A Fascination with Central Asia
On July 18, 1951, when the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee under Patrick McCarran of Nevada was well into its investigation of Owen Lattimore, Robert Morris, special counsel to the subcommittee, went to the FBI with a hot tip. Lattimore, said Morris, "was a Russian orphan who was born in Russia and was adopted by his parents, although Lattimore claimed to have been born in Washington, D.C., in 1900."
Clyde Tolson, J. Edgar Hoover's alter ego at the FBI, appreciating the implications of this startling item, sent an agent to check birth records. At the Bureau of Vital Statistics the agent obtained a copy of certificate number 105986, showing that one Owen Lattimore had been born in Sibley Hospital on July 29, 1900, to David and Margaret Lattimore, both native Americans.
Lattimore's father taught high school in the District of Columbia. Owen was the second child, and the family expected to have more. Teaching salaries then were not adequate even for a family of four. David Lattimore was open to a job with a better salary.
Such an offer came from the shaky Manchu Empire, suffering in 1900 from the aftermath of the Boxer Rebellion. Western armies had thoroughly defeated Chinese troops; it was clear to the Manchus that China had to bring its science and technology up to Western standards. This meant Western education: training young Chinese in Western languages, then sending them to foreign colleges. David Lattimore was a language teacher, skilled in English, French, Greek, and Latin. He took a job teaching English and French in Shanghai and moved the family there in 1901. He taught in China for twenty years, moving from Shanghai to Paoting-fu to Tientsin. Three more children were born in China.
In China, businessmen, diplomats, and secular teachers lived in compounds where the only Chinese were servants. The playmates of the Lattimore children were other foreigners. David did not encourage his offspring to learn Chinese from the servants, fearing that they would acquire a servant mentality. Owen and his brother Richmond were to be grounded in Western culture and languages; they could learn proper Chinese, as their father had done, when they were older.
Perhaps most dramatic of Lattimore's memories of these early years were those from 1911, when Sun Yat-sen started his revolution. The Lattimores were in Paoting-fu. Fearing another Boxer-type uprising, the American embassy ordered American citizens in outlying areas to come to Peking for safety. For several months the Lattimores lived as refugees in a small temple near the southern wall. No serious disturbances developed, however, and though the Nationalist general in charge of Peking ruled with a heavy hand, people were allowed to move about. Lattimore recalled, "When we went along the big streets we would see human heads nailed on telephone poles to intimidate the people of Peking. Seeing these heads did not bother us. It simply strengthened the idea that we were living in one world and the Chinese were living in another, and that this was the kind of thing that Chinese did to each other. It had nothing to do with us."
The Lattimore children were taught at home until 1912. Then, wanting them to be cosmopolitan, David Lattimore sent them to Switzerland with their mother. Owen was enrolled at the Collège Classique Cantonal near Lausanne, the beginning of a six-year separation from his family that forced him to develop an independence that stayed with him all his life. Had he finished his autobiography, it would have borne the title Happiness Is among Strangers . Living alone, in countries where the native language was not English, forced him to relate to strange people and to absorb unfamiliar cultures. Lattimore felt that under these conditions "you have to gain access; you have to work at it: and to work at a problem, get the feel of it and succeed—that is happiness."
Lattimore adjusted well to his Swiss school, despite initial concern that his French was not up to that of his fellows. He was the only English speaker in the school. Later he recalled surprisingly little about the school, but his adventures during vacations stuck in his memory. His Uncle Alec, his father's younger brother, was in Europe and took him on a tour of Italy in 1913. They went to Verona, where Aida was performed in the Roman amphitheater with elephants, camels, and horses "trampling across,
while all around the amphitheater people lit matches, their flames trembling in the still air."
When war broke out in 1914, Owen was sent to England with his Uncle Alec, while his mother and the other children returned to China. Owen and Uncle Alec stayed for a time in Oxford, where Owen temporarily attended school. He spent many nights pub-crawling with Alec, from which excursions he acquired a technique that was to serve him well. It was not wise, he learned, for an "ignorant youngster" to interrupt conversations among adults. But he could "put in a remark or even a question that helped to move the talk along in a direction in which I was interested. Developed into a technique, this became useful in later years, in Chinese inns or a peasant hut far up in the mountains, or around a campfire in Mongolia. The way to learn is to nudge people to talk about what they know (or, sometimes, what they think they know). Avoid the kind of question that gets the quick, simple answer. There is a difference between people supplementing each other's knowledge or opinions and when they are just fobbing off the outsider who 'wouldn't understand, anyway.'" Lattimore's ability to extract information from strangers later became legendary.
Uncle Alec left England before the end of 1914, and Owen was enrolled at St. Bees School in Cumberland. There, despite the troubled stirring of adolescence, he spent five happy years. St. Bees was a minor but sound public school, preparing its best literary students for Oxford and its prospective scientists for Cambridge. Lattimore was the literary type, fond of poetry; his favorite book was A. E. Housman's Shropshire Lad . In his fourth year at St. Bees he and several friends started a literary magazine, with Lattimore contributing much of the poetry. He liked G. K. Chester-ton and Hilaire Belloc, who romanticized the Middle Ages, and had desultory contact with social studies, reading Gibbon, John Stuart Mill, and Herbert Spencer. He also did scattered reading in anthropology, especially on primitive and ancient religions, later remembering Sir James Frazer's Golden Bough and Thomas Huxley's Science and Christian Tradition . Karl Marx did not penetrate the walls of St. Bees.
Lattimore's account of his years at St. Bees suggests that stories of youthful shenanigans at British public schools are not exaggerated. One of Lattimore's more revealing stories about St. Bees concerned his flirtation with the Catholic church. Uncle Alec, a Catholic, had sometimes taken him to hear mass. Owen's father was agnostic and strongly anti-Catholic, and part of Owen's religious adventure was simple rebellion. During his
first year at St. Bees, Owen started going to an Irish priest in a nearby village for religious instruction; he then "went the whole way and had myself baptized. My father was coldly angry. He stopped writing to me, so that for a couple of years I communicated only with my mother." At St. Bees, however, this deviance gave Lattimore a certain prestige, enabling him "to mark out an individual position. I enjoyed asking for permission to cycle from school to Whitehaven to attend Mass, and I enjoyed letting it be known, in a carefully unostentatious way, that I had a Latin Missal."
But the conversion did not take. In Owen's very first confession the priest "was only interested in whether I masturbated or was already going to bed with girls. . . . I cycled back bewildered, but by the time I got home the shock was wearing off. There had been no revelation, no glimpse of the divine, just the gross attempt to ferret out the sex life of a boy of fifteen. There followed very quickly, but probably not as quickly as I now think I remember, a counter-revelation: I was liberated. So that was all there was to it: not God, but a man telling me about God and commanding me to believe him." Lattimore later pursued religious matters with a local Scottish Presbyterian minister, whose humaneness and sympathetic understanding, along with his advice to read Ernest Renan, established a tolerant acceptance of religion, though not an active belief in a specific creed, for the rest of Lattimore's life. After several years Lattimore wrote his father about his new attitude toward religion; David responded immediately and warmly, and the religious crisis was over.
Lattimore flourished and grew at St. Bees. During his last year (1918-19) his major concern was getting into Oxford. His father could not afford to send him there without a scholarship, so Owen worked hard in preparation for the scholarship exams. He did well, but the superior background of his British competitors in classical languages was too great to overcome. He did not win. Bitterly disappointed, he returned to China at age nineteen to seek employment.
Years later he was glad that he had not attended Oxford. "It was the generation of Evelyn Waugh, Aldous Huxley, and all those people. I would have come out an insufferable esthete, or perhaps have been influenced by one of the extremist ideologies of the day, fascism or Marxism."
Lattimore's father was then in Tientsin, the port serving Peking. The British firm Arnhold and Company had a branch office in Tientsin, and Owen secured a job there. Arnhold "imported into China everything that the West had to sell, and exported everything that the West would buy."
He worked first in the department that imported cotton textiles. This was a dying trade, and Lattimore found it boring. Several months after he began work, the chief of Arnhold's insurance department in Shanghai visited Tientsin, decided Lattimore was a promising young employee, and asked if he would like to transfer to Shanghai to work on insurance. Lattimore readily agreed.
Shanghai and the insurance business suited Lattimore better than his previous position. Because assessing insurance risks involved travel in the interior, where interpreters were scarce, he began serious study of Chinese. In 1921, after Owen had been in Shanghai a year, his father accepted an invitation to teach at Dartmouth College. Lattimore went to Tientsin to say good-bye to his family.
While in Tientsin on this visit, he met H. G. W. Woodhead, an Englishman who was editor of the Peking and Tientsin Times , the most influential English-language paper north of Shanghai. Woodhead offered him a job at the paper, and Lattimore accepted, thinking it would give him an opportunity to develop his literary interests. But the job was a disappointment. He had few opportunities to investigate and write stories of his own, spending most of his time proofreading.
After Lattimore had worked a year at the newspaper, Arnhold and Company lured him back with an offer to take charge of the insurance business at the Tientsin branch, with better pay and a chance for more travel. The travel especially attracted him. As a frustrated intellectual, he hated the Chinese port cities. The foreigners were hopeless philistines, with no interest in poetry, literature, or history. Peitaiho, the nearby summer resort, was no better: "There Ministers of Legation from Peking hoist their flags for the summer, and the Diplomatic body in partibus infidelium resting from the strict routine of dancing, scandal, and gambling, refreshed itself with swimming, gambling, and scandal."
The insurance business did not take all of Lattimore's time; he worked hard at learning Chinese and read widely in the one cultural resource available, the library of the Tientsin Club. Arnhold gradually delegated to him much of the traveling required in matters other than insurance, occasionally sending him to negotiate with corrupt officials demanding outrageous bribes to allow passage of a shipment of wool, peanuts, or some commodity already purchased by Arnhold but held up in the interior.
Lattimore was not, however, the typical foreign business traveler. Most foreigners entered the countryside armed with extensive supplies and staff. Not Lattimore:
I took a small suitcase with a few clothes in it, and carried it myself. No interpreter, no food, no cook, no servant. I fended for myself on the journey. When I got where I was going, I would Find an old-fashioned Chinese firm of the kind where the clerks and apprentices lived on the premises and all ate together, the food being supplied by the firm. There would be consternation when I arrived. "Where are your servants and your baggage?" I would explain that I hadn't any, but if they would make room for me on one of the big brick sleeping platforms (heated by flues in winter), and lend me a quilt, I would roll up in it to sleep. After the first astonishment, this would lead to great cordiality and hospitality.
Four years of navigating the countryside for Arnhold and Company taught Lattimore much about politics, economics, banditry, landlordism, and peasant unrest. At the time he viewed his early years in Tientsin as a kind of purgatory. Later he realized that his travels gave him the equivalent of a Ph.D. in economics. The bottom line was always profit or loss; for the rest of his life he measured economic theories against what he knew of business as Arnhold and Company practiced it. When orthodox Communists, the American New Left, or other ideologues presented what he called "the oversimplified picture of Wall Street's insatiable ambitions, I always say to them, 'Look, don't talk to me about American and Western imperialism in China. I was part of it. And I know what's propaganda and what's real.'" Lattimore believed the cliché had some validity: the trouble with the New Left was that "they haven't met a payroll."
There was more to his travels for Arnhold than just business. The mystery and excitement of the vast Chinese inland territory began to claim his spirit. One journey in particular he called a "turning point" in his life. Early in 1925 he was sent to the railhead at Kweihwa (now Hohhot) on the border of Inner Mongolia to negotiate the passage of a trainload of wool owned by Arnhold that had been stalled because of a fight between two warlords.
Kweihwa, a trading town founded by the Mongol Altan Khan in the sixteenth century, was the eastern terminus of camel caravans from Sinkiang (then called Chinese Turkestan) and the western terminus of the railroad from Peking. Lattimore was fascinated by the business of the railyard:
Here at the end of the last stage of journeys of 1200 or 1500 miles, sometimes more, the caravans filed into the dusty railway yard. In long lines the camels halted and one after another sagged to their knees and squatted, their lower lips drooping sarcastically and their heads turning
contemptuously on their swan-curved necks while the bales of wool or other goods were slipped from their backs and thudded to the ground. There lay the loads, between the lines of camels and the line of railway wagons: a distance of two paces, perhaps four paces, bridging a gap of two thousand years, between the age when the caravans had padded back and forth into the obscure distances dividing the Han Empire from the Roman Empire, and the age of steam, destroying the past and opening the future.
After seeing the caravans, Lattimore was determined to follow them out through the Mongolian plains and the Gobi to their point of origin. He returned to Tientsin and tried to persuade Arnhold and Company to stake him to such an exploration; surely it would yield information useful for future commerce. Lattimore's employers were skeptical of the commercial utility of such a venture, and they feared that he would be captured by bandits and held for ransom; nevertheless, they were sympathetic to his wanderlust. They suggested that he work another year for them, this time in their Peking office, dealing with government officials and transportation agents. This work would provide him both with additional savings so he could travel on his own and with contacts that might ease his entry into the turbulent western provinces. Moreover, Peking was appealingly cosmopolitan, with a vigorous intellectual and cultural life. He accepted.
During his year (1925) in Peking, Lattimore met Eleanor Holgate, daughter of a Northwestern University professor who had brought her to China on a year's sabbatical. Enamored of Peking, Eleanor later deserted Evanston and returned with another adventurous girl to work in the Institute of Art History. She was thirty (five years older than Lattimore), attractive, and vivacious. Both Lattimore and Eleanor Holgate participated in the social life of the young foreign community. They met on a camping trip to the Western Hills and after a brief courtship married on March 4, 1926.
They began to think of a honeymoon journey through the enticing lands of Central Asia. Lattimore was already committed to following the caravan route through Inner (Chinese) Mongolia to Sinkiang, but he could not take Eleanor on this trip. There was much antiforeign sentiment in the area, and most American missionaries had withdrawn from the interior to the safety of the Treaty Ports. Furthermore, the rigid customs of the caravan men would not allow a woman on the journey, and marauding soldiery made her presence exceedingly dangerous. But Eleanor could travel to Sinkiang by a relatively safe railroad journey, north from Peking
through Manchuria, and then west on the Trans-Siberian to the edge of Sinkiang. Owen would meet her at the terminus of the Russian railroad, and they could then travel together through the more stable areas of Sinkiang, through the Heavenly Mountains (Tien Shah), around the vast Taklamakan Desert, across the Karakorum Pass, and south into India. It would be a honeymoon for the ages.
So the plans were made. They would both go by train to Kweihwa, where he would arrange his caravan. When he left, she would return to Peking to await word that he had arrived in Sinkiang. They would then meet in Semipalatinsk, four hundred miles across the Soviet border from Sinkiang.
The Chinese civil wars of the mid-1920s, however, frustrated their plans. Lattimore was set to go, camels and camel puller ready, in March 1926, but his camels were commandeered by a warlord's army and he was left stranded in Kweihwa. Eleanor was still with him, and together they explored the area around Kweihwa, talking to caravan people and learning the ways of avoiding military conscription of one's camels. The trick was to assemble a caravan in one of the secluded valleys away from town, where provisions could be carried by modest cart trips that attracted no attention. By August 1926 Lattimore had digested caravan lore so thoroughly and honed his evasive skills so successfully that he was able to get a caravan of nine camels together and begin his westward journey on the twentieth. Eleanor entrained for Peking to await word of his progress.
As a lone Caucasian among the brawling, polyglot camel men of Central Asia, Lattimore could not afford to make a single false move. His ability to go native, acquired during his travels for Arnhold, his facility in Chinese, and the company of a devoted retainer inherited from his father enabled him to survive.
The trip, despite its rigors, was all he expected of it. Buried in the spare prose of Desert Road to Turkestan are lyrical phrases capturing the aesthetic heights of this adventure: "The camels and the long road, with glimpses, before the sun set, of rolling country and a world without end, were the fulfillment of an old ambition, but they became suddenly tinged with the emotion of a new dream." When he came to the Inner Mongolian uplands, he was "childishly thrilled to . . . be travelling with a caravan into that great plateau of depth and color, with mountains in sight; mountains on whose far side lay strange country, where I might travel but the one time in my life, living for a few score days the life of men in other ages." When he reached the Heavenly Mountains, "the sudden sight of them was like a prophecy fulfilled."
If traveling for Arnhold had provided an education in economics, the caravan trip to Sinkiang provided an education in sociology and grassroots geopolitics. Unlike earlier institutionally sponsored and elaborate expeditions by professional explorers through Central Asia, Lattimore's small group met and attached itself to regular caravans. From camel pullers, cooks, traders, and provisioners met en route Lattimore absorbed the mystique of the Inner Mongolian desert. He liked most of the caravan men and became especially fond of a camel puller with the large caravan of the House of Chou:
When he was not in my tent, I was usually in his, and both his men and those of the House of Liang were cheery fellows. They had at first a forced and wary politeness not natural to their own habits, but before long this wore off and they began to accept me without reserve as an understandable person of their own kind. This was in part because I had smoothed out my own awkwardnesses. I had fallen into the way of gossiping with them instead of asking questions point-blank about things I did not understand. There is nothing that shuts off the speech of simple men like the suspicion that they are being pumped for information; while if they get over the feeling of strangeness they will yarn as they do among themselves. Then in their talk there comes out the rich rough ore of what they themselves accept as the truth about their lives and beliefs, not spoiled in trying to refine it unskillfully by suiting the words to the listener.
Though he did not then speak Mongol, the occasional Mongols he met knew some Chinese, and he began to develop the empathy with that long-suffering people that dominated the rest of his life. Desert Road contains several outraged passages about the exploitation of Mongols by Han Chinese. One Mongol trader came from a well-watered district ten miles from the caravan route that had been taken over by the Chinese, who were to move in the next year. Lattimore grieved with him: "So the Mongols were to withdraw from the menace of fields and houses and a life they did not understand; the game would be scared from the pretty hills, and instead of ponies and sheep and white yurts there would be only a few squalid villages. To my way of thinking it was tragic."
Worse, Chinese expropriation of Mongol grazing lands was no solution to China's immemorial famines.
The prostration of the Chinese people is due to the almost superstitious veneration of the family, from the ancestral tomb to the newborn son, which is carried out in practice by reckless marrying and begetting. The
fine philosophy of the classic Chinese civilization, when interpreted in its lowest terms by the most ignorant and numerous part of the nation, is a fatal thing. In his haste to found a family, attached forever to family land, the Chinese peasant simply cannot comprehend the idea of a fertile leisure, cautious marriage, and the fostering of his sons by enlarging the measure of their opportunities. This vice in Chinese political economy might be corrected by saner marriage customs; certainly never by merely expanding the area of their breeding grounds and marriage grounds. . . . In the meantime, the Chinese are evicting the Mongols, as near as I can compute, at about the rate of ten miles a year, all along the edge [of the caravan route].
Toward the end of the caravan journey, Lattimore met a different group of Mongols, "driven out of their own country [the Mongolian People's Republic, or as it was earlier known, Outer Mongolia] by the crushing taxation under the new Russian- and Buriat-directed regime. As things go in that part of the world a man makes himself an outlaw by moving away from his tribal region—a grave crime in the eyes of the rulers who tax him." Ultimately Lattimore came to believe that the Soviet-sponsored Mongolian People's Republic, despite taxation and sometimes repression, offered the Mongols a far better life than either Chinese or Japanese hegemony.
The journey to Urumchi, Sinkiang's capital, was not all aesthetic delights and fascinating campfire talk. There were anxious moments. Reports of marauding soldiers were frequent, and several times the caravan's leaders prepared elaborate tales about their various sponsors and missions hoping to ward off severe robbery; other times they made detours around areas where soldiers were reported to be active. They came through unchallenged. Lattimore arrived in Urumchi in January 1927.
Urumchi had a primitive wireless station, and Lattimore ordered many messages sent to Eleanor in Peking. Some of them she received, and in early February she was off via the Trans-Siberian railway to Semipalatinsk. She had no trouble getting a Soviet transit visa. Lattimore, preparing to cross the border to meet her at railhead, had a quite different experience.
The Soviet Consul General at Urumchi was cordial and helpful, cabling Moscow to request permission for Lattimore to travel to Semipalatinsk. Lattimore noted in High Tartary that it was "easier" for bureaucrats to grant a woman permission to travel through "political" territory to join her husband than it was to grant the husband permission to cross cherished boundaries to fetch his wife. And he knew, "both from reading and
from my slight acquaintance with Russians of the old regime: in the Russia of the Tsars, if the reports on a traveler in Central Asia read innocently, the conclusion drawn was that either the officials on the spot were stupid or they had been bribed." Thus when Moscow denied his request, "It was the official attitude toward Central Asia that was at fault, not the personal attitude toward me of the Russian consular representatives in Chinese territory." He was stuck in the Chinese border town Chuguchak (now Tahcheng), hoping that Eleanor would know he was there and be able somehow to make the long sled journey by herself.
In the dead of the Siberian winter, speaking no Russian, Eleanor managed to obtain passage on a sled carrying matches from Novosibirsk to China. The journey, as she described it in Turkestan Reunion , was as frigid and uncomfortable as one could imagine. But she survived. She found Lattimore in Chuguchak late in March, and after a month for Eleanor's recuperation they began their six-month honeymoon through Central Asia. It was an idyllic journey. Travel now was by horse cart; there were no camel caravans. They went first to Urumchi, then on a side trip to the great Turfan Depression. Lattimore had met a Turki merchant in Urumchi who entertained them in his native Turfan; an all-day picnic he gave for them in a nearby vineyard, under a 150-year-old grapevine, took three pages for Lattimore to describe.
After Turfan the Lattimores traveled along the rim of the desert to Aksu, Kashgar (now Kashi), Yarkand, and finally over the Karakorum Pass to Srinigar in India. The intense heat of the summer months led them to travel mostly at night. By the end of the journey, in September, they were crossing 17,000-foot mountain passes covered by glaciers.
Lattimore recorded fewer geopolitical observations in his account of this journey than in the caravan saga. His travelogue dealt mostly with horses, mountains, nomadic customs, cities and ruins of cities, Kazakhs, Uighurs, and fascinating people. There was danger and hardship, but he and Eleanor arrived in Srinigar triumphant and healthy.
From India they went to Rome, reputed to be the least expensive European city at that time. They spent the winter of 1927-28 writing their respective books with the help of the Royal Italian Geographical Society. For a pittance they occupied the third floor of the house near the foot of the Spanish Steps where, a century before, John Keats had spent his last months.
From Woodhead and other acquaintances in China, Lattimore had learned that the prospect for publishing his book in England was very good. When he finished the manuscript of Desert Road , he and Eleanor went to England,
where he found a publisher who issued the book within the year. Lattimore also contacted Douglas Carruthers, a famous English naturalist whose Unknown Mongolia Lattimore had carried with him on his travels. Carruthers received him warmly, advised him about publishing, and introduced him to many of London's orientalists. While in London, at the age of twenty-eight, Lattimore was invited to lecture to the British Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Central Asian Society. He and Eleanor left for the United States in midsummer.
In the summer of 1928, for the first time since Lattimore had been taken to China in 1901, he was back on American soil—broke, married, with no job in sight. He wanted to continue to travel and study in the frontier regions of China. Quite by accident, he was put in touch with the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), a dispenser of funds to promising scholars. Lattimore hardly fit the usual criteria. He had no Ph.D., no graduate study, no college work at all. But he had remarkable experience and the manuscript of Desert Road to prove it. Isaiah Bowman, head of the American Geographical Society and influential in the SSRC, liked Lattimore's proposals for the study of Inner Asia and pushed for approval of an unusual grant: a year of informal study at Harvard to gain some acquaintance with the methods and standards of social scientists, and then a year of subsidy to work in China.
One of the anthropologists Lattimore worked with at Harvard was Roland B. Dixon, who had traveled extensively in Central Asia. Dixon insisted that the Lattimores should meet Robert LeMoyne Barrett, also an Asian explorer, who was in Boston on a brief visit. The heir of a wealthy Chicago businessman, Barrett had rejected the business world to travel. Lattimore called Barrett "one of the last of the great eccentrics." Barrett and his wife found the Lattimores to be kindred spirits and began to subsidize Lattimore's travels, providing extras not covered by the SSRC grant when he got back to China. It was a relationship that lasted, with one interruption, until Barrett's death in 1969.
The eight months Lattimore spent at Harvard (1928-29) were rewarding, but Asia beckoned, and much was happening in China; the revolution begun by Sun Yat-sen was accelerating under Chiang Kai-shek. Lattimore returned to China, free to travel and study full-time.
During 1929-30 Owen and Eleanor traveled throughout Manchuria, seeking "surviving communities of the fast-vanishing Manchus who were once the principal inhabitants of Manchuria and the conquerors of China." The Manchus were but one of many non-Chinese races scattered around the central core of Han Chinese. Lattimore was interested in all the mi-
nority races, but he was most drawn to the Mongol communities. He knew that the Chinese were steadily displacing Mongol herders with Han farmers, and on a trip to a Chinese colonization project in western Liaoning Province he saw in detail the practices that had been described to him during his caravan trip:
This colonisation was brutally carried out: the Mongols were evicted at the point of the bayonet and Chinese colonists planted on their land. If any Mongols resisted, they were dealt with as "bandits.". . . Clearly, the military colonisation which my wife and I had seen was not strengthening the Chinese position but preparing the Mongols to accept (and in some cases to welcome) any Japanese aggression against the Chinese that would put an end to the Chinese aggression against the Mongols. Shocked by what we had seen, I tried to learn more about the policies of the various provincial governments dealing with different sectors of Inner Mongolia. I soon found that a great deal of money was being made. The families of generals accompanying the troops acquired expropriated Mongol land at nominal prices and colonised it with refugees from famine areas, imposing on them "sharecropping" rents that kept them poor and powerless.
To Western minds, "Mongol" was synonymous with the "barbarian hordes" of Genghis Khan. Lattimore, though, saw the Mongols as a fascinating, persecuted, intelligent people who suffered the fate of all minorities dominated by neighboring goliaths: in the Mongol case, Russia, China, and Japan. As Han Chinese steadily encroached on Inner Mongolian territory, many Mongols lost their native language and spoke only Chinese. This loss did not, Lattimore observed, eradicate Mongol nationalism: "This phenomenon of the national minority whose loss of the national language has only intensified its nationalism is easily overlooked. It is found among some Welshmen who speak only English, some Bretons who speak only French, and I daresay among some Basques who speak only Spanish or French."
Beyond his growing sympathy for Mongol nationalism, Lattimore began to appreciate the geopolitical significance of the Sino-Soviet border areas. In High Tartary (1930) he speculates on the turmoil that yet lay ahead before these much-fought-over territories were finally stabilized. It would, he predicts, be bitter: "The mountains and deserts of Inner Asia have now lain for several centuries like a buffer between Russia and China—one of the greatest nations of the West, and the greatest nation of the East. From both sides a flow has begun into these thinly-held lands. Russian and Chinese must in time come face to face. There is no meeting in
history to compare with it. . . . Already a thrust and counter-thrust is bearing on them (as in Manchuria and Mongolia). It is a play of primal forces, far more significant than superficial considerations of politics, which are only symptomatic, and will vary and be transformed, in the confounding way that symptoms have."
His prophecy was strikingly fulfilled in the 1960s, refuting the ignorant American belief of 1950 that Russia had made a satellite of China or, as the supporters of Chiang Kai-shek put it, had created a "Slavic Manchukuo." To many Americans, Marxism was the compelling force of the century in determining national policies. To Lattimore, geopolitics was more vital. His "primal forces," the expansionism of China and Russia, proved to be determining, and ideology to be merely incidental.
Also very early in his career Lattimore discerned that Russian policies toward the minorities of Central Asia were more enlightened than those of China. The Russian, he wrote, "has shown less race animosity than any other white race would ever have shown." And "the measure of autonomy granted to the native republics under Russian 'advisory' government appears like comparative freedom, especially the privileges of carrying arms and policing themselves." Thus "the advantages of Russian allegiance being vehemently borne in upon the tribes on the hither side of the border, who chafed under the Chinese restrictions on the bearing of arms," these peoples began to see that Russian hegemony was preferable to the only alternative, Chinese hegemony. Lattimore did not say, then or later, that the Soviet Union provided anything approximating Western-style democracy, which no one in that turbulent corner of the globe knew anything about. But his observation about the Soviet "power of attraction" was correct.
By the summer of 1930, when his SSRC fellowship expired, Lattimore had published not only Desert Road and High Tartary but also three articles in Asia magazine and two in Atlantic Monthly . These publications were sufficient to induce the Harvard-Yenching Institute to award him a fellowship for 1930-31. He moved to Peking and began systematic study of written Chinese and the Mongol language. During this period he wrote Manchuria: Cradle of Conflict and The Mongols of Manchuria , in which he espouses the cause of Mongol nationalism.
When these books were published in 1932 and 1934, they aroused immediate controversy. Since Lattimore condemned Chinese frontier policy, the Japanese praised his books, believing that they served Japanese purposes in Manchuria. Since the Japanese praised them, the Russians accused Lattimore of being an "imperial apologist." And, of course, nation-
alistic Chinese were offended. Lattimore was always to be controversial because of his outspoken views on the rights of the Mongols and other Inner Asian peoples; neither Japanese nor Chinese found his sympathy for the subject races tolerable.
Even though Peking was his headquarters from 1930 until the summer of 1933, Lattimore continued traveling in native fashion: "Going up to the Inner Mongolian frontier I bought some camels, a Mongol tent, and local provisions, and found as a guide and companion a Mongol who did not know any Chinese. By the end of my first journey of this kind, I had made a good start in the Mongol language. I had also become the first and only American with a combined experience of many months of travel in all three of the great northern frontier areas of China—Manchuria, Mongolia, and Sinkiang—and the ability to travel in those areas, and in North China, without an interpreter."
When the Harvard-Yenching fellowship expired, the Guggenheim Foundation awarded Lattimore grants for 1931 through 1933; he thus had foundation support for five full years of study and travel. During this period the Japanese seized Manchuria, then Jehol, and began to spread out in Inner Mongolia and North China. Lattimore did not approve of this development; he began the opposition to Japanese aggression that dominated his beliefs for a decade.
Also during his fellowship years he met the Dilowa Hutukhtu, one of the "living Buddhas" of the Lama Buddhist church, roughly equivalent to a cardinal in the Catholic church. The Dilowa's former monastery at Narobanchin in the Mongolian People's Republic had both civil and religious jurisdiction over a territory of approximately 1,250 square miles. In 1931 the Dilowa was arrested by the Communist government of the Mongolian People's Republic; he was convicted of antigovernment activities, given a suspended sentence of five years, and told to remain at the monastery. Knowing the Buddhist church had little future under the Communists, he fled to Chinese jurisdiction in Inner Mongolia, and then to Peking.
Lattimore found the Dilowa fascinating; he "was a man of the old order, deeply imbued with the ethos of Tibetan-Mongolian Buddhism, a system of ideas and beliefs that had not changed since the Middle Ages." The Japanese courted the Dilowa, trying to get him to sign on as one of their collaborators, proclaiming their intention of liberating the Mongolian People's Republic from Soviet domination. The Dilowa would have none of this collaboration. He told Lattimore that the Japanese would, "whatever they might say about 'alliance' with the Mongols, make Mon-
golia into a kind of colony. He did cling, as long as he could, to the hope that American policy might do something to restrain Japan's continuing expansion." Lattimore clung, also vainly, to the same hope.
In addition to the Dilowa and other refugees from the Mongolian People's Republic, Lattimore met and learned about Mongol life from the major Inner Mongolian leaders. One of these leaders was Merse, who headed a school that trained Mongol interpreters for service in the administration of Chang Hsueh-liang, the Nationalist warlord controlling the eastern part of Inner Mongolia. Chang ordered Merse killed in September 1931. Another, Te Wang, was the principal leader of the Inner Mongolian autonomy movement. Unable to secure backing for Mongol autonomy, Prince Te was wooed by the Japanese and eventually threw in his lot with them. Lattimore remarked of him, "As for Te Wang, he has not 'gone over' to Japan; he has been tied hand and foot and thrown to the Japanese. "
Lattimore not only absorbed the lore of Mongol culture during his trips into isolated Mongol communities but also read everything available in Peking about the great empires of the khans and their interaction with China. He was absorbed by a tantalizing question: How had such a noble people come to their twentieth-century subjection by the Han? This was the most salient inquiry in his lifelong pursuit of the mysteries of Central Asia. James Cotton summarizes the development of his scholarship:
He wished to determine how a nomadic society with many egalitarian characteristics had come to be dominated by an entrenched nobility and clergy; he also sought to understand why this entrenched elite had so signally failed to provide that leadership which the Mongols required in the crisis of the past two decades, an enquiry which led to speculation on what future course of action would preserve them as a people. And since the fate of the Mongols was related at every turn with developments in China, Lattimore was also led to contemplate the past and the present of the relationship between these two civilizations, and what failing in Chinese society had prevented that alliance which would have been so advantageous to both peoples.
No ideological system determined his search for answers, though he acknowledged the influence of Oswald Spengler. He took the first volume of The Decline of the West with him on his travels in 1929 and 1930.
The years traveling through North China also brought Lattimore into close contact with warfare, not just with the skirmishes between rival generals but with the tactics being developed by the Japanese army. To a great extent these tactics involved systematic "brutality and arrogance"
on the part of Japanese soldiers, equaling those of the Germans less than a decade later. Lattimore later found that isolationist sentiment in the United States was so strong that few wanted to hear about Japanese brutality in China. That was not our business.
Nor were Americans interested in field tactics, though they should have been. One of Lattimore's journeys provided him with insight that might have been salutary for many Western commanders a decade later:
In 1933 I went up to the province of Jehol as guide, interpreter, and ghostwriter to an Englishman who was reporting for an American news syndicate, and together with an American reporter and a couple of American military observers watched the Japanese overrun 100,000 square miles of territory in ten days. They did it by the use of motorized transport and by cutting through the Chinese forces and driving deep, paying no attention to their exposed flanks. This Japanese campaign in 1933 and not the German campaign in Poland in 1939, was the first tryout of the modern blitzkrieg. Only the Germans and the Russians seemed to have paid much attention. Other people thought it was just a lot of Japanese overrunning a lot of Chinese, and not worth study by professional soldiers.
There was an addition to the Lattimore family during these fellowship years in North China. Eleanor became pregnant in the summer of 1930 and on March 24, 1931, entered the hospital in Peking for what turned out to be a very difficult delivery. The son born to her on March 25 was named David, after his grandfather. The Dilowa Hutukhtu became David's godfather.
By the end of his second Guggenheim year, in the summer of 1933, Lattimore and his family were ready to return to the United States. Fellowship money had run out; it was time to look for a job. And there were more books and articles to be written from the experiences of his four years as a student in China.
The IPR Years
One organization likely to have a job for someone with Lattimore's background was the Institute of Pacific Relations (IPR), headquartered in New York. The IPR was a prestigious study and discussion group founded in Hawaii in 1925 by prominent Americans affiliated with the YMCA. The founders' motivating idea was that YMCA-tested procedures for bringing members of different races together, encouraging frank discussion to meliorate conflicts, should be applied to all the peoples of the Pacific basin.
The IPR was therefore organized to "study the conditions of the Pacific peoples with a view to the improvement of their mutual relations." The idea caught on, various national councils were created, and a Pacific IPR secretariat (the Pacific Council) was established to coordinate conferences and publications. By the summer of 1933 the American Council of the IPR was a well-funded operation, the Pacific Council was publishing a prestigious journal, and the fifth conference of the organization was about to be held at Banff. Lattimore applied to attend the Banff conference and was accepted.
The major IPR journal, Pacific Affairs , happened to need an editor that summer. H. G. W. Woodhead, under whom Lattimore had worked a decade earlier on the Peking and Tientsin Times , was at the Banff conference and recommended Lattimore for the job. The IPR approved, and Lattimore accepted. The position fit his ambitions perfectly. He could do his editing from whatever base he chose and have time to carry out his own travel, research, and writing.
Lattimore spent the remaining months of 1933 and the first part of 1934 in New York, talking to IPR personnel and learning about editing. He had met many of the IPR staff at Banff; in New York he got to know
them better. Most prominent was Edward C. Carter, secretary general of the Pacific Council, hence Lattimore's boss. Carter was innovative, brash, dynamic, and fully supportive of the fledging editor. Carter's main assistant, Frederick V. Field, had been editor of the Harvard Crimson and had studied imperialism at the London School of Economics. When he went to work for the IPR, he was a Socialist; shortly after Lattimore met him, though, Field moved further left, supporting the Communist party, but he kept his politics out of IPR activities. Lattimore was friendly with Field and respected him.
One IPR staff member who became Lattimore's lifelong friend was Joseph Barnes. Barnes was with the IPR from 1931 to 1934, after which he joined the New York Herald-Tribune , serving as Moscow correspondent, then in Berlin, and from 1939 to 1948, as foreign editor. During World War II Barnes and Lattimore both worked for the Office of War Information. Until his death in 1970 Barnes was foremost among those whose opinion on world events Lattimore valued.
After his apprenticeship with IPR headquarters Lattimore and his wife went back to Peking via Hawaii, where he lectured to the IPR chapter. From Honolulu to Yokohama he and Eleanor shared passage on the SS President Coolidge with Agnes Smedley, perhaps the most volatile and adventurous radical American woman of the times. (The Chinese Communist party rejected her application for membership because of this volatility.) Lattimore, who had never met anyone like Smedley, was fascinated. Five pages of the eight-page letter he wrote to Barnes while aboard the President Coolidge were devoted to Smedley:
She's very intense, and extraordinarily naive, and owing I suppose to her life in India and Shanghai has a spy-phobia, detecting detectives behind every pillar and peepers at every porthole. She sees the world in what I can only describe as folklore terms—capitalist consuls, police and other officials are all agents of the Devil; Soviet generals, instead of being militarists, are servants of the Kingdom of God. Her face glowed rapturously as she told of travelling across Siberia, too sick to get out of her berth, in a compartment she shared with a Red Army general. You could tell by the insignia on his collar that he was a general, she said, her eyes widening, and shining with remembered bliss. This angelic being, when he found that she was too sick to share his black bread and herrings, bought her milk at the stations.
From this sarcasm it is clear that Lattimore had no maudlin sentiments about the Russians.
When the Lattimores arrived back in Peking, China was still in turmoil,
but the unrest did not stop his forays into the countryside to study trade patterns, agriculture, peasant life, and the effects of Japanese encroachment on the Mongols. In 1935 the Dilowa, who was then a high-ranking official with the national minorities office of the Chiang Kai-shek government, arranged with Inner Mongolian authorities for Lattimore to visit the annual ritual honoring the relics of Genghis Khan at Ejen Horo, deep in the Ordos Desert. This pilgrimage, similar to that of devout Muslims to Mecca, was restricted by the Mongols to those deeply sympathetic to Mongol nationalism and required a hair-raising trip of four weeks. Lattimore later wrote an account of part of the trip for Atlantic Monthly . He was impressed and affected by the ceremony but did not credit most of the relics in the shrine as genuine.
The years from 1934 to 1938 were the most productive of Lattimore's life. The combination of field trips and study in Peking was everything he anticipated. The foreign community with which he interacted constituted a stellar group; it included, among others, Joseph Stilwell, I. A. Richards, John Stewart Service, John King Fairbank, Edgar Snow, Anna Louise Strong, H. G. Creel, O. Edmund Clubb, Nelson T. Johnson, and Harold Isaacs. These were both social and intellectual friends.
The scholar from whom Lattimore learned the most was the archaeologist Carl Whiting Bishop, later one of the curators of the Smithsonian Institution. Lattimore's affinity with Bishop was based not only on the latter's mastery of Chinese language and history but also on his scholarly methods. Bishop was a field archaeologist rather than a theoretician working from other people's findings. Lattimore remarked, "He worked in the way in which I myself was trying to work: observe the facts, and see if from these facts you can derive a generalization. I showed Bishop the typescript of my first draft of Inner Asian Frontiers of China , and where I would enter into speculation, trying to identify this or that primitive tribe in the earliest Chinese references, Bishop would send my draft back, saying: 'This is complete nonsense, and must be thoroughly rewritten.' "
Karl Wittfogel, also then in Peking, was another to whom Lattimore showed his first drafts. A refugee from Hitler's Germany, Wittfogel was trying to establish himself as a scholar among American and British sinologues. At Wittfogel's request Lattimore added footnotes to Inner Asian Frontiers citing Wittfogel's work. Lattimore said later, "It was over Wittfogel that I had my only real quarrel with my wife. Eleanor was always a much better judge of people than I was. She said, 'Be careful. This man is flattering you in order to get started in the United States. He is the kind who is always either licking your boots or jumping on you with his own
boots. He could turn against you at any time.' But I refused to listen to her."
In addition to intellectuals and diplomats Lattimore had contact with two future politicians of great influence. In the summer of 1934 the Lattimores vacationed at a mountain resort in Shansi Province, where their son David came down with tonsillitis. In the nearest medical facility, a remote mud-brick hospital, Dr. Walter Judd took out David's tonsils. John Foster Dulles, touring Asia on behalf of American Protestant missions, visited Peking during the early 1930s. Lattimore met him at lunch in the U.S. embassy: "He was quite firm in his opinion that it was ridiculous for the Chinese to resist Japanese invasion until they had settled the Communist question in China. Only then could they turn to other business." Lattimore did not agree but held his peace.
There was one big difference between Lattimore's 1934-38 tour of duty in Peking and his earlier stays: as editor of Pacific Affairs he was sitting atop an active volcano. The YMCA idea of decreasing intergroup hostilities by getting people together in the same room may have worked reasonably well, but publishing a journal that had to carry highly partisan authors with irreconcilable national animosities did not produce harmony.
By the time of Lattimore's editorship, active national IPR councils included the British, Australians, Canadians, New Zealanders, French, Dutch, Chinese, and Japanese. Each national council was autonomous, and Lattimore, as editor, worked for them all. Several times he requested the IPR Pacific Council for guidance on what topics Pacific Affairs was to cover, and how. But such guidance was not forthcoming, and Lattimore found that any editorial decision would offend someone. "As the editor of the magazine that served as the international forum of the Institute, I was right in the middle, and no matter who was throwing a brickbat at whom I was likely to get clipped." Colonialism and imperialism were the topics that occasioned the most anguish. Should discussions about Asian independence movements be included in Pacific Affairs ? Surely this was a topic important to the "conditions of the Pacific peoples," but when Lattimore published scholarly analyses predicting the end of colonialism in Asia, the British, Dutch, and French all raised hell.
Lattimore was immediately caught up in the bitter Sino-Japanese quarrel. Pacific Affairs carried articles exposing, and damning, the most glaring imperial operation of the day—that of the Japanese in China. Muted though they were, these articles not only put him in the middle of Sino-Japanese rivalry but also caught him between pro- and anti-Japanese of-
ficials of the U.S. State Department. Press correspondents covering Asia, American businessmen, and even university people were similarly divided.
Few Americans remember that before Pearl Harbor a substantial group of Japanophiles in this country thought that the Japanese program for developing Asian resources—the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere—was reasonable and should be encouraged. Many of them also believed that the stories about Japanese atrocities in China were false or exaggerated and that the Chinese, disorderly and politically incompetent, would benefit by Japanese discipline. The pro-Japanese group had much in common with the pro-Hitler people. Both factions were attracted to the order and efficiency of the Fascist countries, which they regarded as the last bulwark against the horrifying spread of bolshevism, and both thought Fascist leaders could be reasoned with, appeased, and kept under control.
Lattimore rejected the Japanophile position entirely. He had seen the atrocities, did not think the Chinese politically incompetent, and did not trust the Japanese militarists in Manchuria. As to obstructing bolshevism, he did not believe fascism was an effective defense against whatever designs the Russians might have, and he insisted that the main task of students of Asia was to alert the world to the dangers of Japanese imperialism. He later acknowledged that he "failed to perceive that Communism was opening a new chapter in the history of Chinese politics." But geopolitics was still for him primary, and ideology secondary.
The only Pacific power that refused to participate in IPR activities was the Soviet Union. In 1927 IPR Secretary General Merle Davis went to Moscow to encourage Soviet participation, but was unsuccessful. John N. Thomas, author of a perceptive study of the IPR, notes that "in retrospect it seems likely that the Soviets were somewhat suspicious about the benefits of joining a 'bourgeois' institution funded by 'monopoly capitalists' such as the Rockefeller Foundation." The American Communist party had a similar attitude. Bella Dodd, a prominent former Communist, told the FBI in 1952 that "people in the Communist Party did not think too highly of the Institute of Pacific Relations." She quoted Alexander Trachtenberg, head of International Publishers and chief Party theoretician, as saying that the IPR was "an instrument designed to further the commercial interests of the member countries."
Like his predecessor, Edward C. Carter found Soviet noncooperation in the IPR galling. As Lattimore put it, "Carter set out to infiltrate the Soviet Union." Carter's crusade to get the Russians involved in the IPR was one of the major themes at the Banff conference; the proceedings of that
conference lament the Russian absence, attributing it largely to U.S. refusal to recognize the Soviet Union diplomatically. American recognition in 1933 improved the situation, and Carter went to Moscow in 1934 to see if the Russians would now join. Minutes of a meeting Carter held with A. Arosev, president of the Soviet society for foreign cultural relations, show Carter trying to convince Arosev that the IPR did not intend to "use the Soviet Union for political purposes." The IPR simply recognized the importance of Soviet studies of the Pacific area. Arosev, unconvinced, responded, "It would be hard to convince anyone in the Soviet Union that the Institute was not political. Any organization in which England, Japan, China and the United States are working, because of the delicate relations between these countries, is of necessity political."
However reluctantly, the Soviets did then designate their Pacific Ocean Institute, a branch of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, as the Russian unit affiliated with the IPR. This was a government bureau, not an independent private organization as were the other IPR national councils, but for Carter it was welcome progress anyway.
In 1935, for the first and only time, a Soviet author submitted an article to Pacific Affairs . In one sense Lattimore was delighted to receive it. Under the czars, Russian scholarship on the Mongols and other Central Asian peoples had been extensive; the Soviets appeared to be equally interested in their frontier areas, and Lattimore hoped for many high-quality contributions by Soviet authors. Unfortunately, the 1935 contribution killed that expectation. It concerned the sale by Russia of its share in the Chinese Eastern Railway, and it contained some rough language. Lattimore considered it "rank propaganda" and "an uncomfortable wallop in the midriff" to his hopes for serious Soviet contributions. But despite his misgivings he felt obliged to print it, including its derogatory references to "Chinese reactionaries" and "Japanese adventurers." The Japanese IPR protested bitterly; by contrast, the Chinese, noted Lattimore, "took the attitude that the Soviet Council was a member, that the origin of the article was quite clear, and that the Soviet Council was entitled to have its say."
The quality of possible Soviet contributions to IPR journals was less important to Secretary General Carter than was the gain in prestige if the Soviets became active in IPR affairs. In early 1936, as the IPR conference to be held that summer at Yosemite approached, Carter decided to make a maximum push to obtain Soviet participation. He went to Moscow to confer with Soviet Pacific Ocean Institute officials, taking with .him Harriet Moore, a scholar specializing in Russian affairs at IPR headquarters
in New York. Carter also wrote to Lattimore in Peking, instructing him to travel to the Yosemite Conference via Moscow and meet Carter and Moore there.
Lattimore was ambivalent about this mission. The Soviets had been rough on him in their own publications, saying that "his scholasticism is similar to Hamlet's madness," vilifying him for publishing an article by then-Trotskyite Harold Isaacs, and accusing him (contrary to facts they should have known) of justifying the Japanese invasion of Manchuria. Lattimore told the FBI in 1950 that "the Russians seemed to reserve their roughest and most uncomplimentary remarks for me." The Carter summons to Moscow also involved some personal inconvenience for the Lattimores. Two weeks on the Trans-Siberian railroad with a five-year-old was a journey decidedly inferior to simply boarding a Pacific liner at Shanghai. But Carter's wishes, plus the fact that Lattimore had never been in the Soviet Union, governed his decision. This time the Soviets gave him a visa.
The Lattimores arrived in Moscow toward the end of March 1936, staying for several days at the home of U.S. Consul Angus Ward. Eleanor and David then went on to England while Owen stayed for two weeks with Demaree Bess, then Christian Science Monitor correspondent in Moscow.
Much of Lattimore's time was spent in meetings with Soviet officials, including V. E. Motylev, who complained about Lattimore's editing of Pacific Affairs . Lattimore did not back down, especially on Motylev's charge that Lattimore was pandering to Japanese aggression. Motylev demanded that the IPR and its journal support the line that Japanese aggression should be dealt with through collective security arrangements involving all the great powers. Lattimore responded that Pacific Affairs served all the national councils, even the Japanese, and had to avoid outright partisanship.
Lattimore hoped that he would be able to make contacts in Moscow that would allow him to visit the Mongolian People's Republic, access to which was controlled by the Russians. Motylev would have none of it. Japan was threatening in the area, he said, and "Mongolia now is constantly ready for war and conditions are very unstable." Lattimore did not believe these excuses, suspecting instead that the Russians simply did not trust him.
All things considered, Carter achieved little on his mission to Moscow. The Soviets did send two representatives to Yosemite, but they never again attended an IPR conference, never submitted another article to Pa-
ciflc Affairs , continued carping about Lattimore's editing, and reneged on most of the literature exchanges and other commitments they made in the Moscow meetings. As World War II drew closer, the Soviets did not even answer mail from IPR headquarters. But Carter got some publicity from the Soviet promise to attend Yosemite.
