Representative Michael J. Mansfield, of Montana, to President Roosevelt

Dear Mr. President: I am presenting herewith for your consideration a report of my findings and recommendations as a result of my mission to China at your request. You will recall that your desire was for me to make an over-all survey of conditions as they existed in that country and on my return to the United States to present to you my findings.

I departed from Great Falls, Montana on the first leg of my journey on November 10, 1944 and I left Washington on November 14, 1944 going by way of New York, Bermuda, the Azores, Casablanca, Tripoli, Cairo, Abadan, Karachi, and arrived in New Delhi on November the 19th. At that place I called on Major General Frank Merrill at the headquarters of the India-Burma theater and had a long discussion with him concerning his views about the situation in China.

General Merrill was not too impressed with Chiang Kai-shek4 personally, but he did say that the Chinese soldier was very good, if he was given enough to eat, the proper training, adequate matériel, and competent leadership. In his opinion, much of the difficulties of the Chinese armies could be laid to the incompetency of the field commands. When asked about the Chinese Communists, he stated that in his opinion they were not allied to Moscow but were primarily a Chinese agrarian group interested in land and tax reforms.

General Merrill invited me to make the trip over the Burma Road from Ledo to Myitkyina, which I accepted with alacrity because I felt that it would give me a good insight in the procedure and policy adopted by the United States in that particular part of the world.

On Monday, November the 20th, I left for Ledo by plane and stopped at Halminar Hat, and from there went on to my destination where I met with General Pick, the engineer in charge of the building of the Ledo–Burma Road; and Colonel Davis, his executive officer; [Page 3] Brigadier-General Vernon Evans, Lieutenant-General Stilwell’s5 Chief of Staff, and other officers stationed in this vicinity.

General Pick stated that the Ledo–Burma Road would be capable of transporting a minimum of 60,000 tons a month when completed, although I must say that when I saw the General three weeks later, he had modified that particular estimate. He stated though, that if we were to get the full transportation benefit out of the Road being built, that it would be necessary for him to have 100 truck companies with trucks and shipping facilities for them, as well as ordnance, maintenance units and quartermaster depot units. He said that 86 truck companies had been promised to him previously but were side-tracked, due to the low priority of this area and their need for the invasion of the European continent. He stated further that the road to Bhamo, some 30 odd miles south of Myitkyina, would be finished by February 1945 and that the entire Burma-China Road would be opened by March 1, 1945.

I found out at this time also that, in the India–Burma theater, most of the troops were in the Air Forces, SOS,5a Engineers and Transportation Units, and that there were only two American combat regiments, both located in Burma and operating out of Myitkyina, and attached to these was another regiment, a Chinese special service outfit. At this particular time, only two battalions of the 475th regiment were in the field, but the others were getting ready to jump off.

General Merrill was well pleased with the fact that the British and Indians were now, after two and one-half years of relative inactivity, going into the Burmese jungles after the Japanese and were doing a very good job. I noticed, also, on the daily statistics tonnage data, that something like 35,000 tons of supplies was anticipated being shipped over the Hump for the month of November. Coming-back from China in December, I checked this particular figure and found that actually 34,929 tons had been shipped, which was a remarkable achievement in itself.

In General Merrill’s opinion, a seaport will have to be acquired on the China coast to be of real help to China and that, while the Burma Road with its pipe line will be of considerable assistance, it will not be enough to figure decisively in the China theater.

I visited the 20th General Hospital at Ledo, which has had as many as 2,600 cases at one time and is manned by a staff of 156 American nurses, 80 doctors, and several hundred medical corpsmen. They have done a remarkably good job in this General Hospital, as they [Page 4] have in all the hospitals along the Road under the most difficult conditions and the most trying circumstances. The wards, generally speaking, have dirt floors, and the sides are made of bamboo and hessian cloth, while the roofs are thatched affairs. The buildings last from nine months to a year and a half and then new ones have to be rebuilt in their place.

In this particular hospital they have done a lot of work in connection with a type of disease known at Scrub or Mite typhus, for which our typhus shots are of no avail. The cure that the General Hospital found most successful in combating this disease was the use of air-conditioning. By keeping the wards at a steady temperature, they have reduced the fatalities from 27 percent to less than one percent.

In visiting the eight hospitals along the Road, I found that the work being done in all of them was outstanding. There was one hospital which had no women nurses and one hospital at Tagap in the process of being activated which would have a complete colored staff of doctors and nurses. From the experiences of 400 American nurses along the Road, I found that a great many of them had been out there one and a half to two years and more and the remarkable thing to me was how they had been able to sustain their morale and do the fine work they had been doing under the difficulties which were, and are, their daily lot.

I also found at Ledo, that 100 silver rupees were being paid to natives for each bailed out American flyer brought in. Many of our flyers are forced down in the jungles and have to live there for days and weeks, and many of them have never been found. The natives have been responsible for rescuing a great many and bringing them back to American headquarters.

On November the 21st I left Ledo by jeep for my trip over the Road, but before starting out I visited the plane-loading warehouses and saw how the Quartermaster Corps had developed a system of loading matériel in a very efficient manner and also a system of dropping stuff into the jungle with remarkable little loss. This particular area has had to use this type of transportation because there was no other way of getting the stuff to our men, and they have dropped such things as galvanized barrels of water, motors [mortars?] and field guns, rations, medical supplies, ammunition, etc. Approximately 600 tons are shipped out daily by air from the Ledo fields, and a plane can be loaded on an average of 17 minutes.

After leaving Ledo, I stopped and visited the 14th Evacuation Hospital, the 335th Hospital at Tagap, and the 73rd Evacuation Hospital at Shingbwiyang at the end of the Naga country and the beginning of the Hukawng Valley. The Road so far, from Ledo [Page 5] to Shingbwiyang, 102 miles, was a rough one, but all things considered a good road, wide, rocked and proven in the last monsoon.

