General Hurley saw that the Stilwell-Chiang feud could not be resolved, and eventually the recall of General Stilwell from China was announced. With regard, however, to our pro-Communist State Department representatives in China, Ambassador Hurley met defeat. On November 26, 1945, he wrote President Truman, who had succeeded to the Presidency in April, a letter of resignation and gave his reasons:
The astonishing feature of our foreign policy is the wide discrepancy between our announced policies and our conduct of international relations, for instance, we began the war with the principles of the Atlantic Charter and democracy as our goal. Our associates in the war at that time gave eloquent lip service to the principles of democracy. We finished the war in the Far East furnishing lend-lease supplies and using all our reputation to undermine democracy and bolster imperialism and Communism.
It is no secret that the American policy in China did not have the support of all the career men in the State Department. . . Our professional diplomats continuously advised the Communists that my efforts in preventing the collapse of the National Government did not represent the policy of the United States.
These same professionals openly advised the Communist armed party to decline unification of the Chinese Communist Army with the National Army unless the Chinese Communists were given control. . . Throughout this period the chief opposition to the accomplishment of our mission came from the American career diplomats in the Embassy at Chungking and in the Chinese and Far Eastern Divisions of the State Department.
I requested the relief of the career men who were opposing the American policy in the Chinese Theater of war. These professional diplomats were returned to Washington State Department as my supervisors, Some of these same career men whom I relieved have been assigned as advisors to the Supreme Commander in Asia (op. cit., pp. 581-582).
President Truman accepted General Hurley‘s resignation with alacrity. Without a shadow of justification, the able and patriotic Hurley was smeared with the implication that he was a tired and doddering man, and he was not even allowed to visit the War Department, of which he was former Secretary, for an interview. This affront to a great American ended our diplomatic double talk in China. With forthrightness, Mr. Truman made his decision. Our China policy henceforth was to be definitely pro-Communist. The President expressed his changed policy in a statement made on December 15, 1945.
Although the Soviet was pouring supplies and military instructors into Communist-held areas, Mr. Truman said that the United States would not offer military intervention to influence the courses of any Chinese internal strife. He urged Chiang‘s government to give the Communist elements a fair and effective representation in the Chinese National Government. To such a broadly representative government, he temptingly hinted that credits and loans would be forthcoming (op. cit., pp. 608-609). President Truman‘s amazing desertion of Nationalist China, so friendly to us throughout the years following the Boxer Rebellion (1900), has been thus summarized (NBC Network, April 13, 1951), by Congressman Joe Martin:
President Truman, on the advice of Dean Acheson, announced to the world on December 15, 1925, that unless communists were admitted to the established government of China, aid from America would no longer be forthcoming. At the same time, Mr. Truman dispatched General Marshall to China with orders to stop the mopping up of communist forces which was being carried to a successful conclusion by the established government of China.
Our new Ambassador to China, General of the Army George C. Marshall, conformed under White House directive (see his testimony before the Combined Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees of the Senate, May, 1951) to the dicta of Relations Combined Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees of the Senate, May, 1951) to the dicta of the State Department‘s Communist-inclined camarilla, and made further efforts to force Chiang to admit Communists to his Government in the effective numbers, no doubt, which Mr. Truman had demanded in his statement of December 15.
The great Chinese general, however, would not be bribed by promised loans and thus avoided the trap with which our State Department snared for Communism the states of Eastern Europe. He was accordingly paid off by the mishandling of supplies already en route, so that guns and ammunition for those guns did not make proper connection, as well as by the eventual complete withdrawal of American support as threatened by Mr. Truman.
For a full account of our scandalous pro-Communist moves in denying small arms ammunition to China; our charging China $162.00 for a bazooka (whose list price was $36.50 and surplus price to other nations was $3.65) when some arms were sent; and munerous similar details, see The China Story, already referred to.
Thus President Truman, Ambassador Marshall, and the State Department prepared the way for the fall of China to Soviet control. They sacrificed Chiang, who represented the Westernized and Christian element in China, and they destroyed a friendly government, which was potentially our strongest ally in the world—stronger even than the home island of maritime Britain in this age of air and guided missiles.
The smoke-screen excuse for our policy—namely that there was corruption in Chiang‘s government—is beyond question history‘s most glaring example of the pot calling the kettle black. For essential background material, see Shanghai Conspiracy by Major General Charles A. Willoughby, with a preface by General of the Army Douglas MacArthur (Dutton, 1952).
General Ambassador Marshall became Secretary of State in January, 1947, On July 9, 1947, President Harry S. Truman directed Lieutenant General Albert C. Wedemeyer, who had served for a time as Commander-in-Chief of American Forces in the Asian Theater after the removal of Stilwell, to proceed to China without delay for the purpose of making an appraisal of the political, economic, pathological and military situations current and projected. Under the title, Special Representative of the President of United States, General Wedemeyer worked with the eight other members of his mission from July 16 to September 18 and on September 19 transmitted his report (United States Relations with China, pp. 764-814) to appointing authority, the President.
In a section of his Report called Implications of No Assistance‘ to China or Continuation of Wait and See Policy, General Wedemeyer wrote as follows:
To advise at this time a policy of no assistance to China would suggest the withdrawal of the United States Military and Naval Advisory Groups from China and it would be equivalent to cutting the ground from under the feet of the Chinese Government. Removal of American assistance, without removal of Soviet assistance, would certainly lay the country open to eventual Communist domination.
It would have repercussions in other parts of Asia, would lower American prestige in the Far East and would make easier the spread of Soviet influence and Soviet political expansion not only in Asia but in other parts of the world. Here is General Wedemeyer‘s conclusion as to the strategic importance of Nationalist China to the United States:
Any further spread of Soviet influence and power would be inimical to United States strategic interests. In time of war the existence of an unfriendly China would result in denying us important air bases for use as staging areas for bombing attacks as well as important naval bases along the Asiatic coast. Its control by the Soviet Union or a regime friendly to the Soviet Union would make available for hostile use a number of warm water ports and air bases.
Our own air and naval bases in Japan, Ryukyus and the Philippines would be subject to relatively short range neutralizing air attacks. Furthermore, industrial and military development of Siberia east of Lake Baikal would probably make the Manchurian area more or less self-sufficient.
Here are the more significant of the Wedemeyer recommendations:
It is recommended: That the United States provide as early as practicable moral, advisory and material support to China in order to prevent Manchuria from becoming a Soviet satellite, to bolster opposition to Communist expansion and to contribute to the gradual development of stability in China. . . That arrangements be made whereby China can purchase military equipment and supplies (particularly motor maintenance parts), from the United States. The [sic] military advice and supervision be extended in scope to include field forces training centers and particularly logistical agencies.
Despite our pro-Communist policy in the previous twenty months, the situation in China was not beyond repair at the time of the Wedemeyer survey. In September, 1947, the Chiang government had large forces still under arms and was in control of all China south of the Yangtze River, of much of North China, with some footholds in Manchuria (W. H. Chamberlin, Human Events, July 5, 1950). General Wedemeyer picked 39 Chinese divisions to be American-sponsored and these were waiting for our supplies and our instructors—in case the Wedemeyer program was accepted.