The American Position at Taipei
SIX YOUNG FORMOSANS had appeared at the Consulate on March 8 to offer service as "guards." They lived far from Taipei, but they had heard that we were in danger. We had never heard of them before, but now discovered that they were members of an association of repatriated labor conscripts who had been captured in the Philippines, interned as POW's, and then sent home. They said they wanted to "repay American generosity."
But "This is China now" and I had no choice but to urge them to return at once to their homes in the distant country side. We learned later that they suffered heavily for having shown readiness to help the Consulate at this time of crisis.
We were all in a most awkward position. As "official bodies" we were expected to deal only with members of Chen Yi's administration, but most of us found it difficult to be even coldly civil. The majority of the UNRRA Team members, too, found it repugnant to resume working relations with Chen Yi's men.
The foreign community had nothing whatsoever to fear from the Formosan people, but as the Chinese Nationalists came ashore on March 8 we were in some jeopardy. We had--offlcially--ignored the Government's anti-foreign campaign but we could not know in what degree the Formosans might resist incoming troops nor how far we might be drawn into a violent
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crisis. Would we, for instance, give asylum to Formosan leaders if they came to us or would we - officially - deem that an interference in a domestic Chinese quarrel? We had much more to fear from the incoming Nationalist troops than we had to fear from the island people. It was therefore agreed with the British Consulate and the UNRRA group that we should be prepared to evacuate the foreign population if need be. We asked the American Embassy at Nanking to be ready for a crisis message.
On Monday, March 10, an Embassy Attache flew in to look the situation over. At Taipei all Formosan eyes were on him. Was America about to intervene at last? Would the Ambassador protest to the Generalissimo?
The American colonel, in full uniform and decorations, arrived on a Chinese Nationalist Air Force plane. An impressive escort of high-ranking Chinese officers greeted him, piled him into a jeep, and took him on a long tour of the city with a Nationalist military escort. He received the Nationalist salutes smartly offered him here and there across town before he was driven to the Governor's Office for what he believed to be a routine courtesy call.
General Chen clearly indicated that he thought the uprising a "blessing in disguise"; now he knew where everyone stood. The colonel told me later that he drew then the conclusion that Chen's opponents were doomed.
The local radio and press - now limited to one government paper -reported the colonel's interview with Chen indicating that an American "investigator" approved the Government's measures and believed the local problem settled. Again it had been demonstrated to the Formosans how easily visiting foreigners could be misled.
Meanwhile we had assumed that the visiting Attache would desire an opportunity to discuss the situation at the Consulate. The Information Officer's wife prepared a luncheon for the consular officers and the colonel. But quite unexpectedly and
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without her consent the invitation was enlarged to include several of Chen Yi's aides, making certain that Chen understood where official American sympathies lay. There would be no Chinese criticism to taint the records at Nanking. On this, our hostess quietly refused to greet or to sit with the unwanted members of the party. The revolting cruelties which we had witnessed at our gate on the previous day were still too much with her.
That afternoon the colonel flew back to Nanking with his Chinese Air Force escorts. He had seen exactly what they wanted him to see. The Embassy at Nanking was certainly not much wiser in the event, but perhaps it did not matter.*
Settling the Incident, Nationalist Party Style
Control of information was of course a key to the management of this crisis. The outspoken Min Pao press plant was destroyed by repeated raids on March 11 and 12. On March 13 it was announced that all but two papers were banned because they had published accounts of the February Incident and of the Settlement Committee's activities, thereby embarrassing the Government.
At Shanghai on March 11 members of the Formosan Democratic League published demands that the United Nations establish a mandate in Formosa. The Minister of Information at Nanking (Peng Hsueh-pei) promptly branded the Formosan people "irresponsible and undisciplined," but noted that China would be lenient. This was not enough to silence mainland critics. The Shanghai press was filled with scathing condemnation
*I later learned from the colonel that he had not been sufflciently briefed on the gravity of the affair at Taipei, that his orders came to him too suddenly to retrieve his civilian clothes from the cleaners, and that the offer of transport by the Chinese Air Force was made in a manner which could not be turned down without awkward embarrassment. He had, in effect, been trapped into this compromising situation and regretted it.
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of the affair, but none of it was reported in the Formosan papers. Major General Mao Ng-chang, former Director of the Intelligence Office of the Fukien Pacification Headquarters (hence presumably an old associate of Chen Yi) was appointed General Manager of the Government paper at Taipei, the Hsin Shen Pao.
