Why the Communists are Winning as of 1976...
Read how China was dumped into the communist camp via intrigure from the U.S. State department.
HOW WE LOST CHINA
Seldom far from my thoughts during my missions for Marshall to Paris and Madrid had been our China policy. The die was about to be cast for that country of teeming millions of people.
Of the scores of meetings with President Truman over the years between 1945 and the winter of 1949-50, approximately six concerned the China problem. Each time I tried to convince him that China would be lost to Communism unless we backed up the Nationalist government with the money and arms to win. I argued that with the loss of China the balance of power in Asia would shift against us with potentially disastrous consequences. I pled that this potential loss of the entire Asian continent to the Chinese Reds loomed as one of the most fateful of the crises facing his administration and the country. Now time was rapidly running out.
Some background to the China situation is in place at this point. As every honest student of World War II knows, that mighty and tragic conflict began with the decision of two great dictators, Josef Stalin of Communist Russia and Adolf Hitler of Nazi Germany, as expressed in their Pact of August 1939, to extend their territories and their “spheres of influence” wherever it could be done. The immediate goal of these two totalitarian comrades was to divide Poland. Following that, Hitler planned to pick up whatever pieces of southeastern Europe that might be available, while Stalin hoped he night take over Finland, the three Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Stalin expected also to establish a sphere of control along the Eastern European corridor over all the countries created by the statesmanship of President Woodrow Wilson in his famous policy of “self-determination of peoples” after World War I.
It is sad to review the history of post-World War II and realize that while Hitler was defeated, at enormous cost in lives and resources, Stalin, through the colossal stupidity of our politicians during and after that war, and the use of military force where needed, attained practically all his objectives!
Before the United States was dragged in the war in the Pacific by the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Japan was at war with China, beginning with stark aggression against the northern provinces in 1937. China’s leaders of both the Nationalist government Under Chiang Kai-shek, and the Communists under Mao Tse-tung, fought against the Japanese invader.
Several agreements made during the war had a disastrous effect upon Nationalist China and the Chiang regime. At a conference with Dictator Stalin of the Soviet Union at Teheran in Persia, President Franklin D. Roosevelt urged that the Russians come into the war against Japan. Determined never to have a war on two fronts, and at the same time to seize this opportunity for global blackmail, Stalin agreed to the following:
First, that he send his troops to enter the Far Eastern war - but not until ninety days after the defeat of the Nazi forces in Europe.
Secondly, that he must be permitted to incorporate the three Baltic countries into the Soviet Union (which he had already done), plus recognition of his sphere of influence in Eastern Europe.
Thirdly, that the Russians be designated to take the surrender of the Japanese forces in Manchuria, including all the military arms and equipment in that country. This part of the agreement meant, of course, Russian control of Manchuria, and ultimately, of North Korea.
To insure that President Roosevelt would make these concessions, Stalin, according to officials and newsmen attending the Teheran Conference, issued some dark hints that if these promised were not forthcoming, he would make a separate peace with Hitler and the Nazi regime.
Hitler’s battered regime surrendered to the Allies on May 8, 1945. Exactly ninety days later Russian troops appeared in Manchuria. That was two days after an American plane dropped an atomic bomb upon Hiroshima, Japan. The war was already won, by the brilliant leadership of General Douglas MacArthur and the heroic efforts of all branches of the military services of the U.S. and our allies.
At the end of World War II, the Nationalist Chinese had two and a half million men under arms. Unlike the Greek and Turkish divisions, these Chinese forces had been bloodied in combat, against the Japanese invader. They had been partially trained by American officers and were familiar with American weapons.
The United States had accumulated gigantic stockpiles of modern arms of all sorts scattered across the Asian continent and the Pacific islands. Small arms, artillery, tanks and aircraft were surplus in almost unlimited quantities, together with the fuel dumps, transportation lines, and repair and machine shops necessary for the for their effective utilization. What actually happened was that the bulk of this military surplus was not turned over to our Chinese ally, but was destroyed. At a relatively small cost we could have equipped China with the material needed for a modern and highly effective army. With the assistance of the American specialists, which I emphatically recommended on several occasions, that army could have defeated the Red enemy and preserved the freedom of China.
