The China Story by Freda Utley
Chapter 2, Too Little, Too Late --
The Facts About "Aid to China"
The record of America's China policy since 1945, as briefly outlined, shatters the myth that China was lost to the Communists simply because of the shortcomings of the National Government. Examination of the figures of "military aid" to China leads to the conclusion that it was lack of ammunition, as well as too much American interference to the benefit of the Communists, which gave the victory to Stalin.
The extent of American military aid to China is not an academic question of interest only to historians. The past determines the future. Without knowledge of the facts it is impossible for the American people to decide what should be their present policy.
If it were true that the National Government fell of its own weight, it could logically be argued that it is useless to supply its remaining forces on Formosa with arms and ammunition. If, on the other hand, the anti-Communist forces in China were defeated by superior military strength, we should not, today, refuse to accept them as allies in the struggle for the world.
No one who takes the trouble to study the records can accept Acheson's statement:1/
The unfortunate but inescapable fact is that the ominous result of the civil war in China was beyond the control of the government of the United States. Nothing that this country did or could have done within the reasonable limits of its capabilities could have changed that result; nothing that was left undone by this country has contributed to it.
Perhaps Mr. Acheson did not study the White Paper all the way through its unindexed 1054 pages. For in the small print annexes in the back, as will be shown, are a number of documents that glaringly contradict the words of the State Department in the main text.
In a letter to Senator Connally on March 15, 1949, Mr. Aches stated more explicitly that United States aid to China since V-J Day totalled "over $2 billion." He wrote:
Despite the present aid program authorized by the last Congress, together with the very substantial other aid extended by the United States to China since V-J Day, aggregating over $2 billion, the economic and military position of the Chinese Government has deteriorated to the point where the Chinese Communists hold almost all important areas of China from Manchuria to the Yangtze River and have the military ability . . . of eventually dominating South China. . . . The Chinese Government forces have lost no battles during the past year because of lack of ammunition and equipment, while the Chinese Communists have captured the major portion of military supplies, exclusive of ammunition, furnished the Chinese Government by the United States since V-J Day. There is no evidence that the furnishing of additional military materiel would alter the pattern of current developments in China (italics added).
The clear implication of this statement is that America gave two billion dollars to China in military and economic aid to combat Communism.
Let us first break down that $2 billion total into its component parts, with a view to ascertaining the actual amounts of military aid given the National Government of China to resist Communist aggression.
According to the figures given on pages 1043-44 of the White Paper, Mr. Acheson's over-all figure of $2 billion of postwar aid to China includes a total of $799 million of "economic aid," and $797.7 million of "military aid," which together add up to something over $1.5 billion. The balance of the $2 billion is not itemized, but presumably includes the United States' share of UNRRA aid, which is calculated to have amounted to $474 million.
The largest single item in Mr. Acheson's total of $797.7 million of military aid is "services and expenses" amounting to $335.8 million, and listed under the heading "Postwar Lend-Lease." The "services" referred to consisted of the cost of repatriating the million or more Japanese soldiers in China, and of transporting the Chinese Nationalist forces to accept the surrender of the Japanese Army in the liberated territories. According to President Truman, these "services" cannot properly be regarded as "postwar" Lend-Lease, but must be included under the heading of World War II expenditures. For on December 18, 1946, he said:
While comprehensive large-scale aid has been delayed, this Government has completed its wartime lend-lease commitments to China. Lend-lease assistance was extended to China to assist her in fighting the Japanese, and later to fulfill our promise to assist in re-occupying the country from the Japanese. Assistance took the form of goods and equipment and of services. Almost half the total made available to China consisted of services, such as those involved in air and water transportation of troops. According to the latest figures reported, lend-lease assistance to China up to V-J Day totaled approximately $870,000,000. From V-J Day to the end of February, shortly after General Marshall's arrival, the total was approximately $600,000,000 -- mostly its transportation costs.
These transportation costs involved the repatriation of Japanese soldiers and the reoccupation of liberated territories carried out by Chinese Nationalist forces. The operation had been managed entirely by United States military authorities and President Truman on December 15, 1945, said that these sums had been disbursed "to effect the disarmament and evacuation of Japanese troops in the liberated areas."
As Dr. Walter Judd said in Congress, "If we had not transferred the Chinese to take the surrender of the Japanese, we would have had to use Americans. We saved money in the transaction. It cost us less to transport them than it would have cost us to transport and support Americans there."
