Memorandum of Conversation, by the Acting Secretary of State
|Dr. T. V. Soong;|
|Acting Secretary, Mr. Acheson|
At eleven o’clock this morning, at the President’s request, I was present when he received Dr. T. V. Soong. The President stated that he had been giving very considerable thought to the communications from the Generalissimo relative to the furnishing of a military advisory group of American military, naval and air personnel and to the arming of additional Chinese divisions. The President stated further that he had asked the State, War and Navy Committees to study these matters and to make recommendations to him. They had done considerable work on this and were still doing so. He said that he could say categorically to Dr. Soong that personnel could and would be furnished to advise on these military matters. He said that a careful search of the records had been made and had not disclosed [Page 552]anything relative to the commitment to which the Generalissimo referred as having been made at the Cairo meeting.
Dr. Soong interrupted the President to ask whether he had consulted Mr. Harry Hopkins. The President said that he had talked with Mr. Hopkins and would talk with him again. The President added that, with the cessation of hostilities, his powers in certain respects had changed and that he had to consider the views of the Congress in this matter.
Dr. Soong asked the President when he expected a report from the State, War and Navy Departments, because Dr. Soong would defer his departure until he had an opportunity to talk with the President further about the matter. The President said that he expected that the matter would be expedited and that he would have a recommendation shortly. Dr. Soong spoke of the high regard which the Generalissimo had for General Wedemeyer and his hope that he might head such an advisory group. The President thought that this would be done. I suggested that the President might wish the Committee to give careful consideration to the question of whether it would be more desirable to release officers at the request of the Chinese Government for appointments to be made by the Chinese Government to the advisory mission to be responsible to the Chinese Government rather than to have this Government tender a mission organized and appointed by it to China. Both the President and Dr. Soong thought that this suggestion was worthy of careful exploration, the President stating that our people throughout would like to be helpful to China and avoid creating suspicions or difficulties elsewhere.
Dr. Soong thanked the President and, as he was leaving, stated that he was having a meeting with Mr. Crowley this afternoon at two o’clock on economic aid for China. He asked the President to speak to Mr. Crowley and express his sympathetic interest in the matter. The President said that he would try to do this.