ON AUGUST 15, 1945, the Japanese Emperor broadcast an appeal to his subjects to "bear the unbearable," to accept defeat, and to obey and cooperate with the Allied forces.
On Formosa Formosans heard this with excitement and happy anticipation. Japanese civilians heard it with awe and regret, not unmixed with profound relief. But throughout the Empire, members of the Japanese Military High Command were angry and bitter. To them (on August 17) the Emperor addressed a special rescript using terms carefully chosen to suggest that they had not surrendered to "China" but to "Chungking," where the Chinese and the Americans had their military headquarters.* The distinction was a fine one, it was not calculated to please the Chinese, and it was not lost on either the Formosans or the Japanese in Formosa.
Key Japanese officers met at once in Taipei to consider the situation. What "attitude" should military leaders adopt? Some intransigent young officers refused to believe that the surrender broadcast was genuine, or assumed that the Emperor, speaking under duress, would secretly expect them not to obey.
They would fight to the death. More than 170,000 well-armed, well-fed and rested troops were there to defend the island. They would be supported by 330,000 Japanese civilians who would certainly retreat to the hills and never surrender. The Army had sworn never to accept defeat. The situation was not only unbearable -- it was unthinkable.
For nearly twenty-four hours the Taipei government was gripped in fearful debate. General Ando Rikichi, now commander-in-chief of all military forces and chief of the civil administration, insisted upon a peaceful capitulation. A majority of his officers accepted the imperial decision. A few made their farewells and committed suicide.
Tokyo directed General Ando to consider himself henceforth under General Okumura, Supreme Commander of Japan's military forces in China. This was the first formal indication that Formosa must look thereafter toward mainland China for authority.
Taiwan Civil Government (TCG) notes: In this Chapter 3 text, the words occupy, occupation, occupations, etc. have been highlighted bold italics. Dates have been highlighted in red.
From this moment the island people began to build up profoundly emotional attitudes toward China on the one hand, and toward the leading Allied powers -- America and Britain on the other. The Chinese would occupy Formosa. Tokyo could no longer protect the Emperor's subjects. The center of power and authority for fifty years had vanished overnight. Many Japanese had reason to remember and regret the early days of ruthless subjugation -- the days and years of Governor General Sakuma's brutal administration, for example -- and many remembered the more recent occupations of Shanghai, Canton and Hankow which followed the rape of Nanking. Aged Formosans for their part recalled vividly conditions which prevailed under Chinese garrison rule in the late 19th century. Everyone knew something of conditions on the mainland, and of the Chinese Army's reputation.
Thus a sense of profound insecurity began to pervade the island. Japan's propaganda had painted British and American soldiers as monsters eager to rape, kill, and plunder, but there had been no demonstration of this. On the Contrary, Allied broadcasts and pamphlets promised Formosa a new era of peace and good government -- at least something better than life under the Japanese administration.
Here is one of the keys to our present dilemma in Formosa; we had persistently raised hopes and made promises which we could not fulfill.
TCG notes: In Chapter 2, author George H. Kerr noted that "The Formosa Problem was just as real in 1944 as it is today -- and its development was quite predictable. As an island, settled long ago by Chinese who had left China proper to get away from it and with a centuries-long tradition of separation and pioneer independence, Formosa had been easily ceded by China to Japan in 1895. Fifty years of intensive social and economic development under Japanese direction had made it wealthy and had given the Formosan people a standard of living far beyond that of any province in China. Formosan leaders had turned toward the Western world. The separatist tradition had been given form and direction by Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points and the doctrine of self-determination for minorities."
A veritable flood of American propaganda and world news poured into Formosa after August 15, for it was no longer forbidden to listen to shortwave programs, and local rebroadcasts from Japan covered the island. Fifty thousand radio receivers were tuned in, night and day. This was not an inland province of China cut off from world events, but an island frontier, listening to the capitals of the world. Every pronouncement by the Allied High Command and the least statements of Allied opinion and news commentary were examined with intense concern.
Our compulsive mass-production frame of mind caused Washington to assume that propaganda for any one people in the world was equally good for another. In our eagerness to rally the non-Communist nations, Washington said the same things and made the same promises to Persia and Peru, France and Formosa. Everyone on our side would have freedom, self-government, and a higher income. Too many people around the world believed that we meant to guarantee Utopia and to pay for it.
