Memorandum by General of the Army George C. Marshall 5 to Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy, Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy
General Handy6 has just informed me that you told him you had been directed by the President to draft a statement of U. S. policy regarding China. For that reason I am sending you the attached paper.7
The other day the Secretary of State read to me (and to himself for the first time) a draft of a statement of such a policy. It did not appeal to me as sufficiently plain to be understood by the public, it appeared susceptible of serious misunderstanding, and was not sufficiently definite to form the sure base for a directive to Wedemeyer.8 Therefore I asked him to let me have the carbon to try my hand on it. The attached is the result.
I have some hesitancy in sending this to you since it came to me direct from Mr. Byrnes as an uncorrected draft, but under the circumstances, I have decided to send it to you confidentially.[Page 748]
The rewrite attached represents the combined efforts of General Handy, General Hull,9 General Craig,10 and myself, with some consultation with others. The endeavor was to couch the policy in such language that the public at home could really understand what we were talking about and what the implications were. Also, that it would both give the Generalissimo11 sufficiently definite data on which to calculate the troops available to him, having in mind that Marines would be in certain ports to guarantee their security, and so that it would at the same time be couched in such manner that we could hold him to action in other matters more purely political. Incidentally, it was felt that the statements should be of such a nature that the Chiefs of Staff could really use it as the basis of a new directive to General Wedemeyer, the previous instructions not being satisfactory for this purpose.
I am clear that we must not scatter Marines around China, but on the other hand, I feel we must hold them in certain ports to protect our beachheads. By such action the Generalissimo would be free to remove most of his troops from those ports, feeling secure in regard to them and having these released troops available for the extensive task of taking over rail communications in North China and releasing the Japanese troops now holding those lines.
I assume that the Communist group will block all progress in negotiations as far as they can, as the delay is to their advantage. The greater the delay the more they benefit by the growing confusion of the situation and the serious results which will follow from the non-evacuation of the Japanese military. Also the longer the delay the less probability of the Generalissimo’s being able to establish a decent semblance of control over Manchuria, with the consequent certainty that the Russians will definitely build up such a control.
I suppose we will find ourselves, in this matter, on the horns of a dilemma—on the one side, the reluctance of the Government or the State Department to make so plain and bold a statement; and on the other side, the necessity of saying what we mean so that the people at home and the people in China, and the Russians also, will clearly understand our intentions.
- On November 27 General Marshall was appointed by President Truman as his Special Representative in China with the personal rank of Ambassador; for announcement, see Department of State Bulletin, December 2, 1945, p. 883.↩
- Gen. Thomas T. Handy, Deputy Chief of Staff, U. S. Army.↩
- Infra. ↩
- Lt. Gen. Albert C. Wedemeyer, Commanding General, U. S. Forces in China Theater and Chief of Staff, China Theater.↩
- Lt. Gen. John E. Hull, Assistant Chief of Staff, Operations Division, War Department General Staff.↩
- Maj. Gen. Howard A. Craig, Operations Division, War Department General Staff.↩
- Chiang Kai-shek, President of the National Government of the Republic of China, Supreme Commander of the China Theater.↩
- For this Potsdam Declaration of July 26, 1945, and the adherence to it by the Soviet Union on August 8, see Foreign Relations, 1945, The Conference of Berlin (The Potsdam Conference), vol. ii, p. 1474, and footnote 1. See also Department of State Bulletin, July 29, 1945, p. 137.↩