On November the 22nd I left Shingbwiyang and on the road visited the medical battalion station outside of Tingkawk, went through a lot of dense jungle, crossed a number of rivers on pontoon bridges, and observed the extremely good work being done by the engineer battalions, both white and colored, all along the Road. I also visited the aviation liaison field at Shadazup and from there went on to Warazup, where there are fighter and transport fields. The route from Warazup was through Kamaing to Mogaung and this was the roughest ride I have ever undertaken. We averaged between five and ten miles an hour for about fifty miles. I left Mogaung on November 23rd, and took the jeep train from there to Myitkyina. However, before I left Mogaung, I had a chance to visit General Liao Yao-hsiang of the Chinese 6th Army and his American liaison officer, Colonel Philipp. General Liao Yao-hsiang, with his 6th, and Lieutenant General Sun Li-jen of the 1st, were both doing a grand job to the south of the Road and the reason that these two armies had the respect and confidence of the American military was because they were well-fed, well-trained, well-equipped, and well-led. I arrived in Myitkyina that same afternoon and had dinner with Lieutenant-General Daniel I. Sultan6 that night. It might be well to point out here, that one of the chief complaints which I found along the Road was the lack of a definite rotation policy. General Sultan had the same idea of the Chinese soldier as General Merrill. As the situation in China was getting critical at that time he feared a Japanese drive into Kunming and stated that if that operation succeeded, all our efforts in Burma would go for naught. His objectives were (1) to open a road to China by means of Burma and (2) to get supplies to China.

It is not our policy to fight in Burma except where necessary to protect the Road. The British, according to General Sultan, do not care for a road to China or a road in Burma. They want a weak China where the United States wants a strong China. General Sultan disliked putting the Chinese with the British because of their distrust of one another, but there were times when he has to do so in order to protect his movements. General Sultan claimed that there were 250,000 Japanese in Burma against six or seven divisions of Chinese, British and American troops. He did not tell me though that the Japanese divisions that he was facing were greatly decimated as to personnel and matériel nor that the British alone, as I found out later, had at least 13 divisions in Burma.

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The best airfield in the world is at Myitkyina. It is a marvel of efficiency. Indian pioneer troops do the unloading. The British pay them and we feed them. The British also clothe the troops of the 1st and 6th Chinese armies but we furnish them with arms. When food is dropped, American liaison personnel attached to the Chinese armies are there to see that the food is evenly distributed to all concerned. This is very important because otherwise some of the soldiers would have to do without and the result would be impaired efficiency as is the case so often in China itself.

At the Myitkyina airfield, there have been as high as 284 transports loaded and unloaded in a day, in addition to fighter and liaison planes coming on and off the field. In one 13 hour stretch there were 556 landings and take-offs, and during October 1944, 195 transports landed per day.

On November the 24th, I visited Major General Howard Davidson, commander of the 10th air force at his headquarters and sat in on his daily conference. Later that afternoon, I took off in a Billy Mitchell bomber with Colonel Grubb and Lieutenant Colonel Pinkney for Kunming. After leaving Myitkyina we went south to Bhamo and circled the town while American P–51 Thunderbolts came in low and dropped their bomb loads and made some good hits. Then we went over the Hump at 14,000 feet to Kunming, where I stayed with General Claire Chennault.7 He expressed great confidence in the Chinese and said they should have their own leadership but that lend-lease should be given direct to Chiang Kai-shek under the supervision of General Wedemeyer.8 He stated that the tactical situation looked bad due to the loss of our advanced airfields, but that the over-all picture was good as he had engaged 350,000 Japanese with his 14th Air Force and he hoped to draw in 150,000 more. He notified me that he was still maintaining a number of American-operated airfields behind the Japanese lines and that while it was a difficult proposition he was continuing to supply them all. In his opinion Japan is moving a great deal of her heavy industry on to the Chinese mainland and he further stated that a China landing is necessary if the war is to be brought to a successful conclusion in that country. He rates the Communists highly, and declares there is no connection between them and Russia, a conclusion which was borne out in my conversations during the rest of my stay in China. He is, however, sympathetic to Chiang Kai-shek in his dealings with the Communists and thinks he is the one man who symbolizes an aggressive China. He has nowhere [Page 7] near enough planes and neither does Chiang Kai-shek have enough supplies even though they have been promised them time and time again.

There was a three-ball alert in Kunming while I was there but the Japanese dropped their bombs at Chenking, 25 miles away. The next day I visited Major General G. T. Cheves, the SOS officer of the Chinese theater and he informed me that all the stuff coming into China is shipped to Calcutta and from there to Assam, where it is loaded in planes for flights over the Hump, and that in excess of 90 percent of the food and all building supplies are furnished by the Chinese.

I have been able to arrive at some conclusions on the basis of my few contacts to date. Under the present system, being conscripted into the Chinese army is like receiving a death sentence because the soldier receives no training, no food and little equipment. They are starved and poorly equipped because of graft up above. The commanders hang on to much of the stuff they receive and then flood the black markets and enrich themselves. The administration of food supply on an equitable basis is necessary or the Chinese army will not be able to fight.

On November the 26th, I left Kunming for Chungking. When I started on this trip I thought that the Chinese problem was supply, but now I am beginning to think it is cooperation among the Chinese themselves and that this has always been the case. Conditions in China are really bad. Some people, for example, working for the Chinese Maritime Commission can work only one-half day because they cannot get enough to eat and many soldiers die of malnutrition. Many Chinese, whom I met in Chungking, feel pretty despondent over the war situation. The American military are not too optimistic but are trying to hide their feelings.

I met Major General Albert Wedemeyer, Commander-in-Chief of American forces in China, and was very favorably impressed by him. It is a tough situation for any one to be put into “cold”, but I feel that if any man can salvage anything out of this that Wedemeyer will be the one. He recognizes the gravity of the situation. He is not fooling himself. He isn’t underestimating the abilities of the Japanese nor is he over-estimating the fighting qualities of the Chinese. He wanted to get General Chen Cheng as his field commander against the Japanese, but the Generalissimo appointed Chen Cheng his Minister of War instead and gave Wedemeyer General Ho Ying-chin9 as his field commander. While this did not look so good at the time, it very likely was a shrewd move, because Ho Ying-chin is the Kweichow war [Page 8] lord and consequently will fight harder to save his province. Ho Ying-chin, now Chief of Staff of the Chinese Army and Commander of the forces in Kweichow and Kwangsi, is a political general. He is anti-communist and has fought a Communist–Kuomintang rapprochement. While he is no longer Minister of War he is still in a powerful position and is still a key figure in future Chinese policies and politics.

Many rumors are prevalent in Chungking that people are selling out and converting into portable goods and cash, so that they can start moving.

