Lattimore Story - John T. Flynn

15. The Campaign for Chinese 'Unity'

This dangerous cabal failed in Japan, but its efforts on the Chinese front achieved an appalling success—and began as soon as Japan surrendered. At this point the Chinese Red Army occupied only a small sector of China. Chiang's government occupied the rest. A military victory for the Communists was impossible. The only hope of the Reds was to insert themselves into the Chinese government. This was promoted under the old slogan of "unity in China." It was made to seem plausible by creating the impression that China had a number of political parties, the two largest being the Kuomintang led by Chiang Kai-shek and the Communist Party led by Mao Tse-tung. We were told that all the Communist Party was asking for was unity —that is, to be allowed, as a party, to share in the responsibilities of political life. This was a sheer fraud.

The Reds were in no sense a political party as we understand that term. They were an armed revolutionary rebellion. They were not asking the right to contest for control in an election. They wanted to be admitted to a share of the government, coming in with their military forces armed to the teeth. After that they would depend on the well-tried Communist divisive and disruptive tactics to extend and complete their control. We do not recognize this kind of "unity" here. We would be amused if the Communist Party suggested that it be admitted to the government with its own army.

Reds penetrated our government in merely limited numbers with the most appalling results. We now throw them out of government as soon as we can identify them. We throw them into jail. We regard them as the natural enemies of liberty and order. And that is what they were in China. Yet our government was insisting that the Chinese government take in a horde armed to the teeth.

Of course, Chiang's government was not perfect. There were elements in it which could not be defended and which Chiang himself did not defend. After all, Chiang was trying to lead a vast nation, most of it in the grip of an age-old feudalism, toward a measure of republican government. The choice for us was between Chiang's government, which was friendly to the United States, and Mao Tse-tung's Red revolutionary army, which was a puppet of Stalin. With all its inevitable frailties, Chiang's government was infinitely to be preferred to that of the Stalin stooges. Chiang's government was Chinese—not a satellite of another state. It ruled over four-fifths of China. Chiang himself was and is a man of high character with a noble ambition to lead his country not toward a new and more terrible form of Oriental despotism but toward freedom modeled on American ideals. Aside from this, every interest in America cried out—as every sane man now knows—for aid to Chiang. Every interest of Stalin was wrapped up in Red China and the project of forcing Chiang to take the Reds into his government.

However, the whole left-wing cabal here went into eruption in 1945 for "unity in China," and the IPR became the task force entrusted with that operation. The first victory, as we have seen, was the ousting of Grew and Dooman, and the installation of Acheson. Then Lattimore found a use for the gullible Henry Wallace. He was induced to write a pamphlet on China. The IPR commissioned Mrs. Lattimore to write that pamphlet and Wallace, after a few interviews, approved it. It was published with the title "Our Job in the Pacific" by Henry Wallace (pp. 950-951). Immediately all the leftwing journals went into action. The New Republic (May 28, 1945) got out a special Far Eastern edition. Of course Owen Lattimore, of IPR, wrote the lead piece. He wrote that there was an important "freedom bloc in Asia"—China, the Philippines, Korea, etc.

"On this stage walks Russia. Americans think her undemocratic, but Asiatics think her democratic." He asks, "which group is going to govern? The one that lifts up its eyes to Russia or the one that looks down its nose at Russia?" He warns us against a cooling-off period in our own liberalism while the "Russians take command of moderate, soberly progressive liberalism."

In another article Richard Watts, pro-Russian reviewer of the Nation, in this same New Republic supplement wrote that:

"The official observer groups of the State Department were so clearly impressed by what they saw [in Yenan, the Red capital] . . . that there was reason to believe the reports would cause the American government to use its influence to bring about . . . a coalition government." He said all newspaper correspondents were convinced the Communists were not "trying to collectivize China," they are just "building a progressive, democratic, non-feudal, unified nation. . ." with much more of the same.

William Mandel, of the IPR, who refused to deny under oath that he was a Communist, declared that Russia "proposed to apply to Asia those policies which in the words of Henry Wallace have resulted in ethnic democracy in the USSR" (italics added). Another IPR writer, T. A. Bisson, made his contribution and Agnes Smedley, the Communist agent and an IPR member, compared the Kuomintang in China to the Nazis in Germany.

There is no space here to quote all the numerous contributions all through 1944 and 1945 promoting the line set by Lattimore. Edgar Snow (Nation, Feb. 17, 1945) praised Lattimore's book "Solution in Asia" and quoted the nice things Lattimore said about the Communists. The Nation (May 26,1945) urged that we lend Russia six billion dollars to rebuild. In the midst of all this the arrests in the Amerasia case were being blasted as an enterprise of Dooman, Grew and the Scripps-Howard newspapers. I have taken merely a few quotes from the leftist magazines to illustrate the extent, the vigor and, at times, the furious hurry of the drive to install the Reds in the Chinese government.