The Consul General at Mukden (Ward) to the Secretary of State

No. 28

Sir: I have the honor to inform the Department that yesterday the private secretary of General Ma Chan-shan25 approached me and requested, in behalf of the General, an appointment for the purpose of paying his respects. I have met the General recently at several social functions and on each instance he has stated that he intended to call on me, therefore the above-mentioned request was in conformity with his previous oral statements.

The General called yesterday afternoon. He was accompanied by his private secretary, who acted as interpreter (Chinese-French). Our conversation fell short of being satisfactory, at least insofar as I was concerned, for the reason that the secretary’s knowledge of French is far from adequate, and I was unable to avail myself of the services of one of the Consulate General’s competent interpreters for the reason that the General’s secretary had stated specifically that in the absence of an American interpreter the General desired that he (the secretary) serve as interpreter.

Our conversation turned to affairs in Manchuria. The General forthwith deplored the present state of these affairs, placing the blame therefor on Soviet support of the Chinese communists and the failure of Nationalist officials to carry out the directives and uphold the ideals of the Generalissimo. He was warm (if not perhaps too effusive) in his tributes to the Generalissimo. He was unrestrained in his condemnation of the professional ability of the Nationalist military command in the Northeast Provinces and of the rapacity with which the Nationalist non-Manchurian military and civil officials in Manchuria have been exploiting the Northeast. He prophesied that, unless corrective measures are taken, Manchuria will soon be lost to China and will become a puppet of the Soviet Union. He stated [Page 233] that the only effective way to save Manchuria to China is to replace the present Nationalist regime in the Northeastern Provinces with one made up of native Northeasterners (the General being a native son), and to support such new regime with sufficient funds and munitions to enable it to cast out the communists and to establish itself firmly.

The General handed me a cover bearing an address in Chinese, and requested that I send it to The Honorable George C. Marshall, Secretary of State. He expressed his admiration of General Marshall. I gathered from the secretary’s remarks that the General enjoys the acquaintance of General Marshall. The cover and its enclosure, together with an English translation of the latter, are transmitted herewith.

. . . . . . .

Respectfully yours,

A. Ward

General Ma Chan-shan to the Secretary of State

My Dear General Marshall: The continuous expansion of Communism has brought the world to the brink of a crisis. It now requires that peace-loving countries and possessors of righteousness join together and take careful and effective preventive measures. United States support to the Chinese Government comes, therefore, not only as help in saving the Chinese people from the depths of a whirlpool of red terrorism, but as a step necessary to the maintenance of order in the Far East and peace in the world. It is a great pity that after one year’s civil strife nothing concrete has been achieved militarily by the Chinese Government, while, on the contrary, the influence of the Communist army is daily expanding and is not [now?] taking an active, instead of a passive, role. The process of change is, of course, a complicated one but the main reason is due to a few stubborn elements on the Government side failing to grasp the general situation and coordinate military activities with politics. They can only pin their hopes on the limited army they have and fail to mobilize the great mass of the people, thus leaving the Communists a wonderful opportunity for expansion, which has resulted in the present critical situation.

The National Government is the only legal Government of China and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek the only wise leader, without whom China will lose her central leadership, sink into confusion, and [Page 234] the communists can hope to succeed, which will prove a great misfortune not only to China but to the people of the whole world. We must give him complete support for the completion of the herculean task of national reconstruction. We also need real help from your Government. This need not necessarily be in the form of materials, but may be in the form of an effective measure to rid the Chinese Government of its erroneous, narrowminded policy. To settle her internal strife, the Government of China must place confidence in its people, and the people must be armed to cooperate with the Government forces. Otherwise, your economic help, if not strictly designated, will tend to isolate the Government and will bear no fruit, as has been proved by the events of the past year. (It is suggested that two-thirds of the appropriations for military use should go to equip the Government, while one-third should go to the people’s militia.)

Three months have elapsed since my arrival in the Northeast, and, viewing from different angles, I feel the present situation is extremely dangerous. The number of Government troops here is small. The locally recruited troops are unwilling to fight, due to discriminatory treatment. This explains why the communists have taken many cities with comparative ease. We enjoy peace temporarily with the siege of Ssupingkai lifted at great sacrifice, but when the farm crops grow high in August and September it is almost certain that the communists will inaugurate another offensive on a much larger scale. At that time, if our military and political authorities have no better means of meeting the situation, it is feared that they will have to give up the Northeast, as they planned during the early stages of the recent military operations when the situation turned against their favor. However, in view of the geographic importance of the Northeast, we can not afford to see this piece of land lost, for this will endanger not only the whole of China but will affect world security. The Government forces here in the Northeast possess at this stage insufficient strength to cope single-handedly with the situation. It is therefore imperative and urgent that the people be organized and armed to assist the national troops. Two-thirds of the Northeast are now in the hands of the communists, while Government troops hold only one-third. Although the areas held by the Government are comparatively rich and more densely populated, the future is fraught with danger if timely efforts are not made.

The Manchurians were for the Government, but they have gained extremely bad impressions from the actions of the occupying officials during the past year. This, coupled with the people’s traditional regional prejudices, is the root of misunderstanding and the cause for change of psychology. Manchuria is my native country, and I cannot [Page 235] not afford to see the Government continue its policy of procrastination. Furthermore, I am unwilling to hear the severe criticisms and denunciations levelled against the Government, as this will merely create loopholes for the communists.

With my past record and reputation, I hope to rally the people around the Government to improve the situation in the Northeast, but with my present “empty” title and position, how can I exercise the power which I used to have? Therefore, I sincerely hope that you, as a great and faithful friend of China, will command a clear view of the problems of the Northeast, which have great bearing on international relationships, and render us effective help while the opportunity is still present.

If you can designate for the people part of the money and arms supplied to China by your Government, I can organize a powerful people’s militia of two or three hundred thousand men and deal a decisive blow to the communists. And if a third world war should be unavoidable, I believe that I could recruit another two million Manchurian youths to form the first line of defense against the communist attack. I am a person of action, not of lip service. For the welfare of the country and of the people, as well as for the protection of world peace, I wish to offer my entire self.

It is high time to make a decision. The United States Government’s policy toward China must be pushed vigorously, but is [it] should not follow the old pattern of giving everything to the Chinese Government without even questioning the manner in which such aid was used. The correct method would be to make, under strict limitations, a reasonable distribution between the Government and the people and to enable the Central Government to have confidence in its people so as to form one solid body in the struggle for final victory.

This, and this only, will expedite the unification of China, enhance security in the Far East and lay a firm foundation for world peace.

This will be the highest success of human wisdom, and I am confident that only you, sagacious and superior, can bear this great task of historic significance, and may my humble opinion be accepted.

The entire people in distress of the Northeast are eagerly looking forward to you for help. We hold fast to you.

With all best wishes [etc.]

Ma Chan-shan
  1. General Ma had returned to Manchuria as Deputy Commander of the Northeast China Command.