General Wedemeyer has had to ask for the recall of some of Stilwell’s staff members, because they do not know their job and he is trying to draw together a staff of his own which he can have confidence in.

I was not too impressed with the Intelligence System of the American Army in Chungking, as I felt that they did not know their business and their information was not up to date. For example, they reported a three-ball alert at Kunming and the raid on Chenking three days after it actually happened. General Wedemeyer could find no American officer who could tell him what the American plans in China were. None of the officers knew what they were supposed to do and consequently a bad situation existed on his arrival.

I saw Major General Pat Hurley and we had a very long talk. He talked for two hours and forty-seven minutes and I talked for thirteen minutes, which was about right. General Hurley informed me that the United States objectives were (1) to keep China from collapsing and (2) to unify, replenish and regroup Chinese military forces for the purpose of carrying on the struggle and thereby saving American lives. There was some talk at that time that General Hurley would be appointed Ambassador and later when that news became definite there was a feeling of relief on the part of all hands. No better choice could be made for this very important position. General Hurley tried, without too much success, to get the Communist and Central Government together so that a unified China would result and a greater degree of cooperation [be] brought about.

The Communists are a force to be reckoned with in China. They have approximately 90 million people in the territories under their control and they seem to have evolved a system of government which is quite democratic, and they also are strong enough to have their authority recognized in the areas they rule. The Central Government has something in excess of 300,000 troops in the Communist area and the result is that the Communist and Central Government troops that could be used in fighting the Japanese are being used to blockade one another and consequently the rift in China remains quite wide. [Page 9] The biggest single problem in the country today is this disunity within China itself. At the present time we have a military mission in Yenan. Our military and diplomatic representatives are doing all that they can do to close this breach and bring about greater cooperation among the Chinese. This is the crux of the whole Chinese picture and much will depend on this gulf between these two elements being closed.

The Communists are well-disciplined. They teach their young boys and girls how to use hand-grenades. They have developed small cannons out of bored elms which they set off by a fuse or a match lock. For armament they use captured Japanese guns and when they haven’t guns they use spears. Japanese steel helmets, telephones and wires are other things which they have captured and used.

The Communists have gone into villages which they have captured, told the people they were spreading democracy, asked how many were in favor of reducing land taxes, interest rates, etc., and then allowed them to vote. Young girls go in and propagandize the women, getting them to make rugs, blankets, etc., which the Communist army buys and thus they are given a better economic standing. Then they form ladies societies of various kinds and in this way help to lift themselves out of the rut they have always been in. The Communists at this time look upon the United States as their great ally because they know that we are really fighting their enemy, the Japanese, and every time a B–29 flies over their territory, they know it is an assurance that we are their friends.

The Communist Party is the chief opposition group in China. They are not Communists in the sense that Russians are as their interests seem to focus on primarily agrarian reforms. Whereas they used to execute landlords and expropriate their estates to divide up among the peasants, today they try to cooperate with landlords or anyone else who will help them in their fight against Japan. There are more reformers than revolutionaries and they have attacked the problems most deep-seated in agricultural China, namely, high rents, taxes, interest rates, and they have developed cooperatives and a system of local democracy.

They are organized effectively in the region under their control to carry on the war and to maintain their own standing. There is a theoretical agreement between them and Chiang Kai-shek wherein their armies—the Fourth and Eighth Route—are under Chungking but such is not the case and the result is that they maintain their separate status militarily, economically, and politically. The Soviets send in no aid to them. Consequently they are dependent on their own resources and what they can capture from the Japanese. The Generalissimo fears the Communists because he feels that they are [Page 10] too strong, that they will extend their influence wherever and whenever possible and, if allowed to continue unchecked, they will eventually supersede the Kuomintang. While there have been incidents between the Kuomintang and the Communists there has probably been no civil war. We do not know all that has gone on between them because of the rigid censorship which exists but we do know that negotiations have been carried on looking to a settlement of their differences; that Chou En-lai10 has made many trips to Chungking to discuss matters with the Central Government; that at the present time a small amount of medical supplies—3% of a 20-ton American shipment—has been sent to Yenan; and that an American Military Mission is in the Communist area to study what strategic moves can be made from there.

American influence has been to try to get the divergent elements in China together. This is important and necessary to prevent a possible civil war; to bring about as great a degree of unification as possible to carry on the war; and to help the Chinese to help themselves in settling their own internal problems. There is a bare possibility that the present crisis which confronts China may be a means of bringing these two groups together.

During my stay in China I noticed many conscripts but I did not think they were being handled very well. Many rich men’s sons have bought themselves out of being conscripted into the army for as little as $50,000 CN.10a I have been informed that $500,000 CN will make one a regimental commander. Surely no sound type of soldiery can be created on this basis. I have also found out, and this was later confirmed on my visit to Chengtu, that there was some bad feeling at that place between the Americans and the Chinese and that the latter threw rocks and tomatoes at Americans in jeeps, probably because they had lost their land for airfields and also, perhaps, because they did not receive compensation from the Central Government though we had paid Chungking for the land. Another reason may be that they were being bombed by the Japanese at this time which they attributed, and rightly, to the creating of the American fields. On the first Japanese raid against Chengtu, flares were lit to outline some fields and this was evidently done by Japanese who infiltrated into the area, or by Chinese who were friendly to Japan.

On November 28th I visited several businessmen in downtown Chungking and tried to get their views on the present situation. It appeared to me that the Chinese businessmen had adopted a “wait and see” attitude. The crux of the situation seemed to be what would happen at Kweiyang. If it stood, well and good; if it fell, the great [Page 11] retreat from Chungking would begin. It appears to me that as of this date, China’s house has a leaky roof and a shaky foundation. Whether or not that house can be put in order is a question mark.

I had a conference with Sun Fo,11 son of Dr. Sun Yat-sen and he told me that there used to be a connection between Yenan and Russia, but since the dissolution of the Comintern it has disappeared, although it might rise again as there is an idealistic bond between the two.