On March 14 it was announced that a general census would soon be taken. There was to be a thorough house-to-house search throughout the province. It was also learned that on this day the Government had begun examining Japanese remaining in the island. The majority were there at Government request or by Government order, but apparently many rumors had reached Taipei saying that "hundreds" of Japanese had suddenly come out of hiding in the hills and were now assisting Formosans in resisting mainland troops. These rumors were quite without foundation, but reflected clearly the nervous dread in which mainland Chinese faced any suggestion that a "Japanese element" might have to be overcome. They dreaded the element of discipline which the Japanese had introduced into Formosa.
It was now also announced that General Pai Chung-hsi, the Minister of National Defense, would be sent to Formosa to "hear the people" and assist General Chen Yi in settling the crisis.
General Pai reached Taipei on March 17, and at once issued a proclamation, urging the Formosans to "appreciate Generalissimo Chiang's love for the Formosan people" and to "preserve their law-abiding virtues."
The visiting General was lavishly entertained, taken on tour, and quoted in the press. He was deeply impressed, he said, by the progress which had been made on Formosa since the surrender; he thought the Taipei Zoological Garden a most remarkable place; he managed occasionally to imply that he thought the Formosans a poor lot, tainted by the Japanese, and unable to appreciate the blessings of reunion with the Homeland
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On March 29 Pai broadcast a general report, leading off with a statement that during the Incident there had been 440 Army casualties, but that a total of only 1860 Formosan Chinese and mainland Chinese had been killed or injured. The remote causes of the rebellion were three, he thought; the Japanese had trained Formosans to dislike mainland Chinese, the island was spoiled by the presence of Formosan riff-raff schooled by Japan to be tools of aggression in China proper, and there was an "unavoidable" decline in the Formosan economy, causing unemployment. There were four immediate causes of the riots; the current monopolies had something to do with the decline of the economy, too many Formosan Chinese had been barred from office because of their incompetence, a few corrupt, inefficient Chinese officials had come into the island, and there were Communists about.
His "whitewashing" duties done, General Pai flew back to the mainland.
Meanwhile the mainland Chinese on Formosa were extremely uneasy. Some fifty thousand troops were reported to have come in to join thirty thousand who had been present on March 1. It was apparent to many foreigners that the mainland civilians were as afraid of their own undisciplined troops as they were of the rioting Formosans. To offset this and to "restore confidence," two misbehaving Nationalist soldiers were executed publicly, a gesture to demonstrate the "sincerity" of Party and Government.
But on Monday, March 24, seventy Formosans were executed at Chia-yi. It had become evident that Governor Chen was being given time in which to have his revenge, and was making good use of it.
Meanwhile even Chiang Kai-shek had to realize the public opinion throughout China proper was deeply aroused by events in Formosa. This was too close a parallel to the situation in Fukien under Chen Yi in the 1930's. In this present instance, China's foreign interests were involved; foreigners had
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witnessed the affair, and China's legal position in the island was by no means as firm as the Government pretended it to be.
Late in March the Nanking Government notified the mainland press that the Taiwan Incident was officially closed, and that rebels, gangsters, and Communists had been suppressed, hence the affair should no longer be discussed.
The Central Executive Committee of the Nationalist Party on March 22 adopted a resolution, by overwhelming majority, which censured Chen Yi and demanded his dismissal. Such a resolution was usually considered mandatory in all cases where the Generalissimo's personal interests were not deeply involved.
The Party Leader Chiang faced a dilemma, for Chen was a Chekiang general to whom he owed a great debt; the national interest called for action; Chen was identified with the so-called Political Science Clique which was supposed to be a "reform" group; and the United States Government, awkwardly enough, was demanding "reform" as a condition for even considering a new loan of half a billion U.S. dollars.
Chen was told to yield. On March 28 he offered his resignation as Governor of Taiwan. In order to "save his face" the Generalissimo did not formally accept the resignation until March 31, suggesting that Chen was not dismissed out of hand, and that the resignation was accepted with great reluctance.