Despite rebuffs, Lattimore did benefit from the Moscow trip. He talked at length with Academician B. Pankratov, a Mongolist whom he had met in Peking, and with other Asian specialists to whom he was introduced by Demaree Bess. Lattimore was also invited to address the Soviet Academy of Sciences about his views on Asia, but he was not then fluent in Russian and did not know how well his lecture was translated. He noticed, however, that a man in the back of the room got up and moved several rows forward during his speech, repeating this maneuver until he was right in front of the podium. At the end of the lecture the man disappeared in the crowd. Lattimore turned to his hosts and asked who the person so intent on hearing every word was. His hosts were amazed: "Why that was Borodin. Didn't you recognize him?" Lattimore knew well that Mikhail Borodin was the famous Soviet agent who had advised Sun Yat-sen and Chiang Kai-shek from 1923 to 1927, enabling them to establish the Kuomintang as a powerful force. But Lattimore had been in North China while Borodin was in Canton, and they had never met.
Carter thought that Lattimore, while in Moscow, should see U.S. Ambassador William Bullitt to give him the latest information about developments in China. Impressed with Lattimore's critique of events in Inner Mongolia, Bullitt took Lattimore to see a Soviet vice-commissar of foreign affairs. The vice-commissar listened impassively; Lattimore felt it was a waste of time.
Perhaps the most significant event of Lattimore's stay in Moscow was his exposure to Freda Utley, who was at a discussion of Chinese problems held by a Soviet research institute. Utley, a British Communist, had married a Russian working in London and then moved to Moscow with her husband. While there she worked for the Soviets in various capacities, bore a son, and saw her husband disappear in Stalin's purges. She thought her husband had been sent to a labor camp. In later years her path crossed Lattimore's in ways that neither could have foreseen.
After Moscow Lattimore went to Holland, then joined his family in England, where he lectured to IPR groups before going on to Yosemite. The Yosemite Conference of August 16-19, 1936, was the largest and most publicized IPR gathering to date. There were 113 accredited delegates representing eleven national councils, with press and other observ-
ers in addition. The preface to the printed conference proceedings contains a paean to Soviet attendance, and the presence of Motylev, delegation head, and Vladimir Romm, Izvestia correspondent, no doubt contributed something to discussions. Other notables were also present, among them Newton D. Baker, U.S. Secretary of War during World War I, and Hu Shih, the eminent Chinese philosopher. Lattimore kept a low profile, though he did deliver himself of his pro-Mongol sentiments, which, as usual, irritated Russians, Chinese, and Japanese alike.
Motylev predictably pushed the major Soviet foreign policy "line": peace was indivisible, collective security was the only way to avoid another war, and the League of Nations had to be rejuvenated. But it was the Japanese "line" that got the most attention. The edited conference proceedings reveal the naïveté of the editors, who, a mere five years before Pearl Harbor and with eyewitness accounts of Japanese atrocities in Manchuria circulating widely among the delegates, incorporated in the document Japanese propaganda so childish as to defy common sense. Japanese naval expansion, claimed one Japanese delegate, was "largely to replace obsolete ships. We are not interested in entering a naval race." A "formal evening address by a Japanese member" declared "we may not all own Ford cars, but we still are happy with raising morning glories in our less expensive flower pots." War, said all the Japanese, was unthinkable.
Not all the utopian rhetoric about Japan's intentions came from the Japanese. Elizabeth Boody, an American economist and journalist who later married the Harvard economist Joseph Schumpeter, contributed her share to the glorification of Japan's forward-looking policies. But while IPR editors and conference leaders downplayed their opposition to Japanese aggression in China, Lattimore and most of the conferees regarded that as the most important issue.
Yosemite was the high-water mark of Soviet activity in the IPR. Soviet officials continued to complain about Lattimore and Pacific Affairs ; none of the efforts of Carter or Lattimore to mollify their sensitivities brought them back into the fold.
After Yosemite, Lattimore spent twelve weeks in London studying Russian with a tutor. Dealing with the prickly Soviets through an interpreter annoyed him, and he had little faith in available translations of the extensive czarist sources of Inner Asia. Freda Utley was also then in London, having left Moscow in despair of ever seeing her husband again. Relations between Utley and Lattimore were cordial; she had admired his talking back to Motylev and his crew in Moscow. Carter, she thought,
had been much too sycophantic. Lattimore hoped to improve his newly acquired Russian language capability by spending some time in Moscow before returning to China, but he was again denied a visa. In spring 1937 he and his family went back to China via the Suez Canal.
During Lattimore's absence from China the famous Sian kidnapping of Chiang Kai-shek occurred. Chang Hsueh-liang, former warlord of Manchuria, was stationed in Sian as commander of Nationalist troops arrayed against the Communists; Chang felt that Chiang Kai-shek was wasting resources fighting the Chinese Communists, whom he wanted to see included in a United Front opposed to the Japanese. In December 1936 Generalissimo Chiang was on a visit to Sian; Chang Hsueh-liang's forces arrested him and threatened his life if he did not make peace with the Communists and promise vigorous action against Japan. Chou En-lai was instrumental in getting Chiang released and in working out terms of the United Front.
When Lattimore arrived in China soon after the Sian Incident, he was impressed by the outpouring of popular support for Chiang as a result of the United Front agreement. Later Lattimore came to believe that he had been misled by this surge of popularity into an exaggerated belief in Chiang's leadership skills.
The Chinese Communists were then quartered in Shensi Province, first at Paoan, then Yenan, establishing a separate jurisdiction in northwest China and developing their own armies, mostly guerrillas, to harass the Japanese. These Communist activities were unknown to the outside world until 1936, when journalist Edgar Snow visited Shensi and wrote glowing reports of Communist efficiency, morale, and popular support. After Snow's revelations in newspaper articles and his book Red Star over China , a trip to Yenan became the top priority of every Western journalist covering China.
Getting to Yenan was not easy. The Nationalist government was outraged at Snow's favorable accounts of Mao and followers. From early 1937 on, the Nationalists tried to block attempts by Westerners to reach Yenan. The Communists, on the other hand, broadcast invitations to any and all to come inspect their operations. Sian was the gateway to Yenan; many Western journalists tried to get there, but most were apprehended and turned back by Nationalist authorities.
One of the would-be travelers to Yenan was Thomas A. Bisson, a sinologue and fellow of the Foreign Policy Association who was studying Chinese politics from Peking. Bisson knew Lattimore and was aware of Lattimore's celebrated ability to get to remote places (except in the Soviet
Union). Shortly after Lattimore got back to Peking from London, Bisson approached him about visiting Yenan. Lattimore had never been there and had in fact no contacts with Chinese Communists, but he was intrigued by Edgar Snow's accounts and immediately agreed. As Lattimore described events in an article he wrote for the London Times , "Not knowing of any underground tunnels that would lead me to north Shensi, I set about planning the journey in trustful innocence. I sent a letter to the Red capital, by ordinary mail, with my address candidly printed on the back of the envelope—and got in answer a cordial invitation."
By the time Lattimore got his invitation from Yenan, Philip Jaffe and his wife had asked to join the party. Lattimore had not previously met Jaffe but knew he was launching a new magazine about the Far East to be called Amerasia ; Lattimore had agreed to serve on its editorial board.
If any Caucasian could bring off a trip through the turbulent Chinese countryside, Lattimore was that person. And in Sian he met a kindred soul who was not only wise in the ways of the countryside but also ran a motor repair shop: Effie Hill. Lattimore described Effie in his foreword to Bisson's Yenan in June 1937 :
Effie was a prime example of that picaresque genus, "the parson's profligate son," of whom there were quite a lot in old China. His parents were Swedish Lutheran missionaries. He had grown up on a sector of the Inner Mongolian frontier long ago settled by Chinese colonists where the local Chinese dialect (which was in fact his native language) was considered by other Chinese to be especially uncouth and comic. He had a rare gift of clowning in this language, to attract laughter and sympathy. With an incomplete education he had drifted about Northwest China for a good many years, although still a young man. He had driven cars for Chinese merchants, Chinese warlords, and the Sven Hedin. Sino-Swedish Expedition in Inner Mongolia and Sinkiang. He had an incredible knowledge of the seamy side of frontier life—brothel slang, drinking slang, folklore, bandit lore.
Lattimore and Effie hit it off immediately, spending several long nights singing over beer, with selections in Mongol performed by both of them. Effie was amenable to transporting the party to Yenan. He had a battered old Dodge and access to gasoline, and he was known around Sian for taking foreigners on touristy trips to local shrines. The party left June 18, traveling three days and spending four days in Yenan. Mao, Chou, Chu Teh, and the rest of the Communist functionaries spoke with them freely. The visitors found the Communist operation fascinating, as had Edgar Snow, and all but Mrs. Jaffe published accounts of their trip. Lattimore,
though, was somewhat frustrated with his opportunities to investigate Communist operations. His major interest being Communist relations with Mongols and other minorities, he requested permission to visit the school maintained outside Yenan for non-Han peoples. As he told it later, "I was not allowed to, and the best I could manage was to meet a group of them who were brought into town for the purpose. The interview was not successful. The Communists had an interpreter present, and were obviously upset when I started talking to a couple of Mongols in their own language, which the interpreter did not understand; and as I did not want to make trouble for anybody, I gave up the attempt."
When the Lattimore party was ready to leave, Mao tried to persuade Effie Hill to stay behind and take charge of the maintenance and repair of what passed for a motor pool in Yenan. Lattimore thought this effort
most revealing of Chairman Mao's mind. . . . Effie, in spite of his fantastically complete understanding (in certain ways) of his special Chinese milieu, had also a kind of racist contempt for it. His attitude was, "this is a world of skulduggery and crooked dealing. I know the way these Chinese think but with my extra margin of being a white man, I can always out-doublecross them." Socially, I think he would have to be called a lumpen-bourgeois. He knew little of politics except on the level of "who gets away with the boodle," but he had a destestation of communism. He must have had a deep instinct that it would ruin his raffish way of life.
It is interesting that Chairman Mao, while he was polite, considerate, and patient with us Americans, really tried as hard as he knew how to retain this declassé Swede in Yenan. And why not? American intellectuals come a dime a dozen. There is a new crop every generation. But a European motor mechanic, with an earthy command of a genuinely peasant dialect, able to show what you do with machinery and explain how you do it—that would be a treasure. I am glad to be able to record also the opinion of Effie Hill, the gut-reaction anti-Communist. On the way back from Yenan I asked him, "Well, now that that's over, what do you think of Mao Tse-tung?" His answer was, "I've been with all kinds—merchants, warlords, intellectuals, Kuomintang political big-shots. But this is the only Chinese I have seen who could unite China."
Lattimore wrote two stories for the London Times when he returned to Peking, sending copies of them to IPR headquarters in New York and to the American embassy in Nanking. The embassy promptly forwarded them to the secretary of state with a cover letter summarizing Lattimore's conclusions. From a later vantage, two of Lattimore's judgments stand out.
The first is that if Japan continued to encroach on China, "a large part of both the Chinese army and Chinese people will go over to the Communists." The second judgment, less prescient but more probative as to Lattimore's candor about Communist aims, is worth citing in full:
The Communists had appealed for a United Front long before the capture of Chiang Kai-shek at Sian last December. That was only the incident which gave them a chance to intervene, to demonstrate that they really wanted a United Front more than they wanted the Generalissimo's head and that they were prepared to make concessions even when, temporarily, they held the kind of advantage that terrorists would have used ruthlessly.
Does this mean the abandonment of the Revolution? It seems to me as foolish to think so as to suppose that the Soviet Union is on its way back to capitalism. Primarily, the Communists must have felt that the United Front as a rallying cry against Japan would have a wider popular appeal than the demand for revolution; while secondarily, a democratic phase in China would mean a filtering down of political education among the common people, making it possible to renew Communist demands in the future.
One will find nowhere a more accurate assessment of Chinese Communist strategy or a more vigorous assertion that Mao and followers were committed Communists, not "mere agrarian reformers" or "so-called Communists" as some journalists were then saying.
On July 7, 1937, after Lattimore was back in Peking, the Japanese used an incident between Japanese and Chinese troops at the Marco Polo Bridge as an excuse to capture Peking and extend their invasion of China. This incident brought on large-scale fighting, but the Lattimores missed most of it. Their son David was ill with dysentery, and the Lattimores went to a seaside resort for the summer. When they came back to Peking in September, the Japanese occupation had become stifling. The mails were being monitored, and Lattimore knew that publishing a journal from Peking would be impossible under the circumstances. Nor would he be free to travel as before in Manchuria and Inner Mongolia. He decided to return to the United States.
Before he left, one incident impressed on him the fallacy of the Japanese claim to have Mongol support. Lattimore and a journalist friend visited the Japanese Office for Mongol Affairs in Peking and spoke with a young Mongol in Japanese uniform. At first they spoke Chinese, which yielded nothing but official Japanese propaganda. Then Lattimore started speaking in Mongol, and the whole atmosphere changed. The young Mongol
"asked me where and how I had learned. I told him. 'You must be Lattimore,' he said. I told him I was. 'In that case,' he said, 'I will talk with you, but not with your friend. Don't pay any attention to this Japanese uniform. All of us here are the same. We are working for the Japanese because we have to. But we are not really working for the Japanese. We are Mongol nationalists, and we work for Mongol nationalism if, as, and when we can.'"
In December 1937 the Lattimores boarded ship to return to the United States. Until then Lattimore had been almost totally absorbed by events in Asia. This absorption led to a distinct "Asia first" orientation toward the global struggle developing between the Axis powers and the West. From Lattimore's viewpoint, aggression had started in Asia, and Japan's success had set the precedents for Italian and German activities in Ethiopia, Spain, and Czechoslovakia. As he explains in his 1953 autobiographical sketch for Senator Joseph O'Mahoney,
I left China hotly anti-Japanese, and ready to argue with anybody, in print or on the platform, that the whole trouble in the Far East was the fault of the Japanese and not the Chinese. I was particularly bitter about the Japanese propaganda—the most successful propaganda they had—that Japan was "saving" China from the Russians and the Chinese Communists. I put it the other way round, and argued that if the Japanese cracked up the regular armies and regular government of China the Chinese would go on fighting, but the leadership would pass to the Communists; that it was the Japanese by their aggression, and not the Chinese by their patriotic resistance to a foreign invader, who were promoting the danger of Communism.
Lattimore left China with more than burning convictions about Japanese aggression. He had used his time to publish several important books. A new edition of Manchuria, Cradle of Conflict , came out in 1935, incorporating an updated account of Japanese activities, and The Mongols of Manchuria was published in 1934. Both became standard works. In addition he produced a dozen or so articles, one of which, "On the Wickedness of Being Nomads," is a ringing defense of the nomadic life and a biting commentary on those, especially Marxists, who stigmatize nomads as backward. In this article Lattimore condemns not just Chinese and Japanese for chauvinism but also the Soviet Union for "ruthlessly subjugating" Mongol practices to the "alien ideas" stemming from Moscow. He notes that "Soviet influence in Outer Mongolia is, apparently, much more indirectly and circumspectly exercized than Japanese control in Manchu-
ria." But the clear message of the article was hostile to all three Asian powers.
Lattimore spent the first six months of 1938 in California, editing Pacific Affairs and writing Inner Asian Frontiers of China , a book that solidly established his scholarly reputation and continues as a classic to this day.
Pacific Affairs remained troublesome. Lattimore went far to include articles and letters representing all points of view, even those he personally rejected. One significant instance involved Edgar Snow. W. E. Wheeler II of San Francisco wrote a letter to the editor that Lattimore printed in the March 1938 issue. Wheeler was incensed at a favorable account of the Chinese Communists by Snow carried in a previous issue.
Snow found, as had Lattimore, that the Chinese Communists' temporary suspension of revolution in favor of land reform and rent control might win over many Chinese peasants to their cause. Wheeler could not believe this scenario. His own studies of Chinese history had led him to believe that the importance of the family, the power of the scholar-aristocracy, and the disreputability of the "vagabond" class from which the Communists came all combined to make it inconceivable that Mao and colleagues could ever come to power: "As an aim and a principle, Communism in China is doomed." Wheeler's contempt for Snow, and for the editor who accepted Snow's article, permeates his two-page diatribe.
Lattimore could not reach Snow for a rebuttal, so he made a few comments on Wheeler's letter himself. He was the soul of moderation. He observed that the consensus of those who had actually visited the Communist areas was that these were neither marauders nor vagabonds, nor were they insincere, and that the hold of the scholar-aristocracy was passing. Further, the Communist insistence on fighting Japan, which accounted for the moderation of their ideology, was a highly successful tactic. It capitalized on "the most passionately held ideal of the whole Chinese people—its claim to survival among the free nations." In the face of Wheeler's armchair theorizing, one might have expected a more vigorous response from an empiricist like Lattimore.
Lattimore still hoped to get manuscripts for Pacific Affairs from the Soviets, but an incident in 1938 scotched that possibility for good. Lattimore sent an article he wanted to publish by the British economist L. E. Hubbard to Motylev for Soviet comment, as was the usual practice. Hubbard had written that economic conditions in Russia were deteriorating, and Motylev was furious. Nevertheless, there was no official Soviet response to Hubbard, so Lattimore published the article in the June 1938
issue, giving editorial footnotes and also carrying a companion piece with a more favorable view of the Soviet economy. Motylev was not mollified. There were no further Soviet contacts with the IPR, and in 1939 the Soviets even stopped paying their former two or three thousand dollar contribution to IPR. They had paid a total of $12,000 during their brief membership, a fraction of IPR's annual budget of more than $100,000.
At Johns Hopkins
Before Lattimore left China in 1937, he wrote Isaiah Bowman, then president of the Johns Hopkins University, inquiring if Bowman knew of a university that needed a China specialist. Bowman wrote back that Lattimore "must not think of any place except the Hopkins" and offered him a job. Lattimore took up residence in September 1938 as a lecturer in the Walter Hines Page School of International Relations. This was a half-time appointment, allowing him to continue editing Pacific Affairs . Within a year he was made director of the Page School.
Taking the appointment at Johns Hopkins had one unfortunate consequence. Robert LeMoyne Barrett, who had helped the Lattimores financially during their Asian travels, was dead set against the new allegiance. Lattimore called Barrett's attitude "crankiness" and said, "He despised the Hopkins only a little less than he despised Harvard. He thought I was betraying my true role as the free-roaming traveler." Relations became so strained that Lattimore felt he had to decline any more help from Barrett. The estrangement lasted until 1950.
Settling down in Baltimore was not easy for Lattimore. He had spent little of his life in the United States and now had to learn a whole new culture. Baltimore was not the easiest place to begin his education, for strangers were not welcomed with open arms. Here Eleanor's gift for friendship was of great value to him, as was her superior knowledge of American folkways. Still, the Lattimores made few close friends outside the Johns Hopkins community.
Lattimore attended meetings of the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia during his first year at Hopkins and there met a fellow adventurer who was perhaps his most intimate friend for twenty-four years:
the Arctic explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson. "Stef," as he was commonly known, soon married Evelyn Baird, and the Lattimores and Stefanssons spent many holidays together. In her introduction to Silks, Spices, and Empire , which the Lattimores edited, Evelyn Stefansson Nef (her name after her second marriage) describes the
special kind of dialogue that Owen and Stef engaged in when conditions were right. Quiet was required—it didn't matter how many other people were present if they were good listeners—and something to hold in the hand, a glass of wine or a cup of coffee. Then these two exceptional men, each expert in his chosen field and interested in everything that related to it directly or peripherally, would begin. In comparing Eskimo and Mongol ways, no detail was too small to be recited and followed by evaluation, comparison, and speculation. Both brought marvelous but different linguistic accomplishments to the discussion. Each could stir the other intellectually and bring out his best. Humor was not omitted, a satiric, tart sort in Stef's case and an earthier, more boisterous, punning kind in Owen's. Throughout 20 years we spent many evenings in this kind of exchange.
Mongols and Eskimos, however, were not topics of academic concern at Johns Hopkins when Lattimore started teaching there. By the fall of 1938 Hitler had annexed Austria, and Chamberlain had capitulated at Munich. Even American undergraduates were beginning to sense the menace of the Fascist powers, and Lattimore's geopolitical approach to politics made sense to many of them. But he had the wrong hemisphere; they were Eurocentric, and his pleas for support of China against Japan made little impression.
Lattimore's opinions on European events were somewhat heretical. He thought that England and France had "precipitated an era of dirty politics by the attempt to appease Hitler and turn him against Russia." There was therefore some justification for Stalin's pact with Hitler, even for the Soviet attack on Finland. But on the Russo-Finnish War he equivocated. The Russians had no "moral justification" for the attack; hence he supported a Baltimore group called Fighting Funds for Finland. But he rejected the right-wing position that the United States should declare war on the Soviet Union because of the Finnish invasion.
It was during his first year at Johns Hopkins that Lattimore made the most serious error of his career. A manuscript was submitted to Pacific Affairs by Mary van Kleeck, a pro-Soviet writer whom Lattimore did not know, praising Stalin's purge trials because they strengthened the Soviet Union for the coming battle against Germany and Japan. In reaching this
conclusion van Kleeck tossed a bouquet to the Russian masses: "It was the masses who made the revolution. It is the masses who have developed and saved the Soviet Union. It is the Soviet Union today, made strong because of its firm base among the same masses, that alone among all the great nations has been able to check any of Hitler's declared plans. The Soviet Union has won a victory for the democratic nations."
Lattimore had heard similar comments on the purge trials from journalists in Moscow, especially his friend Demaree Bess. Since Lattimore identified with the masses of China, or any other country, against the bureaucrats who bedevil them, he decided to publish van Kleeck's article, which appeared in the June 1938 Pacific Affairs .
Now Pacific Affairs had a tiger by the tail. Among protesters, the ferocious anti-Stanlinist William Henry Chamberlin, who had been Moscow correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor , was the most insistent. His comment on the van Kleeck analysis reached Lattimore soon after the June issue was off the press. Here indeed was the kind of public airing of controversial issues to which Lattimore was committed. Chamberlain noted the absence of documentary evidence in the Moscow trials, ridiculed the Soviet claim that the conspiracies against Stalin could have been so important and yet produced such meager results, noted discrepancies in the confessions, and claimed that the behavior of the defendants did not ring true. Lattimore printed Chamberlain's rebuttal in September.
He also added an editorial comment. On his 1936 trip to Moscow, he had met Radek and Rakovsky, two purge victims. He found their trial testimony to be in character and psychologically convincing. In addition, overbearing Soviet bureaucrats were getting their comeuppance: "The accounts of the most widely read Moscow correspondents all emphasize that since the close scrutiny of every person in a responsible position, following the trials, a great many abuses have been discovered and rectified . A lot depends on whether you emphasize the discovery of the abuse or the rectification of it; but habitual rectification can hardly do anything but give the ordinary citizen more courage to protest, loudly, whenever he finds himself being victimized by 'someone in the Party' or 'someone in the Government.' That sounds to me like democracy." It was a statement he lived to regret. The purges merely strengthened Stalin's control, consolidated the bureaucracy, and, as Lattimore later learned, wiped out the China specialists for whom Lattimore had great respect.
Lattimore's misjudgment of the purge trials was undoubtedly influenced by his generally favorable evaluation of Soviet foreign policy, which
emphasized collective action against the Fascist powers, and his knowledge that Soviet minority policies in Asia had been far more enlightened than those of other nations. He was nonetheless wrong.
Far more important to Lattimore than argument about Stalin's purges was what he thought to be the craven British-French appeasement of Hitler at Munich. He was convinced of the interrelationship of European events with the scene developing in Asia. In the December 1938 Pacific Affairs he wrote a brief comment, "Can the Soviet Union Be Isolated?" It concerned the possibility that Britain and France would continue appeasing Hitler "as a necessary preliminary to the isolation and encirclement of the Soviet Union." Should this isolation happen, and should Hitler line up with Japan against the Soviet, Soviet aid to China, which was the most important source of war material used by Chiang Kai-shek against the Japanese, might dry up. But Lattimore did not think this eventuality likely. Stalin had shown no disposition to back down from engagement in Asia and had already tangled with Japan in Siberia. In fact, as Lattimore saw it,
The Soviet Union holds a stronger strategic position than ever. Against Germany, the Red Army no longer has to plan for the defense of the awkward salient of Czechoslovakia, but can dig in on its own territory. To attack the Ukraine, Hitler's "pure" Germans will have to cross a belt of Slavic populations, who may for the moment be subservient, but have already been taught that the Germans will always despise and abuse them. Against Japan, the Soviet position is even better. The Japanese have been thrown back from Siberia with great loss of prestige, and forced to involve themselves more inextricably than ever in a war with China which is more hopeless than ever.
Most pundits at that time believed that the Soviet army had been "demoralized by purges"; Lattimore's position was heretical.
Sensing the coming war, Lattimore spent a six-week vacation in Europe during the late summer of 1939. He tried again to get clearance from Moscow to visit the Mongolian People's Republic, but without success. Most of his time he spent in Sweden, paradoxically in the company of Sven Hedin, a celebrated Asian explorer but also, so Lattimore heard, an honorary member of the Nazi party. Lattimore said that his affinity with Hedin was based on professional interests; on other matters they vigorously disagreed, as they did about the Soviet Union.
Hedin foresaw the Hitler-Stalin pact, which astounded Lattimore. He soon realized, however, that it made sense geopolitically. Sworn enemies
could make a deal when each stood to gain something, and Stalin did gain something from the pact. Lattimore shared his view of the nonaggression pact with that British master geopolitician, Winston Churchill. In The Gathering Storm Churchill writes, "It is a question whether Hitler or Stalin loathed it most. Both were aware that it could only be a temporary expedient. The antagonisms between the two empires and systems were mortal." Churchill goes on to note that the Russians had "burnt into their minds" the disasters of 1914, when their frontiers were more favorable than in 1939. They had to "be in occupation of the Baltic States and a large part of Poland by force or fraud before they were attacked. If their policy was coldblooded, it was also at the moment realistic in a high degree."
But Japanese aggression, not the Hitler-Stalin pact, was uppermost in Lattimore's mind, and no issue of Pacific Affairs failed to touch on that topic. However, Lattimore did not confine discussion of Japan to those in sympathy with his views; for instance, the September 1939 issue carried an apology for Japan by one of its foremost supporters, Elizabeth Boody Schumpeter. Her eighteen-page article, "The Problem of Sanctions in the Far East," capitalized on her work with three other economists at Harvard on the recent economic development of Japan. Concerned with heading off strict economic sanctions, Schumpeter argued that Japan was only securing in China the same raw materials that the colonial powers had secured "in the past by methods which now shock us." An embargo on what little the United States still exported to Japan would be a hostile act: "once you deny countries access to food or raw materials on any scale, you are warring on civilian populations; you are employing the very tactics you deplore."
In his editorial comment Lattimore refrained from direct attack on Schumpeter's argument, instead suggesting that Pacific Affairs readers who had opinions should send letters for inclusion in the December issue. Seven of his readers responded, and he quoted from their letters in December. One agreed with Schumpeter, five disagreed, and one waffled. Lattimore again stayed out of the argument.
The Institute of Pacific Relations had scheduled its seventh major conference for Victoria, British Columbia, in late November 1939. The outbreak of war caused some changes. Instead of the usual full-scale conference, IPR held a more modest "study meeting" at Virginia Beach. Only six countries managed to send official delegates: Australia, Canada, China, New Zealand, the Philippines, and the United States. Great Britain and France sent observers only. Japan refused to send anyone, as did the So-
viet Union. William L. Holland, who edited the study meeting report, attributed the Soviet absence to transportation difficulties. The truth was that the Soviet's seven-year flirtation with the IPR had simply come to an end. In the Soviet view, the bourgeois imperialists who dominated the IPR had finally shown their true colors, retreating and compromising when confronted with Fascist aggression. Collective security had finally and disastrously failed. The Soviets, who had been willing to support France and Britain had those countries defended Czechoslovakia against Hitler, now knew they were on their own. To add insult to injury, the British and French, in an agreement signed at Tientsin on June 19, 1939, gave in to Japanese demands that Japan's occupation currency be accepted as legal tender in British and French concessions, on a par with Chinese currency. This agreement was appeasement in Asia, and the Russians fumed. Carter's continued letters to Soviet officials begging their participation in the IPR went unanswered.
The talk at the Virginia Beach meeting, in which Lattimore participated, was all of the war in the Pacific. Every conceivable point of view was presented. Perhaps the most amazing speech was given by "a leading member of the Chinese group" who said that Japanese warnings to China about "the Communist bogey" from which Japan could save them were nonsense. The Chinese Communist party was no threat to the Chinese Nationalists, "for neither the political nor economic structure of China as a whole reveals any trace of inclination toward Marxism, and, in the strict sense of the term, China has no Communists. What groups there are under this name certainly cannot be regarded as such as understood in Europe, or elsewhere."
Lattimore cringed at this statement: he knew Mao and his followers to be genuine Communists. Other Chinese delegates were more realistic, but the uttering of such fantasy by a high-ranking Nationalist was not a sign of candor at the top.
"China Will Win"
Lattimore returned to Johns Hopkins from Virginia Beach to find a welcome invitation. A letter from the prestigious Virginia Quarterly Review asked him to submit his thoughts on American responsibilities in the Far East for publication in spring 1940. It was an opportunity to speak his mind free of the multinational constraints imposed on Pacific Affairs . He eagerly set about composing his personal credo for American policy in Asia, which appeared as the lead article in the spring issue of the quarterly. There were few surprises in the article. As expected, his number one antipathy was to Japanese aggression in Asia. "Japan has gone on an utterly unjustified rampage. . . . The average American has an uneasy conscience about the amount of help that America has been giving Japan by supplying the raw materials of war. He would like to see that stopped." America's premier task should be to cut off supplies to Japan.
As to China, Lattimore held that Chiang Kai-shek was now determined to reclaim Chinese sovereignty, free of domination by any outside power. The United States should absolutely endorse this objective, since only U.S. support "would give the Chinese regular army and the Kuomintang the degree of help they need to maintain their ascendancy under Chiang Kai-shek. It would guarantee that the Chinese Communists remain in a secondary position, because it would strengthen those Chinese who are opposed to Communism—the very Chinese whom we are now helping Japan destroy." Lattimore admitted that the "detonative ideas" of Soviet Marxism were present in China but argued that they could be contained if we cut off support to Japan and aided Chiang.
One unexpected thrust of Lattimore's advice was his insistence on preventing Soviet domination of China. As editor of Pacific Affairs he could
not display opposition to Soviet aims in Asia. Here, in a different forum, he directed his argument to precisely this point:
Above all, while we want to get Japan out of China, we do not want to let Russia in. Nor do we want to "drive Japan into the arms of Russia." . . . We are disturbed by the thought that Russia might get control of China. We are alarmed by the possibility that Russia and Japan might agree on a partition of China. . . . the savagery of the Japanese assault is doing more to spread Communism than the teaching of the Chinese Communists themselves or the influences of Russia. It supplies the pressure under which the detonative ideas can work. At the same time it destroys Chinese wealth of every kind—capital, trade, revenue from agricultural rent—thus weakening that side of Chinese society which is most antagonistic to Communism. The smug pseudo-neutrality of the great powers, among which America is the most important, has no weakening effect whatever on the Chinese Communists, but has a very destructive effect on the progressive middle classes who would naturally draw on the ideas and resources of the democracies if they were not shut out in this way.
While the Virginia Quarterly article was in press, another quite different document emerged from the New York Office of the South Manchurian Railway Company (SMR), a sprawling conglomerate that Japan used for the exploitation of Manchuria. Dated February 15, 1940, the document, "The Institute of Pacific Relations: Trends and Personnel of the American and Pacific Councils," antedates by years other attacks on the IPR as pro-Communist. The author is not given, but from various syntactic infelicities one can assume that it was written by a Japanese employee of SMR. The document was never publicly released, but copies of it no doubt reached Japan's apologists in the U.S. The report uniformly interprets any anti-Japanese sentiment on the part of IPR personnel as pro-Communist. Thus, at the very time Lattimore was making vigorous policy recommendations for keeping the Soviet Union and the Chinese Communists from dominating China, the Japanese railway people were beginning to attack him as pro-Communist. The SMR writer denied "the adverse press and radio reports from the Orient, such as those of the Japanese troops brutally raping, pillaging, and terrorizing the Chinese civilians—accounts at least exaggerated and often completely false." Nor had Japanese troops slapped or stripped British and American women.
The IPR, according to the Japanese railway writer, was influenced by a number of "German Jewish refugees" on the research staff who were trying to tie Japan in with the "nazi structure." The article classified twenty-
five IPR staff members. Most of them were labeled anti-Japanese, hence pro-Russian, with E. C. Carter and Fred Field the worst and Lattimore coming in third. At the end of the report the writer admitted that some IPR members were pro-Japanese and hence unobjectionable; they were identified as "Professors Treat, Fahs, Gowen and Schumpeter." "Schumpeter" was no doubt Elizabeth Boody, rather than her economist husband Joseph. When Elizabeth Schumpeter volunteered information about Lattimore to the FBI in 1945, she made the same analysis of his procommunism that the SMR report had made five years earlier.
Lattimore, teaching and writing at Johns Hopkins, was blissfully unaware that the South Manchuria Railway was poised to assault him and the IPR. Nor was he aware that in the early months of 1940 he was inadvertently making of Freda Utley a bitter opponent. As noted above, when Lattimore met Utley in Moscow in 1936, she had been impressed by his willingness to stand up to Soviet experts on the Mongols, contrasting Lattimore's independence with Carter's sycophancy. Traveling to England later that year, Lattimore met Utley on a channel steamer, helping her and her infant son get ashore and through British customs. In early 1937, when Lattimore was in London and saw Utley several times, she was again grateful for his helpfulness. As she told the story, "They were very kind to me and my son. They sympathized with me for the loss of my husband. They deplored the mass arrests, imprisonments without trial, and other tyrannical features of Stalin's Russia."
When Utley came to the United States in 1938, Lattimore arranged lectures for her in Baltimore, where she addressed the American Committee for Non-Participation in Japanese Aggression. The friendly relations continued into 1940, when she settled permanently in the United States, staying for a while with the Lattimores in Baltimore. But the friendship began to sour in the same year, commencing with an incident during a dinner at a Washington restaurant. As Lattimore recalled in 1977:
She heard that through IPR I met the then-Soviet Ambassador in Washington. So she twisted my arm to telephone him and beg for an interview with him. So very reluctantly I did so. Oumansky was his name. I said, "Do you know Freda Utley?" and he said, "Yes, I do, and I don't want to have anything to do with her." "Well, she wants very much to be granted an interview with you." He said, "I will not have anything to do with that woman." He may even have said, "that bitch." From that moment she was convinced that I had sabotaged. her request, and if I had really wanted to I could have arranged it. And eventually, when she gave up all hope of getting her husband loose, she became
openly anti-Stalin, anti-Moscow, and anti-Soviet Union, and she became one of the active people feeding material to the China lobby.
Lattimore did not worry overly much about Utley's husband in 1940. Hitler was conquering Western Europe. The pace of events outran Pacific Affairs , even had Lattimore wanted to deal with the Asian consequences of the defeats of France and Holland. But he did deal with one controversy in an editorial comment about the Dutch colonies in the Pacific. How would the Netherlands deal with them at the end of the war? Lattimore supported freeing them entirely, a position offensive to Britain, France, and the Netherlands alike.
Again he sought a channel for his ideas less constricted than Pacific Affairs , this time in Philip Jaffe's Amerasia . The thesis he argued in the August 1940 issue was simple: China would win against Japan and kick out the colonial powers from their Chinese concessions. This example would inspire the Indochinese to throw out the French, the Indonesians to throw out the Dutch, and the Indians and Malays to demand independence from the British. There was nothing ideological about this prediction: it was simply the inevitable consequence of a Chinese victory.
Most Americans did not realize that these events would happen. As Lattimore pointed out, many of them wanted to forget what was happening in Asia and to leave Asia "to one side for the moment, until the situation in Europe has cleared up." To Lattimore, the Asian situation was reasonably clear no matter what happened in Europe, since Germany and Italy could not rescue Japan even if they were to defeat Britain. His blunt conclusion: "What America must decide is whether to back a Japan that is bound to lose, or a China that is bound to win."
Lattimore had by now achieved scholarly stature sufficient to cause the prestigious Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) to seek his services. President Bowman of Johns Hopkins was again his sponsor. Lattimore was commissioned to prepare a memorandum for discussion by CRF's Territorial Group on the topic "Alternatives of United States Policy in the Western Pacific"; interested members of the CFR could read his memorandum and then discuss it at a meeting on October 5, 1940. Lattimore's five-page memorandum began by summarizing U.S. options in Asia:
There are four main alternatives for a policy of protecting and stabilizing American interests in the Western Pacific, with the minimum commitment of America to imperial or protective responsibilities.
1) Conciliation of Japan, and acceptance of a New Order in East Asia in which Japan will be dominant.
2) Stronger support of Britain and British interests . . . on the assumption that the British will eventually be able to return to the Far East with full power and prestige.
3) Cooperation with Russia, intended to create a new balance of power in the Far East. . . .
4) Acceptance of a New Order in East Asia, to be based on the assumption that China must be completely and genuinely independent of both Japan and America, with China dominant on the mainland and Japan dominant on the seas of the Western Pacific.
One knows without further reading which alternative Lattimore prefers. The first alternative would be popularly known as appeasement; there was nothing wrong with this approach on moral grounds, but it just would not work. China would be demoralized, Japan would be certain to expand into Southeast Asia, and the policy "would not create a dependable barrier against Russia."
The second policy might have had some virtues if British victory in Europe could be assumed, but it was not certain. Even if Britain won and eventually reclaimed most of its Asian empire, the United States would still be saddled with burdensome commitments in the Pacific.
The third alternative, cooperation with Russia, was just not practical. It would have a very bad public reception in the United States, and Russia was so "morbidly suspicious of American motives" that we could never negotiate suitable areas of influence. Soviet ideology was not the barrier; rather, geopolitical realities intervened.
Dismantling the other three arguments brought up "clear American commitment to the establishment of a fully and genuinely independent China." The questions Lattimore raised about this policy were (1) would it risk war with Japan? and (2) would it be stable in the postwar world? On the first question, Lattimore seriously underestimated the power of Japan. He acknowledged that all-out commitment to China might trigger a declaration of war by Japan but predicted that we could withdraw our fleet to Hawaii and rapidly strangle Japan by a total economic blockade. Major advantages of this policy would be stiffening Chinese determination to fight Japan and improving Chinese morale. It was a theme he would hammer at until Pearl Harbor settled the matter.
But would Chinese hegemony in Asia be stable? He thought it would be stable if China won without having to call in Soviet troops to help. China would have to keep "warily out of political commitments to Russia, while at the same time making business deals, on business terms, with
the nations which have the most free capital to export—notably America."
Presumably the CFR elders approved Lattimore's geopolitics: they asked him to lead similar discussions twelve more times in the 1940-48 period. In his 1984 history of the CFR, Robert D. Schulzinger concluded that "Lattimore's memoranda for the Territorial Group were remarkable principally for their anti-Soviet outlook. . . . Lattimore loved China, despised Russia, but only mildly disapproved of Japan." Schulzinger is correct about Lattimore's attitude toward China, but Lattimore was less hostile toward Russia and more hostile toward Japan than Schulzinger's reading of the CFR minutes contends.
In the December 1940 Pacific Affairs Lattimore reviewed Motylev's Pacific Nexus of the Second Imperialist War . The number of copies of this book printed by the Soviets (twenty thousand) and Motylev's scathing analysis of British and American "imperialist" motives indicated to Lattimore that the book was designed for internal Soviet consumption rather than as propaganda abroad. Nonetheless, Lattimore found the book significant because of its clear hostility to Japan: "It does not in the slightest degree prepare the public for a Soviet 'deal' at the expense of China."
The New York Times noted Lattimore's review in an editorial of December 11, 1940. Motylev's book, said the Times writer, was welcome: "At a time when it is increasingly clear that the war in Europe and the war in Asia are at bottom a single war, China's capacity for continued resistance to Japanese ambitions is becoming more and more important." Pro-Chinese opinion from Russia was as happy an omen to the Times as it was to Lattimore.
The "China will win" theme had constant exposure in Lattimore's increasingly frequent speeches: at a Public Affairs Forum in Baltimore, January 21, 1941; at a meeting of American Military Engineers on the Johns Hopkins campus later that month; at a large gathering of the Washington Committee for Aid to China on February 11. The Washington speech, however, contained an infelicitous remark. Lattimore said that the U.S., "although pledged to become the arsenal of democracy, has in fact been the arsenal of aggression." To the extent that the U.S. had shipped oil and scrap iron to Japan, he was quite right. Conservatives would later claim that the phrase proved Lattimore subversive.
In April 1941 Lattimore reached his widest audience with a three-pronged geopolitical analysis. For the foreign policy elite of the CFR he discussed
the possibility that Japan would propose a nonaggression pact to the Soviet Union. Such a proposal, he thought, might be made, and he was persuaded that the Soviets might accept. If so, the U.S. had to respond with vastly increased aid to Chiang.
His second audience was the readership of Foreign Affairs , in which he published an article analyzing the failure of Japan to bring sufficient force against China to deal a knockout blow. It was then, he thought, too late for Japan to mobilize the great resources required to defeat China. Nevertheless, we could take no chances: Chiang still needed all the support we could send him. A New York Times editorialist endorsed Lattimore's article on March 20.
But Lattimore still had more to say, and in the April 1941 issue of Asia he looked into the future of Asia with a prescience sufficient to wipe out any debits accumulated elsewhere. He emphasized that the Chinese were bitter about U.S. ambivalence toward Japanese aggression and about our neglect of Asia to concentrate on Europe. Years later the Asia-first wing of the Republican party would excoriate Lattimore for many imagined transgressions, but in April 1941 he could hardly have put the Asia-first case better.
It is quite true that we shall not have an easy time with an Asia headed toward emancipation. We shall not have an easy time in any case. We shall have the worst time of all if we simply try to defer making up our minds about Asia until we set Europe straight. A time in which Europe desperately needs to set itself straight is not a time in which Asia will consent to be smothered. . . . Already there is evidence of demoralization in China—even to the point of talk about civil war. What we do not sufficiently understand is that this is largely because of the bitterness of Chinese disappointment in the democracies. The most potent friends of the Anglo-American kind of democracy have been the most deeply shocked by our rallying cry—"This way to the lifeboats. White men first!" Their voice is that of Madame Chiang Kai-shek, who has said that, if China goes down, it will not be for lack of Chinese courage, but because China has been strangled by a noose fashioned of "British appeasement, American profiteering, and French fear."
If we are to have chaos in China, then, it will be of our own making. . . . Apart from the fact that this chaos would spread all over Asia, civil war in China would mean, in the end, the triumph of the Chinese Communists. This would be a magnificent irony, seeing that unless they are forced into a civil war the Chinese Communists are bound to remain a minority. They themselves could not start a civil war with any hope of success, for that would turn a great part of the army against them, and
many of the peasants. If, on the other hand, a civil war should be forced on them, while they themselves continue to demand a united front and a clear victory over Japan, most patriots would rally to them, including many moderates who would in no other circumstances follow Communist leadership. . . . It would be a tragic folly, and the culminating folly of two decades, if American vacillation and failure to support the patriots in China—the hard-pressed guardians of the American stake in evolutionary democratic progress—should let loose defeatism, civil war and revolution.
The Chinese civil war in 1946-48 was indeed such a tragic folly. It was won by exactly the forces Lattimore predicted would win, and for his reasons.
The CFR, having heard on April 3 Lattimore's warning of the possibility of a Soviet-Japanese pact, called him back to lead another discussion after such a pact was signed on April 13. His memorandum this time, dated May 6, 1941, was far more elaborate than his earlier document and was designed as background for understanding relations between Moscow, Tokyo, Chungking, and Yenan. Emphasizing the tenuous connections between Moscow and Yenan, Lattimore lay the groundwork for his later prediction that a Communist-led China would not be subservient to Moscow.
The Chinese Communists, although members of the Comintern, differ from all other Communist parties in their relations to the Comintern. . . . The territory they control, the population they administer, and the war in which they are engaged force on the Chinese Communists all kinds of decisions which they must make on their own responsibility. It can easily be understood that in minor decisions of detail it would be absurd to refer to distant Moscow; but even in major decisions of policy the Chinese Communists must often have to work first from the merits of the case, doing whatever they can later to square their decision with the "general line" of the Comintern. . . . It is therefore probably not an exaggeration to say that the Chinese Communists have perhaps more influence on the Comintern than the Comintern has on them . If this is true, it is so significant that its importance can hardly be overemphasized. (Lattimore's italics)
Lattimore therefore concluded that since Moscow-Yenan ties were weak and since Stalin did not fully trust Mao, the Russians would continue to support Chiang as the only Chinese leader capable of holding his country together against the Japanese. His essential point: "To preserve satisfactory relations between the Russians and the non-Communist, right-wing
Government of Chiang Kai-shek, it is worth making very serious efforts to improve American relations with Russia." Lattimore's line was finally adopted—after the Japanese struck Pearl Harbor.
German strategists began to note the advice coming from Lattimore. Paul Wohl translated the comment on Lattimore by Major General Professor Karl Haushofer, Germany's master strategist and Hitler's mentor, as carried in Haushofer's Zeitschrift für Geopolitik : "We consider Lattimore as the spiritual guide of America's trans-Pacific cultural policy and geopolitically as the most remarkable personality of highest political and scientific caliber opposing the old world." Wohl's translation is not idiomatic, but Lattimore's talents were dearly appreciated in the Third Reich.
There is no evidence in any of Lattimore's writings prior to the summer of 1941 that he was a danger to American internal security. But there was a trap that ensnared him nonetheless: guilt by association. The first notice the FBI took of Lattimore was based on his association with a group that three years later was declared subversive. Serial 1 of the FBI headquarters file on Lattimore, dated May 16, 1941, at Baltimore, Maryland, tells the tale:
The following name is submitted for consideration for Custodial Detention in case of a national emergency.
Address—210 Chancery Road
SUMMARY OF FACTS :
OWEN LATTIMORE is Vice-Chairman of the Maryland Civil Liberties Committee according to correspondence which among other things criticized the FBI and the Dies Committee and on other literature obtained in the Enoch Pratt Library, Maryland Room, Verticle [sic ] File, under the title, "Maryland Civil Liberties Committee, Baltimore, Maryland."
The Baltimore Field Division is presently conducting active and vigorous investigation of the above named individual.
Unlike most FBI documents, this one does not give the author or the addressee.
Baltimore FBI agents worked on the Lattimore investigation for ten days in June and July. We do not know whether they concluded that the Maryland Civil Liberties Committee was harmless or whether Lattimore was to be included on the Custodial Detention list because of his membership. On September 3, 1941, when the Baltimore agents reported to FBI headquarters, Lattimore was off the hook—not because the investigation found nothing against him, but because he was no longer in FBI jurisdiction. Serial 3 of that date disclosed where he had his office and quoted an unnamed informant as saying "that he would trust subject with his life and knows that everyone in Baltimore felt the same about the subject" and that he was "shocked at the idea that the subject was even remotely considered as a person involved in subversive activities." The report went on to state that Lattimore's credit rating was good; that all his previous addresses in Baltimore were checked; that he was listed in the city directory; that the Supervisor of Elections had no record relative to the subject (this was important to the FBI; a suspected subversive might have registered as a Communist or Socialist); and that neither the Baltimore City Police nor the Maryland State Police had records on Lattimore. However, there were newspaper stories, one of which announced that Lattimore had arrived in Chungking to become special adviser to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek. This article ended the investigation:
Due to the fact that the subject is now located in China, it is believed no further investigation is necessary and it is requested that his name be dropped from the Custodial Detention List.
Closed? The Lattimore FBI file would grow to 38,900 pages.
However, one segment of Lattimore's life was closed in 1941. The June issue of Pacific Affairs was his last. He did not know of the sea change impending in his life when in April he wrote his editorial for the June issue, but it served well as a valedictory. "After Four Years" took twelve and a half pages and covered much the same ground as his CFR-Foreign Affairs-Asia trilogy. He included his standard castigation of the Western democracies for appeasing the Fascists and hanging on to their empires, but with some new phraseology. "In short, the problem of empire could be casuistically presented, up to September, 1939 as no more than a problem in opening up to imperial rule a few more areas in a world already committed to the principle of empire. This could be quite simply done by issuing licenses to be imperial to three more master-races. 'We shall grow,
but you will not be diminished,' said the fascist rulers to the democracies. With the outbreak of war between the established master-races and the claimant master-races all this was changed."
The "master-races" terminology was incendiary. It was seized on by later detractors such as Irving Kristol, quoted contrary to context, and used to show that Lattimore, by opposing imperialism, was following the Communist party line and was against Britain's struggle with Germany. Nowhere did Lattimore ever oppose the Allied war effort, during the Hitler-Stalin pact or after Hitler tossed it aside. All he was saying by this colorful "master-races" language was that the Allies had to give up their colonies and support self-determination in Asia.
Adviser to Chiang
After Stalin signed the nonaggression pact with Japan on April 13, 1941, Chiang could no longer count on Soviet aid. He was forced to step up his efforts to get supplies from the United States. The Roosevelt administration, though, was torn by conflict over Asian policy. The president, Secretary of War Stimson, and some of the military wanted to support China in every way possible without precipitating war with Japan. Ambassador to Japan Grew, his chief assistant Eugene Dooman, and other pro-Japan officers wanted to avoid any appearance of a major commitment to China.
