Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung


August 18, 1949

It is understandable that the date chosen for the publication of the U.S. White Paper was August 5, a time when Leighton Stuart [1] had departed from Nanking for Washington but had not yet arrived there, since Leighton Stuart is a symbol of the complete defeat of the U.S. policy of aggression. Leighton Stuart is an American born in China; he has fairly wide social connections and spent many years running missionary schools in China, he once sat in a Japanese gaol during the War of Resistance; he used to pretend to love both the United States and China and was able to deceive quite a number of Chinese. Hence, he was picked out by George C. Marshall, was made U.S. ambassador to China and became a celebrity in the Marshall group. In the eyes of the Marshall group he had only one fault, namely, that the whole period when he was ambassador to China as an exponent of their policy was the very period in which that policy was utterly defeated by the Chinese people; that was no small responsibility. It is only natural that the White Paper, which is designed to evade this responsibility, should have been published at a time when Leighton Stuart was on his way to Washington but had not yet arrived.

The war to turn China into a U.S. colony, a war in which the United States of America supplies the money and guns and Chiang Kai-shek the men to fight for the United States and slaughter the Chinese people, has been an important component of the U.S. imperialist policy of world-wide aggression since World War II. The U.S. policy of aggression has several targets. The three main targets are Europe, Asia and the Americas. China, the centre of gravity in Asia, is a large country with a population of 475 million; by seizing China, the United States would possess all of Asia. With its Asian front consolidated, U.S. imperialism could concentrate its forces on attacking Europe. U.S. imperialism considers its front in the Americas relatively secure. These are the smug over-all calculations of the U.S. aggressors.

But in the first place, the American people and the peoples of the world do not want war. Secondly, the attention of the United States has largely been absorbed by the awakening of the peoples of Europe, by the rise of the People's Democracies in Eastern Europe, and particularly by the towering presence of the Soviet Union, this unprecedentedly powerful bulwark of peace bestriding Europe and Asia, and by its strong resistance to the U.S. policy of aggression. Thirdly, and this is most important, the Chinese people have awakened, and the armed forces and the organized strength of the people under the leadership of the Communist Party of China have become more powerful than ever before. Consequently, the ruling clique of U.S. imperialism has been prevented from adopting a policy of direct, large-scale armed attacks on China and instead has adopted a policy of helping Chiang Kai-shek fight the civil war.

U.S. naval, ground and air forces did participate in the war in China. There were U.S. naval bases in Tsingtao, Shanghai and Taiwan. U.S. troops were stationed in Peiping, Tientsin, Tangshan, Chinwangtao, Tsingtao, Shanghai and Nanking. The U.S. air force controlled all of China's air space and took aerial photographs of all China's strategic areas for military maps. At the town of Anping near Peiping, at Chiutai near Changchun, at Tangshan and in the Eastern Shantung Peninsula, U.S. troops and other military personnel clashed with the People's Liberation Army and on several occasions were captured.[2] Chennault's air fleet took an extensive part in the civil war.[3] Besides transporting troops for Chiang Kai-shek, the U.S. air force bombed and sank the cruiser Chungking, which had mutinied against the Kuomintang.[4]All these were acts of direct participation in the war, although they fell short of an open declaration of war and were not large in scale, and although the principal method of U.S. aggression was the large-scale supply of money, munitions and advisers to help Chiang Kai-shek fight the civil war.

The use of this method by the United States was determined by the objective situation in China and the rest of the world, and not by any lack of desire on the part of the Truman-Marshall group, the ruling clique of U.S. imperialism, to launch direct aggression against China. Moreover, at the outset of its help to Chiang Kai-shek in fighting the civil war, a crude farce was staged in which the United States appeared as mediator in the conflict between the Kuomintang and the Communist Party; this was an attempt to soften up the Communist Party of China, deceive the Chinese people and thus gain control of all China without fighting. The peace negotiations failed, the deception fell through and the curtain rose on the war.

