740.00119 P. W./9–1345
Memorandum by the Acting Secretary of State to President Truman 52
Subject: Military Equipment and Advice for China.
The Secretary of War53 and Secretary of the Navy are in agreement with me that we should furnish assistance to China in the development of armed forces for the maintenance of internal peace and security, and the assumption of adequate control over the liberated areas of China, including Manchuria, and Formosa. We consider that, under suitable arrangements, the provision of such assistance is justified in furthering the interests of the United States. The arrangements for provision of such assistance should include payment, in one way or another, by the Chinese for supplies furnished and services rendered. Furthermore, in handling this matter, it is important to have in mind that it is not the intention of the United States to furnish military equipment to China for use in fratricidal war or for the support by force of undemocratic administration.
It will be necessary to obtain the advice of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to determine the exact amount of assistance which is justified, providing supplies and equipment are available and suitable arrangements [Page 560] are made between the United States and Chinese Governments. The present feeling is that China should not attempt to maintain a great peacetime army or air force but that a relatively small, well-trained and well-equipped army with adequate means of transportation and a small efficient air force would best meet her needs. The determination of the amount of assistance to the Chinese will have to take into account other important uses for surplus U. S. supplies and equipment, including the merits of disposing of some surplus supplies and equipment to the French and to South American countries, particularly in connection with acquisition of military base rights and implementation of the Act of Chapultepec.54 In this connection, the War and Navy Departments will not complete for several weeks the determination of supplies and equipment which are surplus to their needs. Another important point is the types of equipment and supplies which should be furnished the Chinese. Detailed studies may show that the best plan is to leave to the Chinese the provision of that military equipment which they are capable of producing and to confine U. S. contribution in great part to those items, particularly special and heavier equipment, for which production the Chinese cannot reasonably be expected to provide in the near future.
The Chinese Government may be assured at this time, if the President so desires, that, subject to suitable arrangements as to payment for provision of equipment, the 39-division program will be completed. After consulting General Wedemeyer further and when the problem has been considered by the various U. S. agencies concerned and we have completed our determination of availability of equipment, we will be in a position to determine what assistance beyond the 39-division program, if any, will be feasible. It is also practicable to assure the Chinese that, subject to suitable arrangements, certain naval craft, particularly those suitable for coastal and river operations, can be turned over to them. As for the Chinese air force, a plan has been presented by General Wedemeyer to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. General Wedemeyer has been asked for his views on the revisions in this plan made necessary by the end of hostilities. The Chinese can be assured that, subject to suitable arrangements, the United States will provide equipment and supplies for a Chinese air force of a size and composition to be determined on completion of a detailed plan.
On the matter of a U. S. advisory mission, it is understood that the President has already agreed in principle to such an establishment. The exact size, composition and functions of a mission will be dependent on its status and character and on the size and composition of the Chinese armed forces which the United States determines it is justified [Page 561] in supporting, and will also be dependent on detailed arrangements which can best be worked out by the Generalissimo with General Wedemeyer and Admiral Miles who will receive guidance from U. S. authorities in this matter. As to the status and character of the mission, it might be more desirable to relieve officers from active duty for appointment by the Chinese Government than for this Government to organize and appoint such a group.
A U. S. advisory mission composed of officers on active duty can only be established under the emergency powders of the President. Consequently legislation would be required to continue the mission after the expiration of these powers.
The Generalissimo has asked that General Wedemeyer head the mission. It is recommended that no commitment be made at this time and the President await recommendation on this matter from the Joint Chiefs of Staff. If the question is raised, the President can assure Dr. T. V. Soong that he will communicate further on the matter of the head of the mission at an early date.
The substance of a statement which can be made orally at this time to Dr. Soong is attached in case the President desires to use it. Dr. Soong has deferred his departure for Chungking pending reply on this matter. He is anxious to leave Washington this weekend.
- A note of September 17 from the Secretaries of the State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee, enclosing a copy of the memorandum and its annex, circulated for the information and guidance of the Committee, stated that the suggested oral statement to Dr. Soong had been agreed on by the Committee at their 24th meeting. (SWNCC 83/3.)↩
- Henry L. Stimson.↩
- Signed March 8, 1945, Department of State Treaties and Other International Acts Series 1543, or 60 Stat. (pt. 2) 1831.↩
- On September 14 President Truman made this oral statement to Dr. Soong.↩