Even the strong China supporters, however, were uneasy about Chiang's reluctance to commit all his forces against the Japanese invaders and his determination to crush the Chinese Communists. Chiang did not pretend that the supplies he wanted were for use against the Japanese; as he told Ambassador Nelson Johnson in October 1940, "It is not the Japanese army which we fear, because our army is able to deal with it, but the defiant Communists. American economic assistance plus the aid of the American Air Force can stabilize our unsteady economic and social conditions, thus making it impossible for the Communists to carry out their schemes."
Johnson and U.S. Naval Attaché James McHugh were not alarmed at Chiang's attitude. McHugh especially was a bitter opponent of the Chinese Communists, whom he blamed for most of China's problems. Against the advice of such figures as Edgar Snow and U.S. Marine Captain Evans Carlson (an old China hand), McHugh argued that the United States should stay clear of the Communists. Talk of giving Mao military aid was abhorrent to McHugh; such support would only weaken the Nationalists. In the coming battles over aid, Lattimore sided with McHugh; Lattimore was
committed to the belief that all-out support of Chiang would "keep the Communists in a subordinate position."
These dashing opinions became highly salient with passage of the Lend-Lease Act by Congress on March 11, 1941. Roosevelt could now transfer war supplies by executive decision to nations whose defense he considered vital to the defense of the United States. No more dependence on bureaucratic inefficiency and infighting, no more roadblocks from the reactionaries in the State Department; the reins of this program were in the White House.
Though Congress's motive in passing Lend-Lease was primarily to aid the British, the Chinese saw its potentialities at once. T. V. Soong, Chiang's primary agent in Washington (Chinese Ambassador Hu Shih was a figurehead), immediately urged Roosevelt to send a special envoy to Chungking to survey China's needs. Soong wanted Harry Hopkins, Roosevelt's chief troubleshooter, but Roosevelt would not send him; instead, he made Hopkins overall Lend-Lease administrator. But the idea of a personal presidential envoy to China appealed to Roosevelt; special emissaries were prominent in his administrative style. This way he could bypass the notorious bureaucracy of the State Department, establish personal relationships with foreign leaders, and better control relations with China.
Roosevelt sent as his envoy a brilliant and ambitious young White House economist, Lauchlin Currie. Sensing the developing importance of China, Currie welcomed the opportunity. He spent four weeks in February and March 1941 in Chungking, conferring with Chiang, Madame Chiang (who charmed him completely, as she did all high-level American visitors except General George Marshall), and James McHugh; he also talked to Ambassador Johnson, but Johnson was about to resign and took a jaundiced view of the whole process. Nevertheless, Currie's extensive report on his mission played up to Roosevelt's global ambitions. Chiang, he said, did not want to liberalize and broaden his regime. War between the Nationalists and Communists was possible, but Roosevelt could use the lever of Lend-Lease to push Chiang toward reform. Why not send a team of Americans to supervise aid, with technicians supplying know-how and a liberal political adviser to push Chiang in the proper direction? Chiang had in fact asked for a political adviser, though his motive was to use that adviser to bypass the embassy and get maximum possible aid. Currie also recommended that Roosevelt boost Chiang's stock in the United States by public statements of admiration and support. Currie's scenario may have impressed Roosevelt, but its naïveté about Chinese politics has been force-fully analyzed by Michael Schaller:
[Currie] twisted the Chinese experience to fit his own vision of reform. As the New Deal had attacked the bastions of the old economic order, Americans could train Chinese Keynesians to smash the legacy of rural poverty and political oppression. Currie seemed completely unaware of the fundamental class and land struggle which underlay China's crisis. He possessed no sense of what forces the KMT represented, or why the Communists could successfully appeal to the peasantry. Moreover, to expect any political group in China to accept the indignity of subordinating themselves to foreign advisors was to totally misunderstand the direction of Chinese nationalism since the 1911 revolution.
No understanding of China appeared in the White House of early 1941. Roosevelt gave quick approval to the dispatching of advisers to China, instructing Currie to come up with the name of a political adviser. Currie's first choice was George S. Messersmith, then ambassador to Cuba. Messersmith pleaded ill health and declined. Currie was shortly visited by John M. Gaus, professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin and formerly one of Currie's instructors at Harvard. Gaus, known as a recruiter of New Deal personnel, had obtained for Currie his job with the Roosevelt administration. When Gaus appeared in Currie's office, Currie immediately solicited him for the job as Chiang's adviser. Gaus also de-dined: he knew too little about China. But on the train down from Wisconsin Gaus had read and admired an Atlantic Monthly article by one Owen Lattimore. Why didn't Currie recruit Lattimore?
Currie was reluctant at first. Lattimore had never been a government employee and had irritated the State Department by criticizing U.S. policy as too soft on Japan; also, neither Currie nor Roosevelt had ever met him. Nonetheless, Currie called Lattimore down from Baltimore for an interview and was impressed. He asked if anything Lattimore had ever written would be embarrassing; Lattimore mentioned an attack he had once made on Chinese Chief of Staff Ho Ying-ch'in, but Currie did not think this article important. Since the Treasury Department, and not the State Department, was the most important agency dealing with China, Currie arranged a briefing for Lattimore at Treasury, chaired by Harry Dexter White. (Lattimore later sneered at the investigative prowess of the witch-hunters, who never uncovered this connection with White.) White and his colleagues, satisfied that Lattimore understood the importance of economic factors in U.S. China policy, approved the appointment. On April 29, 1941, Currie wrote a memorandum headed "Political Adviser to Chiang Kai-shek": "Ever since our discussion on this matter I have been looking for the right man, as the position is of enormous importance."
He had found the right man. Lattimore had extensive language skills and experience in Asia, was not associated with any group or faction in China, and had "New Dealish political attitudes." Roosevelt would need to con-suit Lattimore before making the appointment, if only to add to Lattimore's prestige in China.
Roosevelt responded to the memo by asking Currie to contact Johns Hopkins President Bowman and Rear Admiral Harry E. Yarnell, recently retired commander of the U.S. Asiatic Fleet. Both were enthusiastic about Lattimore, Bowman noting Lattimore's leadership of Council on Foreign Relations meetings with effusive praise.
Currie repeated the suggestion that Roosevelt personally interview Lattimore, as "it is most important that he be thought to possess your confidence." Roosevelt did so, apparently liked Lattimore, and on May 19 sent a casual note to Secretary of State Hull: "What do you think of having the Chinese Government appoint Owen Lattimore as political adviser? It sounds good to me."
Hull despised the whole idea, seeing it as one more Roosevelt stratagem for bypassing State. Stanley Hornbeck, chief of the Far Eastern division and Hull's primary adviser on Asian matters, also abhorred such an appointment. Neither objected to Lattimore as a person, however, and Hull yielded to his superior with a restrained note on May 21. He said that since the Chinese government had had various American advisers in the past and since Lattimore was "well and pleasantly known by a number of my associates," there was no objection to the appointment. However, it should be clear that Lattimore would serve as a private American citizen, not as a government official.
Then the wheels began to turn. Currie cabled Chiang on May 29 that the president "suggests for consideration Owen Lattimore . . . as a person admirably equipped for the post." Chiang wired approval June 1, stating that T. V. Soong, his liaison for Lend-Lease matters, would make arrangements. Soong and Lattimore met on June 3, when they agreed on a six-month tour of duty with a salary of $10,000 plus expenses. Soong confirmed this offer in a letter June 11, Lattimore formally accepted June 18, and the news began to spread on the Washington cocktail circuit.
Neither party was sure who should make the announcement. Currie wrote Roosevelt on June 20, suggesting that Soong issue a statement emphasizing that Lattimore was going to China "on the nomination of President Roosevelt." Roosevelt wrote "O.K." on Currie's proposed announcement.
But nothing was released for eight days. Hitler scuttled his pact with
Stalin and ordered the German army into the Soviet Union on June 22. This world-shaking event absorbed the Washington community for at least a week. Every factor in the world power equation had now changed. China was confronted with a complete cessation of Soviet aid and a complete dependence on the United States. Lattimore's mission was thought to be crucial.
On June 28, 1941, the Lattimore announcement was released in Washington and Chungking. Most American dailies carried the story the next day; the New York Times headline read, "Lattimore Named Adviser to Chiang. Appointment of Widely Known Writer on China Evokes Praise in Chungking. Held Token of Esteem. Author's Immediate Task Will Be to Facilitate Aid from United States." Chinese Ambassador Hu Shih complained later to the FBI that the whole thing had been clone clandestinely and that he had learned of the appointment from one of his subordinates, who met Currie at a party.
Lattimore now had to resign as editor of Pacific Affairs , but E. C. Carter continued to take an interest in his doings and arranged several conferences for Lattimore with persons knowledgeable about China. One of them was Soviet Ambassador Constantine Oumansky, from whom Lattimore was anxious to learn about Russia's probable future course in Asia. A luncheon with Oumansky proved enlightening. The Soviet Union, said Oumansky, would continue to support Chiang Kai-shek just as it had in the past; all Soviet arms went to his Nationalist government. The Russians did not want any split in the shaky Chinese United Front; Japan had to be kept tied down. Lattimore remembered one cynical remark about the Generalissimo: "I suppose you know what kind of a son of a bitch you'll be working for?"
Lattimore was to leave from San Francisco July 8. Sadly, this time he had to leave Eleanor behind. His only public appearance in the U.S. before his departure was at a dinner meeting of the San Francisco IPR on July 7. His speech, according to the San Francisco Chronicle , "rang with faith and confidence in the China he is to serve." On his new superior, he went overboard: "Among the handful of great world leaders, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek is conspicuous for the fact that he is not only a great leader, but a leader who has steadily grown in strength and stature in the last four years, a growth commensurate with that of the country itself."
Lattimore arrived in Chungking July 19 to take up residence in a house belonging to T. V. Soong, which had earlier housed Lauchlin Currie. It was a far cry from Mongol yurts in the Gobi. Chungking was not the
world's most livable city, but Lattimore's house had one big attraction: there was room for the Dilowa, his old friend from North China, to stay with him. The Dilowa was still working for the Nationalists; Lattimore said Chiang kept him as a hostage to ensure the good behavior of the Inner Mongolians.
Lattimore's reception in the Chinese capital was by all accounts warm and approving. Unlike previous emissaries he kept a low profile, which, according to McHugh, contrasted sharply with that of the flamboyant and dogmatic Manuel Fox, a Treasury representative in China. Lattimore, said McHugh, benefited from his "quiet and open-minded approach to his task." Despite the general approval, there were detractors of the Lattimore appointment. One of them, a Chinese professor then in Kunming, wrote to various American friends that Lattimore was a tool of the leftish Amerasia group and of such unreliable intelligentsia as Lauchlin Currie. However, this was a minority opinion.
Chiang began conferring with Lattimore immediately. They could talk without an interpreter, despite the Generalissimo's provincial accent. Chiang's first question was "What does Roosevelt think about the war in Russia?" Lattimore answered, "President Roosevelt thinks the Russians are going to come out on top," to which Chiang replied, "Good. All my generals are telling me that the Russians are all washed up, but I agree with President Roosevelt. The Russians are going to win."
Then Lattimore raised the question of his contacts. Whom should he see? "Call on all the embassies," Chiang said, "but call on the American embassy last or nearly last." Lattimore then asked whether he should take the initiative in calling on the Soviet embassy, to which Chiang replied, "Yes, of course. You must be in touch with them." Then came the sticky question of the Chinese Communists, who maintained a liaison office in Chungking. Should he call on them? "No, don't call on them. Let them call on you."
On July 21 "administration officials" in Washington told the United Press that one of Lattimore's major missions was to make a firmer peace between Chiang and the Communists so that American aid would not be used in a civil war. The New York Times carried this story the next clay. Sumner Welles, acting secretary of state, immediately denied it. Welles was right. Lattimore had no such charge. He was there to advise Chiang, not to promote American policy.
One early report on Lattimore's mission came from McHugh in a letter to Currie dated July 22. Lattimore had made an excellent impression during a layover in Hong Kong and had handled "the flood of callers and
appeals which descended on him" very well. He was doing equally well in Chungking. Chiang had already spent half an hour alone with Lattimore. McHugh felt that Lattimore "has an opportunity to get in behind the scenes as no one before him whom I have known. He said he intended to see all who call, seek information wherever he can get it, but do as little talking as possible."
Lattimore was true to his word. Richard Watts, in a perceptive story from Chungking appearing in the Baltimore Sun of August 24, 1941, noted the high level of speculation about Lattimore's mission, speculation fueled by Lattimore's reticence: "Since his arrival Mr. Lattimore has been exceedingly dose-mouthed, even to his newspaper friends of long standing, and has been interested in hearing views, rather than expressing any of his own." 
Lattimore's major utility for the Chiangs was his skill at drafting and revising Chiang's many appeals to Roosevelt. These appeals went to Currie, who had the president's ear; it soon appeared that the Lattimore-Currie channel to the White House was as useful as if Lattimore had himself been a presidential confidant. The cable-drafting session of July 31, a transcript of which showed up in Lattimore's FBI file, shows how the channel worked.
Generalissimo saw Mr. Owen Lattimore between 5:50 and 6:50 p.m. on July 31st, 1941. The following took place.
Generalissimo : I am deeply interested in the questions concerning Sinkiang, Manchuria and Mongolia and would like to discuss them with you again in the future. Meanwhile, I have something else to take up with you.
China has been engaged in four full years of war of resistance to Japanese aggression only to find that her position still remains one of isolation. Despite the fact that America has been generous in her expression of sympathy and friendship for her and has given her material assistance as have Britain and Soviet Russia, China enters the fifth year of war without an ally. What guarantee would there be when the war comes to an end that the other democracies would not keep holding her off at arms length and would not treat her on the basis of equality? This is something which has been troubling the minds of the Chinese people.
Simultaneously the Japanese and their puppets have been exploiting this anomalous situation by conducting an intensive propaganda to the effect that white
men are still treating China as a colony and would not hesitate to sacrifice her interests for the purpose of insuring their continual domination in the Far East. For their own prestige, the Japanese strongly emphasize that they are treated as equal members of the Axis Alliance, which had recognized their puppet regime. They warn that China despite her four years of war and still having not received similar treatment from the democracies, should look out. Such propaganda has caused much vexation to the Chinese masses although they have not yet given expression to their painful feelings. If not stopped, this would weaken the force of Chinese resistance. President Roosevelt is in a position to remedy the situation. I have two proposals in mind for his consideration.
One proposal is that the President suggest to Great Britain and Soviet Russia that they form an alliance with China. The other proposal is China's participation in the joint Pacific Defense Conference of America, Britain, Australia, and the Dutch East Indies, which has been going on for some time. . . . In the circumstances, if President Roosevelt doesn't take the initiative, neither of these proposals would materialize. . . . I would not have mentioned this matter to any other foreign friend.
Mr. Lattimore : Does the American Ambassador know anything about it?
Generalissimo : No, he does not know it. I wish you to convey this to President Roosevelt direct either by wire or by airmail.
Mr. Lattimore : I will do so as you wish. . . .
Madame : It is better for Mr. Lattimore to wire to President Roosevelt because it will take nearly three weeks or one month to airmail a letter by dipper.
Generalissimo : (having agreed to Madame's proposal) Please make a draft and let me read it over.
Mr. Lattimore : (on parting) Am I right to say that should both proposals prove unacceptable the Generalissimo would be prepared to hear a third one?
Generalissimo : Do not refer to a third proposal, but merely confine yourself to one of the two proposals I have mentioned.
Here we see Chiang's intent in asking for an American adviser. He did not just want more aid; he wanted equality for China. Could even Franklin Roosevelt have delivered it?
Acting on these instructions, Lattimore drafted a cable to Currie. The first draft included Chiang's negative comments about British and Russian treatment of China, but on reflection Lattimore suggested that these comments be omitted. Chiang agreed, and the cable was dispatched August 2. Currie forwarded it to Roosevelt and summarized it for Acting Secretary of State Sumner Welles, suggesting that the White House merely "acknowledge receipt and say that the President has the matter under advisement."  However, the proposals were not acceptable to the Americans. Roosevelt knew that Churchill thought China unworthy of Great Power status equal to Britain, Russia, and the United States and would never agree to such a British-Chinese-Soviet pact. Roosevelt also knew that China leaked like a sieve and that the Pacific allies would not allow Chinese representatives to participate in their defense plans. But Lattimore had done his best.
McHugh wrote Currie another long letter on August 3 after a luncheon meeting with Lattimore, Manuel Fox of Treasury, and Captain Joseph Alsop, aide to General Chennault. McHugh was now even more impressed with Lattimore's discretion and diplomacy. Lattimore, for his part, was impressed with the Generalissimo, whom he believed to be sincere. Mayling (Madame Chiang) had warmed up to Lattimore, and Lattimore "had been present with some of Chiang's inner circle when really confidential matters were being discussed." The way in which Lattimore dealt with the rumor that he had been commissioned to mediate between the government and the Communists also impressed McHugh. Lattimore "emphasized that there is an essential difference between the way Japan looks upon China and the way the United States views China. Japan takes the point of view that she is entitled to dictate and regulate the internal affairs of China. The U.S. on the contrary emphasize that they wish to aid China, but do not consider China's internal politics to be their business. Naturally, however, it is easier to aid a united country than one which is split and we would therefore like to see the differences between the Communists and the Government adjusted." 
Despite Lattimore's belief that he was not under surveillance, Chiang's secret police head, Tai Li, described by American observers as a combination of Heinrich Himmler and L. P. Beria, kept a watch on him. In the 1950s Tai Li's files were searched for evidence that Lattimore had been secretly conspiring with the Chinese Communists and sending messages
to Moscow. No such evidence was found. Lattimore had, on Chiang's orders, talked to Chou En-lai and had sent secret messages to Currie via Madame Chiang, who held the code. But Lattimore was extremely security conscious. Not until Chiang died did Lattimore even begin to write about what had passed between them or about the reports he had made to Chiang.
On August 12, 1941, Lattimore was guest of honor at a dinner party given by the Chinese People's Foreign Relations Association. In a brief ceremonial speech he sounded all the pro-China and pro-Chiang themes he had consistently held for several years. His address, "America and the Future of China," was printed in the September issue of Amerasia . It was also widely distributed by the Chinese propaganda ministry; E. C. Carter, in New York, hailed this approbation as evidence that Lattimore had "made good with the Generalissimo." 
Lattimore's reception by the Chinese thoroughly irritated the new American ambassador, Clarence Gauss, who was the top-ranking American foreign service officer in Chungking. Gauss normally declined social invitations from the Generalissimo but yielded to his staff and agreed to attend a reception hosted by the Sino-American Association on the birthday of Confucius. To Gauss's dismay, Lattimore was also a guest of honor at this reception, and Gauss had to stand with Lattimore while H. H. K'ung, finance minister and a descendant of Confucius, made obeisance at the altar of his ancestor. McHugh duly reported this incident to Currie, along with an additional instance in which Lattimore was honored by being seated at the ambassadorial table at a large tea given by the Generalissimo. Both gestures had infuriated Gauss, "but neither was in any way the doing of Owen. He is being given the greatest respect by all hands in the Government and I think it speaks highly for the tact and ability he has displayed. If they violate the dictates of protocol by ranking him with Ambassadors, it is no fault of his. 1 have never seen it accorded to any other foreigner."
Life in wartime Chungking was not all teas and banquets. August 1941 was a month of relatively good weather, and the Japanese took advantage of it to bomb the Chinese capital unmercifully. Lattimore spent many days in air-raid dugouts. These experiences underground were more informative than most of his above-ground interviews. As he recalled these sessions in 1977:
I used to go to a dugout of a high political figure. It was a deluxe dugout, very safe, and other high figures would come. I was the only foreigner present, the conversation was entirely in Chinese, and in the
dark people forgot there was a foreigner present, much less an American. They were sure, as Chiang was sure, that Japan was not going to go against Russia, but would turn against the European empires in Southeast Asia, and this would bring in America. They didn't precisely foresee Pearl Harbor, but they thought America would be in before the end. And they were already talking about the long-term future, with Japan defeated and the colonial countries weakened. The most powerful country on the scene is going to be the United States, and anything that's not nailed down tight the Americans are going to get away with. Now, how do we prepare to confront and deal with postwar American imperialism? And not once in any of these conversations did I hear any talk about long-range defence against Soviet imperialism.
When not conferring with Chinese officials, sitting in air-raid shelters, or attending banquets and teas, Lattimore worked on various projects Chiang set for him. Several of these projects dealt with China's unruly frontier provinces. Lattimore wrote an extensive paper recommending ways for Chiang to consolidate his hold on Manchuria after the war. He thought the Generalissimo should select young Manchurians who hated their Japanese occupiers, bring them to Nationalist centers, train them in administration, and promote them in the Kuomintang hierarchy. After the war they could represent the government as authentic Manchurians, not as carpetbaggers from South China. The proposal was rejected, though, as the pressure in the Kuomintang to give jobs to henchmen and relatives of existing party officials was too great. At the end of the war Chiang was represented in Manchuria by southern troops who lacked familiarity with the territory they were occupying and wanted nothing more than to be demobilized and go home. As Lattimore explained, the way was thus left open for the Communists to say to the Manchurian Chinese, "Why should Chinese be ruled by outsiders? We Communists are Manchurian born and bred. How about an alliance?"
When Chiang later analyzed the failures of Nationalist armies in the civil war, he gave no hint of understanding Lattimore's earlier advice. Corruption and military incompetence were his themes: "It cannot be denied that the spirit of most commanders is broken and their morality is base," he declared in June 1947. This was no doubt true; it was also true that Nationalist efforts were hampered by the lack of indigenous leadership in the occupying armies.
Lattimore was very conscious that the recommendations he forwarded to Currie for bolstering Chinese morale (such as Chiang's request for a Sino-British-Russian alliance or Chinese participation in Far East military
councils) were not acted on. As a geopolitician he understood that Roosevelt had good reasons for neglecting them, but he kept trying. On August 25 he cabled Currie suggesting that "it would have excellent effect" if Currie were to attend Allied discussions about to take place in Moscow, traveling via Chungking "in order to coordinate aid to China and Soviet." Roosevelt discussed this suggestion with Currie, but again the answer was evasion.
Currie and Lattimore both wanted China to have a larger share of Lend-Lease armaments. They won a battle in September: diversion of a group of bombers from Britain to China. Currie's description to Lattimore of how he "put the fear of the Lord" into British Lend-Lease officials reveals an infighter of great skill. The British, he told Lattimore, "regard me as Public Enemy Number One. However, I do have some friends among them and I intend to do my best to get them to adopt a better attitude toward China."
Both Lattimore and Currie fought the Europe-first versus Asia-first battle with all the resources at their command. Of course, they lost most of the time. Lattimore, in Chungking, had to keep the Chinese "on board" despite Washington decisions. In a note to Madame Chiang on October 13, 1941, he acknowledged, "The majority view in Washington is that Hitler must first be defeated via the Atlantic and Europe, and after that it will be relatively easy to deal with the Far East. Neither Currie nor I agree with this view; but so long as it is the predominant view in Washington circles, it must affect the policy which the President is aisle to follow." 
During the last two weeks of October 1941 Chiang and Mayling were to tour battlefronts and hence be away from Chungking. During this period Chiang dispatched Lattimore to Yunnan to learn the situation there and to evaluate the management of the Burma Road. Yunnan's capital, Kunming, was the Chinese terminus for truck traffic still reaching China from the south. The Japanese seemed about to attack Yunnan. The governor of Yunnan, Lung Yun, was not Han Chinese but from a local mountain tribe and was not firmly under Chiang's control.
Lattimore was in Kunming October 14 through 30; he interviewed extensively, keeping detailed notes of what he learned. Much of it was technical, but one ninety-minute interview with Lung Yun impressed Lattimore immensely. It was toward the end of Lattimore's stay, and while earlier interviews had been perfunctory, with Lung Yun evading Lattimore's questions, on October 30 Lung opened up. This interview was private; Lattimore recorded, "He evidently decided that I was all right." Lung, worried about the possibility of a Japanese invasion, asked Latti-
more to intercede with Chiang for more supplies to Yunnan. Lung also wanted Lattimore to pry out of Chiang some acknowledgment of the heroic work Yunnanese people had done building the Burma Road; the Nationalist government had never mentioned their great sacrifices, which included thousands who gave their lives in the construction. But the most interesting aspect of the conversation was Lung's questioning Lattimore about Russia. He "kept asking questions about the war there. I mentioned casually Stalin's not being a Russian, & his ears pricked up. What, then? I said he came from a 'small minority mountain tribe & that one reason for his early rise in the communist party was because Lenin had picked him to draft a nationalities policy.' Lung tickled to death." 
Lattimore cabled his impressions of the Yunnan danger to Currie immediately. He also held a rare news conference: the New York Times of November 4, 1941, reported his opinion that Lung Yun would cooperate in repelling a Japanese attack.
Ironically, the November issue of Asia carried Paul Wohl's article about Haushofer's praise of Lattimore as America's "geopolitical masterhand" and the source of the "ice-cold strategy of the Anglo-Americans." Whatever label might have been appropriately applied to the Roosevelt administration's improvisations, "ice-cold" was hardly the one, and Lattimore was not calling the shots.
Chiang, however, began to feel that the Lattimore-Currie channel was about as effective as he was likely to get, and he entrusted that channel with increasingly important messages. On November 11 Chiang sent a new request through Lattimore, one that a U.S. Treasury representative had refused to send. The request was for economic support and had the usual warning that "economic collapse would affect whole country simultaneously and might be sudden and overwhelming." Lattimore was sympathetic; when Chiang approached him, he cabled Currie immediately. Action took a while, but Lattimore and Currie did expend considerable effort on this request.
Lattimore absorbed a vast amount of information during the fall of 1941. One of the topics on which he became well informed was the Communist problem. Among his informants was Roman Catholic Bishop Paul Yu-pin, with whom Lattimore talked on October 13. Yu-pin believed that the Communists were a big problem in China but not an insuperable one. Chiang should defer dealing with them until after the war because a victorious China would have no trouble with them, and they would then have no appeal to the Chinese masses. Therefore, the bishop opposed Chiang's talk of open attacks on the Communists: "If they are not at-
tacked, they themselves cannot resort to arms because the whole nation would turn against them." With much of this analysis Lattimore agreed. Whoever started a civil war would indeed incur the wrath of the whole nation.
On November 11, Chang Han-fu, editor of the Communist newspaper in Chungking, called on Lattimore. In the course of a long and revealing session Lattimore brought up the demand of the Communists not only to organize a legal political party but to maintain their own army. How could they justify this demand? Chang replied, "This is a practical question of democracy. At present, when they have arms, they are frequently attacked & individuals arrested. What would happen to them if they had no army & still advocated the things they at present advocate, which are far short of communism? They would not fear to surrender their arms if the govt were actually practicing the modest degree of democracy which is all that they themselves are advocating. I did not pursue this question, as it only leads to the old 'you first' argument."
As anticipated by Chiang, Chou En-lai and Lattimore met about a dozen times in 1941. Some of these were casual conversations at parties, but some were intense discussions in private. Lattimore found Chou to be every bit as discreet and diplomatic as his reputation painted him, yet blunt on matters that did not require secrecy. Surprisingly, only one report of a meeting with Chou, that of November 24, 1941, remains in Lattimore's files. Most of what they discussed concerned the details of Nationalist-Communist relations, but toward the end Chou came to grips with China's future.
He said the great need in China is for a little visible progress in democratization. Said the Gimo naturally thinks in military terms of discipline & authority. Does not bend easily to the give & take, "bargaining" aspect of the democratic process. At the same time, he wants democracy, wants to start China toward democracy. Trouble is, it is easy to be in favor of a future democracy, because the phrases and concepts are simple & admirable. . . . Asked him what I should say to Gimo as representing Chou's idea of a program. He said, politically: a few steps in democratization. Not too much, not too fast. The Communists do not expect democracy in a week, but they feel there must be enough actual progress forward so that the mass of the people have the sense of moving forward. Militarily: use the Lease-Lend program to bring in not only arms but arsenal material. Get fuller arsenal production, at same time build up a mechanized force for an effective, heavy counteroffensive against Japs. Communists are quite content to have all this done by Government, as they have been quite content to
have all Soviet supplies sent solely to Govt. The Govt will then obviously have nothing to fear from them.
By November 1941 Lattimore's utility to the Generalissimo and May-ling had been clearly established. Mayling took him on long walks and consulted him on many matters, including a worldwide radio broadcast she was to make. She asked Lattimore to draft an appropriate text pleading China's case to other nations. He did so, and she thanked him for a "useful" script that "contain[ed] many excellent ideas."
Lattimore had signed on for only six months; in November Chiang asked him to accept a year's extension of his contract. Lattimore agreed, provided he could take home leave for three months to get treatment for dysentery. Chiang thought this leave appropriate, especially since Lattimore could talk up China's cause while in the United States more effectively than anyone else could. As originally planned, Lattimore was to fly to Baltimore in mid-January 1942, then return to China in mid-April with his wife and son. Lattimore cabled this plan to Currie November 14.
Departing from his usual practice of responding to requests from his chief but not volunteering advice, Lattimore on November 13 suggested to Madame Chiang that the cable being prepared for Currie include this statement: "YUNNAN SITUATION AM CONVINCED IF UNITED STATES ATTITUDE UNEQUIVOCAL JAPAN WILL NOT INVADE Stop IF ATTITUDE HESITANT INVASION MAY BE PRECIPITATED Stop IF BARGAINING ATTEMPTED AND CONCESSIONS LIKE OIL OFFERED THREAT WILL BE RENEWED WHEN AND WHERE MOST FAVORABLE TO JAPAN ."  The Chiangs agreed to this addition.
Chiang now spent a great deal of time with Lattimore, discussing his plans and fears extensively so Lattimore would be prepared to put the best face on China's needs in Washington. Lattimore's notes on dinner at the Chiangs' on November 14 reveal clearly how these two saw the war. Both agreed that unless Hitler achieved a major breakthrough in the Middle East and stabilized the Russian front, Japan could not count on any help from her Axis partners. To Chiang, the lack of German support meant it was time for the United States to declare war on Japan and "break" her; it would then be easy "to move to the counteroffensive against Germany." Lattimore then sounded a note of caution:
Told him that I entirely agreed with him as to the feasibility & advisability of finishing off Japan now, but warned him that neither London nor Washington yet ready to admit this. The European orientation still prevails. . . .
He said: If they stick to that, they'll eventually lose the war. I said,
They're still sticking to it, very tenaciously . . . you forget India. It is because of India that the British will never allow the war to be ended in Asia first. And very influential people in Washington will back the British in this very tenaciously.
He said: But there is no trouble in India now. The question is not pressing. (I think he was testing me.)
I said: That's not it. The victory of China . . . would be the liberation of China from semi-colonialism, & that would start a great tide of liberation in the colonial world (chieh-fang ti ta ch'ao liu). He threw back his head & laughed. Madame backed me strongly. . . .
Told me he is preparing a speech which will analyze & urge the defeat of Japan first and promptly. Will send me an advance copy for suggestions.
The Lattimore-Chiang-Mayling seminar on the state of the world convened again on November 16, 17, 24, 26, 27, 29, and on into December. Lattimore's notes and Madame Chiang's correspondence show continuing mutual respect and complete candor. On November 16, Chiang, looking ahead to the postwar period, asked Lattimore to come back to China about every six months. Lattimore was agreeable. He had come m like Chiang. For all Chiang's faults, Lattimore believed him to have China's best interests at heart, and he was not a dictator. The uneasy coalition over which he presided made that impossible. Lattimore stated repeatedly that Chiang could not have been authoritarian in the usual sense since he did not have the power m issue orders as he thought best. Chiang, said Lattimore, always had to ask when making a decision, "What orders will my generals accept from me?"
On November 21 Lattimore's timetable for home leave changed. The Generalissimo wanted him to take leave immediately, returning correspondingly earlier. Accordingly, Lattimore cabled Currie, "In order return before spring developments, Generalissimo suggested I make trip now, returning end January. Please change reservation to clipper nearest December 10, Hongkong. Ask wife get ready."
Shortly after Lattimore's travel plans were made, Madame Chiang wrote one of her many intimate and friendly letters to Currie. One paragraph of her letter of November 29, 1941, was noteworthy: "Mr. Lattimore will tell you everything that has been going on. He works very closely with us, and I am so glad that it was he whom the President chose. He is a man with whom one can feel perfectly relaxed, and in these days of strain and stress that is the only type of person whom we personally can bear to
have near us. His enthusiasm in his work and happy spirit is also a good tonic." 
Unfortunately, Lattimore was not able to tell Currie everything that was going on, at least not yet. There was no December 10 dipper from Hong Kong.
Japanese-American relations had been tense for years. American opposition to Japanese expansionism had grown steadily, and in July 1941, as a result of the Japanese takeover of southern Vietnam, the United States, acting with Great Britain, imposed an embargo on trade with Japan, shutting off much of their supply of oil. The oil embargo was particularly damaging to the Japanese navy and convinced the Japanese military that war with the United States and its allies was inevitable. Oil supplies could be had from the Dutch Indies, but attacking them would provoke war with the United States.
In Washington, Secretary of War Stimson, hostile toward Japan, argued for maintaining the embargo; he was joined by pro-China officials in the State Department. American military leaders, especially Chief of Staff George Marshall and Chief of Naval Operations Harold Stark, knew the United States was not prepared for war; they wanted to postpone any further move against Japan until early 1942.
During October and November 1941 the Japanese pressed Washington for a relaxation of the embargo. They talked peace and equal opportunity in Asia, but they were willing to yield none of their territorial gains to secure this relaxation. On November 16 Japanese Ambassador Nomura presented Secretary of State Hull with a proposal that glossed over long-term problems but sought to restore oil supplies for Japan. This proposal was firmly rejected by the Roosevelt administration. Since American cryptologists had broken the Japanese codes and knew that Japan had scheduled further military moves, Americans had no faith in Japanese proposals to decrease the number of troops they had stationed in Vietnam or to make peace with China. Hull thought the Japanese demanded "virtually a surrender."
Marshall and Stark still insisted that more time was needed, that conflict with Japan had to be postponed. Accordingly, Hull began work on a modus vivendi proposal, with suggestions from Roosevelt, the military, Treasury, and his own diplomats. By November 22 tentative drafts of this proposal were shown to representatives of Britain, Australia, the Netherlands, and China. This proposal was to remain in effect for three months, during which time the two parties would continue seeking "a peaceful
settlement covering the entire Pacific area" on the basis of a longer attached document calling for fundamental changes in Japanese activities. The modus vivendi itself only required Japan to cancel further military advances and to withdraw its troops from southern Vietnam; the problem of Japanese troops in China was not addressed. In return the United States would release Japanese accounts and allow limited exports to Japan of food, drugs, and other supplies, including a monthly allotment of oil for civilian use only.
When Chinese Ambassador Hu Shih heard the proposal, he was apoplectic. This offer was appeasement; it left Japan free to continue her operations in China and to continue threatening the Burma Road to China from bases in Vietnam. It would supply Japan with oil. Hu Shih informed his government that the American proposal would be disastrous for Chinese interests.
On November 25 Chiang Kai-shek's full wrath descended on Washington. Chiang used every channel available to express his outrage at the modus vivendi proposal. Hu Shih bore a vigorous cablegram of protest, and T. V. Soong carried an even stronger version to Secretary of the Navy Knox and Secretary of War Stimson. But probably the most powerful message came through the Lattimore-Currie channel:
After discussing with the Generalissimo the Chinese Ambassador's conference with the Secretary of State, I feel you should urgently advise the President of the Generalissimo's very strong reaction. I have never seen him really agitated before. Loosening of economic pressure or unfreezing would dangerously increase Japan's military advantage in China. . . . Any Modus Vivendi now arrived at with Japan would be disastrous to Chinese belief in America. . . . Japan and Chinese defeatists would instantly exploit the resulting disillusionment and urge oriental solidarity against occidental treachery. It is doubtful whether either past assistance or increasing aid could compensate for the feeling of being deserted at this hour. The Generalissimo has deep confidence in the President's fidelity to his consistent policy but I must warn you that even the Generalissimo questions his ability to hold the situation together if the Chinese national trust in America is undermined by reports of Japan's escaping military defeat by diplomatic victory.
Hull reeled before this avalanche, but there was more to come. At 12:55 A.M. November 26, a cable arrived from Churchill. Normally skeptical of Chinese motives and capabilities, Churchill now told Roosevelt that he knew negotiations with the Japanese were for the United States to handle, but in regard to the modus vivendi proposal he protested, "There
is only one point that disquiets us. What about Chiang Kai-shek? Is he not having a very thin diet? Our anxiety is about China. If they collapse, our joint dangers would enormously increase. We are sure that the regard of the United States for the Chinese cause will govern your action. We feel that the Japanese are most unsure of themselves." 
On November 26, as Hull deliberated, he knew there was a slim chance the Japanese would accept the proposal. Intercepted Japanese messages to Nomura revealed that if no Japanese agreement were signed by November 29, "things are automatically going to happen." Hull thought it unlikely that such a rigorous Japanese timetable would be cast aside for the meager provisions of the modus vivendi. Consequently, Hull decided to throw the whole thing out. On November 26 he wrote the president, "I desire very earnestly to recommend that at this time I call in the Japanese Ambassadors and hand them a copy of the comprehensive basic proposal for a general peaceful settlement, and at the same time withhold the modus vivendi proposal." 
Roosevelt promptly agreed. The outcome was the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Was Lattimore's cable instrumental in Hull's decision? Hull does not say so in his memoirs. Charles Callin Tansill and Percy Greaves emphasize the impact of the Lattimore cable, and perhaps they are right. But the weight of a protest from Winston Churchill must have been greater than an alarm from Chiang's personal adviser.
Would the modus vivendi proposal have caused the Japanese to call off the Pearl Harbor attack? In Infamy: Pearl Harbor and Its Aftermath John Toland cites a postwar conversation in which Tojo allegedly told General Kenryo Sato that "if he [Tojo] had received the original Roosevelt modus vivendi , the course of history would probably have changed." 
Toland does not press the point. A more crusading historian in 1950 was quite willing to press several points, blaming Lattimore and Currie for the outbreak of war:
United States Senate
June 28, 1950
Senator Bourke Hickenlooper
Senate Office Building
During the present anti-Communist fight, from time to time matters are brought to my attention which I feel should be brought to the attention of the Senate and the country. . . .
I presently have in my files considerable information dealing with the activities of Owen Lattimore prior to Pearl Harbor. As you know, a tentative modus vivendi had been worked out between the United States and Japan prior to Pearl Harbor. At that time, Laughlin Currie was the President's advisor. Laughlin Currie has been named by Elizabeth Bentley as part of her spy ring. The Pearl Harbor Hearings indicate that Currie got in touch with Owen Lattimore, who was in China at that time, and who thereupon cooperated with Currie in bringing all possible pressure to bear upon the Administration to suppress any peace agreement with Japan. Lattimore's wire is reproduced in the Pearl Harbor Hearings in full.
In 1948 when Currie was accused by Bentley as being a Communist spy, he was represented by Dean Acheson when he appeared before the committee. This was while Acheson was temporarily out of the State Department. Complete documentation is available for any one of the Senators who care to handle this subject.
With kindest regards, I am
P.S. This letter is being sent to five Republican Senators.
Lattimore's cable of November 25 evolved from much discussion with Chiang and Mayling the night before. Lattimore made the first draft; Madame suggested changes and additions over dinner; the final draft, according to Lattimore's notes, "was made by my taking the first two versions and dictating a third to her." Chiang then joined them to discuss what Chinese reaction would be if the United States agreed to let Japan keep the Northeast (Manchukuo), forcing withdrawal only from the rest of China. Chiang thought such a compromise would "undermine the whole victory"; Lattimore agreed. Madame Chiang was pessimistic and later asked Lattimore" between ourselves' whether I thought China could get Northeast back entirely. I said can, and must."
Also during this conversation Lattimore reported his most recent talk with Chou En-lai, whereupon Chiang observed, "Chou only Communist who is a Chinese at heart. Madame added, He means the rest all think like Russians." 
Chiang called Lattimore in again on November 26 "to discuss Hu Shih's summary of America's suggested terms to Japan. Madame more worried than Gimo, who said genially, as we went in to supper, This is just what politics is. After supper, drafted another cable; but it was not sent until middle of next day." 
This cable of the twenty-seventh was even sharper than the previous one. Lattimore said that the Generalissimo was "shocked by suggestion that an agreement would be no worse than Britain's closing Burma Road. He wishes President understand that fundamental question is not wording of terms but departure from principle involving sacrifice of China, callousness of which impossible [to] hide." China was now entering her fifth
winter of war, and hardships were appalling. The concessions in the proposed modus vivendi would have immediately revived Japan; if they were offered, "Defeatism in China will become an avalanche." This comment, and more, came from Chiang and Mayling. But the last three sentences of the cable were pure Lattimore: "Personally convinced after five months widest contact China cannot remain isolated. Must seek association. National preference is associate America now and future but if increasing danger of American desertion must seek re-insurance." Seeking "reinsurance" meant turning to the Soviet Union.
Late in the day on November 27, as Lattimore wrote in a memo dated three days later, "News began coming through that American appeasement called off." Chungking collectively breathed a great sigh of relief. Whatever doubts Chiang had about the utility of the Lattimore-Currie channel were now swept away. Rejection of the modus vivendi was worth a great deal to Chiang, and Lattimore had apparently played a major role in it. Lattimore had dinner at Chiang's again November 29, writing afterward that Chiang "showed me letter, extremely flattering to me, which I am to take to President." 
Madame Chiang's favorite charity was a fund for war orphans. Lattimore contributed three hundred dollars on December 1, and Madame thanked him effusively on the third, also inviting him to lunch the next day. Lunch grew into a long weekend. Lattimore stayed at their residence, usually talking with Chiang or Madame or both, December 4-7. Nine pages of closely typed notes, prepared by Lattimore shortly afterward, record their conversation.
They began by discussing Lattimore's memorandum on how Chiang could handle the problem of reintegrating the Northeast after Japan was forced to disgorge it. At the conclusion of this discussion, "[Chiang's] comment was brief: 'Nothing to add & nothing to change.' " They then moved into the problem of countering Chinese Communist propaganda. As Lattimore recorded it, Chiang began:
Hongkong & the U.S. are the main centers of the propaganda of the Chinese Communists against the Chinese Government and the Kuomintang. . . . At the present time all the subversionists . . . are concentrated in Hongkong. Quite clear that time after time correspondents who have visited China get, as they leave through Hongkong, a dose of propaganda which distorts what they have been able to learn for themselves in China. Main field in which propaganda issuing from Hongkong takes effect in U.S. China needs a counter-propaganda in U.S. How is this to be managed? Wants me to look over the question while
at home. This weakness may partly be that those in Chungking in charge of propaganda for U.S. not in sufficiently close contact with U.S. & may be missing chances on what they should distribute. How about finding some good, trained men in U.S. to handle job? I said I should be glad to look into question. However, certain difficulties. Practically every trained anti-left propagandist in U.S. is under strong influence either of extreme right or even fascists, & hence Axis. This would never do for China. He laughed & agreed. I said what we all need is propagandists & publicists who are real democrats, & he agreed again. 
The third topic of conversation December 4 was the "fundamental question of the Pacific area," a matter on which Chiang apparently delivered a monologue. Germany, Japan, and Russia were "eternally aggressive." About Britain, Chiang was equivocal; he discussed India extensively, maintaining that "if the British endeavor to keep India in subjection, they will destroy themselves and their Empire." He thought the British might give up India gracefully. He concluded: "In any case, American participation in the economic development of China is a natural postwar development. America and China . . . will form an enormous block out of the total world population, with common economic interests & consequently fundamental agreement in political outlook. Gradually India will tend to become a part of this block." Lattimore did not comment.
The final topic on December 4 was economics. Chiang was unhappy with the Sino-American agreement establishing China's Stabilization Board. This agreement was negotiated and signed by T. V. Soong. Chiang did not realize how faulty it was until H. H. K'ung pointed out the clauses giving U.S. Treasury representatives all the power. Chiang concluded that he "would like me [Lattimore] to see, without pressing matter at all, whether these clauses could be modified to be more equitable to China."
Discussion continued the morning of December 5, beginning with the military situation. Chiang was confident that his armies could hold unless the Japanese managed to "concentrate overwhelming air forces on any front." He thought U.S. help to build his air force was needed more than any other military aid. Lattimore's record of this discussion is only half a page. What came next required three crowded, single-spaced pages to report. Lattimore begins:
As we were coming home from a walk, the Gimo asked me if I would make that evening criticisms of what I thought the most serious shortcomings I had noticed during my stay. . . .
After supper I led off by saying that after only 5 months I could not yet consider myself authoritatively informed on any one subject. . . .
China after all is still going through political revolution, economic revolution, social revolution—all uncompleted, & all in face of a war for survival against an enemy better equipped for aggression than China is for defense. To understand China's real progress & achievements, you have always to take a larger time-bracket than a few months: over 5 years, 10 years, etc, you can see amazing progress.
Again, I am a foreigner & a newcomer m political life. It is much easier for me m hear complaints than to understand in its full complexity the whole process of Revolution & the War of Resistance. Moreover, I can never be sure of the exact authority or integrity of my informants, or the relative accuracy or completeness of their facts. Therefore I wished the Gimo to "criticize my criticisms."
Lattimore then dealt with military affairs. China, he said, could not ease up on the military front and let others save her. The Chinese must take initiative, if only politically, as Chiang had done in regard to the necessity for regaining the Northeast. On economics, he suggested that China utilize the know-how of small units, producing goods for local consumption that would not strain the inevitably weak transportation system and would not require massive amounts of capital. "Politically, the most criticism that I have heard has been against the [Kuomintang] Party. Widely said, especially by younger men, that Party controls the people too much and represents them too little. Too much appetite for rule, too little spirit of service." He also argued that "the iron methods of the Russian Revolution are inappropriate to China." Chiang should emphasize Sun Yatsen's program.
Toward the end of his account Lattimore noted: "This long discourse not as unbroken or prosy as notes sound. Gimo frequently put in suggestions or questions, which is why it went on so long. He made a number of written notes. At end, he asked if I would criticize 'the weak points I had noted in him personally.' Here Madame came in, remarking it was hardly a fair question to ask me. He relented, & I let it go. I think I missed a big chance. I have no opinion on his weak points, because I think he is an amazingly rounded character; but I could have commented on his situation how his great power tends to surround him with yes-men." After a paragraph of Chiang's complaints about the Communists, and a repeat of the remark about Chou being the "only one who even looks [sounds?] reasonably like a Chinese," Lattimore concluded: "Said after I come back, wants me to go into economic & social questions, both subject by subject & region by region."
There was more of the same the next day, and the next, as Chiang and Mayling monopolized Lattimore's time for four full days.
McHugh wrote Currie December 3, noting that Lattimore was returning to the states early at Chiang's request and that it was a good thing "because he will be able to give all concerned an intimate and accurate picture of the situation here."
Lattimore was scheduled to take a plane from Hong Kong to San Francisco on December 9, which meant leaving Chungking for Hong Kong several days before. The weather was bad in Chungking that first week of December, and Lattimore's plane could not take off. Only this happen-stance prevented Lattimore from being in Hong Kong when war broke out. The Japanese struck Hong Kong as well as Pearl Harbor, disabling the plane on which he had been scheduled to fly. It was a full month before he was able to leave China, and by that time a Pacific crossing was no longer possible.
The intervening month in China was frenetic. With the beginning of the American involvement in the war the whole atmosphere of Chungking changed. Since the Americans were fighting, the Chinese no longer feared appeasement of Japan, but they had other fears. Lattimore's cables to Currie reveal Chiang's new perceptions of the war. In a message on December 9 Lattimore reported that the Generalissimo strongly urged
prompt simultaneous Soviet-Chinese declaration of war on Japan following American declaration. Coordinated Chinese-Soviet land action essential because only Soviet can attack both by sea and air and thus is key to joint land, sea, air war by all democracies whereas if Soviet hesitates Japan can fight democracies piecemeal. . . . Generalissimo anxious to use every approach to Soviet, including Washington, in order to insure undelayed Soviet participation. Soviet Military Attache hinted that if Soviet fights Japan America might not concentrate main effort in Pacific. Clear indication that America will give priority to Pacific over Atlantic until Japan settled would undoubtedly bring Soviet in.
Recognizing this proposal as wishful thinking, Lattimore added no endorsement to the cable.
On December 11 Lattimore forwarded a new set of Chiang requests. All Pacific fronts should be coordinated; there should be a military pact among the Pacific allies, including Russia if possible; Chungking should be the headquarters of this Inter-Allied Pacific Military Commission; and an American should head it. Again, Lattimore added no personal opinion.
With the United States now at war Chiang asked Lattimore to evaluate the new situation for him and recommend actions to adapt to it. Lattimore accordingly submitted a three-page memorandum on December 14. He acknowledged that early Japanese successes would decrease Allied prestige in China, stimulating pessimism and tendencies to collaborate with the Japanese. These tendencies would be strongest among landholders and followers of local warlords, especially in Yunnan, Sikang, and Szechwan, where scarce supplies were already being hoarded. The government should deal sternly with hoarders, as it had recently in Szechwan, and it should press for a large, morale-building loan from the U.S. Treasury, which would both alleviate China's economic situation and demonstrate American determination to support China.
