800.0146/8–2844: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in China (Gauss)

1166. The Department and the Joint Chiefs of Staff have given careful consideration to the matter forming the subject of your 1464, August 26 [28], 2 p.m., and previous telegrams.

It is our opinion that a three-power conference on the question of administration of liberated areas in the Far East would not be practicable at this time. You may so inform President Chiang Kai-shek, and explain that, while we fully sympathize with his objective in suggesting a conference, there are considerations of a military character, including the all-important consideration of military security, which render it inadvisable to hold a three-power conference on the subject.
There follow certain statements of broad over-all policy for civil affairs administration which should be communicated orally and in confidence to Chiang: Our planning for civil affairs is based solely on military considerations. The military administration of civil affairs in any area recovered from the Japanese is temporary and entirely without prejudice to the future status of the area. Because of the necessity of fitting military administration with the local military situation in any area, the scope and structure of military administration is to be left largely to the discretion of the commanding officer in the area. The personnel of military administration will depend primarily upon the composition of the armed forces actually engaged in conducting the military operations. In the event strategic developments result in the recovery by U. S. armed forces of Chinese territory occupied by the Japanese, the occupying U. S. forces expect to turn the administration of civil affairs over to Chinese Government authority as soon as the military situation permits. If it is found necessary to carry out a long-term military administration in Japan, it is hoped that participation in such administration will include personnel of powers which have actively engaged in war against Japan, including China of course, and that the administration will be on a broad, practical basis.
The following is for your personal and strictly confidential information: The foregoing paragraph represents the ideas of the Joint Chiefs of Staff which expressed the opinion that if for political reasons the Department feels that it is necessary to communicate with the Chinese Government regarding military administration of civil affairs, it is essential that only broad over-all policy be mentioned without reference to specific areas. The Joint Chiefs of Staff further expressed the opinion that, in as much as military administration of civil affairs is based solely upon military considerations, [Page 1168] commitments for civil affairs during military occupation of any area, should be handled on a military level.
The Department feels that it would be preferable that General Stilwell,6 or his Chief of Staff in Chungking,7 accompany you and communicate to Chiang the general statement contained in paragraph 2. It is requested therefore that you invite General Stilwell to accompany you to call on Chiang. After you have spoken to Chiang in accordance with paragraph 1 above, it is suggested that you inform Chiang that, in as much as the planning for military administration of civil affairs is based solely upon military considerations and commitments therefor are handled on a military level, General Stilwell (or the general officer who accompanies you) will communicate to him certain statements of broad over-all policy for civil administration. If General Stilwell should decide not to accompany you or to designate a general officer to do so, the contents of paragraph 2 should be communicated to Chiang by you.
In as much as the original approach to you in this matter was made by the Minister for Foreign Affairs you will of course confer with him prior and in regard to your call on Chiang.
  1. Lt. Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell, Commanding General, U. S. Army Forces in China, Burma, and India.
  2. Maj. Gen. G. T. Hearn.