The Ambassador in China (Gauss) to the Secretary of State
[Received February 17.]
Sir: Referring to the Embassy’s despatch No. 2039 of January 18, 1944,37 in regard to the military situation in north China, I have the honor to enclose a copy of despatch No. 98 of January 11, 1944, from the Consulate at Kweilin36 regarding Communist influence in Kiangsu and Shantung Provinces.
Summary. General Han Teh-chin, Chairman of the Kiangsu Provincial Government, in a recent interview with the press at Kweiyang [Page 314] indicated that Central Government authority in Kiangsu is non-existent due to the withdrawal of Chungking troops from north Kiangsu to Anhwei in the summer of 1943 and that Chungking has no intention of taking action against the Communists in Kiangsu at this time. Other sources reported that the Communist 8th Route Army forced the withdrawal of Chungking troops under Generals Yu Hsueh-chung and Li Sie-chow from Shantung and that there are no Central Government troops in that province. Communist forces appear to be in complete control of all points not under Japanese occupation in that part of Kiangsu north of the Yangtze River and in the entire province of Shantung. End of Summary.
Mr. Service’s report of the inability of the Central Government to challenge the control of the Communist forces in the above-named areas of north China confirms the information received from Mr. Drumright at Sian (Embassy’s despatch under reference). In connection with the charge that General Yu Hsueh-chung’s troops were driven from Shantung by the Communists, it is interesting to note a Domei broadcast of January 17 from Shanghai in which reference is made to the assistance of General Wu Hua-wen, following his defection in January 1943 to the Nanking puppet regime with 40,000 men, in driving General Yu’s 113th and 114th Armies out of Shantung Province in May 1943.
According to Chinese sources at Sian, General Han, who commanded units of the Central Government forces in northern Kiangsu following the Japanese invasion of that province in 1937 and who concurrently acted as the chairman of the provincial government, was taken prisoner by units of the New Fourth Army (Communist) following a clash which occurred late in 1941. These sources state that General Han was subsequently released by the Communist forces and that he arrived at Sian in September 1943. Chinese Communist sources at Chungking state that the New Fourth Army released General Han and his troops early in the spring of 1943 in accordance with an agreement by which General Han would withdraw his forces to that part of Kiangsu lying west of the Grand Canal and north of the Yangtze River, leaving the section of the province east of the Grand Canal and north of the Yangtze to the Communist forces. Apparently General Han found it impossible to maintain his forces in Kiangsu and subsequently withdrew in the summer of 1943 to Anhwei Province.