893.00/8–2145: Telegram

The Commanding General, United States Forces, China Theater ( Wedemeyer ), to the Chief of Staff ( Marshall )8

Analysis of the supplemental China Theater directive contained in Warx 47513 of 10 August9 and its relation to existing situation [Page 532] and that which may reasonably be expected to develop in China, are subject. I clearly understand the courses of action required for the accomplishment of my missions as defined in the affirmative provisions of my directive. Cognizant of possible postwar repercussions, I must be certain that the instructions I issue are fully in accord with U. S. policies. I want to do everything within my power to preclude loss of advantages we now enjoy in Far East and to insure that favorable conditions are created for accomplishment of ultimate U. S. political and economic objectives.
Reference is made particularly to provisions of subpara 1b, Warx 47513 which states that action taken must “Not prejudice the basic U. S. principle that the United States will not support the Central Government of China in fratricidal war”. If literally construed and adhered to this stipulation might eliminate support now being given to Generalissimo’s forces. Paragraphs four and six of same message which again if literally accepted as well as implication of whole message except subpara 1b would require continued support of Chinese Central Government as now normal to my mission.
My present mission requires me to assist in the movement of Chinese Central Government divisions, into key areas throughout Japanese-occupied China, to facilitate surrender, repatriation and deportation. Delay in accomplishing this task would introduce increased burdens such as pestilence and unrest.
The employment of available U. S. transport aircraft, shipping and motor transport offers the only practicable means of timely dispositions of Central Government forces to areas now occupied by Japanese or to points where Japanese will be concentrated. The more important of the key areas are surrounded or occupied in varying strengths by organized Chinese Communist forces. The Communists have already indicated intention to occupy and control such areas and key points, or to prevent Central Government forces from doing so. There, it must be recognized that the movement of Central Government troops to key areas may be construed as a deceptive maneuver designed primarily to cope with the Communists. Even though the United States is acting in good faith, the inevitable deduction of the Central Government, the Communists and certain elements outside China, will be: Whereas the United States purported intent is to assist the Chinese Central Government in the surrender and repatriation of the Japanese in China, actually in effect and concomitantly we are making an important contribution to preclude successful operations by Communist forces. Note: War correspondents increasing in number, curiosity and persistence are pressing for statement of continued U. S. policy in China pertaining to lend lease and other assistance to Central Government. Obviously they would play up any support of Central Government against Communists.
As an example of the problems involved in the fulfillment of my supplemental directive I set forth an imminent situation. The movement by air of two U. S.-sponsored armies into the Nanking–Shanghai area will be initiated within the next few days. U. S. assistance is required to place these Central Government forces in this vital area to open and secure at the earliest possible date the port of Shanghai. Until we have opened this port and secured the area to include Nanking our operations will be severely restricted. When sea communications are established the movement of troops by air and surface throughout China can be expedited. At the present time the strength and capabilities of the Communists in this area are not clarified. Estimates indicate strength of 50,000 to 80,000. Their aggressive intentions have been expressed in recent orders issued by Communist leaders. It is highly probable that within a few days after Central Government forces arrive in the area they will be engaged not only in coping with Japanese situation but also they may be engaged in active combat against the Communists. If I am to carry out the mission of assisting the Chinese in handling Japanese military forces in China, it will be necessary to continue the movement of Central Government forces to this area at a rapid rate. These two armies will have U. S. lend-lease equipment and will have U. S. liaison personnel. Liaison personnel are important to insure efficient movement of Chinese forces and the accomplishment of their assigned task against the Japanese. However, as explained above, in carrying out this part of my mission I may be inadvertently affording direct U. S. assistance to the Central Government in subduing Communist armed forces. We may be confronted with similar situation in many other areas.
In the absence of specific guidance I have adopted the following procedures: U. S. liaison personnel have been instructed to withdraw from the vicinity of clashes between Chinese forces as promptly as practicable, using force as necessary for protection of themselves and U. S. property in their possession. They have been directed to report the circumstances at the earliest opportunity whenever clashes occur. I intend to employ U. S. combat air forces or other appropriate means at my disposal to carry out my mission and to protect American lives and property that may be endangered. I consider that my mission requires that I give full support, including extensive air transport lift, to Chinese Central Government forces in carrying out their occupational responsibilities as defined para three above.
I have stated action I intend to take in consonance with my interpretation of directive as recently supplemented. I have pointed out that a strictly literal interpretation of paragraph 1b in Warx 47513 would under anticipated conditions abrogate or at least circumscribe to an impractical degree the directions embodied in paragraphs four and six of that message. I believe the above interpretation of my directive [Page 534] and procedures outlined are sound and feasible under prevailing conditions. Obviously requirement in subparagraph 1b of Warx 47513 and the directions in the remainder of the message are incompatible. Further the procedures I have adopted as the practical solution to difficult problem, are in conflict with subparagraph 1b. Comments would be appreciated.
  1. Forwarded to the Secretary of State at the request of the Joint Chiefs of Staff by the Secretary of SWNCC, the State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee, with his memorandum of August 21, not printed.
  2. Telegram of August 10 by the Joint Chiefs of State to the Commanding General, United States Forces, China Theater (Wedemeyer), p. 527.