893.00/15241: Telegram

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

151. Embassy has now been informed by another usually reliable source of existence of plot among younger army officers as follows (Embassy’s No. 34, January 6): plot was uncovered by Tai Li agents after Chiang Kai-shek departure for Cairo Conference.33 Officers plan was to seize Chiang at Kunming upon his return (this not reported by previous sources) and force him to issue order for dismissal H. H. Kung, Ho Ying-chin, Chen Li-fu,34 Chen Kuo-fu,35 and other unnamed high officials. Sixteen generals (divisional commanders) alleged to have been arrested and shot, presumably at their field posts, and about 100 young generals said to be implicated, who will be given severe punishment of some kind. Only names known are General [Page 313] Wang Feng-chi (Embassy’s reference telegram) and General Yu Ching-wan, commander Chinese forces Changteh during recent campaign (previously reported here shot for failure defend Changteh); rumors implicate General Chen Cheng who reportedly has been relieved of his command of 6th War Zone as well as that of Chinese expeditionary forces (Embassy’s despatch No. 1917, December 1636), also rumored General Chen will resign post Chairman, Hupeh Provincial Government.

Local Communist source confirms reported plot ascribing it to groups “young Fascist officers” whose object seizure power was rid Government corruption [and] inefficiency. This information states five to six hundred officers involved but that numbers prevent execution or drastic punishment entire group.

Kuomintang sources inclined to dismiss matter as nothing serious, saying plotting and cabals among Army groups common occurrence. Embassy’s reports, however, stemming back independently to Chinese Army sources and high quarters, seem to indicate this was more serious than intra-army rivalry. Presence of Chen Cheng at Chungking at time of alleged discovery of plot (where he would be advantageously placed if plot succeeded and would not be at Kunming if it failed) and his reported dismissal from important posts give some support to rumor he was implicated, but no confirmation thereof has been obtained. Plot apparently complete failure and matter ended but existence such plot indicates extent dissatisfaction with Chungking policies. News correspondents who made recent trip to Changteh report dissatisfaction among military that area with Chungking High Command.

Stilwell Headquarters informed of foregoing.

  1. November 1943.
  2. Chinese Minister of Education.
  3. Head of the Chinese Central Broadcasting Administration and Chief of the Generalissimo’s private secretariat.
  4. Not printed.