Lattimore had many other specific recommendations for improving China's prospects, the most noteworthy of which dealt with the Communist problem. Surprisingly, for once he gave Chiang no lectures about improving the lot of the peasants. Instead, he emphasized Chinese relations with Russia and the United States: "Increased cooperation with Soviet Russia is militarily a necessity, and politically it will mean that during the immediate future the Communists will not dare to make trouble. For the longer future, cooperation with America, especially through the proposed loan, will be a reinsurance against Communism. While America has no interest in interfering in internal questions in China, she certainly does not want to see a Communist China and does want to help establish a China that will both be completely independent and in its domestic government completely stable."
The "proposed loan" part of this agenda was warmly received by Chiang, but Lattimore now ran afoul of U.S. Ambassador Gauss. Gauss strongly opposed such a loan, believing it to be inflationary. Given this opposition, Chiang preferred to promote the loan by sending Lattimore personally to Washington with his request. Unfortunately, Japanese depredations in the Pacific had closed all transportation routes. By December 21 Chiang could no longer postpone transmission of the loan request to Washington, and Lattimore was instructed to cable the request to Currie so that Currie could start working on it. The full argument backing the loan would be available when Lattimore was able to get out of China.
For political and psychological reasons, Chiang wanted a "really big Treasury loan"—$500 million. On the face of it, such a request seemed hopeless. Demands for American resources and money were massive, and despite the fact that the United States had been attacked in the Pacific, defeating Hitler remained Roosevelt's first priority. Lattimore's cable of
December 21 succinctly stated the case for the loan. Because China was virtually deprived of external supplies, a "big psychological economic move [was] required [to] offset serious prestige damage [of] early Pacific setbacks." The loan would back Chinese bond issues, encourage entrepreneurs interested in China's future reconstruction, and generate small loans for agriculture and industries.
Lattimore had barely gotten off the loan cable when he was called to attend a meeting Chiang was having with Field Marshal Lord Wavell, Viceroy of India, who was in Chungking to discuss Anglo-Chinese measures for stopping Japanese advances. Chiang's smoldering resentment of British arrogance burst forth at this session, and he excoriated the British roundly. They had not listened to him when he warned them years earlier that surrendering to Japan the silver hoard belonging to the Chinese government, but stored in the British Concession at Tientsin, would be like "feeding raw meat to a tiger," only whetting the Japanese appetite. The British had been similarly stupid in Hong Kong, where they refused to incorporate more than five or six thousand Chinese into their armed forces; yet "neither Kowloon nor Hongkong itself could have been defended without the arming of every available able bodied Chinese." Britain was wholly indifferent to Chinese interests in the Far East and was trying "to settle all issues primarily from the point of view of restoring the British position."
In matters of finance, said Chiang, "there must be a fundamental revision of attitude." The British Treasury representative, Sir Otto Niemeyer, had proposed a £10 million British loan, and a matching $50 million American loan, both to be secured by revenue from Chinese customs. Chiang laid out his contempt for British shortsightedness in language that Lattimore recorded as follows:
Such a proposal altogether ignores the political realities. The question involved is not one of banking operations to be handled in terms of commercial investments, security, annual interest, and amortization. China cannot consider bartering pledges like this to Britain and America, any more than she would contemplate the hiring of a mercenary army to Britain for the defense of Burma. Any question of a loan cannot be regarded as an end in itself, but merely as a technical operation in the pooling of resources for a common purpose, representing British mobilization of economic resources and Chinese mobilization of manpower resources. For such purposes, the required loan to China should be on the scale of 100 million Pounds, not ten million, and there can be no question of security. Victory is the security.
Chiang's tirade was first translated for Lord Wavell by Hollington Tong. Lattimore says that Tong thought Chiang was too harsh and toned it down a bit. Madame, however, thought her husband had not been vehement enough; she gave her own, more stinging version. As Lattimore recalls, "The Generalissimo, watching rather than listening, knew exactly what was going on. He turned to me and said: 'Mr. Lattimore, will you please give the correct translation?' That was the toughest interpreting assignment I ever had." Wavell listened politely, then defended British actions as best he could. That night Lattimore put a mild version of the conversation in an aide memoire that he submitted to Madame, dated December 21, 1941·
Lattimore's induction into the intimacies of the Chinese ruling dynasty was accomplished at Christmas. The Soong family had embraced Christianity at their father's knee; hence, Christmas was always celebrated by the three Soong sisters (Mayling, Chiang's wife; Ai-ling, Mrs. H. H. K'ung; and Ch'ing-ling, Sun Yat-sen's widow) and the Generalissimo. Lattimore was invited to the family Christmas dinner in 1941. He was the only foreigner present. Despite tensions between the leftish Madame Sun and the rest of the party, Lattimore said they were "perfectly correct" toward each other.
No cables to Washington were composed over Christmas dinner, but two days later the Generalissimo's wrath at the British came to boiling point again, this time fueled by British delay in Burma of Lend-Lease cargo destined for China. Lattimore's December 28 message to Currie carried Chiang's castigation of the British for "bungling highhanded-ness." They were also "incompetent, arrogant," and several other choice adjectives. The whole problem was a racist, imperialist mentality; there would be "further unpardonable blunders unless American pressure forces realization China not extension their colonial empire." Currie was to report these comments to Roosevelt and T. V. Soong.
There was a reprise on January 1, 1942. Chiang instructed Lattimore to say that the British refused to admit "any essential Chinese-British equality. This furnished enemy with deadliest propaganda everywhere in Asia. . . . Should China [be] unable cooperate, British must bear entire responsibility. . . . In view all above Generalissimo . . . asks immediate assurances British will put situation right and guarantee no repetition. . . . Generalissimo attitude very firm." Two similar cables went out on January 4. Lattimore inserted a personal opinion in one of them: "My information from British source is British incompetence, confusion in Burma hard to exaggerate."
Initial White House response to this flood of cables was, as Chiang saw
it, bittersweet. Washington was willing to talk about a big loan, but Treasury suggested that it be issued "on basis of schedule of particulars," which was not what Chiang wanted at all. Lattimore was instructed to respond on January 7: "Only possible method is 500 million loan purely political with no restrictions or conditions, at least as broad and generous in terms and conception as lend lease." Lattimore wrote cables almost every day during the first two weeks of 1942.
By mid-January Pan American had established routes over the Hump of the Himalayas into Burma and from there westward; Lattimore was scheduled to leave Chungking January 15. Chiang, K'ung, McHugh, and other Americans loaded him with letters to deliver in Washington. Chiang's letter to Roosevelt, dated January 12, contained fulsome praise for Roosevelt's recommendation of Lattimore and concluded, "Mr. Lattimore will personally convey to you my views on some important matters upon which I have not touched above. If there are messages you wish to send me, I should appreciate you entrusting them to Mr. Lattimore to be conveyed to me upon his return to China."
Lattimore left on January 15 as scheduled. At a stop in Calcutta he wrote Chiang thanking him for "your generous treatment of me during the first period of my service under you in China." On January 17 he was off to Karachi, Iran, Egypt, Gambia, Brazil, and the United States, where he arrived February 8.
The Chinese loan was debated in Washington in early February. Despite the misgivings of Ambassador Gauss and skeptical State Department officials, who thought China could not use such a loan effectively, Roosevelt supported it. The bill authorizing $500 million for China passed Congress while Lattimore was recuperating from his travels. Roosevelt signed it February 13 and on the same day received Lattimore for a report on conditions in China.
As instructed by Chiang, Lattimore set forth the Generalissimo's concerns about the British. All of Chiang's recent contacts with British officials had alarmed him; they seemed not to realize that the Chinese and other Asians were determined to throw off the yoke of colonialism and assume status in international affairs equal to that of the Western nations. Roosevelt was sympathetic to Chiang's position, but he also had to deal with British, French, and Dutch officials who did not think the same way. And Roosevelt's immediate problem was to win the war; postwar problems of sovereignty in the Pacific had to be put on hold. Lattimore was instructed to calm Chiang's fears without promising anything specific.
Lattimore sweated over the cable he now composed for Chiang. The
copy in his FBI file is undated but was probably sent February 15. It is diplomacy personified:
FOR GENERALISSIMO HAVE LAID BEFORE THE PRESIDENT THE VIEWS YOU DISCUSSED WITH ME JUST BEFORE I LEFT CHINA Stop HE RECEIVED THEM VERY CORDIALLY WHILE THE TIME HAS NOT YET COME TO INITIATE DISCUSSION OF DETAILS THROUGH FORMAL CHANNELS HIS BROAD UNDERSTANDING OF PROBLEMS OF WESTERN PACIFIC IS VERY SIMILAR TO YOURS AND VERY SYMPATHETIC AND HE FEELS THAT IN DUE TIME DETAILS CAN BE WORKED OUT SATISFACTORILY Stop IN THE NORTHWESTERN AREA IT WOULD BE NECESSARY TO CONSULT A THIRD PARTY Stop IN THE SOUTHWESTERN AREA THE PRESIDENT FINDS THAT CHURCHILL IS RECEPTIVE TO THE IDEA OF HANDLING BY MEANS OF TRUSTEESHIP COMMA A LARGE NUMBER OF COLONIAL PROBLEMS IN A WAY THAT WILL SHOW A MARKED AND RAPID ADVANCE OVER PREVIOUS CONCEPTS OF COLONIAL SOVEREIGNTY AND OVER MANDATE METHODS AS APPLIED UNDER LEAGUE OF NATIONS (LATTIMORE) 
Chiang could not have been happy to hear this, but his satisfaction with the loan must have mitigated his distaste for Roosevelt's waffling about colonialism.
On February 16 Lattimore wrote Madame Chiang a long letter about his activities in support of China, about his approval of the appointment of General Stilwell to command American troops in the China-Burma-India theater, and about the assignment of John Paton Davies as advisor to Stilwell. His visit with Roosevelt had gone well, and he had seen T. V. Soong, General George Marshall, and, of course, Lauchlin Currie. All this work was enabling him to push the Chinese cause of making the war in Asia a higher priority. The letter was not all business. On the personal side he remarked, "It has been perfectly wonderful to be with my wife and son again. You and the Generalissimo were always so considerate of me; but your concern that I should bring my wife back with me is the most wonderful thing of all. You will be amused to hear that my son, aged not yet eleven, is already giving lectures on the Burma Road with my photographs as illustrations."
During his time in the United States Lattimore engaged in dozens of activities promoting the welfare of his patron in Chungking. On February 21, 1942, he joined Pearl Buck in endorsing a plea of United China Relief to raise $7 million in private funds for war victims and refugee
rehabilitation. At a later banquet of that organization, at Radio City in New York, he joined Clare Boothe Luce and Wendell Willkie in praising Chinese war efforts and expressing confidence that Japan would be defeated.
On February 24, speaking off the record to the Washington Press Club, Lattimore scored a major hit. Creighton Hill, of Babson's Washington Reports , took the trouble to write Lauchlin Currie about it: "It was the unanimous opinion of a group of members of the Press Club, in the wake of Mr. Lattimore's talk, that under no circumstances should he be allowed to return to China. The Generalissimo doesn't need him half so much as he is needed right here. In fact, his nomination as Secretary of State was offered and seconded." At the bottom of the letter Hill wrote in pencil, "He's a marvellous guy—and did a magnificent job."
A week later Lattimore and Manuel Fox of Treasury were questioned informally and off the record by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Lattimore wrote in a letter to the Generalissimo the same day (March 4) that the session lasted two and a half hours, that there were many questions about the loan, and that it "went very well indeed."
The Council on Foreign Relations took advantage of Lattimore's presence to invite him to report on the topic "Chinese Opinion on Postwar Problems." This discussion with the Territorial Group on March 18 was lengthy; since it was also confidential, Lattimore was less inhibited in expressing his opinions of America's European Allies than he was in his public statements; the Allies do not come off well. But the heart of his message was that colonialism was dead in Asia. Self-determination had become a "fighting creed" there, and many Asians were "determined to realize their democratic aspirations no matter what the cost may be. In a true sense, they are barricade democrats." Lattimore referred to a recent statement of Secretary of the Navy Knox that in fighting the war, the western front had primacy. The Chinese were suspicious of that statement: "They argue that no matter in what part of the world the war may be fought out, the important thing is the political outcome in Asia."
When the U.S. role in postwar China came up, Lattimore was optimistic:
The Chinese have neither the intention nor the power to keep the white man out of the Orient. They want the white man there, and they want his advice and money, but they do not want his political control. They know they will have to behave well if they want his investments. They realize that at the peace conference they will be comparatively weak. There will be an enormous job of reconstruction to be done in China,
and if it is not done quickly there will be chaos. . . . But Americans should not look upon this as an opportunity for charity or condescension. For we ourselves will have a tremendous job of making the transition from an expanded wartime basis to peacetime levels. One of the biggest single remedies for United States industry might be the Chinese market. We should, therefore, think of how China might aid the United States as well as the reverse.
Lattimore also argued that the United States should strengthen China as much as possible "to act as a balance against the Soviet." Even though Russia would be faced with vast reconstruction tasks, it would be tempted to expand into an Asian power vacuum. This brought up the question of the Chinese Communists: "The strength of the Chinese Communists is not increasing. In 1937, the Communists had from 150,000 to 200,000 well-trained troops. Some of these troops are now engaged in guerrilla warfare, and allowing for extensive casualties and replacements, their numbers probably do not exceed the figure of 1937. . . . Chungking observers object to the Chinese Communists on two grounds: (1) the alien loyalties of the latter, and (2) the fact that the Communists represent a challenge to national unity—or to the dominant position of the Kuomintang."
Lattimore had no doubts that Chiang and his Nationalists could, and should, retain control of China's destiny. Some of his longest letters to Chungking were to Hollington Tong, Chinese minister of information, with whom Lattimore had worked closely. Tong was upset with the anti-Chiang bias of Edgar Snow's writings, especially an article in the Saturday Evening Post . Lattimore discussed Snow at great length, explaining to Tong how he was trying to "set the record straight" and counteract Snow's partiality to the Chinese Communists.
Not only the CFR but also the army's Military Intelligence Division (MID) wanted to probe Lattimore's insights into what was happening in China. On April 7, 1942, a MID officer interviewed him extensively, recording some specific recommendations. China should have a full representative on the Combined Chiefs of Staff to "offset political cleavages within the framework" of the Allies. The United States and the Soviet Union should jointly proclaim a policy of independence for Korea. The Atlantic Charter was a psychological mistake, especially since Churchill had stated that it did not apply to India; the charter should be downplayed in propaganda directed toward Asia. Finally, the United States should not attempt to run China's war effort. There is no indication of what MID thought of these comments.
During the spring of 1942 Lattimore was a whirlwind of activity. Every conceivable forum was open to him, and he used them all to promote the cause of China. He gave at least three public lectures in Baltimore, the last of which had to be moved from the Hopkins campus to a large public theater. He spoke to a select group of Yale alumni at the Yale Club in New York. He spoke to an overflow crowd at the Cleveland Foreign Affairs Council and delivered one of the featured speeches at the American Council on Education convention in Chicago May 1. There were many more.
The texts of some of these addresses survive. Probably the most compelling was the speech he gave in Ottawa to the Canadian Club meeting of May 7. Prime Minister Mackenzie King was in attendance, as were many other senior Canadian officials. The high point of Lattimore's speech was his statement of the "Asia first" position.
There is a natural tendency among all of us in North America to think of Europe as the center of the world. Our traditions, our history, our education, all lead us to think of Europe as the approach to all international problems. . . . But can the problems of the world as it is constituted today be settled in Europe? If you settle Europe, does the rest of the world automatically fall into place?
We Chinese—if the Chinese Minister will allow me to use the expression—do not feel that way. The war did not start with Pearl Harbor. It did not start in September 1939. It did not start even in 1937 with the Marco Polo Bridge incident. The nearest date that you can set as an accurate date for the beginning of this war was the invasion of Manchuria on September 18, 1931. From that aggression with which we, the democracies in and out of the League of Nations, failed to cope, started a degeneration of the whole world system, not simply of collective security, but of all our standards. It spread from Manchuria to Abyssinia, from Abyssinia to Spain, to Czechoslovakia, and only then to Poland and the present phase of the war.
From the Chinese point of view it is unreasonable to think that when the prime causes of the war lay in Asia the issues of the war can be settled in Europe. If you stop to think for a moment, supposing the Axis were to win, you will see that the main loot for the Fascists would lie, not in Europe, but in Asia to a very large, perhaps, I think, to a preponderating extent. Asia is what we are fighting about.
Lattimore felt his reception in Canada had been very warm indeed. The Chinese minister in Ottawa no doubt communicated to Chungking about Lattimore's impact there. One week later Currie received a cable from
Madame Chiang. The cable does not survive, but Currie's memo to Roosevelt about it does: "I have received a cable from Madame Chiang for Owen Lattimore, asking him to remain here for the next three or four months to emphasize to our people the necessity of supporting China and regarding her as an equal partner in war and peace." Lattimore was quite willing to stay home for a while longer.
Periodically Lattimore reported to the Generalissimo. In a letter of April 22 he explained that he and Currie had worked out the matter of announcing American support for Korean independence; the president had agreed that we should follow the lead of China rather than making a unilateral declaration. About Chiang's desire for a formal Sino-American alliance, he carefully explained that Americans were inclined to avoid such long-range commitments and that since an alliance would have to clear Congress, it was best "to work for every possible kind of common action" without alliances.
In the April 22 letter Lattimore also dealt with his contacts in State, Treasury, Army, and other agencies. There was great confusion in wartime Washington, and many requests from China fell between the cracks of competing agencies. For getting China's interest attended to, the most important man was Currie: "If it were not for his tireless energy in personally following the course of every order and shipment for China, through bureau after bureau, the actual shipments would be both smaller and slower."
In addition to the lecture circuit, Lattimore was asked to write for mass-circulation magazines, including American Magazine and National Geographic . The articles he wrote for those two magazines are undisguised tributes to China and Chiang; the American Magazine piece of June 1942 was alone worth what Chiang paid him for the entire year. Entitled "How to Win the War," it begins by noting the pettiness of American complaints about war-caused shortages compared with the tribulations of the Chinese after five years of Japanese assault. Yet Chinese morale remained excellent, and Chiang's armies had stopped Japanese armies by sheer willpower. "If we can look on the Chinese with intelligence and imagination, if we can learn from them how they work miracles by teamwork, by self-sacrifice, by a proud new spirit of fighting for a better country and a better world then we, too, can work miracles. We can win a quicker victory and a greater peace. If you want to know how to win the war, study China. . . . The individual Chinese may be only breaking stones with a hammer or carrying earth in a basket, but by the thousands they built an airport in the mountains as well as we could build it with our elaborate
machinery. Each knows that he, with hammer or basket, is fighting in a great cause."
The whole article is similarly laudatory. It was no doubt necessary in the early months of the war to convince Americans that China would not be a drag on the Allied war effort. Lattimore was fulfilling this function diligently. But the total effect was oversell, and he vastly exaggerated the genius of Chiang. The claim that "a land long torn by inner dissension and local prejudice has, under Chiang Kai-shek, become united, just as our thirteen colonies once became united" ignored the realities of warlord power and Communist separatism, neither of which Chiang had overcome and both of which emerged to frustrate American hopes for China. Nor was Chiang as eager to "help [his] new allies" as Lattimore claimed. The major long-range Chinese objectives were (1) to defeat the Communists and (2) to destroy any trace of European imperialism. Lattimore emphasized the latter but ignored the former. His emphasis on China's role in the war was incompatible with the views of Marshall, Hull, and the rest of the Eurocentric American officials.
During Lattimore's absence from China, severe problems arose between Chiang and the commander of American troops in the China-Burma-India (CBI) theater, Lieutenant General Joseph W. Stilwell. Stilwell, like Lattimore, knew China well. Unlike Lattimore, he had a clear command responsibility and needed Chiang's cooperation; when he didn't get it, he developed a visceral dislike for Chiang, as Barbara Tuchman demonstrates. The confrontations between the two led, in May 1942, to Chiang's request that Harry Hopkins be sent to China to see firsthand how Stilwell was misusing his authority and how much more amicable Sino-American relations would be if only General Claire Chennault replaced Stilwell. Both Chennault and Naval Attaché McHugh were in constant communication with Currie, and the White House decided that something had to be done. Roosevelt still refused to send Hopkins to China, so Currie volunteered for the mission.
Unlike Lattimore, Currie assumed he could perform miracles. His memo to Roosevelt suggesting that he be sent to China implies that he could learn how to solve all outstanding Sino-American problems, including Stilwell's many difficulties. Since Stilwell denigrated the Generalissimo, Stilwell had to go. And since Chiang was the indispensable leader, the Chinese Communists were not to be encouraged. Currie refused to see Chou En-lai, instead using John Paton Davies, an advisor to Stilwell, to communicate with the Communists.
When Currie returned to Washington, his solutions were simple: re-
place Stilwell with Chennault, replace Ambassador Gauss with John Carter Vincent or Owen Lattimore, and promise Chiang the airplanes he wanted as soon as they were off the assembly line. The first of these solutions Roosevelt partially agreed to, sending Currie to General Marshall with word that he wanted Stilwell relieved. Marshall stood his ground, refused the suggestion, and forced Roosevelt to back down. Roosevelt took no action to replace Gauss; he did promise Currie more planes.
Since Lattimore and Currie were both heavily involved in Chinese affairs, Lattimore frequented Currie's office during 1942, looking after correspondence and making telephone calls. As Currie told a Department of State investigator in 1952, "I cannot now recall how much use he made of it. My impression is that he dropped by frequently for a few months but that he did not regularly occupy a desk." While Currie was in China, Lattimore checked the mail for China matters that needed handling.
The Office of Strategic Services sought Lattimore's opinions on June 10, 1942. Captain Ilia Tolstoy and Lieutenant Brooke Dolan quizzed Lattimore at length about the situation in China. In a four-page report to their superior, Colonel Preston Goodfellow, they noted that Lattimore felt that "the Communist Chief Chu Teh imposes his form of gov't on the people of the provinces across which his War area cuts. This is a great source of uneasiness to the Generalissimo and the Kuo Min Tang which naturally object to any different philosophy of gov't being imposed on a large section of the Chinese people. For this reason O.L. believes that Chu Teh is careful not to destroy the Landlord system in his area; O.L. believes that Chu Teh is running a Democratic rather than a Communist Regime in North China." Lattimore went on to say that Chu Teh was not indoctrinating his troops "to nearly the same degree as the early communist die-hards who made the great retreat [the Long March] in 1935 to Shensi."
Lattimore continued writing during the summer of 1942; one of the products was a monograph for the Foreign Policy Association, published as their Report Number 12 on September 1. Titled Asia in a New World Order , the report is orthodox Lattimore, talking about the virtues of Chiang, the sacrifices and determination of the Chinese, the death of colonialism, the importance of the Sino-Soviet border areas, the impossibility of American control of China's political and economic development, the necessity of China recapturing sovereignty over Manchuria. Lattimore also attempts to answer those critics of Roosevelt who deplored American alliance with China or Russia, neither of which were democracies in the Anglo-American sense.
This discussion brought Lattimore to the problem of communism in Asia, and his treatment of this topic is both fair and, in hindsight, accurate.
Rapid but orderly emancipation, in order to incorporate in the growing and developing body of democracy that half of humanity which lives in East Asia, brings up inevitably the problem of the degree of violent revolution and the possibility of the spread of communism. The overwhelming majority of Americans are opposed to communism by long established social habit and by emotional and intellectual response. It would be well if we were to recognize more generally that a similar majority of the Chinese are opposed to communism in the same ways, find that communism has few roots in India and little power to grow there. We in America certainly do not realize, and just as certainly ought to realize, that the question of whether and how far communism will spread will probably depend more on us than on the Russians.
Criticize communism as we may, we ought also to be prepared to criticize ourselves. To prepare ourselves for the right things to do, we must first see clearly the wrong things that have been done. We must be ready to admit that the blame for Manchuria, Ethiopia, Munich, and Spain falls primarily on the Western democracies, as condoners and sometimes even compounders of aggression, as we are ready to criticize Russia for the pact with Germany, which failed in the same way that the pact of Chamberlain and Daladier with Germany failed.
The Columbia Broadcasting System put Lattimore on their popular "Symphony Hour" July 26, and he made the most of this opportunity to further the Chinese cause. The Chinese, he said, "are the only troops of the United Nations who have been able to recover territory once occupied by the Japanese." He also praised General Chennault and the American fliers fighting for China, called for planes to be sent to China as fast as we could produce them, and lauded the Generalissimo for his wholehearted war effort.
By July 1942 Lattimore had been in Chiang's service for a year. It was a challenging and exciting tour, but Lattimore was beginning to tire of his role as spokesperson of a foreign government. He had had no word from Chiang as to when he would be recalled to Chungking. He told Currie to suggest to the Chiangs that perhaps it was time for him to return to Johns Hopkins. He could advance the Chinese cause as well from there as he could on Chiang's payroll.
Currie passed this suggestion on when he arrived in Chungking. The response was quick.
Headquarters Of The Generalissimo
5 August 1942
Dear Mr. Lattimore,
The newspapers here have contained frequent references to the good work that you are doing on behalf of China in America. All your letters to the Generalissimo and myself have been received, and we have been greatly interested in your delineation of the present state of feeling among the American people.
We fully realize that, as an American, you can say a great number of things, that it would be difficult, if not impossible, for a Chinese to say with good grace. When they are said by an American who has lived most of his life with us and who speaks with evident sincerity, they sink deeper and have a profound influence.
Dr. Currie has spoken to us regarding your feeling that possibly you might be of more use to China if you returned to John [sic] Hopkins. While we appreciate the value of your suggestion, we feel that if you could return to China for the time being and help to establish more cordial and closer relationship between the American Military Mission and China and the Embassy and us, you would be rendering an even more direct and much needed service. And so the Generalissimo wishes you to return to China as soon as you can get transportation. . . .
With all good wishes to yourself and Mrs. Lattimore,
Yours very sincerely,
Mayling Soong Chiang
Sensitive to Chinese ways, Lattimore realized that he could not simply refuse to honor the Generalissimo's request. But now that the United States was at war, being on Chiang's payroll was awkward. As he later said to Joseph O'Mahoney, "There would soon be an official channel for everything, and even if I avoided getting into people's hair, a lot of people would imagine that I was getting into their hair." An important assignment for his own government seemed the best way of gracefully leaving Chiang's service.
Elmer Davis approached him during the summer of 1942 about directing the Pacific Bureau of the Office of War Information (OWI). This bureau was mainly producing radio broadcasts to the Pacific region and Asia, and Lattimore was eminently qualified. He accepted. Lattimore therefore
decided to extend his service with Chiang m the end of the year and arranged a diplomatic way to resign at that time.
A cable now went from Roosevelt to Chiang: "Lattimore will return as you suggest for temporary duty Chungking under your orders however if acceptable to you President would appreciate it if you would allow him to resign after short visit to return to America to take over news and propaganda supervision for entire Pacific area under Office War Information. If you agree this can be announced from either Chungking or Washington when Lattimore leaves here."
In late September, Lattimore flew back to China carrying a letter to the Generalissimo from Roosevelt. It explained why the United States could not immediately fulfill most of the Chinese requests Currie had delivered.
Chiang did not want to cut his ties with Lattimore permanently. Chinese protocol dictated that a faithful retainer not be allowed to resign ; consequently, when the announcement of Lattimore's OWI job was finally made by Chungking October 30, the Associated Press carried the following story:
CHIANG KAI-SHEK PREFERS TO LEND AIDE TO OWI
Chungking, China, Oct. 30 (AP).— Gneralissimo Chiang Kai-shek has granted a leave of absence to his American political adviser, Owen Lattimore, who will return to the United States as director of the Pacific Bureau of the Office of War Information, with headquarters in San Francisco.
"Rather than accept a resignation from Mr. Lattimore, who was appointed his adviser last year on the recommendation of President Roosevelt, Chiang Kai-shek preferred to lend him to the OWI," an announcement said.
Lattimore found Chungking, in early October 1942, more strife-ridden and rumor-plagued than before. The Stilwell controversy raged. Despite Madame's letter instructing Lattimore to return in order to help establish more "cordial" relations between Stilwell and Chiang, Lattimore played no role in solving that problem. He was inactive largely because Stilwell was not available to him, but he also sensed that it was a hopeless task.
By this time the optimism engendered by Currie's visit had dissipated. Chiang was full of complaints. Why was China still not incorporated into the mainstream of Allied military councils? Why was Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau so hostile? Why were American Lend-Lease supplies being diverted to the Middle East? Why did Chennault not have
the confidence of the American high command? Lattimore was as candid as tact permitted.
There were the usual interviews, dinners, press conferences. Typically, on October 23 Lattimore spoke to a dinner of fifteen Chinese cultural societies. According to the New York Times , Lattimore said the Allies were planning to open new fronts in Europe and Asia and that they would eventually wage a knockout offensive against Japan from Chinese bases. "When the final victory is won, he said, China will emerge as one of the world's great democracies, unfettered by Western imperialism, with a future of progress that will make the next 100 years a 'Chinese century.'" This reference competed with Henry Luce, whose "American Century" article in 1941 had staked out a different claim to world leadership.
Chiang knew before Lattimore arrived in China that this was to be a farewell visit. As Lattimore recorded in the O'Mahoney manuscript: "The Generalissimo was very codial about my resignation, but would not let me go at once; and when I did go, he very handsomely insisted that I must still consider myself in his service, free to return at any time, and, as he put it, 'on reverse lend-lease' from him to President Roosevelt." In 1943, in appreciation of Lattimore's services, Chiang (or possibly Madame) directed H. H. K'ung to send Lattimore a gratuity. The amount K'ung's American agent sent him was five thousand dollars. Lattimore was gratified but could not accept the gift as he was then an employee of the U.S. government.
Shortly before Lattimore was to leave China, he had a chance to talk to Chou En-lai. "I asked him, 'What do you think of my mission here? Have I just been wasting a couple of years, or was it worthwhile from your point of view?' He said, 'Very worthwhile. We think you've done a very good job for Chiang Kai-shek. Because it was absolutely essential to maintain contact with Chiang Kai-shek. If it weren't for Chiang, there would be a half-dozen Wang Ching-wei's going over to the Japanese. Chiang Kai-shek is essential to the national resistance and you have served him well.'"
The most touching farewell letter in Lattimore's files is from the finance minister, H. H. K'ung. That crusty banker's admiration seems genuine: "Though one must accept the parting of friends as something unavoidable in life, I cannot help feeling reluctant to see you leave China. During the period of your service as Political Advisor to the Generalissimo, your knowledge in Chinese has been a great asset. . . Hence, even your temporary transfer from China is a great loss to us."
This time Lattimore's trip to the United States was deluxe. In the fall of 1942 Madame Chiang was beset with various ailments; Sterling Sea-grave gives an impressive catalog of them in The Soong Dynasty . She and the Generalissimo decided that this was the time for her to go to the United States both for medical attention and to exert her charm on those who dispensed American funds. The normal military transport would not do for Madame. Thus, a Boeing 307 Stratoliner named Apache , piloted by Cornell Shelton, was flown from the United States to pick her up. Lattimore and Madame's niece, Jeanette K'ung, and a party of retainers were to accompany her. They met Shelton's plane at 4:00 A.M. November 19 at an airfield near Chengtu and took off for the westbound route to the United States. After landing at Mitchell Field in New York on November 27, Madame was taken by Harry Hopkins to Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center and registered under a false name. She spent eleven weeks there and emerged healthy.
Lattimore went on to Baltimore and Washington. On December 7 he briefed Roosevelt on the China situation, telling reporters as he left the White House that" 'final, decisive victory against Japan can be won only on land in China.' Beating the Japanese Navy will not be sufficient, he said, for Japan's major strength is her army, which is still strong and in China. The defeat, he asserted, will have to be accomplished 'by land-based aircraft in China.'"
The Institute of Pacific Relations was holding its eighth conference December 4-14, 1942, at Mont Tremblant, Quebec. Lattimore was able to attend only the last few days, but his views were very much present. His Foreign Policy Association report, Asia in a New World Order , was one of several documents distributed to all the conferees; the issues it discussed were prominent in conference deliberations. The Mont Tremblant conference was later prominent not because of what was said but because of who attended and who suggested them as participants. This was the first IPR conference at which government officials of the IPR countries were permitted to take part in discussions.
Lattimore left Mont Tremblant to rush down to New York on December 15 for another discussion with members of the Council on Foreign Relations. Before that eminent group he propounded this warning: "If the partial solutions [to the colonial problem] put forward by the United Nations at the close of the war lack cohesion, the victors may drive into Soviet arms the small peoples bordering on Russia. Sovietization would thus be due to our failure." He added that Chinese morale was still strong despite a deteriorating economy; that Chiang's stock was still very
high; and that the Chinese should be better integrated into military councils.
After the CFR meeting Lattimore had a week to relax at his Baltimore home. There was only one other official duty before he reported to OWI in San Francisco: Roosevelt wanted him to draft a letter to Chiang explaining that total independence might not be immediately granted after the war to all the colonial areas. The new concept was "trusteeship," which Roosevelt informed Lattimore was "an advance over the mandate of the League of Nations." This message, Lattimore knew, would infuriate the Generalissimo. In the letter that Lattimore drafted, the "trustee-ship" concept was softened by a promise that "after the war we shall have to think of China, America, Britain and Russia as the four 'big policemen' of the world." There were several other sops to Chiang's vanity, including the statement that "the President is delighted by the friendship that has sprung up between his wife and Madame Chiang and is looking forward eagerly to Madame Chiang's visit to the White House." Roosevelt made minor changes in Lattimore's draft, then informed the astounded Currie that the letter was to go out over Lattimore's signature. Lattimore by then had gone to San Francisco to take over the OWI job. Currie now had to inform Lattimore that he was to be saddled with Roosevelt's obnoxious (to the Chinese) views on colonialism. Apparently, Currie telephoned to break the news gently, then sent the final draft to Lattimore with a cover letter: "I am afraid the enclosed puts you on a bit of a spot. It was the President's own idea that the bulk of the letter be represented as being your views rather than his. I thereupon suggested that there was really no need of a letter, but he disagreed with that. Unless, therefore, you want me to go back and tell him that you object to having these views ascribed to you, I am afraid you will have to take a deep breath and be prepared to accept paternity." 
Lattimore took a very deep breath. He had no use whatever for the trusteeship idea. Perhaps, had he been in Washington instead of San Francisco and had he been going back to Johns Hopkins instead of starting on the OWI payroll, he would have told Roosevelt what to do with this letter. But he wrote Currie on January 1, 1943, "It certainly does require a deep breath to accept paternity of that little job in fait accompli . However, here goes. I am sending the letter back to you, airmail registered." It went to China over Lattimore's signature, carried to the Generalissimo by a new naval attaché replacing James McHugh. Lattimore was not to communicate with Chiang again until he returned to China in 1944.
Owi, San Francisco
In late December 1942 Lattimore arrived in San Francisco to direct the Pacific bureau of the Office of War Information. OWI's objective was to further the war effort by broadcasting news and commentary encouraging our allies and discouraging our enemies. In the Pacific, Japan was the only enemy.
By the time Lattimore arrived, the San Francisco office consisted of some five hundred writers, broadcasters, analysts, and support personnel. Overall policy was made in Washington, where the Department of State and Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) collaborated on comprehensive directives, one for Atlantic operations, another for the Pacific. Lattimore was responsible for applying these directives through the seven section chiefs: Japanese, Korean, Philippine, Chinese, Indonesian, Malay, and Southeast Asian. Lattimore held daily staff conferences, and according to Charlotte Riznik, his office manager, presided over them with "a light hand."
Each of the sections had its own peculiar problems. The Japanese section was the most important: OWI wanted to break Japanese morale and stimulate disaffection from the Tojo regime. The "Joint Anglo-American Plan for Psychological Warfare for Japan," promulgated on March 16, 1943, by the JCS, devotes three pages to how these objectives were to be accomplished. Section (c) of the Japanese directive lists these goals: "(1) to create amongst the people of Japan a feeling of distrust of their present regime by calling attention to its usurpation of power and its departure from 'Imperial Way.' (2) to create fanatical opposition by individuals and by secret groups. Note to (1) and (2): This theme is as delicate as it is important and requires very careful handling by methods to be determined in advance. All attacks upon the Imperial family must be avoided."
Finding personnel to handle such delicate themes was difficult. Obviously, the whole Japanese program needed educated, Japanese-speaking writers and broadcasters who were completely loyal to the United States. But in the wartime hysteria of 1942 all persons of Japanese ancestry living in California had been evacuated to detention centers. The commander of U.S. forces on the West Coast would not allow a single Japanese to reside in San Francisco, no matter what the needs of the OWI. Consequently, all the Japanese-language programs had to be prepared east of the Rockies and flown to San Francisco for broadcast.
When Lattimore took over, the head of the Japanese desk was Clay Osborne, a journalist described by American Mercury in 1939 as "born in Indian territory and raised in the Oregon backwoods. He now lives and writes in Gardena, California." That is about all we know of Osborne's background; libraries are singularly lacking in any trace of his career. He probably achieved his most important status with the OWI job. Lattimore's FBI file has extensive material about Osborne, but it is heavily censored. The FBI files show that Osborne had been a Japanophile before the war and that he despised his new boss. It is impossible to tell from the available records what caused this hostility, but Osborne gradually became determined to dislodge Lattimore from the directorship of Pacific operations.
Accordingly, Osborne began to accumulate documents that he thought would show that Lattimore was violating directives from Washington, placing sycophants in OWI posts, slanting broadcasts to show the Soviet Union in a favorable light, and so forth. These documents included the secret policy directives from Washington, which Osborne thought Lattimore covertly rewrote; local directives authored by Lattimore; transcripts of dozens of OWI broadcasts; clippings of newspaper columns by isolationists and archconservative writers such as David Lawrence, George Rothwell Brown, and various Hearst columnists attacking OWI; complete programming schedules for two full days of OWI broadcasts; and extensive personal notes Osborne himself made explaining how Lattimore was deviating from the "master plan."
In March or April 1943 Osborne went to the FBI office in San Francisco with his story of Lattimore's subversion. The agents were not sympathetic. Next he tried the Office of Naval Intelligence. Since the ONI people were regularly consulting with Lattimore and admired him, they were even less impressed with Osborne's charges. Bruised, Osborne began to believe that the whole U.S. government was honeycombed with Communist conspirators; obviously, he would need more and better evidence
to break through the conspiracy. He continued collecting what he felt to be incriminating documents in his office.
Osborne found his smoking gun on October 13, 1943. The Chinese government broadcast a speech by Sun Fo, president of the legislature in Chungking, in which Sun gave the standard Chinese line on postwar Japan: "Unless a republic replaces imperialism in Japan in the postwar period another world conflict is inevitable. Japanese imperialism, if not totally destroyed once and for all during the present war, would form a permanent menace to the safety of China and Korea. The Mikado must go."
Since the directive on China called for rebroadcast of important statements by Chinese government officials, Lattimore ordered Sun Fo's statement to be put on the air in all languages except Japanese and Korean. He did not see this as a violation of the Japan directive forbidding attacks on the emperor, since the Sun Fo statement was a Chinese rather than American position and was not available to Japanese listeners. Osborne saw it otherwise; this was "an attack on the Imperial family," forbidden by OWI directives. Osborne was now positive that Lattimore was a Communist, working to subvert American interests in Asia.
Sometime in the fall of 1943 George E. Taylor, an Asian specialist in the Washington OWI office, visited San Francisco. Osborne knew Taylor, thought Taylor to be hostile toward Lattimore, and unburdened himself of his suspicions. A decade later, Taylor reported that Osborne had "so seriously taken [the Lattimore matter] to heart and was so emotionally overcome that he ended up crying on Taylor's shoulder." Osborne's emotional state grew steadily worse. In 1954, when Justice Department attorneys interviewed him in a mental hospital, they concluded that he could not be allowed before a jury.
In November, shortly after the Taylor visit, Osborne decided he could not stand working under Lattimore any longer. He assembled his documents and engaged an army friend (whose name he never revealed) to provide a military vehicle to haul his documents from the OWI office to his apartment. This done, he resigned from the OWI without revealing his real reasons. Lattimore had no knowledge of Osborne's theft or of its purpose.
In early 1944 Osborne's wife, thinking her husband weak for not taking further action and having no faith in the San Francisco FBI agents, took the documents to the Los Angeles FBI office. The agents there were equally unimpressed with Osborne's case against Lattimore and were instead upset with the theft. Instead of impaling Lattimore, Osborne's wife got Os-
borne in trouble. The Los Angeles FBI referred Osborne's theft to Washington, but in the last year of the war the Department of Justice had no time to take a former OWI employee to court. In a memo dated August 24, 1944, Assistant Attorney General Tom C. Clark advised that "prosecution was not warranted and that further investigation was not requested."
Osborne's determination to bring Lattimore to justice was not lessened by his second rebuff at the hands of the FBI. He dung to his outrage and his documents until the inquisition burst on the scene six years later. Even then he was odd man out; others who had worked for Lattimore praised both his leadership and his fidelity to government directives.
The Chinese operations of OWI were complicated because there were three Chinas: the National government in Chungking, the Japanese puppet state under Wang Ching-wei, and the Communist would-be government in Yenan. Broadcasts to China had to take them all into account. The Nationalists had to be encouraged and praised, the Japanese subjects had to be reassured that the Allies would not neglect their interests when the war was over, and the Communists had to be nudged to continue cooperation with Chungking not only to fight Japanese armies in 1943 but also because the JCS assumed the Allies would mount an invasion of the Japanese homeland from bases in Communist-controlled areas. Lattimore, whose admiration of Chiang Kai-shek remained strong, had no trouble maintaining good relations with Chinese Nationalist officials. His rapport with Yui Ming, head of the Chinese News Service in San Francisco, was excellent. Yui Ming was invited to attend OWI policy meetings and expressed pleasure that someone with Lattimore's understanding of China was in charge of OWI. Hollington Tong, still Chinese minister of information, regarded Lattimore's tenure as head of the Pacific OWI operation as productive of cordial, mutual understanding, and in April 1944 he found Lattimore's successor far less satisfactory.
Despite these cordial relations with the Chinese government, Lattimore was careful to avoid hiring Chinese who might be on the Kuomintang payroll. He wanted fully independent Chinese. After some hiring and firing, he thought he had them. Then in late spring 1943 he heard that Chew Sih Hong, one of the two Chinese language specialists working under his jurisdiction in the New York office, had been declared ineligible for employment because of suspicion of Communist leanings. Lattimore did not know the source of the information about Hong; a Civil Service Commission document released in 1980 reveals that the accuser was in the Washington office of the Chinese News Service.
Hong was a brilliant linguist. The U.S. army had hired him in 1942 to
teach Chinese to 224 American officers who were preparing m work with Chinese troops; Hong got rave reviews. But he was also president of the China Daily News in New York, a paper not under Kuomintang control; Hong's accuser said it followed the Communist line.
Anticipating trouble with the Hong appointment, on June 15, 1943, Lattimore wrote his friend Joseph Barnes, head of the New York OWI office, explaining why Hong and another employee, Dr. K. C. Chi, should be kept on. The letter explained in great detail how Chinese living in the U.S. were subject to competing claims on their loyalty. The Japanese puppet, Wang Ching-wei, was a veteran of Chinese politics and knew how m exert pressure on the many Chinese whose families still lived in areas controlled by the Japanese. The Nationalists in Chungking operated a vigorous overseas bureau that kept tabs on every Chinese community in America: "Thus there is a very intense conflict going on every day in every Chinatown in America between the Wang Ching-wei agents and those of the Kuomintang."
But there were also unaffiliated Chinese, and Lattimore insisted that OWI employees should come from this group, assuring loyalty to OWI rather than to Wang or Chiang. There were some Chinese Communists in the United States, and OWI needed to avoid hiring them also. Lattimore knew that old Dr. Chi, who had been a wealthy landlord in Shansi Province, was not a Communist, and Dr. Chi vouched for Chew Sih Hong; this assurance was sufficient for Lattimore. "There will be no difficulty with either man, no irresponsible playing with Chinese politics, and no leakage to any faction." Two months after Lattimore wrote Barnes, the Civil Service Commission sent an investigator to San Francisco to interview Lattimore about Hong and Chi. After a two-hour conversation in which Lattimore provided greater detail about the politics of Chinese communities in the United States, the investigator reported that "he would go along with Lattimore and in favor of Mr. Hong's retention in the service."
This recommendation did not satisfy the Civil Service Commission, which requested that Admiral Richard P. McCullough, head of OWI security, and Frank March and E. Newton Steely of the security staff interview Lattimore again to decide whether the outcome of the San Francisco interview was correct. Lattimore was scheduled to visit New York on August 31, 1943; the three OWI officials then went over the Hong and Chi cases with him. They emerged with a divided verdict: McCullough and Marsh supported Lattimore; Steely opposed him. Hong continued in his post at OWI.
The demands for security investigations during the war were so great
that extensive backlogs developed; many investigations took place months after an official assumed his post. This was the case with Lattimore himself. The Federal Works Agency (FWA) was charged with checking out high-level civilian appointments but didn't get around to Lattimore until he had served five months in the OWI. Finally, in May 1943, an FWA representative interviewed him.
FWA did not possess the FBI report of May 1941 in which the Baltimore FBI office recommended that Lattimore be put on the Custodial Detention list because of his membership in the Maryland Civil Liberties Committee; nor did the agency possess the later report that canceled this recommendation. FWA did possess a Dies Committee (House Un-American Activities Committee) report showing that in 1940 Lattimore had been a member of the Maryland Association for Democratic Rights, which, according to Dies, was a Communist front. The investigator interviewed Lattimore and demanded an explanation.
Lattimore acknowledged the membership but protested that the very respectable Baltimoreans who had invited him to join were anything but Communists and had appealed to him on the grounds that the organization supported China and opposed the sale of war matérial to Japan. There was nothing Communist about the organization or about him. He then cited his support of aid to Britain and of Lend-Lease and his opposition to the Communist-inspired American Peace Mobilization during the period of the Hitler-Stalin pact. When asked about his attitude toward the Chinese Communists, "He advised that he tolerated but did not approve of the Chinese Communists who supported China against Japanese aggression, explaining that his toleration was based solely on the purpose of unifying China against the enemy." 
The rest of the FWA file was sweetness and light. Five prominent individuals (names withheld by the FBI) who were interviewed about Lattimore reported favorably. Investigation of his employment with the IPR and Johns Hopkins University "developed no derogatory data." Finally the FWA went to the Chinese embassy to inquire about Lattimore's service with Chiang. There an official, again name withheld, reported "subject was well considered by the Chinese Government and had performed his duties in a satisfactory manner. ——— was reported to have commented that CHIANG would be happy to utilize subject's services again."  Lattimore was cleared.
Despite the demands of administering the Pacific bureau of OWI, Lattimore continued to write and publish. The April 1943 Foreign Affairs carried his article "Yunnan, Pivot of Southeast Asia," which argued that
China would not dominate Southeast Asia after the war unless she felt hemmed in by a restored European colonialism. In June, Lattimore submitted a memorandum, "Mongolia and the Peace Settlement," to the Council on Foreign Relations. The main thrust of this article was that Russia would not try to annex Inner Mongolia.
The National Broadcasting Corporation also sought Lattimore's services as commentator on a radio series entitled "The Pacific Story." Mrs. Inez Richardson of Stanford University and Jennings Peirce of the NBC studio in Hollywood conceived and produced the series. Scripts were written by Arnold Marquis on the basis of research done by Eleanor Lattimore. The first "Pacific Story" broadcast aired from Los Angeles July 11, 1943; the Lattimores continued with the series for thirteen weeks. Lattimore had been reluctant to assume the task of preparing a weekly commentary in addition to his other activities, and since NBC felt that his radio voice "lacked warmth," the series was turned over to a succession of different commentators after the Lattimores' contract expired.
This brief foray into broadcast journalism convinced Lattimore that the written word was still his best medium. In 1943 he published his seventh book, America and Asia , notable for heaping even more praise on Chiang than had his previous publications. The Generalissimo was "a world statesman, of real genius." Even before America and Asia was off the press, Lattimore and his wife were beginning The Making of Modern China , a brief history of the Kuomintang. Published a year later, this work too includes lavish praise of Chiang. Russian reviews were scathing, dismissing Lattimore as a "learned lackey of imperialism."
Even though he was no longer on the Generalissimo's payroll, Lattimore kept in touch with his Chinese patrons during his residence in San Francisco. After she recovered her health, Madame Chiang toured the United States, speaking of the needs of the Pacific war and dramatizing China's great sacrifices. Lattimore wrote to her several times. On March 30, 1943, he sent her recordings of all her American speeches to that date. He told her, "These statements of yours have been of unique value. Traveling around the country you must of course be aware of the great impact they have had on the way Americans think about China; but perhaps you have not yet realized how wide the range of your speeches has been. Our office has been translating them into all the languages that are spoken from Korea to Australia and from Honolulu to Burma; thus your words have been steadily at work spreading the consciousness throughout Asia and the Pacific that China is not only one of the United Nations but is setting the moral standard and the standard of political thought in Asia."
A month later Lattimore wrote Madame urging her to visit Canada before she went home. Canadian pressure, he said, had influenced Britain's belated renunciation of the Anglo-Japanese alliance. If Madame were to stimulate Canada's interest in the Pacific war, this interest would increase pressure on Britain to cooperate more fully with China. Madame Chiang took this advice, speaking to the Canadian Parliament June 16.
