894A.00/7–1849: Telegram

The Consul at Taipei (Edgar) to the Secretary of State



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Wu18 asked if I could obtain confidential US reaction to program since success or failure depended ultimately on US assistance. He stated inner group of which he was one (and I suspect leader) was constantly working for improved internal conditions to supplant Chinese maladministration and corruption. Old timers like Sun Fo and Chen Li-fu19 reluctant to get out but Wu believes extreme adversity will purify Government. Expects fall of Canton will shock Chinese into realization that old systems must be discarded. Foresees great organizational and membership changes thereafter. Has hope Foochow, Amoy, Swatow will be held.

Emphasizing confidence Wu said Generalissimo has changed point of view greatly in recent weeks. No longer angers at criticism of followers. At Tainan stop after Baguio Generalissimo and four advisers had blunt 3-hour discussion of politics, personalities, and military reorganization. Generalissimo for first time calmly admitted justness of criticism. Accepted recommendation to drop plan to appoint Sun Fo as Second Vice President of new Kmt Council and agreed to Premier ex-officio instead. Also agreed to defer to Li as Acting President and make every effort at conciliation in interests of solidarity. Wu says if Generalissimo keeps these two promises he will believe new course has been taken. Wu himself will accept no new official position until he is convinced of adoption of reform. Cited Shanghai departure as disagreement with Tang En-po. That debacle removes Tang as candidate for head of new Directorate General to be approved in Canton and established in Provincial Building Taipei. Lin Wei too subordinate. Chen Cheng most likely may continue governorship concurrently although considered incompetent as administrator and economist.

In matter of internal reform, Wu said those working here would be greatly aided if Secretary Acheson would call in Chinese Ambassador and have frank talk pointing out reasons for Department’s “inaction” and stating confidentially what internal reforms should be made.20 [Page 443] Replying my citation Marshall statement,21 Wu said it was bitter denunciation by frustrated man and like red flag to Generalissimo. Therefore I believe Wu’s group wants proposed reforms list for guidance of Generalissimo.

During 2-hour talk, Wu repeatedly emphasized basic objectives both countries identical and highest US statesmanship needed. Cited F.D.R. offer of loan on fall of Canton and Hankow.22 Urged adoption of Gilpatrick system of US-supervised relief distribution to insure proper use of US aid in future. Repeated belief fall of Canton will result in removal of worst elements and make bad men better. As previously reported this is not first time Wu has intimated great reforms after loss Canton and suggested new US attitude thereafter. I cannot estimate how important his group or movement is.

Sent Department, repeated Canton 127.

  1. K. C. Wu, former Mayor of Shanghai.
  2. Latter was leader of the so-called C–C clique in the Kuomintang and Minister without Portfolio.
  3. In telegram No. 213, August 4, 2 p. m., the Department replied that it found this telegram “most interesting and helpful” but that after careful consideration it was decided not to call on the Chinese Ambassador to suggest reforms in view of the impending issuance of the White Paper on China.
  4. For statement by General of the Army George C. Marshall, Special Representative of President Truman, on January 7, 1947, see Department of State, United States Relations With China (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1949), p. 686.
  5. See President Roosevelt’s letter of October 26, 1938, to the President of the Chinese Executive Yuan (Kung), Foreign Relations, 1938, vol. iii, p. 342. For announcement on December 15, 1938, of $25,000,000 credit by the Export-Import Bank of Washington to finance trade with China, see ibid., p. 586.