Chinese Press Notices and Propaganda in the United States
The Newton stories in 1946 had alarmed the Nationalists. The propaganda agency at Taipei was developed thereafter as an agency for propaganda or "public relations" organizations subsidized by the Nationalist regime in the United States. Taipei was kept informed of all overseas press or radio notices (few enough) and of the general American reaction to events,
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personalities, and issues concerning China. The Governor's office in turn controlled all outgoing radio and cable dispatches, and routine "news releases."
One "pre-Incident" sample may suffice. In late December, 1946, as I prepared my gloomy predictions of impending violence on Formosa, Stanway Cheng's office nearby was preparing something of a cheerier nature. In January, 1947, the China News Service (a registered agency of the Chinese Government) released in the United States a four-page broadside which began in this vein:
REHABILITATION IN FORMOSA 80% COMPLETED
ONE YEAR AFTER CHINESE HAVE TAKEN OVER
After a week's visit in Formosa last October, President Chiang Kai-shek announced with considerable satisfaction that one year after its liberation 80% of the island's rehabilitation program had already been accomplished . . . 
At the moment this was released in the United States by the Governor's men, the Formosan economy, in terms of value and quantity of production related to total population, had reached the lowest point in some forty years.
Distortion of news sent from Taipei during and after the February Incident has been noted; a New Zealand member of the UNRRA group observed how smoothly handled this was--a credit to the School of journalism which had produced the Information Service Director, if not exactly a great credit to the gullibility of the American public. As she wrote: "Each night [during the massacre] we listened to broadcasts from China and to one in particular from San Francisco, where the riots were mentioned and dismissed by China as terrorist and Japanese-inspired uprisings against lawful authority and the benign rule of China
In late March, while the bloody reprisals were at their height and the island was paralyzed by fear, an official of the United
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States Department of Agriculture made his general observations known to the American press at Washington. He had just returned from an official survey mission, undertaken jointly by representatives of the State, War, and Navy Departments in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture. It was presumed that the Mission's recommendations would substantially affect the American aid program in Asia. Under the heading "Taiwan Seen as Bright Spot in the Far Eastern Food Picture," he was quoted at length. The fine statistics handed to him in Taipei showed that Formosa would export 350,000 tons of sugar in 1947. This pleased him, but someone had failed to tell him that in the best years the island had produced more than 1,400,000 tons of sugar, or that in the first year under Nationalist control the output was less than 30,000 tons, and might fall below that in 1947.*
The American food expert then continued:
The most constructive efforts I saw in Chinese areas that I visited were going on in Formosa ... There may have been disorders there recently, but it seems that the Chinese Government has sent some of its most efficient administrators to the Island. Being separated from the uncertainties of the Chinese mainland, the island was making distinct progress. 
On April 6 the China News Service handed to the American press a report of General Pai Chung-hsi's promises that there would be sweeping reform in Formosa. A month later the subject was referred to again under the heading "New Deal for Taiwan." Here is the official version of the March affair prepared at Taipei and released in San Francisco:
General Pai also urged protection of the innocent, leniency to the rioters, and justice in the trial of the ringleaders. These
* The 350,000-ton figure - if it had any relation to realities - apparently referred to the pre-surrender sugar stockpiles which the Chinese were shipping out as rapidly as possible.
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were conciliatory measures indeed, when one remembers that the islanders in their riots had killed and wounded over 1,660 government officials and their families, inflicted 440 casualties on the garrison forces, and had attempted to seize the island's government by force.
The riots seemed premeditated and well-organized. Fighting first broke out on February 28, raged on till March 4 when it spread to the entire island . . .
Fighting flared up again on March 8 when the rebels besieged government offices in the capital Taipei. A Central Yuan Commissioner sent to investigate the disturbances was ambushed. Chinese troops had to restore order, and in their efforts to bring the hostilities to a halt, had used rather stern measures during the first two days.
Foreign witnesses agree that native rabble-rousers had been busy fanning hostilities among the people against Chinese rule for some time, and as General Pai pointed out, the fifty years of Japanese education plus the activities of the Communist elements have further fostered their antipathy toward the Chinese. 
For some months after the March affair there appeared news notes and commentaries in the American press - especially on the West Coast -as correspondents in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Nanking, and Tokyo picked up stories from refugees and from UNRRA staff members leaving Formosa. For example, the Portland Oregonian (September 10) carried a story entitled "Corruption in Formosa Returns with Chinese." Under a caption reading "Chinese Rule of Formosa Held as Bad as Japs; People Demand U.S. Put in a Protest," the Seattle Times (November 15) noted, "one educated Formosan explained the sovereignty problem this way: "I don't regard myself as a Chinese, even though China was our Mother Country. I am a Formosan."
