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

No. 2905

Sir: With reference to the Embassy’s telegram no. 1361, August 8, 1 p.m., reporting the despatch of a U. S. Army Observer Section to Yenan, Shensi (the seat of the Chinese Communist regime), I have the honor to enclose35 a copy of “General Report on U. S. Army Observer Section for Period July 22, 1944 to July 27, 1944,” submitted by Colonel David D. Barrett, U. S. A. (former American Military Attaché in China), to the Commanding General, Forward Echelon, USAFCBI, Chungking.

This report contains a list of the personnel comprising the first contingent of the Section; describes the flight from Chungking to Yenan and the reception received in the latter city; discusses the negotiations conducted with certain Communist leaders in regard to the scope of the Section’s mission; encloses a copy of a letter addressed to General Chu Teh, Commander of the 18th Group Army, giving a partial list of subjects on which information was desired and quotes General Chu as stating that the Communist armies were desirous of helping to the best of their abilities the collection and study of the information desired and that the Chief of Staff of the 18th Group Army had been designated to discuss this and other phases of the work of the Section with Colonel Barrett. The report refers to a conference held with the Chief of Staff of the 18th Group Army during which the latter advised postponement of travel by the Section or parts thereof to areas in the rear of the enemy until the end of August or the beginning of September and the utilization of the interim period to study various subjects; it also dwells at some length on the reception accorded the Section personnel by Mr. Mao Tse-tung, [Page 516] Chairman of the Central Executive Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, followed by a dinner, a concert and dancing, in which Mr. Mao and other high Communist leaders participated.

Colonel Barrett observed that progress in the work of the Section in the period through July 27, 1944 had not been rapid but generally satisfactory and that members of the section were making contacts, having conversations, and setting up various phases of the work to be done. He remarked that the Communist officials were apparently doing everything in their power to cooperate with and assist the Section, and he highly praised their initiative and planning ability.

It is interesting to note that General Yeh Chien-ying, Chief of Staff of the 18th Group Army, and Mr. Chou En-lai, member of the Political Bureau of the Chinese Communist Party, informed Colonel Barrett that General Ho Ying-chin, Chief of the General Staff of the Chinese Army and concurrently Minister of Military Administration, had notified them that the mission of the Section was air-ground aid and collection of enemy intelligence (Paragraph numbered 6, page 2). No doubt the Communists were very much gratified to learn from Colonel Barrett that a portion of the mission of the Section was to investigate the needs of the Communist forces for arms and equipment; for the Communists have time and again insisted that their prime need was for military supplies, medicines and the like. It seems clear from Colonel Barrett’s report that the Chinese Communists have initially offered the Section a full measure of cooperation. They have long sought American interest and support, and the reception they have accorded the Section is perhaps a testimony to their future hopes, desires and expectations.

Respectfully yours,

C. E. Gauss
  1. Enclosures not printed.