Oral Statement: Viscount Elibank
Date: December 21, 1955
Subject: The International Situation
VISCOUNT ELIBANK . . . . . Let us see what is the present position in Formosa, an island to which I was first introduced when I landed on it after being wrecked in a typhoon on the other side of the Formosa Straits. An article, again in the Sunday Times of March 13, 1955, includes a description of Formosa by Mr. Iain Lang, a gentleman who has a great knowledge of the Pacific. He called it, "Isle of Make-Believe." Knowing the island, and having a little knowledge of the position that obtains there to-day, I feel that this article gives a graphic description of Formosa and its problems.
Mr. Lang wrote this: Formosa is indeed an island of make-believe. A fragment of 13,000 square miles making believe that it is 'the Republic of China.' A Police State making believe that it is a 'bastion of democracy in the Far East.' Its army of 300,000 men makes believe that it is preparing to recapture the Chinese mainland from Mao Tse-tung's massed millions. However, one or two hard certainties do emerge from this amorphous background. One is that exile has not changed the essential character of the Kuomintang regime -- That regime, as noble Lords will remember, was set up to carry out the ideas of the late Dr. Sun Yat-sen, who was the principal initiator and carrier-through of the Revolution of 1911. The regime was taken over in 1924 by Chiang Kai-shek, whose ideas differed somewhat from those of Mao Tse-tung, who finally broke away from him and marched north -- though it has modified some of its grosser abuses. Unlike the Bourbons, Chiang Kai-shek has learned something, but, like them, he has forgotten nothing. He is still the same kind of Oriental despot as he was in pre-revolutionary China, and still relies on the same political techniques as he did in Chungking and Nanking. My Lords, I will not bother you by reading any more of this article but it seems to me to give a very graphic description of Formosa as it is to-day.
[ source: HANSARD 1803 - 2005 / Lords Sitting, 21 December 1955 vol 195 cc425-46 ]
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