Friday, 17 November

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Friday, 17 November


At 9.00 we had the fifth meeting. Minister Zhang of the Ministry of Transportation made a report and the main content was as follows: 1) The goods we now needed to transport A) Military devices 100,000 tons, 100,000 tons each for military auxiliary products, fuel, railway materials and commercial products, which were 500,000 tons in total. The transportation charge per ton was more than one dollar per mile. If they were delivered by car at least 12,000 were required. There were twelve large repairing factories and twelve small ones with 12,000 craftsmen, but for the craftsmen we only have one tenth [of this number]. 2) Railways: a) Xiang-Gui route. It was now developed from Hangzhou to Guilin and the part from Guilin to Liuzhou would be completed within this year. It was expected that the part from Liuzhou to Nanning would be completed next April. As for the section from Nanning to Zhennanguan, because the funding was from a French loan, and since the European war steel was not allowed to be exported, it was delayed in delivery. b) Xufu-Kunming route. French banking consortium had received four hundred million francs from the French government as security for export credit. Then they formally dispatched representatives to Chongqing in October to negotiate a contract and on the other hand construction was under way and it was expected to reach Qujing by the end of the year. c) Yunnan-Burma route. Though our side has started construction the Burma side was against it. The reasons were: 1) The commercial activities between China and Burma were not numerous, it would lose money eventually. 2) It was worrying that there would be massive Chinese migration to Burma which would affect the living of the Burmese and at the same time the learning of the border people at Yunnan province was not yet developed, and local politics was not advanced enough. When the railway was in use, it would increase conflicts along the border. 3) The enemy propagated that when the railway line was finished it would certainly bombard it by planes. The bombardment of the Burmese border would certainly arouse ill-feelings among the Burmese, therefore though we had negotiated with the British government many times, it was not enthusiastic towards the idea at all. Now we decided we would make it on our own. If we could make one half or two thirds of it then our determination might make Britain change its attitude. 4) Guizhou-Guangxi route. It started from Liuzhou to Guiyang, which was 620 km in length. We have got half of the materials for constructing it and expect that it will be half completed by the end of next year. 5) Chengdu-Chongqing route. Because there was difficulty in transporting materials progress was so far slow. 6) Northwest railway: As a matter of fact the Soviet Union was not enthusiastic about it and this thing could not be implemented. By now we can only work it out on our own. For the part from Baoji to Tianshui, in the future it will be extended to Lanzhou and Chengdu in the South. 3) Highways. There are seven new roads. a) Yunnan-Guizhou West road (1006 km) could be in use by the end of the year, then the transportation from Nanning to Kunming will be shortened by 300 km. b) Tianhe road. It is from Tianzhou to Hechi, which is 277 km in length. Construction work will be finished by next Spring. c)The Northern road of Guangdong-Guangxi. It is from Lian county to He county which is 178 km in length. It was in use this September. d) Gansu-Sichuan road. It is from Lintao to Jiangyou. If facilitated Chengdu could connect with Lanzhou directly. (520 km) e) Hanzhong-Chongqing road. It is from Hanzhong to Chongqing. (1000 km) Now in progress. f) The North road of Leshan. It is from Leshan to Xichang. (480 km) g) Hanzhong-Baihe road. It is from Hanzhong to Baihe. (524 km). It is still under construction and improvement. 4) Improving old roads. Now it is planned to invest 12,000,000 on the improvement of the Yunnan-Burma road, then in case of difficulty it can have a transportation capability of 200,000 tons. In case the Vietnamese side is unavailable for transport we could use it for emergency use. 5) Reforming the car transportation system. Now we have organised a firm called the Fuxing Company. The company would be responsible for 1,000 cars and the Ministry of Transportation another 1,000 and various organisations would be asked to join. The plan will be co-managed by both Chinese and American sides and the Fuxing Company will take care of it. The United States will send twenty fixing machines and set up twenty factories for servicing the cars. Then the cars can be used from eight hours a day to twenty-four hours. What we need to do is to put the drivers on shift and the cars can be used non-stop. Therefore one car can be used as three cars.


After Chen Lifu (陳立夫)[1] made a report on education, various ministries of the Central Government followed and [not] until noon [did] the General made a speech and urged comrades to pay attention 1) that they needed to be cooperative and not be negative to others, 2) they should be flexible, 3) the job of head secretary was important, 4) they should take discipline as habit, 5) the organisation and scope of various parts of the Party, 6) the way of using people and the departments responsible for personnel should be reformed in their working methods.


At 12.30 Minister He Yingqin invited us to have lunch at his home (Yushe) and mentioned Nanning. Both Chen Cheng and Huang Shaohong (黃紹竑)[2] thought that it was unlikely the enemy would launch a massive attack on Guangxi and our side should not transfer too many troops there. Chen Cheng also thought the Executive Yuan should not set up too many branches. I also agreed.


At 3.00 p.m. we continued the meeting. The meeting passed the resolution that the National Assembly would be convened on 12 November next year and the election bill should be done before the deadline. In the afternoon, as President H.H. Kung was the Chair, so all the examination reports were passed quite speedily and even various ministries did not have oral reports. Probably those who made reports orally wanted to illustrate to General Chiang that they were really hardworking. Since Chiang was not there, they had no need to do so, therefore they did not report in the meeting.


At 7.00 p.m. I went with Tao Yisheng (陶益生) to have dinner at Chan Chak’s home. Then I returned with Tao to my home and we had a long talk. He told me that in the war in Northern Hunan, Xue Yue(薛岳)[3] had quite great achievements. It was because both General Chiang and Bai Chongxi advocated retreat but only Xue Yue asked General Chiang for permission to fight. He did not sleep for three days. Seven and a half divisions of enemy armies came to affront us, and what we had were more or less the same. As the enemy looked down on our capability, they divided their troops into six routes and they were scattered. Therefore Xue Yue put all the troops into invading the Number 106 division of the enemy. (It was because they had just arrived from Japan and had no fighting experience so they were quite weak.) When the division was defeated the other troops were unable to hold up and collapsed. Those killed and wounded on the enemy side were more than 30,000, and sufferings on our side were similar. Tao Yisheng also during the Nanyue Conference highly praised Ye Zhao (葉肇)[4] that the military achievement of Ye in the Battle of Nanjing was not behind another, but Ye did not even mention it. It was truly admirable. Chiang said so because he was afraid that Xue Yue would be arrogant of his high achievement and secondly he wanted to comfort Yu Hanmou (余漢謀).[5] This was really a good method. At 10.30 Wang Chonghui returned. He said the enemy was increasingly facing difficulties as it was unable to purchase raw materials for weapons in the United States.

[1] Chen Lifu (1900-2001) was a powerful politician in Republican China. He was one of the leaders of the CC Clique.

[2] Huang Shaohong (1895-1966) was one of the leaders of of the Guangxi Clique.

[3] Xue Yue(1896-1998) was Cantonese. He was a senior military official of the Nationalist Government.

[4] Ye Zhao (1892-1953) was Cantonese. He was a military official of the Nationalist government.

[5] Yu Hanmou (1896-1981) was a Cantonese militarist. He was a senior military officer in the Nationalist Government.