Despite referring to the Generalissimo as a "coalition statesman of genius," Lattimore began to worry that Chiang was now appearing to ease off China's prosecution of war against Japan, counting on American forces to win in the Pacific and saving his strength to fight the Communists. He put these worries in a confidential letter to Currie July 20, adding a comparison of Nationalist and Communist policies:
Dangers of the situation . In China, the Communists are officially regarded as "the extremist party," and the information filtered through to the Generalissimo is intended to maintain this view. It should be frankly recognized that in the China of today the Kuomintang are much more nearly totalitarian than the Communists. Since the Communists are in opposition, one of the things they oppose is the totalitarian tendency of the Kuomintang. This makes them in fact the party of moderation . (Lattimore's italics)
The problem of American policy . While it would obviously be inadvisable for America to appear as the protector of a foreign Communist party, it would also be incautious for American policy to appear to sanction the use of force for removing from politics, in an allied country, a party which is more moderate in its political program than the party in power.
Perhaps it might be advisable for the State Department to seek an opportunity for a statement comparable to one which was made in the case of India in 1942. In the Indian case, a statement was made that the American troops in India were to hold themselves entirely aloof from and neutral to Indian questions.
This was Lattimore's first clear acknowledgment of a major worry about the Generalissimo and of his belief that the United States should not intervene in a Chinese civil war, whatever the stature of the Kuomintang leader.
Lattimore made his final wartime appearance before the CFR Territorial Group December 14, 1943. His title was "Russia and China in the Far East." Most of his presentation was a repeat of the theme that Soviet minority policies had been very effective, much more so than China's, and that people in the border areas "are bound to do Russia's propaganda
for her, by saying that things were better under Russian influence." In fact, were a plebiscite to be held in Outer Mongolia (as it later was), the people "would vote 100% to keep free of Chinese control." Lattimore did not gloat over this Soviet prowess; he pointed out ways in which the Chinese government could counter it.
Returning to San Francisco from his New York appearance, Lattimore stopped off in Chicago to talk to Kenneth Colegrove, an Asian scholar at Northwestern University to whom Lattimore offered the job as head of the Japan desk vacated by Clay Osborne. Lattimore did not remember this meeting with Colegrove, but Colegrove claimed in 1951 to recall it in great detail: "I was opposed to liquidating Dutch imperialism in Indonesia after the war. Then I mentioned something about the Chinese Communists, and this surprised me a great deal to have Lattimore, whom I thought by this time had lost some of his control, claim that he had more information on China than I had, which was, of course, true. He went so far as to say that Chinese Communists under Mao Tse-tung were real democrats and that they were really agrarian reformers and had no connection with Soviet Russia." Colegrove also said that Lattimore advocated the murder of the Japanese emperor and his family.
Lattimore never believed that the Chinese Communists were "real" democrats, or that they had no connection with Russia, or that the Japanese emperor and his family should be murdered. Colegrove, when the inquisition came, made similar damaging statements about other prominent scholars; to a man, they called him a liar. It is clear why Colegrove was not hired as head of OWI's Japan desk: Lattimore could never have tolerated anyone who approved of Dutch rule in Indonesia.
After more than a year in San Francisco, Lattimore was becoming restless, as was Eleanor. They missed their Baltimore home, and Lattimore wanted to be free to comment publicly on postwar policy. In March 1944 he asked to be relieved of the Pacific job. Elmer Davis agreed if Lattimore would remain on call for consultation and special assignments.
Lattimore had hardly gotten unpacked in Baltimore when Davis frustrated his plans. Davis thought the OWI broadcasts had been very effective and wanted to see if army and navy commands actually fighting the war would set up mini-OWIs in their field headquarters. Lattimore was handed this mission and by mid-March was flying to Honolulu and Australia to spread the OWI gospel to two of America's crustiest military moguls: Admiral Chester Nimitz and General Douglas MacArthur. The success of this mission was in doubt. The military had long believed the Japanese would rather die than surrender and were thus immune to pro-
paganda. There was also resistance to civilian ideas and "Roosevelt agencies."
Nevertheless, Lattimore convinced Nimitz that a mini-OWI in his field headquarters was at least worth a try. As he told it,
That left me with my mission to General MacArthur half-successful in advance, since an Army theater of command would only with reluctance turn down facilities already accepted by a Navy theater of command. Moreover I took with me to Australia, as prospective head of OWI operations under General MacArthur, an American newspaper-man who had previously, as an editor of a paper in Manila, enjoyed the General's confidence. Nothing was really left except to assure the General that the OWI man under him would be paid by Washington and supplied with materials by Washington, but would do nothing except under the General's control and orders. The General then embarked on a fascinating discourse, and after an hour or so I left, mission completed.
So Lattimore headed home once more, hopeful that he would finally be able to reenter private life.
Mission with Wallace
Roosevelt was not quite ready to let Lattimore settle down. The president was about to send Vice President Henry Wallace on a three-month trip to Siberia and China, and Lattimore's presence was required.
There are as many explanations of the genesis and purpose of the Wallace mission as there are chroniclers of it. Roosevelt, as noted earlier, had a compulsion to send special envoys everywhere he wanted to go but couldn't: fact-finding missions, troubleshooting missions, promise-the-sky missions, even plain goodwill missions such as the round-the-world trip of Wendell Willkie in 1943 or the cultural mission of playwright Lillian Hellman to Moscow in 1944. Roosevelt's envoys were expected to establish rapport with foreign leaders and convince them that if he were not fighting a war from a wheelchair, the president would be there himself.
Despite Roosevelt's habit of dispatching emissaries, Secretary of State Cordell Hull thought the Wallace mission originated with Wallace, who was concerned that the strained relations between the Chinese Nationalists and Communists made it impossible for China "to assume a position of influence alongside the three big Western powers. . . . Vice President Wallace went to China in 1944 with the idea of converting both parties to this point of view. This was his own idea." But Hull considered Wallace a bull in a China shop and opposed the trip. Publicly, Wallace said that Roosevelt wanted him to preach the necessity of Chinese unity to the Generalissimo. Barbara Tuchman's view was that "the selection of Wallace had more to do with domestic politics than with China." Roosevelt simply wanted Wallace out of the country so he could select a more popular running mate for the fall election.
Among other things, Wallace was to meet with Averell Harriman, U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union. But Roosevelt did not want Wallace in Moscow, where he might meet Stalin. Instead, Harriman would go to Tashkent to meet the vice president. "The President," Harriman later wrote, "was perfectly willing for Wallace to see Chiang Kai-shek. Indeed, he thought that the Vice President's liberal influence might do some good with Chiang. But he was taking no chances of confusing Stalin about American policy."
About one facet of the mission FDR was not uncertain in the slightest. As Wallace reported a conversation with the president, "He urged me to take Owen Lattimore with me, who, he said, was one of the world's great experts on the problems involving Chinese-Russian relationships. President Roosevelt had long been fascinated by the tribes which for many hundreds of years have wandered back and forth across what is now known as the Russian-Chinese boundary. He wanted me as an agriculturist to observe how they lived on both sides of the boundary and to form some opinions [with, presumably, Lattimore's guidance] as to how possible future causes of conflict between China and Russia might be minimized. He asked me specifically not to see the Chinese Communists because he thought that might belittle the importance of the special message which he asked me to convey to the Generalissimo." This special message was one of complete support for the Nationalist government of China.
Wallace was to have a small staff: Lattimore, because of his knowledge of the Sino-Soviet border areas and his ability to speak Mongol; John N. Hazard, an economist fluent in Russian; and John Carter Vincent, China specialist in the State Department who had Hull's confidence and who was to keep Wallace from giving away the store. The Skymaster flight crew was the best that could be assembled; Colonel Richard T. Kight had piloted Willkie around the world.
News of the Wallace mission, and of Lattimore's participation, reached Chungking by late April. Madame Chiang wrote Lattimore April 28, 1944, telling him that if he were indeed coming with Wallace, "I should be very happy if you will be our house guest during your visit to Chungking." He was pleased.
Both Roosevelt and Wallace issued public statements before the trip. Roosevelt's was brief, laconic, unrevealing. Wallace's was lengthy, impassioned, apocalyptic: "The President has asked me to visit Asia. The President is a symbol of hope for millions of people throughout the world and I am proud to serve as one of his messengers . . . . The object of the trip is to let our Asiatic friends know the spirit of the American people and
the beliefs and hopes of their Commander in Chief." The statement continued in this maudlin vein for nine more purple paragraphs.
The Wallace party took off from Washington May 20, 1944, following the great circle route via Minneapolis, Edmonton, Fairbanks, Whitehorse, and Nome; they arrived at Velkal in the Soviet Union May 23. Wallace's account of the Soviet leg of the journey, Soviet Asia Mission , is a minimally competent travelogue deficient primarily in its political judgments. Lattimore also wrote about the Russian visit for the National Geographic . Both accounts enraged the Soviet-haters because of their upbeat tone.
Lattimore later explained why he and Wallace wrote favorably about their Russian experiences: "We were in Siberia at the period of Russia's most cordial willingness to cooperate with America. The news of the landing in Normandy arrived while we were there, and the Russians over-flowed with goodwill. We were allowed to visit places that had been visited by no other mission, and I am sure that the benefit to America in 'background intelligence' was of great value."
Despite the aura of good feeling about D day, the Soviets carefully prepared for their high-level visitors. They had learned well from the czars how to create Potemkin villages and how to disguise slave labor camps. In 1944 little was known in the outside world about the extent of the gulag or the conditions of the prisoners' life and work. Elinor Lipper's book on Kolyma was still six years off, and Robert Conquest and Alexander Solzhenitsyn yet further in the future. The Russians went to great lengths to hide the gulag from Wallace and company; since Wallace was a fitness fanatic, this deception was not easy. The vice president seized every opportunity to stride off into the countryside for an invigorating walk and on at least one occasion was barely prevented from stumbling across an undisguised slave labor camp.
What the Russians showed Wallace, however, was impressive, so Wallace's book, Soviet Asia Mission , glamorized Soviet accomplishments in Siberia much as the American press glamorized the heroic achievements of the pioneers who opened up the American West. Wallace and party were actually taken to Magadan, a new mining center in the Kolyma Valley, where thousands of prisoners extracted precious metals for Soviet industry. Wallace's description of this visit was enthusiastic: "At Magadan I met Ivan Feodorovich Nikishov, a Russian, director of Dalstroi (the Far Northern Construction Trust), which is a combination TVA [Tennessee Valley Authority] and Hudson's Bay Company. . . . We had to work hard to get this place going, said Nikishov. Twelve years ago the first settlers arrived and put up eight prefabricated houses. Today Magadan
has 40,000 inhabitants, and all are well-housed." What Wallace did not realize was that General Nikishov had been ordered to remove all signs of prison labor, including guard towers and barbed wire.
That evening the Wallace party saw the film North Star , which was then popular in the Soviet Union. Mrs. Nikishov thought it "marvelous that Americans would produce such a picture about us." Wallace did not know that the Russians were laughing at North Star for its idealized picture of Soviet life, nor did he know that Lillian Hellman, who had written the original screenplay after her usual thorough research, was so disgusted with what director Lewis Milestone did to it that she bought out her interest and refused credit for it.
Wallace's superlatives went on and on, about Velkal, Seimchan, Yakutsk, Chita, Krasnoyarsk, Semipalatinsk, Karaganda, Balkash, and Tashkent. At Tashkent, Wallace met with Harriman. The crux of Harriman's message was that Stalin still expressed his firm support of Chiang Kai-shek, a message that Wallace was to pass on to Chiang. Wallace did, by all accounts, register this message, but it hardly diluted his single-minded attention to farming. Harriman reported later to Hull, "All his life, Wallace had been trying to get American farmers to accept science. In the Soviet Union he saw scientific methods being forced on the farmers, and it was heaven for him."
Lattimore's perspective was broader. Here he was finally able to visit the other side of the fascinating Sino-Soviet border, to compare this culture with what he knew of Sinkiang, Manchuria, and Inner Mongolia, and to see some of the priceless artifacts of prehistoric and ancient times. Yakutsk was particularly enjoyable for Lattimore; there he met the renowned A. P. Okladnikov, the archaeologist-anthropologist. Okladnikov had been given the whole of the Lena River watershed as his province. Even in wartime Okladnikov could commandeer transport and other services for his archaeological digs. He had already worked out the history of the migration of the Yakut people from the Altai up to the Arctic, with excavations and serious attention to rock carvings. Lattimore observed, "Okladnikov did a marvelous job. I was the only man in the party who was interested in this, so Okladnikov took me personally through his museum and exhibits." A bond was created between the two men that lasted until Okldadnikov's death thirty-seven years later.
When the Wallace party stopped at Minusinsk, Lattimore was determined to see the museum, which had a famous display of Stone Age and Bronze Age artifacts. Historians had used these artifacts in reconstructing
the history of ancient contacts between the Black Sea peoples and the Chinese of the Great Wall. Wallace relates with amused tolerance what happened in Minusinsk:
We arrived in Minusinsk late in the afternoon with only an hour to spare before going down-river and leaving, perhaps forever, this famous site. Now, the mayor of Minusinsk is Grigory Averyanich Murop, an obliging person in his way but not too well informed about the small town where he was the big man of affairs. . . .
Murop really didn't know very much about a certain small wooden house on the edge of his town. Why not come up to his office in the hour we had to spare? Why make such a fuss about seeing a "little old museum"? "It's a world-famous institution," Owen Lattimore exclaimed in mild exasperation. Murop's eyes opened in a quizzical look, as though he thought it just couldn't be true. "Well," he said slowly, "if that's how you feel about it, let's see the place. It's a long walk," he warned us. "To get back in time we must start at once."
The urbane official strode briskly with regained self-assurance, setting us a stiff pace all the way to the museum door, where he stopped in evident embarrassment. The door was locked and nobody responded to his urgent knocks. Having no key, Mayor Murop looked about for some familiar subordinate on whom to vent an order. His eye lighting upon a small boy leaning against the nearby wicket fence, the mayor demanded: "Where's the old woman?"
"Granny, you mean? She's gone home to eat."
"To eat! Go fetch her, immediately."
"Seichas," said the boy, dashing off through a broken fence and across the open field. In a few moments he came running back, with "granny" hurrying behind him. She was breathless and almost tongue-tied with excitement. When she opened the door, we all trooped inside to view the famous relics of prehistoric agriculture—bronze rakes, farm implements, stirrups, etc. The curator was so scared and stuttered so badly that John Hazard could hardly understand what she said in Russian. Owen Lattimore, knowing the international language of archeology, plied her with questions. She had all the answers, and her inscriptions on displays were all in English. "An expert curator," Lattimore remarked as we departed. "She knows her archeology of the Copper and Bronze Age."
Thus, both Wallace and Lattimore were entranced by their Siberian odyssey and published glowing accounts of what they saw and did. Wallace's book did not approach the prominence or sales of Wendell Willkie's millennial One World . Ironically, Soviet Asia Mission achieved notoriety
during the inquisition because of Wallace's unfortunate language describing the gulag as a TVA-Hudson's Bay Company.
Lattimore, lacking Wallace's personal fortune, sold his travelogue to the highest bidder—National Geographic . Since the first requirement of such magazines is that their articles capture the attention of subscribers, Lattimore wrote accordingly. His correspondence with the editors shows that they appreciated his "fast-moving and vivid narrative." When the cold war came, this vivid narrative was not so well appreciated. Nor was the analogy he shared with Wallace, comparing Dalstroi with TVA-Hudson's Bay.
After their tour of Siberia the Wallace party flew to Urumchi, the capital of Sinkiang in western China. For Lattimore this was a spiritual journey of the most moving dimensions. He began keeping a diary, and his surviving diary notes begin as he approached Urumchi. It was June 18, 1944, almost two decades since he had been there on his honeymoon. "About two hours to follow the route Eleanor and I rode in 17 days from Urumchi to Talki. I thought of her all the time. It was amazing how much I remembered & recognized after 18 years —even with different appearances from the air." The rest of his forty-five-page diary, carrying him through three weeks of China and the Mongolian People's Republic, is low-key.
The streets from the Urumchi airport into town were lined with people. Such a high-level group had never landed there. Lattimore was surprised by the numbers of White Russians (refugees from the Soviet Union) and their children, all "reasonably well dressed." At lunch that first day with the governor, Wallace controlled the conversational agenda: "soybeans, strawberries, fruits, rainfall, irrigation." Lattimore made a marginal note for this entry: "A hint at my low opinion of Wallace's topics of conversation with highly-placed Chinese."
That evening at a state dinner Wallace made a speech without notes that Lattimore had to translate, phrase by phrase. "What a job l I was far from perfect, but it was a wry comfort to note how eagerly Chinese dodged the job." The next day they spent inspecting: the cadet school, whose commandant was a protégé of Ho Ying-ch'in; the Women's Academy, established and supervised by the governor's wife, and according to Lattimore a first-rate operation; an animal-breeding station on the Turfan Road, "rather poor work"; and a Uighur farm, irrigated but with a low yield. They had dinner with American Consul Horace Smith, and Lattimore had a chance to encourage Governor Sheng to keep up his enlightened minority policies, since the Chinese could not compete with the
neighboring Russians by force and had to win over the Kazakhs, Uighurs, and other minorities by favorable treatment.
June 20 found Lattimore once again in Chungking, once again with Chiang and Madame. The Generalissimo met Wallace's party at the airport, then took Lattimore to see Madame and on to the American embassy for dinner. The next morning Lattimore inspected the OWI office, writing no comment. The party lunched with Ho Ying-ch'in, Wallace went off on an inspection trip, and Vincent and Lattimore rested at Chiang's. That evening was a state dinner, but Lattimore comments only that he did not have to translate. There were more inspections of schools and agriculture stations on June 22, and in late afternoon Chiang called for the vice president to come for a conference. Lattimore was excluded at Wallace's specific instruction. According to protocol, this treatment was correct; Lattimore had not attended sessions with Harriman in Tashkent. Here, though, the situation was somewhat different. Vincent did not speak fluent Chinese, and at this first high-level conference he was dependent for translation on Madame Chiang, who was notorious for misrepresenting what her husband told foreigners, and on T. V. Soong, who had his own agenda. Thus, there is some question as to the accuracy of the record of this conference as provided by Vincent.
As Vincent recorded it, there were two main topics: Chiang's lecture about how the United States should remain "cool" toward the Chinese Communists, who were really not much help against the Japanese but were a serious threat to the Chinese government; and Wallace's inquiry about sending an army intelligence group to Yenan soon, which Chiang rebuffed by saying "please do not press; please understand that the Communists are not good for the war effort against Japan."
That evening T. V. Soong hosted a small dinner; Wallace, Lattimore, Vincent, and Hazard were all present. Lattimore particularly enjoyed talking with Wu T'ieh-ch'eng, once mayor of Canton, where he had put down a Communist insurrection, and later in 1941 ranking official of the air-raid dugout to which Lattimore had been assigned.
Back at the Generalissimo's residence after dinner, the four Americans talked late with Madame. Lattimore was startled when Madame Chiang "passed a remark, cryptic enough to slip by others, about my return of gift." He had thought, when he refused the five thousand dollar "bonus" Chiang had directed be sent him after his final months on Chiang's payroll, that his letter of refusal was "as grateful and tactful as I could make it." Now to have Madame Chiang refer sarcastically to his ingratitude was very puzzling. After mulling it over for a while, he decided that, in
the standard Chinese way of doing things, the original amount set by the Generalissimo (or Madame) had been ten thousand dollars, and along the way somebody had squeezed off half of it. This would have meant that his reply, which named the amount, had to be suppressed, and Madame never received it. No wonder she was caustic.
In his diary entry for June 23, Lattimore notes: "Called early for unexpected interview with Gimo. He made some friendly chit-chat, then asked me pretty bluntly what VP trip all about. He obviously meant, in particular, was VP going to make a real drive to bring him & Communists together. Having discussed this in advance with JCV, I wanted him to take onus of any initiative in Communist rapprochement. Therefore I went into quite a long speech."
In this speech Lattimore dealt first with Soviet-American relations. Soviet resistance to German armies had turned American opinion around on the viability of the Russian government. Since postwar reconversion would require expanded markets for American production, and since Russia would need our machinery and techniques, "U.S. big business, finance, industry are pressing for an understanding with Russia good enough to allow economic confidence on both sides. There is not a whit of ideology in this."
He turned next to China, telling Chiang that "China will always be a main pillar of U.S. Pacific-Asiatic policy," but he warned that economically China would be a long-term proposition. Chiang should not expect too much from America. Then Lattimore talked about China's postwar dealings with her turbulent frontiers. His diary records:
At various points during this discourse—the longest uninterrupted speech I had ever made to the poor Gimo—he would nod agreement or indicate that I should go on. Then I asked him several questions:
1. Will the Russians enter the Pacific War?—Yes, as soon as they are assured of their position in the West.
2. What form will their intervention take? Are they likely to attack straight through Mongolia-Manchuria?—Undoubtedly.
3. When they do attack, are they likely to win important & rapid victories?—Yes.
I then shifted from question to statement. If the Russians win important victories as soon as they come in, it will change the whole map of the Pacific war. Therefore it is better for both America and China to have a dear understanding with them on cordial terms before they come in.
We then had breakfast. Afterwards I went into Gimo's room to phone.
He sat reading a paper and read out to me headlines of Nimitz' communique claiming a victory over the Japs at sea, east of Philippines, June 19. . . .
Then the morning's talk with VP. Finishing my phone call, I just casually entered the room & was present, without Wallace saying anything about it. . . .
At this interview were present Holly [Tong], Wang Shih-chieh, VP, JCV & myself. Holly did most of interpreting, with Wang or myself occasionally taking over. Holly, in interpreting a longish passage, is inclined to leave gaps. When he did, I boldly filled them in. Gimo nodded approval, & occasionally turned & asked me specially to interpret instead of Holly or Wang.
Evidently at this interview Gimo had made up his mind to show an attitude of generous cooperation, without waiting for pressure. He offered to give the US Army right to send observers—intelligence officers—into North China, including Communist territory. This is something Army has wanted a long time, & in itself would make VP's trip a success.
Linked not too obviously with this concession Gimo made a maneuver typical of him, in a way typical of him. He made a long, detailed & reiterative complaint that American critics—diplomats, the Army, the press—are forever urging him to make terms with the Communists. Nobody ever tells the Communists they ought to come to terms with him. Nobody ever brings up such minimum requisites as the submission of the Communists to unified command & military discipline.
To my mind, this is Gimo at his most Chinese. He wants desperately to have us mediate between him & Communists; & he will accept almost any real terms if in the outward bargaining we will save his face by making a noise about the degree to which the Communists ought to yield. VP completely fails to get this—understandably. Have urged JCV to hammer it home to him.
After the long morning session Lattimore went back to the OWI office in Chungking, where he met the Dilowa. His old friend was low in vitality and morale, but the U.S. navy doctor had given him a thorough examination and found him healthy. The Dilowa found conditions in Chungking deplorable, but he was very "positive" on events in the Mongolian People's Republic; the premier, Choibalsan, was a "good and decent man." The Dilowa told Lattimore that the Inner Mongolians were now leaning toward unification with the MPR and against both the Chinese and Japanese. Lattimore spent all afternoon with the Dilowa; he left reluctantly for supper at the Chiangs'.
The morning of June 24 Wallace and his group left for Kunming. Chiang
asked Lattimore for his "last words of wisdom which I for once had gumption to avoid giving." But he did make a suggestion: the Generalissimo should send men such as Ch'en Li-fu, "calumniated by the Communists," to the United States so Americans could see what they were really like. This was an amazing suggestion. Ch'en Li-fu and his brother Ch'en Kuo-fu headed one of Chiang's vicious secret police organizations. They were a cut above Tai Li, who was known as China's Himmler; Ch'en Li-fu had studied English under Lattimore's father and took a degree in mining engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. But he was known to be ruthless, and John Carter Vincent reported to the State Department that if Chiang were to create a viable and popular government, "the Chens and the Tai Lis must go." Chiang did not respond to Lattimore's suggestion about Ch'en Li-fu.
Chiang did tell Lattimore that he "wanted me to come out on a trip at least once every six months. Found chance to put Madame straight on why I had refused gift (she said she never received letter). Out to plane, where I dodged farewells." It was, all things considered, a great visit. But if Wallace's respect for Lattimore's translating abilities went up, Lattimore's respect for Wallace did the opposite. Agriculture, nothing but agriculture, seemed to occupy the vice president's mind. Even in Chungking, nerve center of the most tortured nation on earth, all Henry Wallace could get excited about was crops, farming, and volleyball.
Leaving Chungking, the Wallace party flew to Kunming, one of China's loveliest towns and Chennault's headquarters. Lattimore noted the activities of their first nights in Kunming: "Paroxysms of volleyball, badminton, ping pong. I gave up and went to bed. Staying with Chennault, who very friendly." He stayed in bed the rest of the time there, as this diary entry indicates: "Kunming, June 25-26. Pretty blank for me, as diarrhea all the time. Would have been lovely chances for rural photos, too, if only could have stayed a couple of 100 yards from can safely."
Though Lattimore was sidelined, the others generated more than enough activity. In conference with Vincent and Captain Joseph Alsop, Wallace expressed concern about Chiang's request that Stilwell be replaced as commander of U.S. forces in the China-Burma—India theater. Vincent and Alsop were also sympathetic to Chiang's wishes: Stilwell's often-ex-pressed contempt for the Generalissimo made Sino-American cooperation exceedingly difficult.
After extensive discussion all three agreed that they should recommend to Roosevelt that Stilwell be replaced. But who should succeed him? Wallace suggested Chennault, who got along well with Chiang. Vincent con-
curred. Both Wallace and Vincent knew that Chennault was strongly opposed to the Chinese Communists, who reciprocated the feeling. Recommending Chennault, therefore, was an anti-Communist act of major import. At this stage Alsop intervened. He believed that no one could replace Chennault as air force commander in China and that General Marshall and other military figures would vigorously oppose his appointment.
There was a reasonable compromise: Lieutenant General Albert C. Wedemeyer, who was well received by the Generalissimo and his staff. Wedemeyer was not well known to the Communists; he was brilliant; and he was acceptable to the American high command. Alsop won the day. A cable went out from the vice president of the United States, to the president of the United States, recommending that Stilwell be fired and replaced by a far less charismatic leader. Lattimore knew nothing of the deliberations or the cable.
Eight years later, when Pat McCarran ran amok with his Senate Internal Security Subcommittee, John Carter Vincent, as anti-Communist as any good Southern Baptist, was accused of serving the Communist cause by concurring in Alsop's suggestion that Wedemeyer, rather than Chennault, replace the irascible Stilwell.
The Wallace party left Kunming June 27, landing at Chengtu in Szechwan Province. There Lattimore saw a good Air Force doctor and learned that he would survive. He was particularly anxious to do so; the governor of Szechwan was Chang Ch'ün, a friend from Chungking's air-raid shelters, a man whom Lattimore liked and trusted. Wallace, true to form, divided his time between volleyball and agriculture. Lattimore had abundant opportunity to talk to Chang. Lattimore also wanted Wallace to talk to Chang away from one of the Gimo's agents, Huang, dubbed the Grand Eunuch. Candid conversation was impossible in Huang's presence.
Lattimore's activities in Chengtu were so extensive that his diary barely covers them; when he got back to Baltimore, he wrote additional notes that tell more of the story:
At Chengtu Chang Chun talked to me in great detail about politics when there were just the two of us. Chang wanted to make sure the Americans understood that he wanted a revived United Front with the Communists, negotiated earlier, while the Communists were still weak, rather than later, when they certainly would be much stronger. Chiang Kai-shek's argument was that it was he, not the Communists, who had been getting Soviet supplies and that at the end of the war it would certainly be he, not the Communists, who would get American supplies. Therefore he was justified in roughing it out. Chiang's guns-and-
bullets arithmetic led him to underestimate the immense potential of peasant support of the Communists. To the peasants, the Communists didn't talk about "communism." They talked about "land." Chang Chun understood this much better than Chiang. After the war, when Chang Chun visited Washington, he found that my name was not on the guest list for a reception put on for him by the Department of State. He insisted that it be added—to the chagrin of the Department. . . . Quite unabashed, Chang Chun, in the presence of Department personnel, asked me to stay behind, for a personal talk, as the reception was breaking up. During the talk, he asked me if I would act as his personal, confidential advisor and consultant, writing to him about whatever I thought was important and dealing with any questions that he might raise in writing to me. I replied that it would be a privilege to work with him, and it was an honour to be asked, but that a question of seemliness bothered me. I had been an employee of Chiang Kai-shek, and he was still a subordinate of Chiang's. Would not a moral problem arise? A former employee and a present subordinate, working together independently of the man who had been the boss of one of them and was still the boss of the other? Chang Chun was enough of a Confucian to accept my evasion gracefully.
But at Chengtu, there was no private chat between Chang Ch'ün, Lattimore, and Wallace. The Grand Eunuch had also learned about Wallace's proclivities for strenuous exercise. Lattimore relates three separate incidents when he thought he had sequestered Wallace so that Chang could talk to him; volleyball or a race to the top of a nearby hill always intervened. One particular incident irritated Lattimore. On June 29, the party was to inspect the Min River Irrigation District, China's most famous and ancient irrigation scheme. Lattimore and Chang Ch'ün were down to breakfast early, hoping to talk with Wallace before the Grand Eunuch appeared. No luck. The Grand Eunuch was lurking nearby and challenged Wallace to a game of volleyball. Wallace accepted, and they played for an hour. When the trip to Min River started, Chang Ch'ün managed to exclude the Grand Eunuch from the car in which he, Lattimore, and Wallace were riding, but Wallace, tired from volleyball, slept all the way.
When they arrived at the foot of a hill from which the whole Min River operation could be seen, Wallace challenged everybody to race him to the top. From Lattimore's diary:
Everybody followed him, trudging as fast as they could. The Governor and I looked at each other and stayed behind. We got back into the car and chatted. By the time the retinue got to the top, Wallace had got his breath back. He charged back down again, with the others not quite so
far behind him as they had been going up. Wallace's attitude toward this 2,000 year old feat of engineering can be summarized: He congratulated the Chinese on their enterprise far back in the days when there were not yet any Americans; but today, of course, it would have to be done with bulldozers, dredges, and all the rest of it. The Chinese could learn to do it, under American planning and supervision.
We then went on to a pleasant lunch, in a room which did not look out on the irrigation. Chang could not talk to VP, because too public, especially with the Grand Eunuch sitting as dose as he could, listening with the bland intentness of a tape recorder.
One can understand why, when in 1948 Wallace posed as the great presidential hope of liberals, Lattimore stayed far away.
The party spent June 30 to July 2 in Lanchow. Lattimore wrote extensively about the inspections, dinners, personalities; but the highlight of his stay there was another meeting with the Dilowa. Since the Wallace party was to go next to the Mongolian People's Republic, Lattimore extracted from the Buddha every bit of current information he could get.
For a Mongolist who had tried so often to get to Ulan Bator and failed because the controllers of access, the Russians, would not cooperate, Lattimore's notes on the Mongolian stay of two days are remarkably low-key. He did record the topography during the flight and the condition of the fields and livestock, but there was no recorded exhilaration comparable to his first view of the Heavenly Mountains in 1927. Instead there was a torrent of political and sociological data.
When the Wallace plane landed July 2 at a field east of Ulan Bator, Lattimore descended first. Recognizing Choibalsan from photos, Lattimore greeted him by name. The response was immediate and warm. Lattimore wrote in his diary, "Choibalsan speaks very clearly, so 1 got off to a good start interpreting in Mongol."
Lattimore saw "many big, fine, new buildings, but quantities of [yurts] & whole quarters of rather poor, Chinese style courtyard dwellings." There was a huge hospital, much more impressive than anything he had seen in Inner Mongolia. His general impression was that the Mongols were running their own show and that they knew what they were doing. Russian influence was "very strong, but the kind of influence is 'how to do it' rather than 'what you must do next.'" He was told there were about fifteen hundred Russians in Ulan Bator, a city of one hundred thousand.
Surprisingly, there was still considerable private wealth in the MPR. The richest individual was said to be a woman in Kobdo who owned five thousand sheep and one thousand head of other stock. Her possessions
meant she must have a large number of employees and therefore "exploitation of man by man." But the factories, such as the textile mill he saw, were easily nationalized from the beginning because they were something new.
Mongol nationalism showed strongly. So far as he could learn, the constitution, which borrowed from many countries, had not been translated into either Russian or Chinese. The "main stream of political thought, however, undoubtedly flows from Lenin-Stalin. . . . Seems to be no Mongol Sun Yat-sen. In the State theater, there is a small medallion each of Sukhe Bator & Choibalsan over the stage; but at each side of the stage a large medallion of Lenin & one of Stalin, each with a long quotation."
On July 3 Wallace and party got "the tour." The presentation consisted of a factory making serums and vaccines for animal husbandry, where "competent Mongol veterinarians and technicians" showed them around, with Russian "consultants" staying in the background. Then they saw three agricultural camps. The camps swarmed with healthy children, in contrast to what Stilwell had seen when he was there in 1923. Lattimore inquired about the scourges of syphilis and gonorrhea, whose effects he had seen in Inner Mongolia. His guide said these diseases were under control except in a few remote areas. Lattimore believed it. At one camp he met a man who owned more than one thousand head of animals and whose family "pullulated with children." Lattimore regretted the vice president's presence on this tour. He found people talked more freely in their own tents, "but it's the devil to get VP into a tent. Only got him into one, & he was out again like a bat out of hell."
Lattimore noticed that most tents had Buddhist shrines "in their due place of honor"; but the only operating temple in Ulan Bator was a kind of "junk heap temple, with gear obviously salvaged from a number of temples. Only 10 lamas. Head man grizzled, portly, genial. No boy lamas . . . . As near as I can make out, policy is to prevent reincarnations of Living Buddhas & to swing people over to religion expressed in form of family shrines & attendance at public lama prayers at which the ceremony continues, but without the worship of living, human, ruling 'reincarnations.'"
That night they were entertained by the Minister of Livestock, who "turned out to be quite a fellow, well-read in structure of US Govt. He looks like a burly ox of a back country Mongol whom you would not suspect of intellectual activity. The whole crowd detailed to look after us are a fine lot. Average about 30."
The party left Ulan Bator on July 4. Dick Kight managed to celebrate
that most American of holidays by firing a volley from his pistol at daybreak. There was some alarm among the Mongols, but Lattimore easily put their fears to rest. There seems to have been no ceremony on departure, nor did Lattimore express regret at having so few hours in the country he had so long wanted to visit.
They had one more stop before crossing the Pacific: Chita in the Soviet Union. There Lattimore met a Soviet general who impressed him almost as much as the Soviet general who bought Agnes Smedley milk on the Trans-Siberian impressed her. This General Kozlov was "genial, tough, confident." He had fought two years on the western front and was now in Soviet Asia to train troops. He could not say they were preparing to fight Japan; Lattimore wrote in his diary that Kozlov said, "We have neighbors here who bear watching," meanwhile "unwinding a wink that creaked like stage machinery. He admires our landing operations on the Western Front."
The evening of July 4 in Chita the Russians showed a movie of Wallace's party beginning in Yakutsk and ending in Alma Ata. Lattimore wrote, "VP now realizes that as far as movies go, cucumbers & alfalfa have their limits."
This was Lattimore's last notation in his diary. There was not much talking with Wallace on the way back; the vice president busied himself with the speech Roosevelt had instructed him to give in Seattle shortly after their return. Lattimore made no contribution to the speech or to the report Wallace later sent to Roosevelt. If Wallace followed the "Party line," as assorted ex-Communists later proclaimed, he discerned it all by himself.
"Who Lost China?" Begins
Lattimore returned home from the Wallace mission July 10, 1944, just in time to follow the 1944 Democratic convention as it discarded Wallace and selected Harry Truman as vice presidential candidate. Roosevelt maneuvered Truman's nomination, knowing that conservative anti-New Deal forces were building in the electorate and that Wallace was a prime focus of their hostility. Truman was from the border state of Missouri and hence acceptable to Southerners; more conservative than Wallace, he was also a loyal party man. As usual, Roosevelt calculated accurately; he went on to swamp his opponent, Thomas E. Dewey, in November.
His successful campaign meant four terms to one man; no other president in the history of the republic had served more than two. It began to look to Republicans as though the Democrats had a stranglehold on the White House, and the intensity of anti-Roosevelt feeling increased again. At the time, few could see the coming rejection of so many of Roosevelt's policies, especially his efforts to build with the Russians that edifice of peace to be called the United Nations. In the euphoria of the last years of the war, isolationism seemed to be dying. When the New Isolationism (as Norman Graebner calls it) later emerged, it was built around concern for Communist triumphs not so much in Europe as in Asia.
With his travels in wartime Asia behind him, Lattimore now turned to geopolitical concerns in a major way. Building on lectures he had given at the University of Omaha in 1944 and on the lecture "The Cause of Freedom in Asia," sponsored by the Mayling Soong Foundation at Wellesley College, he wrote his first book designed for a popular audience. Solution in Asia was published in February 1945; two chapters of it were carried by Atlantic Monthly in January and February. Judged by sales and prominent reviews, it was an immediate success.
Most of the themes in Solution had been sounded in earlier Lattimore articles. He continued, for instance, to emphasize the importance of the war in Asia, going back to the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931 as the precedent for all that followed: Fascist aggression, democratic appeasement. He continued to regard Chiang as a coalition statesman of genius, not a dictator but a nationally revered symbol of resistance to the Japanese. Japanese occupation of China's industrial areas had weakened the Kuomintang coalition, making it increasingly a party of landlords. This trend he deplored, but he still assumed that Chiang had the capability of remaining China's leader and that the Kuomintang would dominate the coalition government he thought might emerge after the war.
As to the Chinese Communists, he gave them credit for having a more nearly democratic structure than the Kuomintang, despite their doctrinaire base. And they were not, he argued, mere tools of the Kremlin. Lattimore did not believe that the Communists should be allowed to keep a separate army. "Once there is uniformity of political rights throughout China, under a government elected by the people, that government should enforce unity of military command and uniform conditions of military service."
The Soviet Union would increasingly be a power in Asia, whether we liked it or not. Lattimore cited Wendell Willkie's argument with a Soviet factory superintendent who claimed Russia was democratic because he himself was infinitely better off than his father and grandfather. This economic interpretation of democracy, said Lattimore, gave the Soviets a "great power of attraction" to the subject peoples of Asia. This attraction did not mean other countries were going to go Communist; the United States still had "the clearest power of attraction for all of Asia" because, among other things, we had set a definite date for freedom of the Philippines, we safeguarded the rights of workers, and we gave our business-people "unlimited opportunities."
When it came to the "solutions" of Asia's problems, Lattimore pulled no punches. He strongly endorsed the profit motive as the most effective stimulant to develop Asian economies: "an important step toward the solution of the problem is a policy of encouraging the development of independent local capital and industry in colonial territories. . . . the businessmen among the subject peoples are in the forefront of progress. They want political independence not only for itself, but as a step toward economic freedom of opportunity." The industrial nations should allow the new states of Asia to set tariffs allowing them to accumulate capital and build up industry.
America's interests also demanded expansion of the free enterprise sys-
tem. "We need political stability and economic prosperity in China so that we can invest our capital there safely and sell our products in an expanding market." What about the Russians? "Britain and America can successfully support their legitimate capitalist interests in China, and at the same time work in co-operation with the Russians for democratic harmony in a country in which the second-largest party is Communist." The Bretton Woods economic conference had set up the right machinery; we needed only to use it to obtain "the maximum volume of private investment. "
When Lattimore wrote a preface for a reprinting of Solution in 1972, he acknowledged error in assuming that the United States would have to invade the Japanese islands to win the war; he did not know about the atomic bomb. He also acknowledged overoptimism about the effectiveness of the forthcoming United Nations. But his fundamental analysis of Chinese politics had stood the test of time. The Chinese Communist party was isolated and not a mere creature of the Kremlin. The Kuomintang was coming increasingly under the control of landed gentry. Where he went wrong in China was in his continuing faith in the ability of Chiang Kai-shek to reform his government, unite China, and render Mao impotent.
Other people were writing in 1944 and 1945 also. The most important one in the Lattimore story was Alfred Kohlberg, wealthy New York importer of Chinese embroideries. Kohlberg had been active in both the IPR and the American Bureau for Medical Aid to China (ABMAC). Hearing from Lauchlin Currie and others of widespread corruption in the distribution of ABMAC's shipments to China, Kohlberg decided to look for himself. In June 1943 he went to China as a representative of ABMAC. Not speaking Chinese, he was dependent on what his Chinese hosts told him and showed him; since his hosts were affiliated with ABMAC, none of what he heard justified charges of corruption. Toward the close of his Chinese visit Kohlberg met Edward C. Carter in Chungking. Carter was an officer of United China Relief, ABMAC's parent group. Kohlberg tried to convince Carter that ABMAC was doing a good job; Carter listened passively, promised nothing.
Kohlberg was now convinced that Currie, Carter, and other ABMAC critics were lying about the organization. He returned to the United States angry at what he had heard. As he told his biographer, Joseph Keeley, "To me it smelled like treason because I couldn't see anyone benefitting from these lies but the Japanese. The possibility of Communist motivation had not occurred to me.
That deficiency was soon remedied. Kohlberg discussed his distress at
the China situation with Dr. Maurice William, an ex-Socialist who had written a book exposing the fallacies of Marxist thinking. William believed the IPR was fiddled with Communists and was behind the attack on ABMAC. Kohlberg determined to explore this accusation for himself.
His first effort was at the IPR offices, where (according to Keeley) he tried to buy back issues of Pacific Affairs and Far Eastern Survey . Allegedly he was rebuffed by IPR officials: the issues he wanted were no longer available. He turned to the New York Public Library, where he found his back issues and spent a year reading everything about China. Then he read the New Masses and the Communist for the same period. Kohlberg concluded that Dr. William was right: IPR and the Communists zigged and zagged together.
By November 9, 1944, Kohlberg was ready to clean house in the IPR. He sent a "rambling, confusing eighty-eight-page document consisting of quotations from Far Eastern Survey, Pacific Affairs , and various Communist publications" to IPR General Secretary Carter. A cover letter said:
Three or four years ago, you may recall, I resigned after a dozen years membership in the IPR. You asked me the reasons for my resignation and I told you frankly that I thought you had too many Communists on your staff. You asked me if I thought you were a Communist, to which I, of course, replied "No." You then told me that you did not question your staff as to their political beliefs: whether they were Democrats, Republicans, Socialists, Communists, or what not; that you investigated their qualifications and judged them by their work. This seemed to me at the time a very business-like attitude and I withdrew my resignation.
After reading [a booklet by Maxwell S. Stewart] I decided to look into the IPR publications further. . . . As a result of this reading, I now attach hereto a lot of clippings from your publications, along with clippings from "The Communist" (Official organ of the Communist Party in the USA) and "New Masses" (another Communist organ), also a few other clippings that seem to bear on the same issues. If you will go through these, I think you will find that your employees have been putting over on you a not-too-well-camouflaged Communist line. . . .
If you agree that a housecleaning in the IPR is long overdue, I will be happy to help. My suggestions would be:
1. Fire all the Reds, because the truth is not in them.
2. Adopt a policy of presenting facts rather than opinions. Identify the sources of your information.
3. Name a responsible body to determine policy. . . .
I am sending a copy of this letter and the accompanying extracts to other members of, and contributors to the Institute, in the hope that many will read through the material and form their own conclusions.
Very truly yours,
Kohlberg's charges fell on unsympathetic ears. The prominent financier Thomas Lamont, for instance, "realized that the charges were perfectly silly." Kohlberg's rebuff by Carter and the IPR trustees set a course for the rest of his life: until he died in 1960, he conducted a running crusade against the IPR and its alleged influence on American China policy.
IPR held its ninth conference January 6-17, 1945, at Hot Springs, Virginia. Lattimore was an active participant, registering his opinions in three familiar areas.
First, he was clear that European colonialism was outmoded and wrong and that if the Western democracies waffled on this issue, only the Soviet Union would gain. Raymond Dennett, in 1945 secretary of the American Council of IPR, thought that Lattimore was a bit too vigorous in his attack on colonialism. It "did not sit very well with the British, French, or Dutch, who thought he overstated his case somewhat."
The second area of Lattimore's comments at Hot Springs dealt with postwar Japan; his views were the same ones he included in Solution .
The third topic, his views on China, put him, for the first time, in conflict with his old friend Admiral Yarnell. Lattimore wanted the conferees at Hot Springs to press the Chinese about liberalization; Yarnell disagreed. An agenda-setting meeting before the conference proper shows this exchange:
Admiral Yarnell : But if criticism leads to the overthrow of the Chungking government, what will take its place? No other party is strong enough at present to assume control.
Mr. Lattimore : The more reasonable Chinese feel that Chiang's Government is the only hope for a continuing and stable government in China, but that it will be continuing and stable only if it modifies its policy; otherwise it will be overthrown.
Here was the crux of the Chinese problem. Could the "more reasonable Chinese," the Western-educated liberals who were powerless in Chiang's
uneasily balanced congeries of warlords, Whampoa generals, landlords, secret police empires, the Soongs, K'ungs, and Ch'ens—could these reasonable types actually gain any power without upsetting some delicate structure? It was a question answered by history in the negative. But as to the Hot Springs agenda, Lattimore won out. Chinese internal politics was discussed.
Much worry was expressed at Hot Springs about the ability of the Allies to hold together after the war, especially about relations between the Western nations and the Soviet Union. This worry was rapidly dissipated. Shortly after Hot Springs, at Yalta on February 3-10, 1945, the Big Three met in conference, and the publicity following that historic meeting swept all skepticism before it. Americans of all political persuasions rejoiced that Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin seemed to agree on a postwar program that would achieve what the Versailles conference after World War I did not: a permanent mechanism for keeping the peace.
But the euphoria following Yalta was short-lived; within a month Ambassador Harriman in Moscow believed that the Yalta accords were being brushed aside by Stalin. Steadily during 1945 the tensions between the Big Three began to grow. Roosevelt's death on April 12 accelerated the process. Lattimore especially was saddened by Roosevelt's death; obtaining peace was now going to be much more difficult.
On the day the Yalta conference convened the Nation carried an article by "Pacificus" entitled "Dangerous Experts." The article attacked two Japanophiles who were instrumental in Allied diplomacy and whose views Pacificus believed had in the past and would in the future lead to disaster. One of those Pacificus attacked was Eugene Dooman, at the time of Pearl Harbor counsellor of embassy to Ambassador Joseph Grew in Tokyo. Pacificus claimed that Dooman "was primarily responsible for the execrable mistake in judgment which minimized the threat to the United States represented by Tojo's appointment in October, 1941." Dooman believed Lattimore was Pacificus; Lattimore now had a new, bitter, and powerful enemy.
Dooman not only believed in retaining the imperial system in Japan but also thought that the only elements the United States could rely on were business leaders, court-circle aristocrats, and bureaucrats. Pacificus ridiculed this belief: "If the policies of these minor Neville Chamberlains are put into effect, American and British influence will be found in support of the discredited imperialist ruling group of Japan." This was a mortal assault on Dooman.
The FBI ultimately spent thousands of hours attempting to determine the identity of Pacificus (and another pseudonymous writer, Asiaticus) to
no avail. But his real identity did not matter. What mattered was that Dooman, at the close of a brilliant career, expecting to be among the top policy makers for the American occupation of Japan, was sidelined by the State Department; and Dooman blamed Lattimore.
Dooman's suspicion was plausible. Lattimore did not write the Pacificus article, but he agreed with most of it. He also agreed with I. F. Stone, writing in the Nation of July 14, 1945, under the title "Pearl Harbor Diplomats." Stone carried the attack on Dooman to greater lengths, concluding that "Grew and Dooman were suckers to the end." Dooman no doubt believed Lattimore to be behind the Stone attack also. Both Grew and Dooman now became active in the American Council on Japan, carrying their anti-Lattimore views to other foreign service people, to the FBI, to right-wing journalists, and ultimately to the Senate. When Grew resigned as undersecretary of state in mid-1945 (to be replaced by Dean Acheson), Lattimore's enemies were sure that Lattimore had engineered the resignation and had wrested control of Asian policy from the Japanophiles.
One does not think of 1945 as a year in which blacklisting of media talent was taking place, yet in May of that year, when the NBC Blue Network was looking for a commentator on Asian affairs, they considered Lattimore. To check him out they went to the FBI. The story is told in a memo from Clyde Tolson to Hoover, May 28:
RE: OWEN LATTIMORE
Mr. William Neal, of the Blue Network, WMAL, telephoned stating that an official of the Blue Network Headquarters in New York had asked him to see whether he could secure any information concerning the above-named individual who is under consideration for employment as a commentator as an expert on far eastern matters. Mr. Neal stated that the Blue Network had gotten into trouble because of securing the services of another individual who later developed to have radical tendencies.
After a check was made of the file I told Mr. Neal that while the FBI could not be quoted in any manner I would tell him very confidentially that certain connections and background of this individual were such that it was believed the Blue Network would want to be very cautious before utilizing his services as a far eastern expert commentator. Mr. Neal stated he understood the situation and was most appreciative of our helpfulness.
So far as present FBI releases show, there had been no addition to the Lattimore file since 1941, when Lattimore was briefly put on the Custodial
Detention list because of his association with the Maryland Civil Liberties Committee. Nevertheless, the "check of the file" Tolson mentions shows that the bureau had recorded somewhere the following: Lattimore had appeared on a program with Frederick Vanderbilt Field; had attended several receptions at the Soviet embassy; was an honorary chairman of In-dusco, Inc. (an American group supporting Nationalist China's industrial cooperatives); had spoken at an organizational meeting of the Maryland Citizens Council, a group supporting the United Nations; and was an associate of Pearl Buck in the East and West Association. These activities caused Tolson to warn the Blue Network against hiring Lattimore. Lattimore never knew of the network's interest in his services.
