The Vice Consul at Chungking (McGeary) to the Secretary of State

No. 48

Sir: I have the honor to submit for the information of the Department and the Embassy a report concerning recent military and political information obtained by the Consulate. Sources contributing to this information include Wang Lin-chi, Governor of Szechwan, Wang Chuan, representative in Chengtu of General Hu Tsung-nan, Chang Tu-lun, Secretary-General of the Political Commission of the Southwest Military and Political Administration, Ho Pei-hen, Commissioner of Reconstruction of the Szechwan provincial government and local press reports.


General Wang Chuan, who is one of several representatives Hu Tsung-nan maintains in Chengtu for liaison and supply duty, stated to a representative of the Consulate that General Hu has a total of 400,000 troops in Shensi and Kansu but that only about 100,000 of these were on active duty. He asserted that those on active duty were adequate to hold their present positions and ultimately launch attacks to regain control of Shensi province. He readily agreed that the assistance of troops from Kansu under the control of Ma Pu-fang was very helpful but stated that Ma’s forces would probably not be available for any purpose but the defense of the Kansu perimeter. He repeatedly emphasized that Hu had no intention of remaining permanently on the defensive. He stated further that replacements of personnel and supplies and equipment for Hu’s army must come from Szechwan and that if this province failed to do its part then whatever happened would not be General Hu’s responsibility.

It is very doubtful that much in the way of equipment will be available from this area, although foodstuffs and man power are available and will probably be furnished in proportion to the extent that the Central Government maintains firm control over the province. It appears increasingly likely that such control will be maintained with little likelihood of successful challenge from the groups previously reported as desiring autonomy and freedom of action to make whatever arrangements might be dictated by expediency without reference to any loyalty to the Nationalists.

News reports today indicate that Paochi, Shensi, which is a point commanding roads leading westward into Kansu southward into [Page 430] Szechwan and eastward toward Sian the capital of Shensi, is again in Communist hands. On two previous occasions the Communists have captured Paochi but have been unable to hold it. The forces of Ma Pu-fang are unwilling to allow them to remain in possession of Paochi because of the threat thus posed to Kansu, while Hu Tsung-nan’s forces are similarly unwilling to permit Paochi’s occupation because of the threat posed to Szechwan. Previously it has been Mohammedan troops from Ma’s command which have counterattacked and thrust the Communists out of Paochi.

If the Communists were able to retain a firm hold on Paochi it is likely that Szechwan would be more menaced than Kansu since the defenses of Szechwan are less formidable than those of Kansu and the capture of Szechwan with its resources of manpower and food supply would be of far greater use to the Communists than the capture of Kansu.

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Respectfully yours,

Stanley A. McGeary
  1. Written July 12 or later.