Liberals or "democratic individualists" who cherish illusions about the United States and have short memories! Please look at Acheson's own words:

When peace came the United States was confronted with three possible alternatives in China: (1) it could have pulled out lock, stock and barrel; (2) it could have intervened militarily on a major scale to assist the Nationalists to destroy the Communists, (3) it could, while assisting the Nationalists to assert their authority over as much of China as possible, endeavor to avoid a civil war by working for a compromise between the two sides.

Why didn't the United States adopt the first of these policies? Acheson says:

The first alternative would, and I believe American public opinion at the time so felt, have represented an abandonment of our international responsibilities and of our traditional policy of friendship for China before we had made a determined effort to be of assistance.

So that's how things stand: the "international responsibilities" of the United States and its "traditional policy of friendship for China" are nothing but intervention against China. Intervention is called assuming international responsibilities and showing friendship for China; as to non-intervention, it simply won't do. Here Acheson defiles U.S. public opinion; his is the "public opinion" of Wall Street, not the public opinion of the American people.

Why didn't the United States adopt the second of these policies? Acheson says:

The second alternative policy, while it may look attractive theoretically and in retrospect, was wholly impracticable. The Nationalists had been unable to destroy the Communists during the 10 years before the war. Now after the war the Nationalists were, as indicated above, weakened, demoralized, and unpopular. They had quickly dissipated their popular support and prestige in the areas liberated from the Japanese by the conduct of their civil and military officials. The Communists on the other hand were much stronger than they had ever been and were in control of most of North China. Because of the ineffectiveness of the Nationalist forces which was later to be tragically demonstrated, the Communists probably could have been dislodged only by American arms. It is obvious that the American people would not have sanctioned such a colossal commitment of our armies in 1945 or later. We therefore came to the third alternative policy. . . .

What a splendid idea! The United States supplies the money and guns and Chiang Kai-shek the men to fight for the United States and slaughter the Chinese people, to "destroy the Communists" and turn China into a U.S. colony, so that the United States may fulfil its "international responsibilities" and carry out its "traditional policy of friendship for China".

Although the Kuomintang was corrupt and incompetent, "demoralized and unpopular", the United States nevertheless supplied it with money and guns and made it fight. Direct armed intervention was all right, "theoretically". It also seems all right "in retrospect" to the rulers of the United States. For direct armed intervention would really have been interesting and it might "look attractive". But it would not have worked in practice, for "it is obvious that the American people would not have sanctioned" it. Not that the imperialist group of Truman, Marshall, Acheson and their like did not desire it -- they very much desired it -- but the situation in China, in the United States and in the world as a whole (a point Acheson does not mention) did not permit it; they had to give up their preference and take the third way.

Let those Chinese who believe that "victory is possible even without international help" listen. Acheson is giving you a lesson. Acheson is a good teacher, giving lessons free of charge, and he is telling the whole truth with tireless zeal and great candour. The United States refrained from dispatching large forces to attack China, not because the U.S. government didn't want to, but because it had worries. First worry: the Chinese people would oppose it, and the U.S. government was afraid of getting hopelessly bogged down in a quagmire. Second worry: the American people would oppose it, and so the U.S. government dared not order mobilization. Third worry: the people of the Soviet Union, of Europe and of the rest of the world would oppose it, and the U.S. government would face universal condemnation. Acheson's charming candour has its limits and he is unwilling to mention the third worry. The reason is he is afraid of losing face before the Soviet Union, he is afraid that the Marshall Plan in Europe, [5] which is already a failure despite pretences to the contrary, may end dismally in total collapse.

Let those Chinese who are short-sighted, muddle-headed liberals or democratic individualists listen. Acheson is giving you a lesson; he is a good teacher for you. He has made a clean sweep of your fancied U.S. humanity, justice and virtue. Isn't that so? Can you find a trace of humanity, justice or virtue in the White Paper or in Acheson's Letter of Transmittal?

