893.001 Chiang Kai-shek/10–749: Telegram

The Chargé in China (Strong) to the Secretary of State

Cantel 1171. In private conversation with me Han Li-wu, Minister Education, on October 4 stated that Gimo1 definitely becoming more [Page 548] cooperative with President.2 Han and Wang Shih-chieh,3 who has confidence of Gimo, are working hard on Gimo toward this end and believe they will succeed in persuading Li and Pai4 to assume rather full authority and direction on continent while Gimo retains control Taiwan and possibly Hainan, but Li and Pai cannot control continent if Gimo out of whole picture. Han declared Li Tsung-jen must show moderation to assure this development and say this possible but handicapped by “little men around Li and particularly one little man” (meaning Chu Chang-wei5) who creating trouble. As an example, Han said, Li should have handled more carefully his refusal confirm appointment Tang En-po;6 Li in May gave full authority in writing to Minister National Defense to appoint field commanders without consulting him; thus Li had no right, no matter how bad the appointment of Tang, summarily to refuse it. Li is good man who does make good decisions if he thinks them out himself.

Han said he himself appointed by Li and he supported him but did not feel Li should always be considered right and Gimo wrong; feels Gimo sincere and has much to contribute. Gimo’s last visit to Canton resulted in big step toward more harmony, and next visit in near future should make further advance.

Han throughout 2-hour talk emphasized time and again moderation in Gimo attitude toward Li and Pai and optimism that his own influence, with that of Wang Shih-chieh, with whom he working closely, expected to bring Gimo around fully. Han is patriot working for unity as only effective way of stopping Communists and hopes persuade US enter Chinese scene again by showing unity exists.

Gimo, according to Han, has agreed defend north Kwangtung because original concept of defense of Fukien coast impossible with swift fall of Foochow and imminent fall of Amoy.

Han claims has trustworthy reports from friends who went Chungking with Gimo that people of that city did in fact give Gimo big spontaneous welcome, completely unorganized, and that “Gimo was moved to tears”.

Regarding finance, Han said currency collapse with its disastrous effects might well precede any military collapse which could be precipitated by disunity. Funds on Taiwan earmarked for 8 months were consumed in 3 months. Government might be obliged resort to printing press again unless Premier7 able obtain local revenues. (This may be one reason Gimo more willing to cooperate since his hold on financial [Page 549] resources has given him control in past but now Li and Pai control large area which can produce considerable income.)

Sent Department Cantel 1171, repeated Shanghai 558, Taipei 187, to Hong Kong by hand.

  1. Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, who retired as President on January 21, 1949, Chairman of the Kuomintang (Nationalist Party) Supreme Council.
  2. General Li Tsung-jen, Acting President, Vice Chairman of the Kuomintang Supreme Council.
  3. Former Chinese Minister for Foreign Affairs.
  4. General Pai Chung-hsi, Military and Political Affairs Director for Central China, former Chinese Minister of National Defense.
  5. Secretary and political adviser to Acting President Li.
  6. Deputy Director of Military and Political Affairs for Southeast China.
  7. General Yen Hsi-shan.