Nanking Embassy Files: Telegram

No. 1273
The President to the Ambassador in China ( Hurley )1
top secret
operational priority

Top secret from the President to Ambassador Hurley.

Please deliver the following message from me to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek.

  • “1. At the Potsdam Conference the Prime Minister of Great Britain and I, in consultation with the Combined Chiefs of Staff, have had under consideration future military operations in South-East Asia.
  • 2. On the advice of the Combined Chiefs of Staff we have reached the conclusion that for operational purposes it is desirable to include that portion of French Indo-China lying south of 16° north latitude in the Southeast Asia Command. This arrangement would leave in the China Theater that part of Indo-China which covers the flank of projected Chinese operations in China and would at the same time enable Admiral Mountbatten to develop operations in the southern half of Indo-China.
  • 3. I greatly hope that the above conclusions will recommend themselves to Your Excellency and that, for the purpose of facilitating operations against the common enemy, Your Excellency will feel able to concur in the proposed arrangements.2
  • 4. I understand that the Prime Minister of Great Britain is addressing a communication to Your Excellency in a similar sense.

Signed Harry S. Truman.”

  1. There is in the Truman Papers a typed draft of a telegram from Attlee to Chiang on which manuscript changes have been made to convert it into a message from Truman to Hurley which is substantially identical with the message here printed as received in Chungking.
  2. Chiang’s reply was not received until after the conclusion of the Berlin Conference.