800.0146/5–945

The Acting Secretary of State to the Secretary of the Navy ( Forrestal )

My Dear Mr. Secretary: Reference is made to the following correspondence11 exchanged between the Department of State and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, copies of which are assumed to be on file in your Department, in regard to an informal suggestion made by the Chinese Government in July 194412 for the negotiation of an agreement relating to the military administration of civil affairs in Chinese territory liberated by United States forces:

(1)
Memorandum dated August 12, 1944 from the Department of State to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
(2)
Letter dated August 26, 1944 from the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Secretary of State.
(3)
Letter dated September 7, 1944 from the Secretary of State to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
(4)
Letter dated September 15, 1944 from the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Secretary of State.
(5)
Letter dated September 23, 1944 from the Secretary of State to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The question of the negotiation of a Chinese-American civil affairs agreement has again been raised by the action of the Chinese Acting Foreign Minister in calling on the American Ambassador at Chungking on May 7, 1945 and informally handing the latter the text of a “draft agreement” as a proposed basis for negotiations. There are enclosed in this connection (1) a paraphrase of a telegram dated May 9, 1945 from the Ambassador13 and (2) the text of the “draft agreement”14 submitted by the Chinese Acting Foreign Minister to the Ambassador.

In the light of this further Chinese proposal for the negotiation of a civil affairs agreement and in the thought that it may be of interest, this Department desires to offer the following comment as pertinent to consideration of the question.

In view of the manifest desire of the Chinese to conclude an agreement and in view of the progress of military and naval operations in the western Pacific area, this Department is of the opinion that it would be opportune at this time to resume discussions with the Chinese authorities on the basis of the instructions issued by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to General Stilwell (incorporated as an enclosure to the letter of September 15, 1944 from the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Secretary of State). In as much as the discussions relate primarily to military considerations, it would appear that they could best be conducted between General Wedemeyer (in consultation with the Ambassador) and the appropriate Chinese authorities.

With reference to the “draft agreement” submitted by the Chinese Government as a basis for discussions, the following comment is offered:

1.
In view of the complexities of the political and military situation existing in China today, and more particularly the absence of effective Chinese National Government control in substantial portions of northern and eastern China, it is not deemed advisable from the United States’ point of view to enter into an agreement authorizing the immediate restoration to the National Government of civil and judicial control in areas in China liberated by United States forces (in this connection see Articles I and IV of the Chinese “draft agreement”). [Page 1487] A further material objection to such a provision is that its implementation would probably complicate and impede military operations.
2.
While it is felt desirable to permit the attachment of military representatives of the Chinese National Government as liaison officers to United States forces which may conduct military operations along the China coast, it is not deemed advisable to comply with the Chinese proposal to vest such representatives with authority to concur in measures relating to the prosecution of military operations or to issue instructions to local Chinese officials (see Article III of the Chinese “draft agreement”). It is also felt that the selection and utilization of Chinese personnel in the civil administration of areas of China liberated by United States forces should be the sole responsibility of the commanding officer of the United States forces so long as the latter forces remain in occupation of such areas.

It would be appreciated if you would be good enough to present this matter to the Joint Chiefs of Staff with the request that they consider sanctioning the early resumption of discussions with the Chinese Government looking to the negotiation of a civil affairs agreement along the lines set forth in previous correspondence and in this communication.15

An identic letter is being addressed to the Secretary of War.

Sincerely yours,

Joseph C. Grew
  1. None printed.
  2. See telegram No. 1289, July 25, 1944, 3 p.m., from the Ambassador in China, Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. vi, p. 1165.
  3. No. 746, p. 1483.
  4. Quoted in telegram No. 747, May 9, 7 p.m., from the Ambassador in China, p. 1484.
  5. The Secretary of the Navy on June 8 advised that the matter had been submitted to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (800.0146/6–845).