The Kuomintang is controlled by a small selfish group known as the CC (Central Group) and dominated by the Chen brothers—Chen Li-fu12 and Chen Kuo-fu. They are now, due to recent party changes, on the outside of the Cabinet. Dr. Sun Fo said that the Generalissmo is now becoming more realistic; that previously he never liked to hear bad things, saying it was enemy propaganda and his subordinates, therefore, told him only the good things and consequently conditions went from bad to worse. Finally the Generalissimo set out to find out what was wrong and sent his two sons out to investigate the conscription policy. When they came back with their story of ill-treatment, graft and corruption he made a personal trip to the conscription center in Chungking, saw what they told him was true, and jailed and court-martialed the administrator in charge. Sun Fo told me that about 100 thousand of the 250 to 300 thousand troops under General Hu Tsung-nan in the Northwest area have been shifted to the Kweichow–Kwangsi front and that the old “sit back and let the United States do the job” attitude is changing. Sun Fo said that our best bet was to stick with the Generalissimo. On that basis of information which I have been able to gather, it appears to me that both the Communists and the Kuomintang are more interested in preserving their respective parties at the present time, and have been for the past two years, than they are in carrying on the war against Japan. Each party is more interested in its own status because both feel that America will guarantee victory. The Kuomintang is inefficient in matters of administration, in the conduct of the army, in education, finance and taxation. It is also inefficient in times of great crisis, as for example, during the time of the Honanese famine when dogs ate human beings and the Honanese revolted against the Central Government’s army; they were inefficient in this past summer’s campaign when no authority was given frontal leaders; when there was countermanding of orders; and when there was no food for soldiers and more interest in blockading the Communists than in fighting the Japanese; and they were inefficient in the handling of refugees from Kwangsi to Kweiyang.

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The Kuomintang is hated more every day and this is due to fear of the army and the attitude of tax collectors; and is proved by the revolts of the peasantry, the party criticism by provincial leaders, student revolts against conscription and the fact that many Chinese will stoop to anything to get to America and, once there, to stay there. It is corrupt. It speaks democratically but acts dictatorially. The worst censorship in the world is located in Chungking and there is one detective assigned to every ten foreigners (this statement was even published in the papers). Meetings of Liberals are invaded by Kuomintang toughs, spies are everywhere and people are afraid to talk. The Kuomintang is afraid of the will of the people, has lost much of its popular support and will not allow any of its power to be used in the way of agrarian reforms. However, the Kuomintang is still the party in China. It has its leader in the Generalissimo who has the franchise in the war against Japan. It has a powerful army. The middle class leans toward it and still has the support of America. On the other hand, the Communists have their elements of strength and weakness. Among their weak points is their spirit of sanctimoniousness (they look upon themselves as pious crusaders and do-gooders); their knowledge of the outside world is primitive; there are social distinctions among them, and they are totalitarian and dictatorial in their own way. Their points of strength are they have a good military force, estimated at around 600,000 and there is more democracy in their territory than in the rest of China.

I saw the Generalissimo on Thursday, November the 30th and told him that the United States had sent over three of its very best men in Generals Hurley and Wedemeyer and Donald Nelson.13 He answered that if they had been here a year ago the situation would be different now. I said that we must forget the past and look to the future, that the United States had a great admiration for China and wanted to see her a strong power so that she could make herself a bulwark for peace in the Orient.

I had a conference with Mr. C. Y. Wu, who informed me that he would be watched because he came to the Embassy, as the secret police (Special Service) do not want the Chinese to speak to foreigners. He also informed me that the secret police are everywhere, even in Colonel DePass’14 office, and that the Colonel knows this. The Colonel, by the way, is the American military attaché. He informed me that the May issue of Life was suppressed in China and that in the April issue of Time articles were deleted but that mimeographed [Page 13] copies were made and distributed. The same thing has happened to Reader’s Digest articles.

The Kuomintang is weak and feared. The Generalissimo is personally honest, but he cannot stand criticism. The feeling among the Chinese is one of depression.

I had a very interesting conversation with John Davies, 2nd Secretary of the American Embassy at Chungking, but now attached to Wedemeyer’s headquarters, and his attitude was one of realism. He stated that even though we have a military mission in Yenan at the present time, the Generalissimo would like to have it withdrawn, but due to the difficult situation China finds itself in his hands are tied and he can do nothing about it. It is up to us to use every conceivable type of aid we can in China because the main thing is the saving of American lives. The Communists, he informed me, have a good underground movement in most parts of Occupied China and it will come in handy, when and if, the eventual landings on the China coast occur.

I went to the Generalissimo’s house again where Chiang expressed his belief that China would hold at Kweiyang. When the Generalissimo asked Nelson what differences he noted between his first trip and this one, Nelson told him that he found less talk of post war development and a greater concentration on the present needs of China. He told the Generalissimo that if the Chinese held the Japanese, and did a good job of helping themselves through their own WPB14a he would be glad to come back again next Spring, bringing a mission of businessmen and then talk post-war development. Nelson got his point over very nicely and I am sure the Generalissimo got the idea.

On Saturday, December 2nd, I went to Chengtu and saw the fields at which the B–29’s were refueled and serviced, going to and coming from Japan; found out that flares had been used at various of these fields during periods of Japanese bombardments and that these flares were evidently lit by Chinese collaborators. Found out also that wires had been cut leading from the field on a number of occasions. The different fields at Chengtu are fine pieces of work, created entirely by hand and an excess of 100,000 Chinese were employed in building them.

The morale at Chengtu is not too good, and the reason is the faulty rotation program. Among the bomber crews, morale is fairly good; among the fighters, it is fair; but in the supply units, it is poor. Furthermore, the rotation policy seems to work better for the officers than the enlisted men and it creates a bad situation. The feeling among the men at Chengtu is that the usefulness of the fields there is [Page 14] not worth the price in maintaining, now that the 21st bomber command has been activated on Saipan. The supply problem, vulnerability of the fields, and the distances involved, make it a difficult situation.

In this area, $40,000 CN are paid to the Chinese bringing in grounded American flyers. This goes to pay for porters, etc. The guerrillas pick many of the grounded Americans up inside the Japanese lines and carry them out, and sometimes the process takes a matter of weeks. Then they notify a magistrate or some other official who in turn notifies American headquarters, which in turn sends out a plane to pick them up.

The B–29’s are tough ships to handle as they need lots of room, still have some “bugs”, and have a hard time making altitude with a full load.

I went from Chengtu to Kunming and saw General Chennault again. I asked him his attitude on the present situation. He said that he was still not worried but only “bothered”. The cooperation between Chennault and Wedemeyer is grand, and a fine spirit is evident in Kunming.

