740.0011 Pacific War/3700
The Ambassador in China (Gauss) to the Secretary of State
[Received February 1.]
Sir: I have the honor to enclose a copy of excerpts,26 dealing with the military situation in north China, from a letter dated December 26, 1943, from the Secretary on detail at Sian27 giving a general informal report on his recent trip into Honan, Anhwei and Hupeh Provinces. Mr. Drumright states that he expects to supplement the material contained in the letter with official reports on the various aspects of his trip.
Summary. There have been no regular Central Government troops north of the old course of the Yellow River since the withdrawal during the summer of 1943 of troops commanded by General Yu Hsueh-chung from Shantung and of troops under General Li Hsienchou from north Kiangsu. The long supply lines, Japanese and Communist pressure and the food problem were said to be the chief factors in the withdrawals. The Central Government armies and provincial administrations have not been able to create self-sufficient organizations in the occupied areas or to organize the people in such a way that they can live off them. The Chinese Communists have been able to do so, hence they continue to operate in north China. Chungking guerilla forces in north China appear to be small, inactive and inefficient and to remain in regions near bases of supply in unoccupied China.
There are no indications that the Chinese are capable or desirous of offensive operations against the Japanese in north China. The Chinese strategy is entirely defensive in character; in spirit and morale the Chinese soldier is absolutely defense-minded without any conception of offensive operations; in training, equipment, physical condition and medical care the Chinese soldier suffers such serious deficiencies that from an offensive standpoint he has no value; the presence of Chinese Communist forces in north China, whose positions [Page 7] are expanded as the Central Government abandons them, constitutes a barrier to Central Government penetration northward; and the Chungking forces are unwilling to use their scanty military resources against the Japanese when they feel the Communist problem still exists, many military and civil officials stating that the Japanese are the secondary enemy and the Communists the primary one. The Chinese wish to maintain the status quo in this area, not desiring to. arouse the Japanese by half-hearted offensive operations against them or to build airfields which might draw Japanese retaliation. Chinese military officers are content to leave the defeat of Japan to the United States and Great Britain, following which defeat the Chinese can move into north China. End of Summary.