File #3400: "ms102_04_01_02.pdf"


Thoughts en route from
Hong Kong to Singapore
April 13, 1967

Dear Homer:
Leaving Tokyo, Pan American Flight No. l was bulletined


Hong Kong, Bangkok, and A . T. W.




the next generation can read that with ennui.

Around the World.


But, having ridden in a

horse and buggy as a boy, I am still excited by those words,
the World,



and Around


Our magic carpet came in through a typhoon-created fog,
onto the air strip built out into the beautiful harbor of Hong Kong.

I have

previously written from there and will not repeat, but there have been
significant changes since 1963.

The great building boom collapsed in

1965 and several of the Chinese banks, heavily invested in new apartment
buildings and other real estate, failed or had to be taken over by British

Business is good, but the air of enthusiasm is not nearly as

strong as it was four years ago.

What is happening in China has great

influence on what is happening in Hong Kong .
And what is happening in China?

I have read a folder full

of material that Mrs. Freeman has collected (perhaps the best of these is

an article by Hugo Portish''' ).


"China: Behind the Upheaval,


Saturday Review, December, 1966.


Messrs . Thomas, Lindstedt and I have talked to our Consul
General, to our good friend Welles Hangen (the N. B. C. Correspondent in
Hong Kong), to TIME's Karsten Prager, and, of course, to the bankers,
a few British, mostly Chinese.

None felt confident that he understood

more than a fragment of the whole.

Fully realizing my incompetence, I

will try to put together some of the pieces that seem to fit.
Mao , the ruthless revolutionist, but also idealist ( "Think
not of yourself but of your neighbor''), has an almost religious faith in the
power of determination.

His was the plan for "the great leap forward"

that was to advance the country twenty years in one, a plan that many of
his associates felt was far more idealistic than practical.

When it became

obvious that "the leap" was a failure in 1960 and a disaster in 1961, Mao
felt that those associates, never having had any confidence in it, had not
really tried to make it work.

His associates, still loyal, felt the plan

had been poorly conceived, and, although Mao remained the uncontested
leade r in foreign relations, they took much of his economic power away
from him.

Apparently he withdrew for a period of contemplation and,

during this period, his associates, to stimulate food production, allowed
the peasants some "private" land.

Although this amounted to only 5 per

cent of the total, the great spur of personal incentive resulted in its
producing 15 to 20 per cent of the foodstuffs and 80 per cent of the .
Using the same spur, the government provided bonuses for factory workers
who exceeded their production quotas.

This, too, proved effective.


When Mao returned to a more active role last year, he
was distressed by this "revisionism.


He fea red that a continuation of

this trend would corrupt the true spirit of communism.

It appeared to him

the diabolical work of self-important bureaucrats, inimical to the interests
of the common man who had been and should remain the basis of the

It had to be stopped.

The children of the bureaucrats should

not be given preference in education.

This, too, should be given to the

At this stage, there was not so much a personal fight as an

ideological conflict.
But the critic i sm was not all in one direction .

The government

administrators were critical of Mao's foreign policy which was not going
well at all.

The Summit Meeting of the Afro-Asian countries scheduled for

1965, at which Mao had hoped to take the leadership role away from Russia,
had to be called off.

The Chinese-supported rebels in the Congo were defeated.

On the very day that President Nkrumah of Ghana arrived in Peking to pay
his respects, he was ousted by a military coup.

The same happened in

More important, Mao had attacked India and then induced Pakistan

to carry on the battle, but the Indians and Pakistanis had finally reached a
peace, and, worst of all, this was achieved unde r the aegis of the hated
Indonesia, with the third strongest communist party in the
world, had pulled out o f the U . N. at Mao's urging and was moving toward


a communist takeover when this was not only thwarted, but resulted in
a coup by the conservative General Suharto and the demotion of Sukarno.


Mao's attempt to embroil Malaysia in a conflict with
Indonesia also failed.
Worst of all, the growing commitment of the United States
rn Vietnam created the possibility of a confrontation between the United
States and China -- with the Russians delighted to stand by and pick up the

When his associates urged caution in view of the superior military

power of the United States, Mao 1 s reply was that China's manpower, space and
patience could overcome America's technology.
top command did not agree.

Most of the others in the

They undoubtedly pointed out that it was

Russian arms and support which had supported them in Korea and these
were not available in Vietnam.

Thus, China, which had repeatedly made

promises to Hanoi, had to back down -- it was, in fact, a

' 1 paper tiger.


If China had had a parliamentary government, it would have fallen in the

face of this criticism.

But, not only was Mao dictator, he was the founder

of the State and remained in power .
But he saw the risk of subsequent defeat and began an attack
on those of his associates who took the contrary view which he first launched
through a Shanghai newspaper and later through the communications syst e m


We met Sukarno's wife in Tokyo to which she had returned to deliver
a baby. She had been a nightclub hostess there b efo re her marriage
and remains a most attractive, poised young lady reduced to writing
home for money -- without much luck.


of the army.

He gradually stepped up this criticism, now no long er

merely ideological, but both personal and acrimonious.

Uncertain of

the support of the army commanders (many of whom are party chairmen
in their own districts), some indebted and loyal to other political leaders
who are now his antagonists, Mao began to agitate among the students
and organized the Red Guard cadres,

He then closed the schools and

brought the Red Guard to P e king to harass his opponents.
Last August the Central Committee held a full meeting.
For the first time Mao opened the meeting to the public -- and packed the
galleries with Red Guards, thus inhibiting any opposition, for it was
unthinkable that any leader w ould publicly attack Mao, the national hero,
Thus, his policies, as set out in the sixteen-point "Decisions of the
Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party concerning the
Great Proletarian Cultural Revision," received the apparently unanimous
a ppr oval of the Committee,
Included in Chapter 5 of the "Decis ions" was a description


the main targets of the present movement" as "the authorities within

the party who are taking the capitalist road.