Speaking of cooperation brings up the subject of Stilwell, who was thought very highly of in India and Burma, but not so well in China. The opinion in China seems to be that he had a phobia about being driven out of Burma and wanted to go back, hence the building of the Burma Road which people in China considered took supplies that should have come there (how, I was unable to find out) and men who could have been used in China. This is a highly debatable question. Another criticism is that Stilwell rarely appeared in Chungking and that he and Chennault were always fighting one another.

Among the impressions which I should like to record, is one concerning the lack of land activity being carried on by the British until recently. After almost two and a half years, it is not enough that they should have the small number of units that they now have in the field in Burma, while we have the 10th and 14th Air Forces, as well as other air forces working out of India under SEAC.14b Our B–29’s have carried on missions in Thailand, Burma and Singapore. Under whose control have these areas been and to whom will they revert? We are spreading too far and too thin and we are carrying too much of the load in an area where British interests are predominant. Sending a part of the British fleet to participate in the Pacific War is not enough. There must be land operations on a large scale as well.

While in Kunming, I was informed by Generals Chennault and Glenn that there are 28 squadrons of transport planes in India to [Page 15] only two in China. I will have more to say about this later in the report.

I had a conference with T. V. Soong, Chinese Foreign Minister, on Friday, December 8th, who informed me that he and the Generalissimo were now in full accord and also that the conditions of the Chinese soldiers, who were ill-fed and ill-cared-for is being attended to. T. V. Soong is probably the best known of China’s leaders abroad. He does not have a large following in China but he has great personal prestige there and among Americans. He is modern in his outlook, understands China’s needs, and now that he is Acting President of the Executive Yuan he can, I believe, be depended upon to do his utmost to see that necessary reforms are administered. Politically Dr. Soong informed me that the government was making “at long last” overtures toward the Communists. He was quite hopeful some solution could be worked out. He said China would have to unify internally to win the war and to have a strong position at the peace table. Economically he admitted the situation in China was bad but one of his policies is going to be to keep inflation from spreading. He blamed H. H. Kung15 for the present financial situation. He said that the Generalissimo had too much to look after personally, that there were too many “yes” men around him, that bad news worried him, but that now the Generalissimo was going to take a more active interest in military affairs and that he, T. V. Soong, would help him in administrative affairs.

On Saturday, December 9th, I visited with Dr. Dan Nelson of the Lutheran Mission in China and Father Mark E. Tennian of the Maryknollers. The opinion of the missionaries was that the Japanese could take the rest of China whenever they wanted to. Father Tennian stated, and this was agreed to by other missionaries with him, that the Communists in China have now adopted a conciliatory attitude toward the church and they admit that the Communists are doing good work for the people, but they questioned the sincerity of their attitude toward religion. They feel that China should solve its own problems.

I again saw General Wedemeyer, who was having his troubles with the Chinese and he realizes that he must be a politician in his job as well as a military man. I found out also, that Mountbatten16 had sent two squadrons of cargo combat planes to work under Wedemeyer in taking the 14th and 22nd Chinese divisions out of Burma to the Kweichow–Kwangsi front. However, these cargo ships were really [Page 16] out of air commando units and numbered only 26 instead of the 50 expected. Mountbatten has finally promised to send 50 more out of the 200 he has on hand. This is a sorry state of affairs, because under CCS 308/6[8] issued on January 7, 1944, it was stipulated that all American planes in India could be used by Americans for emergency in defense of China. Furthermore, 100 combat cargo planes (the 4th group) are due in India next month. Most of the planes under Mountbatten are American made and American manned, but it is a difficult job to get them away from him. Only the expostulations of General Sultan or Stratemeyer17 (maybe both) got the additional 50 at this time.

I would say that the American Military in the Far East are fed up with the dilatory tactics of the British out there. All the British are interested in is Singapore, Hongkong, a restoration of prestige, and a weak China.

On Sunday, December 10th, the Chinese situation took a turn for the better with the recapture of Tushan, although it must be admitted that this “victory” was due not to actual fighting, but to the withdrawal of the Japanese some time before. This was brought about because the Japs had evidently over-extended themselves and had to be pushed ahead too rapidly. Furthermore, it has been confirmed that the Japanese are pulling up the rails of the railroads in western Kwangsi and transporting them to complete the link between Nanning and Dong Dang in French Indo-China and which when completed will create an all-rail transportation link between Indo-China in the south and Manchukuo and Korea in the north.

I had a conference with Chiang Meng-lin,18 one of the Generalissimo’s closest advisors, and he informed me that the removal of General Ho, Chen Li-fu, and H. H. Kung was demanded by groups in China long before it took place. The Generalissimo refused to accede to these demands until he was ready to make the move and then he wanted to make it appear that it was his own doing. This, of course, was a matter of face, and is a factor of great importance in comprehending the Chinese situation. Chiang Meng-lin realized the great need for food, training and leadership in the Chinese army and he has made it a point to stress these lacks to Chiang Kai-shek from time to time. He made a report on the bad conditions in the army in Hunan and Kwangsi, sent a memorandum to the Generalissimo who visited these areas and confirmed what he had found out. He stated that his report and the Generalissimo’s visit was in part responsible for the removal of Ho. He said, further, that the Generalissimo could not consent to General Wedemeyer’s placing Chen Cheng in command [Page 17] before Kweiyang, because Chen as War Minister was in a better position to push needed army reforms, whereas Ho was in a spot where he had to make good—or else. I was further informed by Chiang Meng-lin that the Generalissimo fears the Communists, war lords and intellectuals, and makes his decisions with these factors in mind. Later in the day I spent an enjoyable hour with Madame Sun Yat-sen, who said that the only solution to China’s problem is a Coalition government. She is friendly toward the Communists but thinks that the Generalissimo will not have anything to do with them. She further stated that China, to be a great power, must form such a government, and she thought that such a move would in reality strengthen the Kuomintang rather than weaken it. She made the statement that all factions of Chinese are “very much pleased with America’s disinterested attitude” and that they realize that we have no ulterior motive in their country. Before leaving Madame Sun Yat-sen, I was told by her that many people were very much worried and wanted to get out of Chungking because they felt that the situation could not be saved.

