The “China Lobby” in Tokyo: The Struggle of China’s Mission in Japan for General Douglas MacArthur’s Military Assistance in the Chinese Civil War, 1946-1949

In: Journal of Chinese Military History
Kan Lee University of Cambridge

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The Chinese Mission in Japan, which existed from 1946 until Japan regained its sovereignty as a result of the San Francisco Peace Treaty in 1952, represented the Republic of China in working with the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP) in reconstructing postwar Japan. The original objective of the Chinese Mission was to serve as the government’s agency to carry out the repatriation of Japanese troops and civilians from China in coordination with the Allies, secure war reparations from Japan, and try war criminals. However, as President Harry S. Truman terminated US aid to China in 1947 and Guomindang (GMD) military fortunes in the Chinese Civil War declined under the command of Chiang Kai-shek, the Chinese Mission was given an additional assignment: to lobby General Douglas MacArthur to secure military assistance from SCAP. This essay discusses the interaction between the Chinese Mission and General MacArthur during the Chinese Civil War from 1946 to 1949 and examines the way in which the Chinese Mission persuaded him to play a role in the Civil War. This study argues that although it was in opposition to Washington, MacArthur’s determination to assist Chiang Kai-shek was in great part due to the strenuous lobbying of the Chinese Mission in Tokyo. Although MacArthur’s intervention could not reverse the final outcome of the Chinese Civil War, his anti-Communist outlook was formed and played a significant role during the Korean War a year later.

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