795.00/11–650: Telegram

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


614. Information from Chinese military sources transmitted to Washington past few days by Embassy’s service Attaches gives strong support to assumption Chinese Communists intend throw book at UNO forces in Korea besides stepping up efforts in Indochina. Obviously allowance must be made for wishful thinking among Chinese military, majority of whom see general conflict as only hope for liberation of China from communism. In present case however this qualification still leaves imposing array seemingly established facts plus evident sincerity of opinion among best informed Chinese here such as to make it entirely possible that preponderant view among them, anticipating all-out action by Chinese Communists in Korea is justified:

Among reasons advanced why Chinese Communists have delayed entry in force, without speculating on Moscow influences, are:

Chinese Communists assumed North Koreans would win and therefore were not prepared intervene on short notice.
Delaying major effort until fighting reached frontier region greatly shortened their lines of communication, which particularly important with UNO forces controlling sea, air, and gave them maximum time to prepare. Besides moving up troops from other parts of China it necessary replenish stocks, supplies and equipment in Manchuria which seriously depleted in aiding North Koreans.
In frontier area fullest advantage can be taken of extent to which world opinion already conditioned to acts of aggression and regards identification of few regiments on wrong side of border as something less than overt action. Meanwhile UNO forces can be weakened and exposure Chinese Communist bases and communications to bombing delayed. Evidence of all-out effort including expenditure Chinese Communist air force expected be postponed long as possible for reasons paragraph 2 above.
Much easier whip up support of public opinion in China for major military operations if immediate threat to Manchurian border can be [Page 1070] claimed; this despite general assumption Chinese Communist leaders know UNO forces have no intention cross frontier and would not attempt invade Manchuria with mere ten divisions in any event.
Most effective possible counter to UNO successes from Communist viewpoint would be crushing victory by Chinese Communists in North Korea, which would serve purposes of discrediting UNO, enhancing Asiatic and Communist prestige vis-à-vis western imperialism and eliminating large part existing US army as fighting force.

Foregoing are necessarily matters of opinion to considerable extent, but facts that Chinese military on Formosa have access to more sources of information on mainland and have had more experience in this field than anyone else outside curtain warrant most serious attention their views at present juncture.

Above paragraphs drafted prior to receipt MacArthur’s communiqué.

Department pass Seoul USPolAd Tokyo repeated info Seoul 2 Tokyo 39 Hong Kong 108.