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Memorandum by the Director of the Office of Far Eastern Affairs (Hornbeck)

This question of the negotiation which is going on between the President and President Chiang Kai-shek involves a great deal more than the issue or issues in which the War Department and the Treasury Department are at this moment and for present purposes especially interested. There is involved on the one hand a question of political and economic strategy in relation to and for the purposes of winning the war; there is involved on the other hand the question of this country’s overall and general policy in regard to relations with China, postwar problems, etc., etc. There must be looked at both the question of the short-swing and the question of the long-swing. There [Page 858]should be avoided, if possible, action in relation to the short-swing which is out of line with or contradictory to and prejudicial of policy adapted to and adopted for the long-swing.

The most outstanding diplomatic achievement of this Government since this country became involved in the war has been the bringing together of the United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union and China with common effort in the prosecution of the war and toward development of instrumentalities for peace and security after military victory. This has involved and has been attended by formulation and crystallization of policy. It has been the work of many men over a period of time. One feature of the effort has been that of keeping China in the war and making use of China’s geographical position, her logistical potentialities, her manpower, etc., in combination with our capacities and potentialities—toward defeating Japan and toward producing and maintaining a situation and conditions, after victory, of stable peace.

In the light of our traditional policy toward China, and of our recent policy and successes in connection with the “big four” combination, especially signalized at the Moscow conference, would it not be folly for us now to run the risk of a breach between this country and China over and because of a difference of opinion regarding the manner in which the principle of cooperation between this country and China can be applied to the greatest common advantage; would it in any way be profitable to us to win a victory over Chiang Kai-shek in connection with short-swing operations at the price of temporarily digressing from and permanently jeopardizing the fundamental principles of our long-range policy in regard to relations with China and the area wherein China is the center of political gravity. In brief, can we in any way or for a single moment afford to entertain thought of, and to risk, a “divorce” between China’s war effort and our war effort.

S[tanley] K. H[ornbeck]