Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Chinese Affairs (Vincent) to the Under Secretary of State (Acheson)
Drumright31 told me this morning of your conversation with him last evening regarding an American military mission to China.
You have probably seen Chungking’s 1505 (Top Secret and Eyes Alone for the President) in regard to this subject. I have not been informed of any work that Ben Cohen32 has been doing on this matter. In the Far East Committee of SWNCC33 there is now a paper in process of preparation in regard to military materials and aid to China for building up an army, and this paper will also go into the matter of an American military mission.[Page 551]
While I perceive no objection to American military personnel forming an “advisory group” (this is the terminology preferred by Chiang Kai-shek), I do think it would be ill-advised to have American Army officers on the active list forming the group or for it to have any official connection with our Government. Therefore, I believe that any officers making up the group should be placed on the reserve or inactive list of the Army, that they should receive their compensation from the Chinese Government, and that it should be clearly understood that the group is a Chinese organization having no official connection with this Government. I think also that we should discourage the formation of a large or extensive (in the sense of having an American personnel attached to individual Chinese Army units) group. In the past, American Army officers (Chennault34 and Jouett35) have given up their Army commissions when taking advisory positions with the Chinese Government. It is my understanding also that the German military mission which was in China prior to the war was also made up of German officers on the retired or inactive list.
I should like very much to talk with you about this matter as soon as you can find time.