893.00/3–1248: Telegram

The Consul General at Peiping (Clubb) to the Secretary of State

124. Strong supporter and intimate of Li Tsung-jen, Kan Chieh-hou,17 yesterday gave me following analysis of situation re General Li’s candidacy for Vice President. He said candidacy was supported by both liberal academic groups and Chinese Communists but for [Page 148] different reasons. Liberals see in Li’s accession to power (1) opportunity for performance of needed reforms with at least some reduction of corruption, (2) bringing of improvement to morale of officers and troops under system where fair treatment is given all and (3) obtaining after effecting of improvement in situation such American sympathy as would lead substantial loans (Kan mentioned figure 3 billions) for major reconstruction in China. That is optimistic view. Liberals nevertheless envisage possibility continued deterioration for all of Li’s getting Vice President, in which event when situation got bad enough it would be suggested to Generalissimo he retire for a while and let liberal-minded man like Li take over (reContel 114, March 5).

Communists would be found in sympathy with Li’s candidacy on basis other reasoning as follows: (1) Communists’ foreign policy (by implication directed from general Communist organs) of avoiding actions which would lead to direct conflict between U. S. A. and U. S. S. R. and are undesirous of giving appearance of establishing Communist dictatorship in China as considered invite risk American military intervention, (2) two or three years still would be required for Communists to win by force and Communists desirous avoiding extended warfare and (3) Communists’ suggestion they desirous setting up coalition government is effective propaganda to convince liberal opposition [that] Communist aim is not truly establish Communist dictatorship.

Informant stated Northeastern general just returned from Nanking (Ma Chan-shan?) brought back unconfirmed report he picked up in Shanghai that letter signed by Mme. Sun Yat-sen, Li Chi-shen and Feng Yu-hsiang18 and others had been sent Generalissimo advising he turn Government to Li Tsung-jen. Generalissimo, upon receipt this communication, is reported to have promptly issued orders for suppression all information regarding it. Informant pointed out that, if report was true, this would naturally injure Li’s candidacy in eyes Generalissimo.

Same informant stated further Yu Yu-jen was supported by C–C Clique,19 that Yu would probably get Generalissimo’s nod of approval at time party meeting March 20, that party machine leaders will argue that with military man as president, there should be civilian such as Yu Yu-jen for vice president “but if you want a military man, there is our party candidate Cheng Chien”.20 He stated finally, however, it was possible public opinion might flare up to ask at this juncture why put into vice presidency “a dying man” likely who, said informant, [Page 149] has never in 20 years of service in Control Yuan found it fitting to take action against anybody more important than petty crooks.

Another source informed me earlier in week Li now has support Political Science Group, Socialist Party, Kwangsi and Kwangtung (Soong presumably excepted) and Moslems. Last named group presumably includes Ma Hung-kuei21 and other Northwestern generals.

Sent Department as 124; repeated Nanking as 186.

  1. Political adviser to Gen. Li Tsung-jen.
  2. Marshal Feng was expelled from the Kuomintang on January 8.
  3. Faction of the Kuomintang led by the brothers, Chen Li-fu and Chen Kuo-fu.
  4. Director of Generalissimo Chiang’s Headquarters at Wuhan.
  5. Governor of Ninghsia and Deputy Director of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek’s Headquarters in the Northwest.