Dr. Kan Chieh-hou, the Personal Representative of the Acting President of China, to the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Butterworth)
My Dear Mr. Butterworth: Since the despatch of my letter of October 13 to you,68 I have received additional information from China.
The recent withdrawal from Hengyang and Canton has been due, not to the weakening of the strength of resistance on the part of the Nationalist forces, as is commonly supposed to be the case, but to unforeseen circumstances, which I feel constrained, as a friend, to point out to you without reserve so as to enable you to understand fully the actual situation in China.
Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, realizing that he would not be able to obtain control of any of the assistance provided by the new bill recently adopted by Congress, was determined not to let the aid coming from your Government fall into the hands of any other person. During his last visit to Canton, he expressed his disapproval of the plan to hold that city with the combined forces of Kwangtung and Kwangsi. At the same time, he ceased to pay to the Government the [Page 725]promised monthly quotas from the funds hoarded up in Formosa. Under such circumstances, both Hangyang and Canton had to be abandoned.
The crucial issue in China to-day is, therefore, the preservation of the crack force of 200,000 men under General Pai Chung-hsi and the troops retreating from Kwangtung into Kwangsi. These troops not only constitute the last bulwark against the Communists but also can form the nucleus of a new army for the eventual offensive. General Pai is convinced that, if he could have 400,000 men with effective equipment, he could commence a sweeping offensive which would turn the tide of war.
The sea-port of Kwangchowwan is still open to the outside world, and the land route from Indo-China used to good advantage during the Sino-Japanese War can be made use of again. If anything is to be done for China and the cause of democracy before it is too late, now is the time.
Any further hesitancy and delay on the part of your Government would play into the hands of the Generalissimo. It would automatically eliminate all other political and military leaders who would otherwise be qualified to guide the destinies of a future democratic China. And thus, his would be the only remaining political and military power left in China. This, I presume, is not what you wish to see in China.
- Not printed; it was almost identical to Dr. Kan’s letter of October 13 to the Secretary of State, supra. ↩