711.93/12–745: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers in Japan ( MacArthur )

206. For Atcheson, Acting Political Adviser, and Service. Reference your 191 of December 6, 193 of December 7, 194 of December 7, and 196 of December 8. My statement on Hurley charges to Senate [Page 740] Foreign Relations Committee appears in State Department Radio Bulletin of December 7. You are free of course to make public in reply to those charges any statement you desire.

Byrnes

[Green H. Hackworth, Legal Adviser, submitted a memorandum on March 1, 1946, to the Secretary of State (120.1/12–745), of which the following are extracts:

Mr. Secretary: In your memorandum of December 7, 1945, you requested that I determine to the best of my ability whether there is any evidence—

(1)
that any of the officers named by General Hurley in his testimony before the Foreign Relations Committee, or any other employees of the Department, ever communicated to the Communist faction in China any information concerning Allied military plans for landings or operations in China;
(2)
that any of the officers named by General Hurley, or any others, advised the Communists in China that Ambassador Hurley’s efforts to prevent the collapse of the National Government did not represent the policy of the United States; or
(3)
that they openly or privately advised the Communist faction to decline unification of the Chinese Communist Army with the Nationalist Army unless the Chinese Communists were given control.

At the Hearings before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on December 5, 6, 7 ad 10, 1945, the following Foreign Service officers were named by General Hurley:

1.
George Atcheson,
2.
John Service,
3.
John Carter Vincent,
4.
John Davies,
5.
Fulton Freeman,
6.
Arthur Ringwalt, and
7.
John K. Emmerson.

We already had in our files communications from Messrs. Atcheson and Service regarding General Hurley’s charges.

Following the receipt of your memorandum of December 7, I contacted Messrs. Ringwalt and Freeman who were in the Department. I also sent communications to Messrs. Davies32 and Emmerson33 in Moscow and Tokyo, respectively, informing them of the charges and giving them an opportunity to submit such statements as they might desire to make concerning the complaint. We now have statements [Page 741] from each of these officers; also numerous reports submitted from time to time by them and by the Embassy in Chungking, regarding the general situation in China.

Each of the above-listed officers categorically denies the charges made by General Hurley. The statements of the respective Foreign Service officers are attached as Exhibits 1–7.34 In an effort to be fair to these men who did not have a “day in court” during the Hearings, the statements should be made a part of their records in the Department.

Comment on the respective cases follows.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Conclusions:

(1) As to the first of the questions stated at the outset of this memorandum, I find no evidence that any of the Foreign Service officers referred to by General Hurley or other employees of the Department ever communicated to the Communist faction in China any information concerning Allied military plans for landings or operations in China.

In his testimony before the Foreign Relations Committee, General Hurley stated that when the program was prepared for President Roosevelt to go to Yalta there was drafted a paper, dated January 29, 1945, on American policy in Asia, one paragraph of which provided that “if the military, in landing on the coast of China, found the Communists instead of the National Army, they would have the right to arm all forces in such a condition that would assist the American landing force.” He stated that “With that I was in agreement” and added:35

“… But imagine my consternation when I saw a general movement of Communist troops from a territory just described by Senator Austin,36 all moving toward a certain port in China. Then I read that some Naval officer had been arrested here, and the Communists not only knew the naval port but they knew the most secret plan of the United States, and I picked that up, not from our career men, but from the Communist armed party in China …”

The document referred to is apparently a memorandum of that date,37 prepared by Mr. Vincent as head of the Division of Chinese Affairs, under instructions from the Acting Secretary of State “for use in replying to inquiries from the Secretaries of War and Navy”. It was stated in the memorandum:

“We would like to see the rearmament, to such extent as may be practicable, of all Chinese forces willing to fight the Japanese, but [Page 742] the present unsatisfactory relations between the Chinese Government and the Chinese Communists makes it impolitic to undertake measures for the rearmament of the Chinese Communists even though it is generally conceded that they could effectively use quantities of small arms ammunition and demolition materials. However, if operations are undertaken along the China coast it is suggested that our military authorities should be prepared to arm any Chinese forces which they believe can be effectively employed against the Japanese, and that they should at an opportune time so advise the Chinese military authorities.”