Thus, in our analysis of the actual military aid given to China after Japan's defeat, we must first deduct the $335.8 million represented by the cost of repatriating the Japanese and accepting their surrender. This leaves us with a total of $461.9 million of postwar military aid to China. This figure must be further reduced by eliminating the non-military "surplus war stocks" sold to China in 1946, which Mr. Acheson also includes in his total of "military aid." For as noted in the previous chapter reviewing General Marshall's mission to China, President Truman, in the summer of 1946, expressly prohibited any further acquisition by China of arms or ammunition which could be used to fight the Communists. So the "surplus" United States war stocks sold to China in 1946 included little of any military value to the National Government. Out of the total of $100 million worth of "surplus" United States stocks sold to China in 1946, 40 per cent consisted of quartermaster supplies, and only $3 million consisted of the small-arms and ammunition required in the war against the Communists.
It is true that some armaments, such as large-caliber artillery pieces, were included, but these were not of a kind, as I shall show later, which could be used in fighting the Communists. The same can be said of such items as the half-million gas masks, priced at $8 apiece--total $4,000,000--which the Chinese Government presumably bought for the value of the rubber to the civilian economy.
Elimination of both the "services" charges and of the $100 million or so of United States non-military "war surplus" stocks sold to China in 1946 reduces the total of postwar "military aid" to China to about $360 million. This total is disputed by the Chinese National Government. According to its calculations, China received $110 million worth of "effective military aid" prior to the 1948 China Aid Act, which, together with the $125 million allocated by that Act, brought the total to $225 million. Whichever figure is correct, the total sum is far less than the "billions" which are popularly assumed to have been squandered to no purpose.
The evidence shows also that the most of the military aid actually given to the Nationalist Chinese forces reached them too late. The $125 million of munitions allocated under the April 1948 China Aid Act was not delivered until nine months or a year later, and by that time the Communists had already conquered most of China.
Before proceeding to an account of the 1948 China Aid Act, it is necessary to examine the consequences of General Marshall's 1946-47 embargo on the shipment of arms or ammunition to China, and President Truman's insistence that no help should be given to the anti-Communist forces in the so-called "civil war."
Colonel L. B. Moody, a United States Army Ordinance Corps officer, now retired, who served with the Donald Nelson mission to China, has made an intensive and detailed study of aid to China. In a speech in Washington on April 11, 1950, he said that in China
the massive support of artillery, tanks, motor transport and aircraft to which western armies are accustomed is practically non-existent. The side which has the predominating infantry weapons, and especially the ammunition therefore, holds all the aces. You are asked to bear this in mind as this talk will endeavor to show that the foreseen and inevitable defeat of the Nationalist Armies was due to a Nationalist deficit in these items, and Communist superiority therein, resulting from persistent United States action.
e explained that a Chinese division consists of three regiments of infantry, totaling 5,000 rifles, 12 light howitzers carried on pack animals, and a complement of signal, medical, and transport troops; and that three such divisions constitute what the Chinese call an "army." United States types of weapons have all along constituted a minor fraction of Chinese armament.
Real military aid to China to combat Communism would have meant the delivery of small arms and ammunition to the Nationalists. But this was precisely what America denied to the anti-Communist forces. As Colonel Moody said:
It is obvious that "military aid" means to the Chinese infantry weapons and ammunition above all else, and it is precisely these items which the United States action has consistently denied, delayed or limited. Only passing reference will be made to the billions of moldy cigarettes, blown-up guns, junk bombs, and disabled vehicles from the Pacific Islands, which have been totaled up with other real or alleged "aid" in various State Department, Communist, and leftist statements to create the impression that we have furnished the Nationalist Government with hundreds of millions, or even billions, of dollars worth of useful fighting equipment. From the start of Japanese aggression to this evening the prime need of the Nationalist Armies has been, in the language of Joe Stilwell, "Bullets, damn it, just bullets."
Colonel Moody also drew attention to the fact that the Chinese Communist admissions concerning their own casualties disproved the popular assumption that the Nationalist forces lost because of poor morale. For the Chinese Communist command reported that in the three years of civil war from July 1946 to July 1949, the number of their killed and wounded was 1,233,600. This is greater than the total of American casualties in World War II.
General Marshall's embargo on the sale of American arms and ammunition to the Nationalist forces in China was not lifted until July 1947, when the State Department allowed the Chinese Government to purchase some three weeks' supply of 7.92 mm. ammunition -- 130 million rounds. Chiang Kai-shek had been endeavoring, for a year, to get per mission from the State Department to be allowed to acquire this ammunition, which could not be sold to anyone else because it had been made during World War II according to Chinese specifications.
One other small boon was vouchsafed to the Nationalists in 1947. The Marines and the Navy, when ordered to leave China, gave them a six days' supply for their .30 caliber weapons.
Colonel Moody calculates that in December 1947 at the normal rate of use, the total of ammunition in possession of the Nationalists was sufficient for only twenty-two days in the case of the Chinese 7.92 mm. weapons; and for thirty-six days in the case of the Chinese 7.92 mm. weapons; and for thirty-six days in the case of their .30 caliber-U.S.--guns.
