740.0011 P.W./2–2045: Telegram

The Chargé in China (Atcheson) to the Secretary of State

257. In accordance with a plan developed by the Chinese and American military authorities, all available and qualified Chinese troops stationed south of the Yellow River are to be welded into a striking force comprising five army groups. Because Kunming is a natural base of supplies and a natural staging area for any general offensive in China, it has been selected as “General Headquarters of the Chinese Armed Forces”. Ho Ying-chin, a trusted follower of Chiang, has been appointed Commander in Chief. (This telegram is in reply to Department’s 24178 sent in plain language.)

Ho and Lung Yun have long been personal and political enemies, but it is reliably reported that, since his arrival in Kunming, Ho has been making a sincere effort to weld Lung’s forces with those of the Central Government’s stationed in Yunnan. For that reason, he is said to be advocating measures which would (1) make available to General Lung and his troops a substantial portion of the American arms and equipment soon to be available in Kunming, and (2) place General Lung in position to profit by the reopening of the Burma Road. This political maneuvering would tend to explain (1) the appointment of General Lung as Deputy Commander in Chief, and (2) the selection for high office in Ho’s general staff of a substantial number of Yunnanese army officers.

Other factors which may have entered into the appointment of General Lung include (1) need to clarify a conflict of jurisdiction which came about through the appointment of General Ho in supreme command in an area in which the influence of General Lung has long been paramount and (2) necessity of assuaging the injured dignity of General Lung who has made no secret of his chagrin over certain recent appointments of the Central Government, including General Hu Fei-peng as Minister of Communications and that of Ho Ying-chin himself.

  1. February 12, not printed.