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

No. 2105

Sir: Referring to the Embassy’s Airgram No. A–71, October 12, 10 a.m. (1943),43 in regard to the postwar position of Chinese puppet [Page 319] officials, I have the honor to enclose a memorandum of January 26, 1944,44 prepared by an officer of the Embassy45 reporting statements made on that date by Chinese Government spokesmen at the weekly press conference at which the officer was present.

Summary of Memorandum. Foreign press correspondents queried the Government spokesmen in regard to the future treatment and position of Chinese puppet officials, with particular reference to Wang Ching-wei and Pu Yi,46 who, one correspondent pointed out, had until about a year ago been termed traitors by the Chinese press and by Government spokesmen, including President Chiang Kai-shek. Government spokesmen replied that Wang and Pu Yi would be tried and punished as traitors and that Wang would be permanently expelled from the Party. The spokesmen explained that it was a debatable issue as to how many who now serve the Japanese are willing servants of the puppet regimes; some so-called traitors serve the Japanese for reasons which automatically will convict them of high treason while others who do so merely to earn a livelihood may be pardoned and given liberal treatment. In reply to a question regarding Chinese generals who have surrendered to the Japanese, the spokesmen stated that a general order had been issued for the arrest of such persons connected with the Wang puppet regime but added that some persons have been forced to become traitors because of “extenuating circumstances” and that nothing can be said about specific cases of this kind until the persons should be brought to trial. The spokesmen denied that the Government would reinstate to full citizenship rights all traitors who might “merely turn a new leaf”. End of Summary.

The report of this press conference published in the Central News Agency English Service of January 26 omitted all reference to Pu Yi and the local vernacular press carried no reports of the questions discussed at the conference, although the weekly press conference is ordinarily given full coverage by the Chinese press, omissions being made only of off-the-record items or of items apparently intended for foreign consumption alone.

Respectfully yours,

C. E. Gauss
  1. Foreign Relations, 1943, China, p. 873.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Carl Herman Boehringer, Second Secretary of Embassy.
  4. “Emperor of Manchoukuo”.