General Marshall's and President Truman's arms embargo in 1946 was not the first denial of arms to the anti-Communist forces in China. Even before Japan's surrender, when abundant supplies of German arms and ammunition of the type used by the Chinese Nationalist forces became available, and could have been given them at no cost to the American taxpayer, this help was refused.
The standard Chinese Nationalist rifle ammunition was the same as the German 7.92 mm. Had the Administration desired to help create a "strong, independent and friendly China," ample ammunition could therefore have been supplied at no cost to the National Government after Germany's defeat. The supply of German light arms and ammunition to China was urgently recommended by General Wedemeyer following V-E Day, and shipment was approved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. A first consignment of twenty thousand rifles had actually left a German port for China, but was stopped en route by an order signed by Lauchlin Currie on White House stationery, forbidding any such aid to China. Ultimately a part of what could so easily have been given to China ended up in Russian hands in East Germany, and the rest was destroyed.
Nor is this the only evidence available of the Administration's failure from the very beginning to help China resist Russian aggression.
Following Japan's surrender, shipments of Lend-Lease supplies to China from India were stopped, and large quantities of munitions and equipment intended for China were destroyed, or thrown into the sea. Smaller caliber ammunition was blown up, and 120,000 tones of larger caliber dumped into the Indian Ocean.2/ This "Operation Destruction" cost the lives of twenty-five Americans and one hundred and twenty-five Indians. Yet, these destroyed munitions are to be found included in the total of "pre-V-J Day Lend-Lease" charged to China's account.
The facts recorded above are only a small part of the record proving that neither Congress, nor the American people, have ever been permitted to know the truth about "aid to China."
The White Paper emphasizes the aid that was supplied to China early in 1948 by permitting the National Government to buy, at bargain prices, the stores which had been rotting on Pacific Islands. But it does not mention the fact that the "surplus" ammunition made available to China in January 1948 consisted mainly of types useless to the Chinese Nationalist forces. Colonel Moody’s detailed analysis shows that of the total offered only 3 per cent was of the required groundforce types, and only 2 per cent of useful air-force types, and not all of this was serviceable.
Only 52,500 cartridges of the .30 caliber they required for their American rifles and machine gunes were to be found, accounting for one-fortieth of one per cent of the total supplies made available to them. Certain other types of small-arms ammunition they could use brought the total tonnage to sixty-three tons, less than two-thirds of one per cent of the total shipped. This was at a time when the anti-Communist forces in China were going into battle with barely enough ammunition to fill their cartridge belts.
The Chinese contracted from their own funds for the 10,000 tons of ammunition that was made available to them at bargain prices early in 1948, because although little of it consisted of what they required, they hoped to make future use of it. For instance, they bought a stock of large-caliber shells in order to extract the explosive for mining and industrial operations, or to use in Chinese arsenals for loading the ammunition they made for themselves. But by making these purchases they enabled the State Department to claim that large supplies of munitions had been made available to fight the Communists, which was not so.
In the period December 1947 to November 1948 (when munitions voted in April 1948 in the China Aid Act began to arrive) the total of "surplus" United States ammunition sold to the Chinese provided only a months’s supply for the weapons they had and could use. Chinese production could provide only 7 to 8 per cent of requirements. Colonel Moody therefore calculates that the total of Chinese-produced and American rifle and machine-gun ammunition produced or acquired in 1948 amounted to only some sixty-three days’ supply in active operations.
Aside from these facts stated by an ordnance expert, dispatches to the State Department from its representatives in China in 1947 and 1948 conflict with Mr. Acheson’s statement in his "Letter of Transmittal" to the White Paper t hat "the Natinalist armies did not lose a single battle during the crucial year 1948 through lack of arms and ammunition."
The United States Ambassador, Dr. Leighton Stuart, wrote frequently of the critical situation of the Nationalist forces and their desperate need of ammunition. Here are a few examples:
On July 1, 1947: "Persons in direct contact with the Nationalist troops in rural areas state there are insufficient small arms and ammunition to arm all combatant troops in the field."
On September 20, 1947: "Political, military and economic position of Central Government has continued to deteriorate within recent months in accordance with previous expectations. Currently, the cumulative effect of the absence of substantial financial and military assistance expected from the Wedemeyer Mission and renewed Communist military activity are intensifying the Chinese tendency to panic in times of crisis."
These dispatches in the Annexes of th e White Paper do not bear out Mr. Acheson’s statement on March 20, 1947, when he appeared before the House Foreign Affairs Committee to oppose military aid and advice to China, that "The Chinese Government is not in the position at the present time that the Greek Government is in. It is not approaching collapse. It is not threatened by defeat by the Communists. The war with the Communists is going on much as it has for the past twenty years."