There is also in the files a copy of a document labeled “Item 7”, undated and unsigned, headed “A paper communicated by the State Department to the Secretaries of War and Navy and by them to the Joint Chiefs of Staff about January 30, 1945”,38 which contains the identical paragraph just quoted. It will thus be seen that persons other than officers of the Department had access to this information.

The memorandum does not state precisely what General Hurley said, rather it states that it would be “impolitic to undertake measures for the rearmament of the Chinese Communists even though it is generally conceded that they could effectively use quantities of small arms ammunition and demolition materials”. It is added, however, and this is probably what General Hurley had in mind, that “if operations are undertaken along the China coast it is suggested that our military authorities should be prepared to arm any Chinese forces which they believe can be effectively employed against the Japanese, and that they should at an opportune time so advise the Chinese military authorities”.

Neither Mr. Bohlen,39 who was at Yalta, nor Mr. Vincent has any knowledge that the matter was discussed at Yalta; they agree that if it was discussed it was probably on a military level.

Each of the Foreign Service officers mentioned by General Hurley has denied that he communicated to the Communists information regarding landing plans, or that he knew what such plans were.

The plans, if there were any, presumably were known to the military authorities. They naturally would have been more directly concerned and hence more likely to be informed.

Moreover, the possibility of Allied landings on the coast of China was the subject of widespread speculation. See for example the first numbered paragraph of Mr. Ringwalt’s statement of January 2, 1946, quoted above.40

[Page 743]

As early as August 1944 the Communist General, Chen Yi, informed Mr. Service of plans to retake former Communist bases in southeastern China, using for this purpose arms of defeated Kuomintang forces. (Despatch 3021 [3020], Sept. 29, 1944, from Chungking,41 file 740.0011 P. W./9–2944.) General Chu Teh, Commander of the Chinese Communist 18th Group Army, also discussed “American plans to land on the South China Coast” with Mr. Service on September 22, 1944. (Despatch 3093, October 25, 1944,42 file 893.00/10–2544.)

I do not find any reason for supposing that military plans were disclosed to the Communists by the Foreign Service officers in question.

(2) On the second of the questions stated on the first page above, namely, whether any of the officers named by General Hurley, or any others, advised the Communists in China that Ambassador Hurley’s efforts to prevent the collapse of the National Government did not represent the policy of the United States, I find no supporting evidence.

It is said to have been well known among the Communists, and even to Chiang Kai-shek himself, that the American military authorities were sympathetic to aiding other factions in China, as well as the Nationalists. This knowledge was extant even before General Hurley was made Ambassador. For example, in a telegram dated October 24, 194443 Ambassador Gauss in reporting on the forthcoming detail of Mr. Service to the War Department in Washington, explained that the Embassy had reason to believe that “some of our Army officers and perhaps Stilwell favor direct aid to Chinese Communist forces and that object in having Service proceed to Washington has to do with some such proposal”.

While the Foreign Service officers referred to by General Hurley advocated that the base of the Chinese Government should be broadened to include representative elements in China, none advocated, as charged by General Hurley, the collapse of the National Government. They deny that they ever advised the Communists that Ambassador Hurley’s efforts to prevent the collapse of the National Government did not represent the policy of the United States.

(3) The third charge is that the Communists were advised to decline unification with the Nationalist Army unless the Chinese Communists were given control.

[Page 744]

The officers in question deny that they ever made any such suggestion or that they ever entertained any such view. They felt that unification of the Chinese forces was desirable but none ever suggested, so far as is disclosed by the record, that the Communists should be given control.

A considerable mass of material relating to various phases of the Chinese political, economic and military situation has been examined. I have used only such parts of it as seemed to be pertinent to the particular charges here in question. I have found nothing that leads me to feel that the charges were warranted.]

  1. Second Secretary of Embassy in the Soviet Union.
  2. Of the Office of the U. S Political Adviser to the Supreme Commander, Allied Forces, Japan.
  3. None printed.
  4. Omissions indicated in the original memorandum.
  5. Senator from Vermont.
  6. Ante, p. 37.
  7. See footnote 52, p. 37.
  8. Charles E. Bohlen, Assistant to the Secretary of State.
  9. Not printed.
  10. Not printed, but see Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. vi, p. 527, footnote 44.
  11. Not printed, but see Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. vi, p. 588, footnote 90.
  12. Telegram No. 1722, October 24, 1944, 8 a.m., from the Ambassador in China; Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. vi, p. 657.