True, the United States has science and technology. But unfortunately they are in the grip of the capitalists, not in the hands of the people, and are used to exploit and oppress the people at home and to perpetrate aggression and to slaughter people abroad. There is also "democracy" in the United States. But unfortunately it is only another name for the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie by itself. The United States has plenty of money. But unfortunately it is willing to give money only to the Chiang Kai-shek reactionaries, who are rotten to the core. The United States, it is said, is and will be quite willing to give money to its fifth column in China, but is unwilling to give it to the ordinary run of liberals or democratic individualists, who are much too bookish and do not know how to appreciate favours, and naturally it is even more unwilling to give money to the Communists. Money may be given, but only conditionally. What is the condition? Follow the United States. The Americans have sprinkled some relief flour in Peiping, Tientsin and Shanghai to see who will stoop to pick it up. Like Chiang Tai Kung fishing, [6] they have cast the line for the fish who want to be caught. But he who swallows food handed out in contempt [7] will get a bellyache.

We Chinese have backbone. Many who were once liberals or democratic individualists have stood up to the U.S. imperialists and their running dogs, the Kuomintang reactionaries. Wen Yi-to rose to his full height and smote the table, angrily faced the Kuomintang pistols and died rather than submit.[8] Chu Tse-ching, though seriously ill, starved to death rather than accept U.S. "relief food".[9] Han Yu of the Tang Dynasty wrote a "Eulogy of Po Yi", [10] praising a man with quite a few "democratic individualist" ideas, who shirked his duty towards the people of his own country, deserted his post and opposed the people's war of liberation of that time, led by King Wu. He lauded the wrong man. We should write eulogies of Wen Yi-to and Chu Tse-ching who demonstrated the heroic spirit of our nation.

What matter if we have to face some difficulties? Let them blockade us! Let them blockade us for eight or ten years! By that time all of China's problems will have been solved. Will the Chinese cower before difficulties when they are not afraid even of death? Lao Tzu said, "The people fear not death, why threaten them with it?" [11] U.S. imperialism and its running dogs, the Chiang Kai-shek reactionaries, have not only "threatened" us with death but actually put many of us to death. Besides people like Wen Yi-to, they have killed millions of Chinese in the last three years with U.S. carbines, machine-guns, mortars, bazookas, howitzers, tanks and bombs dropped from aeroplanes. This situation is now coming to an end. They have been defeated. It is we who are going in to attack them, not they who are coming out to attack us. They will soon be finished. True, the few problems left to us, such as blockade, unemployment, famine, inflation and rising prices, are difficulties, but we have already begun to breathe more easily than in the past three years. We have come triumphantly through the ordeal of the last three years, why can't we overcome these few difficulties of today? Why can't we live without the United States?

When the People's Liberation Army crossed the Yangtse River, the U.S. colonial government at Nanking fled helter-skelter. Yet His Excellency Ambassador Stuart sat tight, watching wide-eyed, hoping to set up shop under a new signboard and to reap some profit. But what did he see? Apart from the People's Liberation Army marching past, column after column, and the workers, peasants and students rising in hosts, he saw something else -- the Chinese liberals or democratic individualists turning out in force, shouting slogans and talking revolution together with the workers, peasants, soldiers and students. In short, he was left out in the cold, "standing all alone, body and shadow comforting each other". [12] There was nothing more for him to do, and he had to take to the road, his briefcase under his arm.

There are still some intellectuals and other people in China who have muddled ideas and illusions about the United States. Therefore we should explain things to them, win them over, educate them and unite with them, so they will come over to the side of the people and not fall into the snares set by imperialism. But the prestige of U.S. imperialism among the Chinese people is completely bankrupt, and the White Paper is a record of its bankruptcy. Progressives should make good use of the White Paper to educate the Chinese people.

Leighton Stuart has departed and the White Paper has arrived. Very good. Very good. Both events are worth celebrating.


1. John Leighton Stuart, who was born in China in 1876, was always a loyal agent of U.S. cultural aggression in China. He started missionary work in China in 1905 and in 1919 became president of Yenching University, which was established by the United States in Peking. On July 11, 1946, he was appointed U.S. ambassador to China. He actively supported the Kuomintang reactionaries in prosecuting the civil war and carried out various political intrigues against the Chinese people. On August 2, 1949, because all the efforts of U.S. imperialism to obstruct the victory of the Chinese people's revolution had completely failed, Leighton Stuart had to leave China quietly.

