China Tangle: The American Effort in China from Pearl Harbor to the Marshall Mission

China Tangle: The American Effort in China from Pearl Harbor to the Marshall Mission

HERBERT FEIS
Copyright Date: 1953
Pages: 456
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt13x0zrg
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    China Tangle: The American Effort in China from Pearl Harbor to the Marshall Mission
    Book Description:

    Contents: Foreword. Part One: From Pearl Harbor to the Cairo Conference. Part Two: From the Cairo Conference to the Surrender of Japan. Part Three: From the Surrender of Japan to the Marshall Mission.

    Originally published in 1972.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6827-8
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. FOREWORD
    (pp. v-viii)

    This is an attempt to tell what the American government tried to do in and with China during the war and the critical period of peace-making. The opening part is concerned with the grim effort to sustain Chinese resistance, marking the decisions and strains which influenced later events in ways not clearly foreseen. From this theater of war, the story broadens out in the determination of China’s future place in the Pacific, the contest between the Chinese government and the Chinese Communists, and the worried American diplomatic exertions at Moscow, Cairo, Teheran, Yalta, Potsdam, and beyond to carry out the...

  3. PART ONE From Pearl Harbor to the Cairo Conference
    • Table of Contents
      (pp. ix-x)
    • CHAPTER 1 December 1941: The Longed-for Combination
      (pp. 3-13)

      Our full induction into this last World War followed our refusal to let China fend for itself. We had rejected all proposals which would have allowed Japan to remain in China and Manchuria. In November there had been a week of wavering—when a chance gleamed of getting time to make the Allies’ position in the Pacific so strong that Japan would retreat. But then the American government had decided not to ease, even briefly or slightly, the way of the transgressor. This resolve was hardened by signs that the Chinese would regard even a short truce as desertion. Japan...

    • CHAPTER 2 The Dispatch of the Stilwell Mission
      (pp. 14-23)

      Roosevelt and Churchill had agreed on the global strategy that was to govern the direction of the war against the Axis. The American and British military staffs had given their confirmation. It was to direct all needed means to defeat Germany first, and to use only such means as could be safely spared to push Japan back in the Pacific and out of China. The place of China is concisely located by Secretary of War Stimson: “In Anglo-American grand strategy the war against Germany came first. Second came the great ‘triphibious’ movement across the Pacific toward the Japanese island empire....

    • CHAPTER 3 China Is Isolated
      (pp. 24-33)

      While these decisions were being made, Stilwell was on his way to China. He arrived at New Delhi on February 25th, and after a week of talk with the British hurried on to Chungking. By then the defenders of Burma were in a state of shocked retreat. A short review of what had happened there before he came will make it easier to understand what happened afterwards.

      Chiang Kai-shek had, in his first rushed talks with the foreign military representatives, recognized the need for coordinated action to defend Burma. He had asked what Chinese forces might be needed. General Dennys’...

    • CHAPTER 4 After the Defeat in Burma
      (pp. 34-44)

      What a trail of harm this debacle left behind!

      The last remnants of the ABDA plan and organization were smashed.

      Much of the small supply of heavy weapons of the Chinese armies was lost. All usable land and sea routes over which men, weapons, and supplies could be brought into China were barred. The only way thereafter by which the Chinese could procure anything from outside was by air—from India over the high Himalayas. More and more planes, skilled airmen, material, and energy had to be devoted to it. Even so, this system of transport remained inadequate, and the...

    • CHAPTER 5 Ardors and Refusals: During the Rest of 1942
      (pp. 45-54)

      But the actual military aid given during the rest of 1942 was small. Except for the portion that could be wrested from more urgent needs, satisfaction of the demands made by the Generalissimo was deferred. For, grave as the wants of China were, the energies of the American government centered elsewhere. Other situations and plans were to the fore: the crucial battles in the Eastern Mediterranean and on the eastern front in Europe, the projected invasion of North Africa, the protection of Australia, and the first counteractions in the southwest and central Pacific.

      While waiting for Washington to decide, in...

    • CHAPTER 6 How Best to Keep China in the War: The Dark Winter of 1942–1943
      (pp. 55-62)

      Roosevelt and Churchill, their spirits high, shared the sunshine of Casablanca (January I4th-23rd) with their invading forces. Stalin had been asked to join them, but he had said he could not come because of the battle situation on the Eastern Front. Chiang Kai-shek had not been asked, and again he felt slighted. Stilwell had been trying to find a way of meeting his wish to share in main strategic decisions affecting China. He had suggested to Marshall that the Combined Chiefs of Staff form a subcommittee for Pacific operations, on which China would have a place. But it was judged...