On Monday, December 11th, I saw General Chen Cheng, Minister of War, and referred to him a Reuter’s dispatch quoting Senators Brewster and Chandler19 to the effect that we would lose all our air fields in China unless a miracle occurred. He termed the Senators’ statement politics and said it was only helping the enemy. He was very confident of China’s ability to hold and he stated that he could be of much more use as War Minister than in the field in the way of executing reforms as he puts it “at the rear where it has to be done for those at the front who need it”. In other words, he has the authority now which he had lacked as a commander in the field. We discussed the reforms needed in the Chinese army, the Burma Road, and the present situation. He impressed me as a man who will do his job and do it well, or know the reason why. Chen Cheng, according to all American military men, is China’s best soldier. His appointment as War Minister was the best possible move that the Generalissimo could make to bolster China’s armies and lagging war morale. His loyalty to Chiang Kai-shek is unquestioned and he is personally incorruptible. Among the many leading generals in China he stands out because of his devotion to his country, his word which is his bond, and his honesty.

Later in the afternoon, I talked to Ambassador Hurley and he told me that the Generalissimo had offered the Communists the following proposals:

Recognition as a legal party
Equipment of their armies on the basis of equality
Participation in the government

[Page 18]

The Communists would not accept these proposals because they feared their participation in the government would be very limited and their armies would be wiped out. They, therefore, turned down the Generalissimo’s three-point program, but I understand that Colonel Dave Barrett who heads the American military mission in Yenan is going back with a counter-proposal.

Ambassador Hurley is not too optimistic, but he is sticking to President Roosevelt’s desire for a unified China so that it can participate fully in the war.

That evening I saw the Generalissimo for the third time and spent an hour and a half with him, and at his request, gave him a frank recital of my findings. I pointed out the full extent of our lend-lease support to him and emphasized that in an effort to assist China we have done everything humanly possible and some things which were thought impossible. To evaluate fully our assistance we should keep in mind the following points:

We have performed superhuman feats in getting material over the Hump to aid China’s defense.
We are doing a tremendous job in building the Ledo–Burma Road and its auxiliary pipe line.
We have carried on operations in the Pacific which were all aimed at weakening China’s—and our—enemy, Japan, and which must be included in any reckoning of assistance to our Asiatic ally.
We have given China much in the way of financial aid through loans, credits, etc.
We have tried to assist in a reorganization of the Chinese Army through developing training schools in this country and China; through detailing liaison personnel to the different armies; through better feeding methods; and through the activation of the Chinese-American Composite Wing of the 14th Air Force.

We have done all within our means to assist China because we want to see her use everything she has to bring the war in the Far East to a successful conclusion. We have, I repeat, no ulterior motives in our policy toward China. We want to see China a great power because we feel that as such she will be a decided factor in maintaining the peace in the Orient. We want to get out of China as soon as victory is won.

Last but most important, every move we have made and will make in China is dictated by one primary consideration and that is to save as many American lives as possible. Everything else—everything—is predicated on this primary factor.

I told the Generalissmo that he had and would continue to have, our full support, but that we expected him to take the necessary steps to bring about the needed internal reforms in his civil, military and economic administration, and I also mentioned several [Page 19] times our lack of any designs on China. I further stated that my opinion of the Chinese situation had changed from one wherein supplies to China was most important to one which stressed the need of cooperation among the Chinese people themselves. I backed as vigorously as I could, opinions expressed to me by Wedemeyer, Hurley, and Donald Nelson, and with which I agreed. He replied by saying America did not understand a country in revolution and he compared China today with its dissident elements and the Kuomintang to the dissident elements and the revolutionary soldiers of George Washington’s time. He stated that he would continue to try for a settlement with the Communists in a political way. I pointed out different possibilities to him and he answered that he had considered them all, Americans, he continued, expect his government to make all the concessions. Why don’t we try to get the Yenan group to make some? This sounds like a good suggestion.

I brought Brewster’s and Chandler’s statement in the Senate to his attention and said it indicated the attitude of some elements in the United States toward the present situation. Like War Minister Chen Cheng, he said that those statements played into the hands of the enemy. I also said that the American attitude toward China had changed with the Stilwell incident and that now we expected results and that China must assume its full share of responsibility. I pointed out that China to be a great power must earn that recognition.

I held nothing back in my conversation with the Generalissimo and I told him, after he requested me to, the honest results of my observations. I do not know what his real reaction was, but he seemed impressed and stated that reforms were under way. In conclusion he made the statement that this was not the worst crisis China had faced and that he was confident of victory.

Chiang Kai-shek is a dictator in name only. It is true that he is President of the Republic and Commander-in-Chief of the Army but his power is limited because he has to recognize all factions within the Kuomintang—and some outside—with the result that he serves as a balance wheel and has to resort to compromise and keep a semblance of unity. No one would acknowledge this more quickly than Chiang himself. Though constantly subject to pressures he has shown great skill in maintaining the stability of his government over the years he has been its head. He has been a remarkable leader and today he is the one man in China with sufficient prestige to carry her through the war. He has had to be a politician primarily, a military leader secondarily. To maintain himself in power he has had to manipulate these groups as the occasions demanded. The results have been hodge-podge of policies which the western mind finds hard [Page 20] to comprehend. The disastrous results of this maneuvering have been manifested in many ways:

He has used something like 16 divisions to blockade the Communists and has thus lost the use of large numbers of troops to fight Japan.
He has allowed Chinese military strength to deteriorate in other ways through his inability to mobilize China’s resources; to conscript the college students and the rich men’s sons; to see that his troops received food and medical supplies.
He has allowed hoarding to go on unchecked; has done nothing to stop inflation; and has allowed merchants and landlords to profiteer tremendously.
He has failed to improve the condition of the peasantry in regard to high rents and high rates of interest.

On the other hand, he is the one leader in China. It has been under him that China has attained political freedom and the status of a great power. He is the one man who can make Chinese independence and unity a reality. His faults can be understood when the complexity of the Chinese puzzle are studied in detail and they are no more uncommon than the faults of the other leaders of the United Nations.

The seriousness of the situation in China has brought home to him the need for some reforms and he has applied himself to bringing order out of chaos. He has withdrawn some of his Communist blockading divisions from the northwest to the Kweichow–Kwangsi front; he has continued to carry on negotiations with Chou En-lai, the No. 3 Communist, with the hope, as he expressed it to me, “that a political settlement can be made”; he has given his full support to the Chinese W. P. B. set-up by Donald Nelson and administered by Wong Wen-hao; he has called for 100,000 volunteers from among the college students though he has not conscripted them; and he is seeing to it, under American help and supervision, that the Chinese soldier is now being fed and that the Chinese conscripts are now being treated better.

