The Consul General at Peiping (Clubb) to the Secretary of State
[Received March 10.]
Sir: I have the honor to refer to this Consulate General’s telegram no. 88 of February 20, 1948, and to enclose as of pertinency in this general connection a copy of my memorandum of conversation69 of that same date with General Ma Chan-shan (Commander-in-Chief, Sungpei Pacification Headquarters). The essence of that conversation has already been reported to the Department in this office’s reference telegram. It will be observed from the memorandum, however, that General Ma had of late been in discussion with General Li Tsung-jen (Director, President’s Peiping Headquarters) and General Fu Tso-yi (Commander-in-Chief, North China Bandit Suppression Headquarters), and it is therefore to be presumed that some of the thinking contained in his conversation with me reflected thoughts evolved in the course of discussions with those local military leaders.
The essential virtue of General Ma Chan-shan’s suggestion that much more use be made of the strength of the people—and of the leaders—of Manchuria itself in fighting Communism resides in the circumstance that the old China system of political connections would in fact give to those leaders some drawing power which they might be able to exercise in respect to personalities and groups now found in the Communist camp. It is believed, however, that the advanced age of the several leaders concerned (Ma Chan-shan himself is 64 years of age, and Chang Tso-hsiang70 and Wan Fu-lin71 are both about 70) makes it improbable that they could truly take active part in any field operations; and where they would find their more active lieutenants for those field operations is something which at the present time cannot be discerned. Having particular reference to the recent newspaper report that Chang Hsueh-liang72 was shortly to be removed from Taiwan to Kiangsi province, I asked General Ma Chan-shan whether there was any possibility that the “Young Marshal” would come out from his present confinement. General Ma indicated that it was uncertain whether the Nationalist Government planned that he should be released. The concluding observation that [Page 117] seems called for in respect to any project for saving Manchuria for the Nationalists is that these various projects are being brought forward about two years too late.
General Ma estimated incidentally that the total Communist strength in North China (excepting from the computation the province of Shantung) was about 300,000.
- Not printed.↩
- Brother of the late Marshal Chang Tso-lin, ruler of Manchuria until June 1928, and former Governor of Fengtien.↩
- Former Governor of Heilungchiang.↩
- The “Young Marshal” of Manchuria and head of its government until the Japanese occupation of 1931. For his participation in the forcible detention of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek at Sian, December 1936, see Foreign Relations, 1936, vol. iv, pp. 414–455, passim. Chang had been detained since then by the Chinese Government.↩