In 1945 Lattimore became increasingly concerned with the probability that Britain, France, and the Netherlands would attempt to reassert their control over their colonies. The Indonesians and Indochinese, as he saw it, would die to a man fighting the reimposition of European rule, and Britain's writ in India had also expired. He was fearful that any attempt at regaining these colonies would so embitter Asians that they would turn to the only alternative source of support: Russia.
Accordingly, Lattimore wrote his most powerful statement to date against a return to colonialism, which was published in the May 28, 1945, New Republic as "The International Chess Game." His fulcrum for moving American opinion into a vigorous anticolonialism was the reception given American troops returning to the Philippines. That country already knew precisely when it would become fully independent: "We had, in the Philippines,—and we alone had it—something politically much more important than 'loyal natives' fighting under American officers. We had Filipinos and Americans fighting side by side, for different countries but for the same loyalties. We had, in our period of defeat and suspended government, guerrillas who were both a military arm and a political movement. We had, when we came back, a welcome both as deliverers from the Japanese and deliverers of the Filipinos. We are having from the Filipinos , a demand for closer association, rather than clearer dissociation, which may prove actually embarrassing to certain aspects of our policy" (Lattimore's italics).
Again, Lattimore's position was overwhelmingly pro-Western, anti-Communist: "What we have done in the Philippines is to show that colonial liberation can be moved forward at the instigation of the sovereign power, and that it can be made evolutionary instead of revolutionary." We should, Lattimore said, firmly reject the pleas of our European allies that reasserting control in Asia was "sound," while arguments in favor of freedom were "sentimental." And the Russian role in all this? The Sovi-
ets could gain strength in Asia neither by "Moscow guile nor Moscow gold"; they could succeed only if the European democracies were stupid.
Lattimore's impassioned plea for a wise colonial policy probably made few converts. The leaders of the European powers were generally committed to restoring the status quo. And eventually, in Vietnam, the United States found itself financing a French effort to recapture that colony and ultimately fighting in the jungles against Ho Chi Minh.
Kohlberg was getting nowhere in his private attacks on IPR in 1945, but he scored a big victory by proxy in the public domain. Early in 1945 Max Eastman came to Kohlberg for material on the Chinese Communists. Eastman was a former Trotskyite who in his old age turned to red-baiting. He had good credentials: two years in Russia, fluent in the language, nine years as an editor of Masses and the Liberator . As William L. O'Neill says in his sympathetic biography, "Russia was his greatest adventure, and explaining communism to the world became the great mission of his life." In 1945 Eastman (along with J. B. Powell, a former journalist in China) turned to the arena where he feared the next great Bolshevik triumph.
Eastman and Powell put their call to arms, "The Fate of the World Is at Stake in China," in the June issue of Reader's Digest . The problem, as these authors saw it, was Communist propaganda weakening support for Chiang Kai-shek. Since the future of the world depended on the fate of China, China had to be kept out of Communist hands. Only Chiang could do this. Theirs was one of the earliest tocsins sounded in the "Who lost China ?" debate:
A flood of books, articles, reviews, news dispatches, lectures and radio broadcasts is pouring across our country dedicated to the sole purpose of confusing American public opinion about the situation in China. There are four main points in this deception now being practiced upon us—all equally false and all aimed at persuading us to abandon another 450 million people to the totalitarian infection spreading from Russia. Deception 1. That Russia is a "democracy" and that China can therefore safely be left to Russian "influence. "
OWEN LATTIMORE is perhaps the most subtle evangelist of this erroneous conception. Mr. Lattimore appraised the net result of the Moscow Trials and the blood-purge by which Stalin secured his dictatorship in 1936-39 as "a triumph for democracy." He now urges our government, in a book called Solution in Asia , to accept cheerfully the spread of "the Soviet form of democracy" in Central Asia. His publishers thus indicate the drift of his book on its jacket:
"He [Mr. Lattimore] shows that all the Asiatic peoples are more interested in actual democratic practices, such as the ones they can see in
action across the Russian border , than they are in the fine theories of Anglo-Saxon democracies which come coupled with ruthless imperialism. (Italics in original)
It was a cheap shot at Lattimore, who did accurately claim that Central Asian peoples were impressed by the advances of ethnic minorities in Russia. But the statement about "leaving China safely to Russian influence" was diametrically opposed to Lattimore's advice.
Deception number two, according to Eastman and Powell, was that the Chinese Communists were not really Communists and had no connection with the Soviet Union. Lattimore did not believe that and never said it. He always said that Mao was an ideological Communist, albeit an independent one. Eastman-Powell attacked Harrison Forman and Edgar Snow here; they could not attack Lattimore.
Deception number three: "That the Chinese Communists are fighting the Japs, and that the Chinese National Army is not." In hindsight this comment was not a deception. Both sides fought, as they saw fit, against Japan. The Communists fought more effectively.
Finally, deception number four: "That Chiang Kai-shek is a fascist, and that his totalitarian regime is preventing the Communists from establishing a democracy." Eastman and Powell never say who was peddling this last deception. They did not quote Lattimore; he did not believe it.
O'Neill, in his biography of Eastman, comes down hard on the Digest article:
Here in a single article one finds almost every important error and prejudice that was to cripple Sino-American relations for years to come. Almost everything was wrong with it. The Kuomintang was not only undemocratic, which the authors admitted, but hopelessly corrupt, authoritarian, and incompetent. The "people's welfare" was the last thing on its mind. China did not have to choose between the United States and Russia. It was perfectly clear at the time not just to Edgar Snow but to most informed journalists that the Chinese Communists were genuinely independent, though of course genuinely communist as well, which not all wanted to admit. Snow, Lattimore, and the rest were not the molders of America's China policy. This article's attack on them foreshadowed the myth that America "lost China" partly because of evil journalists. . . . This unfortunate article, the worst Eastman ever put his name to, was a sad omen. Max was losing touch with reality.
Perhaps. But the "reality" of future American policy was precisely the "error and prejudice" that Eastman and Powell set out to establish. Lat-
timore was outraged. He wrote to the Reader's Digest asking for an opportunity to reply but was curtly rejected. Edward C. Carter then suggested to Lattimore that the Digest be rebutted by a letter to the New York Times ; Lattimore was to draft such a letter, and the IPR would edit it and try to get Thomas Lamont to put his name to it. This project failed; Lamont deplored the Eastman-Powell article, but felt himself too ill-informed to pose as an authority on China.
Thus, the Eastman-Powell article was not contradicted by any equally prestigious source. Lattimore now stood publicly indicted as accepting cheerfully the spread of Soviet power in China. This indictment was a triumph for Kohlberg.
June 1945 was significant to Lattimore in other ways. On Sunday, June 3, the Lattimores hosted a cookout at their home in suburban Ruxton, Maryland. As far as Lattimore knew, it was an ordinary weekend event, with three friends visiting him from Washington and two Johns Hopkins couples joining him and his family for hamburgers, conversation, and country atmosphere.
One of the Washington guests was Foreign Service Officer John Stewart Service. He had recently returned from China, and the Lattimores wanted to see him. Since they had invited Service to come up from Washington, Lattimore decided they might as well invite two others to come along. Lieutenant Andrew Roth, of the Office of Naval Intelligence, whom Lattimore had met once, had just completed a book about Japan and wanted Lattimore to look at the galley proofs. Rose Yardumian was in charge of the Washington IPR office and an old friend of the Lattimores. The three drove up to Ruxton together.
The guests from Johns Hopkins were invited casually; Lattimore, crossing their paths on campus, suggested they might be interested in meeting his Washington friends. The local guests were Professor Malcolm Moos and his fiancée and Professor George Carter and his wife. Moos was in political science, Carter in geography.
Lattimore did not know that Sunday that the FBI was tailing Service and Roth and would arrest them three days later in what became, to the China lobby, one of the most enduring symbols of treason: the Amerasia case.
Amerasia was Philip Jaffe's left-wing magazine; Lattimore had once been on its editorial board. By 1945 Amerasia had become strongly anti-Chiang. Jaffe was anxious to obtain the latest reports from China and had contacted Service on the latter's return to the United States, asking if he had any material that might be available for background use. Service, in
accord with a common government practice then and now, loaned Jaffe seven or eight of his own reports on China. Service had himself classified these reports and requested Jaffe to return them after reading. Service had never met Jaffe before 1945. Jaffe and Roth, though, were old friends. Roth had written for Amerasia and was one of Jaffe's most reliable leakers of government information.
The incident that triggered FBI surveillance of Service and Roth was the discovery by the Office of Strategic Services (OSS; predecessor to the CIA) that Amerasia had printed large portions of one of their classified reports in its January 1945 issue. OSS officials were startled at this leakage of their documents and broke into the Amerasia office one night without a search warrant to see if other government documents were in Jaffe's possession. They found several dozen. The matter was then turned over to the FBI. Bureau agents trailed Jaffe, finding him and Kate Mitchell to be in touch with Service, Roth, and two others. Because of Jaffe's friendship with Earl Browder and other American Communist party officials, the FBI assumed that Jaffe was passing the classified documents to the Soviet Union. On June 6, three days after the Ruxton cookout, Roth, Service, Jaffe, Mitchell, Emmanuel Larson (also with the State Department), and journalist Mark Gayn were arrested on espionage charges. (No evidence of espionage was ever found, and the charges were reduced to illegal possession of government property.)
There are basically two versions of what happened at Ruxton. One version is agreed to by the Lattimores, Service, Roth, Yardumian, and Professor Moos. According to them, most of the party spent the day enjoying the Lattimore yard, admiring the Chinese objects in the house, eating hamburgers, and chatting; Service and Roth, though, spent much time reading and discussing the proofs of Roth's book. Lattimore also looked at the proofs for a while, and he and Service disappeared upstairs at one point, for, as Lattimore recalled, "a very interesting thing. Jack had been working on a quotation from Mao Tse-tung in that period containing some bitter indictments of the United States as an imperialist power, and he used an expression which baffled Jack Service. So he said, 'Can you make this out?' I couldn't. So we went up to my study to our dictionaries to see if we could chase it down. We finally came to the conclusion that it was peasant dialect from his own province, not current in standard Chinese. It probably meant something like 'rotten stinking of blood.' And this was the subversive problem on which we had our heads together."
In an affidavit submitted to the Senate in 1950 Professor Moos added
that at some period during the afternoon Lattimore went out in the backyard to cut weeds with a scythe. Moos remembered talking to him during the weed cutting.
A quite different version of the Ruxton picnic came from the Carters. George C. Carter was fanatically anti-Communist, and when the Amerasia arrests were announced, his imagination began to work overtime, as did his wife's. Though the FBI documents are partially sanitized, and though the claims of Carter and his wife show discrepancies, both of them reported clandestinely to Senator McCarthy after he got on Lattimore's case that Lattimore, Service, and Roth conferred for a long time over some documents. When asked what they were doing, Lattimore allegedly replied that they "were declassifying certain documents in favor of some friends." But the Carters remained in the shadows, willing enough to report secretly to McCarthy and the FBI but unwilling to testify openly or provide an affidavit Carter became a pariah on the Johns Hopkins campus and in the 1950s moved to Texas.
After the Amerasia headlines on June 6, 1945, the case disappeared from the news until August. In the Far Eastern division of State presided over by Joseph Grew, however, Japanophiles such as Eugene Dooman and Joseph Ballantine continued to work against Service, John Paton Davies, and John Carter Vincent, all of whom were regarded as insufficiently anti-Communist. When the Amerasia arrests were announced, Dooman gloated to Vincent, "We're going to get bigger fish than that. Isn't it too bad about Jack Service?"
Lattimore, stimulated by what he had heard from Service and Roth, became increasingly concerned about American policy in Asia. Chiang did not seem to be liberalizing his government, civil war in China seemed more likely, and the undesirability of leaving Hirohito on the emperor's throne in Japan was not acknowledged in Washington. Had Roosevelt still occupied the White House, Lattimore would have had little difficulty making sure that the views he and like-minded Sinophiles held got through to the top. Truman he did not know. After some deliberation Lattimore decided to confront the issue head-on. He wrote Truman June 10, 1945:
Dear Mr. President:
When Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, on the recommendation of President Roosevelt, appointed me his political advisor in 1941, the policy of the United States was to support a united China. There appears now to be a major change in our policy, which may invite the danger of a political and even a territorial division of China, and
the further danger of conflict and rivalry between America and Russia.
Until quite recently, great care was taken to avoid any inference that America, in aiding China as a nation, was committing itself to all-out support of one party in China's domestic affairs. There now appears to be a fundamental change. Public statements by men regarded as spokesmen for American policy encourage many Chinese to believe that America now identifies the Chinese Government with one party and only one party, commits itself to the maintainence of that party, and may in the future support that party in suppressing its rivals.
Such a belief among Chinese may make Russians feel that America has led the way in committing itself to one party in China, and that Russia would be justified in following that lead and committing itself to the other major party. . . .
In the eyes of many people such a development would mean that America itself, long the supporter of China's political and territorial integrity, had initiated a new policy identified with the political and territorial partition of China. . . .
With the utmost earnestness, I venture to urge you to have America's policy toward China impartially reviewed by advisors who are not associated with either the formulation or implementation of that policy as recently practiced.
Truman's answer four days later was typically brusque: "The Chinese situation is developing alright. The policy has been definitely outlined to the Chinese. The Russians and the British and ourselves have reached an agreement which I think is in the best interest of China. I would be glad to discuss it with you sometime, if you feel inclined." Lattimore quickly accepted this lukewarm invitation, and a date was set: Tuesday, July 3, 1945, at eleven-thirty. Suspecting that the session with Truman would be perfunctory, Lattimore carried with him two one-page memoranda to leave with the president, hoping that Truman would endorse them and pass them on to the State Department.
Lattimore's assumption about the brevity of his conference with Truman was accurate. Truman was curt, just as in the letter. Things were under control. Lattimore remembered that he was in and out in a matter of minutes. He suspected that no residue of his argument remained with Truman. The memos Lattimore left were saved for posterity in the White House records, but there is no evidence that they had any effect. Com-
pared with his visits to Roosevelt, Lattimore's session with Truman was inconsequential. It is no wonder that five years later it slipped his mind.
In view of McCarthy's later claim that Lattimore was the chief architect of our China policy ("as any schoolboy will tell you," added the senator), the Lattimore advice is worth inspecting. His first memo was headed "China Policy":
There are two alternatives in China:
1. Division of the country between Chiang Kai-shek and the Communists. This would mean, for Chiang, a permanent policy of getting American support, for which he would give anything America wants; and for the Communists, a similar policy of getting Russian support, with similar results. The eventual consequence would almost inevitably be war between America and Russia.
2. A unified China. To unify China, there must be a settlement between Chiang and the Communists and simultaneously an agreement between America, Russia, and Britain to build up China as a whole. The Communists would have to accept minority standing as a long-term status; but Chiang would have to give them real power within a coalition government, proportionate to their real strength—not just token representation.
In other words, we can have either a divided China, with Chiang having dictatorial power in his territory, subject to acting as an instrument of American policy; or we can have a whole China, at the price of pretty drastic political change, including limitation of the personal power of Chiang.
Unless he is certain of American policy, Chiang would rather have unlimited power in a small China than limited power in a larger China. He still thinks that America is on the fence, but will be stampeded into jumping down on his side, against Russia, if he hits the right timing in a civil war against "the Bolshevik menace." Influential advisers tell him that America is headed for a long-term conservative trend, with Republican ascendance, and that Henry Luce, Walter Judd, etc., have guessed the trend correctly.
The basic American interest is represented by policy No. 2. It can be successfully worked. Chiang is tenacious, but has shown in the past that he knows when to give in and try a new policy. But he will only play ball if America and Russia, with British approval, make it plain that they are going to be joint umpires. America, alone, cannot either coax or bluff Chiang into a settlement with the Communists involving real concessions; but if Washington and Moscow agree, both Chungking and Yenan will carry out the agreement.
Notice that a China unified by Communist victory in a civil war was not within Lattimore's conception. He believed that even if Chiang failed to liberalize his government, the Communists were not a viable alternative—unless Russia came fully to their aid and the United States stayed out. The ultimate horror was not therefore a Communist-dominated China but a war with Russia into which the United States would be drawn.
The second memo, "Japan Policy as Related to China Policy," voiced his opposition to a "soft" peace for Japan and to the influence of the Japanophiles:
Japan, politically, now banks everything on the hope of peace terms that will make possible a comeback and another war. The only possible comeback is as leader of an Asiatic coalition, under the racial battle-cry of "down with the white man." Therefore unlike Germany, where the principal Nazi underground will be in Germany, the Japanese underground must be largely in other parts of Asia. China is the key to this problem.
Like Germany, Japan must also do its best to pit the Western Allies against Russia. China is also the key to this problem.
Therefore, in China the Japanese problem is not WHETHER they are going to be defeated, but HOW to manage the process of being defeated to their own future advantage. The Japanese have already begun to handle this problem by seeing to it that their defeat contributes to both the political and the territorial disunity of China. Where they can manage to retreat in favor of Chiang Kai-shek and not in favor of Communist guerrillas, they do so. Where there are no Communists, they try to retreat in favor of provincial, regional, or warlord troops, instead of Chiang Kai-shek troops, so as to contribute to territorial disunity. They hope that if China can be led into both "ideological" civil wars of landlords against peasants, and regional civil wars of provinces against the Central Government, Japan will not be eclipsed during its years of postwar weakness.
To counteract this Japanese policy, the American policy in China must work steadily for peace, unity, and modern political forms.
At the same time Japan hopes that fear of Russia will induce Britain and America to be "soft" with "anti-revolutionary" Japanese big business, and to wink at the fact that big business in Japan is as militarist as the militarists.
To handle American policy in the new phase, it is necessary to make adjustments to the fact that China, rather than Japan, is now the key to Far Eastern policy as a whole. In most government agencies at the present time the tendency is to find Japan-trained men in higher policy-making posts than China-trained men, simply because Japan used to be a more important Great Power than China.
Could Lattimore's arguments have conceivably influenced American policy toward China? Certainly not the first one. Chiang was adamantly opposed to giving the Communists "real power in a coalition government," and when General Marshall went to China at the end of 1945 on his mission to mediate the impending civil war, he was instructed that in the event of failure the United States would back Chiang.
Lattimore's advice may have been unwise. Mao was not about to "accept minority standing as a long-term status." It is doubtful that even Russian pressure could have forced Mao to relinquish the autonomy of his army, as Lattimore believed he should be required to do.
The second memo, about Japan and the influence of the Grew-Dooman-Ballantine axis, provided some rationale for believing that Lattimore might have influenced personnel changes in the State Department. Within a short time all three of the senior Japanophiles were out of the department. But post hoc is not propter hoc; all of them had reached retirement age, and not even Grew claimed that he had been pushed out. Certainly American policy toward Japan did not conform to Lattimore's formula.
On July 3, 1945, James F. Byrnes was sworn in as secretary of state. The installation of Byrnes triggered changes all down the line. The New York Times of August 6, 1945, headlined "Byrnes Expected to Drop Four Top Aides. Grew, Rockefeller, MacLeish and Holmes Likely to Go in Wide Reorganization." The forecast was accurate.
John Carter Vincent, head of China Affairs at the time of the Byrnes appointment, recommended Lattimore for a State Department job. The same Times article that forecast Byrnes's shakeup reported, "Also mentioned is Owen Lattimore, Professor of International Relations at Johns Hopkins University and an authority on the Far East. Mr. Lattimore, however, has had no diplomatic experience. A possibility also is that Mr. Lattimore will be named a special adviser on Far Eastern Affairs." It never happened. Grew, though about to retire, still had clout and vetoed Lattimore.
Unfortunately, Byrnes's memoirs do not deal with the Japan versus China dispute among departmental personnel or with the liberal versus conservative positions on the treatment of Japan. Byrnes notes casually that Grew asked to resign in the summer of 1945, and he accepted the resignation "with regret." Byrnes thereupon appointed Acheson to replace Grew as undersecretary.
Byrnes had no ideological agenda in wanting Acheson; they were friends and had worked together amicably. Byrnes simply wanted someone in whom he had confidence to take charge of the department when he was away. But Acheson was a hardliner on the issue of the emperor; he thought
the whole concept of a head of state as deity to be anachronistic and took the same position as Lattimore that the emperor was part and parcel of the Japanese war group. This agreement was purely fortuitous; Acheson had never met Lattimore and was in no way influenced by him.
For conspiracy theorists the Byrnes reshuffling was a highly significant event. When Vincent was made director of the Office of Far Eastern Affairs a mere month after the Acheson appointment, the personnel changes recommended to Truman by Lattimore had been made. This coincidence was later held to prove Lattimore's power.
Kohlberg and the Pauley Mission
On August 6, 1945, the first nuclear bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, and questions about the effectiveness of psychological warfare against Japan became moot. The Japanese rushed to surrender; on September 2 General MacArthur presided over the official ceremony on the deck of the Missouri . One cosmic watershed had been crossed.
Less newsworthy but nonetheless highly salient to the political wars shaping up in the United States was the failure of a grand jury on August 10 to indict three of the six persons arrested in the Amerasia case. The jury did indict Andrew Roth, Emmanuel Larson, and Philip Jaffe; but John Stewart Service was unanimously cleared, and Mark Gayn and Kate Mitchell were let off on a divided vote. The failure to indict these three stuck in the craw of the China lobby for the next thirty years. To use the vernacular, Chiang's supporters believed that the fix was in.
The case of Service was particularly galling. Service had written some of the most trenchant criticism of the Chinese Nationalist government and some of the best-documented praise of Mao and the Yenan Communists. How could he have been exonerated by a grand jury unless the government attorneys deliberately fudged the evidence against him?
From an objective viewpoint, the unanimous exoneration of Service is easy to understand. What had he done? He had simply loaned documents he wrote and he classified to a journalist. The practice of leaking such documents to journalists (frequently on background) was as well established then as it has been ever since. Service explained to the grand jury that what he had done with his documents was common throughout the government, and the jury believed him. Harvey Klehr and Ronald Radosh, using transcripts of FBI taps on the telephone of Tommy Corcoran,
a lawyer assisting Service, show that Corcoran influenced government attorneys not to grill Service before the grand jury; this agreement, they claim, constituted a fix. This is a peculiar conclusion since Radosh and Klehr acknowledge that "Service probably wouldn't have been indicted anyway." So what was fixed? The most that can be said is that "Corcoran's intervention spared him tough questioning in front of a grand jury."
Other developments in the Amerasia case intensified China lobby paranoia. Emmanuel Larson learned from his building superintendent that federal agents had been let into his apartment without a warrant. On September 28 he filed a motion to quash the indictment because the evidence had been obtained illegally. The Department of Justice was alarmed; Jaffe, the main culprit, could also file such a motion, which was certain to succeed. If he did so, the whole case would evaporate.
The Department of Justice decided to act the same day that Larson filed his motion. They contacted Jaffe's lawyer, who had already suggested a plea bargain for his client. The government offered to let Jaffe off easy if he would plead guilty simply to unauthorized possession of government documents. The lawyer accepted. It was Friday. James McInerney, assistant attorney general in charge of the Criminal Division, found a judge who would work Saturday morning. On September 29, 1945, in an unusual weekend session, Jaffe came to court, pied guilty, and was fined $2,500, and the Department of Justice was spared the embarrassment of having a notorious case thrown out of court because of illegally obtained evidence.
To hardline anti-Communists, this outcome was a perversion. Amerasia festered in the cold war years until they believed, as George Sokolsky put it in a broadcast of July 17, 1949, that "the Amerasia case was bigger, more important, and historically more significant than the Alger Hiss case."
With the war over in 1945, Lattimore assumed that his government service was finished, and he settled down at Johns Hopkins to plan postwar programs for the Walter Hines Page School, of which he was still the head. Only minor provocations intruded on his academic activities; among these provocations was the Kohlberg article in October's China Monthly .
Alfred Kohlberg's "Owen Lattimore: Expert's Expert" is not as virulent as most of the Kohlberg corpus. Kohlberg acknowledges that Lattimore backed Chiang Kai-shek during the war and that he praised Chiang
as a "world statesman, a real genius"; Kohlberg even gives Lattimore credit for giving Chiang's industrial cooperatives a pat on the back. But dominating the article are Kohlberg's usual slanders: Lattimore was a "great admirer of the Communist system" who wanted to "lock China into the Communist world system," and Solution in Asia does not "clearly reveal" what Lattimore recommended for Asian economies.
Lattimore protested the article, and unlike Reader's Digest, China Monthly agreed to carry his response. "Reply to Mr. Kohlberg," in the December 1945 issue, argued that Kohlberg was so inaccurate as to be completely unreliable and set forth "what my attitude really is toward Russia, and toward Russian influences and interests in China." Lattimore wrote: "I do not believe that a spread of Communism anywhere in Asia (or indeed in Europe or America) is either inevitable or desirable. I believe that throughout Asia the desire of ordinary men and women for a democratic order which includes private enterprise and private profit is more important than the desire of minorities in each country for a Communist or Socialist order of life. More than that, I believe that the country which most people in Asia would like to imitate and emulate is America rather than Russia." 
After noting numerous inaccuracies in Kohlberg's account, Lattimore suggested that Kohlberg's quotations from Solution might "lead some readers to consult that book as a whole and form their own opinions" of his views. China Monthly , however, was not about to give Lattimore the last word. Lattimore's article ended on page seventeen of the December issue; several pages later Carmac Shanahan began a new and more virulent attack on Lattimore in an article entitled "False Solution in Asia." Shanahan had been a Roman Catholic missionary in China, and he had heard about atrocities committed by the Communists. The Chinese couldn't be gravitating toward communism, as Lattimore thought would happen if Chiang failed to liberalize his rule. In Shanahan's three pages no single sentence acknowledges Lattimore's solution: private property, the profit motive, encouragement of small business, evolutionary development rather than revolution, and in China the continued leadership of the Generalissimo. Lattimore did not reply to Shanahan.
In October Lattimore got another call from Washington. The predator nations were defeated, and now justice had to be done for their victims. All of Asia had been savaged by the Japanese, and the victims were clamoring for reparations. Truman gave the task of deciding who was to get what from the Axis to Edwin W. Pauley, a prominent Democratic oil magnate.
Pauley's first task was to set reparations goals for Europe; this task he completed by September 14, 1945. Truman then instructed Pauley to lead a reparations mission to Asia.
Pauley had probably never heard of Lattimore, but on October 5 J. R. Parten of the United States Commission on Reparations wrote Pauley a memorandum: Lattimore was an outstanding Far East authority and should be invited to serve on the mission, selecting whatever assistants he wanted. Pauley thereupon contacted Lattimore to see if he were available. Lattimore's response was lukewarm. Certainly he was interested in the project; foremost among his personal beliefs was the conviction that Japan had treated the Chinese brutally and should make whatever amends were reasonable. But another lengthy trip away from home, family, and job was not inviting. Pauley sweetened the offer by arranging for Eleanor to come along as part of the support staff; she had considerable experience administering IPR projects and worked closely with her husband on his professional tasks. Mrs. Lattimore was placed on the Pauley mission rosters and received her travel authorization, but it was canceled because of the housing shortage in Tokyo.
The Pauley mission personnel (twenty-two including support staff) went on active duty in Washington on October 15. There were briefings and a general staff meeting, and Lattimore took every opportunity to interview experts on Japan during this period. Before the mission left for Tokyo Pauley was confronted with unfavorable publicity about Lattimore that upset him. Walter Trohan's article in the Washington Times Herald of October 26 was headlined "State Department Sends MacArthur Soviet Sympathizers as Aides." Trohan did not seem to understand that Lattimore was working under Pauley on reparations matters, not as an aide to MacArthur, but Kohlberg and Eastman had done their work. Trohan wrote "Another Red sympathizer, if not a Communist, Owen Lattimore has been named a special economic adviser to Tokyo." Other members of Pauley's staff assured him that Lattimore was not a Communist, and the mission went forward; but seeds of suspicion had been planted.
The first contingent of the mission left for Japan November 1, 1945. Lattimore had been preparing a "Forecast" memorandum on the problems they would face. The memo was ready for presentation to H. D. Maxwell, chief of staff, when they landed in Tokyo. The occupation, as Lattimore saw it on the basis of what he learned in Washington and from news reports, was going well; MacArthur had managed it with "great skill." The Japanese power structure was not monolithic, and MacArthur had
kept competing groups off balance, exploiting conflicts between them in order to find those groups that he could use to support American policy.
All power holders in Japan, however, wanted to preserve their own privileges. Demilitarizing Japan and breaking up the Zaibatsu cartels would not be easy. In his memorandum to Maxwell, Lattimore fleshed out the ways of promoting entrepreneurship that he had first mentioned in Solution:
Each negative step taken in demilitarizing Japan should be accompanied by a positive step which permits the formation of an anti-militarist interest group. It is no use trying to indoctrinate Japan with a democratic ideology based on words and arguments, unless the people who hear the words and study the arguments can see that they fit their own interests. Examples: Break-up of the Zaibatsu will be only temporary unless other ways of doing business are deliberately encouraged and given the edge, in such a manner that the Zaibatsu, when they try to recombine, will find that their principal obstacle is not an American decree, but the resistance of newly formed Japanese small-scale and middle-sized enterprises with interests of their own to defend. Possibly a start could be made by setting up tax scales with incentives for smaller enterprises and deterrents for cartels and associations. 
It is not likely that this memorandum had much influence. What Lattimore recommended was in line with established American policy for the occupation, but the Pauley mission was specifically charged with considering reparations. Lattimore's role was primarily to relate possible reparations to the needs of Japan's victims, not to show how small businesses could be encouraged.
Two areas of Japanese industry were assigned to Lattimore for analysis: machine tools and aluminum. Both areas had been expanded for war production far beyond any possible domestic needs. By the time he finished his investigations, Lattimore had found the Japanese to possess approximately 850,000 machine tools, compared to the 1930 prewar stock of 150,000. The interim report of the Pauley mission (January 12, 1946) slated half the machine-tool hoard for reparations. In aluminum, the war-induced production was even greater. No aluminum whatever had been produced until 1934, when Japan was already deep into Manchuria. By 1944 nine major plants produced annually 152,200 metric tons of aluminum, all of it for the war effort. Japan had no bauxite, the civilian economy used little aluminum, and there was excess capacity in the copper industry that could be devoted to aluminum should civilian demand in-
crease. Lattimore—and Pauley—finally recommended that only a plant or two be retained to process the estimated two and one-half years' supply of scrap.
Aside from his assigned industries, much of Lattimore's attention was devoted to China. Here he locked horns with another commission member, Arthur G. Coons. Toward the end of November Coons gave Pauley a memorandum on reparations policy as it affected China. Lattimore disagreed with much of Coons's memo. On November 26 Lattimore presented Pauley with a document "in modification or amplification of Coons' interpretations." One of Coons's assumptions was that the United States should accept as a given that "Russia is pledged to support of Chungking." Coons apparently based this assumption on the terms of the recently signed Sino-Soviet Treaty.
Lattimore exploded: "Russia is NOT pledged to support of Chungking. Article V of the Russo-Chinese Treaty pledges non-interference in internal affairs. This has always been a thorny point with any country that negotiated a treaty with Russia." Russia had agreed to moral support and assistance to the Nationalist government, true, but in the context of the war with Japan. That war was now over. International lawyers could argue interminably about whether the Soviets were obliged to support Chungking against domestic enemies.
If it were not enough to have caught Coons trusting the Russians, Lattimore found fault with another Coons conclusion: "We dare not leave Jap troops (or, for that matter, Jap civilians) in North China, if we wish to consider the victory over Japan complete." To this Lattimore responded, "I disagree. With the fall of Japan, the Japanese in North China are like a tank with no gas. The Japanese were powerful in North China because they were hooked up with Japan as a power base." The only way they could now have power would be to hook up with the Americans. Lattimore thought we should get our military out of China; then the Chinese would expel the Japanese quickly. 
Coons claimed, when interviewed by the FBI in 1950, to remember a controversy among members of the Pauley mission over reports that Soviet troops were stripping Manchuria of its industrial facilities. Coons believed these reports to be true; Lattimore allegedly refused to accept them because he was pro-Soviet.
Lattimore did not recall a controversy over the accuracy of reports that Russia was stripping Manchuria. He did recall discussing probable Russian strategy with Martin Bennett, an engineer with the mission whom Lattimore much respected. Bennett was assigned to visit Manchuria for
purposes of estimating Manchuria's suitability as a recipient of Japanese reparations. Bennett, as Lattimore remembered in 1979, reported that the Russians had indeed removed many industrial plants from Manchuria. But they had been amazingly inconsistent in their actions: "He said that some of the machinery had been crudely stripped, so much so that it was probably more damaged than useful by the time they got it up m Siberia. Others, he said, had been done with surgical precision and delicacy."
Bennett told Lattimore about a visit to one large, Japanese-built hydroelectric-irrigation dam. The Russians had left the dam intact but had carefully removed the turbines, which were engineered for that dam only and could not be used elsewhere. Bennett's conclusion as Lattimore recalled it: "Looking at where those turbines had been lifted out, the job was so beautifully done, those turbines are probably sitting nearby in Siberia, waiting for the Chinese Communists to win, and they will be put back." This incident reinforced Lattimore's skepticism about the Soviet commitment to sole support for Chiang.
Lattimore wrote another memo to Pauley on November 28, this one about "American public opinion on China and Manchuria." Many observers of the Asian scene were talking about a United Nations trusteeship for Manchuria as the only way to counter Soviet influence there. Lattimore felt that while Americans would object to Manchuria becoming a Soviet puppet state, they would also object to assuming responsibility for a trusteeship.
Yet a third memorandum, written in anticipation of Pauley's trip to China, is headed simply "Situation in China," and it puts succinctly Lattimore's advice on that tangled matter. Lattimore begins, "You know already that I think our policy in China [intervening on the side of the Nationalists without requiring Chiang to reform] has been heading for calamity, so you can apply your own discount to the following." He then gives Pauley a preview of various proposals for aid to Chungking that Pauley would confront in China, all of them aimed at military defeat of the Communists. Lattimore knocks all of them down as unrealistic.
Japan held North China for eight years occupying all strong points and the communication lines between them. This was not enough. Extensive field operations were undertaken. Still not enough. The Communists continued to increase, in numbers and still more in influence, right up to the end of the war.
Into this area we are now helping to move Government troops. These troops, except for a few units, are inferior to the Japanese in arms, training, and morale. They were never able to advance against the Jap-
anese in large scale operations. . . . And yet, just because they have the prestige of American policy behind them, they are expected to defeat the Communists whom the Japanese were never able to crush. This is utter nonsense.
The intervention policy in North China could only succeed if we committed really large numbers of American forces to active field operations against the Communists. Politically, I do not see how we could get away with this. The reaction at home would be too strong. . . .
The whole history of civil war against the Communists in China proves clearly that every attempt to cure Communism by killing Communists only results in breeding more Communists than can be killed. Why? Because more and more middle-of-the-road people are pushed into the Communist ranks. Most of the people in the Communist ranks today are there not because they read a book or heard a speech, but because they were brutally treated, callously overtaxed, and denied elementary rights. . . .
In the Far East, we have got to hold up our end against Russia. We can't do it unless we stop pushing into Communism people whom the Russians themselves couldn't lead into Communism.
And in that claim, Lattimore was assuredly right.
Pauley had now come to regard Lattimore as knowledgeable and perceptive; he put Lattimore in charge of preparing the official mission statements on treatment of the crucial Japanese machine-tool and light-metals industries. Likewise, the other members of the mission remembered Lattimore as competent and knowledgeable when the FBI interviewed them in 1950.
The final Pauley commission report was based on the conviction that the Japanese had built up an industrial plant far in excess of civilian needs in order to arm their military for conquest of Asia. And despite the devastation of parts of Japan, Pauley found that "Japan still retains, in workable condition, more plant and equipment than its rulers ever allowed to be used for civilian supply and consumption even in peaceful years. That surplus must be taken out. To complete the demilitarization of Japan by taking it out will not mean the complete deindustrialization of Japan. I want to be very emphatic on that point." Pauley also found that the Japanese were not starving and in fact had a standard of living, even with war devastation, higher than that of other countries in Asia.  These were all positions that Lattimore wholeheartedly supported.
Pauley agreed with Lattimore that the Zaibatsu cartels had to be destroyed if Japan were to be set on a peaceful course. Nor was the emperor to be exonerated; he was to be "deprived of the ownership or con-
trol of any assets located outside Japan proper." This was not a Carthaginian peace. As to the specific areas handled by Lattimore, the final commission report called for removing half the capacity for the manufacture of machine tools and for shipping any transferable facilities for producing aluminum and magnesium (which were then primarily used in aircraft) to countries Japan had invaded.
Lattimore was chosen to present two of the eight sections of the report to the Far Eastern Commission on January 12,1946. The only other member to present more than one section was his friend Bennett.
However high Lattimore ranked with his colleagues, he ranked even higher with MacArthur's counterintelligence chief, Brigadier General Elliott R. Thorpe. Thorpe's job was to investigate all foreigners entering Japan. In Lattimore's case, the visitor made an impression on Thorpe sufficient to generate a personal friendship. Five years later Thorpe was vigorous in his support of Lattimore's patriotism. 
Six days after its presentation to the Far Eastern Commission, the Pauley group left for Washington, a final general staff meeting, and demobilization. There was some grumbling among Japanophiles, but the report as a whole was widely praised. Pauley commended Lattimore for his good work.
But there were journalists in Tokyo who were not so convinced. One of them, Dennis McEvoy of Reader's Digest , noted that Lattimore kept suspicious company: Jack Service and Edgar Snow. This bit of intelligence was passed on to Major General Charles A. Willoughby, who succeeded Thorpe as counterintelligence chief. Willoughby was a fanatic who dug out records on every New Dealer sent to Tokyo during the early years of the occupation. Three years after the Pauley mission, Willoughby's people gathered reports on Lattimore's contacts. In addition to the McEvoy item, Lattimore was rumored to have seen Thomas A. Bisson, to have met with former Japanese IPR activists, and even to have interviewed some Japanese Communists. But Willoughby could not connect Lattimore with any known subversives.
Elizabeth Boody Schumpeter could. She was still feeding the FBI her analysis of how Lattimore was helping the Russians. On January 5, 1946, the Boston FBI office reported to Hoover that Schumpeter had been to see them again, agitated by Lattimore's membership on the Pauley mission. She reminded the FBI that Lattimore was friendly with Andrew Roth of Amerasia fame, that he was a pal of poet Archibald MacLeish, that he was acquainted with Charles Siepman (whose sin was that he was a friend of the left-wing Clifford Durr of the Federal Communications Commission),
that Solution in Asia was a pro-Soviet book, and that the Lattimores had joined the East and West Association sponsored by the subversive Pearl Buck. FBI headquarters did not react to this latest from Boston.
Closer to home, but also unknown to Lattimore, reactionary trustees of Johns Hopkins, inspired by Kohlberg, began a campaign to get Lattimore fired. The opening salvo came from trustee James R. Young of Pawling, New York, in a letter to Provost Stewart Macaulay on December 1, 1945. Young noted that contributions to the IPR were drying up after Kohlberg's "remarkable job of research," and Johns Hopkins should expect the same as long as Lattimore was there. Young and many of his friends were intensely interested in Far Eastern affairs and "would like to see the Johns Hopkins take the lead but this cannot be expected if you have Lattimore on your hands. . . . I would most certainly recommend that from 1946 you clear yourselves of any connection with Lattimore. He is away now from your staff which might be a splendid opportunity to make the absence permanent."
Provost Macaulay responded extensively, debunking Kohlberg and defending Lattimore. No beleaguered academic could have asked for a better defense. The most telling sentence: "It is my firm belief that Lattimore's presence at the University will bring us a great deal more money than will be lost, but even if that were not the case I would have no hesitancy in saying that a university, if it is to be worthy of the name, must continue to support scholars whose work is honest and original even though those scholars may have views which are not shared by—for example—the people who hold the purse strings." It was the beginning of a fifteen-year controversy.
Also while Lattimore was in Japan with Pauley, Washington was startled by the fiery resignation of Ambassador to China Patrick Hurley. Hurley believed that his attempt to bring the Chinese Nationalists and Communists together had been sabotaged by Service, John Paton Davies, and the rest of the foreign service China hands. It was Hurley's resignation blast that caused Truman to send General George C. Marshall to China to mediate the incipient civil war, thus bringing Marshall within the sights of the demagogue from Wisconsin in 1950.
The Triumph of Ideology over Politics
The public sniping at Lattimore begun by Eastman in Reader's Digest and by Kohlberg in China Today grew steadily. Lattimore became the arch-heretic on what was now the most sensitive subject in American politics: China. He insisted that Chiang had to reform his government in order to merit additional American aid; he promoted a united front government in which Chiang would give up some of his power and the Communists would give up their independent army; and he bucked the conventional wisdom by insisting that Mao was not a puppet of Moscow and that Sino-Soviet conflicts would count for more than ideological affinities.
Lattimore did not realize at the time the extent to which geopolitics had lost ground to ideology in the United States. He had always been non-ideological, more pragmatic than crusading. He was not in the United States during the Red Scare of 1919-20 and had not experienced the blind fury of anticommunism that lay beneath the surface of American society. He had been well schooled in ways of capitalist firms during his years with Arnhold and Company and knew that the bottom line was profit or loss. Lattimore extrapolated this hardheaded attitude to international relations; Haushofer was correct in talking about Lattimore's "ice-cold strategy." Self-interest, to Lattimore, would always triumph over ideology.
He had good company in this belief. After the German attack on Russia in 1941 American ideological opposition to the Soviet Union began to give way to support of Soviet efforts to destroy Hitler. Even the right-wing press and some Catholic authorities came to approve Lend-Lease to Russia and full cooperation with the Soviet military. In this change of mood Americans were following the lead of Winston Churchill, who was as
strongly opposed to bolshevism as any but who feared the power of Hitler even more. The American Legion supported aid to the Soviet Union; and in 1943 speakers representing the National Council of Soviet-American Friendship were invited to some American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars meetings.
Many American business leaders also dropped their anti-Soviet attitudes to contemplate postwar sales to the Soviet Union. That country was in shambles; who but the United States could sell Russia what she needed to rebuild? Where but in Russia were the markets that could guarantee full employment for American industry and avert another depression? When Lattimore told Chiang in 1944 that the desire of American business to have an understanding with the Soviet Union in order to export American products "had not a whit of ideology in it," he was again correct. As late as March 1945 Nation's Business , published by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, salivated over Soviet orders to General Electric, ITT, and Newport News Shipbuilding.
American acceptance of the Russians as allies, however, was never monolithic. As the euphoria following Yalta dissipated, the Catholic church, the right-wing press, the American Legion, and the business community began an anti-Communist crusade supported by the FBI that by midcentury swept all before it.
Bonnie Sharp Jefferson, in a study of the right-wing press during the period August 1945 through March 1947, found extensive and vigorous anti-Soviet coverage in the Hearst papers, the McCormick Patterson papers, Reader's Digest, Time, Life, Catholic World , and America . The Catholic papers were particularly incensed at Russian actions in Eastern Europe; the secular press was more concerned about events such as the Gouzenko spy case, the secret Yalta agreements, and the Soviet presence in Iran.
And even as much of the business community was anticipating significant trade with Russia, the conservative wing of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce took an opposite course. Peter H. Irons describes the Chamber operation in some detail; here it need only be noted that in December 1945 the Chamber of Commerce Board authorized a propaganda campaign against Communists in American labor. Francis P. Matthews, an insurance man from Omaha who had been national head of the Knights of Columbus (and was decorated a papal chamberlain), was named chair of this effort. Matthews secretly hired Father John F. Cronin to prepare the first Chamber pamphlet on communism.
The whole Chamber campaign was securely in the hands of zealots. It
proclaimed that not just American Communists but also their bosses in the Soviet Union were mortal enemies. Matthews, appointed Secretary of the Navy by President Truman, was fired in 1950 for a bellicose speech advocating preventive war against Russia; the tenor of his ideology was shown by his claims that the United States was "the repository of the Ark of the Covenant" and that we were "the custodians of the Holy Grail." Cronin was right with him; after investigating Communist infiltration of labor unions for his employer, the National Catholic Welfare Conference, Cronin made headlines by claiming, on March 10, 1946, that Communists had penetrated the federal government so deeply that there were 2,000 in federal jobs in Washington alone, 130 of whom were in policy positions. The next day five congressmen, including Edward Rees, Republican of Kansas, and John Rankin, Democrat of Mississippi, seized on his remarks to agitate for an investigation. This was the beginning of the postwar resurgence of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC).
Cronin welcomed the Chamber assignment. Eight days after his alarmist speech he wrote Matthews, "There are reasons to believe that Soviet armies may be on the march in but a few weeks. Christianity through much of the world is threatened. Within the nation, the Communist fifth column is functioning smoothly, especially within the ranks of government and atomic scientists."
On October 7, 1946, Matthews released the Chamber of Commerce document, Communist Infiltration in the United States , over his signature, not wanting the public to suspect "there was any Vatican influence on it." Although the Chamber's major concern was the unrest caused by Communists in labor unions, the newspapers emphasized claims of government subversion and the "cynical" betrayal of China to the Soviet Union at Yalta. Pro-Soviet foreign service officers were said to be responsible.
The Chamber report reinforced successful Republican efforts to capture Congress in the 1946 elections by using the Communist issue against Democrats. By the end of October more than two hundred thousand copies had been distributed, including one to every Catholic bishop; in November copies were sent to eighty thousand Protestant ministers. The report was instrumental in persuading Truman that he had to tighten government security; his establishment in March 1947 of a Federal Employee Loyalty Program was one outcome of the Chamber crusade. Subsequently the Chamber published two more anti-Communist tracts to which Cronin contributed. 
The beginnings of the inquisition were fueled not just by Cronin and
other prominent Catholic leaders such as Bishop Fulton Sheen and Cardinal Spellman; Hoover and the FBI surreptitiously fed information to Cronin, and the FBI director himself took to the hustings to evangelize his own alarmist beliefs about domestic Communist power. The American Legion joined in, as did the right-wing newspapers. An anti-Communist obsession ruled the country for more than a decade. Lattimore and other "realist" geopoliticians were inundated in the process.
Shortly before Lattimore left on the Pauley mission, he signed to write a weekly column for the Overseas News Agency (ONA), a small, British-backed purveyor of opinion about foreign affairs located in New York. He wrote only one column before departing with Pauley; beginning in February 1946 when he returned from Japan, he wrote his weekly commentary without a break until the end of November 1949. The ONA articles provide a comprehensive picture of his thought during this period; when the Justice Department in 1953 engaged four bitter enemies of Lattimore to "analyze" his writings for a Communist slant, 195 entries in the analysis they produced were drawn from ONA columns. ONA did not have a large clientele, but articles did appear in such major outlets as the New York Herald-Tribune .
When Lattimore started regular production of ONA commentary in February 1946, the Marshall mission to China was under way. Lattimore approved of it. He admired Marshall, though he had never met him, and believed that the contending forces in China could be reconciled. As he put it on February 23, "One major aspect of that policy [U.S. China policy] has improved immeasurably since General Hurley went over the hill with an Indian war-whoop and General Marshall, with dignity and silence, took his place in Chungking." But changing the flamboyant Hurley for the sober Marshall was not enough: "There are too many Americans in China right now, running too many kinds of things. . .. Nothing goes on in China without an American advisor attached to it, or an American mission poking into it. Pretty soon the Chinese Communists are going to become the symbol of straight nationalism in China, because they are the only people in China who don't have Americans looking over their shoulders every time they make a decision" (February 23, 1946).
Lattimore had initially been worried about the continuing Soviet presence in China. On March 8 he complained about the "Russians swarming all over Manchuria." By the end of May the situation had changed. The Russians were out of Manchuria. Now the Chinese Communists were free of the "biggest handicap" they had among their countrymen, the "accusation that they were really not a Chinese political party but the
agents of a foreign power. Today, the Americans are in danger of running into the same kind of bad public relations that the Russians had before" (June 3, 1946).
Lattimore sounded this theme repeatedly. On August 9 he claimed that the U.S. presence was "rapidly draining the 'reservoir of good will' which Wendell Willkie called our greatest asset." Lattimore considered this loss of goodwill a real tragedy, for despite his continuing belief that Soviet policies toward Asian minorities had been generally successful, and had created a "power of attraction," he had no illusions about Chinese attitudes toward Russia. In a long essay on Manchuria (May 7, 1946) he reviewed the history of Sino-Russian relations, noting that
it is important to remember that fear and dislike of Russia are older and more established in the Northeast than anywhere else in China. The feeling is not primarily political or ideological. It is just plain anti-Russian. The first Cossack raiders, after overrunning Siberia, penetrated to the Northeastern provinces a little earlier than the landing of the Pilgrim Fathers in New England. Ever since then, the Russians have been regarded as a violent, uncontrollable and unpredictable people. The Chinese term hung-hutze, now a generally used name for bandits, literally means "red beards" and was originally applied to Cossack freebooters in the Amur region. The deeply ingrained fear of the Russians has, I hear, been added to by the recent behavior of Russian troops.
