Continuing our series on the regime of Chiang Kai-shek–all but beatified during the Cold War–we draw still more on a magnificent book–The Soong Dynasty by Sterling Seagrave. Although sadly out of print, the book is still available through used book services, and we emphatically encourage listeners to take advantage of those and obtain it.
Several listeners have said that they were able to obtain the book because it is still in print! I hope so! PLEASE buy it, read it, and tell others about it, either through conventional means and/or through social media. (Mr. Emory gets no money from said purchases of the book.)
We also draw on another, altogether remarkable work by Peggy and Sterling Seagrave–Gold Warriors.
The Rape of Nanking–the subject of Iris Chang’s best-selling, nonfiction book, saw the beginning of the Golden Lily operation. The looting of China (as well as the rest of Asia) by Japan and the subsequent American fusing of the Japanese war loot into the clandestine U.S. economy is undoubtedly a major irritant to the Chinese.
The looting of China by Japan–and by extension the U.S.–manifests on top of the centuries’ old looting of that country by Britain and the rest of the European colonial powers, the U.S. as a whole, the Chiang Kai-shek/Green Gang alliance and the overlapping Soong clan.
Chinese insistence on access to technologies developed by firms establishing manufacturing concerns on their soil may be seen as an historical reaction to what the country was subjected to at the hands of the above interests.
In the passage below, note the intellectual and cultural plundering of China by Japan, as well as the looting of their economic wealth–a phenomenon of which the American occupation forces were aware and with which they ultimately colluded.
Looting of China was compounded by joint U.S. and Kuomintang secreting of gold from soon to be Communist-occupied China in the post-World War II period (overlapping the Chinese civil war.) This episode could be seen as an extension of Chiang’s looting of the gold of private investors from the Bank of China (with the active collaboration of the Green Gang) just before the Generalissimo decamped for Taiwan.
” . . . . As Chairman Mao’s forces advanced through China in 1948 . . . Britain and the U.S. dreaded the prospect that one of the world’s largest stocks of gold–worth $83-billion at current prices–would fall into communist hands. So it was decided to extract the gold reserves from China before the communists could seize them. The CIA provided the means for this bullion rescue mission . . . .”
Note that the joint U.S./Kuomintang looting of gold from postwar China was done with the collaboration of elements of CIA, as well as the Strategic Air Command.
The Federal Reserve Notes and Federal Reserve Bonds were to be given to Chinese financial interests holding the gold in order to convince them to part with the bullion.
” . . . . These two CAT [Civil Air Transport–a CIA airline later renamed Air America] B-29s, loaded billions of dollars’ worth of FRNs and FRBs, were on their way to Malaysia on a roundabout route to Southwestern China by way of Thailand and Burma. . . .”
Note, also, that one of the aircraft in a U.S. flight that was downed in the Philippines by a typhoon was carrying uranium for possible use in a “dirty bomb” attack on China.
” . . . . The B-50, which had recently been built by Boeing to carry nuclear weapons for the Strategic Air Command (SAC), had a cargo of 117 canisters of Uranium. At this time, Washington was seriously considering dropping “dirty bombs” on Red China and North Korea. . . .”
As noted above, Chiang Kai-shek and Mme. Chiang Kai-shek (nee Mae-ling Soong) were aware of the operation and profited from it: ” . . . . He [CAT and former Flying Tiger pilot Eric Shilling] gold us Generalissimo and Mme. Chiang Kai-shek were fully informed of the flights . . . . Shilling was invited to the presidential palace where Mme. Chiang praised him, telling hi: ‘I did not go to bed until i knew that you had landed safely. . . .”
One can but guess if Mme. Chiang’s concern for Shilling’s well being was grounded in the fact that she and Chiang benefited greatly from the FRNs that were involved in the operation: ” . . . . A CIA friend told me that these FRNs were all over the world, not only in the Philippines. He said Chiang Kai-shek’s family owned large quantities. . . .”
Next, we review the fact that T.L. Soong—T.V.’s younger brother: “ . . . . who had been in charge of Lend Lease during World II, and whose American roots were in New York City, became something of an enigma. Sources in Washington said T.L. worked as a secret consultant to the Treasury Department in the 1950’s, engaged in what they would not say. Treasury claims it has no record of a T.L. Soong whatever. . . .”
Was T.L. Soong’s Treasury consultancy executed in conjunction with the CAT gold extraction mission described above?
The program concludes with examination of the results of an investigation ordered by President Truman into the affairs of the Soong family and their kleptocratic associates in what became known as the “China Lobby.”
An FBI probe into the family’s doings (and, by extension, those of the Kuomintang) yielded a report that was still heavily redacted in 1983 when the Seagraves obtained a copy of it.
President Truman summed up the findings of the investigation into the Soongs, the Kungs and their associates: “ . . . . ‘They’re all thieves, every damn one of them. . . . They stole seven hundred and fifty million dollars out of the [$3.8] billion that we sent to Chiang. They stole it, and it’s invested in real estate down in Sao Paulo and some right here in New York. . . . And that’s the money that was used and is still being used for the so-called China Lobby.’ . . . .”
Truman’s gauging of the Soong family’s ill-gotten gains was underestimation: “ . . . . In May of 1949, a few months after May-ling’s visit [May-ling Soong, aka Mme. Chiang Kai-shek], Truman heard of allegations made by banking sources to members of Congress that the Soongs and Kungs actually had $2 billion salted away in Manhattan. . . .”
We note that even the FBI was dealt with in a less than candid fashion by some of the banks that held Soong and Kung family deposits: “ . . . . ‘It would appear,’ an FBI agent noted laconically, ‘that high bank officials had prepared a flat statement for issuance to the Bureau in this matter.’. . .”
Even Federal government agencies were also less than enthusiastic about cooperating with the FBI investigation: “ . . . . The FBI was reluctant to ask Treasury for a copy [of bureaucratic forms submitted by the Soong family] because it believed that senior Treasury officials were close to T.V. and might reveal the investigation to him. [Recall that his brother T.L. may well have been a consultant to the Treasury Department—D.E] . . .”
The FBI also ran across evidentiary tributaries that may well have run from the clandestine looting of Chinese gold reserves described in the second major element of this program. “ . . . . On the West Coast, other agents discovered the cold trail of a Chinese plot to fly huge quantities of gold from China to an out-of-the-way private airport in the Los Angeles suburb of Van Nuys. . . .”
Investigation of the digs of H.H. Kung’s family yielded some of the most sordid information. [H.H. was married to Ai-ling Soong, elder sister of Mme. Chiang Kai-shek and sister to the Soong brothers—T.V., T.L. and T.A.]. “ . . . . According to the newspapers, several Chinese servants in the summer had been brought from Hong Kong ostensibly to work in the Chinese Embassy found themselves virtual prisoners of the Kungs in Riverdale. [At that point in time, the Chinese Embassy would have been that of the Taiwan-based Kuomintang.] . . . . In desperation, they escaped together, but were captured and brought back. . . . the hapless servants were taught a lesson when they were hung from the ceiling and whipped. . . H.H. Kung . . . did not deny any of his servants’ . . . charges. . . .”