Memorandum by the Assistant Chief of the Division of Chinese Affairs (Chase)60
Reference Chungking’s despatches Nos. 9 and 12 of December 15 and 16, 1944,61 and Davies’ memoranda of January 5, 1945.61a
This material suggests an evolving pattern of developments among potential separatist groups in south China:
- At the moment these groups seem to be doing nothing in the way of reactivating combined action for establishment of a new government.
- Present trends among the groups seem to consist in: (a) mounting dissatisfaction with the Generalissimo’s leadership, and an increased disregarding of it (without open rejection) by those groups now cut off from Free China by intervening Japanese lines; (b) action by the groups—for both selfish and patriotic-war-effort purposes—toward building up independent military positions; and (c) attempts to set the stage for direct cooperation with and from American forces invading south China, from which the groups apparently hope to gain the arms, strength and opportunity jointly to establish or force the Generalissimo to establish a new coalition government.
To illustrate—in Yunnan, there is deep pessimism in regard to Chiang’s ability to save the province and Lung Yun, as the price for his cooperation with the Central Government, has asked Ho Ying-chin to double the amount of American equipment promised him. In Central Kwangsi, Li Chi-shen, with his former 19th Route Army associate, Tsai Ting-kai, and other leftists, has established a small but active anti-Japanese guerrilla base with its own local administration, which, like the “Communists”, is acquiring its own arms and mobilizing popular support. He has renewed his previous request of the American Army for arms and advisers. His activities “are watched[”] with “great interest by progressive elements in Kunming” [sic], and he maintains “political” liaison with the “Communist” guerrillas in Kwangtung and with Generals Hsueh Yueh and Yu Han-mou, commanders of the Hunan–Kiangsi and Kwangtung war zones, respectively. Hsueh Yueh, with his forces reduced to 12 poorly equipped divisions, has moved southeastward, repeatedly disregarded Chiang’s orders, and been seeking American arms and an understanding for cooperation with American forces. He is collaborating closely with Yu Han-mou, who, by cautious tactics toward the Japanese, has kept his seven divisions fairly intact. Chang Fa-kuei and Ku Chu-tung, [Page 200] however, seem to be keeping out of the dissident picture at present.
Comment. The extent to which our Army is being importuned by potential separatist groups (including the “Communists”) for arms and cooperation, and to which it will find it expedient to cooperate with whatever friendly elements it may meet in the areas selected for invasion suggests that the choice of landings may exert, willy-nilly, an important influence on China’s internal political evolution. Thus, generally speaking, American landings in North China could serve to bolster the “Communists”, and in central China, the Kuomintang, while landings in south China might strengthen independent groups primarily and help to bring about a coalition government in which they, as well as the “Communists”, would be fully represented. It would be interesting to know whether our military and naval authorities are attempting to evaluate such political implications and consequences of landings that they may be planning.
You will note that Davies’ memoranda attached to JCV’s62 tag also contain brief material on the “Communists” which this memorandum does not attempt to cover.