The ideals set forth in the United Nations Charter were assumed to be promises, underwritten by the United States. Europeans, lately liberated after temporary occupations, merely expected to revert to prewar status and to rebuild shattered economies with American help. The colonial peoples of Southeast Asia demanded independence. The Japanese, at that moment did not know what to expect, and were fearful. The Formosans were filled with great hope; they assumed that having freed them from Japanese rule we were about to restore them to a "New China," sponsored, guided, and brought forward into world affairs by the United States. They knew well enough that Formosa was far ahead of any mainland province in physical development and social well-being, and they looked forward with pride and zest to the part they might play in building a new country.
Few educated Formosans accepted the picture of China so persuasively presented to the American public by Madame Chiang Kai-shek and her public relations agents in the United States, but they did expect Washington to accept responsibility for the arrangements now to be made. The argument ran in this fashion: China had survived as a nation, thanks to American aid, and would continue to be dependent upon American support for a long time to come. Americans would be welcome if they helped China assume control in Formosa. America's sponsorship of China in world affairs was taken as a guarantee that at last the island people would attain political dignity and equality, and that Formosa would become China's most modern model province, a "showcase province" on the maritime frontier.
TCG notes: Relevant introductory information regarding Madame Chiang Kai-shek can be found at Soong_May-ling.
In the period 1937 to 1940 I had often discussed Formosan aspirations with friends at Taipei, and immediately after my return to Formosa in 1945 I heard these hopes and expectations expressed again many times. Wilson's idealism after World War I (they believed) had led to freedom for the neighboring Philippines; Roosevelt's idealism, they said, was reflected in the UN Charter and must certainly lead to a new and better life for Formosa.
The Japanese on Formosa had a much more immediate reason to hope that the United States would take part in the formal surrender at Taipei. This might be their only guarantee of personal safety. They felt keenly that Japan had been defeated by the United States, with some aid from Britain. They held the Chinese in traditional contempt. Their own adventure in China had been frustrated by time and distance, they felt, and by the unfortunate "accident" at Pearl Harbor. They had not been defeated by Chinese arms. Allied victory was a consequence of the Anglo-Saxons' superior technology. They despised Chiang and had every reason to fear a Chinese military occupation. Many prayed that the Americans would be the first to appear.
In this frame of mind the Japanese prepared for the "unbearable." A career diplomat (Moriya Kazuo), formerly chief of the Government's Foreign Affairs Section, now became chairman of a joint Liaison Office established to represent the armed services and the civil administration. Concurrently a Postwar Civil Affairs Office was established to register all Japanese properties and to represent Japanese civilian interests. The Japanese Army and Navy each created a unit to account for military property, direct demobilization, and cooperate in repatriating officers and men.
Rumor spread that some intransigent Japanese officers proposed a "Formosa Independence Movement." General Ando branded the idea "a mischievous and dangerous suggestion," leading Japanese civilians scoffed at it, but the denials and scoffings themselves added something to the tension prevailing everywhere.
General Isayama, Japanese Chief of Staff on Formosa, flew to Nanking in the first week of September to represent General Ando at the formal surrender ceremonies in China. Suddenly, on September 9, the venerable Lim Hsien-tang and four other prominent Formosans received a surprising message from the Commander-in-Chief of the Chinese armies, General Ho Ying-chin, inviting them to represent the Formosan people at Nanking on this day of China's triumph.
At Nanking there were conferences behind closed doors, but no public disclosure of their nature. Years later (in 1952, at Tokyo) I attempted to draw from Lim some explanation of this interlude, but be would say nothing of substance. It was evident only that the Formosans were prompted to petition China for a special status for Formosa including a proposal that Japanese residents and Japanese technical and economic interests should be given special consideration "in order to assure the continued prosperity of the island." It has been alleged, without documentary proof, that General Ho wanted to isolate Formosa, not unaware that the island would be an exceedingly rich prize for the men who held it if Japan's exit from China prompted a renewal of the mainland civil war. Any one of Chiang's rivals would have been delighted to have a base there, and Chiang, of course, knew this as well as they.
Throughout September 1945 the interim "lame-duck" Japanese government at Taipei functioned with remarkable efficiency. Formosan villagers here and there took revenge on hated individual local Japanese policemen, but these isolated beatings were not numerous and none was fatal. Public order was well maintained.
Economic controls remained in force, keeping a tight rein on inflationary pressures. American forces preparing to enter Japan announced an Occupation exchange rate (fifteen yen for one American dollar) which was to apply throughout the Empire, including Formosa. This prompted many island people to convert their money into goods as a hedge against spiraling prices; rationed and restricted goods were released slowly.