2. Following the Japanese surrender in 1945, the armed forces of the United States, with the purpose of aggression against China's territory and sovereignty and of interference in her domestic affairs, landed in China and stationed themselves at Peiping, Shanghai, Nanking, Tientsin, Tangshan, Kaiping, Chinwangtao, Chinghai, Tsingtao and other places. In addition, they repeatedly invaded the Liberated Areas. On July 29, 1946, U.S. troops in Tientsin, in co-ordination with Chiang Kai-shek's bandit troops, assaulted the town of Anping, Hsiangho County, Hopei Province; this is the Anping Incident referred to in the text. On March 1, 1947, U.S. troops made a military reconnaissance of the position of the People's Liberation Army at Hohsipao, situated between Changchun and Chintai in northeastern China. On June 16, 1946, U.S. troops at Tangshan, Hopei Province, raided Sungchiaying and other places; in July they raided Sanho Village, Luanhsien County, and Hsihonan Village, Changli County, both near Tangshan. Of the numerous attacks on the Eastern Shantung Peninsula, the most widely-known were two, one by U.S. aircraft and warships on Langnuankou and Hsiaoli Island, Mouping County, on August 28, 1947, and the other by U.S. forces on Wanglintao Village, north of Chimo County, on December 25, 1947 in co-ordination with Chiang Kai-shek's bandit troops. In all these cases in which the U.S. forces committed acts of aggression by invading the Liberated Areas, the Chinese People's Liberation Army or the local people's armed forces took just action in self-defence.

3. Claire Lee Chennault was at one time U.S. adviser to the Kuomintang government's air force. After the Japanese surrender, he organized a group of the U.S. 14th Air Force personnel into an air transport corps to help the Kuomintang fight the civil war. His air transport corps took a direct part in the criminal reconnoitring and bombing of the Liberated Areas.

4. See "On the Outrages by British Warships -- Statement by the Spokesman of the General Headquarters of the Chinese People's Liberation Army", Note 4, p. 403 of this volume.

5. On June 5, 1947, U.S. Secretary of State George C. Marshall made a speech at Harvard University, putting forward a plan for so-called U.S. "aid" to rehabilitate Europe. The "European Recovery Programme" subsequently drawn up by the U.S. government on the basis of the speech was known as the "Marshall Plan".

6. Chiang Tai Kung lived in the Chou Dynasty. According to a legend, he once fished in the Weishui River, holding a rod without hook or bait three feet above the water, and saying, "The fish that is destined to be caught will come up." (From Stories About King Wu's Expedition Against the Yin Dynasty.)

7. "Food handed out in contempt" refers to alms handed out as an insult. It is an allusion to a story in the Book of Rites, which tells of a hungry man in the State of Chi, who would rather starve to death than accept food given him insultingly.

8. Wen Yi-to (1899-1946), famed Chinese poet, scholar and university professor. In 1943 he began to take an active part in the struggle for democracy out of bitter hatred for the reaction and corruption of the Chiang Kai-shek government. After the War of Resistance Against Japan, he vigorously opposed the Kuomintang's conspiracy with U.S. imperialism to start civil war against the people. On July 15, 1946, he was assassinated in Kunming by Kuomintang thugs.

9. Chu Tse-ching (1898-1948) Chinese man of letters and university professor. After the War of Resistance, he actively supported the student movement against the Chiang Kai-shek regime. In June 1948 he signed a declaration protesting against the revival of Japanese militarism, which was being fostered by the United States, and rejecting "U.S. relief" flour. He was then living in great poverty. He died in Peiping on August l2, 1948, from poverty and illness, but even on his death-bed he enjoined his family not to buy the U.S. flour rationed by the Kuomintang government.

10. Han Yu (768-824) was a famous writer of the Tang Dynasty. "Eulogy of Po Yi" was a prose piece written by him. Po Yi, who lived towards the end of the Yin Dynasty, opposed the expedition of King Wu of Chou against the House of Yin. After the downfall of the House of Yin, he fled to the Shouyang Mountain and starved to death rather than eat of Chou grain.

11. A quotation from Lao Tzu Chapter LXXIV.

12. A quotation from Li Mi's "Memorial to the Emperor".

Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung