893.00/3–2046: Telegram

The Counselor of Embassy in China (Smyth) to the Secretary of State

523. Unanimous ratification of Political Consultation Conference agreements by Kuomintang Central Executive Committee announced on 16 March.17 Validity and good faith of Kmt ratification now being questioned by Communists and minor parties because of five point resolution by constitutional question reported to have been introduced at final CEC session which, if adopted, would have effect of nullifying entire PCC constitutional agreement (full text PCC agreements in Embtel 201, February 118).

Best information available at present would indicate that such a resolution was introduced and in essence provides for close adherence to May 5 draft constitution rather than to a revised constitution to be drafted by the constitutional reviewing committee established by the PCC agreements and in accordance with the liberal principles set forth therein. The Embassy has been informed, and considers the information reliable, that the Generalissimo was successful in having this resolution referred to the standing committee of the CEC rather than risk a vote before the full CEC session and through this maneuver it is anticipated that the resolution may be quashed. (Understood that standing committee meets this afternoon.)

In the meantime, however, the Communists have launched a violent attack against good faith of Kmt with regard to whole PCC program. Thus far the attack has not been extended to the Generalissimo personally. Minor parties are confused and concerned by new developments. It is now proposed that Steering Committee of PCC hold meeting tonight to request definitive statement from Kuomintang CEC to the effect that Government contemplates no steps which are contrary to PCC agreements.

There is danger, not yet acute, that efforts by irreconcilables within the Kmt to sabotage the PCC program may be successful and Communists would appear by current violent diatribes against Kmt to be preparing for such a contingency by an early disclaimer of responsibility therefor. Reports to Embassy from Yenan dated 18 March indicate that Central Committee of Communist Party will not accept [Page 157] any decisions made at Chungking which are not consistent with basic principles of PCC agreements.

Notwithstanding the present impasse regarding the PCC agreements, residual points of friction in North China, and the continued existence of mutual Kmt-Communist district [distrust?], the controlling factor in the whole situation is still Manchuria. In the northeast the Communists appear to enjoy at least the neutrality of Soviet occupation forces and apparent freedom of activity within the sphere of Soviet control, whereas Central Government troops cannot effectively reestablish Chinese sovereignty prior to a Russian withdrawal. Previously the Communists had expressed a desire for the despatch of executive headquarters truce teams to Manchuria. Within the past week, however, they appear to have reversed their position on this question, as General Gillem19 is reporting separately to General Marshall.

The Chinese Communists in Manchuria seem to be either (1) consolidating political influence in the northeastern hinterland for future bargaining purposes or (2) in conjunction with (1) establishing a military base and domination of strategic areas for an eventual military showdown for outright control of Manchurian provinces. In the absence of more complete and unbiased information from the northeast, (1) seems to be the more likely explanation inasmuch as (2) appears doubtful of accomplishment in the forseeable future without undisguised Soviet assistance.

The whole effect in China proper is unfortunate because it supplies those elements within the Kmt who in any case would oppose the PCC agreements with a plausible excuse for their opposition and thus threatens the entire reform program. The Embassy considers it unlikely that there will be a complete breakdown of inter-party collaboration at this time, but such a danger will continue to exist at least until a constitution drafted in accordance with the principles established by the PCC agreements has been adopted by the National Assembly scheduled to meet at Nanking on 5 May. There appears to be no reason to doubt the complete good faith of the Generalissimo with regard to implementation of the PCC program, but whether or not he will be able to control the extreme right wing of the Kmt remains a moot question. Thus far there has been evident no effective challenge to his authority.

Further developments will be reported promptly.

  1. For text of CEC ratification, see United States Relations With China, p. 634.
  2. See footnote 12, p. 153.
  3. Lt. Gen. Alvan C. Gillem, Jr., representing General Marshall during the latter’s absence for consultation in Washington.