026 China/8–1747: Telegram

General Wedemeyer to the Secretary of State

85. Dear Mr. Secretary: The Mission has just concluded fact-finding efforts in Shanghai, Formosa and Canton. The information received in Shanghai serves to reaffirm earlier certainty of corrupt and inept practices, both political and economic.

Our experience in Formosa is most enlightening. The administration of the former Governor Chen Yi has alienated the people from the Central Government. Many forced to feel that conditions under autocratic rule were preferable. The Central Government lost a fine opportunity to indicate to the Chinese people and to the world at large, its capability to provide honest and efficient administration. They cannot attribute their failure to the activities of the Communists or of dissident elements. The people anticipated sincerely and enthusiastically deliverance from the Japanese yoke. However, Chen Yi and his henchmen ruthlessly, corruptly and avariciously imposed their regime upon a happy and amenable population. The Army conducted themselves as conquerors. Secret police operated freely to intimidate and to facilitate exploitation by Central Government officials. …

The island is extremely productive in coal, rice, sugar, cement, fruits and tea. Both hydro and thermal power are abundant. The Japanese had efficiently electrified even remote areas and also established excellent railroad lines and highways. Eighty percent of the people can read and write, the exact antithesis of conditions prevailing in the mainland of China. There were indications that Formosans would be receptive toward United States guardianship and United Nations trusteeship. They fear that the Central Government contemplates bleeding their island to support the tottering and corrupt Nanking machine and I think their fears well founded.

The Canton-Hong Kong areas, in fact the southern provinces, are [Page 726] practically devoid of Communist influence and the deleterious effects of dissident and radical groups. Even the mildest forms of political disagreement are being suppressed by police action. The Central Government has neglected opportunities to assist the people in the area to recover economically. That is partially understandable for the Government is now concentrating its attention upon wiping out Communistic elements in the north and upon the feeble political and economic efforts by which it hopes to recover the confidence and support of the people in the north and northeast. Corruption is rife and smuggling is extensive normal practice through Hong Kong and Macao. Important strategic materials such as wolfram, tungsten and tin in quite sizeable quantities are being smuggled through this area, some to Northern Korea. I could find no official support of the rumor to the effect that the British are surreptitiously encouraging or supporting separatist movements. British official views indicate that a dividing up of China into regions would develop into warlordism and would facilitate the penetration and infilration of Communism both by peaceful means and by the employment of force. The British I encountered feel that a unified China is the paramount need to cope with internal political problems and to effect an improved economy.

You may recall how you read chapter and verse from the Book of Revelations in Bermuda. My report will be full of revelations but not in Biblical terms.

Our departure from China is still set for August 24, a week from today.

A. C. Wedemeyer