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Notes on The China White Paper
by William P. Meyers

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The China White Paper was compiled by the U.S. Department of State and given to President Harry Truman by Dean Acheson on July 30, 1949. [More]

1943 Repeal of U.S. Chinese Exclusion Acts

"The President, on December 17, 1943, signed an Act ... removing long standing legislative discriminations against Chinese. The Act repealed the Chinese exclusion laws, established an annual Chinese immigration quota, and made legally admitted Chinese eligible to naturalization as American citizens." [37]In other words, the Open Door policy had not been mutual, and the U.S. had denied human rights to Chinese people in the U.S.

1944 American View of Situation in China

Although the Japanese were losing the war in the Pacific, even in late 1944 they were not facing serious opposition in China, despite U.S. aid to Chiang Kai-shek. The main concern of the U.S. was that the two leading groups, the Chinese Communist Party and Chiang's Kuomintang, were more worried about their struggle for power than about fighting the Japanese (and thus reducing American casualties). "The Chinese /Communists have become the most dynamic force in China... The Kuomintang and National Government are disintegrating." Therefore the U.S. "should attempt to prevent the disaster of a civil war though the adjustment of the new alignment of power in China by peaceful processes."[64]

The bulk of the White Paper is details on how American negotiators tried to get a unified Kuomintang-Communist (+ other parties) government and army set up, both before and after the Japanese surrender.

"Signs of military disintegration appeared in the spring" of 1944. In some areas the Nationalist troops were as unpopular as the Japanese: "On May 18 Loyang in the Yellow River area was captured [by Japanese] and the remnants of Tang En-po's troops were set upon by the local population." The Japanese captured the strategic Kweilin air base on November 12. [65]

"With this development the entire East China front had collapsed and there was little reason to believe that the Japanese if they so elected would not have the capability of attacking Chungking and the vitally important American base at Kunming... to a disturbing extent the Chinese will to fight had vanished." [66]

Lack of Support Known to Chiang Kai-shek

In a meeting with U.S. Ambassador Hurley, T.V. Soong, and Wang Shih-chieh in early 1945, Chiang Kai-shek said that "in his opinion all the political parties in China including his own constituted less than 2% of the Chinese people." This was at a time when both the Nationalists and the Communists were minimizing fighting the Japanese in China, hoping the U.S. would soon defeat Japan [which was fair enough, given the U.S. had stood by watching while millions of Chinese died fighting Japan and tens of millions of Russian/Soviet troops died fighting Germany, earlier in the war]. U.S. policy was for all political parties in China to form a unity government. This statement by Chiang is an early indicator that while his government appeared to be far stronger than the Communists, this was an illusion. [80]

Defections to Communists already important in 1944

In 1944 Communist General Chu told U.S. General Wedermeyer they had "won over 34,167 Chinese puppet [pro-Japanese regime at Nanking under Wang Ching-wei] with 20,850 rifles, sidearms, mortars, field pieces, etc." [87] This was a prelude the the main successful strategy of the communists: getting troops under Chiang and other warlords to defect.

continued China White Paper page 3

©2015 by William P. Meyers

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