Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Chinese Affairs (Vincent) to the Director of the Office of Far Eastern Affairs (Grew)

Mr. Grew: This morning Mr. Stanton,28 Mr. John D. Sumner,29 Mr. Woodard,30 and I called on Mr. Donald Nelson. We discussed present and postwar economic problems in China for about an hour. Mr. Nelson was quite outspoken and gave us a very interesting account of his visit. Mr. Sumner is preparing a memorandum31 based on the conversation.

At the conclusion of the conference, Mr. Nelson detained me for a few minutes to discuss the political situation. He said with great emphasis that our relations with China were bad—“very bad”. The attitude of our Army in China is primarily responsible for this situation. [Page 260] United States Army personnel in general adopts an unsympathetic, even antagonistic, attitude toward China. Relations between Chiang Kai-shek and General Stilwell are most unfortunate. Chiang does not like Stilwell and Stilwell does not have the personality successfully to deal with Chiang. Consequently there is continuous friction and irritation. Mr. Nelson mentioned one particular instance which occurred while he was in Chungking as illustrative of how Stilwell should not handle Chiang.

I asked about General Hurley. Mr. Nelson said that Hurley was early convinced of the futility of his mission and had planned to come home with him but had been dissuaded from doing so by General Stilwell. Mr. Nelson does not anticipate that Hurley will be able to accomplish much.

Mr. Nelson spoke well of Ambassador Gauss and of the Embassy staff in general but he said that relations between Chiang Kai-shek and the Ambassador were not good. The Ambassador’s personality is against him in dealing with Chiang and Chiang feels that he is antagonistic. This situation, Mr. Nelson says, has been made worse by the Ambassador’s close relations with T. V. Soong. T. V. Soong is still in the “dog house” and therefore the closeness of Gauss and “T. V.” is not conducive to good working relations between Chiang and Gauss.

Mr. Nelson went on to describe other phases of the political situation in Chungking which are familiar to us.

J[ohn] C[arter] V[incent]
  1. Edwin F. Stanton, Special Assistant to the Director of the Office of Far Eastern Affairs.
  2. John D. Sumner, Adviser on Economic Affairs, Embassy in China, temporarily in Washington.
  3. Granville O. Woodard, of the Division of Chinese Affairs.
  4. Infra.