There was an intensive drive to clear the way for rebuilding. High employment rates were ensured by shifting mobilized wartime labor forces to the immense tasks of reconstruction. City Planning Commission engineers and draftsmen worked long hours overtime to perfect blueprints for projects which could be undertaken as fast as the rubble could be cleared away, public services restored, and homes reconstructed. Evacuees streamed back into town. The railroads were soon in operation, keeping to regular schedules. A major effort was made to clear the waterfronts at Keelung and Kaohsiung and to restore service at the principal airfields.
When would the first Allies arrive? What would they demand? Who would they be?
On September 1 the first Allies appeared in Keelung harbor aboard a Japanese subchaser which they had commandeered at Amoy. Three young Americans came ashore with two Chinese who called themselves "colonels." They were followed by a retinue of cooks, body-servants, bodyguards and signal men. Two days later a fourth American joined them, coming in with his own retinue aboard a Chinese junk.
TCG notes: We have no independent verification of the facts regarding the first arrival of Allies in early September, and what activities they undertook. According to some accounts in Taiwan, the US flag was raised for a period of several days.
The four Americans described themselves as an advanced Prisoner-of-War Contact Team. Each man of the group, from colonel to cookboy, went heavily armed and traveled only in pairs. From the moment of landing they surrounded themselves with an air of conspiratorial secrecy.
Japanese officials hastened forward to greet these first representatives of the conquering Allies. Uncertainty hung over the meeting, for the Japanese did not know what to expect nor did the nondescript newcomers find it easy to relax. It was soon obvious that they carried no great authority but nevertheless they were offered full Japanese cooperation.
They needed housing and housing was found at once. The Plum Mansion, Formosa's most luxurious geisha house, fully equipped, promptly became their "home away from home."
The Chinese took up quarters in one wing set aside for "Colonel Chang" and "Mayor Huang of Amoy," servants and cooks were established in the service wings and the Chinese guards, armed to the teeth, took up watch around the grounds.
Sharp-eyed Formosans and Japanese intelligence agents watched every move made by the members of this strange establisbment. Americans went one way and the Chinese went another. None showed more than perfunctory interest in the Allied prisoners of war.
They demanded money for local expenses. After some discussion the Japanese authorities took them to the Bank of Taiwan where three million yen in public funds were transferred to a special account opened for their benefit. This was the equivalent then of about $200,000 at the official rate; it should have taken care of most local expenses for the entire group, but within two days two-thirds of the deposit was withdrawn and turned over to the mysterious Colonel Chang.**
It was soon established that the Americans were working with the Generalissimo's dread Bureau of Investigation and Statistics or BIS, known to Americans in wartime China as "Chiang's Gestapo." Under General Tai Li the BIS investigations were known to be sometimes very brief and at bayonetpoint. On the mainland Tai Li's first duties were to eliminate Chiang's personal enemies and more important critics and to weaken political opposition through methods of terror. As a wartime measure President Roosevelt had approved a secret agreement enabling certain American cloak-and-dagger groups to work closely with the BIS.
On Formosa the Americans served merely as a front for the activities - the "investigations" -- of Colonel Chang and Mayor Huang of Amoy. The latter were probing the local political situation, noting the names and records of Formosan leaders who had shown themselves bold enough to demand a voice in local government under the Japanese administration. Such men would bear watching. They were also taking notes on wealthy Formosans who might be worth blackmailing at a later date under charges of "collaboration with the enemy."
While Chang and Huang were furtively busy in the back streets the young Americans were in the Taipei markets buying up huge quantities of canned goods, textiles, liquor, matches and other consumer goods stockpiled at Taipei. The subchaser shuttled back and forth between Keelung and the mainland for a period of weeks delivering cargo to starved Chinese coastal markets. There such commodities commanded astronomical prices at the time. When local Taipei prices began to soar Japanese officers charged with rationing and price controls lodged a protest with the young Americans but were simply laughed off; they were "enemy Japs," and who cared about the Japanized Formosans?
On September 5 an American naval task force stood off Keelung. Planes dropped orders directing preparation for a swift evacuation of all POW's. Destroyers picked their way in through the choked harbor and within two days approximately 1300 men were taken off, to be flown to Manila at once. A British hospital ship came in to receive about 100 men too ill for transport by air.
