Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Chinese Affairs ( Ringwalt ) to Brigadier General Marshall S. Carter, Special Assistant to the Secretary of State

There is transmitted herewith, as of possible interest to the Secretary, a report52 prepared by the Division of Research for Far East entitled “Major Factors Controlling the Size of the Chinese Communist Armies”. The gist of the report is as follows.

Expansion of Communist forces is limited chiefly by: (1) Availability of rifles; (2) Extent of disposable food surpluses; and (3) Ammunition supplies. The doubling of Communist armed forces between mid–1945 and mid–1946 to their present size of about 1,000,000 men was made possible principally by acquisition of Japanese weapons in Manchuria. Limited available food supplies are a factor tending to restrict the size of Communist forces in north China, but this situation would be radically altered were the Communists to gain control of principal transport routes linking Manchuria, a region of agricultural surpluses, with north China, an area of surplus manpower. Ammunition stringencies constitute a handicap which is not readily remedied, as the Communists cannot replace ammo for their predominantly Japanese-style weapons by captures from Nationalist troops—which now use few Japanese rifles with the original bore.

Under predictable circumstances it seems unlikely that Communist armies will expand to more than 1,500,000 men by mid–1948. However, the recent slower increase in their rate of expansion may have no material effect on the course of the civil war. Recent Communist successes have been due to (1) qualitative and quantitative decline in the Nationalist forces; and, (2) Communist superiority in the employment of their forces.

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