Mr. Lauchlin Currie to President Roosevelt 27

Re: Special envoy to China.

I—What could be accomplished.

I think a good deal could be accomplished by a mission at this time. It would be widely heralded as an indication of some important impending action by America and would, in a way, serve “to encourage the garrison until supplies arrived”, that is, until we can get the air freight service organized and build up our air strength in China. It would, of course, strengthen Chiang’s position. In addition, it would afford an opportunity to:

Impress Chiang and other government officials with magnitude of America’s war effort.
Check on India-China cooperation.
Check on organization of air-freight line to China.
Secure first-hand information from Stilwell.
Appraise Chinese staying power, both in real and psychological terms.
Appraise economic position.
Secure background for development of a Chinese air program alongside American air program, and to secure first-hand views from Chennault.
Explore Sino-Russian relations.
Check on nature of Japanese peace feelers, if any.
Check on military and political situation in India.
Smooth Stilwell-Army, CDS-Army relations.

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II—Who might be sent.

I think Mr. Hopkins, the first choice of the Chinese, would unquestionably be the ideal person for this mission, both in prestige and ability to get things done. If, however, the trip is deemed to be too long and too hazardous, I should like, most diffidently, to remind you of my own qualifications.

Considerable prestige in China. It so happened that my visit was well-timed. The extension of lend-lease to China occurred immediately afterward. Tax reforms I recommended were adopted. I have guarded this prestige since, declining several invitations of Madame Chiang to go back because I did not think the time was ripe. Believe that I am personally congenial to the Generalissimo and that he trusts me.
Familiarity with China, with the whole Chinese lend-lease program, and with our own position.
In a position to follow up after my return.
Excellent relations with the Army. Effective aid must largely rest with the Army, but it would be inappropriate with General Stilwell there to send an Army man. I know intimately Stilwell and other members of his mission, Chennault, Bond of CNAC, and other key Americans and Chinese who would, I am sure, talk freely to me.
Sending me would be regarded as logical by the Chinese, as lend-lease followed my first visit, it is known that I have been helping on lend-lease and that I am a true friend of China’s.
I have already had all the necessary vaccinations and inoculations and could leave at a moment’s notice.
Lauchlin Currie
  1. Photostatic copy obtained from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, N. Y.