    • CHAPTER 7 For the Relief of the Siege of China: The Argument Prolonged
      (pp. 63-70)

      The Generalissimo had asked Roosevelt to call Chennault back to Washington, so that he might hear for himself the prospects for air action in China. The President did so, asking Stilwell to return at the same time to discuss Anakim. He was awaiting the arrival of Churchill and the British Chiefs of Staff to settle, among other matters, how far and fast to go with the plans for Burma and China which had been formulated at Casablanca.

      Stilwell and Chennault arrived in Washington at the end of April. The President and the Joint Chiefs of Staff listened to their views...

    • CHAPTER 8 Further Plans and Discords: The Later Months of 1943
      (pp. 71-80)

      The need for coordinated strategy became clear when Roosevelt and Churchill met again in the middle of August at Quebec. By then the Italian government had surrendered, yielding open mastery of the Mediterranean to the Allies. The Soviet armies were pounding the Germans back. The outlook seemed so promising that the military planners began to take into account the possibility that Germany would be defeated before the end of 1944. The conference (known as Quadrant) determined that the main effort should still be kept centered on that decisive aim; May 1944 was confirmed as the target date for the invasion...

    • CHAPTER 9 To Keep Peace Within China
      (pp. 81-92)

      During this period of which I have just been telling—the autumn of 1943—fears arose that the long dispute between the Chinese government and the Chinese Communists might flare into civil war.

      The story of earlier relations between the National Government and the Communist forces has been fully told by others.¹ But as a reminder of the perspective along which American officials concerned with China viewed the internal struggle, some of its main earlier phases may be very briefly recalled.

      The Chinese Communist Party had once been part of the Kuomintang. It had become so in 1923, when that...

  4. PART TWO From the Cairo Conference to the Surrender of Japan
    • CHAPTER 10 To Make China a Great Power
      (pp. 95-102)

      The Chinese government had made no issue of the Soviet refusal to join the war against Japan, or of the studied neutrality maintained since. It had used the chance to sever the many lines of Soviet influence in the vast and distant Chinese border province of Sinkiang. The Soviet government had allowed Chungking to resume its authority over the province with coldness but without open resistance.¹ For a short time the Chinese government had felt relieved, thinking that Soviet assent might be a sign of a wish for quiet and friendly relations. But its anxieties were revived by the critical...

    • CHAPTER 11 Cairo and Teheran Conferences: Political Plans
      (pp. 103-114)

      The meetings at Cairo and Teheran were arranged directly and secretly by the White House. Though the Secretary of State knew that they were being planned, he did not actively share in the determination of American aims and decisions.¹

      One reason was that so many of the main matters in mind were military, connected with the conduct of the war. Another may well have been Hull’s growing tendency to waver and his immersion in basic principles and plans of international organization. Still another may have been that the President had been led to think that the State Department did not...

    • CHAPTER 12 Cairo and Teheran Conferences: Military Plans
      (pp. 115-125)

      At Cairo, while the heads of state sought solutions for the political problems of Europe and the Pacific, impressive military staffs were applying themselves to plans for the offensive which was to break the Japanese encirclement of China. The arguments were brisk. Americans and British alike were loath to divert to that purpose resources that could be used to carry forward actions elsewhere. But the ruling American participants were still convinced that the surest course would be to regain entryway into China through Burma, and thereafter use the vast Chinese manpower in concert with American air and naval forces. They...

    • CHAPTER 13 Trouble in Burma Once More: Spring of 1944
      (pp. 126-135)

      Stilwell, in the pleased words of one of his staff, had “hung his battered musette bag in North Burma, donned his old campaign hat . . . and started a ten-month campaign in which the Chinese not only learned they could fight but learned to like it.” Before he left on December 19th Chiang Kai-shek had given him full command of the Chinese divisions trained in India, with the caution that they were not to be sacrificed to British interests.¹ He had told him again that he would wait to see how the action went before engaging other Chinese forces....

    • CHAPTER 14 Again the Communists: Chinese and Russian
      (pp. 136-144)

      During this period of sag in China (February-June 1944) the Communists thrived. They treated the bids of Chungking with defiant unconcern. Observers in the Embassy and on Stilwell’s staff thought that they were becoming surer that the Kuomintang regime would collapse as the people in their part of China grew more miserable. The Japanese columns marched without hindrance through country where both regular and guerrilla Communist forces were clustered. They traveled on railways which the Communists could have made unusable.

