Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Secretary of State (Dunn)
Conversation between the President and Madame Chiang Kai-shek, in the Executive Office, Wednesday, August 29, 1945, 11:30 a.m. Present also were James Clement Dunn, Assistant Secretary of State, and L. K. Kung.20
After the usual exchange of friendly greetings between the President and Madame Chiang Kai-shek, Madame Chiang Kai-shek complimented the President on the results of the Stalin–Soong conversations21 and expressed thanks to the United States Government for the assistance which had been given to the Chinese in working out these agreements. The President stated that that was one of his principal objectives in going to Potsdam, that he felt very strongly that China should be supported in working out the arrangements which had been initiated by President Roosevelt.
Madame Chiang Kai-shek expressed her gratification that United States Forces were occupying the lower half of Korea and asked whether any further agreements had been made with regard to the future of Korea. The President said that nothing further had been done than the conversations which took place at Cairo, which, according to the President’s understanding, provided for a trusteeship for Korea in the near future with the United States, China, the Soviet Union, and Great Britain acting as trustees. Madame Chiang said that she did not recall that Great Britain had been included among the trustees. The President said that according to his recollection the four countries had been mentioned as trustees.
Madame Chiang then asked whether any decisions had been made with regard to the future of Indo China. The President replied that no decisions had been made with regard to Indo China, that in his discussions with General de Gaulle22 a few days ago he had received satisfactory response from the General when he gave us his opinion that Indo China should receive its independence and that steps should [Page 541]be taken immediately with a view to arriving at that state. Madame Chiang recalled that President Roosevelt had spoken of a trusteeship for Indo China, whereupon the President stated that there had been no discussion of a trusteeship for Indo China as far as he was concerned.
Madame Chiang asked about the future status of India. The President said that he had had no discussion with anyone on the matter of India, whereupon Madame Chiang recalled that Mr. Churchill “saw red” whenever the subject of India was brought up. The President laughed and said that Mr. Churchill was still “seeing red” on the subject. The President further said that he did not anticipate that there would be any great alteration in the Labor Government’s attitude and policy toward India, but he thought the new Government would very likely not be as stiff and rigid about it as the Churchill Government. The President said he had great hopes that a solution would be found for this problem as a result of close study and careful consideration.
Madame Chiang Kai-shek at this point recalled conversations she had had with President Roosevelt on the general problem of reconstruction of China, and asked whether the President had knowledge of Mr. Roosevelt’s intentions along those lines. The President said he was very familiar with the problem, that President Roosevelt had talked to him about it many times, and that the President said that he himself felt strongly that solutions for this problem could be arrived at which would satisfactorily advance the interest of China and of Asia. Madame Chiang asked whether he had any specific ideas on the subject, whereupon the President said that he had not been able to get any further on the matter in view of the very many pressing problems he had, but he felt that a study would be given immediately to the question, and he had no doubt that a proper basis would be found for dealing with the problem and getting on with the work of reconstruction. Madame Chiang said that this whole field of reconstruction should interest the United States and Americans generally, as, to her mind, the essence of difficulty in China was to improve the masses on a consumer level, at the same time providing for some facilities for production within the country.
Madame Chiang presented to the President a very fine photographical portrait of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek and read to the President the inscription, which was “To a great President and a great friend.” The President was most appreciative of this gift and told Madame Chiang Kai-shek immediately that he would take steps to have his photograph in return prepared for her to carry to the Generalissimo.
Madame Chiang asked whether there was any special message President Truman wished to send to her husband as she was leaving that [Page 542]afternoon for China. The President said there was one message he would ask her good office in conveyance to the Generalissimo, and that was that he hoped they could both meet to sit down and talk many of these problems over together across the table. Madame Chiang replied that was exactly the message her husband had given her for President Truman and she sincerely hoped that such would soon be possible.