‘Indeed, dashing, brave and a natural leader of men, Sun was an immediate favorite with the British and the Americans, and one of the few Chinese commanders that the Allies saw as tactically adept. It was for these reasons that MacArthur, Rusk et al promoted Sun as the only way of staving off disaster in Taiwan.’
The News Lens
By: James Baron
Dean Rusk read the secret missive with surprise, then burned it. The Assistant Secretary of State for
Far Eastern Affairs felt certain the content of the note would get its author killed if discovered. It was early June 1950, and the Korean War in which Rusk was to play a crucial role, was just weeks away. He had a lot on his plate, to be sure, but nothing quite like this: An offer from Chinese Nationalist General Sun Li-jen (孫立人) to stage a coup on Taiwan against Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek (蔣中正).
A little over 15 months earlier, Sun had rejected a similar proposal from MacArthur during a meeting in Japan, declaring his loyalty to the Generalissimo. Sun even reported MacArthur’s audacity to then Republic of China Governor Ch’en Ch’eng (陳誠) who relayed the details to Chiang. What, wondered Rusk as he disposed of the evidence, had changed Sun’s mind in the interim.
The answer, it appears, was the same thing that made most of the American military and foreign policy top brass desirous of a decapitation strategy: a complete lack of faith in Chiang’s ability to prevent a Communist invasion of Taiwan, and a distrust of the political commissar system, which made promotion contingent on loyalty and fealty to ideology, rather than ability and recommendations by superior officers. [FULL STORY]