Nanking Embassy Files, Lot F73—800 Nationalist-Communist

The Commander, U.S. Naval Forces, Western Pacific (Badger) to the Chief of Naval Operations (Denfeld)

091101Z. At present rate of deterioration Communist forces will soon control all of North China with exception of a few Nationalist defensive positions which will be completely surrounded and isolated. Industrial activities such as ports, coal mines, factories, railroads essential to economic welfare of China as a whole will be rendered unserviceable or in Communist hands. US influence in North China will be replaced by Soviet.

In spite of this wholly black outlook Communist military strength is by no means so preponderant that Nationalist recovery is beyond possibility if proper conduct of planning and operations is immediately undertaken.

[Page 255]

During past week end a meeting between Ambassador, General Barr and myself was held Nanking to consider ways and means to assist Chinese within scope of existing policies and directives and at same time protect US interests in China. All agreed that immediate adoption broader policy permitting MAG assistance to highest levels of staff Nanking and principal field commanders was essential to improvement and to prevent situation from deteriorating beyond limits of possible recovery.

Principal causes failures and defensive attitude on part of Nats Commanders are poor overall planning with resulting poor operational control and support. The following apply:

Orders from Nanking to take offensive often disregarded [due to?] fact that troops may be inadequately armed or equipped for tasks assigned.
Field Commanders have no assurance that ammunition and equipment will be replenished.
Nat tactics not adapted to combat type of guerrilla warfare waged by Communists.
Communists accept surrender of weapons and equipment by Nationalist troops without holding latter prisoner. This and low Nationalist morale has resulted in five to one ratio in capture of weapons in favor of Communists.

Despite evident lack of offensive spirit believe a few well supported offensive operations are practicable and if successful might turn the tide of steady deterioration. However, without responsible planning and operational assistance Nats face certain defeat. Since there are limits to number of advisors it is practicable to employ, the major efforts should be directed to top echelon in Nanking and to highest field headquarters. A system of decentralized planning could then be instituted at once with field commanders initiating plans and submitting them to Nanking for approval and allotment of adequate support. This in accordance our own procedure during war and particularly applicable to Chinese as it maintains “face” and insures maximum efforts of field commander since initial plan stems from him. This also saves face and reputation of commanders directed to maintain defensive to permit offensive operations elsewhere. Furthermore operations would be conducted on framework of present Chinese organization.

Conferred with Gimo on 6 June and found him not only receptive to advisory assistance but asking for it. Stated specifically that he would decentralize planning and operations if his commanders and staff activities were capable of assuring these responsibilities.

In view of the above recommend that directive to Advisory Groups Nanking be changed to include:

Authority and provisions for advice and assistance in planning and executing operations to highest levels of military command down to and including selected Field Headquarters.
The following “any activities or communications which may affect basic US policy, military situation and plans, deployment of military forces in China or US military commitments in China shall be made known to senior US Military Commander in China (presently ComNavWesPac)”.

Note: This to provide close coordination necessary in view relationship Advisory activities to ComNavWesPac interests and responsibilities and is desired whether or not recommendation (a) is approved.

In view vital importance this matter I have offered to render all possible assistance to Chief Army Advisory Group who is meeting with me on fourteenth to consider concrete means of placing recommendations in effect if approved in Washington.

Ambassador requested to comment if desired.