Nanking Embassy Files, Lot F–73: Telegram

The Ambassador in China ( Hurley ) to the Secretary of State 40

On his return from China, in the summer of 1944, Vice President Wallace41 advised President Roosevelt that, in his opinion, the National Government of the Republic of China would soon collapse. Subsequently, two United States Senators who had visited China (Brewster42 and Chandler43) predicted that nothing short of a miracle would prevent the collapse of the Government of China. These opinions were quite generally held by American and Chinese civil and military officials. It was with a full realization of this situation that [Page 556] President Roosevelt sent me to China as his personal representative.44 President Roosevelt’s directives to me were principally as follows: (1) prevent the collapse of the National Government of China; (2) keep the Chinese armies in the war; (3) harmonize the relations between the Chinese and American military establishments; (4) unify the anti-Japanese forces of China. All of these objectives, except number 4, were accomplished. We succeeded in eliminating some of the frictions between the armed partisians of China. There were a number of other directives. It may be broadly stated, however, that during the war the objectives of the American policy in China were military. Even economic directives had military objectives.

The United States had, however, diplomatic and economic long-range policies for China. The objectives of these were to support the aspirations of the Chinese people for the establishment of a free, united, democratic government in China, By direction of President Roosevelt I conferred with Prime Minister Churchill45 in London and Marshal Stalin46 in Moscow last April. All the problems, both military and civil, pertaining to China were discussed with Churchill and Stalin. It is sufficient to say here that both Great Britain and Russia publicly endorsed the American policy for the support of a free, united, democratic government in China.47

The fundamental issue in Asia today is between democracy and imperialism; between free enterprise and monopoly. The American delegation at San Francisco last May voted with Great Britain and France against China and Russia on the question of colonial independence. Then came the reversal of the Roosevelt Atlantic Charter48 policy on Indo-China and, perhaps, Hong Kong. All of these actions have probably been exaggerated but the fact remains that an opinion is steadily growing in Asia that America is supporting the imperialisms of Britain, France and the Netherlands as against democracy. It is being stated that the imperial nations favor sustaining Japan as the dominating regulatory force in Asia. On first hand information I am convinced that all of the imperial nations represented in China are supporting a policy intended to keep China divided against herself. President Roosevelt definitely stated when I last talked with [Page 557] him that the United States favored the sustaining of the Republic of China as a free, united, democratic government and as the strongest stabilizing factor in Asia. It was on this premise that I conducted my conferences with Churchill and Stalin and obtained their support for the American policy. All of this is in the record.

Perhaps the Government has decided not to continue what President Roosevelt outlined as the long-range policy of the United States in regard to China. Whether this is true or not there seems a definite trend in American policy toward the support of imperialism rather than democracy in Asia. I would like to have an opportunity to discuss the American-Asiatic policy with you, Sir, and the President.

General Wedemeyer is arranging to go to Washington. He is preparing to leave here approximately September 19th. He has invited me to ride with him. I respectfully request permission to go to Washington with General Wedemeyer.

  1. This telegram apparently not sent through Department of State channels and neither recorded nor filed in regular Department files.
  2. For documentation on the Wallace Mission, see Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. vi, pp. 216 ff.
  3. Owen Brewster, Republican, Maine.
  4. Albert B. Chandler, Democrat, Kentucky.
  5. For documentation on the Hurley Mission, see Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. vi, pp. 247 ff.
  6. Winston S. Churchill, British Prime Minister.
  7. Iosif Vissarionovich Stalin, Chairman of the Council of Commissars (Premier) of the Soviet Union.
  8. See telegram dated April 14 from the Ambassador in China (Hurley), apparently from Tehran, p. 329, and telegram No. 1212, April 17, 7 p.m., from the Chargé in the Soviet Union (Kennan), p. 338.
  9. Joint Declaration by President Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Churchill on August 14, 1941, Department of State Bulletin, August 16, 1941, p. 125, or 55 Stat. (pt. 2) 1603.