893.00/7–2049: Telegram

The Minister-Counselor of Embassy in China (Clark) to the Secretary of State

Cantel 783, Cheng Szu-yuan, advisor Li Tsung-jen and newly elected secretary Kmt Supreme Policy Committee, tells us so far real results Generalissimo’s visit Canton, including two short talks with Li, precisely nil. Cheng quite pessimistic any understanding between Li and Generalissimo will ever be reached and thinks entirely possible Generalissimo may leave Canton in few days without having made any real attempt come to grips with differences between two. Cheng says questions of paramount importance now are military strategy and troop control. (He says control money and supplies secondary as Canton regime has enough get along for time being.) Li and Generalissimo military views remain diametrically opposed:

Generalissimo insists on defense Taiwan and coastal areas; would feel no compunctions over abandonment interior. Li believes useless try hold Formosa and coast; thinks absolutely essential and eminently possible hold southwest and northwest hinterland.
Generalissimo continues play off military commanders against each other and allots arms, money, supplies on basis friendship, personal loyalty and Whampoa connections. Li, according to Cheng, wants get complete control MND30 and effect radical reorganization entire military setup. Specifically Li would assign or remove commanders and distribute arms, money, supplies on one criterion alone—who will and can fight Communists effectively. (Cheng incidentally suggests any future American aid must also be used this basis.) To carry out this program Li considers essential Pai Chung-hsi takeover MND and Chang Fa-kuei assume important post, probably Chief of Staff. Cheng says Li’s desires latter regard firmly opposed by Generalissimo who wants keep his man Ku Chu-tung present job.31 In passing, Cheng admits Li shows increasing lack determination stand up talk back to Generalissimo.

Sent Department Cantel 783, repeated Nanking 516, Shanghai 441, Taipei 69.

  1. Ministry of National Defense.
  2. Chief of Chinese General Staff.