      The dominant elements in the Kuomintang became more certain than ever that the Communists would sooner or later seek to...

    • CHAPTER 15 The Wallace Mission
      (pp. 145-156)

      When first in early March the President suggested to Wallace that he go to China and see what he could do to straighten out the situation there, Wallace did not think the request serious. But when convinced that the President had a real need in mind he agreed to go. He wanted to go to Moscow and to India as well. The President thought this inadvisable, but said it might be all right for him to visit Siberia and have a look at agricultural and industrial activities in that region.

      Secretary Hull was uneasy about the trip. He hinted that...

    • CHAPTER 16 After the Wallace Mission
      (pp. 157-165)

      Chiang Kai-shek, despite his feeling that the Communists were implacable enemies of his regime, had agreed to allow an American mission to enter their areas in the northwest. His consent, as has been told, was abrupt. Perhaps he was genuinely impressed with the military reasons given. Perhaps, and more probably, he wanted to please the President and the War Department so that they might give friendlier heed to his needs.

      The American request for entry into the Communist areas was not a sudden impulse. As the prospect of American air operations over the Communist area and of American landings on...

    • CHAPTER 17 The American Emergency Proposals: Summer of 1944
      (pp. 166-177)

      During this summer of 1944 the Japanese pushed on with dogged purpose. They were coming toward the American air bases at Liuchow and Kweilin. Should they get that far, the whole American combat air effort in China would be marked down to little. From there, the Japanese troops would be able, unless Chinese forces not then in sight were brought against them, to press on either to Kunming or Chungking or both.¹

      Stilwell, frustrated in Burma, did not spare regret about the military scene in China. He—his diaries and notebooks record his grim thoughts—regarded what was happening as...

    • CHAPTER 18 Hurley Goes to China via Moscow
      (pp. 178-184)

      Hurley, as personal representative with the Generalissimo, was to report directly to Roosevelt.¹ The letter of appointment stated that he was being sent to China to promote efficient and harmonious relations between Chiang Kai-shek and Stilwell, and to facilitate Stilwell’s exercise of command over the Chinese armies placed under his direction. The War Department was to instruct him further in regard to various duties he was to have in matters of supply (Lend-Lease).² In the letter of introduction which Roosevelt wrote to Chiang Kai-shek, Hurley’s assign ment was stated to be “... to coordinate the whole military picture under you...

    • CHAPTER 19 The Crisis About Stilwell
      (pp. 185-199)

      Hurley set to work with the air of a man expectant that he can put through a quick deal. The first comment Stilwell jotted down about his presence can be read straight, or with relish, or with a jeer. “Hurley and Nelson arrive full of P and V. They are going to pound the table and demand: 1. Real unification in China. 2. Unification of command. Then and only then will they talk about what the U.S. will do for China economically.”¹ The Generalissimo cleared the way for his tasks with Hurley by telling Stilwell that he would give him...

    • CHAPTER 20 Stilwell Goes and Wedemeyer Takes Over
      (pp. 200-207)

      A week passed before the President made his decision known, during which many messages went back and forth between Washington and Chungking. He gave in to Chiang Kai-shek’s wish though he denied its justice. All those plans and decisions about Burma for which the Generalissimo blamed Stilwell had been made by the Combined Chiefs of Staff and approved by Churchill and himself. The President made that amply clear in the answer he sent on October 18th. Further, the President contended, these projects were sound and to the best benefit of China. Even so, the President went on, he was issuing...

    • CHAPTER 21 Hurley Goes On with His Assignment (October 1944 to February 1945)
      (pp. 208-225)

      Hurley had failed to reconcile the Generalissimo and Stilwell. Since he thought their quarrel due mainly to personal traits, he was not greatly depressed. The President had told him also to try to coordinate or unify the government and Communist forces to fight Japan. He soon perceived that this could be done only as one feature of an accord on political affairs.¹

      Ambassador Gauss turned over the job to him with little regret. He thought his term of service in China a fretful failure. His opinion of the Chinese government was akin to Stilwell’s. His manner and habit of mind...