This activity had the substance of genuine authority and pointed up clearly the character of the mission so happily bedded down in the Plum Mansion.
The Japanese leaders awaited word on Surrender procedures, but none came from the Allied High Command at Tokyo or from the China Theatre Headquarters on the mainland. Formosa had become a lost island.
September 10 brought a third American deputation, a team of fifteen officers and men who flew in from Kunming, China, to represent the U. S. Office of Strategic Services (OSS). They displayed no clear authority, but again the Japanese knew precisely how to extend the most charming hospitality. The OSS team were installed in the Rose Mansion, a suburban geisha house second only to the Plum Mansion in the elegance of its appointments. The Commanding Officer, an Army major, had no authority to deal with the government.
The two teams, wearing the Plum and the Rose as their colors, met infrequently and then only with stiff formality.
The newcomers -- the OSS team -- made no demand for funds. On the contrary, they were a quite legitimate group, but were not authorized to deal with the Japanese who so eagerly awaited someone -- anyone - who could establish a basis for authority in this strange situation.
The OSS team came well supplied with barter goods-- American canned goods, cigarettes, beer, vitamin pills and Atabrine tablets -- which were extremely valuable in trade for intelligence data. Soon team members were scouring Formosa for political information, especially anything concerning Communists, Formosans who could speak a little English and Japanese eager to curry favor, began at once to supply notes for OSS reports to Washington. Since genuine Communists were rare (they were still under lock and key) information was in short supply.
When later in Washington I read some of these OSS reports I could see clearly how hard the local informants had worked to supply the deficiency -- I could in some instances identify the informant by the stories he told -and again in Formosa in 1946 Formosan friends liked to recall how easy it was to obtain a pack of cigarettes or a can of beer by fabricating a story for the OSS.
Many personal scores were paid off in this way. Unchecked informants were happy to draw attention to any dissident Japanese or Formosan who had been labeled "communist," "radicalor," or "subversive" under the old regime.
In certain noteworthy cases, I later discovered, the Americans were being guided along basic lines of inquiry drawn from wartime reports obtained at Chungking, and prominent among them were reports from the busy pen and fertile mind of Hsieh Nan-kuang.
A fourth American group followed close on the heels of the OSS team in mid-September. This was the competent and sober U. S. Graves Registration Unit, commanded by an Army colonel. The men settled at once into a modest private dwelling in the suburbs and began their melancholy and difficult assignment. It was their duty to search the mountains and plains for the bodies of fallen airmen and the graves of prisoners of war, retrieving their effects, identifying wreckage, and documenting finds.
For a full six weeks Formosa was in limbo; Formosan leaders cooperated with the leading Japanese and both community groups got ahead with the stupendous task of clearing up the rubble and getting factories, railroads and power lines into operation once more. The markets were open and food was coming into the towns without interruption. The Japanese policeman -- a very polite fellow these days -- was still on duty. But the three American groups now on the island, commanded by a naval lieutenant, an OSS major and an Army colonel, had no authority to speak for the American Government, China, or the Allied Command.
At Chungking General Wedemeyer was preoccupied with the enormous problems of Manchuria and North China where the Russians had begun to loot the factories and the Chinese Communists were taking over with Russian help. The transfer of Formosa was a minor affair, a tidying-up after war. Nevertheless, Chiang and Chen Yi needed help. China had no ships and few planes -- and there were those well-disciplined Japanese to be faced.
We cannot doubt that both the Generalissimo and Chen Yi recalled the "metal in the islanders" -- which had given Japan such a rough experience after 1895 -- the "cage of wild animals" that must be tamed. And there were 170,000 well-rested and highly disciplined Japanese troops waiting there.
To help the Chinese Wedemeyer created an American "Army Advisory Group" at Chungking, placed it under command of an aging colonel, and directed him to assist in planning for the transport of Chinese troops to Formosa and the repatriation of Japanese forces. As an Assistant Naval Attache reporting to the United States Embassy in China, I was assigned to this group. The Army's Strategic Survey of Taiwan (Formosa) and the Navy's Civil Affairs Handbook Series (both of which I had edited) were the group's principal sources concerning the island. It soon became apparent that the Chinese members of the group found these texts invaluable. No such encyclopedic data -- more than 1300 pages -- could be found in Chinese references.
On September 30 (forty-six days after the surrender) a Colonel Chang of the Chinese Air Force was escorted to Taipei for a brief survey. He found the Japanese not only docile but eager to establish a basis for government. He saw that the several American teams were going about their business without hindrance. It seemed safe enough.