On February 5, 1948: "The situation is very definitely one to cause pessimism. If American aid should materialize in adequate measure and palatable form, the tide may turn quickly in our favor . . . if our plans are deemed to insufficient or unpalatable, or unlikely to be effective, it is more than likely that disaffection of some elements now in the government may ensue. Such disaffection may well result in the replacement of present dominant elements with the group desirous of effecting union with the communists through the good offices of the Soviet Union."
On March 17,1948: "In their despair all groups blame America for urging structural changes . . . or reforms which they feel they they themselves would carry out if their imeediate internal problems were not so acute, while America still delays the long promised aid upon which the survival of democratic institutions depends."
On March 31, 1948: "The Chinese people do not want to become Communists, yet they see the tide of Communism running irresistibly onward. In the midst of this chaos and inaction the Generalissimo stands out as the only moral force capable of action."
And on August 10, 1948, panic-stricken by the imminent success of the Marshall-Acheson policy designed to establish a coalition government in China, Ambassador Stuart wrote: "Even through at present some form of coalition seems most likely, we believe that from the standpoint of the United States it would be most undesirable. We say this because the history of coalitions including Communists demonstrates all too clearly Communist ability by political means to take over complete control of the government and in the process to acquire some kind of internatinal recognition. . . . We would recommend therefore that American efforts be designed to prevent the formation of a coalition government, and our best means to that end is continued and, if possible, increased support to the present government."
A couple of months later the Chinese delegate to the United Nations, Dr. T. F. Tsiang, appealed to Secretary of State Marshall in Paris. He asked if anything would induce the United States to help China. He offered to put United States officers in actual command of Chinese troops "under the pretense of acting as advisers." He begged for munitions. And, finally, he asked General Marshall "as to the advisability of Chinese appeal to the United Nations because of Soviet training and equipping of Japanese military and also the Koreans."8/
General Marshall said he would refer Tsiang’s requests and suggestions to Washington, but "did not offer encouragement." And he rejected the Chinese proposal to appeal to the United Nations, saying: "I thought it an inadvisable procedure and discussed possible Soviet moves to take advantage rather than to counter such a move."
Perhaps the Administration’s refusal to give Chiang Kai-shek the military advice he begged for was even more helpful to the Communists than the embargo on arms and ammunition. The Chinese Nationalist armies were huge, but they had no generals capable of commanding large forces. Chiang knew this and had therefore begged America to appoint officers to China who would give the anti-Communist forces the same aid as the Russians were giving to the Communist armies. But his request--for the same kind of aide we were giving to Greece--was ignored.
As his authority for the statement that the Chinese Natinalist forces did not lose a battle in 1948 through lack of adequate arms, Mr. Acheson cited "our military observers on the spot." But our "military observers," meaning the United States Military Mission, were not in fact "on the spot"; they were sitting in Nanking, thanks to Mr. Acheson.
On August 24, 1949, in a statement to the press, he said that United States military advisers in China were not permitted to give advice in the field because Congress refused to include the "Greek-Turkey proviso" in the 1948 China Aide Act. In fact, however, it was the State Department which caused this proviso to be removed from the Act. The House had included it, but the Senate removed it at the State Department’s request, and upon assurances given by the State Department that the Act would in fact be implemented as if the Greek-Turkey proviso were included.
Having induced the Senate to withdraw the House proviso for "diplomatic reasons," but with the promise that military advice would nevertheless be given to the Chinese Natinalist forces, the State Department proceeded to act within the limits set by the letter of the law, thus ignoring its promise to the Senate. In the fall of 1948, William C. Bullitt, on his return from a visit to China, reported that "the so-called mission sent to aid Chiang" had been instructed "not to advise him" with regard to the operation of his forces.
The former Ambassador and confidant of Franklin D. Roosevelt further stated that "nearly half of the 1500-man military "mission" was composed of fellow travellers and Communist sympathizers."
Whatever the exact figures, it would seem that the Military Mission to China was never intended to be more than window dressing to satisfy the opposition in Congress. Since it was forbidden to give strategic or tactical advice to the Nationalist forces, it had no valid function.
The commander of the United States Advisory Group in Nanking wa Major General David G. Barr. In April 1948 he recommended that 243 million rounds of small-arms ammunition be provided as an "immediate emergency requirement." And in his 1949 report, included in the White Paper, he refers to the "limited resources" of the Natinalists, and the difficulties thereby inherent in the defensive strategy they were compelled to adopt. Referring to the air force, he says: "There was an ever-present reluctance to take a chance on losing equipment or personnel."
