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    US Naval Group China's secret operation with China, WWII, SACO


Sino American Cooperative Organization and the US Naval Group China

In early 1944 American command in SACO was split, and the OSS detachment was placed under Colonel Coughlin, a very capable regular army officer. The navy contingent continued under Miles. It was expanded until the command was so large it justified Miles's promotion to rear admiral. Unfortunately, the two chief American elements in the secret war, the OSS and the navy, did not work well together.

Since Tai Li represented the Generalissimo, every effort made to dislodge him failed. He obstructed efforts by the OSS except in the area of training and equipping its own agents from beginning to end, because he was sure he could control such Chinese agents. Sometimes his own commanders made a sincere effort to help the Americans. Sometimes such commanders were mysteriously transferred or disappeared. The navy group, under Miles, considered Tai Li their commander and in general followed his orders scrupulously. Through this group, Tai Li secured large amounts of supplies and was able to consolidate his position in China, sometimes even at the expense of the KMT. Milton Miles always expressed gratitude and trust in his superiors and seemed to genuinely admire General Tai Li and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek. From his perspective the Americans in SACO were welcomed and trusted, even if sometimes exploited.

(Continue SACO stories from SKD1C W.E. Smith)
     Visit image gallery of 1945 China, from SACO photos!

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