believed that neither General Pai Chung-hsi, Deputy Chief of Staff, nor General Li Tsung-jen, Commander of the 5th War Zone, will be given a military post of power in this area (as was indicated in the Embassy’s despatch under reference). General Pai is said recently to have made remarks critical of the Central Government’s military policy. End of Summary.
Marshal Li’s appointment to this new post at Chungking and the failure of the Central Government to appoint Generals Pai or Li to a post of power in their native province, together with the report of General Pai’s criticism of Chungking military policy and a report that General Li’s relations with the Generalissimo are none too cordial, would seem to indicate that the Chungking authorities are aware of the unrest existing among various groups in unoccupied China and are endeavoring to manipulate appointments and disposition of important figures in such a way as to preclude the giving of too great power to any person who is not considered whole-heartedly in sympathy with Chungking’s policies.
General Chen Cheng is said to be still at Chungking (Embassy’s despatch no. 1917, December 16, 194312) and no public announcement has yet been made in regard to his future movements although it has been rumored that he may succeed General Ho Ying-chin as Chief of Staff. Usually well informed Chinese discredit this rumor, saying that General Ho’s position of power and influence as a trusted follower of the Generalissimo makes it extremely unlikely that he will be dismissed from his position as Chief of Staff, a post of vital importance to General Chiang.