At Taipei, however, the commentaries prepared in the Governor's office by an American-trained Chinese joumalist, took on a vicious anti-American tone, venting a Chinese intellectual's reaction to American patronage. The propaganda
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which poured forth immediately after the March affair was exceedingly bitter and oddly enough some of it was printed in English. One example written with an attempt at heavy sarcasm, will suffice:
The visit of two local [i.e. Shanghai] American newspapermen [Tillman Durdin and Christopher Rand] to Formosa has been followed, as expected, by an outcry in the United States clamouring for the permanent separation of this island from China under American "trusteeship."
In a typical and vivid editorial the influential Washington Post has described the Chinese administration in Formosa as a regime of unbridled brutality and "lust."
It seems idle to answer these criminal and irresponsible charges against the long-suffering Chinese people. The coin of international and national morality has recently been much debased by America, and it is apparent to most people that the morality of the United States and the morality of the civilized races of the world are poles apart . . . Glib and complacent in that smug, debased international morality, of which America has become a byword, these "liberal" American newspapermen have conveniently forgotten that: (a) the economic handicaps under which Formosa is laboring were largely the inevitable consequences of the American bombing and destruction of factories, plantations, and communications . . .
America, of course, does not owe any moral obligation whatsoever toward the Formosans (unless under a trusteeship), and positively insists that China fulfills her obligations for the damage for which the United States war machine was primarily instrumental ... 
The Situation in the American Embassy, Nanking
I was ordered to report to the Ambassador. On March 17 General Pai Chung-hsi's plane taxied in at Sungshan field just as the Embassy plane prepared to leave for Nanking. General Pai was
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welcomed with military bands and banners, but my reception at Nanking was rather more subdued. A senior Embassy Secretary met me at planeside and bundled me off to an Embassy guest-house. By mid-moming next day it was clearly apparent that I had walked straight through the Looking-Glass, and was not very welcome in some quarters beyond it; some members of the Embassy Secretariat wanted to bury the embarrassing Formosan situation under as many papers as possible, others wanted to have it aired and publicized to bring added pressure to bear upon Chiang. And there were some important members of the Embassy who seemed not quite sure where "Taiwan" was. Obviously our reports from Taipei in 1946 had not carried much weight; from the Embassy at Nanking the island seemed far distant from the continental war front, and our Consul himself had consistently played down the gravity of events preceding the fatal clash.
Dr. Stuart had returned from a YMCA speaking tour to resume Embassy business. I had been his guest, briefly, at Yenching University in Peking before the war, and now resumed our acquaintance with a long review of the situation in Formosa. He would like to have a well-documented written report, he said, upon which to base further conversations with Chiang. I received permission to consult the Embassy copies of my earlier Taipei reports.
But first I made a round of courtesy calls. I was introduced to the Military Attache, who led off by observing that "since the Nationalist soldiers had arrived, there would probably be no further need to consider evacuation of American residents." He brushed aside my comment that it was because of their arrival that we had considered evacuation. I was then subjected to questions that seemed rather wide of the mark. For example, "What about that large area on the south of the island which the Communists have held since surrender?" I explained that there was no "large area in the hands of Communists," and that there were very few Communists on Formosa. I was bluntly
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contradicted; his reports showed, the General said, that a large area had been held by Communists since the war. Again I observed that there was no such area on the island, that UNRRA representatives had worked in every part of Formosa, and that I myself had been everywhere since 1945. There was a long silence and a long, cold stare; then the General without further words turned back to his deskwork.
As I withdrew, wondering if I had suddenly become an "agrarian reformer," my companion, an assistant military attache wondered sotto voce if just perhaps the General had confused the Island of Taiwan with the Island of Hainan, where indeed, the Communists held a large area. We agreed that it was just as well the Military Attache had not sent a rescue plane to Hainan, hundreds of miles away, while we were being butchered, perhaps, by the Nationalists on Formosa.