He has reorganized his cabinet and given the more democratic elements a chance to be represented and he has pledged his full support to the American team of Wedemeyer and Hurley. His intentions are good and he has shed some of his administrative burdens on the shoulders of T. V. Soong, now acting President of the Executive Yuan, so that he can devote more of his time to strictly military affairs.

All these moves are in the right direction but the question is: has he gone far enough or does he intend to, and, is there still time? China used to be able to trade space for time but now she has very little [Page 21] space and not much time. As I tried to impress on Chiang, the responsibility is now his as we have done everything we possibly could do to assist him. If he holds we’ll get the stuff through to him; if he fails, all our efforts in Burma, over the Hump, and the magnificent work of the 10th and 14th Air Forces and the 20th Bomber Command will have been for naught.

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. 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.

The American government through General Wedemeyer, Ambassador Hurley, and Donald Nelson has been doing all in its power to bring the different groups in China together. This policy has been pursued not because we want to dictate in China’s internal affairs but because we want the Chinese to cooperate with one another so that the full forces of their resources and manpower can be brought to bear against Japan. They realize that Chiang Kai-shek’s position is a difficult one and that he fears giving in to the Communists because of the effect it might have on him and his party. They think, though, that if the Chinese themselves can get together it would be to the best interests of China. If they do not get together the seeds of dissension will only continue to grow and the eventual harvest will be of such a nature as to make the Taiping Rebellion of the last century a minor revolution in comparison. It might even mean the intervention of a great power in the Chinese internal situation.

I should like to state, at this point, that the policy of the United States in China is one in which no ulterior motives are involved. In that country—and in that country only so far as I know—our foreign policy is clear, clean, and definite. We are in China to help China and ourselves against a common enemy; we intend to get out of China just as soon as victory is won; and we, alone among the great nations, want China to be a world power because we feel she will become the bastion of peace in Asia. The Chinese know all this and because of it they trust us implicitly.

On Tuesday, December 12th, I was able to acquire some information concerning a revolution in the Chinese province of Sinkiang. This has been going on since December 1943 but because of its remoteness, it was hard to get up-to-the-minute information. At first the White Russians, very numerous in the province, were blamed for the outbreak. Then the Kazaks, then the Kirghiz, and finally the Soviets and now the Kazaks are being blamed again. Evidently Kuomintang control of Sinkiang is not very strong and a great deal of cruelty has been practiced by the Kuomintang government officials [Page 22] because of the supposedly Communist sympathizers in the various groups up there.

The Kazaks have blocked the Northwest Caravan Road leading into Tihwa and because of this a 500-truck shipment from Russia has been held up. Incidentally, it had been my intention to go to Tihwa but because of weather conditions it was impossible to do so.

It appears that, fundamentally, the revolt started when the Chinese attempted to move the Kazaks, a nomadic people, from their good grazing lands in the northern part of the province, to the barren southern area. In the trouble that started there was shooting and some Kazaks were forced to flee into Outer Mongolia where the villages they found havens in were invaded by Chinese troops and they were fired on by Chinese planes. The Soviets protested this action as Russia in reality looks upon Outer Mongolia as a part of its territory and Outer Mongolian forces drove the Chinese “invaders” out.

These incidents seem to be due to economic causes and a bad conscription policy, and mark a change from the old policy of the previous governor, Sheng Shih-tsai, who for ten years maintained peace among the divergent groups in Sinkiang.

I understand that the American Consul in Tihwa cannot talk to people on the street because to do so would make them liable to suspicion. He has White Russian servants, and one of his maids was arrested for carrying a pistol (which was wholly untrue), captured and jailed by the Chinese, was beaten, hung by her heels and finally released.

In the afternoon of December the 12th, the day before I left, I had a final conference with General Wedemeyer, who was more optimistic about the situation. He suggested that there be closer cooperation between the State Department and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on the military level, because he realizes how effective the State Department-personnel can be in the many countries in the world in which our armies are stationed. He said he had the full cooperation of George Atcheson, the Chargé at Chungking, and the whole embassy staff, and he values highly the services of the members of the embassy staff who have been loaned to the army.

I left Chungking on December 13th and I must say that my conclusions are in close accord with the thoughts of the majority of the American civil, diplomatic, and military officials there. They want the Chinese to get together so that we can win the war in Asia; and they want to get the boys out of China just as soon as victory is won. The main concern of all of them is saving American lives. They do not care whether a Chinese is a Communist or not, just so he fights Japan and takes that much of the burden off our soldiers.

[Page 23]

The weaknesses of the Generalissimo’s government are apparent as I have tried to point out in this report, its durability a question which only Chiang Kai-shek himself can answer. It is my belief that he will do all that he can, according to his views, to bring about the necessary reforms and to achieve a degree of unity. It is his purpose, he informed me, to try to get democracy to the people as soon as possible and he intends to call a Constitutional Convention sometime during 1945.

He has had, and will continue to have, a difficult problem on his hands. I feel we should give him every possible support because he alone can bring China together. There is no other person in that country who has his prestige or his ability and I say this in spite of the many weaknesses in his government which I have called to your attention. In retrospect, he has been a great leader for China. No other country has ever fought so long with so little against such great odds. Furthermore, China is doubly important now because of the fact that Japanese heavy industry has been moving to the Chinese mainland since the Doolittle20 bombing of Tokyo and this adds up to the war ending in China where it began in 1931—a grim picture to look forward to.

After I left Chungking I visited General Gilbert X. Cheves, in charge of our S. O. S. in China. He is a go-getter and had already done a grand job on the transportation and supply end in Calcutta. He informed me that the Generalissimo had just put him in charge of all internal transportation in China; that he was going to run trucks—not transportation—from Ledo to Kunming over the Burma Road on January 22, 1945; and that the road would be opened for transporting supplies into China from Burma and India by April 1, 1945 at the latest. It is my understanding that General Cheves will be appointed Chief of S. O. S. for the Chinese armies soon and if such is the case, the problem of feeding and supplying the Chinese armies will be well handled.