General Barr, an "on-the-spot" military observer, was also apparently not of the opinion of the State Department and Mr. Acheson that the Nationalist Government was defeated by the Communists because of the poor morale of its troops brought about by its own corruption. . . . For in his report he speaks of the "inability" of the Nationalist forces "to realize that discretion is usually the better part of valor" as largely responsible for their huge losses. "They have been unable to be convinced," he states, "of the necessity of withdrawing from cities and prepared areas when faced with overpowering opposition and certain isolation and defeat, while the opportunity still existed to do so. In some cases their reasons for failure to withdraw were political, but in most cases they were convinced that by defensive action alone they could, through attrition if nothing else, defeat the enemy."
General Barr also emphasized the fact that the Nationalist armies were "burdened with an unsound strategy" and made the fundamental mistake of trying to get control of Manchuria, which was a task "beyond its logistic capacities." And he notes the fact that the necessity of attempting to protect railways from Communist destruction had led to many Natinalist troops degenerating "from field armies, capable of offensive spirit.
In his report General Barr provides an answer to the charge so assiduously propagated that the Nationalist forces allowed their equipment to be captured by the Communists. In China, ages of lean living developed a capacity to make use in some way or another of what others would regard as refuse; thus the Chinese have acquired what General Barr calls an "inherent" inability to destroy anything of value. General Barr describes their failure to destroy equipment when forced to surrender or retreat as due to this characteristic. It should also be noted here that Mr. Acheson himself in his letter to Senator Connally quoted at the beginning of this chapter admits that ammunition was not captured by the Communists from the National forces. This evidence suggests that the latter surrendered because they ran out of ammunition.
Incidentally, General Barr makes a comment which disposes of the State Department’s belief that the Chinese Communists are primarily Chinese and only secondarily Communists. Referring to the national characteristics which weaken the Nationalist armies, h e says that the Communists have managed to "subordinate them" by making "their ideology of Communism almost a fetish."
Let us now resume our account of the record of "aid to China."
General Marshall’s embargo on shipment of aid to the anti-Communist forces was, as we have already seen, lifted in the summer of 1947. The small quantity of munitions which China was then allowed to buy was considered by the Chinese Government as the only effective aid against the Communists which America had permitted them to obtain since General Marshall went to China.
Finally, in 1948, the Administratin, as a result of the Republican control of the House of Representatives in the 80th Congress, was compelled to include a grant of $125 million of military aid to China in the China Aid Act, originally presented only as an economic aid program.
But the Chinese Government was nevertheless unable to procure the munitions it so desperately needed until nearly the end of the year.
On April 5, 1948, the Chinese Ambassador in Washington made his first request for implementation of the Act. Two months went by with the Chinese pleading in vain to be allowed to make their wants known and start procuring supplies with the funds appropriated by Congress for th is purpose. At last, on June 2, President Truman (who had that same day received a strongly worded letter from Senator Bridges, the Chairman of the "Watch Dog" Committee) wrote to Secretary of State Marshall and to the Treasury advising them of the procedures to be followed in permitting China to make use of the sums appropriated. General Marshall waited over three weeks, until June 28, before so advising the Chinese Ambassador.
Even then the Chinese could not acquire arms and ammunition because the President had authorized only commercial transactions, and the munitions required could be obtained only from Government stocks. Another month passed before the President issued a directive authorizing United States Government departments and agencies to transfer military materiel from their own stocks, or procure it for the Chinese Government. (A year later the State Department was to point with pride to its "initiative" in having arranged the procedures for China to obtain supplies by July 28--nearly four months after the China Aid Act was passed!)
Had there been any reasonably normal expedition in handling the military aid funds made available under the Act, shipments from storage depots of at least the simpler, and most urgently required items (such as rifles, machine guns and ammunition), could have started by the end of April. If the Administration had really wished to stem the Communist tide in China, quicker action still could have been taken. As Colonel L. B. Moody points out, a study of the American shipments to Britain made after Dunkirk shows that shipments were en route from United States ports within a week after Churchill informed Roosevelt of England’s desperate need. Yet this rapid action required far more complicated procedures than was the case with the funds voted for China by Congress. For to make the shipments to England "legal," the munitions had first to be sold to a private American corporation, which in turn sold them to the British.
However small the quantities of arms and ammunitions obtainable, immediate shipments would have boosted Chinese morale tremendously. They would have provided concrete evidence of American support, and of our abandonment of the Marshall-Acheson "hands off" policy which had done so much to take the heart out of the anti-Communist forces.
As Vice Admiral Russell S. Berkey said on May 15, 1950:
The Chinese Reds would still be north of the Great Wall if specific items of arms authorized by Congress two years ago had reached the Nationalist forces in time. For some reason or other it took nine months to get specific items to China. Somewhere in the United States somebody slipped up, bogged down, or was interfered with. It has never been made plain why this material did not arrive in time.