On October 5, therefore, an "advance team" flew to Formosa. The nominal Chief of Mission was Lieutenant General Keh King-en, with his aides and an escort of about one hundred American officers and men, the so-called Advisory Group. A few days later they were joined by about 1000 Chinese gendarmes -- a "Peace Preservation Corps" - ferried across the Formosa Straits in commandeered Japanese ships under American direction.
TCG notes: In this Chapter 3, George Kerr points out that all transportation of the Nationalist Chinese to Formosa was on US airplanes, US ships, or other commandeered ships under American direction. Dr. Roger Lin's research in Chinese and Japanese language historical accounts also confirms these facts.
In his first public address General Keh directed the Japanese to "carry on as usual," set October 25th as the date for the formal surrender ceremonies, and then set the tone for the Chinese occupation of Formosa.
TCG notes: In Chapter 2, author George H. Kerr noted that "The immense sweep of global events in mid-summer 1945 obscured one technical point of importance. Japan was surrendering her empire to the Allies and not to China alone. Formosa was Japan's sovereign territory, and sovereignty could not be transferred until a peace treaty could be worked out, agreed upon, and signed."
Formosa is (he said) a "degraded territory" and the Formosans are "a degraded people." The island was "beyond the passes" (kuan wai), beyond the pale of true Chinese civilization.
TCG notes: George Kerr also confirms here that this was to be an occupation of Formosa and the Pescadores. There was no recognition by the Allies that there was to be any "transfer of territorial sovereignty" to the Chinese Nationalists on October 25, 1945. However, upon that date, the Chinese announced "Taiwan Retrocession Day," saying that the transfer of territorial sovereignty was a fait accompli. Mass naturalization of native Taiwanese persons as ROC citizens was then announced in January 1946.
Formosans noted this loud echo from the 19th century but its chilling implications were obscured in the general elation with which everyone welcomed the war's end and greeted the beginning of a new era. The day of Home Rule was at hand. Things would be put right on the mainland soon enough, with American help. Vast Japanese properties would now be confiscated, to be redistributed amongst Formosans. Tens of thousands of acres of good land expropriated by the Japanese since 1896, factories which had been built and operated by grudging Formosan labor, and mercantile enterprises which had supplied Formosan needs through Japanese-held monopoly organizations -- all these and much more would now revert to the Formosan government and people. Or so they thought.
It is difficult to convey in print the atmosphere of great expectation which enveloped the island. This was much more than the end of four years of global war, or of eight years of war in China; it was the end of fifty years of humiliation. General Keh's face-saving bombast could be ignored, for it was obvious to one and all that the Chinese were utterly dependent upon the United States. Keh and his Peace Preservation Corps had reached Formosa aboard American planes and ships, they rode about in American jeeps, and surrounded themselves with guards equipped with American arms.
Whatever came to pass hereafter would be attributed by the Formosans to American policy.
Elements of the United States Seventh Fleet escorted troopships into Keelung and Kaohsiung on October 15. Aboard were the 62nd and 70th Divisions of the Chinese Nationalist Army, numbering in excess of 12,000 men. They were acutely conscious of the presence of Japanese troops concentrated inland somewhere near the Ports.
They flatly refused to go ashore. At Keelung Chinese officers begged the astonished Americans to send an advance unit overland -- an American unit, of course -- through the narrow valleys leading to Taipei some eighteen miles away. The Chinese officers had heard that vengeful Japanese suicide squads lurked in the hills. Only a rancorous argument forced the Chinese to accept their fate and go ashore. At Kaohsiung the Americans, eager to empty the transports, had to threaten bodily ejection of the Chinese troops before their reluctant passengers would venture into the tiger's lair."
It was an inauspicious beginning, made the more so because these incidents were witnessed by the Formosans. Word soon spread, and lost nothing in the telling. Formosans along the way laughed at the shambling, poorly disciplined, and very dirty Chinese troops. It was evident, they said, that the "victors" ventured into Formosa only because the United States stood between them and the dreaded Japanese.
Much evil and many individual tragedies were to spring from these expressions of open scorn, for the mainland Chinese were losing face, dearer than life itself.
