The Ambassador in China (Gauss) to the Secretary of State
[Received October 24.]
Sir: I have the honor to transmit copies of the following reports prepared by Mr. John S. Service, Second Secretary of Embassy on detail to General Stilwell’s Headquarters, now in Yenan, Shensi (seat of the Chinese Communist regime) as a member of the United States Army Observer Section.
- Report no. 15, August 27, 1944, “Interview with Mao Tse-tung”;
- Report no. 20, September 3, 1944, “The Need of an American Policy Toward the Problems Created by the Rise of the Chinese Communist Party”;
- Report no. 16, August 29, 1944. “Desirability of American Military Aid to the Chinese Communist Armies”.
There is enclosed with Report no. 15 (sub-enclosure to enclosure No. 1) a memorandum of a conversation which Mr. Service had with Mr. Mao Tse-tung, Communist leader, on August 23, 1944. In the course of this conversation Mr. Mao suggested the desirability of the creation of a provisional national congress in China in place of the present single-party rule of the Kuomintang and of the American Government’s using its influence to compel the Kuomintang to carry out such a proposal. Mr. Mao raised the question of the attitude of the United States toward the Chinese Communist Party and said that if United States military forces land on the coast of China there will have to be cooperation with both Kuomintang and Communist forces—preferably in separate sectors. Mr. Mao made a plea for American cooperation and the granting of assistance to the Chinese Communist Party and said that the Chinese Communists must and will cooperate with the United States. In his covering report, Mr. Service expressed the belief that Mr. Mao spoke with frankness and offered the observation that Mr. Mao’s statements were the clearest indication he had yet received of the part the Chinese Communists hope to play in the future of China. Mr. Service also reported that there was at the time a significant concentration of Communist political and military leaders in Yenan for the probable purpose of discussing present-day and future Chinese Communist policies. Mr. Service observed, in this connection, [Page 600] that the most important question or factor to the Communists is American policy.
In Report no. 20 (enclosure no. 2) Mr. Service refers to the rise of Communist power and the decline of the Kuomintang influence and strength, and suggests that as a result it may be necessary in the near future for the United States to decide on a definite policy in relation thereto. After reviewing the trend of events and coming to the conclusion that there is likely to be either future Communist control of China or important Communist participation in its government, Mr. Service concludes that the nature, policies and objectives of the Chinese Communist Party are of vital long-term concern to the United States and that the determination of our policy toward that Party should be based, in part at least, on a study of the actual accomplishments of the Chinese Communist Party, its present and future policies and the quality and capacity of its leadership. Mr. Service points out that reports on the military accomplishments of the Chinese Communist Party have been submitted (those coming into the possession of the Embassy have been or are being transmitted to the Department) and that other reports on a variety of Communist accomplishments are to be submitted in the future.
In Report no. 16 (enclosure no. 3) Mr. Service suggests that the United States should supply the Chinese Communists with urgently needed military supplies and training in the use of such supplies, to be followed later by actual tactical cooperation. Mr. Service points out that the implementation of such a policy is likely to meet with resistance from the Kuomintang, and suggests that the United States must decide whether the gains which can be reasonably expected to accrue from assisting the Communists will justify the overcoming or disregarding of anticipated Kuomintang opposition. He expresses the view that the limiting of American support and assistance to the Kuomintang alone will not win the United States an effective ally whereas impartial support of the Kuomintang and the Communists will provide an effective force in the latter, will be a constructive influence in China, and will almost certainly prevent the outbreak of civil war. Asserting that it is an incontrovertible fact that the Chinese Communists have maintained and strengthened themselves militarily in a very large area of north and central China; that they hold strategic positions in proximity to all Japanese communication lines north of the Yangtze River; that Communist forces are capable and experienced in mobile and guerrilla warfare; that they possess the popular support of the people; and that their material requirements are simple and moderate, Mr. Service observes that the furnishing of the Chinese Communists with moderate quantities of supplies will improve their effectiveness.[Page 601]
Although Mr. Service’s estimate of the accomplishments and capabilities of the Chinese Communists may be modified by the further studies and investigations being undertaken by the United States Army Observer Section now operating in Communist-controlled areas, it seems clear that the problems touched upon in the enclosed reports are of ever-growing concern to the United States not only because of the trend of events in China but also because the war in the Pacific is approaching Japan and the China coast. It appears that we are to be faced inevitably with the problem of determining whether the Chinese Communists are to be supplied with American arms and equipment in the struggle against Japan. If the decision is made to supply the Communists with American arms and equipment, we shall then be faced with the further problem of how such arms and equipment are to be supplied. Under present circumstances—the continued inability of the Kuomintang and the Communists to reach a political and military agreement or to cooperate in the war against Japan—we may expect the Kuomintang, as Mr. Service has suggested, to oppose our furnishing the Communists with arms and equipment. If such Kuomintang opposition should materialize and if the Kuomintang and the Communists fail to patch up their differences, we shall then be faced with a very complex problem. It seems obvious that an attempt to supply the Chinese Communists with American arms and equipment without first obtaining the sanction of the Kuomintang Government in Chungking—which we have in the past and continue to recognize as the Government of China—would produce serious repercussions, if indeed it did not bring about the collapse of the Chiang Kai-shek regime. On the other hand, our compliance with Kuomintang wishes not to supply the Chinese Communists with arms and equipment might be expected to hamper the conduct of military operations against the Japanese and perhaps prolong the war.
It seems apparent that the most satisfactory solution to the problems posed above would involve a thoroughgoing reconciliation between the Kuomintang and the Communists and a hard-and-fast agreement to unite and cooperate. Such a reconciliation and agreement might be both political and military in character, or it might be military alone. It might involve participation of the Communists and perhaps other independent political groups in some way in the National Government; it might be limited to the formation of some kind of coalition military council to deal with military affairs and coordinate the activities of the Chinese armies. Or it might involve some arrangement under which an Allied field commander might be appointed to the control of the armies of the two factions. Admittedly the prospects for Kuomintang–Communist reconciliation and agreement are not at present bright, but the bringing to bear of American [Page 602] influence on both factions may even yet result in a harmonious solution. The only alternative appears to be a continued and progressive disintegration of the situation in China, followed perhaps by chaos and a consequent grave impediment to the prosecution of the war against Japan.
- Not printed, but see despatch No. 2923, September 1, from the Ambassador in China, p. 536.↩
- Ante, p. 527.↩
- January, 1924; see United States Relations With China, p. 42, and Chinese Ministry of Information, China Handoook, 1937–1945, p. 66.↩
- Not printed, but see despatch No. 2913, August 29, from the Ambassador in China, p. 525.↩
- Not printed.↩
- Not printed, but see despatch No. 3052, October 11, from the Ambassador in China, p. 635.↩
- Not printed, but see despatch No. 3057, October 13, from the Ambassador in China, p. 644.↩
- Ante, p. 527.↩