In conversation I found the Ambassador full of sympathy for the Formosans, but also full of continuing trust in his friend Chiang Kai-shek. One day be noticed a copy of Theodore White's newly published volume Thunder Out of China in my hand, and said, shaking his head sadly, "These younger men do not understand the Generalissimo. They should - they must -give him just a little more time . . . a little more time!" I promptly thought of the hundreds of young Formosans whose time had run out in the week of March 8. But here was the old, old missionary dream again - if we could just convert the Emperor, all of China would be saved.
In the course of the week's work on my Memorandum for Dr. Stuart I discovered that the Ambassador's private secretary was not an American citizen, but a national of the country to which the Ambassador was accredited. This circumstance may have no parallel in American diplomatic history. He was a man answerable to the Generalissimo and not to the American Government. Was he privy to the most secret papers crossing the Ambassador's desk? Had be seen my secret reports listing the names of leading Formosans who had come to us asking for
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help? Certainly they had been the first ones sought out and killed when the Nationalist troops came in.*
In discussing Formosa with Dr. Stuart, Chiang professed not to know details of the affair which I had reported to the Ambassador. He therefore invited Dr. Stuart to place in his hands a written account. My long resume was therefore edited to become a "State paper." Some references to the American Consulate and to Formosan trust in the United States and the United Nations were removed in order not to inflame Chiang's well-known anti-foreign prejudices. Many qualifying diplomatic phrases were introduced ("It appeared to be . . . . it was alleged that in order to save the Generalissimo's face. Apparently it would never do to present him with an unvarnished record of the evidence of our own eyes. Quite properly we did not include my review of several possible alternative courses which lay ahead. The whole was translated into Chinese and in due course handed to Chiang.+
It was my view that if the Central Government wished to regain the confidence of the Formosan people, it would have to withdraw the punitive force, put an end immediately to vengeful
*Dr. Stuart himself demonstrated the vulnerability of this strange situation in a report to the Secretary of State (Marshall) prepared at Nanking August 27, 1947. Lieutenant General Albert Wedemeyer had castigated the Chiang government in searing terms, in Chiang's presence, just before the Wedemeyer Mission left China. Says Stuart "On the evening of August 25 the Generalissimo called Phillip Fugh, the Ambassador's personal secretary, to his residence and quizzed him at some length with regard to the background of the Wedemeyer Mission. He wished to know whether the Ambassador had had any part in its organization or dispatch . . . The Embassy is not aware in detail of how Fugh handled this conversation except that he has informed the Ambassador that he was 'careful' and 'noncommittal'." (Dept. of State: United States Relations with China. Washington, 1949, pp. 825-826.) On Fugh's controversial position see Stuart's memoirs Fifty Years in China (N.Y. 1954), p. 293 and General Wedemeyer's Wedemeyer Reports. (N.Y. 1958) pp. 389-90.
+ The English text appears in United States Relations with China, pp. 923-938. The original ran to 54 legal pages. In preparing it I drew heavily upon my December semi-annual political report from Taipei which had been endorsed and forwarded to the Embassy. But in the Embassy files I found also a brief, secret, unnumbered follow-up dispatch from Taipei which said in effect that the Embassy should not take my December predictions of impending crisis too seriously.
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reprisals, and replace Chen Yi by a civilian Governor. The promised constitution would have to go into effect on Formosa whenever it applied in China proper. Reorganization of the Taipei government would have to take into very careful consideration the issues outlined in the Reform proposals handed by Formosan leaders to Chen Yi on March 7
I noted that if the Generalissimo continued to support Chen Yi, or continued a harsh and heavy military occupation he might lose Formosa; the legal status of the island might be challenged and China's qualifications as an interim trustee might be called into review by the United Nations. I noted that all Formosan leaders who sought intervention by the United States or the United Nations were very keenly aware of Formosa's unsettled legal status, and would continue to raise the issue at every opportunity.
As for Communism, my comment on our failure to discover any significant Communist leadership or organization, and the universal lack of sympathy or interest in Communist propaganda would of course have been most unwelcome to the Generalissimo, for it contradicted fundamental KMT propaganda used in appeals for American military and economic aid. The American public had been led to believe that "All anti-Chiang critics are ipso facto pro-Communist"; in Formosa the facts could not be made to support that propaganda line.