The last American commander in the Chinese theater of operations in World War II Was General Albert C. Wedemeyer. In his book Wedemeyer Reports he relates how he personally assured President Chiang Kai-shek that the United States would continue to support the Nationalist regime and assist it in establishing a democratic government for all China.
That promise proved to be mistaken - but it was not the fault of men like General Wedemeyer. The blame for our betrayal of Nationalist China must rest squarely upon those in the State Department who insisted upon making policy decisions favorable to a Communist takeover in that vital area of Asia.
Post-war Japan had been saved from Communist takeover by Truman’s firm decision to reject all maneuvering by Soviet leaders for a joint Allied Military Occupation, and by his wise choice of General MacArthur as Supreme Commander in Japan. MacArthur also stood firmly against including the Russians in any joint control of Japan. Despite the pleas and machinations of our pro-Communist clique, the Japanese Emperor was kept on his throne, thus preserving that sense of historic continuity so essential an element in any nation’s resistance to social upheaval.
The launching of American aid to Turkey, Greece, and countries of Western Europe, known as the “Marshall Plan” in honor of its founder, Secretary Marshall, undoubtedly halted the spread of Communism in those countries if not their actual seizure by Marxist leads, as desired by the Russian Reds.
Why was such American aid brought to a screeching halt at the International Date Line leading into Asia? On the world scene there was no comparison between the importance to the United States of Greece and Turkey, in the balance of power, and that of China. That great nation had been genuinely pro-American, as I can attest from long and intimate experience with Chinese at all levels.
Furthermore, if the freedom of any country in the post-war world deserved our support, it was our staunch ally, Nationalist China. Congressman Walter H. Judd from Minnesota, who had served as a medical missionary in China and had become a keen student of Communist aims and tactics, declared on the floor of the House of Representatives, in answer to some members who had criticized Nationalist China as corrupt and undemocratic:
“We Americans should never forget this one fact, which outweighs every other consideration, namely: That when our Fleet lay at the bottom of the sea and Japan had carried out in six months (1942) the single greatest conquest in the history of warfare, only one thing prevented her from completing and organizing her new empire, and turning all her efforts again us. It was this ...old, so-called backward, corrupt, undemocratic, inefficient China that refused to yield.”
“Chiang,” Judd added, “could have had peace on very generous terms; but, instead of making a deal with Japan, he bought time with Chinese blood for his Western allies.” 1
To those in Washington who argued at the time that Nationalist China was a bad risk, being both undemocratic and unstable, it could have been pointed out that we were supporting the Turks to the hilt against Soviet aggression despite their non-democratic regime. And throughout war-torn Western Europe, which we defended with the shield of NATO and revived with the Marshall Plan, democracy had an unstable voyage, interspersed by dictatorship and revolution.
Nationalist China, by contrast, had proved its stability by remaining a nation under the same regime for two decades, during which it suffered from Japanese invasion, internal subversion, economic chaos, inflation and famine. Few other countries had demonstrated an equivalent nationalist sentiment and moral fiber. Certainly France had not - the country that offered only token resistance to the Nazis and which nevertheless became the hub and core of NATO.
Why the glaring inconsistencies in our European versus our Asian post-war policies? One answer may be that our policy makers concerned with Greece and Turkey had not been infiltrated by pro-Communists. Another is a realistic acceptance by pro-Communists of the impossibility of convincing Americans that they should sell out their European friends, China-style. Our stakes in Asia were never as widely understood.
