07 Apr 1944, BAAG Reports and Weekly Intelligence Summaries
The following document is kindly supplied by Elizabeth Ride from her collection of BAAG material.
MOST SECRET AND PERSONAL
British Army Aid Group,Kweilin.
7th April, 1944,
Major-General G.E. Grimsdale,
H.M. Military Attache,
My dear General,
Reference my DP/4 dated 24 Mar 44:
"Briefly what happened was that he came down on the South, or wrong, side of the KOWLOON range, at a spot in full view of the KAI TAK A/d, and made his way as quickly as possible towards the North, or right side. Just after he crossed the top and started down the North Slope, he was contacted by a small boy who led him, some distance in the right direction. Unfortunately enemy troops who were in pursuit were getting too close and the small boy, who afterwards turned out to be a 'little devil', or RED runner, outdistanced KERR, who went to earth. For several days he lived in holes, never coming out by day, but working his way East at night. Finally he made up his mind to tackle a party of youths who walked near to his hideout, and he was lucky - they put him in . touch with the REDS, who looked after him very well and finally - on 18 Mar - got him to PINGSHAN whence he was brought up to WAICHOW by the HEUNG CHEUNG.
"First I would say that he is by far the most intelligent and pleasant (and, I think, the toughest) of all the U.S.A.A.F. chaps who have so far shown up here. And if what I say should, be of any interest to his topside, I would like to record that he did exactly the right things throughout and owes his success to a great extent to his own good judgement, determination and courage. In particular, the precautions which he laid down for himself and rigidly followed in the first critical days before he got in: touch with the REDS, in spite of hunger and discomfort, almost certainly saved him from capture. He must have thought that he had almost no chance of getting away - he knew nothing about the set-up - and it would have been so easy to take unjustified risks through desperation, which would have played into the enemy's hands. I am sure you will agree that what he did is most praiseworthy, and deserves some recognition.
"He has promised to call on you, and I think he will do so; you will be interested, I am sure, to talk the thing over with him, and it is very fortunate that he is such a pleasant and intelligent chap. He is, of course,100% pro-RED. From what he tells me, they seem to have excelled themselves and done the first-class job of work of which we know they are capable when they really try, but of which we saw so few examples when "cooperating" with us! They naturally went all out to show themselves up in the best light. After KERR contacted them, he says
DP/5 d/7/4/44 MOST SECRET AND PERSONAL Sheet 2
there was never a thrill throughout the whole thing; they refused to accept any money, though he had several thousand dollars with him, nor would they take his gun (a telling contrast with what happened to the B-25 crew who came down so much nearer WAICHOW in "FREE CHINA"!) He spent almost the whole of his time in the MA ON SHAN area, from which they said they dare not attempt to move him until Japanese searching grew less strict, so there is no question of their detaining him for any other than military reasons. When he finally got under way, he saw first Capt. TSOI and then TSANG SHANG himself (RAYMOND interpreting!)
"I think you will agree that KERR's report is of some importance to our work - whether the Americans, who you already told me are very interested in the REDS, will become even more interested now, I do not know, but it seems not unlikely to me. Anyway, I have done my best to find out as much as possible from him and I think I have been fairly successful, At first ho was rather reticent, and I think it was only when he realised that I really knew personally many of the men whom he had met that he began to be really frank. If be has kept anything back from me, which I doubt, then perhaps it is criticisms of the B.A.A.G.
"The REDS took great pains to convince KERR:
(1) that their organisation is efficient. In this they were, as always when they try, completely successful
(2) that right is on their side in the "civil war". Naturally KERR is not so convinced of this - the whole set-up was a complete surprise to him - and he was shrewd enough to see that there must be two sides to the question.
(3) that they were most anxious to help in the Allied war effort by supplying Intelligence and - they specially mentioned this - by guerrilla and sabotage work. KERR is much impressed by this and believes that much good work could be done.
“In support of their offer of cooperation, they gave him a fairly complete account of the relations of the B.A.A.G., with them, including the SUNSET PLAN and the FRIGATE disaster. They made cunning play on these two motives, contrasting the former - an example of the best possible answer, only possible with their help - with the latter, a bad second-best yet NOT possible without their help (they know their stuff, these boys! It sounds most convincing, as you will agree, I think, to a newcomer). they said that B.A.A.G. relations with them hud once been excellent, but were now, to their regret, more or less cut off on account of (a) the FRIGATE incident and (b) the difficult position of the B.A.A.G. with relation to the Central Government. They went through the old old arguments about LAU PUI, and produced in support of their case a proclamation dated 19 Feb 44 (which I have seen) incorporating LAU PUI's unit in the Communist Forces, and making special mention of the "unfortunate occurrences in the past which might have made LAU PUI seem unworthy of inclusion in the anti Fascist etc." : They told him that some of the drugs which they used on his burns (not serious) were supplied by the B.A.A.G.
