Marshall Mission Files, Lot 54–D270: Telegram

Lieutenant General Albert C. Wedemeyer to General Marshall

19327. Following observations are submitted and may be completely unnecessary. However, I know that you will accept them in the spirit in which they are given. Although I have adhered strictly to military functions throughout my service in China, naturally I have followed closely the negotiations between the Central Government and the Communists as well as the aspirations and maneuvers of those two political parties, the Democratic League and lesser political groups. I am not certain relative to the sincerity of either Central Government officials or the Communists in their willingness or intentions to discontinue the practice of jockeying for power, both military and political. The acceptance of your plan for a cessation of hostilities is a constructive step forward and certainly should create conditions for the settlement of remaining problems to include repatriation of the Japanese, disposal of enemy equipment and redisposition of military forces.

I believe we should be alert to all of the implications of the last indicated matter because during any lull in hostilities the Central Government may attempt to redispose forces and to strengthen their over-all position, both military and political, so that should hostilities flare up again they will have overwhelming power against the Communists. The Central Government may attempt to dispose forces for a concerted attack against Kalgan for example. Obviously this would be interpreted by the Communists and correctly as a breach of faith. In the Jehol Province similar activities on the part of the Central Government can be anticipated. Each side is suspicious of the other. To ameliorate this condition I suggest that no troop movements be permitted unless definitely cleared by the Executive Headquarters that you visualize establishing. In each case the Central Government or the Communists should be made to justify the necessity for redisposing their forces.

(New subject) The Generalissimo’s determination to hold a conclave of the National Assembly on May 5th without prior elections is indicative to me of his intention to insure that the National Assembly is overwhelming[ly] packed with old party line members of the Kuomintang. [Page 40]Before this general assembly is convened I think a general election should be held within the villages where representatives would be elected to select district representatives. The latter should then convene to select provincial representatives to the National Assembly. Only in this manner can we achieve representation along broader lines in the National Assembly. Obviously this would postpone the meeting of the general assembly but I feel it would be justified.

(New subject) It is difficult to determine when if ever it would be appropriate for you to discuss with the Generalissimo the suppression of free speech and writing. I have urged on numerous occasions more liberal treatment with regard to press and radio. However, I am informed, and have reason to believe my informants, that the Tai Li43 organization operates continually to suppress organizations or individuals who express views critical to the Central Government. Among the youth of China particularly in the schools there is a Kmt43a Youth Corps which employs violence against young people in the schools when the latter discuss in a critical vein the existing conditions in their country. Further the blacklisting of many prominent foreign writers has had a most harmful effect abroad. Edgar Snow44 was recently among those blacklisted. I disagree with Edgar Snow’s views on China but he has full right to express them. The Central Government has equal right to disagree but has done more harm by attempting to suppress them. On numerous occasions I have pointed out to the Generalissimo that his information service should be liberalized and that it would be helpful to expose the shortcomings of his administration openly and freely. I emphasized that he should operate on the premise that he has nothing to conceal and would gladly permit constructive criticism. It might be appropriate to point out that this suppression still existing in China will cause many of the Chinese intellectuals, small business men and the students to affiliate themselves with the opposition. Whereas if they were permitted to have an opportunity to express themselves and to feel that they were contributing toward a stronger and democratic government, they would be of invaluable assistance to the realization of that goal.

(New subject) I have previously indicated that my representative in Yenan, Colonel Yeaton,45 recommended that I visit that area and I asked Caraway46 to explain my views to the effect that I did [Page 41]not agree with Yeaton. However, Colonel Yeaton is obtaining information concerning the organization both political and military of the Communists and has prepared charts which might be helpful perhaps to you. I should like to suggest that Colonel Yeaton report to you in Chungking with such information. In the future I desire to discuss the continuation of the Yenan Observer Group, however, for the time being I feel that this group should remain in that area.

  1. General Tai Li, Deputy Director of the Bureau of Investigation and Statistics of the National Commission of Military Affairs (the secret service system).
  2. Kuomintang (Nationalist Party).
  3. American writer on Chinese affairs, sympathetic to the Chinese Communists.
  4. Col. Ivan D. Yeaton, commanding Yenan Observer Group, U. S. Forces in China theater.
  5. Brig. Gen. Paul Caraway, Commanding General of the Army Liaison Group at Chungking.