Even at the end of J uly munitions did not start rolling to China. From the State Department the matter went to the Army Department, which siad it could not act, or even specify the prices at which munitions would be sold, until after it had spent several weeks on "availability studies." It was not until late in September that these studies were completed. The Chinese then found that they were to be charged prices five to ten times higher than the thirty-odd other nations permitted to buy United States munitions. This drastic reduction of the total amounts they had expected to obtain under the China Aid Act necessitated the drawing up of new lists. This occasioned another, though only short, delay. The Army Department, however, now informed the Chinese that they could not expect shipment before early 1949.
In October, President Truman (influenced perhaps by the fact that the delay in getting arms to China had become an election campaign issue) issued expediting instructions, and the first substantial shipment of arms to China left Seattle on November 9, 1948. By this time the Communists had conquered the greater part of China.
The President’s October directive was succeeded by more delays. "Availability studies," priorities, export licenses, and so forth, snarled deliveries once again, so that by April 30, 1949--thirteen months after Congress had voted arms aid for China--nearly a quarter of the supplies to be furnished had not yet been shipped.
In addition, the total amount of munitions China was permitted to buy with the $125 million turned out to be only about one-eighth of what had been expected. It had been assumed by Congress and the Chinese Government that the prices charged would be the same as to Greece and Turkey, not to mention the thirty-odd other natons to whom "surplus" munitions were sold at 10 per cent of list price cost. Instead, when at last on August 31, 1948, the Army had progressed far enough in its "availability studies" to give prices on some items of arms and ammunition, the Chinese discovered they would be required to pay more than double published prices, and an average of 50 per cent in excess of current commercial quotations for new manufacturers. There was no possibility of obtaining the arms or ammunition from any private sources. The Army was in fact charging the Chinese a monopoly price.
Some idea of the high prices charged to China can be obtained from the following figures:
"Surplus" price Price List Price Price Charged to China
charged to charged
Bazookas $3.65 $36.25 $162.00
Rifles, .30 caliber 5.10 51.00 51.00
(per 1000 rounds) 4.58 45.55 85.00
Machine-gun ammunition (per
1000 rounds) 4.58 45.85 95.00
In January 1949 the Army at long last made available to China a few obsolete items at the same cheap "surplus" prices charged to other nations. For instance in 1949 armored cars, formerly priced to China at $32,154 (three times cost) were made available at the "European" price $1,071, or 10 per cent of cost.
The fact that the delays and difficulties, and price hoists, which defeated the intent of the China Aid Act were deliberate is indicated by a letter written to Secretary of State Marshall by Ambassador Stuart from Nanking dated May 10, 1948.
"The Embassy agrees," he says, that "pressures" should now be intensified in spite of the fact that "any broad or powerful bargaining position vis-a-vis the Chinese Government disappeared on the date Congress passed the China Aid Act of 1948." Stuart’s letter continues:
It is true, however, that we retain and should make full use of our bargaining position in the bilateral negotiatins with respect to (1) methods of procurement for all commodities, (2) methods of distribution of aid commodities in China. . . . The Embassy strongly recommends that we display no haste in the negotiation or conclusion of the bilateral agreements. The exchange of interim letters provides an entirely satisfactory basis on which to operate in the coming weeks. . . . Delay will give time to learn at least what individuals will head the Ministries directly concerned. Finally, it will extend the period in which our pressures can be applied. . . . The Embassy accordingly recommends that the opening of negotiations be deferred until June 1. Meanwhile pressure for reform will be continued (italics added).
This is not the only evidence in the White Paper concerning Ambassador Stuart’s discouragement of the hopes of the Chinese Government after the passage of the 1948 China Aid Act. On July 17, 1948, there is a report from Dr. Stuart recording how he had told Chiang Kai-shek not to believe that the American people favored helping the Chinese anti-Communist forces. "I told Chiang," he writes, "that Governor Dewey’s announcement about increased aid to China had produced quite a bit of unfavorable editorial comment," "I had with me," continues the United States Ambassador, "the latest USIS bulletin on this subject, which I gave his secretary for reference."
Dr. Leighton Stuart, who loved the Chinese and wished them well, seems to have been unable, nevertheless, tomake up his mind between the dictates of practical common sense and his "liberal" affiliations. His reports show his vacillation between his convinced belief that the National Government must reform in order to be saved, and his lively appreciation of the fact that there was little time or opportunity for it to institute a democratic form of government in view of the imminent danger of all China’s being overwhelmed by the Communist totalitarian tyranny. He continued to fill his dispatches with long laments concerning the shortcomings of the National Government, while also issuing warnings of the disastrous effects to be expected from the Communist conquest of China.
Had the munitions which had been voted for China been permitted to reach the Nationalist forces at once, China might still have been saved, and Americans not have been called upon to fight Korea.
