893.00/1–1845: Telegram

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

94. Representative Mansfield, in a speech before the House on January 1637 said that Chiang Kai-shek is weak in many respects but remains the only leader with sufficient prestige to carry China through the war. “We are committed to Chiang Kai-shek and we will help him to the best of our ability. The decision, though, rests not on our shoulders but on the generalissimo’s. He and he alone can untangle the present situation, because on the basis of what he has done and in spite of some of the things he has done, he is China”. Among Chiang’s acts which had “disastrous results”, Mansfield said, were (1) employment of some 300,000 troops to blockade Communists, (2) [Page 178] allowing Chinese military strength to deteriorate through inability to mobilize China’s resources, (3) failure to check hoarding, inflation and merchant-landlord profiteering, and (4) failure to improve condition of peasantry with regard to high rents and interest rates. On the other hand he is the one man who can make Chinese independence and unity a reality. His faults are understandable and no more uncommon than faults of other leaders of the United Nations. The seriousness of China’s situation has brought home to Chiang need for reforms.

Mansfield said Kuomintang is daily losing favor in China due to fear of the army and the attitude of tax collectors. There is more democracy in Communist territory than in other areas of China. “It appears to me that both the Communists and the Kuomintang are more interested in preserving their respective parties than they are in carrying on the war against Japan. Each party is more interested in its own status because they both feel that America will guarantee victory”.

  1. Congressional Record, vol. 91, pt. 1, p. 277.