On Formosan relations with China proper the original Memorandum had this to say:
Until March 8 Formosan leaders showed a desperate eagerness to convince the world, the Central Government and the Generalissimo of their allegiance to China and their desire only to effect a political reform of General Chen's government. The landing of troops and the subsequent ruthless manhunt directed toward every critic of the Governor and his subordinates, despite specific pledges by the highest military authorities, appears to have convinced even the most conservative Formosans that the Central Government is not to be trusted any more than
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General Chen's organization. Each act of brutality, each day of military suppression since March 8 has worn away faith, trust, and allegiance to the Generalissimo . . .
It is probable that when no help appears to be forthcoming from America, Formosan resistance leaders will look to the only other power in the Far East for support, and will welcome communist intervention . . .
No area in China is so enthusiastically pro-American as this island, which completes the chain we influence, control, or occupy strategically from the Hokkaido through the Philippines. Its loss to us now by default may cost us heavily if we should need to occupy Formosa in the future.
I listed for the Ambassador seven different forms or degrees of intervention which had been suggested to me by thoughtful Formosans. The first and least promising was the "good offices" approach, in which the Ambassador (as Chiang's friend) would attempt to make sure that the Generalissimo had a true picture of the island crisis and its origin. The most extreme proposal called for creation of a United Nations trusteeship or protectorate. This should be set up for a stated period of time, and subject to review at a reasonable interval before the proposed terminal date, or until a local plebiscite would afford the Formosans themselves an opportunity to determine their permanent status.
Dr. Stuart adopted the mild ineffective "good offices" approach, and undertook that gingerly enough, in order not to offend the Generalissimo. The Ambassador, who favored the appointment of a civilian to succeed Chen Yi, told me that he had recommended T. V. Soong. Soong had declined, and the post would go to the internationally known lawyer and former Ambassador to Washington, Dr. Wei Tao-ming.
Before I left Nanking for Washington, I received the following letter from a former student, dated at Taipei, March 26:
You will get this, I hope, before you leave for America, and perhaps it will carry your mind back to this miserable Taiwan.
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It may comfort you to know that Mr. ___ is still alive, confined to the M.P. jail, but it is sad to tell you that Mr. ___'s father was seized and killed.
After your departure, every moment and every inch throughout this island, butchery, arrest and despoilment are occurred by the Government Army. Now the center of battle is moved to Musha, Kanshirei, and Koshun aboriginal districts. And after the suppression, to be sure, wholesale butchery, arrest and bribery of largest scale will follow. I can't know my life one second after. Oh! Terrible dark ages! Every people is trembling for fear. And every people hold the same opinion that Taiwan can only be relieved by you, United States.
Please do your best to emancipate this beautiful island from the mouth of those brutal pigs. Don't be deceived by the govemment's conventional counter-propaganda. Don't forget Taiwan, and please, remember that there are many people here praying fervently for [American help]. 
Diplomatic Paralysis Sets In
From Nanking I flew to Peking. The Communists were near and a general exodus was taking place among those fortunate enough to have funds and influence to secure transportation. Returning to Shanghai I saw the immense disorder and confusion which had engulfed the old Concessions after foreign controls had been withdrawn. At Tokyo it was evident that the United State Forces had settled in for a long stay on the Western Pacific rim. There could be no question of the confrontation which was about to take place; Communist forces based on the continental landmass were pushing outward and gaining strength, and the United States was getting set in Japan, Okinawa and the Philippines to hold the line, if it could, along the sea frontier. Formosa, it seemed to me, was the Achilles' heel.
I returned to Washington on May 26, and at 5:30 in the afternoon sat down to discuss the Formosa crisis with the
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Director of the Office of Far Eastern Affairs in the Department of State.
After reviewing the "Incident," I presented my unpopular "imperialist" view. If we wanted to maintain American and United Nations interests along the Western Pacific frontier, Formosa would have to be in friendly hands to complete the chain. At that moment (1947) no one knew how long the Occupation of Japan might continue nor when the Treaty of Peace would be accomplished.
Despite official pronouncements, it was generally but privately conceded in Peking, Nanking, Shanghai and Tokyo that the Generalissimo faced almost certain defeat on the mainland. He had lost the confidence and support of the common people of China and he refused to take the American military advice available to him.
If Chiang were allowed to retreat to Formosa and establish himself there, we would be saddled with an enormous problem. Obviously we would be expected to continue to supply him with arms and economic support. If the Communists grew to giant stature on the mainland we would be committed to supporting a Tom Thumb on Formosa. This might be admissible if Chiang and the Nationalists enjoyed the support of the Formosans, but the March affair had embittered relations with the mainland beyond hope of recovery.