Who were the officials of our government that shaped and warped our policy toward postwar China, to the extent that this great subcontinent fell to the Communist aggression? Let me make clear my opinion that the great majority of foreign service officers were then, and I believe they are today, loyal, dedicated public servants. Fortunately, bad actors such as the late John Carter Vincent, John Stewart Service, Jon Paton Davies, and Phillip Jessup, to name a few, were the exceptions. But with the backing of Acheson, they had the power to shape events.
The influence of such people in China affairs dates back to the 1930's, when the Soviet Union and its domestic mouthpiece, the American Communist Party, were calling for a united front of the democracies “to destroy Fascism.” During the war years of 1941-1945, the clique became more solidly entrenched and gained an even firmed grip on the controls, peddling the notion that Communists were “progressives” and that those who sought to separate them from government service were one with the Nazis.
Those who proposed realistic policies in the Far East, such as the exceptionally able American ambassador to Japan, Joseph C. Grew, Ambassador Patrick Hurley, and Admiral Yarnell, were accused of either openly or in whispering campaigns of being “pro-Japanese” or “appeasers of Fascism.” The last thing the clique desired was the kind of unbiased and expertly informed commission that I suggested be established to study the situation in China. They saw to it that my idea remained stillborn.
Especially harmful to our interests was the work of Harry Dexter White, assistance secretary of the Treasury in charge of international financial affairs. This waspish, but brilliant, man was accused by former spy courier Elizabeth Bentley of having fed secret information to two Soviet espionage nets. Shortly after these charges were made public, White died of a heart attack. Many, who should have known better, then misrepresented White’s death as martyrdom, ascribable to anti-Communist “witch hunters.”
Not only were disloyal Americans of this strip in key positions, but they were strategically situated to fill other key places with their political cronies. For example, Lauchlin Currie was able to frustrate President Chiang Kai-shek by having the notorious Owen Lattimore appointed as an “adviser.” And when China requested a stabilization loan, Harry White laid down the condition that the monetary stabilization board administer it under Solomon Adler and Chao-ting. The former was later exposed as a Soviet spy and the latter was already a well known Chinese Communist, who had been one of the Moscow advisers during the 1930 Red insurrection in Canton. Chiang was compelled to hold still for such mockery since he had no alternative.
It is nauseating to recall how some of these people operated in behalf of the Chinese Reds. Certain American officials in Treasury were able to hold back authorized gold allocations to Chiang’s government while he was desperately fighting inflation. In the fall of 1942, Lauchlin Currie secretly prepared a speech for Earl Browder, general secretary of the Communist Party of the United States. Its purpose to “smoke out the anti-Soviet elements in the State Department.” In this speech, Currie attacked Roy Howard of the Scripps-Howard newspapers, and other honorable citizens as “modern Copperheads” who “spread the lies that please Hitler.” (During our War between the States the Pro-Confederate elements in the North were dubbed “Copperheads” by their enemies of the theory that they resembled a snake which strikes with stealth and without warning.)
Roy Howard’s crime, allegedly, was that of trying to persuade the State Department to “tell Chungking it must continue to fight the Communists.” Currie and friends, of course, knew that the Copperhead analogy was false.
When Browder delivered his speech, Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles invited him to a conference in Washington, which Currie attended - as a representative of the White House, not of the Communist Party. Welles assured Browder that State deplored the civil strife in China and “viewed with skepticism many alarmist accounts of the ‘serious menace of Communism’ in China.”
After this reassurance, Browder graciously withdrew his charges. Welles’ policy statement on China was published on October 16, 1942, in the national organ of the Communist Party, the Daily Worker.2 I have no idea whether Sumner Welles was implicated in this deplorable incident or was merely a dupe. He later left the State Department under a cloud, but it was not a political cloud. He was considered a homosexual security risk.
