Memorandum by the Counselor of Embassy in China ( Atcheson ) to the Ambassador in China ( Hurley )


The comment offered here is comment on the draft telegram46 merely as a report, which is the immediate task at hand, and we leave for later discussion the question of suggestions in regard to the negotiations.

We think that Part I of the telegram is clear and precise (with the exception of one portion which will be discussed hereafter) and will provide the Secretary of State with a valuable background picture of the course of developments. We have not endeavored, as we usually do with draft telegrams, to work over the language for the sake of seeking greater conciseness or of condensing because we feel that it will be useful to the Secretary to have as full a description of the negotiations as it is possible to provide him. We feel too that, because of your intimate connection with and knowledge of this matter, you can draw in your own words a picture which might be made confused rather than clarified if we endeavor to suggest any radical changes in phraseology.

On page 3, line 14 we suggest “bi-party” and “multi-party” instead of “bi-partisan” and “multi-partisan”. The same suggestion is made in regard to page 6, line 19.

In the last paragraph on page 8 we suggest eliminating the numerals in parentheses for the sake of clarity. For example, the sentences following (2), (3), (4) and (5) do not seem to be matters on which you have insisted in your negotiations with the Communists whereas the clause following (1) does seem to be such a matter.

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We would question the statement in the next to the last paragraph of the telegram that there is opposition among our own diplomatic representatives. There is no one on the staff who believes we should by-pass the National Government in dealing with the Communists. From a recent conversation with Mr. Service (who is not substantively a member of the Embassy staff) I am convinced that he does not think we should by-pass the National Government in dealing with the Communists.


As regards comments about the staff in the preamble:

We would question the penultimate sentence of the second paragraph. We have not heard anyone on the staff express an opinion that your conduct of the negotiations is an unusual and unjustified departure from State Department procedure. We do not believe that any member of the staff holds such opinion. There is no member of the staff that I know of who has not whole-heartedly hoped for the success of your negotiations and the benefit to the war effort which will obviously result therefrom.

We are at this moment endeavoring, by making these comments, to vitiate the second sentence of the third paragraph that there is no process in the Embassy through which reports can be passed for consultation on composition, etc.

The preamble is very damning to the staff. If I were in the Department I would imply from your comments that you feel that the staff is of little, if any, use and should be replaced. We hope that this is not the interpretation which you had in mind. But if it is we do not cavil about it; we feel that we are not in good position to offer comment.


We feel that your statement of the case for putting forth every feasible effort to bring unity to China and unity to the military forces of China to assist in defeating the Japanese is excellent. We feel also, from what we have heard and observed of the situation, that your statement of the position and attitude of the Kuomintang and the Communists toward each other is also excellent and succinct. We are sure that the Secretary will be very pleased indeed to have this outline of the negotiations and will consider it to be a clear, forthright and generally excellent account of them.

(This memorandum has been written in cooperation and consultation with Messrs. Ringwalt, Yuni, Boehringer and Freeman.47)

G[eorge] A[tcheson, Jr.]
  1. For telegram as sent, see No. 141, infra.
  2. Arthur R. Ringwalt, William E. Yuni, and Carl H. Boehringer, Second Secretaries; and Fulton Freeman, Third Secretary.