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

No. 2530

Sir: I have the honor to enclose a copy of despatch No. 11 of April 27, 1944, from the Consul General at Kunming34 entitled “Mental Confusion of Chinese over Japanese Offensive” which contains definite evidence of the Chinese attempt to foment anti-Soviet feeling in China.

This evidence is shown in an off-the-record release handed by the Central News Agency (Kuomintang-controlled) to Kunming newspapers on April 26 in which it is stated that China faces a “grave crisis” because of the massing of Japanese forces released from Manchuria for an offensive south from Chengchow. The release charges that the transfer of such Japanese forces was carried out “with the complete understanding of the Russian authorities”, who are said to be at odds with the Chinese Government over the question of Sinkiang. The release also charges that the Chinese Communists have begun an attack on Sian, where there is “only a limited number of Chinese troops”, and that the recent Outer Mongol border incident arose because of an attack on Sinkiang troops by Soviet-supported General Ma Chungying.

This Kuomintang release is a definite indication of the prime consideration underlying so much of Chinese policy at present. Japan is of secondary importance, for China’s allies can be depended upon to defeat the Japanese enemy. There is greater fear of Soviet Russia and the Chinese Communists. A “smear” campaign of the type indicated in this Kuomintang off-the-record release, which contains several obvious misstatements, can only result in increasing and spreading suspicion of Soviet Russia at a time when the Generalissimo [Page 784] and his Government should be making every attempt to establish more friendly relations with that country, and these efforts in turn bear a direct relation to the Chinese war effort. The Chinese hoarding of military matériel, the inexcusable inactivity of the Chinese army in Yunnan, the use of relatively well-equipped Chinese troops to blockade the Communist areas—all stem largely from Chinese fear and suspicion of Soviet Russia and the Chinese Communists. There seems to be no real attempt on the part of the Kuomintang to solve the Communist problem; instead all signs point toward a Kuomintang hope that an American-equipped Chinese army can some day force a solution of this problem.

There is no real confusion on the Chinese side over the Japanese offensive. The statement in the release that the Japanese have employed a total of 18 divisions in the Chengchow campaign is an obvious untruth designed, through the charge that they were transferred from Manchuria with the connivance of the Russians, to place partial blame for any possible Japanese success on Soviet Russia. The charge that the Communists have begun an attack on Sian is part and parcel of the same kind of psychological attack on those whom the Kuomintang considers to be the real enemies of China. There seems to be little hope that the Kuomintang can be moved from that viewpoint, but until that viewpoint is changed and until the Chinese Government is convinced that the defeat of Japan is as much a responsibility of China as of her allies the Chinese war effort will continue to be hampered by the present Kuomintang psychological attitude of conserving Chinese military strength to meet China’s “real enemies”.

Respectfully yours,

C. E. Gauss
  1. William R. Langdon; despatch not printed.