Chiang was beginning to squander this Chinese anti-Russian feeling. At the start of 1946 Lattimore still upheld the Generalissimo as a statesman with vision. As late as July 13 Chiang was following Lattimore's recommendation about policy toward Inner Mongolia and the vital frontier province of Sinkiang. There was to be a substantial degree of autonomy for these groups; and, reasoned Lattimore, if Chiang were easing authoritarian control over important minority groups, surely he would liberalize his regime as a whole, thus undercutting the demands of the Communists.
A column on July 19 emphasized Chiang's flexibility for maneuvering within the Kuomintang, where right-wing forces were pushing for military conquest of Communist-held areas and liberal forces were pushing for negotiation. Lattimore believed Chiang was too wise to yield to the war forces, knowing that were he to bring on a civil war, most of China would turn against him.
By August 24 he was no longer optimistic. John Leighton Stuart, who for fifty-two years had been a missionary and then president of Yenching University, was now U.S. ambassador to China and was pushing accom-
modation between Nationalists and Communists. But the government was not listening. Lattimore observed, "The Kuomintang Government's insistence that 'he who is not with us is against us' has led to serious losses. China's most important labor leader, strongly rightist for twenty years, has now turned against the government. And a growing group of modern-minded men and women, largely Western-trained, while refusing to go over to the Communists, is also refusing to support or work for the Kuomintang."
This was all grieving Stuart, and it grieved Lattimore.
By September civil war in China loomed large. Marshall's mission had failed, Stuart was failing, and hostilities were imminent. Lattimore's analysis on September 27, 1946, was prophetic but no longer favorable toward Chiang:
Both the Kuomintang and the Communists have to avoid, if they possibly can, the responsibility for breaking off negotiations utterly and finally, and forcing a real showdown, but for different reasons. The Kuomintang want to make the strongest appeal they can to American public opinion; the Communists want to make the strongest appeal they can to Chinese public opinion.
The Kuomintang are the war party in China. They have had monopoly control over the Chinese Government, and they do not want to negotiate, because real negotiations would lead to a compromise, and a compromise would mean surrender of some of their monopoly privileges. They would rather fight, but they know they cannot fight successfully without continuing American aid. Therefore they must try to see-saw between pretended negotiations and experimental use of military power until, if possible, they have persuaded American public opinion that the Communists are a stiff-necked generation of vipers who have no intention of ever being reasonable. Then, they hope, the Americans will finally get mad and tell the Kuomintang to go the limit, with full American backing.
The Communists are the peace party in China. The Chinese who are actual Communist party members, together with the regular Communist military forces, are not strong enough to fight a civil war on their own. They survive only because they have the support of millions of people who are not Communists. These people do not want civil war; they long for peace. They will not fight to protect the Communists. They will fight only to defend their own rights and interests. They are backing the Communists only because they fear the Kuomintang more than they fear the Communists.
In 1946 such an analysis did not attract lightning. By 1950 it was proof of subversion.
Things continued to get worse. As the Chinese national holiday on October 10 approached, Chiang, against American military advice, threw all his forces into an attempt to capture Kalgan (Changchiakow) in northern China. This was, according to Lattimore, a ploy to convince the United States that the Nationalists were going to win, so we might as well send them additional aid and speed up the process. Lattimore thought it was time to make a decision. Disillusioned as he was with the drift of Chiang's policy, he could not bring himself to say simply, "We should cut our losses and get out." That would open the way for Russian influence. His October 12 column was a long, agonizing statement of the pros and cons.
Staying behind Chiang was throwing good money after bad. Getting out would make us look like we were retreating under fire. Stalin was rubbing salt in our Chinese laceration, claiming that we were not "contributing to world peace in China." What to do? "There are two courses open to us. We can frankly ask the Russians for an undertaking that they will not come flooding in if we get out; or we can announce, as a purely American decision, that we have set up a definite calendar for getting out," but with a proviso that we could change our minds if the Russians did not cooperate. "Either alternative could be managed in such a way as to show dignity and a sense of responsibility, instead of the panic of a green gambler who has lost a foolish bet."
Despite his belief that the Communists were capturing an increasing support from suffering Chinese peasants and the disillusioned middle class, Lattimore did not believe that the Communists could win a civil war. He thought there would be a stalemate. This was his worst judgment during 1946, probably influenced by his lingering belief in Chiang's ability.
Throughout his 1946 commentaries on China, Lattimore never lost sight of his basic beliefs about the only way in which China could develop economically: private enterprise in a stable and peaceful environment. He made this point on August 14: "For us what counts in China is the future. To big business and little business, to Roosevelt and Henry Wallace New Dealers and N.A.M. conservatives alike, it is plain that no American policy in China can pay dividends unless the Chinese themselves make China safe for loans, investment, and trade." On November 16, appalled at the reactionary forces building in both China and Greece, he pied for support of the middle classes in those two nations:
It is to these people in the middle that the attention of statesmanship urgently needs to be directed. Economically, they stand for private initiative, private enterprise and profit, and the responsibility of the individual. Politically, they stand for the integrity of the individual as the unit of society. . . . They are all the more important because, in coun-
tries like Greece and China the losses of war have largely wiped out individual savings, which means private capital. In such countries, a large percentage of postwar enterprise will have to be supported by the State and what the State supports, it will also inevitably direct and control, at least to a certain extent. If, in these countries, we wish to keep alive the element of private enterprise, and eventually bring it back to health and vigor, then we must support these people in the middle.
We are not doing so in China. Our aid and our money are going into the hands of men who are in cahoots with monopolies which profiteer on scarcity, with rings of speculators, and with black marketeers. Recent dispatches from Shanghai and Tientsin, China's two greatest cities, tell the tale of independent businesses going bankrupt by the score. The business men who are thus put out of business will not welcome their sudden excess of spare time as an opportunity to rally round and help the government prosecute the civil war.
Eloquent, but too late.
Other Lattimore columns during the year sustained themes he had already expressed. One was anticolonialism. He deplored Dutch and French determination to retain sovereignty in Indonesia and Indochina and thought Churchill's "Iron Curtain" speech little more than a plea for American help in retaining the British Empire. Later in the year when the Attlee government decided to free India, he applauded. He continued his distrust of the Japanese emperor and industrialists and praised MacArthur consistently for reining them in.
And a continuing major concern was for the welfare of the Mongols in China. Early in the year, as we have seen, Lattimore thought Chiang would deal with them generously. His contacts with Mongols in China now led him to believe that they most wanted home rule in a nonexploitive China; they would not opt for union with the Mongolian People's Republic unless the Chinese repressed them (March 29). Chiang's statements to the contrary, what Lattimore learned from returning observers was that the Chinese had behaved as conquerors and carpetbaggers in Inner Mongolia. He became increasingly pessimistic about the outcome. As to the Mongolian People's Republic, he strongly urged U.S. recognition and admission to the United Nations. This approach, he felt, would decrease Mongolian dependence on Moscow (September 6).
Lattimore's interest in the Mongols led to a major project of the Page School. Working through the American embassy in China, he contacted two young Mongols who had fled their homes when the Communists
took over and who in 1946 were working for the Nationalist government. Both were fluent in Mongol, Mandarin, and Japanese; both feared that opportunities for professional study of the Mongol language and culture would be minimal under the Nationalists, and they were both on the Communist list of traitors. Lattimore applied to the American Council of Learned Societies for a grant to bring them to Johns Hopkins. Eventually he succeeded, and in 1948 John (Gombojab) Hangin and Peter (Urgunge) Onon left China just ahead of the Communist forces sweeping into Nanking.
But the Page School, and Mongol scholarship, were not high-priority items in 1946 America. The highest priority was already anticommunism. Lending credibility to the Chamber of Commerce crusade was the announcement on February 15 by the Canadian government that a cipher clerk in the Soviet embassy in Ottawa, Igor Gouzenko, had defected, bringing with him extensive files that proved a Soviet espionage ring operated successfully in Canada; more important, the ring had links to similar rings in the United States and Britain. Twenty-two persons were arrested in Canada.
The Gouzenko revelations built on the foundation of the Amerasia case. Frank C. Waldrop, a Hearst columnist whose article "How Come?" appeared in the Washington Times-Herald on June 6, 1946, quickly linked Lattimore to Amerasia and to the State Department. State was using Lattimore as an "instructor" in its lecture series for young career diplomats. (Lattimore lectured for the State Department precisely once.) Lattimore, said Waldrop, was a "bosom pal of Henry Wallace" and had been on the editorial board of Amerasia .
The day after Waldrop's column appeared, a House subcommittee under Sam Hobbs of Alabama, charged with investigating Amerasia , picked up Waldrop's challenge. It would now add to its agenda, according to the Baltimore News-Post , "an inquiry into reasons why Owen Lattimore, Hopkins University school director, former member of the Amerasia editorial board, is a current instructor of budding young diplomats in the State Department." The News-Post also publicized for the first time a HUAC finding on Lattimore: he had "five listings in the index of Communist front organizations issued by the former Dies House Committee on Un-American Activities." Lattimore responded that this was the first he had heard of any such HUAC listing and commented that the "notion that I might be a Communist is utterly ridiculous. Of course, I am not." The same charges appeared again a month later in the Chicago Journal of Commerce .
HUAC, under the nominal chairmanship of Representative John S. Wood of Georgia but really run by Representative John E. Rankin of Mississippi and J. Parnell Thomas of New Jersey, scored an unrecognized triumph in 1946. It had achieved permanent status as a regular committee of the House at the beginning of the Seventy-Ninth Congress and was receiving hefty appropriations to carry out its investigations; nevertheless, it seemed to be floundering until October 1946. In that month, as Walter Goodman describes it, the committee
reached out and grasped the life buoy of Louis F. Budenz. Budenz, preeminent example of the fervent Communist turned fervent Catholic anti-Communist, was like a tourist who is drawn to the shabbiest sections of all the towns he visits. As a Communist, he was managing editor of the Daily Worker ; as an anti-Communist since his break in 1945, he became a star performer for the passionate right. It was his inclination to melodrama that brought him to the Committee's attention in the fall of 1946. On Sunday, October 13, he delivered a radio talk in Detroit, in which he said that American Communists took their orders from a secret agent of the Kremlin. The disclosure was made in the language of The Shadow: "This man never shows his face. Communist leaders never see him, but they follow his orders or suggestions implicitly." On Tuesday Thomas announced that Budenz would testify before the Un-American Activities Committee.
Until then Budenz had confined his attacks on his former comrades to the occasional speech and to debriefing by the FBI. He was at first nervous about entering the hurly-burly of congressional hearings; he requested, and was granted, a delay in his appearance until after the congressional elections.
The midterm elections of 1946 demonstrated that the tide was running strong for any who pursued anticommunism. Republican National Chairman B. Carroll Reece set the election theme in June: the choice that confronted Americans that year was between "Communism and Republicanism." The Democrats, said Reece, "were committed to the Soviet Union." House of Representatives Republican leader Joseph W. Martin of Massachusetts claimed the night before the election, "The people will vote tomorrow between chaos, confusion, bankruptcy, state socialism or Communism, and the preservation of our American life." In California an unknown Richard M. Nixon defeated the Democratic incumbent, Jerry Voorhis (who had resigned from HUAC in disgust), by red-baiting. Voorhis was alleged to follow the Moscow line.
None of these politicians approached the anti-Communist venom of a
Republican candidate for the Senate in Wisconsin. Joseph McCarthy, and the newspapers supporting him, fraudulently attacked his Democratic opponent, Howard McMurray, as a Communist fellow traveller. McMurray had been endorsed, to his horror, by the Wisconsin Communist party, an endorsement that he promptly repudiated. The repudiation made no difference. McCarthy took the endorsement and ran with it, losing no opportunity to portray McMurray as disloyal. Joe McCarthy did not discover communism as a political issue in 1950. He had used it four years earlier.
The Republicans swamped the Democrats that November. For the first time since Hoover was president, they controlled the Congress. The number of Democrats in the House fell from 242 to 188, in the Senate from 56 to 45.
HUAC, though still controlled by the Democrats in the fall of 1946, lost no time in capitalizing on the new respectability of red-baiting. J. Parnell Thomas, slated to become chair, and his South Dakota colleague Karl Mundt, took the lead in pressing their new mandate when Louis Budenz appeared before the committee November 22. As Walter Goodman tells it, Budenz
reviewed his ten years in the Communist Party, apologized for his infatuation, and discussed, in an informed way, the C.P.'s subservience to Moscow and the tactical disbanding of the Communist International early in the war. Rankin, Mundt, and Thomas, like handlers of a skilled but insufficiently bloodthirsty boxer, did their best during most of their three and a half hours together to free him of what inhibitions he may have had over turning the hearings into an anti-Communist rally. "I think the distinction you are trying to make, Mr. Budenz," Mundt drew him on gently, "is that what they actually have in Russia is not the Communism of Marx and Engels, but a dictatorship, and Communism under which people are denied a great many things under the concepts of Communism."
Budenz obliged. As the hearing went on, he became less cautious. And he learned two things on November 22. He sensed first that an appearance before Congress was an attractive medium in which to display his newfound righteousness, and second that he would find a sympathetic audience. And he learned that he need not pull his punches in this protected environment, where he was shielded from libel. In fact, the congressmen who queried him wanted every bit of melodrama he could provide.
Harry Truman issued his order creating the Temporary Commission on Employee Loyalty on November 25. It was too little and too late. The
day after Truman's order, Parnell Thomas announced that the election results had given Congress new marching orders: they were to uncover and expose Communists of all hues in government, unions, Hollywood, education, and the atomic establishment. The New Deal was a Communist project and New Dealers were intrinsically subversive. HUAC set off in what Goodman accurately describes as a "frenzy."
Cold War Declared
Lattimore did not welcome the increasing hostility between Russia and the West. He thought opportunities for improving the life of the world's downtrodden decreased as unsettled political conditions interfered with economic development. He was convinced of the truth of the peasant saying "When elephants fight, the grass gets trampled." The minority peoples on the Sino-Soviet border, especially the Mongols, stood to lose by conflict between the great powers. As to China, its welfare could only be assured by Soviet-American cooperation in preventing civil war. In 1947 he thought that the United States could induce Chiang, and the Soviets Mao, to moderate their ambitions.
The failure of the Marshall mission to dampen the flames in China, signaled clearly in the report issued by the general January 8, grieved Lattimore. The worst characteristics of both the Kuomintang and the Communists seemed to be ascendant. But he gave Marshall credit for trying and approved Marshall's appointment as secretary of state. Marshall was a far-sighted statesman, and, in Lattimore's opinion, "He has never succumbed to either the tradition of contempt for the British or the tradition of implacable hate for the Russians which are characteristic of many of our professional Army and Navy men; but there is not the slightest danger that he will be taken into camp by either the Russians or the British."
Lattimore did not approve of the call to arms that publicly signaled the breach between East and West: the Truman Doctrine speech of March 22. It was largely negative, phrasing George Kennan's containment thesis in military terms. In a dozen different ways Lattimore deplored any policy
that was merely anti-Soviet. In the Asia he knew, such a policy was bound to fail.
The Marshall Plan, in contrast, offered opportunities for the little nations on both sides of the East-West divide to benefit. Lattimore was horrified when Molotov was instructed to pull the Soviet and East European delegates out of the Paris conference to implement the Marshall Plan. This withdrawal left economic reconstruction to competing and hostile blocs (July 12).
Even worse was the demand of the colonial powers (especially France and the Netherlands) that the colonies over which they exercised a shaky sovereignty be integrated into European Economic Community plans. Their proposal, that each European country and its colonial possessions should be considered as one unit for the use of American credits,
implies an important modification of the United States policy of securing free circulation and unlimited competitive opportunity for the American dollar. Under it, most American dollars would not enter a colonial country directly. They would first enter an imperial country. There they would be taken up by banks and industries, which would then draw on the raw materials of the colonial possessions to revive European production and trade. Thus in the long run the colonial peoples would foot the bill for the revival of Europe. . . . [This proposal] implies confirming and stabilizing all the surviving institutions of colonial rule. (August 8)
But it was not possible to perpetuate colonial rule. Its time was past. As Lattimore foresaw, neither the glamorous French Foreign Legion nor the stolid Dutch conscripts were a match for the crusading nationalisms of Asia. Hence the diversion of aid to suppress colonial rebellion was intrinsically counterproductive.
Here the United States faced a dilemma. France's strategic location, and the rhetoric of the Truman Doctrine, affected the conditions under which Marshall Plan aid could be dispensed. The United States had to have France on board, and probably Holland too.
[Yet] by being too eager-beaver about the anti-Communist and stop-Russia aims of our policy (which in themselves are perfectly sound and statesmanlike aims), we have got ourselves stuck with the support of governments which are more and more undisguisedly governing not only against the Communists but against most of the people. . . . In Western Europe we still have a chance to support governments that govern with the people instead of against the people. . . .
But France, in Indochina, and Holland, in Indonesia, are trying to slug it out against the nationalism of their unwilling subjects. The colonial military expenditures of these two countries are dangerous rat-holes in the Marshall Plan for Western Europe. Through them, millions and even billions of the American dollars intended to restart the wheels of economic life in Europe may leak away in futile slaughter in Asia. (December 20)
The Indonesians eventually repelled Dutch attempts to reassert sovereignty and massacred a threatening Communist party. The French held out in Indochina until after the Battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954. By then the United States had sunk so much into France's war in Indochina that it could not break itself of the habit; unable to cut its losses, it kept wasting money and blood for two long decades. In 1947 nobody foresaw the consequences of this perversion of the Marshall Plan better than Lattimore did.
In China things were quite different from Europe. The dollar aid that Lattimore saw as helping to revive Europe would do no good in China, where Chiang's regime was rapidly losing the mandate of heaven. There was no alternative non-Communist group for the United States to support. The Chinese Communists were not so much winning as Chiang was throwing his control away. During 1947 and 1948 the reality of Nationalist rule was too painful for Lattimore to contemplate. The world-class leader whom he had once praised now presided over a regime whose weaknesses were lethal. Here is how things looked to one observer: "To tell the truth, never, in China or abroad, has there been a revolutionary party as decrepit and degenerate as [the Kuomintang] today; nor one as lacking spirit, lacking discipline, and even more, lacking standards of right and wrong. . . . This kind of party should long ago have been destroyed and swept away." Officers were indifferent to the condition of their men:
They so ignored such basic elements in their training as aiming, firing, reconnoitering and liaison that the soldiers' combat skills are so poor that they cannot fight. Nor did they provide the troops with adequate food, clothing or medical care, even embezzling supplies meant for the men. . . . the spirit of most commanders is broken and their morality is base. High-level officers [have] become complacent in their high posts, encumbered by family members, and acting like warlords. As a consequence, their revolutionary spirit is almost completely dissipated, and they are concerned only with preserving their military strength and resources. . . . But the chief reason, which cannot be denied, arose from the paralysis of the party: the membership, organizational structure
and method of leadership all created problems. Thus, the party became a lifeless shell; the government and military also lost their soul; with the result that the troops collapsed and society disintegrated. . .. And especially, [the troops] were ignorant of the need to protect and unite with the people, even unrestrainedly harassing them.
Not a pretty picture—but it is not Lattimore's picture . Both quotations are drawn from Chiang Kai-shek's condemnation of his own regime , as found in the Taiwan archives during the 1970s by Lloyd Eastman. Eastman's 1981 article in China Quarterly was the first to explore what Chiang himself thought in the late 1940s about the reasons for the downfall of his regime. As reluctant testimony, this is of the highest order: Chiang lost China.
Stories of incompetence, corruption, low morale, and plundering by Nationalist soldiers were only beginning to filter out of China in 1947. Lattimore searched avidly for information that would justify his continuing hope that Chiang would be able to carry out the reforms that alone could stave off Communist conquest; such information was not there. His ONA articles during 1947 document his increasing disillusionment.
In January, Lattimore commented on the significance of recent student demonstrations against the Nationalist regime; Chinese students had always been harbingers of change. In February, Lattimore pointed out the great advantage Mao had because he was independent of foreign support, whereas the Chinese believed Chiang to be propped up by Americans. (There was a long statement of how the Russians had "lost" China in earlier years by too obviously supporting Chinese Communists, a theme that Lattimore had developed before and one that Harrison Salisbury brilliantly articulated in 1971.) On March 1, Lattimore commented on discontent among Chinese air force officers, a group that should have had the highest morale.
Also in March, Lattimore emphasized Mao's skill at capturing the allegiance of peasants, a class that Chiang unfortunately neglected. On March 28, he noted that "of all the Communist movements in the world the Chinese Communist movement is the most independent of Moscow," a conclusion that most Americans would not accept for many years. On April 11, he noted with sadness the condition of Taiwan, where Nationalist forces massacred thousands of native Taiwanese who were protesting Kuomintang policies. He also deplored the situation of small businessmen, both Chinese and American, in Chiang's China: "if you want to get the deepest, most malodorous dirt on the corruption of the Kuomintang in China today, and want to be sure it is not from an ideologically tainted
source, you should go to an American businessman from one of the kinds of business that is getting the squeeze put on it." The plight of minorities was Lattimore's theme on March 24: Chiang "saw the wisdom" of a policy giving the Mongols and others a high degree of autonomy but was unable to carry it out because of powerful warlords.
An article published June 4 presents perhaps the best summary of what Lattimore believed Chiang was up to.
The seriousness of the civil war crisis in China is beyond all concealment. Indeed, the Chinese Government is not trying to hide it, but is hoping that Washington will be stampeded by the seriousness of the situation into renewed and large scale intervention. What would suit Nanking best of all would be to have the Americans again bring Kuomintang troops by air and sea into Manchuria, to circumvent the Communist-led forces which have cut the railways.
Nanking hopes for a dramatic move like this in the belief that it would provoke a crisis between America and Russia. The Kuomintang wants an American-Russian crisis because the civil war in China has become completely unjustifiable unless it can be re-dramatized as a "Spanish" war, with America backing one side and Russia the other.
This outcome was what Lattimore had warned Truman about in 1945.
Manchuria was again his subject on July 8, 1947. Southern Chinese carpetbaggers had totally failed to secure the support of Manchurians for the Chiang government. In August, Lattimore talked with Ch'en Chiak'ang, a Chinese Communist delegate to the World Youth Festival in Prague. Ch'en described how the Communists were subverting Nationalist troops sent north to conquer Manchuria.
"It is quite simple," Chen said. "We isolate the officers. Then we assemble the men in mass meetings and invite anybody who feels like it to describe 'How I came to be in the army.' One story after another describes how the poor are dragged away from the villages by the Kuomintang while the landlords' sons escape service. Pretty soon they are all so sore that they come over to our side. Or, if they feel like it, we give them some money and food and tell them to go home—if they can escape the Kuomintang conscription gangs. It's wonderful advertising." (August 29)
By November 1, Lattimore could title one of his ONA articles "Aid to Kuomintang Is Blind Alley": "The fact that the Kuomintang just doesn't have what it takes is, incidentally, the answer to the threadbare argument
that we have to try and stop Russia with the Kuomintang. This is too much like arguing that, in order to stop Russia, we had better start equipping the Army with plenty of muzzle-loading, flint-lock, smooth-bore guns. Even a weak coalition government in China would be better for us than the Kuomintang."
But Lattimore's disenchantment with the Nationalist government was not as complete or as vigorous as that of observers who had been in China more recently. One such observer, Professor Nathaniel Peffer of Columbia University, was the featured speaker at a CFR discussion that Lattimore attended on March 5. Peffer "felt that for the first time in thirty-two years the situation in China showed no hopeful signs whatever. . . . The Kuomintang government is the rottenest and most corrupt that China had experienced in a thousand years. . .. The presence of American troops in China adds fuel to the fire of anti-American propaganda. Russia would like nothing better than that our forces remain indefinitely."
Peffer was not plugging the Communists. It was very difficult to judge their character. "Compared with the Kuomintang political thugs and leeches, the Communist leaders, taken man for man, are physically, intellectually, and morally superior. On the other hand, their word is not to be trusted. In one breath they profess to be truly democratic, and then go on to proclaim their complete faith in Marxist ideology. They look for a dictatorship of the proletariat after passing through a necessary transitional period of semi-capitalism." Peffer saw no possible course for the United States but to pull out of China, completely and at once. Lattimore would not go that far. He "pointed out the danger that the vacuum left in China by American withdrawal may be filled by the Russians," but Peffer replied that we must take that obvious risk.
In September 1947, General Albert C. Wedemeyer, who had just returned from a fact-finding mission to Asia, delivered his report to General Marshall and the public. Though a friend of Chiang, Wedemeyer was also an astute and careful observer. His remarks at the end of his mission, delivered to the Chinese State Council on August 24, were as stinging a condemnation of Kuomintang incompetence and corruption as were the conclusions coming privately from Chiang Kai-shek himself. Since Wedemeyer's remarks were public, they received a great deal of publicity; the Chinese pretended to be shocked. Chiang's supporters in the United States, still clinging to the wartime belief that Chiang was a great and effective leader, were appalled. Lattimore was not; Wedemeyer's testimony moved him closer to the Peffer position. In his first column after gaining access to Wedemeyer's report, Lattimore concluded:
We have yet to face the full consequences of our mistaken policy in China. It is not just that we have lost money on the Kuomintang. The Chinese Communists have been enormously toughened by their successful resistance to an American-backed Kuomintang. Their popular, non-Communist following has incalculably increased. They have won a prestige that it would be dangerous to underestimate, by defying the strongest country that has ever intervened in China, and getting away with it.
It is doubtful, however, whether our China policy planners have yet resigned themselves to the prospect of dosing out our disastrous deal at such a heavy loss. They are still likely to try throwing a little more good money after bad. (September 27)
Anxious as Lattimore was to avoid statements that could contribute to Soviet hostility, events in 1947 caused him to use harsh language. He did not like Soviet refusal to participate in the Marshall Plan, and on October 18, he castigated the Russians for preventing East Europeans dealing with the West: "These people are 'pro-Marshall Plan,' and the signs are that the Communists intend to keep them squashed with one hand while they build up a 'Molotov Plan' with the other."
On December 6, Lattimore discussed the growing American economic and political influence in Iran, on Russia's border. The Russians were complaining bitterly. Lattimore dismissed such claims. U.S. gains were the result of our superior economic aid, rather than, as the Russians said, "sinister economic imperialism." The Russians were simply jealous.
Korea was another area where Soviet machinations were not to Lattimore's liking. The Russians were trying to bar any pro-Western Koreans from voting in the upcoming all-Korea elections. Lattimore agreed with Lieutenant General John R. Hodge, commander of American forces in Korea: the Russians were pretending that only communism was democratic (October 25). However, Lattimore did not believe that we could have our way completely in Korea. To make an American satellite of that unhappy land would obviously menace Russian security; Korea was too close to Vladivostok. Compromise was needed.
Lattimore also commented extensively on Japan during 1947. MacArthur, he believed, was doing a fine job. Politically, MacArthur was reining in the "war group," and there had been "amazingly little political turbulence." Economically, the results had not been as impressive, but this was understandable: political control was relatively easy to implement; economics were more complicated (May 3 and 7).
In hindsight, Lattimore's observations about the state of the world in
1947 are hard to fault. He was still somewhat optimistic about what could be accomplished by the judicious use of American power, and he relinquished his faith in Chiang painfully and reluctantly. But the fact of cold war he now acknowledged.
Lattimore wanted to visit the Mongolian People's Republic in 1947. He had only been there one—in 1944 with Henry Wallace. Since the United States did not recognize the MPR and direct communications were not available, he had to send his request via the Soviet ambassador in Washington. His letter of February 11 to Marshal Choibalsan, the Mongolian premier, reviewed his interest in Mongol scholarship, reminded the premier of the friendly reception accorded him in 1944, and asked to study there from June to September. His cover letter to Ambassador Novikov presented an alternate plan: if the MPR did not welcome him, he would like to visit the Buryat-Mongol or Kazakh republics of the Soviet Union. Neither of these letters was answered.
As weeks went by and no answer came from Choibalsan or the Russians, Lattimore decided that since he could not visit a border state in Asia, he would try Europe. Czechoslovakia would be appropriate; a group from Putney School, where his son David was enrolled, planned to attend the World Youth Festival in Prague during July and August. It could be a family outing.
Czechoslovakia was still a free state in 1947. Visas were easy to get, and there were no restrictions on the movement of foreigners. The Lat-timores were able to circulate freely, talk to Czech Asian specialists, and spend a day touring with Foreign Minister Jan Masaryk. Lattimore found Czech minority problems fascinating and the people friendly. His geopolitical observations were less than prescient; he thought the East European countries under Soviet control would be able to work together to moderate Soviet rule, and he did not anticipate the Soviet takeover of Czechoslovakia in 1948. At the time of his visit, Communists (40 percent of the electorate) and non-Communists were working together effectively. Lattimore expected this cooperation to continue (August 2).
Three years later, when the inquisition peaked, the anti-Communist fanatic J. B. Matthews found in David Lattimore's attendance at the World Youth Festival, held under Czech Communist auspices, proof of his father's "Communist connections." The Prague gathering, said Matthews, had been a "raucous anti-American, pro-Soviet affair." David Lattimore and other Putney participants had not found it that way, though there was a vigorous exchange of opinions among those present. Matthews held the older Lattimore responsible for the sins of the younger, noting that
young David "has no independent income, and must, therefore, have gone to the Communist meeting with his parents' consent and at their expense. His conduct as a minor was both legally and morally a matter of his parents' responsibility." A dozen copies of this attack on the Lattimores are still in Matthews's Lattimore file.
The Lattimores went to England after the Czech trip; Owen attended the IPR conference held that year at Stratford-On-Avon. He described this conference in an ONA column of October 4, noting that there were few Asians in attendance, the only sizable delegation being from Kuo-mintang China. This absence brought a reflection on IPR's history: "Once criticized for having anything to do with such a subversive crowd as the Kuomintang, it is now criticized by others because only the Kuomintang Chinese are represented in it, not the Chinese Communists." Lattimore deplored French and Dutch refusal to allow Indochinese and Indonesians to attend. The British had made their peace with Indians and Pakistanis, several of whom were then active in IPR.
While Lattimore was pursuing these professional interests, the domestic cold war steadily intensified. HUAC started on a major program of investigating Communists in government, unions, media, science, the armed services, and Hollywood. The new Republican leadership of the House promised full support and an expanded budget.
The National Industrial Conference Board, aping the Chamber of Commerce, commissioned a report on communism in the Department of State, to be written by labor specialist and former Marxist Benjamin Stolberg. This report was released in February 1947 and circulated to newspapers. Lattimore was prominently featured as "the most important adviser to the State Department on Far Eastern Policy." William Loeb (later publisher of the Manchester, New Hampshire, Union-Leader ) sent a copy to the FBI; they were not impressed. Unlike Father Cronin, who had written the Chamber's pamphlets after considerable research, Stolberg did practically none. He gleaned most of his material from Alfred Kohlberg's writings and the Reader's Digest . The FBI was aware that Stolberg had a credibility problem: Jerome Davis, prominent teacher and labor leader, had won a substantial libel settlement from Stolberg and the Saturday Evening Post . Apparently the National Industrial Conference Board pamphlet aroused little interest. Lattimore never heard of it until his FBI file was released in 1980.
He had heard of Executive Order 9835, however. This was Truman's order, issued March 12, 1947, establishing a loyalty program for federal
employees. Lattimore was not a federal employee, but EO 9835 was aimed at some of his friends. The publicity given to heretical opinions was escalating. HUAC hearings, the alarmist Reader's Digest , Hurley's charges against the China hands, the continued sniping at the Amerasia people by Hearst, Scripps Howard, and McCormick Patterson newspapers, plus the massive Catholic attack on Russia—all made it clear that heresy was about to become an offense for which an employee could be fired.
And there was still Kohlberg, whose crusade against the IPR continued unabated. His 1944 letter to Edward Carter demanding a housecleaning in the IPR had been rejected by the trustees, and in 1945 the institute issued a formal response. Kohlberg's next move was to ask the IPR for its mailing list, so he could distribute his charges to the membership. This request was refused. Kohlberg then went to court to force the IPR to provide him its membership list. The IPR finally agreed to hold a general membership meeting on his charges and allowed him to solicit proxies for that meeting. The meeting was held on April 22, 1947. Kohlberg's call for an outside investigation was defeated 1,163-66.
One outcome of the Kohlberg ruckus was concern in the State Department about whether foreign service officers could afford to belong to the IPR and whether IPR publications were reliable sources of information. Consequently, in the summer of 1947 State Department Special Agent Daniel H. Clare, Jr., was assigned to investigate the IPR and Amerasia , which Kohlberg asserted was its twin sister.
Clare worked on the IPR-Amerasia investigation "intermittently" from August 15 to September 10, when he submitted his report. Apparently he did little more than summarize Kohlberg's writings, adding a few errors of his own. Kohlberg's study of IPR publications was attached as an appendix to Clare's report. The FBI, which first saw the Clare report in April 1950, noted, "There are many inaccuracies in the report."
Clare ranked IPR personnel according to their presumed influence. Lattimore appeared fourth in his discussion but was introduced in these words: "By far the brightest star of the big four of the Institute of Pacific Relations is Owen Lattimore, familiar of former President Roosevelt, confidant of State Department higher echelons, and 'subtle evangelist' of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. In 1941, Mr. Lattimore was appointed by President Roosevelt as an advisor to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, and at that time he was characterized by the former President as 'an expert's expert.' "
Clare did some digging on his own. He apparently interviewed Louis Budenz, who "is aware that he [Lattimore] is a sympathizer, but is unable
to recall at this time any incidents which definitely indicate that he was a member of the Party." Max Eastman was also quoted on Lattimore, but not from an interview; Clare picked up the "subtle evangelist" phrase from Eastman's Reader's Digest article. Most of the rest of Clare's material derived from Kohlberg.
Since Clare's superiors had a special interest in diplomats, a major section of his report deals with persons who had served the State Department in some way. There are thirteen of them, and again Clare saves the most important for last: "These associations, however, shrink to insignificance in comparison with the ties between the Institute of Pacific Relations and John Carter Vincent. On May 21, 1947, an editorial in the New York World-Telegram flatly charged: 'The policies of this branch (Office of Far Eastern Affairs) have been consistently pro-Soviet and pro-Chinese Communist. The clique headed by John Carter Vincent reflects the views of the Institute of Pacific Relations. A complete break with this propaganda organization is required.' "
Vincent was under attack at the time by Senator Styles Bridges. Vincent's promotion to career minister and his nomination as minister to Switzerland were argued in the Senate from May until his confirmation July 23. Bridges, Kohlberg, and Clare lost this battle too. It remained for John Foster Dulles finally to force Vincent out six years later.
Lattimore was disturbed by the struggle over Vincent. From the Wallace mission he knew Vincent to be a superb diplomat, loyal and discreet to a fault. And Vincent was anything but pro-Communist. Thank God, Lattimore thought, he wasn't subject to the calumnies thrown at sinologues on the public payroll.
Europe Up, Asia Down
Lattimore had been a student of Asia all his life. His professional concerns were centered there, on China and its problems, on the Mongols whom he greatly admired, and on Japan as the major threat to both of them. The focus of his journalistic commentaries was always, What policies should the United States follow in Asia?
In 1948 this emphasis shifted. The struggle with Russia was important in Asia, but the most important pressure points were in Europe. It was there, rather than in Asia, that Western-style democracy had to be saved. Western Europe was the cradle of democratic practice; if that area could be strengthened and democracy there invigorated, the United States would not face alone a hostile world of totalitarians.
These beliefs were articulated in Lattimore's writing from the beginning of the cold war, and in 1948 they came to the fore. To Lattimore, the Marshall Plan represented an absolutely vital effort to strengthen our most important salient. A reading of his output during this period shows that the success of the European Recovery Program (ERP) was the measure against which he judged policy in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.
And there were threats to the Marshall Plan. First and foremost was the danger that the lingering isolation of conservative Republicans would hamstring if not defeat Marshall Plan appropriations. Eastern internationalist Republicans were not the problem; rather, Lattimore feared the conservative, anti-New Deal, "fortress America" thinking of midwestern and western Republicans, who had much power in the Senate. They were dangerous, he thought, not just because they were reluctant to appropriate money for "decadent" Europe but because they insisted on squandering precious aid money on lost causes in Asia. This money would be
better spent on allies who could use it effectively. The Republican blend of isolationism toward Europe and interventionism in Asia was called "neo-isolationism" by Norman Graebner; a neo-isolationist was one who wanted to fight in China.
George Marshall proposed the ERP at the Harvard commencement June 5, 1947. Britain and France thereupon called a meeting in Paris; Molotov attended briefly, then stormed out. A second meeting was called, to be attended by representatives of all European nations west of Russia except Spain. The Soviet satellites did not attend, but sixteen nations did; between July and September they hammered out an integrated program for restoring the economies of Western Europe. Truman accordingly presented legislation to Congress in December 1947 calling for expenditure of $17 billion over four and a quarter years. Debate then began in Congress.
As Thomas A. Bailey describes the opposition, "Critics of the Marshall scheme charged that it was just another 'Operation Rathole.' 'Uncle Santa Claus' had already poured too much money into the pockets of ungrateful Europeans—bout $12 billion in various loans and handouts since mid-1945. America had better make herself strong at home, conserve her resources, and help her own needy people. Otherwise she would offend the Soviets (who were already offended), divide Europe (which was already divided), and lay herself open to the Russian charge (which had already been made) of 'dollar imperialism.' " Perhaps Congress would have passed the ERP without stimulus from Russia, but the Soviet coup in Czechoslovakia in February 1948 strengthened Truman's hand. Finally, by early April a one-year appropriation of $6 billion passed, and Truman signed the bill April 3.
Lattimore commented on the congressional fight over ERP in an article on January 17. Congressional supporters of Chiang were pressing for aid to China; Truman appeared to be yielding to their demands. Lattimore thought Marshall and the congressional supporters of aid to Europe would bargain with the "fanatics who are for all-out intervention in China" in order to get the funds for Europe. He was correct.
Not only congressional Republicans were giving Marshall trouble; Asia-first generals were also causing problems. Lattimore's sympathies were all with Marshall, not Truman; the president, he thought, was not exercising appropriate leadership. Without Senator Arthur Vandenberg, Republican of Michigan, the Marshall Plan would have gone down the drain (March 13).
The second great threat to the Marshall Plan came from the colonial
powers. Both the Netherlands and France were waging full-scale war in their Asian colonies. The Dutch were spending a million dollars a day in an attempt to reclaim Indonesia, the French in Indochina probably even more. These expenditures would represent a drain on whatever would be appropriated for European recovery (March 19).
On April 9, Lattimore went back to the threat of siphoning off money to a moribund China. The administration had agreed to a substantial appropriation for China to assure the passage of ERP. Lattimore was aghast; he thought that Washington was in the grip of "such intense emotions that people are hitting out in all directions without stopping to make sure what they are hitting at. . .. The hysterical House vote on inviting Franco Spain into the Marshall Plan [later rescinded] shows what the emotion is about and the state it has reached. Congress has worked itself up to a point where the only standard of measurement for a foreign policy proposal is one question: How anti-Russian is it?"
Aid for Korea was akin to aid for China. Neither was cost-effective. In May, Lattimore compared Israel and Korea as prospective recipients of American aid. The Israelis were people like us, staunch individualists, solidly middle class, endorsing collectivism only through labor unions where it was necessary to get a living wage. Korea, by contrast, did not "have the even texture and the large measure of social equality" that Israel had. Korea, therefore, "is incompetent to use intelligently either economic or military forms of aid. . .. It will waste American aid even more incompetently and corruptly than the Kuomintang in China" (May 21).
By June the American presidential campaign was heating up. Unhappy as he was with Truman's rhetorical belligerence, Lattimore still supported the president. Dewey was handicapped by the power of the Republican neo-isolationists, who were interventionist toward Asia; they demanded a statement on increased support for China in the party platform. The Progressive party candidate was Henry Wallace, of whom Lattimore had seen enough in 1944. Wallace the politician was "a first class disaster." Wallace was against the Marshall Plan, holding that any foreign aid should be given through the United Nations. Lattimore supported the UN but knew that that cumbersome, strife-ridden organization could not save Western democracy. And, as Lattimore wrote for ONA on June 26, Wallace was an appeaser: "Appeasement of Russia will not do it. The Henry Wallace campaign has already shown that Mr. Wallace gets a large part of his support from the desire for peace with Russia; but the strength that he draws from this feeling is undermined by the fear that his only notion of peace may prove to be the appeasement of Russia."
Seven more times in 1948 Lattimore wrote in his weekly column of the dangers facing the Marshall Plan. In the months before the election, when Dewey appeared sure to win, Lattimore emphasized the hemorrhaging of foreign aid into Asia that a Republican victory would bring. After Truman's startling victory he worried still about the drain into French and Dutch colonial wars. In his wrap-up column at the end of the year he rejoiced that "the Marshall Plan really got rolling." But the plan did not solve all our problems: Americans seemed not to know whether the ERP was a preparation for war with Russia, which Lattimore opposed, or a mobilizing of human and other resources to strengthen democratic forces in Europe, which he supported (December 30).
And Israel still hung in the balance. Truman had not yet extended formal recognition, and Israel had not yet been admitted to the United Nations. Lattimore thought the United States should move more vigorously: "Israel is not merely a new state but the only democratic state in the Near and Middle East. If it survives, the effect will be revolutionary: growing political movements among the neighbors of Israel will demand that their governments yield to them some of the democratic rights that are the very essence of the society of Israel" (December 30). The prophecy was questionable, but the value judgment was not. Lattimore supported aid to democracies .
If the prospects for strengthening democracy in Western Europe went up in 1948, the prospects in Asia went down. China was the greatest disaster area.
Lattimore had a chance to argue his views of the Chinese situation on the prestigious "Town Meeting of the Air" on January 6. He and Richard Lauterbach, a journalist who covered Asia, paired off against two Republicans: former ambassador William Bullitt and Representative Walter Judd.
Bullitt led off with a call for defending the United States by underwriting the Chinese Nationalists. His speech was cast in apocalyptic terms: "we face today the possibility that the Soviet Government, using the Chinese Communists as tools, will conquer China. And everyone in the Far East from General MacArthur down, knows that a Communist China would eventually mean a Communist Japan and that the American people in the end would face attack by combined Communist forces of Russians, Chinese, and Japanese. . .. We must act instantly and effectively or we shall betray into the hands of Stalin not only China but also the greatest adventure in human freedom that this earth has known—our own America."
Lauterbach spoke next, politely but firmly denying that Chiang repre-
sented a viable or worthy force. Judd followed, claiming that the Nationalists were not too far gone either to use aid effectively or to reform themselves. The stage was now set for vintage Lattimorean sarcasm:
Mr. Bullitt, you seem to think that we ought to fight the Russians with cheap coolie labor because the average Chinese lives on less than $40 a year. Mr. Judd, you are trying to dodge the fact that the Chinese Government is a gangster with a gun on one hip by professing a childlike faith that it will turn into a Boy Scout if we give it a gun on each hip. I disagree. (Applause.)
I don't think you can stop communism on coolie wages, and I don't think you can reform gangsters by giving them more guns. (Applause.) I agree with you, Mr. Lauterbach, that for every Communist the Chinese Government is killing with American guns, it is creating four new ones by its cruelty and corruption. (Applause.) . . . I don't know how stupid the Russians can be, but I do know that if they are stupid enough to try to take over China, they will have a hundred times more trouble than they are having right now. The present government of China has definitely proved one thing: it is the most expensive instrument we could possibly use to try to stop Russia and the spread of communism.
Bullitt was wounded. In the discussion period he asked Lattimore a long and tendentious question. Lattimore began his answer "Mr. Bullitt, for a question, that's quite a speech." Things went downhill from there. Lattimore had acquired another enemy.
Lattimore's 1948 ONA articles presented his conviction that Chiang could not then reverse his fortunes and that the only hope for a non-Communist government was in a new coalition. This coalition would be composed of "men who, in crisis after crisis during the last 20 years, have proved that they are not dupes of the Communists, but who have also earned popular respect by their steady opposition to one-man dictatorships." Rapid advances toward the Yangtze River by the Communists were encouraging this "third force" movement (January 3). It took the form of a Revolutionary Committee of the Kuomintang, and its aims were to "clean out the corruption of the later years of the Kuomintang and to go back to the traditions that gave it vigor when Sun Yat-sen was still alive" (January 30).
Lattimore held some hope for the Revolutionary Committee. It was in vain. Chiang's armies were disintegrating so rapidly and the Communists were sweeping south so swiftly that the third force never had a chance.
As the American elections approached, Chiang and his supporters counted on a Republican victory to bail them out. This also was a vain hope. Even
had Dewey won, the momentum of Communist advances would have continued. As Lattimore saw it, China was effectively Mao's (August 13).
But if Lattimore's lingering hope for a coalition government in which non-Communist elements would have real power was unrealistic, his prediction in July that Mao would eventually be another Tito was right on the mark. This was not a popular doctrine. Diehard American supporters of Chiang resisted it well into the 1960s. To Lattimore, the parallels with Tito were abundantly clear. Mao, like Tito, was gaining power on his own and was not put in power by Soviet armies: "Similarly, the Chinese Communists are deeply rooted in nationalism. They have supported Russian policy, interests and moves everywhere outside of China, but within China they have consistently pursued policies of their own and have developed methods of their own which are based squarely on Chinese conditions" (July 3).
Lattimore was also right about the "ladder" theory (a forerunner of the domino theory). Some Americans believed that if the Russians, with Mao as their stooge, took over China, the Chinese Communists would "take over the revolutionary and nationalistic movements in Indo-China, Burma, and Indonesia. This is a ladder of absurdity, not of cause and effect. There are important Chinese minority communities in Indo-China, Siam [Thailand], Burma, Malaya, and Indonesia: but in every one of these countries there is a phobia against the Chinese" (December 3). He was right. In-dochina did go Communist, but Ho Chi Minh fell out with his Chinese sponsors. The others were saved for democracy. Communism proved no more monolithic than Christianity.
Lattimore was chair of a CFR session on Japan in January 1948. The discussion leader was James Lee Kauffman, who had taught and practiced law in Tokyo. CFR records do not reveal who selected Kauffman as the discussion leader; certainly it was not Lattimore. Kauffman supported a program to rehabilitate Japanese business leaders who had manned the war industries, precisely what Lattimore opposed. This view also put Kauffman at odds with General MacArthur, whose initial directives broke up the business combines (Zaibatsu) and taxed the profits of large enterprises heavily. Kauffman was explicit about MacArthur's economic policy: "this policy does not conform with our ideas of the rights of property, or with the organization of the American economy. It will lead to socialism in Japan, despite the fact that General MacArthur feels it will save Japan from socialism by promoting free competitive enterprise."
If this were not enough to agitate Lattimore, Kauffman defended the wartime record of Japanese business leaders: "United States investigation
since the war has failed to turn up any evidence connecting the Zaibatsu with responsibility for the war. None of their leading figures are being tried in the War Crimes Trials." It is difficult to imagine Lattimore remaining silent when confronted with such statements, but his only response was to ask Kauffman if General MacArthur had ever challenged the directive to break up the Zaibatsu; Kauffman said no. Perhaps Lattimore felt that as chair he should not engage in controversy with the guest. But he got back at Kauffman in his ONA columns and thereby attracted another dedicated interest group in opposition to him.
The American Council on Japan (ACJ) was a small, loosely knit group organized in 1948 to reverse American policy in the Japanese occupation. Its spearhead was Harry F. Kern, foreign editor of Newsweek ; James Lee Kauffman, Eugene Dooman, former Ambassador Joseph Grew, and former Undersecretary of State William R. Castle were the organizers. Until Howard Schonberger's incisive study of the occupation, little attention was paid to the ACJ. Unlike the China lobby, ACJ never attracted much attention, but many prominent officials worked quietly with it. And where the China lobby failed to secure all-out American aid to Chiang's armies on the mainland, ACJ succeeded brilliantly in reversing American policy in Japan. Along the way, Kern and others spread the Elizabeth Boody Schumpeter charges that Lattimore opposed the emperor and the Zaibatsu because he was a Communist.
Thus in the United States, the prewar alignment of forces, with Sinophiles opposing Japanophiles, had now completely collapsed; both of them now concentrated on undermining Lattimore, T. A. Bisson, Vincent, and the IPR.
In China, however, committed Nationalists still opposed the strengthening of Japan. Lattimore noted their protests. In an ONA article on April 3, 1948, he quoted Chang Hsin-hai, biographer of Chiang Kai-shek and Kuomintang spokesman, as saying that the Zaibatsu should be prosecuted as "war criminals of the first order" and that the new U.S. effort to build up Japan was detrimental to Chinese interests.
On July 2 Lattimore again endorsed the views of Wang Yun-sheng, editor-in-chief of the major Nationalist newspaper in Shanghai. Wang was also apoplectic about American policy in Japan; it was not really concerned with reconstruction, but with using Japan as an instrument against the Russians. And the United States was preparing for a new war. Wang thought this policy might force China to side with Russia since the Russians also opposed an "American bastion" in Japan. Lattimore agreed that it might.
Japan then disappeared from Lattimore's columns until November 19. Results of the first Japanese war crimes trials were available then, and while Lattimore was pleased that a number of civilians who had been close to the emperor were convicted, the Zaibatsu had largely escaped. Not only that, but the occupation policies Kauffman supported were now being adopted. The early MacArthur directives designed by liberal New Dealers were being replaced by regulations encouraging a rapid return of Japanese industrial power. William H. Draper, an investment banker serving as undersecretary of the army, led a mission to Japan in early 1948 that signaled and accelerated the shift in occupation policy. Japan was to replace China as the anchor of U.S. policy in Asia. Lattimore thought this policy to be not only wrong but counterproductive. He thought the Japanese would now feel we wanted them as a satellite: "The day they begin to feel that way, the combination of anti-Emperor and anti-American feeling will provide the two sides of the entering wedge of Communist infiltration and Russian influence" (November 24). Lattimore's judgments of the wisdom of our Japanese occupation grew steadily more negative.