Only a brief account of the economic assistance given to China in this period is necessary, since no amount of American economic aid could have prevented a Communist victory so long as we denied arms and ammunition to the Nationalist forces.
Most of America’s postwar economic aid to China consisted of immediate relief to the homeless and starving. Little was provided to remove the causes of starvation. UNRRA aid, the greater part of which was provided by the United States, consisted mainly of food and clothing. Some undertakings were financed which would have been constructiveif the Communists had been prevented from destroying every dam, railway, mine, or industry reconstructed with UNRRA aid. For instance, Communist guerrillas quickly destroyed the Yellow River flood rehabilitation work of UNRRA engineers, constructed at a cost of millions of dollars. They simarilarly destroyed roads and railways repaired with UNRRA funds. While engaged in this deliberate destruction, they were receiving UNRRA relief supplies. For we insisted that a due proportion of UNRRA aid be furnished to Communist areas.
In Europe the Marshall Plan was quickly followed by the Truman Doctrine promising military aid to those attempting to resist the Communist aggressions which threatened to render ECA operations useless. But in China such economic aid as America furnished was futile, thanks to our refusal of arms aid to prevent Communist depredation and destruction.
In China General Marshall as Secretary of State gave evidence of being far more benevolently inclined toward the Communists than he was in Europe. It was hardly surprising, therefore, that in the spring and early summer of 1947 the Soviet Government was emboldened to give more open support to the Chinese Communists and t hat the latter launched a new and far more successful offensive in Manchuria.
Some details regarding the amount of Russian aid given to the Chinese Communists are specified in "China Presents Her Case to the United Nations" (see Appendix B). The evidence concerning the supply of Russian as well as Japanese arms was verified4/ by William H. Newton of the Scripps-Howard press (who was one of the ten newspapermen killed in 1949 in the crash in India of an airplane bringing them from the Dutch East Indies back to America).
The Chinese Communist forces in 1947 were reinforced by large numbers of battle-wise Japanese and Russian-trained Korean forces with a convenient base in Russia’s Korean zone. The U nited States Government was being "neutral" new, as in the thirties, when Japan attacked China. So once again the National Government could not buy arms in America. The Nationalist forces were becoming weaker in fire power as the Communists, generously supplied by Russia, became stronger. The guns of the Nationalist First Army, originally trained and equipped in Burma by the United States and sent to Manchuria in 11946, were reported in June 1947 to be worn out, with the barrels of some machine guns so burned that "bullets fell through them to the ground."5/ But the Communist forces could count on continual replenishment of their equipment from Lend-Lease stores supplied to Russia for the war against Japan which she never fought.
The Communists by this time seemed to have been so well supplied with everything they required that they refused UNRRA relief and medical supplies, rather than allow American personnel to enter their territory. According to a New York Times dispatch from Peiping dated June 21, 1947, Cornelius Bodine, of Philadelphia, the UNRRA director for the Changchun area, was twice refused entry to Communist-controlled areas of Manchuria. The Communists evidently desired to prevent at all costs foreign observers from learning how much help Russia was giving them.
Had American or United Nations investigators been able to conduct the same type of investigation in Manchuria as in Greece, they might have become convinced of the truth of Chinese reports.
According to the Chinese Central News Agency, thirty thousand Japanese "prisoners" and ninety tanks were backing the Communist offensive in Manchuria. Its Mukden correspondent reported early in June that "a special bureau" of "a certain nation" had supplied the Communists with equipment for twenty divisions, and that citizens of that "certain nation"--the usual designation for Russia in the Chinese press--or Japanese were manning the tanks that were spearheading the Communist offensive. The eventuality feared all through the Sino-Japanese War had become a reality; the Communists were fighting together with the Japanese against China under Russia’s orders.
In March 1947, Lieutenant General John R. Hodge, a U.S. commander in Korea, stated that Chinese Communist troops were participating in the training of a Korean army of 500,000 in Russian-held North Korea. The Chinese Central News Agency stated in June that more than 100,000 Russian-trained Koreans plus a cavalry division from Outer Mongolia were in action against the Chinese Nationalist forces.
Thus early was it intimated that the fall of Nationalist China would release battle-hardened Korean veterans to fight against Americans.
The reinforcement of the Chinese Communists by Russian-trained Koreans further lengthened the odds against the Chinese Nationalists. A UP dispatch from Nanking on June 22, 1947, stated that neutral sources estimated that 200,000 Nationalist troops were up against 300,000 armed Communists, and that the latter already had control of more than three-quarters of Manchuria.
Chiang Kai-shek’s persistent attempts to meet the wishes of the United States by attempting to "solve the Communist problem by political means," had thus not only failed completely, but had denied victory to the anti-Communist forces by halting their victorious offensives while the Communists were still weak. The Communists had been given the time and opportunity to rally their forces and grow strong enough, with Russian and Korean aid, to overwhelm the Nationalists.