At daybreak, October 23, an American Plane left Chungking for Shanghai, bearing Governor-General Chen Yi and his official party. Crowded aboard were the General's plump Japanese mistress, his bodyguards, a number of secretaries, interpreters and executive officers. Commissioner Yen Chia-kan was not there, but in the pre-dawn hours at the airfield his wife had smuggled herself, six children and an immense baggage aboard the plane. She stoutly refused to leave. She wanted a free ride to Shanghai and was desperately eager to leave gloomy Chungking. The plane was grossly overloaded, but room was somebow found aboard for the Chief of the U. S. Army Advisory Group and myself, the Assistant Naval Attache. It was an American plane, but we were obviously considered rather excess cargo.
We paused at Shanghai overnight, off-loading the ladies, the children and much of the baggage. During the "victory" feasting that evening, I found myself singled out for flattering attention by a personable, graying individual in civilian clothes who introduced himself as "Admiral S. Y. Leigh." He was identified to me later as Li Tsu-i, one of a group charged with managing T. V. Soong's affairs in Shanghai throughout the Japanese Occupation. I was to meet him again and again in Formosa.
Agents reported to General Chen Yi that a minor crisis had already developed at Taipei between the Chinese military and the American supporting group. Again it was a question of face.
General Keh had found the Japanese Army leaders were preparing to transfer lands, buildings, equipment and foodstocks to the Chinese Army, and the Japanese Navy offices were making ready to relinquish properties to the Chinese Navy, which then existed principally on paper and on the Government's payrolls. But the Japanese had no separate Air Force, hence there were no properties lying about to be transferred to the Chinese Air Force, China's most modern and most pampered service.
The Chinese Air Force officers at Taipei were disgruntled. To remedy the deficiency they simply posted notices that the CAF was taking physical possession at once, of the northern quarter of Taipei City, lying near the airport -- a huge block of urban real estate -- plus hundreds of acres of suburban and rural land nearby. All residents were ordered to get out within forty-eight hours.
It is possible that the Air Force could have had its way somewhere inland in China proper among an illiterate, unorganized, and inarticulate peasantry. Here they took the view that Formosa was enemy territory; had not General Keh himself said that the Formosans were degraded "non-Chinese" people?
At Taipei these arrogant young officers met instant and vocal opposition. General Keh professed astonishment at the outcry. Formosans swarmed in to appeal to him and to the American officers assisting him. The Americans foresaw trouble, they had already had their fill of Chinese Air Force arrogance, and they saw the basic injustice of this outrageous confiscation. They strongly recommended prompt cancellation of the CAF order. General Keh compromised, denied the Air Force colonels the coveted, crowded urban real estate, but left them temporarily in control of a vast tract of rural and suburban property.
Thwarted young officers angrily and loudly denounced "American meddling." The principal spokesman declared passionately that he would " . . . run every American out of Formosa -- at gunpoint if I have to!"***
In this unpleasant atmosphere we began the joint Sino-American occupation of Formosa. From the very beginning the problem of face bedeviled the Nationalist Chinese. It was apparent to all -- including all Formosans -- that the Nationalists were totally dependent upon the United States. They reached the island aboard American transports, and American arms and subsidies enabled them to stay. The Air Force incident set the pattern for many more to come.
I assume that while General Chen Yi was at Shanghai he was told that Formosans and the Japanese on Formosa were jeering at Chinese troops, stumbling ashore in disorder. Worse, the Formosans were hailing Americans as their "true liberators."
TCG notes: George Kerr describes this as a joint Sino-American occupation of Formosa, but doesn't make the distinction that the United States, as the conqueror, will be the principal occupying power, and the Chinese Nationalists (ROC) are just exercising delegated administrative authority for the military occupation.
American indifference to the importance of Formosa was reflected in the casual way in which we were sent off to witness the Surrender at Taipei. On the morning of October 24, as I stood by our plane at Shanghai waiting to board, the American pilot strolled over, produced a map, and asked me if I could tell him at which end of the island we were to land, and at what field. He had simply been ordered to "Fly a bunch of gooks to Formosa." He was surprised to find two American officers aboard.
Our flight across was uneventful. It was a radiant October day. I was forward in the cockpit as we flew over the Tamsui estuary, circled the city and came down on the Sungshan field. Crowds lined the highway leading to the airport, and flags fluttered about the terminal building.
From the moment our plane touched down at Taipei Chen Yi and his men pursued a course designed to lower the United States in public esteem wherever it could be done.
A great parade had been arranged for the Governor-General's reception. Leading Formosan citizens were on hand to greet the General, office workers were lined up with appropriate banners, and hundreds of school children had been turned out to welcome the "liberators." They had been standing many hours in the sun.