    • CHAPTER 22 The Syndrome of the Yalta Agreement
      (pp. 226-239)

      As far back as June, it will be recalled, Chiang Kai-shek had told Wallace that he wanted an understanding with the Soviet Union; and that he would welcome the friendly touch of the United States to bring this about. He went on the alert for a good chance to send a special personal envoy to Moscow to see whether an acceptable agreement could be had. He watched for signs of Soviet good will, which he hoped the President might manage to evoke.

      The American government had remained wary about accepting the part of mediator. But it had sought ways to...

    • CHAPTER 23 The Agreement Made at Yalta: February 1945
      (pp. 240-254)

      The President and his company set off for Yalta with a sense of excitement tempered by knowledge that many hard problems awaited them. They were used to making great decisions. But this time they were facing all the complexities of a smashed Europe. They wondered whether the understanding reached with Stalin at Teheran would turn friendlier or be lost in a battle of purposes. The experience of the year in between left doubt. The Soviet government had carried out its main military promises. But it had often been demanding, suspicious, and quick to advance grievances. Churchill's visit to Moscow in...

    • CHAPTER 24 Differences about Policy: The Seams Traced
      (pp. 255-264)

      The voyage home from Yalta was a sad one. Hopkins had felt forced to seek rest from work and care, and had stayed behind in the African sunlight. General Watson, the President’s military aide whose hearty and good-natured strength had so often lightened the day’s worries, died aboard ship on the way home. Yet as far as the country knew, Roosevelt turned to the tasks of his office with the same sense of command as ever.

      A few days after his return, Hurley appeared in Washington. China still remained the most distant and troubling border of the war. Four hundred...

    • CHAPTER 25 The Focal Issue Argued: Should the United States Enlist the Chinese Communists?
      (pp. 265-277)

      All these seams of differences converged on the issue as to whether the American government should cooperate with the Communists in any way while they remained in rebellion against the Chinese government. This question presented itself during the winter of 1944-1945 in various forms.

      The one episode which had open political significance was disposed of without dispute. Just before Hurley left for the United States, announcement was made of a conference to be held at San Francisco to write the charter for the future United Nations organization. Chou En-lai at once wrote Hurley, claiming that the Chinese Communists ought to...

    • CHAPTER 26 The Soviet Side
      (pp. 278-289)

      Even now the origins of Hurley’s trip to Moscow are hard to trace and its purpose hard to identify. The White House never commented on it; and Hurley’s explanations are as puzzling, as they are dramatic, or perhaps I should say dramatized. A legitimate guess is that Hurley, supposing that he would have to win the Generalissimo’s concurrence for the accord reached with Stalin at Yalta, wanted to put himself in a position to interpret Stalin’s intentions as well as Roosevelt’s.

      Chiang Kai-shek and Soong had shown themselves eager to know what had happened at Yalta and what would happen...

    • CHAPTER 27 Blurred American Policy: Late Spring 1945
      (pp. 290-303)

      Hurley’s belief in what he had been told at Moscow was not quenched by Stettinius’ message from Washington. Three weeks later, in reviewing the past for the new President, he wrote “. . . We have been instrumental in bringing about closer and more harmonious relations between Russia and China. . . . We have obtained the approval of Britain and Russia for the unification of the armed forces of China, support of the American policy to endorse the aspirations of the Chinese people to create for themselves a free, united democratic government.”

      Nor did Hurley allow himself to be...

    • CHAPTER 28 Steps Pursuant to the Yalta Agreement
      (pp. 304-321)

      Now the American government had to face the fact that only weeks were left to tell Chiang Kai-shek of the secret Yalta Accord, and to have the indicated terms made effective and precise by an agreement between China and the Soviet Union. On April 5th the Soviet government had informed the Japanese government that the Neutrality Pact between them “has lost its meaning, and the continuance of this pact has become impossible.” By its own terms this pact was to remain in effect for a year after such notice. But there were obvious signs that the Soviet Union did not...

    • CHAPTER 29 Agreements at Potsdam: July 1945
      (pp. 322-332)

      Truman, Stalin, and Churchill met at Potsdam to deal first of all with the European problems following on the defeat of Germany. But while they were there (July 17th to August 2nd) all the unsettled business cast up in the last phase of the war against Japan was flung upon them. During their fortnight of consultation, the three heads of state and their military staffs were compelled, in addition to the multiple affairs of Europe, to make related decisions about the Japanese surrender, Soviet entry into the war, and the unfinished Sino-Soviet accord. Secretary of War Stimson took station close...

