Red China: In the Jungle with Monty & Mao

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Some of the worst nonsense ever spoken about Red China is being spread by a man who commands an audience because of his title and past record: Field Marshal Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, 73. On British TV and in the press last week, Monty was bubbling with excitement "about his September tour of Red China. In the Sunday Times, he reported that he could find "no evidence'' that the Chinese people were becoming tired or disillusioned. In the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Monty reported: "Talk of large-scale famine, of grim want, of apathy, of a restless nation, is nonsense, maybe even dangerous."

Monty saw no loss of confidence in Red China's leaders, who were all grand chaps. Red Boss Mao Tse-tung took Monty swimming in the Yangtze River (surrounded by 60 nervous lifeguards). Mao's heir apparent, Liu Shao-chi, whose icy demeanor frightens even his colleagues, struck Monty as "a thinker, an intellectual": tough Foreign Minister Chen Yi was "a most genial and pleasant person and has a great sense of humor," and Chou En-lai possessed "a first-class brain.''

On the BBC TV show Panorama, Monty burbled that Mao Tse-tung had liberated millions of people from misery and humiliation. "He's a very sincere man. When you look at him you have a feeling of sincerity—a very fine, strong face. He's the sort of man I'd go in the jungle with."

What about Red Chinese brutality in Tibet and the suppression of the Buddhist religion? "I could have asked," conceded Monty, "but I didn't want to. I'm very friendly with Mao Tse-tung, and I didn't want to irritate him in any way. I wanted to find out what was going on in China. What was going on in Tibet to me was unimportant at the moment." Not only does Monty want Red China in the U.N., he is all for handing over Formosa to the Communists. But what about the 10 million Formosans—shouldn't they have some say in the matter? Monty's answer: "I didn't delve very deeply into that."