As General Pai Chung-hsi, the Minister of Defense, stated on May 1, 1947, the government’s military progresshad been blocked by the truces and peace talks of the preceding year. "Immediately after the recovery of Kalgan (October 1946)," said the Kwangsi general, who is regarded as China’s foremost strategist, "we could have blasted open the whole Peiping-Hankow Railway, but our actions were deferred by intervals of negotiation. The government has suffered from an irresolute policy."
By June 1947, when prophecies were already being made in the American press that Manchuria would be lost to China, the National Government at last realized that its long silence concerning Russia’s hostile acts had merely emboldened the Soviet Government to increase its aid to the Chinese Communists, and that United States help was unlikely to be forthcoming until the American people were informed of the true facts of the Far Eastern situation.
On June 25, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a communique detailing for the first time the long record of Soviet obstruction to China’s attainment of her rights under the Sino-Soviet Treaty.
"Sources close to the Generalissimo" were reported by American correspondents to be saing that Chiang Kai-shek and his advisers were framing a new policy calling for a stronger stand against Russian aggression. The policy of silence and appeasement was being abandoned, but the extent to which China would go toward a diplomatic showdown with Russia would depend upon United States support.
General Chen Cheng, the Chinese Chief of Staff, charged on June 24 that at least thirty-one Russian advisers were known to be with the Communist forces fighting at Szepingkai, the important railroad point seventy miles from Mukden.
The Chinese Nationalist commander in besieged Szepingkai said that the Communists had battered the city with 100,000 artillery shells and that Russian-trained Koreans manned the Communist guns.
Following the lifting of the siege by Nationalist forces at the end of June, the Chinese Central News Agency accused Russia of having shipped 56,635 tons of military supplies to th e Chinese Communists in June, twelve Soviet ships having unloaded supplies for them at Dairen, while others ran a shuttle service between the Manchurian part and Chefoo, the Shantung port occupied by the Communists.
Even those who chose to disbelieve Chinese reports of Russian assistance to the Communists could not deny that the Soviet Government was giving aid to the Chinese Communists by its continued refusal, almost two years after V-J Day, to evacuate Dairen according to the terms of the Sino-Soviet Treaty. The denial to the Chinese Government of the use of Manchuria’s principal port and the railway leading from it not only created a difficult supply problem for the Nationalist forces in Manchuria; it also put the Chinese Communists in an advantageous strategic position. As in 1937 when they had to fight the Japanese operating from an untouchable base in the International Settlement at Shanghai, so in 1946and in 1947 the Chinese Nationalist commanders found themselves unable to crack the Communist line north to Dairen for fear of encroaching on Russia’s newly established extraterritorial rights on Chinese soil. In the fall of 1946, according to Christopher Rand of the New York Herald Tribune, two Communist regiments had taken refuge at Port Arthur from Nationalist attack, and sheltered there until they emerged in the spring of 1947 to take in the Communists’ greatest offensive.
As Tillman Durdin of the New York Times reported in April 1947, the Communist forces were backed up against the Russian "defense zone" running from Port Arthur in back of Dairen, and the Chinese Government feared the "complications" which would arise if the Communists retreated into Russian-occupied territory.
On July 4, the National Government, after rallying its forces for a successful counter-offensive in Manchuria, announced its abandonment of all hope for a political solution of the Communist problem and denounced the Communists as "armed rebels" who could be dealt with only by force.
Vice President Sun Fo, so long an advocate of Sino-Soviet friendship and collaboration, was reported to be one of the leading advocates of this resolution, which marked the end of China’s "Coue diplomacy" and placed her unequivocally in the world anti-Communist camp.
It was at this juncture that the United States Administration relented sufficiently to permit the Chinese Nationalists to buy 130 million rounds of ammunition in the United States. General Marshall, however, denied on July 2, 1947, that America was not supporting the Nationalist Government against the Communists. It was still the proclaimed policy of the United States to deny aid to China until the civil war ended, which meant in effect until Chiang Kai-shek came to terms with Stalin.
The Chinese were still hoping that the logic of facts would eventually convince America that there was no sense in stalling Soviet aggression in Europe while leaving our back door on the Pacific undefended. They had resisted Japan for years without our help, hoping that eventually we would become their allies. They hoped to be able to continue resisting Russia as long. But there is a limit to human endurance, and hope constantly deferred maketh the heart sick. By 1949 even inveterate enemies of the Communists saw no further possibility of resistance, in the face of United States’ refusal either of aid or moral support. China went down before the overwhelming might of Soviet Russia’s satellite forces, while the "Voice of America" broadcast praise of the Chinese Communists.