    • CHAPTER 30 From Potsdam to V-J Day
      (pp. 333-352)

      To recall the rapidity with which the war in the Far East now moved to its great climax:

      Extract from the Proclamation defining terms for the Japanese Surrender: “The terms of the Cairo Declaration shall be carried out and Japanese sovereignty shall be limited to the islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku and such minor islands as we determine. . . .

      “We call upon the Government of Japan to proclaim now the unconditional surrender of all Japanese armed forces, and to provide proper and adequate assurances of their good faith in such action. The alternative for Japan is prompt...

  5. PART THREE From the Surrender of Jafan to the Marshall Mission
    • CHAPTER 31 The Struggle for Control of China
      (pp. 355-367)

      The Germans were defeated; Hitler and the evil that belched out of him were dead; the Japanese had given up. The American nation relaxed and began to turn to the future of its ordinary affairs. During the weeks after V-J Day, the press and radio told by stories and pictures of the entry of our soldiers into Tokyo and the ceremonies of surrender on theU.S.S. Missourianchored in Tokyo Bay. Like corn after rain, the question sprouted—how soon will our fighting men be back home? Plans for great movements of forces from Europe to the Far East were...

    • CHAPTER 32 How Much Aid for China After the War?
      (pp. 368-376)

      The authorities in Washington were not, in fact, ready to tell anyone—Hurley, Wedemeyer or Chiang Kai-shek—what we proposed to do from then on in the way of aid and support of the Chinese government. They were puzzling about both the immediate and later phases of the problem. The two connected questions before them were: (1) Could the American government soon end the direct help of the kind being given to the Generalissimo’s forces? That had been conceived as temporary, as a phase of the completion of the defeat of Japan which would be ended when the Japanese in...

    • CHAPTER 33 The Darkening Prospect
      (pp. 377-389)

      Throughout North China the situation was out of hand. As tersely summed up by the military attaché, “The fighting is becoming more bitter and larger numbers of men are being involved.”¹ The Communists, through guerrilla and local units as well as regular forces, were securely established in the area east and north of Peiping, in the Shansi-Hopei-Chahar border region around Kalgan, and various points in Shantung and other land approaches to Manchuria. They dominated some sections of the railroad north from Peiping. They usually gave way or scattered before strong government forces. But they were confident that they would enlarge...

    • CHAPTER 34 Contemporaneous Trouble about Japan
      (pp. 390-395)

      Washington was at the same time having trouble with Moscow over the system for conducting the occupation of Japan. The Soviet government was sulking over the issue and might show its ill will in China. To understand why, we must pause and glance back at what had been happening in this adjacent sector of Far Eastern diplomacy.

      The Soviet government had yielded to the American wish that an American supreme commander should accept the formal surrender of Japan for all the Allies.¹ On September 2nd MacArthur, watched by the decorated men of the other powers who had fought Japan, had...

    • CHAPTER 35 Crisis of Decision: Toward New Policy
      (pp. 396-405)

      The Joint Chiefs of Staff were by this time impressed by the seriousness of the crisis. They turned more incisively to the question of whether the formulated orders for the China Theater should be carried out or changed. On the 10th of November they urgently asked the Departments of State, War, and Navy for guidance as to whether (1) American policy called for a continuation of American military aid to China until the situation in North China and Manchuria was reasonably stabilized, (2) the Marines should be withdrawn from China beginning November 15th as planned, or kept there until the...

    • CHAPTER 36 The Hurley Resignation
      (pp. 406-412)

      Hurley had carried to Washington a letter from Chiang Kai-shek in praise of his work in China and asking that he return. But he was not eager to do so. He felt ill and badly used. Just as he was leaving China, another one of those nagging incidents had occurred to refresh his belief that American policy was being run by the group he thought were trying to oust him. TheNews Bulletinof the United States Information Service (Shanghai Branch) of September 19th had carried a report that he was about to resign; that officially it would be explained...

    • CHAPTER 37 Marshall Is Instructed
      (pp. 413-430)

      General Marshall was able to give only broken thought to the guiding directive for his assignment in China. For just then he was testifying before a Committee of Congress about another historic event in which he had been a leading figure—the attack on Pearl Harbor. But a group in and about the War Department went into the subject with and for him.¹

      On November 28th or 29th Marshall talked over his mission with Byrnes. The Secretary of State gave him a short written memo of the course which the State Department had in mind. This followed along the line...

  6. Index
    (pp. 431-445)
  7. Back Matter
    (pp. 446-446)