Cabbages & Kings

We sat at a long conference table beneath a portrait of Sun Yat Sen while Mr. Lee, director of Boston's branch of the Kuomintang, was explaining the difference between October First and October Tenth. "First of October is Communist Independence Day, like May First in Russia. Nobody in Boston celebrates. October Tenth is the real Chinese Independence Day, when we had a Republic. It is just like Fourth of July. We have parades and speeches and feasts, just like in America." He thought a moment, then added, "Also we celebrate the Fourth."

His accent seemed to make speaking an effort, so he introduced his secretary, Philip Goon, and instructed him to tell me his Party's attitude toward the Communists.

"We have no trouble in Boston," took up Mr. Goon. "The Communists do not try to organize here. Maybe in other cities they do, but I do not think so. Chinese know what the Communists do to the people. They turn the land upside down for the people. Our people here have relatives in China, they know what happens. There is no trouble in Boston."

I asked them what the Party's function was in Boston, and they discussed the query in Chinese. Mr. Lee took over: "We help all Chinese people in Boston. Also we collect money when it is necessary to help Chinese of Formosa. They have 600,000 troops there, and they need things.

"If the American Government allows, we want to fight in Korea. Nationalist troops will fight Communists no matter where they are. It is not like civil war, not Chinese fighting Communists. In Boston we help get money for invasion of China. It is by invasion that Chiang Kai-shek will drive out the Communists and renew the Republic. We did not get help from America before; General Marshall wanted the help, but he did not understand the situation. Now the people will follow Chiang and drive out the Communists.

"The Kuomintang wants to do the right thing for the people," he continued. "When we get back, everyone will have land and vote--like the Communists say they do, but they do not." I mentioned that some people considered their leader a sort of dictator, and this precipitated a lengthy and heated conference, all in Chinese. Eventually, Mr. Lee spoke up.

"Some say that Chiang is a kind of dictator, but that is not so. He is just a strong leader. Never consider in China that it is exactly the same as in United States. People vote, but they do not always know what is right. A strong leader is what they need, but he is not a dictator like Mao. All the people vote."

The subject of corruption hardly put them at ease. There was still another conference in Chinese, accompanied by a few scowls. "Corruption is in every government, even America. They say that the Soong brothers got very rich, but in the new government the Soongs will not have a part. There is not so much corruption in the Kuomintang as the Communists say, it is not because of that we lost the war."

I had no further questions, but the two conferred anyway. They talked for about a minute, then Lee asked, "You are from a newspaper?" "Yes," I replied, not saying what newspaper. Mr. Goon leaned over, pointing to my notes. "You just say that we want to use troops in Korea, and that October Tenth is Independence Day. Never mind Chiang and corruption.