After leaving Kunming I went over the Hump to Chalna in Assam and inspected the loading facilities at some of the fields. General Cranston and his men are doing a grand job there in getting needed stuff into China.

In Calcutta I visited the docks and saw the fine work being done by the men in the Transportation Corps. We have fine installations there for unloading and warehousing. We have increased the efficiency of the railroads from Calcutta to Assam and speeded up the river traffic to that area as well. Direct telephone communications [Page 24] have now been established by the U. S. Army from Calcutta to Chalna and Myitkyina.

I had a conference with General George Stratemeyer at Hastings Mill in Calcutta. He informed me that General Wedemeyer would get 150 cargo combat planes from Mountbatten; that Mountbatten had a case in being reluctant to release these planes because he had been given certain assignments by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and to carry them out he needed the planes himself. General Stratemeyer stated that if the theater (I. B.) could get another 100 cargo combat planes (a 5th group) that their needs would be satisfied.

The Indians in Calcutta did not seem too friendly. They dislike the British and do not like us too much probably because they think we are helping the British.

At a conference in Stratemeyer’s headquarters I was shocked to find out that in the attack on Rangoon yesterday—December 15th—four of our B–29’s were lost due to our own bombs exploding too soon after being released. This is not the first time this had happened and something has to be done to correct this—and soon. They are tough enough to fly without this happening to the boys.

On December 17th I again met with General Frank Merrill at New Delhi and we discussed the results of my trip. In general, we are in complete agreement on the Chinese situation. About India and Burma, we should get out as soon as possible because our presence there lays us open to too many politically explosive problems. We should leave enough personnel to handle transportation and engineering problems allied to it to maintain supply runs from Calcutta to Chalna and Ledo and over the Road. From a combat point of view we have no interests in Burma, Malaya, Thailand, or French Indo-China nor should we be interested in keeping American air forces, O. S. S.20a men, or other of our units under British command. This is highly important to us if we are going to keep out of trouble so that the United States will not become involved in political squabbles in that part of the world. We have no direct interests in that area and we will have enough to do to concentrate our energies on the main job of defeating Japan through aid to China. The wrong use of our air forces, such as dropping propaganda leaflets over French Indo-China, or through sending our O. S. S. men into that country, could create situations politically embarrassing to us and likely to involve us in a way that we would not desire, As long as American units are under Mountbatten’s command in Southeast Asia this is possibility we cannot overlook and must always guard against. These comments are not made slightingly against our British allies but only because our own interests and objectives must come first.

[Page 25]

In India the Royal Air Force does not do the work that the American Air Forces do in the matter of flying supplies. The British say it will fatigue their men too much when they are asked to do something extra. The Americans are always willing to fly extra hours and to get as much supplies into Burma, India, and China as is possible. The British—not us—are the ones who are going to reap the benefits of our work in India and Burma. They will have up to date telephone systems already in operation and stretching for hundreds of miles, improved wharf facilities, and better roads and railroads.

I had a further conference with General Merrill in which he informed me—and this bears out statements by Generals Pick and Cheves—that the pipeline from Calcutta to China will carry 13,000 tons a month but—and this is in contrast to statements earlier made by Pick and Cheves, that the Road will carry only from 8 to 12 thousand tons a month. This latter figure can be increased but it will take more men. The net result then, of the Road and pipeline, will be an increase of 25 to 30,000 tons a month. General Merrill also informed me that he has diverted enough food supplies from India to last the Chinese armies on the Kweichow–Kwangsi front for six months and that he has in supply in India enough small arms and ammunition to take care of 35 Chinese divisions.

In conclusion, I feel that all our supplies to China should be handled through General Wedemeyer. This will give him a lever which he can use to make the Chinese armies more responsible to him. This supervision is necessary in the interests of the greatest possible efficiency and I feel that with the present fine cooperation between the American military and Chiang Kai-shek that it can be worked out.

In addition to this I recommend that every possible means for increasing supplies to China be explored; that we keep the Road open and use it to its maximum capacity; that we withdraw all our air and ground combat troops at the earliest feasible opportunity from Burma and India; and that we send them either into China or other areas where needed.

Finally, the boys in Burma and China are very much upset about the lack of a definite rotation policy and feel they are the forgotten men at the end of the road. They resent the secondary status of their area in matters such as priorities and they are fearful of the letdown which will result at home when Germany is defeated. They do not want to be forgotten and they wish their folks could really be made to understand the viciousness of the enemy they face in the Far East and the amount of time it is going to take to defeat Japan. These boys are realists and they know what they’re up against because they’ve learned—the hard way. Our men fight bravely and well, but not with any crusading spirit. They are interested in getting a dirty job [Page 26] done and coming home. That is their war aim—to come home to “Shangri-la” or the “Old Country” as they refer to the U.S. and to get out of the places they are in just as quickly as they can after the job is finished.

  1. President of the National Government of the Republic of China.
  2. Joseph W. Stilwell, formerly Commanding General, U. S. Army Forces in China, Burma, and India.
  3. Services of Supply.
  4. Commanding General, U. S. Army Forces in Burma and India.
  5. Commanding General, 14th U. S. Air Force in China.
  6. Maj. Gen. Albert C. Wedemeyer, Commanding General, U. S. Forces in the China Theater and concurrently Chief of Staff in the China Theater by appointment of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek.
  7. Formerly Minister of War and Chief of Staff.
  8. Vice Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee.
  9. Chinese National Currency.
  10. President of the Chinese Legislative Yuan.
  11. Formerly Chinese Minister of Education.
  12. Special Representative of President Roosevelt to China on an economic mission, August 1944.
  13. Morris B. DePass, Military Attaché in China.
  14. War Production Board.
  15. South East Asia Command.
  16. Former Chinese Minister of Finance; he was Vice President of the Executive Yuan and brother-in-law of Generalissimo Chiang, Dr. Soong, and Madame Sun Yat-sen.
  17. Adm. Lord Louis Mountbatten, Supreme Commander, Southeast Asia Command.
  18. Maj. Gen. George E. Stratemeyer, Commanding General, U. S. Air Force in Burma and India.
  19. Chiang Monlin, former Chancellor of Peiping National University.
  20. Of Maine and Kentucky, respectively.
  21. Brig. Gen. James H. Doolittle who led the air raid of April 18, 1942, on Japan.
  22. Office of Strategic Services.