The Ambassador in China ( Gauss ) to the Secretary of State
[Received March 2.]
Sir: Referring to paragraph three of the Embassy’s telegram no. 258, February 8, 3 p.m., in regard to Kuomintang–Communist relations, I have the honor to enclose a copy of despatch no. 9 of January 24, 1944, from the Secretary on detail at Sian64 regarding the recent transit through Sian of … who have resided in Communist-controlled areas in north China since December 1941, and a memorandum [Page 338] of conversation dated February 764a between … and officers of the Embassy in regard to conditions in those areas.
Summary. Mr. Drumright explains in his despatch that … fled from Peiping on December 8, 1941, and have lived for almost two years in the Communist-controlled areas in west Hopei where they contributed their services to the Communists. They passed through Sian in mid-January en route from Yenan but were not detained at the time of their entry into Chungking-controlled territory as the British Embassy apparently gave the Chinese authorities advance notification of the … impending arrival.
During a conversation with officers of the Embassy after their arrival at Chungking, … described conditions in the areas which they visited and in which they lived. The Communist Government in the west Hopei area is said to be based on democratic principles and to receive the full support of the population. Political education and participation in the local, district and regional governmental units have made the people politically conscious. The Communist Party has apparently made little or no attempt to expand its membership, and all political and other education is based on the united front against Japan, not on Communist doctrines and opposition to the Kuomintang. Taxation is said not to be oppressive and the Communist regular troops and guerrillas made no exactions on the people, who consequently are kindly disposed toward them.
Communist troops suffer greatly from lack of medicines and military equipment but they are well-fed, well-led and well-disciplined. The Chungking and Japanese blockade has seriously affected the Communist areas, but the result has been to make these areas as nearly self-sufficient as is possible through Communist efforts to manufacture essential commodities and through strict control of exports and imports. No possibility exists of serious food shortages which would cause a collapse as the Communists are said to maintain reserve grain supplies sufficient for a year and crops have been good for seven years.
There was considerably less tension in the Yenan area in January than in Chungking territory as the Communists have apparently brought reinforcements into Shensi from Hopei and Shansi and feel that they are sufficiently strong to meet a Central Government attack. Anti-Kuomintang propaganda is directed against the Chungking Government’s lack of offensive spirit against Japan.
A Soviet plane arrived at Yenan during the … visit there, bringing a Tass representative and a Soviet doctor, and the … were given the impression that a Soviet plane came to Yenan perhaps once a year. End of Summary.
… have refused to make any comments on conditions in the Communist areas except to representatives of the British and American Embassies. They have refrained from discussion of such matters with foreign newspaper correspondents here and have not called on or received the Communist representatives at Chungking. … informed officers of the Embassy that he was willing to talk freely with [Page 339] American officials with the understanding that he was speaking in the strictest confidence as he intended to remain in China and knew that his position here would be untenable in the event that any comment favorable to the Communists made by him were to reach the Kuomintang authorities. An officer of the British Embassy states that … have been advised by the British authorities to leave China but that the … are reluctant to accept that advice.
… have been in Peiping since 1929, and their long residence in China and knowledge of the Chinese language, together with their obvious political disinterestedness, should qualify them as impartial observers of conditions in the areas in which they have lived and which they have visited. Their description of Communist emphasis on political instruction based on the United front against Japan and not on communism and of popular support of the regional governments in north China is borne out by several neutral Chinese who have arrived at Chungking from north China within the past year.