Lattimore Story - John T. Flynn

Chapter 7. Communist Talking Points

It is also at this point that we may now begin to observe the activities of Owen Lattimore. The war is over in Europe and Asia. An American army is in China under the command of General Albert Wedemeyer. A Russian army is in Manchuria and North Korea and the other lands ceded to Russia by Roosevelt. The American army is occupying Japan under General MacArthur. The American people naturally assumed that now the Chinese government would be assisted by us to establish itself in authority, that sooner or later a stable government would be erected in Korea and that General MacArthur would proceed to carry out whatever policy should be determined on for Japan.

But Russia had her plans for all this. She was determined to bring about a successful Communist revolution in China, to attach Manchuria, Outer Mongolia and Sinkiang to her own Red empire by making them into Russian satellite states, and to make all of Korea into a Communist state. This enterprise involved the liquidation of Chiang Kai-shek's government. And this, Russia's agents launched with a clear-cut propaganda line. They set out to sell to American politicians, American newspapers and magazines and to every organism of information and opinion the following propositions about China:

  • That Chiang Kai-shek represented the dying feudalism of old China and was an enemy of democracy.
  • That his government was corrupt and would squander any aid received from us.
  • That, on the other hand, the so-called Chinese Communists (a) were not really Communists but agrarian reformers like our farmer-labor groups in the West, and (b) were really democrats while Chiang was a fascist.
  • That our hope for a permanent peace in Asia lay in recognizing Stalin's legitimate claims in Asia and in doing business with him.
  • And, as the first stage in the liquidation of Chiang, they demanded that he be compelled to admit the Communists into his government with their army.

The malignant cleverness of this is seen in that they did not demand that China be turned over to the Reds—merely that Chiang take them into his government. We know now what a mere handful of Reds did in our American government. What would a whole horde do if they were taken in, accompanied by a huge army?

This was the collection of ideas which the Institute of Pacific Relations set out to sell to the American people and to the American government. This was way back in the war years, when Russia was our "noble ally" and when even the informed American knew very little about the arts of Red propaganda and still less about the political structure of China. There was nothing in all this which involved acceptance of Communist political philosophy. The American public, including its editors and publishers and, above all, its political leaders, was profoundly ignorant of Asia and of the shrewd techniques of Communist thought control. But the men and women in the IPR were not ignorant—they were deeply versed in this art. They were recruited by the IPR because they were specialists on Asia and because they were trained in Communist methods.

With the scene in Asia thus set, we are able now to look at the IPR's pro-Communist apparatus at work.