740.00119 P. W./8–2045: Telegram

The Ambassador in China (Hurley) to the Secretary of State

1407. Following is summary Military Attaché’s report for week ending August 18:

As result of Japanese surrender, military situation in China Theater assumed new aspect. With Japanese still in occupation of most of former positions on China mainland at cessation of hostilities, Chinese are faced with important task of clearing Japanese from these large regions. Task should not prove difficult, if Japanese forces in China follow Imperial High Command’s orders and willingly surrender. It would constitute, in fact, no more than continuation of trend which for past 3 months has been in effect. There is possibility, however, that these forces, weary after years of war and now confronted with sombre prospect of going back to defeated homeland after having been indoctrinated thoroughly with promises of Asiatic “co-prosperity”, might become unruly and pose a problem.

Japanese surrender has also paved way for final settlement between Chinese Communists and Central Government or an outbreak of large scale hostilities between them in competition for regions to be given up by Japanese. Recent proclamations by Generalissimo on behalf of Central Government, and General Chu Teh as Commander of all Chinese Communist forces, indicate that such hostilities are imminent unless a reconciliation can be effected in immediate future. Hostilities in past between Communists and Central Government have been local and have not involved large forces. There are many indications, however, that since end of war in Europe both Communists and Central Government have been maneuvering for favorable position in North China. In order to cope with any developments arising in North China as result of deterioration of Japanese position and to facilitate reestablishment of authority of Central Government, Central Government has established in North China 3 new war zones, 12th, 11th, and 10th, and the “North China Pacification Commission”, a new organization to deal with puppet and military leaders. Communists have been moving large forces into various strategic regions [Page 535]in order to be able to take over from Japanese as they retire and to form a buffer between Central Government and Japanese. Most important instances of this are shifting of New Fourth Army units from Kiangsu south to Chekiang and of Eighth Route Army forces from Shantung to Shansi.

During week Communist forces are reported to have been moving from Yenan border region toward central and north Shansi and also to Chahar. At same time it has been reported that General Yen Hsi-shan, powerful Central Government military commander of Second War Zone (province of Shansi), is moving, or preparing to move, to capital of Shansi, Taiyuan, which is choice objective of anyone wishing to control this region. There has been increasing friction between Communists and Yen’s forces, and probability of serious clash for Taiyuan is in offing.

There are few reports at present of actual Communist–Central Government hostilities resulting directly from Japanese surrender. There are reports of small scale fighting in Lohochai [sic] region in central Honan province near Pinghan railroad. Concentrations of Communists for action against forces of Central Government are reported in eastern Hunan, Chekiang and Shantung.

Japanese surrender reports are commencing to be received. Japanese are reported to be leaving Kaifeng area, turning over to Fifth Puppet Army all their installations. Situation in Tsingtao region seems to be complicated, with Japanese offering to surrender to Central Government guerrillas but being prevented from so doing by Communist interference. No reports have been received of any direct surrenders to Communist forces, but this is no indication of what is held in store by future.

Hurley