If the deferential attitude toward American Communists of senior officials at State, such as Welles, strikes some people in retrospect as incredible, let me remind them of a few of the less publicized aspects of that era. Franklin D. Roosevelt had approximately 38 to 40 meetings at Hyde Park and in the White House with Josephine Adams, a Communist artist, who visited him as the emissary of Earl Browder. Many of the meetings concerned China. Browder, who was on cordial terms with Mao Tse-tung, relayed propaganda obtained from the latter through Miss Adams to the President, and this information was “Reinforced by people like Stilwell ...”3
I have mentioned Lauchlin Currie as having been assigned as the White House Liaison by President Roosevelt when I proposed organizing the American Volunteer Group - the “Flying Tigers” for China. Intelligent and alert, Currie was of great assistance to me in that project. He had direct and continual daily access to the President’s ear, privy to everything going on in our government.
We became good friends. The Curries were at times our house guests in Miami Beach, and in fact he was visiting there when Roosevelt’s death was announced.
Thus no one could have been more flabbergasted than I, shortly after FDR’s death, when Dr. Lauchlin Currie was named in sworn testimony by Communist espionage courier Elizabeth Bentley as one of the American officials who gave information to the Soviet spy ring in Washington.
I was even more dumbfounded when Currie testified before the House Committee on Un-American Activities concerning these grave accusations, displaying an extraordinary lack of memory amounting at times almost to amnesia, and shortly thereafter decamping for the Republic of Colombia, safely beyond the reach of American authorities who might wish to prosecute him for espionage (a crime calling for the death penalty in wartime, with no statute of limitations).
Now came the heaviest stroke of all against the Nationalist regime of President Chiang Kai-shek. The subversive elements in the State Department came up with a plan to force the creation of a “coalition government” for China, composed of officials of both the Nationalists and the Communists. This played squarely into the hands of the Communists. Doubtless the leaders in the Kremlin were dumbfounded when America moved to do their job for them in China!
Certainly there was ample evidence that a coalition government, in the Communist concept of things, meant the opportunity to use the positions given them to take over the entire government. Coalition, at that time, as at present and will be forevermore, was an established tactic for Communist control. This was so amply demonstrated in their seizure of the governments of the countries of Eastern Europe, although the peoples of those betrayed nations never gave a majority of their votes to the Marxist parties.
Although this fact was well-known in Washington in general and in the State Department in particular, the plan for a coalition with the Red China leaders was given approval by President Truman.
Secretary Marshall, always the good soldier under orders, proceeded to carry out the presidential plan. Later he told me personally of his distasteful mission. He met with Chiang Kai-shek and the Chinese President’s advisers. He explained that our government demanded that the Nationalists form the coalition by turning over to the Communists under Mao Tse-tung one half of all the government positions in the Kuomintang. That meant half the total of 1800 civilian offices.
President Chiang Kai-shek was aghast at the demand. Marshall related to me that tears came into Chiang’s eyes as he pointed out that he had been fighting the Communists for years, to defend the freedom of his people. Marshall had to tell him that the government of the United States had decided to cut off all aid to his regime, unless he agreed to the coalition plan. Chiang answered that despite the threat, he simply could not betray his people in any such way. The American general could only respond” “Those are my instructions’”
General Marshall was later to write: “As Chief of Staff I armed thirty-nine anti-Communist divisions (in China). Now with the stroke of a pen I disarmed them.”4
Our government made good on its threat to cut off aid to Chiang and his Nationalist regime. Even the materiel already on the way to China was ordered back, or dumped into the sea.
When the United Nations was set up in the Spring of 1945, the Charter provided for a Military Committee under the Security Council to insure an international police force that would help keep the peace of the world. General “Tiger” Wang, hero of the Chinese Air Force during the war, was appointed a member of that Committee. President Chiang used the General to receive and distribute American aid. Wang’s “opposite number” was General George Stratemeyer, who later commanded the U.S. Air Force fighting against the Red aggressors in Korea. General Wang related:
“After further aid was denied to force acceptance of Communists in our government, ships already in our Chinese harbors were forbidden to unload. General Stratemeyer and I had to stand on the docks and watch some of those ships’ crews haul up to the deck the materiel we needed so badly to defend our freedom, and throw it overboard.”5
The results of such insanity was inevitable. The Chinese Nationalist situation deteriorated rapidly. The Reds had the advantage of the huge supplies of arms and ammunition surrendered by the Japanese, plus the tremendous quantity of brand-new American military equipment shipped to Vladivostok and turned over by the Russians to the Chinese Reds.