Why not intervene while we had a legal basis for doing so?
Why not insist on a United Nations or Allied administration until the Chinese civil war issues were settled? If we waited until after transfer of sovereignty took place at the Treaty Conference, we would be placed in an immeasurably more difficult position. Keep Chiang and the Nationalists on the mainland, or at least keep them out of Formosa. Give the Formosans the temporary trusteeship they seek; and then, if necessary, let Chiang take refuge there as a private citizen. By all means do not let Chiang lose Formosa as be was then losing the mainland. Why not make Formosa a policing base under Allied
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or American control, to be held until postwar Asia achieved a degree of political stability?
I was presenting my "imperialist" line of argument for the last time, I thought, in a quasi-official frame of reference. The Director of the Office of Far Eastern Affairs brought the discussion to a close and saw me to the door with remarks to the effect that no one in the United Nations and certainly no one in Washington would ever be interested in Formosa.
If he had added "as a colony," "as a trust territory, or even as a moral responsibility" he might have been closer to reality. But he was voicing the Department's policy of "no-policy" for the island "Pay no attention to Formosa and there will be no Formosa Problem." Soon enough a policy-guidance directive was to state officially that Washington held Formosa to be "geographically, politically and strategically" part of continental China.
But somewhere in the Department there was a lurking uneasiness. On June 5 (the day of the great Marshall Plan address at Harvard) I was called to the Department and asked to prepare a one-page summary of my views, to be addressed to General Marshall. How could one possibly state the case for a rightabout-face in basic policy and as justification, call attention to American vulnerability there and to the desperate Formosan search for help? I came away from that writing chore with an impression that someone in the Department thought it necessary to get these "imperialist" views before General Marshall, but that no career man in the Department wanted to have his name associated with them. My name, entirely unknown to General Marshall or the public, would carry no weight. If he wanted to pursue the subject, he would do so.
There were other tremors of interest, but they soon subsided. Senator Joseph Ball had me to lunch, Ambassador Warren Austin at the United Nations asked me to tell him of the March Affair, but nothing significant came of all this.
While going in and out of the State Department on these
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empty errands I made the rounds of other Government offices which had become concerned with Formosa during the war years and now continued to show a lively interest in its future. If Chiang were defeated, what next?
The Navy was concerned lest this large island slip under Communist control, for it could dominate the seas lying between our bases in Japan, Okinawa, and the Philippines. The mere servicing of such a large maritime possession by the Communists would stimulate Chinese Communist development of military and merchant marine establishments. In naval offices we recalled with regret the Navy's proposal to place the island under an American naval administration before Japan's surrender.
At the Pentagon I found former colleagues who were eager for the latest information and an eyewitness report of the March Affair. At the moment they were more directly concerned with the impending collapse of Chiang Kai-shek's military positions throughout North China. From the Pentagon Formosa looked like an excellent offshore base, protected by a "moat." Here, too, there was regret that the United States was not taking advantage of Formosa's unsettled legal status to insist upon an American or United Nations share in the local administration. Lieutenant General Albert Wedemeyer was even then in China reviewing the unstable mainland military situation, and negotiating a proposal to create a special Sino-American training base upon Formosa.
But the War and Navy Departments moved in these matters only with the consent and approval of the Department of State, and here the "hands off" view prevailed. I found that it was not possible to suggest that America's long-range interests should take precedence over tender consideration of Chiang Kai-shek's face, and over Chinese interests in general. It was my view that a friendly, non-Communist and non-Nationalist Formosan population would serve our interests best.
There was more than a trace of vindictiveness in the counter-
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argument offered by some Foreign Service officers with "old China Hands" or mission background, and much of their argument echoed the arguments used on behalf of the Chinese in the mid-19th-century Formosa controversy, when foreigners wanted to bring order to the island by cutting it off from China proper. Clearly my disputants shared the Chinese view that Formosans were "tainted" by long association with the Japanese, and deserved little consideration, or that in a spirit of true missionary renunciation, we Americans must put Chinese claims and interests always before our own. There was a certain cold logic, of course, in the observation that the Formosan people, numbering then only six millions, were a minority too small to be considered in weighing the interests of the huge mainland Chinese population. There could be no suggestion of a separate Formosa.