Memorandum by Mr. Philip D. Sprouse to General Wedemeyer 2

Set forth hereunder are suggestions for action which might be taken by the Generalissimo, partly as a means of increasing the efficiency of the administration but chiefly for the purpose of restoring to the National Government some measure of confidence on the part of the Chinese people.

The National Government and the Kuomintang should be completely separated and the Generalissimo should take his place as the leader of the nation, not as the leader of the party. There should be no pretense of a government divorced from Kuomintang control, [Page 727] but there should be established a government free from Kuomintang domination. To this end there should be a wholesale reorganization of the Government to include able and honest men from all walks of life. To achieve this there must be clearly defined areas of responsibility and there must be full delegation of authority to officials in responsible positions. There should be free and public discussions of governmental measures in legislative and executive bodies and the budget should be submitted to legislative approval and made public. Governmental administration should encourage the development of responsibility and initiative and this cannot be achieved unless full responsibility is delegated to the responsible officials and organs of the government. The Kuomintang should take its place as a political party—not as a business enterprise or an organization with its own secret police and organs for the control of all governmental administration throughout the nation, as a result of which public opinion is ignored or stifled. Only through this action will it ever be possible to expect participation in government of the most capable Chinese willing to serve for the good of their country.
Abolish the secret police and all forms of military control over civil administration. This should include the end of secret arrests, resulting in the disappearance of those arrested; it should remove from the gendarmerie or military police any right to arrest civilians or to enter civilian premises; and it should include the abolition of concentration camps or any similar institutions. The illegal activities of the secret police have been one of the chief sources of criticism of the National Government and the very nature of secret police control is the antithesis of democratic procedures. Fear of the secret police—who have not been exempt from charges of corruption, bribery and squeeze—has caused honest liberal Chinese to avoid any real expression of their views, has served to drive students and intellectuals increasingly toward the Communists and has prevented the expression of enlightened criticism of evils, criticism which must accompany good government and serve as a check upon despotism and tyranny.
The entire police system should be reorganized and removed from National Government control. Police should be organized locally and should be responsible to local administrations for the maintenance of law and order. It is reliably reported that the secret police are now quietly infiltrating the various police units in important centers throughout the country, the impetus for such action coming from Tang Tsung, a former Tai Li adherent who now heads the National Police Administration. If this trend continues, it may be expected that the various police administrations throughout the [Page 728] country will be controlled by the same evil influence that have brought about the repressive power of the secret police. When the police system is reorganized, there should be provision for adequate pay and rice or other food allowances to prevent corruption and graft. The police should be given careful training along western democratic lines in order to remove the Japanese ideas which permeate police administration in China. Persons arrested must be given a prompt public trial and there must be full safeguards for the exercise of the right of habeas corpus and for the protection of the fundamental civil liberties found in democratic countries.
The Control Yuan should be reorganized and placed under a strong official who must be given full responsibility and authority to enable that organ to fulfill its functions. It should be allowed to take drastic steps to eliminate corruption and graft on the part of government officials and it should be free to act without fear of reprisals and with the knowledge that it has the full and unqualified support of the National Government.
There must be a cessation of intimidation of university faculties and students. Those professors discharged from universities should be permitted to state their cases publicly or in court and if the grounds for their discharge are insufficient they should be promptly reinstated. Those professors who are now unable to obtain positions in universities because of their political views should not be debarred from such positions and a public statement to this effect should be made and their employment in the universities should be encouraged. Failure to carry out measures along these lines will result in the continuation of the present trend of Chinese students and intellectuals toward increasing sympathy for the Chinese Communists. The cause of good government is best served by the full exercise of academic freedom of speech.
There should be full freedom of the press and a cessation of attacks on newspaper offices which publish views unfavorable to the government. Newspapers should not be closed or suspended by military organs and there should be no discrimination against newspapers, through registration procedures or withholding of paper supplies, because of their expression of views at variance with those of the Government.
The existing duplication of military or semi-military headquarters in the various provinces should be eliminated by the abolition of all unnecessary organs or by their amalgamation into one simplified organ. This would include the Office of the Director of the President’s Headquarters, the Garrison Headquarters, the Pacification Commissioner’s Headquarters and any other agencies of this description. [Page 729] This would reduce governmental expenditures, would prevent duplication of control and command and would to some extent reduce the number of troops necessary to maintain these headquarters. The number of troops could also be reduced through the increased utilization of police organized as suggested in 3 above.
The National Government armies should be reduced and reorganized to increase their efficiency and to reduce the heavy drain upon the national budget. There should be made a thorough check upon the number of troops under arms and the allocation of funds made for the various units. A thorough investigation should be made into the charges of corruption among army officers and of the illegal exactions upon the populace of the area occupied by the armies.
The Kuomintang practice of obtaining control over various enterprises from the Alien Property Administration should be discontinued and those already acquired in this manner should be returned to the Administration for disposal to private Chinese enterprise. Such disposal procedures should not permit the purchase of these properties under cover of fictitious persons or through any under-cover means but should be made an open and honest transaction with legitimate Chinese enterprises.
In Manchuria the Northeastern people should be given a majority of the positions of authority and control in the civil administration of that area, including the provincial, municipal, and district governments. This would tend to restore confidence in the National Government, should serve to eliminate many of the now prevalent abuses under the present system of administration of the area by “outsiders” and would give the local people a better reason for defending their “homeland”.
Elections for district, municipal and provincial officials should be held at the earliest possible moment after the reorganization of the National Government and under election laws agreed upon by such a National Government. This would enable the local populace in any area to choose officials of its own liking and carry forward the idea of decentralization of power which seems essential in China. Military officers on active duty should not be permitted to stand for election to any such offices and there should be no interference by the military in the civil administration.
Positive measures must be taken to reduce farm rentals and implement the land laws already enacted. Similar measures must be taken to provide loans to farmers at reasonable rates of interest to prevent their being at the mercy of usurers. These measures require honesty in administration but their effect on the Chinese peasants would provide ample repayment for the emphasis and money devoted [Page 730] to such a program. Conscription and the collection of land taxes in kind must be administered fairly and exactions on the peasantry must cease. At present the National Government troops are drawn largely from the peasantry and taxation lies most heavily upon the peasantry. The peasantry is the source of the greatest Communist strength and unless measures are taken by the Government to gain the support of the peasantry the prospects for peace and stability in China are not favorable.

It is realized that some of the foregoing measures are rather far-reaching, but unless the Generalissimo is made to realize the importance and necessity of sweeping reforms the result will be the customary paper reform with which we have become familiar during the past two and one-half years. The medicine must be strong if the patient is to survive. In any event, quite unrelated to the question of U. S. aid to China, he must take measures of this nature if he is to avoid continued loss of prestige and confidence and the eventual collapse or drying up of his authority.

Philip D. Sprouse
  1. This memorandum and the one printed infra were submitted by Mr. Sprouse on September 19 to the Director of the Office of Far Eastern Affairs (Butterworth).