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Myth Dispelled. Propaganda could no longer conceal the fact that the Commu nist regime had relied for much of its strength on the prospect of Russian sup port. Despite its claims, Yenan controlled not more than a fifth of China and 70,000,000 Chinese. Even that control, in the sense of mass support, had yet to be impartially assessed. Its regular army did not exceed 450,000 men, and they had only 250,000 rifles.
They had stubborn leadership, personified by a veteran tactician of civil war and a veteran of the Comintern, tall, lumbering Mao Tse-tung, who in 1939 preached: "An important part of our political line is armed struggle . . . [to] convert an imperialistic war [so-called by all Communists, before the invasion of Russia] into a revolutionary civil war. . . ."
They had made some contribution to the Allied war effort by their guerrilla activities, though the brunt of Chinese resistance was borne by Chiang's troops. They were dedicated to "bourgeois democracy" now, to Communism ultimately. Of Chungking they wanted a "coalition" government, a weird, hybrid sort of ad ministration in which they would share overall control but keep their army and state.
The Generalissimo was pledged to establish the social and humanistic democracy envisaged by Sun Yatsen. He no longer sought unity by the sword. In 1941 he had proclaimed: "At no future time could there conceivably be another campaign for the suppression of the Communists." Last March he had reaffirmed his policy of seeking "a political solution" to the Communist problem.
Explicit Backing. The new Sino-Russian treaty in Chiang's pocket, dropped there by Premier Soong's masterly diplomacy in Moscow (and presumably by hardheaded Russian evaluation of Chinese Communist strength vis-a-vis Central Government strength), brought the "political solution" near realization.
Explicit in it was Russian backing for the Central Government. Without hope of future help from their Soviet comrades, the Chinese Communists might well be forced to surrender their separate army and administration and take their place as one of several political minorities in a united China. Yenan was struggling against such an outcome, but its leaders could see the handwriting on the wall.
Last week the Generalissimo sent his second telegram of invitation to Mao Tse-tung: "To achieve national reconstruction and reap the fruits of the war of resistance will depend to a great extent upon your coming to Chungking to discuss and jointly formulate our national policies. ... I cannot but feel sorry you are delaying your departure. . . ."
Mao replied that he would send the No. 2 Communist and veteran negotiator, General Chou Enlai.
The Generalissimo sent a third telegram (in Chinese tradition, to invite thrice is to prove sincerity): "I must talk to you in person. ... I have prepared a plane to bring you here. Please hasten."