Thus we handed over to the Russian Communists the aid that would otherwise have had to be raised from Russia’s hard pressed resources. Soviet Russia, battered by the Nazi armies, without nuclear weapons, facing local famines and general economic dislocation and chaos, was in no position during 1946-48 to challenge American power anywhere, particularly in China, where the Soviet’s logistical problem would have been staggering. On the economic side, instead of turning over the Manchurian industrial base to the Chinese Communists, the Red Army plundered it and shipped stolen machinery and factories back into Russia.
Against such odds, Chiang had no chance. Now abandoned by the United States, Chiang felt isolated, in a hopeless stance. Nationalist forces reeled from one reverse to the next. Incessant reiteration of defeatist propaganda from America had devastating psychological impact. To the Chinese, there was a familiar ring to the Communist line that the Nationalists were incurably venal and incompetent, that they ruled by terror, that their generals were allergic to combat and were feeding arms to the enemy. The Communists were said to be selfless idealists who represented democracy, the wave of the future and of the Chinese people. But to hear the identical slogans being parroted by Americans was something new. The smell of defeat can be as contagious, and demoralizing, as the sweet smell of success can inspire greater efforts for victory.
Having implemented the scenario for the destruction of Free China, the subversive clique now undertook to prove that what had happened was inevitable. The State Department delivered to Truman on July 29, 1949, a so-called China White Paper, replete with inaccuracies and outright falsehoods. It was shortly thereafter released to the public.6
General Marshall had been opposed to the document’s preparation on the grounds that it might do irreparable damage to Chiang’s cause. No such inhibitions restrained Acheson, however, when he succeeded Marshall as Secretary of State and prevailed on the President to authorize this exercise in apologetics.7
The preliminary draft of the White Paper had been prepared by a left-wing State Department official named John Fremont Melby, in the home of his brother-in-law, Gerald Clark. (Melby was terminated from State by Secretary Dulles on April 22, 1952.) In its final stages, the White Paper had been edited by Dr. Philip C. Jessup, the Acheson protégé with murky connections to the Institute of Pacific Relations. The White Paper concluded:
“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. It was the product of internal Chinese forces ...
“And now it is abundantly clear that we must face the situation as it exits in fact. We will not help the Chinese or ourselves by basing our policy on wishful thinking.’ (China White Paper, xvi.)
The last quoted paragraph was widely interpreted as a plea for American diplomatic recognition of Red China. This seems to have been one of Jessup’s objectives and it is consistent with the policy of retreat and scuttle in Asia which he and Acheson nurtured.
The China White Paper was not one of those hastily concocted documents, conceived in the heat of battle, whose authors live to regret them. In his 1969 volume of his memoirs, (Present at the Creation, p. 303) Dean Acheson makes the smug observation:
“After twenty year the China White Paper still stands up well as a fair, accurate and scholarly presentation and analysis of the facts.”
I believe that the defeatist conclusions of the the White Paper were untenable at the time and are more so in retrospect. I tried everything in my power to block its publication, including protests to Truman.
Tempted as I often was to try to alert President Truman of the probability of downright traitors hidden among his advisers, there was no way I could prove it. In any case, knowing the man, I realized that such a tactic would backfire. Loyalty to associates and subordinates was one of the President’s strongest, and, at times, most admirable traits.
Moreover, Harry Truman had a notably short fuse. A long apprenticeship in political infighting, including low blows, had understandably honed his sharp skepticism of others. It was not surprising, therefore, when the disloyalty of Alger Hiss and other unworthy Americans in high places was publicly revealed, that Truman reacted defensively. He branded the charges as “A red herring.” His private judgment on the matter could have been entirely different.
