New portions of dictator Chiang Kai-shek’s (蔣介石) diaries are about to be published in Taiwan, although the exact date remains undecided.
During a trip to the US in the middle of last month, I once again visited the Hoover Institution at Stanford University where I continued to read other portions of Chiang’s recently released diaries.
When I last visited the institution in August 2008, I read the diaries for the period 1946 to 1955. Now his diaries up until 1972 have been released. Here are some of key findings.
First of all, after Chiang’s defeat in the Chinese Civil War between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and the Republic of China (ROC) government’s relocation to Taiwan, his complaints and criticism of the US continued to at least 1972. He even linked Washington to the promotion of Taiwanese independence.
For example, after former US president Harry Truman issued a statement saying Taiwan’s status remained undecided at the outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950, Chiang was critical of the US in an entry dated June 28, 1950, in which he said: “They ignore our status and sovereignty over Taiwan and stop us from using our navy, air force and army to attack the bandit areas on the mainland, and they treat us as if we were even less than a colony. It is extremely insulting.”
On the 29th he wrote: “As can be seen in [US secretary of state Dean] Acheson’s deep and venomous hatred of China, he will not be happy until Taiwan falls to the communist bandits or the Taiwanese people belong to the US. This policy to destroy me and sell out China is his final attempt.”
As France and Beijing established diplomatic relations in 1964, the US, which believed the occasion was an opportunity to test the possibility of dual recognition, repeatedly urged Taipei not to sever diplomatic ties with France. Chiang, however, did not listen.
In his review of that year, he wrote: “For no reason, the US tried to force tacit agreement from our government without giving any explanations and kept pestering us for several weeks, but I still decided to declare an end to diplomatic relations with France. This was one of the major foreign policy issues of the last 15 years ... They constantly bully and humiliate us, to the point where it becomes unbearable and their attempts to bring about Taiwanese independence and the destruction of our government never end.”
In February 1972, former US president Richard Nixon visited China and issued a joint communique with then-Chinese premier Zhou Enlai (周恩來).
On Feb. 28, Chiang wrote in his diary: “This [communique] represents the predetermined direction through which that clown Nixon is selling out our government and it is an attempt to force us to comply at the point of the gun. He is utterly shameless.”
The shifting focus of the Taipei-centered “one China” of US foreign policy toward Beijing was related to China’s intensified participation in international affairs and the fact that the US was forced to deal head on with China’s existence.
US attempts to explore the existence of two Chinas or one China and one Taiwan during this time was an effort to find the optimal solution for both parties, but the changes in the US position were interpreted by Chiang as a move toward support of Taiwanese independence aimed at eliminating his government.