893.20 Mission/9–245

Memorandum by the Secretary of State to President Truman

Re: Chinese Matters Arising Out of Conversations With T. V. Soong

1. Military Mission.

Chiang desires a military mission to be known as American Military Advisory Group to assist and advise the Chinese Government in the creation of modern military forces. The Generalissimo would like to arrange for the retention of the mission in China initially for a period of five years and would like to have General Wedemeyer appointed as its head. I recommend that as far as possible we endeavor [Page 548]to meet Chiang’s wishes because it is obviously to our advantage to have the Chinese look to us for military advice.

It is not possible, however, under existing legislation for us to send such a mission for a definite five year period. Under section 524 of Title 10 of the United States Code we can make such detail outside of the American continent only “during war or a declared national emergency.” As the war and the national emergency are not in a legal sense terminated, the mission could be sent out now. It should be possible to secure the necessary legislation for the continuance of the mission before the present war and national emergency are legally terminated.

2. Lend-Lease Military Equipment.

T. V. Soong inquires whether we are prepared to complete our commitment to equip 100 Chinese divisions? This commitment is said to have been made to Chiang by President Roosevelt at Cairo. The commitment apparently is not in writing. Mr. Hopkins affirms that some such commitment was made at Cairo when action in the Chinese theatre was agreed upon, and apparently after Teheran, Chiang, who was disturbed by the postponement at Teheran of the action planned for the Chinese theatre, was assured that the commitment would be kept. The form of the commitment apparently was vague and loose. While no one anticipated the Japanese war would end so quickly, it is hard to believe that the parties believed the commitment to be wholly independent of the Japanese war. Certainly both Roosevelt and Chiang must have been thinking of Chinese troops to fight the Japs. And it is difficult to treat our Chinese commitments different from other commitments under the Lend-Lease Act.28

So far as I can ascertain about 30 divisions have already been equipped under our commitment to Chiang. Soong speaks of 60 additional divisions to be equipped.

Under a proposed directive from you to the Joint Chiefs of Staff29 which either is now or shortly will be brought before you, military assistance would be continued for the present at the discretion of the Joint Chiefs for the purpose of supporting Chinese military operations essential to the reoccupation of the Chinese areas of occupation. Under such a directive a certain amount of equipment would be furnished to China.

But no other additional new equipment could be delivered unless credits for the Chinese could be arranged and this would present considerable difficulty.

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It should, however, be possible for us to make liberal arrangements through the Army and Navy Liquidation Commissioner30 for the delivery to the Chinese of equipment declared surplus in India and other areas in the Far East. Surrendered Japanese arms could also be available to the Chinese through the Army.

James F. Byrnes
  1. Approved March 11, 1941; 55 Stat. 31.
  2. See circular telegram of September 13, 5 p.m., to the Ambassador in China, p. 558.
  3. Maj. Gen. Donald H. Connolly, Foreign Liquidation Commissioner.