The distinguished Washington correspondent Bert Andrews told Congressman Richard Nixon that as Truman thumbed through page after page of the incriminating evidence against Alger Hiss, he muttered over and over, “Why, the son of a bitch! He betrayed his country.”8
But since the Hiss case was a bonanza for the Republican Party, Truman was constrained by political instinct to ascribe the charge publicly at least, to partisan politics. To the end he remained a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat. He considered an attack on one Democrat as an attack on all.
My chief recommendation to President Truman had been to appoint a broadly based commission composed of “Old China Hands” to study the China question and spell out what the stakes were for the United States and what we had best do to protect them.
However, my hopes that Truman would eventually come around to overruling his left wing advisers on China continued to meet with frustration. With each successive meeting on China I could tell that I was losing ground and that his earlier receptiveness was giving way to resistance. He began to point out that Dean Acheson, with his access to intelligence reports and State Department secret information, was in a better position to have all the facts than anyone else. I invariable answered:
“Nevertheless, I seriously question Acheson’s judgment and his intentions.”
Matters came to a head between us in December, 1949, some six months before the Communists invaded South Korea.
“Mr. President,” I said, “This is the last time I”m going to bring up China. I’ve just lunched with George Marshall at his farm and he agrees with every word I’m going to say. Unless we go all out, right now, to back up the Nationalist movement in China, in which Chinese will do their own fighting for their freedom, you’ve lost China. On top of that, you’ll have a war on your hands in Burma, Indochina or Korea within a year - most likely in Korea, where the Reds are strongest.
“That will leave you a choice of committing America to a ground war, or you will lose all of Asia. In my book, the worst conceivable error of judgment at this point would be for an American soldier to be thrust into a situation of guerrilla warfare, for which we are all ill-prepared, and which will earn the enmity of most Asiatics. That’s sheer madness.
“In China, you’ve got millions who are willing to do their own fighting. Food is one of our strong bargaining chips. They will make marvelous soldiers for ten cents on the dollar to what it would cost if you have to commit American GI’s”
He became agitated when I insisted that he was facing a war crisis in Asia. He pounded the desk with his fist.
“God damn it, Bill!” he roared, “I will never commit an American ground soldier to a war in Asia!”
“I repeat, Sir,” I said. “Within one year you are going to be in a crisis where you’ll have to make that decision.”
Those who successfully advocated the policy of abandoning Chiang and his Nationalist government warned Truman of what they called the enormous commitment of money, munitions, and military advisers we would have to invest if we supported him. Yet these same spokesmen for Communist appeasement in the Far East had shown no corresponding concern over the spending of billions of dollars and thousand of American lives in Europe for the Survival of the Soviet Union.
American know-how, applied at the right time, could have saved free China. All we had to do was to arrange with Chiang for cadres of military advisers at Battalion level and above, at staff echelons, and in all officer training and command schools.
On November 7, 1949, I outlines my plan in detail in a lengthy memo to Secretary Acheson, and placed it in the hands of Under Secretary James E. Webb (later director of the NASA Apollo project. I urged that American advisers be sent promptly to assist the Nationalist government in a last ditch stand again the Reds. I suggested that the group of advisers, between 130 and 150 in number, be composed of economic, industrial, agricultural, and military experts. The military advisers would be retired officers of the U.S. military services.
By that time, Secretary Acheson clearly held any ideas of mine in complete contempt. Nothing came of my plan.
By late 1949 the Chinese “civil war” was over. The Reds had won their greatest victory, in terms of control of population, since the seizure of Russia by Lenin and Trotsky, backed by their Bolshevist guns and bayonets, in November 1917.
President Chiang Kai-shek escaped and brought about 450,000 of his troops to Formosa, an offshore island ruled by the Japanese since 1895. This refuge was renamed Taiwan. And there, hopeful of a return to conquer the mainland someday, Chiang set up the government of the Republic of China.
