740.0011 PW/2–1245

Memorandum by the Director of the Office of Far Eastern Affairs ( Ballantine ) to the Acting Secretary of State 72

Mr. Grew: With regard to the announcement last week of the appointments of General Ho Ying-chin as the Commander in Chief and General Lung Yun as Deputy Commander in Chief of Chinese ground forces with headquarters at Kunming, you will recall (1) that General Ho was replaced as Minister of War last autumn by General Chen Cheng; (2) that our own Army authorities have had reason to complain against General Ho as being uncooperative; (3) that General Ho’s anti-Communist attitude is considered a principal stumbling-block to a settlement between the Chinese Government and the Chinese Communists; and (4) that the Russians regard Ho as pro-Japanese and hence untrustworthy. In the thought that you may be asked for comment by correspondents on the appointments, the following non-committal statement has been prepared:73

The appointments, of course, relate to the internal military situation in China and may be interpreted as action by the Chinese Government to fortify its military position vis-à-vis Japanese forces. Any action by the Chinese Government in this direction is manifestly welcome to us. American forces, under the command of General Wedemeyer, are cooperating with Chinese forces in action to strengthen their defensive position against the Japanese and in making plans to assume the offensive. The selection of Kunming as headquarters for Chinese ground forces is in itself significant. The city is strategically located as the receiving point for supplies over the “Hump” and over the new Stilwell road, and as the base for organizing an offensive by Chinese armies to drive the Japanese from south China.

General Ho has been for many years a trusted military adviser and associate of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek. He participated in the [Page 48] northern drive of the forces under Chiang in 1926 as Commander of the East Route Revolutionary Army and was for about 15 years Minister of Military Administration in the National Government.

General Lung Yun, who is currently Chairman of the Yunnan Provincial Government, also participated in the northern expedition under Chiang in 1926–27 as an Army Commander.

J[oseph] W. B[allantine]
  1. Drafted by the Chief of the Division of Chinese Affairs (Vincent).
  2. The occasion did not arise for such a statement at a press conference.