The Ambassador in China (Stuart) to the Secretary of State
[Received August 19—7:45 a. m.]
1542. I spent last week end with the Generalissimo at Ruling and had several fairly long talks with him. He is so thoroughly convinced of the insidious menace of world Communism to China that he is determined to fight it to the last with or without American aid and regardless of the consequences. He believes that the success or failure of Communism in China will have vast influence on all southeast Asia. He looks upon any negotiated peace at the present time as undesirable because the Communists, he says, would make demands that would give them entirely too great an advantage.
He told me of the time when the northern advance in 1925–27 was being planned with the help of Borodin50 and Galen,51 and of Russian hopes at that time of being able to mold Chinese political developments. He frustrated their aims at that time, he said, but Soviets have never abandoned determination to mold political developments in China. Before the outbreak of the Japanese war and during it, the Soviets sought, he said, to have China strong and united enough in resisting Japan to prevent Japan from attacking Siberia. He says the Russians are more realistic in appraising Chinese conditions than Americans who predict that his Government will fall in 3 or 6 months. The Russians know better, he says, and prefer to have a peaceful settlement on terms which would advance Communist infiltration.
He realizes the need for reform in China, but is so harassed by the military situation and all its attendant ills that he hesitates to attempt reforms until he is in a strong military position. Our rural reconstruction program, in his opinion, may point the way at least toward some improvement.
The Generalissimo expressed considerable annoyance at constant American criticism of him and his Government, charging it with being corrupt and inefficient yet doing so little to help it in overcoming these weaknesses. It is precisely because he knows the Government to be corrupt and inefficient, he says, that he has repeatedly asked for American aid, especially in the form of civil and military advisors. Only with such American help can the reforms be undertaken which alone would justify material assistance. He cannot believe that the American leaders are fully aware of what he is trying to achieve and why, or of what our interest in this struggle really is. He insists that he has always believed in American ideals and seeks [Page 418] closer cooperation in making these effective in this part of the world in the face of our common danger.
At this stage the Generalissimo inquired whether I wouldn’t go to Washington and endeavor to lay China’s real case before you. I replied that I believe my despatches and cables had made all the ramifications of the China situation clear to you, but I was of course prepared to come to Washington at any time you so directed.
I know that your entire time must be occupied with the present difficulties in Germany and with your preparations for the General Assembly meeting and that you most likely would have no time really to go into the China situation even were I directed to proceed to Washington. I realize further that my visit would likely effect no acceleration in our aid to China. I am of course ready to do anything in my power to serve you and help this suffering country, but my personal opinion is that such a trip would lead to undesirable speculations and raise false hopes for the Generalissimo. Accordingly, I should appreciate your advice as to nature of reply I should make to Generalissimo.