Even at that point, the subversive defeatist schemed for a takeover of Taiwan by the Reds, and for prompt recognition of Red China (falsely named “people’s Republic of China,” although the people had no say in their government, and under Communist rule it could never be a republic). As General MacArthur wrote in his Reminiscences, page 321:
“By December 9, 1949, the last legions of the Generalissimo had been driven into Formosa. Shortly afterward, the American press carried a story that the State Department had notified its representative abroad that the loss of Formosa to the Communists was to be anticipated, and that in order to prevent damage to United States prestige at home and abroad, the public must be informed that this island was of no strategic value.
“The directive said all available materiel should be used to ‘counter false impressions’ that the retention of Formosa would save the Chinese Government, and that its looks would damage seriously the interests of either the United States or the other countries opposing Communism. “Without evidencing undue preoccupation with the subject,’ it continued, “emphasize as appropriate any of the following points: Formosa is exclusively the responsibility of the Chinese Government. Formosa has no special military significance.”
By the winter of 1949, it was common inside information in Washington that the State Department was planning American recognition of Red China, a step that was by now deeply and bitterly opposed by a large majority of American public opinion. The scheme, I was informed, was to have Philip C. Jessup, representing Acheson, tour Asian countries which bordered on, or were adjacent to, Red China. The purpose was to encourage the American Ambassadors in these Asian countries to recommend recognition of the Mao Tse-tung regime. If the proposal seemed to come from the men on the scene, it would reinforce Acheson and his coterie of Far Eastern advisers.
I met with Philip Jessup on December 10, 1949 and made an all out effort to dissuade him from this policy. After an hour-and-a-half of debate, I was convinced, even though Jessup did not directly admit this, that he was determined to carry out his program. I so informed General Marshall, who had retired from government and was President of the American Red Cross. At Marshall’s request, I arranged a meeting between Marshall, Jessup, and myself at the General’s apartment in Washington. Marshall’s impression of Jessup’s intentions with respect to the betrayal of Taiwan and recognition of Communist China was similar to mine. He therefore told Jessup that if the State Department pursued its plan to foist recognition of Red China upon the American people, he would do everything in his power to stop it.
Although he never told me, I am sure that Marshall took the matter promptly to President Truman. I am also sure that our meeting blocked the plan to bring about recognition of Communist China at least, until 1973, under the pressure of Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, upon, of all people, that former arch foe of Communism, Richard M. Nixon.
China was and is one of the major forces shaping the world. To permit a nation of so colossal a size, influence and potential power, for seven years our staunch ally, to be overwhelmed by Communists and brought into the totalitarian orbit ranks in my mind as one of the most reprehensible crimes ever perpetrated by Americans in responsible places, against the vital interests of their country.
Dr. John Leighton Stuart, the last American ambassador to free mainland China, summarized matters:
“Notwithstanding the weakness and shortcomings, of the Nationalist Government, that government had after all been brought into existence through a revolutionary enthusiasm inspired by American democratic ideas. Throughout the years, it has been under attack from dissident elements in China, especially the Communists ... There had been no period in which it could devote itself under circumstances of peace and security to problems of reform...
“The aberrant and contradictory policies of the Unites States Government during the period between the end of World War II and the beginning of the Communist attack in Korea in 1950 served to weaken rather than strengthen the Nationalist Government at a time when it desperately needed sympathetic understanding and assistance...”9
I have no doubt that Marshall deeply regretted his part in trying to force upon President Chiang Kai-shek and the Nationalist government a coalition with the Communists that opened the gate to the loss of China to the Free World. Evidence of this was seen by his cordial hospitality toward Madame Chiang Kai-shek on her several visits to the United States during his lifetime.
At lunch one day, referring to my abortive attempts to change Mr. Truman’s mind about China, Marshall said to me in the presence of several friends”
“Pawley, the problem is that unfortunately you were right five years too soon!
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