893.00/1–746: Telegram

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

44. Military Attaché’s report for week ending December 29 was received late. It is briefly summarized below.

Military activities have been restricted to occasional clashes and harassing by Communists of Central Govt formations. (Sent to Dept as 44, January 7, 8 a.m. [p.m.]) Communists appear not to have opposed occupuation of Manchuria by Central Govt. At present Central Govt has 13th and 52nd Armies deployed between Hulutao and Mukden, 92nd Army advancing toward Chengteh, Jehol, and 94th Army deployed toward Kalgan. All these armies are Alpha47 trained and equipped except for 92nd. In addition to occupation of Manchuria Central Govt program apparently includes recovery of Inner Mongolia, where since end of war Communists have been entrenching themselves. North of Peiping area Communist strength believed to be 200,000 and in area immediately south estimated at 70,000.

Chinese originally expected that new First Army from Canton and new Sixth Army from Shanghai would by this time have been transported to North China by SKA [sea?] to strengthen forces in Manchuria. However, these two armies, which are China’s best, are still in Canton and Shanghai.

Central Govt finds it very difficult to establish lines of communication in area between Lunghai Railroad and Peiping, for Communists, apparently adopting same tactics used against Japanese, are skirmishing in rural areas and severing or tearing up portions of the rail lines.

Surrender of Japanese has recently become rather informal. For instance, surrender at Taiyuan was mere formality, with Japanese General surrendering his troops, but troops retaining their arms. [Page 42]Presence of armed Japanese in China has aggravated Central Govt conflict and will continue to do so.

There follows summary of Military Attaché’s report from week ending January 5, 1946: Troops of Central Govt continue to progress slowly in reoccupation of Manchuria although severe weather is impeding their advance. Russians are reported to have handed over civil administration of Mukden to Chinese Central Govt authorities on December 27 and that of Harbin on January 1. At Changchun Chinese Air Force is said to be preparing for airlift of Chinese troops to that city.

Military position of Communists in North China seems to be deteriorating as the Central Govt launches an assault on southeastern Jehol and masses troops in Honan and northern Kiangsu for drives to clear Peiping–Hankow and Tientsin–Pukow Railways.

It appears Jehol campaign will consist of simultaneous thrusts from each end of Japanese built railroad connecting Peiping with [Chengteh, Jehol, and towns?] in Manchuria. Protection of Central Govt’s overland line of communication between North China and Manchuria will be greatly facilitated by control of railway through Jehol. Communist sources state that Central Govt armies are being concentrated near Chenghsien, Honan, for northward drive and extensive river-crossing preparations are reported in progress along Yellow River between Chenghsien and Kaifeng. A major engagement appears to be shaping up along Shantung–Kiangsu border north of Hsuchow. Communists seem to have succeeded temporarily in halting the 97th Army at Lincheng and are apparently consolidating their grip on the Lincheng, Tsaochuang, Tsenghsien area with the aim of resisting along the line of the Grand Canal north of Hsuchow.

Report of Communist destruction of railways as they withdraw westward from Paotou and Kueisui indicate they have given up hope, for the time being at least, of capturing these cities. Their failure is attributed to supply difficulties, heavy casualties, extremely cold weather and lack of sufficient artillery. This campaign apparently was considerable drain on Communist manpower and failure is serious setback as it leaves their western flank exposed. Communists have completely isolated Tsinan by land. Eastward they appear to be successfully impeding traffic along large portion of Tsingtao–Tsinan Railroad. Eighth Army seems to have bogged down in effort to push west from Tsingtao. Chinese sources report that mission of this army has changed and that it will be used for garrison duty along railroad in Tsingtao area. North of Tsinan, Communists claim to have severed Tientsin–Pukow Railroad in several places.

Recent Communist gains in Kiangsu Province along Grand Canal [Page 43]just north of Yangtze continue to deny Central Govt troops use of Grand Canal.

Communists are not on the offensive in any important sector. Their local attacks appear to be limited to attempts to hamper the advance of Central Govt troops rather than drive them back.

Robertson
  1. American.