The Vice Consul at Chengtu ( Service ) to the Ambassador in China ( Hurley )41
Sir: I have the honor to report the substance of an interview on January 22, 1945, with a representative of the Democratic League, Mr. Chu Yun-shan, who called upon me to renew an acquaintance which began at Kweilin about eight months ago. Mr. Chu devotes most of his time to organizational work on behalf of the League, and is currently engaged with principal League leaders here in drawing up the League’s final platform for a coalition government. He stated that this work will be completed in about two weeks, when he will journey to Chungking to confer with liberal leaders there. Mr. Chu’s identity with the League should be treated in strictest confidence.
Mr. Chu shares the confidence of Dr. Lo Lung-chi in Kunming that a coalition government will soon be formed which will oust the Generalissimo and peaceably take over the administration of national affairs. He stated that the following leaders have already written to Marshal Li Chi-shen at Chaoping formally pledging themselves to united action: Yen Hsi-shan, Liu Wen-hui, Teng Hsi-hou, P’an Wen-hua, Feng Yu-hsiang, Lung Yun, Hsueh Yueh, and Yu Han-mou. He asserted that Dr. Sun Fo is being kept informed and is following all developments closely. The League is maintaining intimate liaison with the Chinese Communist Party representatives in Chungking. In the opinion of Mr. Chu, matters are proceeding smoothly and the coalition group is at present chiefly concerned with so perfecting its plans that the possibility of civil war will be eliminated when the movement presents its demands to the Central Government.[Page 183]
In commenting on the political and military situation in Szechuan, Mr. Chu said that provincial military leaders have huge stores of arms on hand, most of which are serviceable. Should the Japanese make a move to invade the province before the formation of the coalition government these leaders (P’an, Teng, and Liu in Sikang) will immediately demand the establishment of such a government; in the event of refusal or hesitancy on the part of the Generalissimo they intend to mobilize and arm able-bodied men for action against the Japanese, and to disarm those Central Government troops in the province who do not join their movement. Mr. Chu stated that there are more than 100,000 troops under the control of P’an Wen-hua in this province; Liu Wen-hui in Sikang commands two divisions. Central Government forces in Szechuan total 40–50,000, according to my informant. General Chang Ch’un’s efforts through intrigue to sow dissension among the Szechuan warlords has only succeeded in enhancing his unpopularity, said Mr. Chu, who asserted that the counterintelligence organization of the Teng-P’an clique devotes much of its energy to embarrassing the operations of Chungking special service agencies.
When questioned concerning the democratic convictions of provincial warlords who are conspiring with the League to bring about the downfall of the Generalissimo and the establishment of a coalition government, Mr. Chu replied that the League is not unaware of the past records and selfish motives of these leaders. However, the League is confident that they have sincerely committed themselves to a democratic form of government in preference to the status quo. Indicating the concern of the League with this matter, Mr. Chu stated that League representatives have been active among divisional leaders of provincial forces, and have succeeded in enrolling many of these as members. As one of the principal objectives of the coalition is the reformation and strengthening of the army, Mr. Chu opined that recalcitrant provincial leaders in the post-war period can be handled by force if necessary.
In reply to a question as to the connection of Li Tsung-jen with the coalition movement, Mr. Chu said that Li is sympathetic, but will take no action to assist the coalition group at this time. He keeps in close touch with developments through his representative with Marshal Li Chi-shen, General Hia Wei, former vice commander-in-chief of the Fourth War Zone under Chang Fa-kuei. League leaders do not consider Li Tsung-jen a significant element in the movement now or in the future; Pai Chung-hsi even less so.
My caller indicated that the League is deeply interested in learning the attitude of the United States Government toward the coalition [Page 184] movement, and in knowing what steps might be taken by the movement to obtain the sympathy and support of the United States Government during and after the establishment of a coalition government. I informed him that these were matters which could not be discussed by the Embassy’s most junior representative. It may be anticipated that representatives of the Democratic League at Chungking will attempt to approach the Embassy informally in this connection, if such an approach has not already been made.
- Copy transmitted to the Department by the Embassy in China on February 5 without covering despatch; received February 16.↩