The Ambassador in China (Stuart) to the Secretary of State
[Received August 20—7:34 a. m.]
1546. Information requested in Deptel 1163 has been secured from AAG and is summarized below.
As to Chinese Government’s disregarding competent military advice, in course of his occasional meetings with Generalissimo, General Barr61 had been asked to comment on specific problems arising from conduct current military operations, and his advice has been solicited on these problems. In general this advice has been ignored. For example, as means to alleviate bad supply situation Mukden, in March 1948, it was recommended that coordinated attack be staged from Mukden and Chinchow to open land corridor. Supreme general staff adopted recommendation and Generalissimo approved. General Wei Li-huang,62 commanding in Mukden, initially endorsed plan, later became lukewarm and eventually caused cancellation of attack. No corrective action was taken by Generalissimo and idea was abandoned.
Also, when Nationalists abandoned Kirin on March 12, 1948, it was recommended that hydroelectric facilities and surplus munitions and supplies be destroyed. This was not done, with result that Communists were equipped for continued offensive operations. Failure destroy equipment and supplies prior to capture is common weakness of Nationalists, which repeated advice fails to overcome.
Also, as part of plan to open Mukden–Chinchow corridor, it was recommended that Changchun garrison fight south of Mukden. It [Page 423] has been recommended many times that Mukden forces by feint draw off Communist strength to permit escape of Changchun garrison. This advice has likewise been ignored.
Fallacy of Nationalist tactics in attempting to defend cities and lines of communication from within walls or close along railroads has been pointed out on many occasions, but to no avail. It has been stressed with little or no result that modern conception of warfare is based upon fire and maneuver and that when defending troops take up defensive posts within city wall or similar fortified position, they have lost mobility and opportunity for victory.
That replacements be fully trained before assignment to units has also been recommended. Recently it has been reported that 3500 men from Nanking replacement training center are to be assigned to units in Hsuchou area after little more than physical and other conditioning exercises.
It has been recommended, to no avail, that youth divisions, which are comprised of educated men who are potential officer material, be broken up and their members be assigned to other units.
The following general recommendations have been made with little apparent results: proper training of replacements prior to combat; provision adequate food, clothing, pay, and medical care; care of soldier’s dependents; organization and training of strategic reserves; organization and training of provincial troops so as to release regular forces for mobile operations; modernization of supply and personnel administration; indoctrination in patriotism; placing of selective service on just and efficient basis; use of propaganda as weapon; increased coordination and cooperation between individuals, staffs and major forces; placing of North China and Manchurian operations under single commander; and preparation of sound strategic plan.
With reference of [to] Government’s failure to take advantage of military opportunities offered, examples are too numerous to cite fully. Failure to heed recommendations on conduct Manchurian campaign, as listed above, all represent failure exploit opportunities. Within past several months Fu Tso-yi has, through failure pursue after victory or other faulty tactics, permitted important Communist forces to escape destruction. Communist forces concentrated for rest, reorganization, resupply and retention or replacements are seldom or never molested or harassed, though such course of action well within capability of adjacent Nationalist commanders. Many opportunities to inflict decisive defeats on Communists have been lost because of failures of Nationalist field commanders to cooperate with one another. Personal feelings influence military action and disobedience of orders by field commanders is not uncommon. In latter case punitive measures are exceedingly rare.[Page 424]
As regards failure fully implement plans for training new divisions and replacements, delays in implementing these plans, delays in meeting planned objectives are primarily due to lack funds and equipment, lack of any aggressive staff action, and leadership. Also, to some extent due Defense Ministry’s adoption unrealistic timetables not permitting sufficient time to train divisions to desired standards. Strategic reserve divisions are to be trained in Canton, Nanking, and Taiwan areas. In Canton part only one of three divisions to be trained has been relieved from operational duties. Divisions still not reorganized, service unit personnel still unassigned, division staffs have not been augmented and greater part of housing required, including that for American staff, has not been provided. Two divisions now in Taiwan are scheduled finish training about September 1. Standard achieved in this training is well below that generally accepted by AAG for Chinese-trained Chinese division. Divisions scheduled for next Taiwan training to begin about first September have not been reorganized, lack necessary service personnel and lack augmented division staffs. Also, their training cadres have not yet been selected and moved forward prior to arrival balance of units so that training can commence immediately units reach Taiwan. Failure provide housing limits Nanking program to one instead of originally planned three divisions. This division also still unorganized and without augmented staff and service personnel.
In replacement training program, principle of individual replacements not accepted by higher echelons despite assurances to contrary. There is insufficient weapons at all centers. Nothing has been accomplished at Shaokuan center. Failure provide housing reduces capacity Nanking center, though cadre school functioning and staff partially organized. At Hankow center, officer training school functioning and part of cadre being trained. Center has 1500 replacements who are being used to provide housing facilities.
Data listed above could be greatly amplified, but is sufficient to illustrate grave difficulties encountered by General Barr in accomplishment his mission and to demonstrate fact that these difficulties entirely originate in failure Chinese high command to perform its functions. This chaos in military sphere is only part of larger chaos pervading all activities of Government as we survey this situation, we are constantly impressed that relatively minor corrective action taken in a few fields would effect major improvement in Government’s position provided that this action be taken as part of overall military, political, and economic plan. The Government so far has been incapable of developing such a plan.