DP/5 d/7/4/44. MOST SECRET AND PERSONAL Sheet 3
"They gave him a very carefully written letter to General CHENNAULT (which I have seen) giving a full account of their position and aims (but making no mention of communism, which they did not stress at all with KERR, of course), and accompanied with a map showing the area they control and operate in (they claimed less on this map than I would have given them, if asked to guess). The letter makes a specific offer of cooperation, and suggests that the general get in touch with them so that work may be done in future, and saying that the best of all would if Gen. CHENNAULT would send a representative to keep in touch with them. KERR only showed this to me after considerable hesitation, I think, because he did not at first tell me he had such a letter. I of course,made no attempt to persuade him to show me anything. When I had seen the letter, he asked me whether I thought he ought to show it to his authorities, or try to have it delivered! I said that I thought he ought to hand over everything he has (he has several RED newspapers etc) and make as full a report as possible of everything he knows.
I told him I thought topside would be most interested.
"That is about the gist of it. I hope you will have a chance of a good long talk with KERR. As I have said, I cannot be sure that there was not some sort of pro-American anti-British stuff, which he would naturally not repeat to me. But really I have no reason to suspect this, except that I had an idea before that they might take that line, as I said in a previous letter.
"I do not think KERR realises that I am writing such a full report of all he has told me - he fully realises the need for security - and it might be as well to let him tell you himself, if you get the chance. But I realise that you will probably not have as good a chance as I have had, so I thought it was important for me to get the whole thing down on paper at once for you."
2. KERR called on me immediately on his arrival in KWEILIN and confirmed all that RONNIE has said above. We did not have time for a long talk, however, as he said he naturally had to report to his own authorities first and was then going in to hospital. I have since heard that he was flown straight to hospital in KUNMING, which is perhaps significant. He has promised to see me again on his return.
3. I informed you in my cipher signal 212 DON dated 27 March, that the Americans were setting up their own W/T Station in WAICHOW. This has now been confirmed by RONNIE who has received a communication to that effect, requesting "cooperation", from Captain LYNN, 14 U.S.A.A.F. Liaison Officer with VIT War Zone H.Q. at KUKONG. I have questioned the local Americans about this and they say they know nothing about it and imagine it must be done direct by General CHENNAULT from KUNMING.
4. Further, I have just heard from ARCHIE HUNT, who has been unable to return to his Forward Post at TSINGYUN as VII War Zone H.Q. will not renew his pass (my Signal 198 DON of 24 March) and must therefore wait for his new National Military Council pass from CHUNGKING, that LYNN has informed him that he will shortly be setting up a W/T station at TSINGYUN also.
DP/5 d/7/4/44. MOST SECRET AND PERSONAL Sheet 4.
5. The above, coupled with the remarks of various American Officers of M.I.S.X, (equals M.I.9) who have called on me recently, to the effect that it has been agreed between LONDON and WASHINGTON that China, with the exception of the B.A.A.G. in the HONG KONG area, is an American theatre for M.I.9 work, tends to show that the Americans are coming in strong and possibly intend to squeeze us out. I have heard of this alleged agreement from American sources only so far, and have no idea what discussions are going on at the present time in India, but on the face of it it does look as though, once again, where we have blazed the trail the Americans walk, in and take over.
6. All my meetings with these American M.I.S.X. officers have been very cordial and they have frankly told me of their plans. They are already moving up into the FUKIEN - KIANGSI -CHEKIANG area, to cover the FORMOSA and SHANGHAI P.W. Camps, where, of course, we are not yet operating. What our future plans are in this respect, I have no idea, so my chief role has been that of listener. I have gathered the impression, however, that whilst only too willing to "cooperate", by exchanging information with us and learning from us, the Americans have every intention of regarding China as their theatre and seeing that no one else butts in. They agreed, however, that although they had all the facilities for carrying on their work from the Chinese Government (which we lack), they lack the personnel with China experience and knowledge of the language and might be glad to have British Officers with the necessary experience attached to their units in the field. One American, however, went so far as to say that in such case they would have to be " typically American Britishers" and “not only look, but also talk and act, like Americans". I replied that it might be difficult to find British Officers with all these qualifications!
7. I imagine the positions will be clarified on Colonel RIDE's return, but I write this to keep you informed of the way the wind blows in the meantime.
Copy to G.S.I. (e), G.H.Q.,