Surprisingly, Lattimore had little to say about the Czech coup in February 1948. It was a great disappointment to him; he had assumed that the Czechs would be able to continue their mixed economy and coalition government, providing a continuing example of a state (like Finland) in the Soviet shadow but not under Communist control. The coup proved this assumption wrong. But he had also noted that the Czechs were disturbed by the American plan for the restoration of German heavy industry, which was as much a threat to them as was Soviet domination. On March 3 he speculated that the Czechs were disturbed at American "organizing" of Germany, which made them more willing to be "organized" by Russia.
Lattimore did not return to a discussion of Czechoslovakia until September 9. In that article he wrestled with the puzzle of the recently deceased Eduard Benes, who had cooperated with, but not endorsed, Czechoslovakia's Communists. Why had Benes not "openly denounced" the Communists? Lattimore thought it was because Benes either wanted to avoid a civil war or could not agree "with the ruthlessness of the Communist way of doing things."
Since "Communist ruthlessness" had now triumphed, Lattimore was left with only gloom. Western Europe might still be saved. The Marshall Plan was lifting democratic spirits significantly. But Eastern Europe, except for Yugoslavia, was now firmly under Russian control.
One moral emerged from all this turmoil: the "great powers," the United
States and Russia, were not omnipotent. Each suffered limitations on the reach of its power. This limitation was nowhere clearer than in the crisis brought on by the Soviet blockade of Berlin in June. The United States mounted a massive airlift to supply Berlin, testing whether the Russians would risk war by interfering with our planes. We won that test, and Berlin was saved. But at what cost? The bottom line, for Lattimore, was still gains versus costs. He used the Berlin airlift to illustrate the limits of power in a column of July 15.
The changeability of power haunts those who hold it. The Soviet kind of power has clearly run into diminishing returns, at least for the time being in Yugoslavia. The American kind of power is putting on a demonstration in Berlin that is awe-inspiring but at the same time has overtones of absurdity. The quick mobilization of planes to shuttle supplies to a city of two million was a show of a kind of strength that no other nation could muster. . . .
Yet this great operation has overtones of absurdity because we have gone so far that we are actually air-lifting coal into Berlin. What is the economic sense of a policy which depends partly on the ability to carry coal around in the air? It is like the mountain giving birth to a mouse: technologically a good stunt, if you want to use so prodigious an effort for so small a result.
There were suggestions from some Russia-haters that we should go beyond the Berlin airlift to close the Suez and Panama canals to Russian ships and to blockade the Dardanelles. This strategy Lattimore did not approve. He agreed with James Reston that Russian setbacks were substantial: heavy losses in the French trade unions, defeat in Italian and Finnish elections, Marshall Plan successes strengthening non-Communist governments throughout Western Europe, the startling independence of Tito. To initiate anti-Soviet moves in Suez, Panama, and the Dardanelles might "set up a terrific backfire of sympathy for Russia throughout the world and even in this country—and that would be the end of the American way of life" (July 24). Apocalyptic, this; it was one of the few times Lattimore gave way to thorough pessimism.
Kohlberg, Lattimore's sworn enemy, stirred no great fuss in 1948. Having been beaten down in his crusade to reform the IPR he withdrew from it and concentrated on the open letters he sent to a mailing list of eight hundred persons: journalists, politicians, businessmen, clergy, anyone who attracted his attention. The message was still the same: we were losing the war against communism in Asia because of traitors in our midst. One major Kohlberg effort failed; he and like-minded Chiang supporters forced
an audience with Thomas Dewey, hoping to persuade Dewey to hit China policy hard in his campaign. Dewey brushed them off.
But Kohlberg did score in one arena. On a trip to Japan he was received cordially by General Willoughby, who put him up in the Tokyo headquarters of Army Intelligence. One evening Kohlberg found a large document marked "Confidential" on his bedside table. It was Willoughby's manuscript on the Sorge spy ring, which had supplied information to the Russians before the war. Kohlberg read it until 2 A.M. While he was out to breakfast the next morning, the manuscript mysteriously disappeared.
The Willoughby manuscript provided Kohlberg with new ammunition. Two of Sorge's associates were connected with Lattimore: Guenther Stein and Agnes Smedley. Lattimore had published Stein in Pacific Affairs , and Smedley had been in Yenan when Lattimore was there in 1937. Kohlberg went home and wrote an article on the Sorge ring for the May 1948 issue of his magazine Plain Talk . It attracted little attention except from the army, which denied that Smedley had been a Soviet spy.
HUAC attracted the most attention in 1948. Walter Goodman called it a "Vintage Year" and began his chapter this way: "Nineteen forty-eight stands as the most celebrated year of the Committee on Un-American Activities, a year of threat and counterthreat to which the Committee responded with enormous gusto. . . . It was an election year, filled with decisions that would define the limits of the cold war in Europe and the extent of our reaction to it at home. . . . It tended the spy fears of the day, producing a record number of sensational headlines as its contribution to the Republican Presidential campaign. And with its presentation of the Hiss-Chambers drama, it touched a generation of liberals to their very souls."
Americans who lived through the 1950s, and many who came of age later, appreciate the significance of the Alger Hiss case. Every witness or scholar, right or left, who deals with the inquisition attests to its salience. (Ronald Reagan revived it in 1984 by giving the Medal of Freedom post-. humously to Whittaker Chambers.) On August 3, 1948, Chambers publicly accused Hiss of serving the Russians; Hiss denied it and was indicted for perjury December 15. Richard Nixon, then a member of HUAC, rose to the vice presidency and ultimately the presidency largely on the basis of his prominence as the chief pursuer of Alger Hiss. Two years after the Hiss indictment Joseph McCarthy, flailing about for spectacular charges to advance his own anti-Communist crusade, chose the single most damning indictment he could find: he claimed Lattimore was the boss of the whole ring of which Hiss was a part.
But it was not just the discovery of an alleged Communist at one time high in the government that made 1948 a vintage year. Republican outrage at losing yet another presidential election to the Democrats was a powerful incentive to find a set of issues that would turn the voters around.
Why did the myths about the loss of China obtain their stranglehold on the American psyche at midcentury? When one identifies the first act in the selling of these China myths, one is forced to conclude that China became an obsession because the Republican party, prior to Franklin Roosevelt the majority party, had by 1948 been shut out of the White House for sixteen long years. It was then robbed of its certainty of recapturing power by a Missouri haberdasher, whose major error while in office was the loss of China to the Communists. The Republican party, having lost with a moderate, bipartisan, me-too campaign in 1948, was desperate to find an issue—any issue with which to return to power. After the 1948 election, China was that issue.
It is hard to imagine an issue that could have served the party better. Republicans had been unable to overcome Democratic candidates running against the Hoover depression. With the cold war going strong, with spies and traitors everywhere, with our friends in Asia going under, it was time to concentrate on foreign policy.
One wing of the Republican party had always put Asia first. World War II in Asia was the Republican's war, commanded by a great Republican general with presidential ambitions. Democrats had emphasized a war against Hitler that many Republican leaders felt we had no business prosecuting, since the Axis was the only bulwark against the true menace to America—the Soviet Union. Now the Asia-firsters came into their own. In 1948 Dewey was a shoo-in; he could not lose. When he did lose, the sober, statesmanlike approach of his campaign lost with him. From then on, with exceptions such as Vandenberg, Republicans concluded that bipartisanship in foreign policy and rational discussion of campaign issues—in short, Marquis of Queensberry rules—were out. Nice guys finished last. If Truman could win by raising hell about Republican domestic policies, perhaps a Republican could win by raising hell about Democratic foreign policies. Especially China policy.
The "loss" of China was the best thing that ever happened for the Republican party. It answered a politician's prayer for a rebuttal to what they saw as twenty years of socialism, New Dealism, and treason. The bitter, unexpected, and undeserved blow of Truman's victory enraged the Asia-firsters, emasculated the moderates, and led American politics into an orgy of scapegoating and witch-hunting.
Until January 1949 the FBI file on Lattimore was thin. It contained only twelve documents, half of which concerned Lattimore's activities in the Maryland Civil Liberties Committee and the Maryland Citizens Council. The other documents were mostly reports from the Boston FBI office occasioned by Elizabeth Boody Schumpeter's visits, when she complained that Lattimore's stance against Japanese aggression was motivated by pro-communism. None of this struck the bureau as warranting additional investigation.
On January 12, 1949, Boston wrote headquarters again. There was a new angle: Boston had a report of the testimony of an informant in the Hiss investigation who identified Lattimore as a Russian agent. Boston wanted to make sure this item caught Hoover's attention. It succeeded.
The new witness was Alexander Gregory Graf Barmine.
Barmine, a defector from the Soviet Union, was born of a noble family in 1899. He wrote that when the revolution broke out, he was "filled with hope and enthusiasm for the new Russia and the new world we were going to create. I left the university and engaged as a volunteer in the new army. At the same time I joined the Communist party. Six months later I was named political commissar of the battalion and later of the regiment, after taking part in the fighting in the Ukraine. After a course at military school I served as an officer in the war against Poland. Since then I have served in the Soviet Government in many posts and have given all my force and strength to the workers' cause, which I espoused in 1919."
Barmine's accounts of service to the Soviet government in his various autobiographical writings differ from the account he gave the FBI, but he
was consistent in claiming that he was for many years a brigadier general in military intelligence and that when he defected in 1937 he was chargé d'affaires of the Russian embassy in Athens. The immediate stimulus for his defection was Stalin's purging of former colleagues; he sensed that his time was coming.
From Athens he went to Paris, claiming status as a political refugee; in 1940 he came to the United States, where he worked in a metal factory. Like many defectors, he now gave to anticommunism the same "force and strength" he had once given to the revolution. In 1942 he entered the U.S. Army as a private. Apparently his former skills as a Soviet brigadier general were no longer with him, as he was still a private in 1944 when he left the army to join the Office of Strategic Services.
OSS seemed to appreciate his talents even less. Barmine does not discuss his work with OSS, but admits he was fired. He says the stated reason was repeated absence from the job because of illness, but that the real reason was his extracurricular activities. By 1944 he had made contact with various publishers and was busily turning out exposes of Soviet perfidy and subversion. The publication to which he gravitated was Reader's Digest .
Barmine's article "The New Communist Conspiracy" appeared in the Digest in October 1944. It is a typical warning of how the American Communist party was merely a tool of the Kremlin, far more dangerous after Earl Browder "dissolved" it and formed the Communist Political Association. The Communists had penetrated American labor unions and used their agents in the army and navy to defeat counterintelligence efforts. Barmine had not yet discovered China policy, the IPR, or Lattimore.
But the FBI discovered Barmine. On February 14, 1945, the New York office interviewed him. If he was so knowledgeable about how the Soviet network operated in the United States, they expected that he would know some of the key operatives. Barmine disappointed them. He could not name any Americans working for the Soviet Union.
However, Barmine's contacts at the Digest soon provided him with names of Soviet apologists, if not with names of spies. He became friends with Max Eastman, shortly to publish the anti-Lattimore article with J. D. Powell; in March 1945 Eastman wrote a glowing preface to Barmine's book One Who Survived . Eastman had gotten the anti-Lattimore corpus from Kohlberg and now passed it on intact to Barmine. Barmine also became close to Digest staffer Bill White, son of the famous editor William Allen White. Bill White and Barmine collaborated to dissuade the Digest from publishing a condensation of Lattimore's allegedly pro-Soviet
Solution in Asia . Barmine subsequently wrote a hostile review of Solution that appeared in the New Leader . Paraphrasing (if not plagiarizing) the Kohlberg review of Solution , Barmine ignored the last three chapters, in which Lattimore argued for free enterprise in Asia, and instead attacked the misleading publisher's blurb.
Despite getting an article in the prestigious Digest , Barmine's career as a writer did not flourish. He was out of work from late 1944, when the OSS fired him, until October 1948, when he joined the Russian section of the Voice of America. During this period of unemployment the State Department told the FBI that Barmine was alleged to have seen a list of Soviet agents in the United States that included the name of Alger Hiss. The bureau thereupon contacted Barmine again, on October 23, 1946, when "he was closely questioned as to whether he knew of any Soviet agents in the United States or even if he suspected any individual. He denied knowing anything definite and added that he was merely suspicious of some things." The Bureau was again disappointed; this was just another bad tip from State.
Barmine had lied to the bureau. To Bill White and other former Digest associates he had already suggested that Lattimore might be a Soviet agent, but his suspicion did not become public knowledge until the McCarthy ruckus four years later.
In 1948 Barmine watched fascinated as HUAC had its "Vintage Year." In July, Elizabeth Bentley soared to stardom as she named a score of persons whom she claimed had been serving in her espionage ring. In August, Chambers unleased the spectacular charges against Hiss. (Neither Bentley nor Chambers named Lattimore.) Here, Barmine surely reasoned, was a formula for advancing the anti-Communist cause: bring charges of treason, not just of fellow-traveling, against specific Americans. Then the naive would sit up and listen.
His opportunity came before the end of the year. Despite two earlier disappointments the FBI went back to Barmine on October 26, 1948, to see if he could add to the testimony against Hiss. Apparently he said nothing about Hiss, but he had a new story: Owen Lattimore and Joseph Barnes had been "working" for the Soviets in 1933. (Barmine later "corrected" this date to 1935.)
The story was confused, but it concerned an incident Barmine now remembered from his years as head of the Soviet Auto-Motor Export Corporation in Moscow. In this position he was responsible for one overt activity, shipping cars and trucks abroad, and for a covert activity, furnishing arms to pro-Soviet groups in other countries, including China's
Sinkiang Province. For the latter operation he needed experienced "military men" to organize delivery of the guns, tanks, ammunition, and supplies he was to position in China.
Where were these experienced military men to be found? Barmine claimed that during this assignment he worked closely with General I. Berzin, head of Soviet military intelligence. General Berzin told Barmine not to worry: the Soviets had two Americans working for them in China, Owen Lattimore and Joseph Barnes of the IPR. They would handle his need for experienced men in Sinkiang.
Berzin was a major Soviet figure who headed military intelligence from 1924 to 1935 and was senior Soviet adviser to Loyalist forces in the Spanish civil war in 1936-37. Barmine claims that while he held the export job, he conferred with Berzin—his boss—three or four times a week. This claim is strange. Berzin was running so many agents in so many countries (including superspy Richard Sorge) that it is difficult to envisage his taking so much time with the mundane business of exporting. Even more difficult to believe is that in his autobiographies written well before 1948, Barmine mentions Berzin not at all. Barmine writes about some 315 of his colleagues and superiors in the Soviet Union, from Stalin on down, paying special tribute to those who were caught up in Stalin's purges. Berzin was liquidated in 1937, as were many other associates of Barmine, yet Barmine had not a word to say about Berzin.
Nor does Barmine mention Lattimore, Barnes, or the IPR in his autobiographies. In any case, the improbability of Barmine's scenario is staggering. For one thing, Barmine admits that he never contacted, met, or used Lattimore and Barnes. Within a short time of his "learning" from Berzin that Lattimore and Barnes were Soviet agents, Barmine asked to be relieved of the Auto-Motor Export job. He was then transferred to the diplomatic service.
Furthermore, to describe Lattimore and Barnes as experienced military men is ridiculous. Lattimore had always been a businessman-scholar-journalist. Barnes was a pure journalist and by the late 1940s was foreign editor of the New York Herald-Tribune . Neither ever had military service. And there was a problem with dates. In 1933,the date Barmine first mentioned, Lattimore was in China, but nowhere near Sinkiang, and his affiliation with the IPR did not come until the end of the year. Nor was Lattimore near Sinkiang in 1935. Barnes was in China for a while in 1933, but not in Sinkiang; in 1935 he was not even in China.
If the IPR was furnishing such stellar personnel for Soviet military intelligence, it is hard to see why that country attended only one IPR
conference and ceased to pay dues after 1939. Nor does it make sense for the Russians to have consistently denied Lattimore permission to enter their country, other than for the 1936 trip he made to meet Carter in Moscow.
Barmine dearly appreciated the flimsiness of his story. In later retellings he embellished, contradicted, and disparaged it to the point of farce. He even said of his own tale that he was not sure it could be called "evidence." The FBI eventually wrote off his testimony as "uncorroborated," noted that he told contradictory versions, and doubted his credibility.
But in March 1948 J. Edgar Hoover took Barmine's testimony seriously enough to order the Baltimore office to start a "thorough and complete investigation" of Lattimore, with telephone taps and physical surveillance. (He also ordered that a microphone be hidden in Lattimore's home if the agents could install it secretly; it is not clear that they were able to do so.) The object was to find out whether Lattimore "is presently or has been in the past engaged in espionage activities." Now the Lattimore file began to grow rapidly, and his classification was upgraded, in bureau nomenclature, from an "Internal Security" case to one of "Espionage." A request for permission to tap his telephone went to the attorney general on March 24, 1949, and on April 3 the tap was installed.
Physical surveillance began toward the end of March. A lecture tour Lattimore made to New England was followed closely. He, his wife, and the recently arrived Dilowa Hutukhtu (noted as traveling incognito) stayed overnight with writer Richard Lauterbach in New York, then journeyed to Springfield, Massachusetts, on March 30. Both Lattimore and Lauterbach spoke to the Springfield Adult Education League that evening, calling for recognition of people's governments in Asia and saying that we might be able to deal with the Chinese Communists.
The next day Lauterbach returned to New York, and the Lattimore party went on to Cambridge. There they stayed for three days with Professor John King Fairbank. Fairbank gave a dinner party at the Buena Vista Restaurant in honor of Lattimore on April 1, and Lattimore addressed Fairbank's seminar in History of Far Eastern Civilizations that evening. The surveillance report filed by Boston also noted that Lattimore was a friend of Andrew Roth, Clyde Kluckhohn, Charles Siepmann, Michael Greenberg, and Harriet Moore.
The telephone tap provided advance notice of Lattimore's movements for the next nine months. Agents shadowed him everywhere he went. His lecture schedule for 1949 was extensive, and the faithful FBI kept watch on each appearance; in Philadelphia April 21, New York May 5,
the Army Chemical Center May 9, the Council on Foreign Relations May 10, an NBC broadcast from New York June 7, and then on vacation.
Surveillance reports on these engagements show the FBI at its dogged best. The cable to the Washington field office (WFO) and Baltimore from New York on May 5 is typical:
OWEN LATTIMORE DASH ESP [espionage]—R. [Russia] RE BALTIMORE TEL MAY FOUR AND WFO TEL MAY FIVE LAST. SUBJECT ARRIVED NYC SEVEN TWENTY A.M. EST. MET DUDLEY FRAZIER OF LITTLE BROWN AND COMPANY AT BARCLAY HOTEL . . . THEN PROCEEDED TO CBS WHERE SUBJECT APPEARED ON TELEVISION PROGRAM TWELVE NOON TO TWELVE THIRTY P.M. SHOW ENTITLED "VANITY FAIR." SUBJECT, BRUNO SHAW AND AN-NALEE JACOBY GUESTS OF DOROTHY DOAN ON PROGRAM. TRIP TO NYC APPARENTLY TO PUSH SALES OF SUBJECTS NEW BOOK. SUBJECT LEFT NYC ONE THIRTY P.M. EST AND ARRIVING BALTIMORE FIVE P.M. EST .
Entirely unaware of being followed everywhere, the Lattimores, Dilowa Hutukhtu, and the Onons went to Bethel, Vermont, for a vacation at the end of June. They were to occupy Stoddard farm, belonging to Vilhjalmur Stefansson, who was then in Iceland. This created a bit of a problem for the FBI. A mail cover was easy (the Bethel postmaster gladly allowed the FBI to intercept and steam open Lattimore's mail), and it was easy to tap the telephone, but physical surveillance was not easy.
The nearest FBI office was in Albany, New York, three and a half hours' drive away. The gung ho Albany Special Agent in Charge (SAC), A. Cornelius, Jr., was more than prepared to drive that far to maintain surveillance of a suspicious character like Lattimore. But once the agents were near the Stoddard farm, there was no cover. In a city or town, agents could pretend to be eating in a restaurant, drinking in a bar, or simply waiting in a parked car. Rural Vermont did not offer such opportunities. As Cornelius plaintively put it, "The farm itself consists of several hundred acres on top of the mountain, and there are no buildings in which one could stay to observe any activities on the farm."
So Cornelius read the mail, listened to the telephone recordings, and sent photographs of letters in Chinese and Mongol to Washington for translation. Unfortunately, Cornelius or one of his associates was not highly skilled at photography. A shipment of exposed film mailed from Albany to bureau headquarters on August 4, 1949, drew this response on August 10: "This is to advise you that the roll was too far underexposed to print,
it being loaded in the magazine with the emulsion side away from the lens so that the exposures were made through the back of the film. There is attached hereto, an instruction card with the correct method for unloading and also the correct exposure guide. Film is being returned herewith." Some film, however, turned out dearly. Hundreds of letters to and from Lattimore were put in bureau files. Vital facts about Lattimore's activities were learned, such as that he had managed to install an indoor bathroom in one of the buildings at the Stoddard farm.
What SAC Cornelius lacked in photographic skills he made up for in geopolitical imagination. Now that the Albany district had been blessed with a world-famous suspect, he rose to the occasion. He read up on Buddhism so he could place the Dilowa in a monastic hierarchy (he was comparable to a Roman Catholic cardinal); he studied the history of Mongolia and of Tibet and the interrelations of the Buddhist authorities in those countries. He referred to the recent China White Paper and the appointment by Secretary of State Dean Acheson of a committee headed by Philip Jessup to review Asian policy, a committee that would undoubtedly seek Lattimore's advice. He followed Reuters and Associated Press dispatches about unrest in Tibet and about the dispatch of an emissary from China to Lhasa to reaffirm Chinese sovereignty there. All this and more SAC Cornelius put in a three-page letter to Hoover on August 9.
Nor was this an idle show of erudition to impress the boss. There was a conclusion:
In view of the above factors, it would be quite possible that LATTIMORE by influencing his Mongolian associates (and they influencing their superiors and/or constituents in Tibet) is in a position to assist in bringing about the inclusion of Tibet in the Soviet or Chinese Communist sphere of influence, which country today, is not in either sphere. It is even possible the Communist forces would desire to see the tenth Lama replaced by a new Buddha if it would better suit their cause. It is then possible that LATTIMORE'S guest, the Dilowa (Living Buddha) may possibly be that person. It may be that continued investigation of LATTIMORE will tend to confirm or disprove this conjecture.
It is suggested that possibly this may be of assistance to the newly formed advisory committee, and it is believed they should be so advised prior to negotiations they may undertake with OWEN LATTIMORE .
We do not know if Hoover read the Cornelius memorandum. Two months later, however, D. M. Ladd wrote to Hoover about the Jessup committee having consulted Lattimore. Ladd quoted, without acknowledgment, from the Cornelius memo and concluded that "Lattimore could be of immense
importance to the Russians" as an adviser to Jessup. Hoover did read this memo and commented below Ladd's signature: "This is shocking. Press vigorously investigation of Lattimore."
The FBI investigation spilled over into the fledgling CIA. Many of Lattimore's alleged transgressions occurred abroad, out of the bureau's jurisdiction. Hoover thought the CIA might be able to furnish some information. On June 22, 1949, Hoover wrote the CIA, asking if that agency could verify Barmine's claim and also check out some fourth-hand gossip (source deleted) to the effect that Lattimore had divulged information to the Soviets. Robert A. Schow, CIA assistant director, answered the bureau on August 10, hardly a speedy response; the CIA blacked out the substance of his letter when it was finally released in 1986.
By contrast, the bureau moved rapidly and included in their investigation the mysterious Mongols Lattimore now had with him. Until Lattimore began the Page School Mongol program in 1947, there was little academic study of that exotic land and people. The Foreign Service Institute (State Department), American Council of Learned Societies, and the Carnegie Corporation all agreed to underwrite his project. It was to be multidisciplinary; Lattimore hired American linguists and social scientists, but his major effort was to obtain native speakers of Mongol. John Hangin and Urgunge Onon came to Johns Hopkins in 1948, barely getting out of Nanking before the Communists arrived.
Lattimore wanted the Dilowa also. Periodically he had letters from his friend, by 1948 in a Tibetan monastery and planning to live out his life there. Homesick as he was for his native Mongolia, the Communists there would not tolerate his presence. He plaintively explained this in a letter to Lattimore: "Though I am not against them, they must be against me. The old can sometimes forgive the new, but the new can never forgive the old." By the end of 1948 Tibet too seemed an insecure refuge, and the Dilowa contemplated a move to India. Lattimore persuaded him instead to come to the United States. He arrived in Baltimore early in March 1949.
Despite State's clean bill of health to all three Mongols, the FBI was suspicious. The Dilowa's baggage came by ship, arriving May 6. Every bit of it was searched. There were numerous letters written in Mongol; it took almost a year for the FBI to get these translated. They apparently showed no evidence that the Dilowa had Communist thoughts, but one very suspicious enclosure raised a warning flag with SAC McFarlin in Baltimore: "The following described letters, made available by the same highly confidential source referred to above [the search of Dilowa's bag-
gage] were in sealed and addressed but unstamped envelopes. . . . Baltimore exhibit #51—letter and envelope bearing what appears to be Mongol script. It will be noted that folded in the letter were two dried flower petals, which appear in the photograph. The Bureau is requested to advise, if possible, whether these dried flower petals are of any known significance."
Four rolls of film were also confiscated from the Dilowa's luggage. When developed, they also must have been innocuous. Later FBI documents show no incriminating evidence coming from the Dilowa's baggage. But agent Cornelius in Albany had planted the seeds of suspicion: the Dilowa might yet be the Communists' chosen agent to take over Tibet. This fear endured in bureau files.
The bureau missed one high-level attack on Lattimore in early 1949. John F. Kennedy was still only a congressman, but he knew what to feed the then-hawkish citizens of Salem, Massachusetts. On January 30, seeking to explain the "tragic" decline of Chiang Kai-shek, for whom we had gone to war against Japan, Kennedy borrowed liberally from Bullitt, Hurley, and other Asia-firsters: "Our policy in China has reaped the whirlwind. The continued insistence that aid would not be forthcoming unless a coalition government with the Communists was formed was a crippling blow to the national government. So concerned were our diplomats and their advisers, the Lattimores and the Fairbanks, with the imperfections of the diplomatic system in China after 20 years of war, and the tales of corruption in high places, that they lost sight of our tremendous stake in a non-Communist China." Kennedy later regretted this indiscretion. Fortunately, in 1949 he did not command the rhetorical heights of the presidency.
The March 19, 1949, Collier's brought a surprise from Louis Budenz. When he first started writing about the Soviet threat in his 1947 autobiography, This Is My Story , he portrayed the Soviet Union as operating directly through American Communists. The takeover of America would come after the collapse of the American capitalist economy. In this first Budenz call to arms there was no mention of Asia, China, Japan, or the IPR. Budenz listed eighty-seven Americans who were working with the Soviets to hasten America's collapse; Fred Field and Owen Lattimore were not among them. By the time he wrote for Collier's in 1949, the Soviet threat had assumed a quite different dimension. His title was "The Menace of Red China": "The Communist conquest of China, now dangerously near completion, long has been planned as a major milestone in Moscow's road toward creation of a Soviet America. Japan and Korea are
next on the schedule, then Indonesia and the Philippines. Once in control of the western Pacific's vast manpower and vital rubber, tin and oil resources, Russia hopes to be ready for the final showdown with the United States. That is the blueprint, at least, of Soviet world conquest. . . . Since 1927, every American Communist has been inculcated with the Soviet tenet that China is the master key to a Red White House."
This "master key," as Budenz suddenly remembered, was first activated in 1937, when Earl Browder called a "China conference" at Party headquarters. Ten American Communist party leaders attended. Budenz says: "Browder announced that he had received word that 'the followers of Mao Tse-tung have to be presented in a new dress.' With a sarcastic grin and Kansas-imitated twang, he said our new objective was to picture them as a mild variation of Plains states agrarian reformers. Up to that point they had been known simply as Chinese Communists."
At this China conference Fred Field allegedly suggested the idea of working through "legitimate" organizations such as the IPR. "This is not a Communist organization," writes Budenz, "but Field later succeeded in becoming secretary of the American Council. . . . Browder masterminded the new China policy. Having served two years in China as a Communist International representative, he was an authority on that country." Budenz also identified five writers who took part in Browder's project: Philip Jaffe, Lawrence Salisbury, T. A. Bisson, Harrison Forman, and Guenther Stein. Thus, China became Russia's "steppingstone to world domination. . . . It took nearly a quarter of a century to reach the goal, which only proves that while the pattern of conquest may deviate, it never dies."
One would be tempted to suspect that Budenz had bought Kohlberg's conspiracy theory in toto except for one thing: Lattimore and all his works are missing from the Collier's account. It took another year for Budenz to adopt the full Kohlberg agenda.
Meanwhile, Lattimore was putting out an agenda of his own. It was Situation in Asia , requested of Lattimore by Little, Brown in late December 1948 and completed by Lattimore in three weeks. Publication date was April 4, 1949. Naturally, this was not all new material; some of it came from Lattimore's ONA columns, one chapter came from a paper he had delivered to the American Historical Association in December, and two chapters had been prepared for the Atlantic Monthly . There were no surprises.
Since the Communists had all but taken over China, and the Soviet Union stood to gain by this takeover, the Russian menace figured strongly
in Situation . Lattimore does not equivocate about this menace. "The spread of direct Russian control over Asia would be disastrous for the countries of Asia as well as for America and Europe. To replace one kind of empire with another kind of empire would make things worse, not better." And while Russian propaganda painted Marxism as "modern and progressive," this description was erroneous; "according to this theory, to be 'progressive' in politics means to be on the side of that which is coming up and against that which is going down." Lattimore believed that we had to adopt policies that would "demonstrate that there can be progress and democracy—democracy for Asia, in forms acceptable to Asia—without Marxism."
Such policies did not mean we had to go to war with Russia. The Truman Doctrine was still too provocative. Our defenses already in place were sufficient to protect our own territory; in the Third World, our superior economic capabilities would tip the balance of influence in our favor. "The fundamental adjustment will then require the Russians to concede that capitalism is not withering or collapsing, while we shall have to concede that Communism cannot be extirpated by war. On our side, we shall have given a fresh impetus to both capitalism and political democracy."
As with his earlier book, Solution in Asia , Lattimore consistently argues the superiority of capitalistic productive power and the inferiority of Soviet communism. "America is the strongest private-enterprise country in the world, and there are all kinds of jobs, all over the world, that can be done better by American private enterprise than by any other agency." As to the former colonial areas, "The American interest in these countries is to cultivate the maximum field of legitimate operation for American private enterprise in trade, in contracting and engineering, and in supplying and installing machinery."
Lattimore was still convinced that Mao was not under the thumb of the Kremlin, that China would go its own road internally. MacArthur had done a great job in Japan, despite the 1948 reversal of policy, but Japan still could not be counted on in the future. And on the nascent revisionist thesis that Truman ordered use of nuclear weapons only to intimidate the Russians, Lattimore was emphatic: there was "no justification whatever" for believing it. With no exceptions, throughout Situation Lattimore advocates democracy and free enterprise.
One influential force in American opinion paid no attention to Situation : the American Legion. On May 5, 1949, Kenneth R. Hammer, chairman of the Maryland Legion's Americanism Commission, released a list
compiled by the commission of 102 prominent citizens who were "unsuitable for Legion sponsorship" as speakers or entertainers. It was largely a roll call of Hollywood and Broadway personalities, but there were a few professors, among them Lattimore. When the Baltimore Sun asked Lattimore about it, he responded with "complete surprise." "The only person on the list with whom I'm acquainted," he said, "is William L. Shirer. I'll always be glad to be on any list with him."
Underneath the sangfroid there was concern. When Lattimore learned that Richard E. Lauterbach was also on the list, he wrote Lauterbach, "If you know of any proposal for action by a group of us who are clearly libeled by the 'guilt by association' listing please let me know. Since actual loss or damage as the result of such a story is one of the most important things in bringing a libel action, and since you have already had an article turned down, I think your case is clearer than mine. It makes me furious to see you get this kind of treatment, and I want to do anything I can to help."
Nothing came of it. Buried in Lattimore's FBI file is a wiretap report made by the FBI on two prominent Communist party functionaries. Part of what the FBI overheard concerned Lattimore and the Legion list.
Baltimore Confidential informant T-15 [the wiretap] of known reliability, advised on May 6, 1949, that PHIL FRANKFELD , Chairman, District No. 4 of the Communist Party, with headquarters in Baltimore, and GEORGE MEYERS , Labor Secretary, District No. 4 of the Communist Party, discussed a HENRY WALLACE rally. . . . Near the conclusion of their conversation, according to the informant, MEYERS referred to the American Legion's "Honor Roll" and that the Legion had listed in the newspapers over a hundred names to "tip people off that they are traveling under false colors." MEYERS made the statement "they even got OWEN LATTIMORE on there, and WALTER DURANTY ." According to the informant, FRANKFELD seemed puzzled and responded with the following one-word inquiry, "LATTIMORE ?" The informant stated that MEYERS laughed, repeated both names and thereafter told FRANKFELD that he, MEYERS , guessed he would have to start writing with his "right" hand. . . . MEYERS seemed to ridicule the implications the Legion list might suggest insofar as LATTIMORE and WALTER DURANTY are concerned.
While the American Legion was compiling its list of un-American speakers, Lattimore was probing a Russian weakness that few others saw and that would not be fully visible for four decades. His ONA article of April 19, 1949, "Nationalism in Russia's Back Yard," commented on a
chauvinistic piece "written for Bolshevik highbrows"in the Moscow magazine Questions of Philosophy . Lattimore had always given the Russians high marks for their easy assimilation of Asian ethnic groups, but this article, "Against the Bourgeois Ideology of Cosmopolitanism," indicated growing arrogance on the part of the Russians.
Cosmopolitanism was wrong, said the writer, because it implied that there was a body of universal ideas equally valid for all peoples at all times. Such a notion is un-Russian, for the Russians "are the outstanding people" of the Soviet Union, with the richest history and the richest culture. Lattimore observed, "In the headstrong Russian way, they are now overdoing the whole business by laying claim to having invented practically everything." The Questions of Philosophy piece was patronizing, inaccurate, and offensive. Lattimore predicted that if the Russians maintained this attitude, they would face nationalistic hostilities throughout their vast territory.
The FBI wiretap on Lattimore picked up another interesting item in May. On May 10 Lattimore received a telegram from the Office of Naval Research in Washington inviting him to attend a meeting of the Arctic Research Laboratory in Point Barrow, Alaska, May 17. The FBI immediately went to Naval Research to ask why Lattimore was going on this trip. Navy replied that Dr. Detlev Bronk, president of Johns Hopkins and a member of the Arctic Research Laboratory Board, was unable to make this meeting; Lattimore was a substitute nominated by Bronk and cleared by the navy. The navy also supplied the itinerary and names of other persons attending. The bureau decided this trip was legitimate and no surveillance was necessary.
Despite Lattimore's heavy involvement in writing, lecturing, and the Mongol project, he was interested in branching out into other activities: capitalist-style activities. In July 1949, while he and his family were living at the farm in Vermont, Lattimore wrote a business friend of his, Owen Roche, on Long Island. There were several things he wanted to talk to Roche about, not the least of which was making money.
Among other things, why shouldn't you and I pool our experience, yours in Latin America and mine in the Far East, and go into business as consultants on foreign trade under Point Four, or simply as opportunity offers. I once gave a large corporation some sound advice on their investments in Shanghai under Japanese occupation. They took the advice, and liquidated their investment before Pearl Harbor. It seems to me that a couple of men who know their way around in the field of foreign trade and investment ought to be able to give equivalent advice
today; only under present conditions, of course, it would be primarily a question of giving advice on where to undertake new ventures rather than on the liquidation of old commitments.
Roche's response does not survive, and Lattimore did not remember how this project turned out. If it had gotten started, the force of the inquisition would have aborted it shortly.
When the famous China White Paper (formally titled United States Relations with China ) came out on August 5, 1949, Lattimore was an avid reader. It was, he thought, a tremendous mistake. His analysis of the motives behind the White Paper , and of the probable consequences of issuing it, was the most incisive to be found. In an ONA column of August 13 he noted the struggle between Truman's administration and the Asia-first Republicans over whether to try to revive Chiang Kai-shek. Truman was right on this point: Chiang could not be rescued. Lattimore concluded with two points, the first that the White Paper highlighted the "two-billion dollar bankroll that was squandered" in China, making the Democrats look bad.
On the second point, that of emphasizing the redness, ruthlessness, and Russianness of the Chinese Communists, the White Paper commits what will in time be revealed as a serious diplomatic blunder. Secretary of State Dean Acheson, in his statement accompanying the White Paper , speaks of the Russian influence in China as a "foreign domination masking behind the facade of a vast crusading movement," and even suggests that American policy should now encourage the Chinese to "throw off the foreign yoke."
Such language is a diplomatic mistake because, while a Russian yoke on the necks of the Chinese may be one of the possibilities of the future, it is not an actuality of the present. The insinuation that the United States is ready at any moment to encourage a new civil war in China is a grave error. The main body of the White Paper will support the belief, already prevalent in China, that American intervention has been much greater than Russian intervention. The suggestion of a new kind of American intervention will drive the Chinese closer to the Russians.
Mao took precisely this line in a series of four articles using more invective and sarcasm than he had ever before displayed. Nor did the Nationalists like the White Paper . It pleased nobody.
Four months after the Point Barrow trip another public attack on Lattimore's loyalty appeared. The September 1949 issue of Columbia , the magazine of the Knights of Columbus, carried an article, "Disaster in
China," by Father James F. Kearney, S.J. Some of the material was similar to the Eastman-Powell Reader's Digest article, but most of it came straight and undiluted from the source: Kohlberg. The "disaster" was of course the Communist triumph: "For Communism it is the greatest triumph since the Russian Revolution; for us, though few Americans yet fully realize it, it is perhaps the greatest disaster in our history; and the end is not yet. Who is responsible? It wasn't a one-man job; short-sighted Chinese officials contributed some fifty percent of the catastrophe, we the other fifty percent. There are those who believe, though, that no Americans deserve more credit for this Russian triumph and Sino-American disaster than Owen Lattimore and a small group of his followers. Owen Lattimore, confidant of two U.S. Presidents, adviser to our State Department."
Surprisingly, the FBI did not acquire this article until November 28, and it was January 30, 1950, by the time two agents from the San Francisco office interviewed Father Kearney at Santa Clara University. After discovering that Kearney had never met Lattimore, could not identify his "followers" or associates, did not know who in the State Department associated with Lattimore, and had no knowledge of Communist party activity on Lattimore's part, they hit pay dirt: Kearney "advised that ALFRED KOHLBERG , 1 West 37th Street, New York City, had been his principal source of information concerning LATTIMORE , other than LATTIMORE'S books and articles."
Kearney described for the FBI agents Kohlberg's "open letter" operation, stating that in 1948 Kohlberg had informed him that Lattimore screened applicants for positions in the Far Eastern Division of the State Department, however, Kearney could not name any of these individuals. Kearney then added what was, in light of his claimed dependence on Kohlberg, a peculiar reservation about the man: "He expressed the belief that in view of KOHLBERG'S hatred of Communism, KOHLBERG may be indiscreet, and that he would hesitate to recommend an interview of KOHLBERG by this Bureau." This was fine with the bureau Lattimore specialists; they had long regarded Kohlberg as unbalanced and had no desire to interview him. Not until McCarthy quoted Kohlberg before the Senate did they change their minds.
When President Truman announced on September 23 that the Soviet Union had exploded a nuclear bomb, America's virile self-image took another beating. For most observers the trauma was military, Lattimore took a different view. The Russians may have had a bomb or two, but we had a stockpile. The real danger, as Lattimore wrote in an October 3 ONA
article, was in what the bomb represented by way of advanced technology. We could no longer afford the complacent assumption that all the fingers of Russian technologists "are nothing but clumsy peasant thumbs." We now had to revise our estimate of Russian competence, period. Now "Russia's possible industrial application of atomic energy is of even more importance than atomic bombs."
But an equally significant development did not receive from Lattimore the attention it deserved. On October 1 Mao Tse-tung declared the existence of the People's Republic of China (PRC). Lattimore knew this was a milestone, but having been raised abroad and having had little contact with the Protestant mission support system in the United States, he did not appreciate the symbolic significance of this triumph of atheistic communism. He saw the creation of the PRC as primarily a geopolitical problem, to be dealt with on the international stage. It was in fact far more a domestic political problem.
To many Americans, the atheists defeated the Christians in 1949. The inquisition could never have achieved its virulence without the massive grassroots devotion to Christian missions. In 1936 there were at least six thousand Protestant missionaries in China, and each of them had a built-in constituency back home. As Sherwood Eddy, prominent chronicler of China missions, noted of his youth, "China was the goal, the lodestar, the great magnet that drew us all in those days." John Hersey's The Call recreates this Sinocentrism vividly. China was also the lodestar for Henry Luce, who was born in China of missionary parents and who developed a lifelong attachment to the cause served by his father, to the country where his father served, and to the great captain who, until 1949, ruled that country. In the Luce theology, which all of his publishing empire promulgated until his death, missions and righteousness, Republican politics, and Chiang and Americanism were all inseparable.
The psychological significance of Mao's victory lay not just in the fact that the American missionary enterprise suffered a defeat but in the fact that the heathen Communists beat them at their own game. The Communists won the theological battle, the battle for souls. Mao, with his rigid moral code, his strict standards of service and self-abnegation, his overwhelming creed of devotion to duty, had captured the spirit of the Protestant ethic and turned it against them. For many missionaries the triumph of the Communists caused intolerable dissonance. Their China, the Kuomintang, was riddled with "graft and greed, idleness and inefficiency, nepotism and factional rivalries," in the words of missionary-ambassador John Leighton Stuart. Stuart was overtly envious of the dis-
cipline and abstemiousness of the Maoists, qualities which he admitted were "no mean achievement, especially in the perspective of Kuomintang shortcomings."
For several decades American religious circles simply could not cope with the idea that any kind of Communist regime could achieve the popular devotion Mao had in his early years. In 1972 E. Gray Dimond, provost of the University of Missouri at Kansas City Medical School, toured China with a team of fellow doctors. When he gave a series of lectures in the Midwest after his return, he began to get letters: "My pastor has told me to write to you. I told him I was not able to understand how godless, Communist China could not have alcoholism, drugs, venereal disease, and prostitutes. How can this happen in the absence of the Bible? Surely the explanation must be that Christianity is alive and operating behind the scenes. Please write and assure me that this is true." "Your reports about Red China and what you saw there do not do your scientific training justice. It is obvious that you were shown only well-selected areas which had been prepared for you. My minister told me so."
American Catholics, though with less investment in China than Protestants, were also appalled when "China, in the end, rejected Christianity and chose Marxism." Richard Madsen, in the Holy Cross Quarterly , explains why Mao's triumph was so traumatic: "The Chinese Communists succeeded in doing what the churches always claimed to want to do, but never succeeded to any great degree: they fed China's hungry, provided medical care for her sick, eliminated the great gap between China's few rich and many poor, made China into a self-reliant nation, and helped bring new meaning and hope into the lives of great masses of Chinese people."
Lattimore believed that the professional Kuomintang supporters in the United States were in it for money or power or both, but he was in error. Shirley Stone Garrett, in "The American Churches and China," had it right. "With the Communist takeover . . . the collapse of the missionary era left a deep sense of betrayal. . . . It is certain . . . that China's repudiation of the missionary gift worked like a disease in the consciousness of many Americans." The significance of that disease for Lattimore was not yet clear.
In the summer of 1949 SAC Cornelius had warned FBI headquarters about the dangerous possibility that Lattimore would be consulted by Philip Jessup and his committee to review China policy; this threat materialized when Jessup wrote several dozen pundits for their suggestions on August
18; Lattimore replied within the month. His six-page letter digested his book Situation in Asia and concluded, "The major aim of United States policy in the Far East . . . should be to enable the countries of the Far East to do without Russia to the maximum extent. This is a much more modest aim than insistence on and organization of hostility to Russia; but it is an attainable aim, and the other is not." One wonders if Cornelius would have worried so had he actually read this letter.
The Jessup committee talked privately to a number of State Department and other Asian experts during the summer and held a roundtable discussion on American policy toward China on October 6, 7, and 8, 1949. Twenty-five "outsiders" attended the discussion. Five of them vigorously opposed even considering diplomatic relations with the People's Republic; Lattimore advocated waiting a while but thought that Titoist tendencies in Peking could be enhanced if recognition were granted after a reasonable wait. This advice put him at odds with the leader of the nonrecognitionists, Harold Stassen, at that time president of the University of Pennsylvania.
Lattimore also opposed Stassen's proposals for heavy support of the rump Nationalist government in the south of China and later attacked Stassen by name in several of his ONA columns for this proposal. At the conference Stassen came loaded with charts and graphs in the custody of an assistant; the charts showed how we could still save half of China by expeditious aid. It was an impressive performance. As Lattimore remembered it, "Stassen was busy showing how important he was; he kept popping out to get messages from his assistants." But Stassen and his supporters lost the argument. Most of the academic participants, and many of the business leaders, agreed with Lattimore: nonrecognition made no sense as a long-term policy. Stassen had his revenge before McCarran's Senate Internal Security Subcommittee two years later. It was the familiar charge: Lattimore had "lost" China to the Communists.
Lattimore had, of course, played a part in "advising the State Department" about China policy at the roundtable conference. But despite the near consensus of the participants in favor of eventual recognition, the U.S. government did not act on the majority opinion. Perhaps it is still arguable whether recognition would have been a wiser policy, but it is not arguable that Lattimore influenced policy. The roundtable was ignored.
On November 8, 1949, Lattimore spoke to the students of the National War College. It was his only appearance as an official lecturer before this group. His topic was "The Situation in Asia." Much alarm was raised in the Congress some years later when it was learned that Lattimore had
"infected" the military, but his message that day was as anti-Communist as was his book of the same title: the Russians would not be able to control China; nationalism in Asia would be most effectively captured by free enterprise ideas; the United States was superbly placed to promote political democracy in Asia so long as our models were not the Kuomintang and Syngman Rhee. The one weakness of his analysis was again Japan: he said the Japanese were unreliable. Lieutenant General H. R. Bull, commandant of the National War College, said the response to Lattimore's lecture was "most gratifying."
On November 25, 1949, Lee Nichols of United Press interviewed Lattimore about Mao's threat to invade Tibet. The FBI apparently talked to Nichols, since a two-page report on Lattimore's opinions about Tibet includes direct quotations from him and Nichols. Lattimore explained in some detail the status of the Dalai Lama as the ruler of Tibet, determined to maintain Tibetan autonomy. There were, however, two rival Panchen Lamas, of lesser rank, one of whom appeared to be speaking for the Chinese. Nichols asked if the Chinese Communists were interested in taking over Tibet. Lattimore answered:
The only thing that I have seen is that story off the Communist radio some weeks ago more or less denying that it was the business of the authorities in Lhasa to declare the political status of Tibet. I rather pricked up my ears when I saw that because it indicated that regardless of general Communist protestations about the right of self-determination and self-government and all the rest of it, in this case they were putting the emphasis on China's national claims. . . . They might be able to do something by interfering in the internal politics of Tibet but from the point of view of sending an army of their own to conquer the country—well, they may be bullheaded enough to do it but I can't see what the percentage would be.
We do not yet know whether the "bullheaded" Chinese Communists gained or lost by invading Tibet. We do know where Lattimore's sympathies lay: as always, with the ethnic minority.
As if the other events of 1949 had not kept Lattimore fully occupied, he agreed at the urging of a prominent Indian official to attend a conference in New Delhi December 4, expecting to return within ten days. When he landed in New Delhi, a personal aide of Jawaharlal Nehru was waiting for him and whisked him off to confer with the prime minister. Nehru was anxious to have Lattimore's observations on several problems confronting India; one of them was the situation in Kashmir, to which Lattimore was sent for five days. When he returned to New Delhi, Nehru,
Ambassador to China Panikkar, Foreign Secretary Menon, and other Indian officials debriefed him extensively. Nehru's partiality toward Lattimore elevated the latter's prestige with the IPR delegates considerably, but it irritated Loy Henderson, the American ambassador, who believed Nehru too inclined toward socialism, which was but the first step toward communism.
Lattimore reported extensively on his Indian trip to Roger Evans of the Rockefeller Foundation, which had financed his air travel. In his long letter to Evans the only mention of the conference itself was a glowing appraisal of one of the participants, W. F. Rivers, the Delhi representative of Standard Oil. Rivers he found to be the ideal "business diplomat." This was probably an indirect criticism of the official American diplomatic staff in India, which did not have Rivers's "extraordinary range of friendships among both Indians and foreigners."
Because of the Kashmir trip and many conferences with government people, Lattimore did not get back to Baltimore until December 26, 1949.
In Lattimore's absence, J. Edgar Hoover reached a decision. The public attacks on Lattimore were extensive enough, and the FBI file was thick enough, that prosecution was possible. That being the case, since evidence obtained through the use of illegal wiretaps was not admissible in court, the technical surveillance of Lattimore was to be discontinued. Removal of the wiretap was ordered December 20, 1949. From now on, anything obtained by the bureau was to be available for court use.