These included



reactionary bourgeois scholar despots 11 (virtually all of the academic community>:<) and "those in authority who have wormed their way into the party


As the Portish article points out, of the 58 professors at Teachers 1
College in Peking, every one had been teaching at that same college before
the communist takeover.

-6and are taking the capitalist road" (meaning practically all t hose in power
other than Mao),

In short, Mao was condemning all of the teachers and

all of the administrators in the country.
With what appeared to be universal support, Mao pressed
his advantage by encouraging the Red Guard to become more aggressive
to denounce and even to humiliate national leaders.
"Cast out fear. Do not be afraid of
disorder. Chairman Mao has often
told us that revolution cannot be so
very refined, so gentle, so temper ate,
kind, courteous, ,,. restrained and
magnanimous. 11 ''
Some of those attacked retaliated,

Back in the provinces

where they had their political support, they organized their own groups,
and there were frequent clashes to control the local post office, the
telegraph office, the railway station or the newspaper ,

At Mao's urging,

not only the local offi cials, but even the school teachers were marched
through the streets wearing gun caps.

Mao called on the army for support,

but many commanders, uncertain of the outcome of the conflict, hesitated
to take sides.
For the moment this appears to have quieted down.


Large agricultural and industrial production has been lost,
transportation and communication offset, and, back in the villages, not


Point 4 of the Decisions.


Today's STRAITS TIMES reports that in Canton the Red Guards
have announced that Liu Shao - Chi has been removed as President
of China -- as the "top party person in authority taking the
Capitalist Road II and replaced by Prime Minister Chou En-Lai.


only local leaders, but also school teachers -- humiliated in front of
their students and constituents -- have quit their jobs and gone back to
the farms "where I can get the same bowl of rice and avoid the insults.


The country has divided.
Can revolutionary slog ans or political exhortations long
take the place of economic planning and government administration?


a people with the personal acquisitiveness of the Chinese give up their
precious little private plots, the bonus es for extra production, without
output declining?

Many observers think not.

They feel that Mao may have

won this battle, but that he will inevitably lose the war, for a bureaucracy
is a necessity in a socialist state and, as those powerful elite begin to
enjoy their power and prestige, they will lose their fervor for the doctrine


from each in accordance with his ability, to each in accordance with

his need.


They feel obviously superior to the peasant and believe them -

selves entitled to live better - - reward should be related to contribution,
not just to need.
What does this mean to the United States?
at the moment.

Perhaps not much

Those who disagree with Mao are no less dedicated to

nationalism or socialism ,

They would only take a different course -- and

perhaps a more effective one.

They do not love us any more, but they may

be more likely to emulate our methods.

They are not as likely to become

embroiled in a war w ith us while unprepared, but they may be more likely
to become prepared through the development of nuclear weapons and


sophisticated delivery systems (although the latter may be some
years away).
But the effect on Hong Kong may b e more immediate .


domestic Chinese in othe r Asian areas, heretofore fairly quiet, are
becoming more aggressive.

In Macao, a Portuguese colony just 45 miles

from H ong Kong, the local Chinese asked for another school.

The govern-

ment demurred, the people demonstrated, a policeman reacted with
excess zeal, and there was an incident.

The local Chinese, now backed

up by the government of China, demanded the school and an apology -- and
got both.

A Dutch sea captain, feeling an incipient mut iny among his

Chinese crew, shot one or two,

As the sh ip neared Hong Kong, the British

spirited the captain off the ship, but the communist-inspired Chinese seamen
and stevedores demonstrated to the poi nt where the Dutch ship-line officials
had to apologize (a matter of great significance in a land where


face" is so

Presently, the l eftist union (there are both a leftist, communist-

inspired, and a right is t union in many fields) has struck against the cab

The leftist union of tailors is also on strike.

More important ,

the le ftist union of the textile workers is demanding that the employers
recognize them only -- not t he rightist group.
I do not believe the Chinese government wants seriously to
disarrange Hong Kong .

They could destroy it quickly by stopping the flow

of water which is pip e d from China - - at a price -- or by stopping the


movement of China-grown food, on which the Colony lives.

China does

not want to do this, for this water and food is earning China enough hard
currency to pay for the needed wheat which they import from Canada -and they are not about to give that up.

Still, it gives a Chinese additional

face to create problems for Hong Kong and other free communities, and
they may feel the need to do deeds of this kind in order to offset the jibes
of the Russians who continuously point out that, while they, the Russians,
are supplying arms to Hanoi, the Chinese are feeding and providing the
water for the U. S. military and naval forces in Hong Kong.
These pressures embarrass the Colony, and wage rates have
risen to the point where manufacturing costs are higher than in Taiwan
or Korea -- and are rising rapidly.

Some United States and British firms

already in Hong Kong are expanding , but not many new investors are moving
in .
The new territories which make up most of the Colony are not
owned by the Crown, but are merely leased from China, and that lease
runs out in 1997.

It is not likely that the communists would renew this

lease on a part of their sovereign t erritory to the hated British "imperialists.
Thirty years is still a long time, but in another decade that deadline may
seem much shorter.

Further investment is likely to decline.

Hong Kong

may remain the most pleasant of all Red Chinese ports in which a foreigner
might live -- but it is unlikely that as many will elect to do so under the



Chinese gove rnme nt as under the excell ent administration of
Great Britain.
These problems are more seriously considere d today
t h an they were four years ago .
Perhaps they are not the exclusive c once rn of the small
Colony of Hong Kong.

Sinc erel y,