Memorandum of Conversation, by the Chief of the Division of Chinese Affairs (Vincent)

I called this morning on Congressman Mike Mansfield, of Montana, at his invitation. Mr. Mansfield has just returned from a visit of something over a month in China.

Mr. Mansfield was struck with the improvement in the situation which had been brought about by Ambassador Hurley, General Wedemeyer,15 and Mr. Donald Nelson.16 He spoke highly of all three men. He said that General Wedemeyer was working closely with the Generalissimo and with General Chen Cheng, the new Minister of War. General Chen, Mr. Mansfield said, was one of the most hopeful figures in China. General Wedemeyer has staffed his headquarters with a very capable group of officers who are working hard to make effective use of Chinese armies.

Mr. Mansfield was not favorably impressed with T. V. Soong. He said that neither was General Wedemeyer. He indicated that the favorable press that T. V. Soong had gotten in this country was unwarranted.

Mr. Mansfield was not hopeful that a settlement of Communist–Kuomintang relations would be reached. We spoke of an alternative in the form of over-all American military command. Mr. Mansfield said that General Wedemeyer had been offered such a command by Chiang (not including the Communist armies) but he was disinclined to take it.

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Mr. Mansfield said that he went to China with the idea that transportation and supplies were the principal problem in connection with military operations. He said that he left China with the conviction that the main problem, however, was disunity of military command, not only with regard to the National Army and the Communist army, but within the National Army.

Mr. Mansfield remarked that it was essential for the United States to work for a united China in the postwar period. He recognized the danger of disunity inherent in the Communist problem and he also commented on British policy toward China which he seemed to think would not be averse, because of Empire considerations, to a perpetuation of a weak China. He admitted that the British, as a matter of policy, were not working to prevent a united China but he said that they certainly were not working for such a China.

Mr. Mansfield is preparing a report for the President on his trip and said that he hoped a copy would be made available to the State Department by the White House.17

  1. Lt. Gen. Albert C. Wedemeyer, Commanding General, U. S. Forces in the China Theater and Chief of Staff of the China Theater.
  2. Personal Representative of President Roosevelt in China.
  3. See letter of January 3 from Representative Mansfield to President Roosevelt, p. 2.