When Chen had taken the salute and had been properly greeted by Advance Party members, we moved on to the motorcade. General Chen quite properly rode near the head of the procession, with the senior American officer somewhere near him, but our own escorts had faded away, eagerly scrambling for space as near the General's car as possible. Other Americans in the Advisory Group and the Americans who had brought him over from Chungking and Shanghai were left to find their way to the fourteenth and last car in the line.
General Chen's car moved off, and as it passed along the highway toward the city the school children and clerks waved their flags and shouted "Banzai!" three times. But when the Americans at last came along, tailing the procession, there was a prolonged roar of applause and acclaim.
Along the way our battered conveyance failed us, stopped, and had to be abandoned. The crowds thought it great fun, crowding about us in cheerful excitement to push it to the side of the road. By the time another car had been found to take us on to town, General Chen and his party had long since disappeared.
The Colonel thought it all very typically Chinese ("What do you expect?") but
I sensed in this small incident -- a small unnecessary official discourtesy --
the presence of a desire to cause the Americans a public loss of face at every
The Formal Surrender, October 25, 1945
The military men who had come in to supervise repatriation of the Japanese forces were scarcely aware that they witnessed the end of a remarkable era and the beginning of a new period fraught with dangers for American interests in China and in Asia.
A few members of the U. S. Army Advisory Group were invited to attend the ceremonies, and quite by chance a roving Presidential economic survey mission flew in for a day's rest and recreation. Each member carried impressive visiting cards which showed "White House, Washington, D. C." as his official address. Edwin J. Locke, Jr., chief of this odd mission, and his Department of Commerce aide, Michael Lee, presented themselves at the Civic Auditorium for the surrender ceremonies.
General Chen Yi was on familiar ground, for in this building, in 1935, be had helped to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of Japanese sovereignty in Formosa, and it was here that he had congratulated the Formosans on their good fortune to be Japanese subjects.
On this second occasion Chen Yi's address in Chinese was to be broadcast, with an English translation to follow. I was asked to check the English text, and politely called the interpreter's attention to the fact that although the speech hailed China's triumph in defeating Japan and recovering Formosa, there was no mention, at any point, of the part played by the United States in this affair. With some hesitation, a sentence was introduced into the English version, acknowledging American participation.
TCG notes: To the knowledge of all Taiwanese historians who have been consulted, there are no records of any attacks by Chinese Nationalist (ROC) military troops against the four main Japanese islands or against the areas of Formosa and the Pescadores in the entire period from July 7, 1937 through the Fall of 1945. Hence, it is obviously incorrect to say that "China defeated Japan and recovered Formosa."
General Ando Rikichi signed and sealed the surrender documents.
The fateful day closed with feasting, fireworks and a great parade. Celebrations lasted for a week. Chinese soldiers erected triumphal arches over the main avenues of the city, hacking down the nearest garden trees to provide frames and leafy decoration. Long afterward, these dilapidated arches stood in the roadways, and when they fell, gaping holes in the macadamized streets were there to remind us of the day of triumph.
General Ando was sent under arrest to Shanghai to be tried as a war criminal, and there, in prison, he committed suicide.
** All monetary values in the text hereafter refer to the
American dollar (US$) unless otherwise noted. The Chinese National Currency
dollar (CNC$) and the Taiwan yen (TY) are indicated as required.
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*** Lt. Col. Lin Wen-Kwei, told a different story: Boasting that he was the first junior officer to become General Chennault's private secretary, and noting that be was now assigned to the Chinese Delegation at the UN, Lin wrote:
I was appointed as a commanding officer to lead the C.A.V. to take Formosa
before the Chinese Army and Navy could land there. After I had built up the
first C.A.V. headquarters in Formosa and arranged everything for our landing
troops (the Chinese army and navy landed two months after I took the island) I
began to receive the Japs Air Force in Formosa. I worked very hard for six
months ... 
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1. [U. S. Govt. I Imperial Rescript Granted the Ministers of War and Navy. 17 August 1945. Reproduced in facsimile as Serial *2118, in Psychological Warfare, Part Two, Supplement *2 CINCPAC-CINCPOA Bulletin #164-45. 64-45.
2. Lin Wen-kuei, Letter to the Fourteenth Air Force Association Bulletin (Springfield, Mo.), Vol. 1, No. 2 (August 1948), pp. 2-3.