Marshall Mission Files, Lot 54–D270: Telegram

The Commanding General, United States Forces, China Theater (Wedemeyer) to the Chief of Staff, United States Army (Eisenhower)

CFB 16348. For Marshall. Replying to the numbered paragraphs inWar 85670.13

[Here follow comments on personnel.]

3. The date that the Seat of Government will be moved from Chungking to Nanking is undecided. All of the Embassies including our own are making tentative arrangements to move late in December hoping that the Generalissimo will decide to move at that time. I queried the Generalissimo however, and he replied that the Government would probably move early next Spring and that certain members of the Government may move prior to that time. I have been unable to get firmer information.

[Page 752]

4. I visited the Generalissimo in Chungking on the day that your selection as Special Ambassador for the President and Ambassador Hurley’s resignation were announced.14 He was highly gratified that you had been selected and was keenly interested in the date of your arrival. The Generalissimo was very fond of Ambassador Hurley and expressed regret that he was not returning. He strongly indorsed Ambassador Hurley’s statement, made at time of resignation, and added that it would be very helpful to both America and China. My relationship the past 14 months with the Generalissimo has been pleasant but primarily of an official nature, whereas Ambassador Hurley was very intimate with him. I know that they discussed freely American, British, French and Russian policies in a critical vein. Naturally this created an intimate understanding and a mutually sympathetic disposition toward each other.

5. The Madame was present when the Generalissimo discussed Hurley’s resignation and your selection. She was acting as interpreter and made no individual observations except to express her personal regret that Ambassador Hurley would not return. There can be no doubt about the popularity of Ambassador Hurley with the Generalissimo, the Madame, and the small coterie comprising the palace guard. Throughout China the newspapers enthusiastically acclaimed your appointment. Many Chinese businessmen as well as officials of various Governments expressed strong satisfaction and confidence that a workable solution will be evolved. I will amplify my remarks concerning the Madame in general upon your arrival.

6. The Marines are at present operating in defensive role in North China and occupying the following principal ports and points—Tsingtao, Tientsin, Peking and Chinwangtao. In addition small detachments of Marines are stationed along the railroad between Tangku and Chinwangtao protecting important installations such as large bridges and coal mines at Tangshan. The Chinese Thirteenth and Fifty-Second Armies with the Thirteenth as a spearhead have advanced north from Chinwangtao into southern Manchuria and have occupied Hulutao and Chiu-Hsien. The Chinese Ninety-Fourth Army which was airlifted by U.S. planes to Peking is disposed at present as follows:

One division at Peking.

One division stationed at Tangshan to assist in guarding the Tientsin-Chinwangtao LOC.15

Another division is taking part in offensive action against Chinese Communists or dissident groups in the area of Tangshan and on both sides of the railroad.

[Page 753]

At present there are 10,000 Japanese troops supplementing Marines and Chinese in guarding the Tangku–Chinwangtao railroad at strategic points.

The Ninety-Second Army which was also airlifted by U.S. planes to Peking has been held in readiness in the Peking area for anticipated airlift into Manchuria. However I have recently been informed by a Chinese Staff Officer that the Generalissimo plans to employ the Ninety-Second Army to guard the LOG from Peking to Tangku both points inclusive and to employ the Ninety-Fourth Army along the LOC from Chinwangtao to Tientsin and Tangku inclusive. The Eighth Army which was moved to Tsingtao by U.S. vessels is scheduled to move on Tsinan, ostensibly to repatriate Japanese there; however this Army is meeting with strong Chinese Communist resistance. The railroad between Tsingtao and Tsinan is held at present by Japanese Armed Forces. As indicated above, your suggested policy of confining the Marines to a defensive role in holding principal ports and points conforms to our present policy of deploying Marines in North China and would not free Alpha Divisions.

Actually the Chinese Central Government has not left divisions at ports and such points because of uncertainty of removal of Marines. On the contrary, the Chinese have apparently assumed that the Marines will remain in North China indefinitely and have made their dispositions accordingly. There are no Chinese troops in Chinwangtao, Tangku or Tsingtao. Those at Peking and Tientsin are scheduled for employment elsewhere. The present Marine dispositions are substantially in compliance with your suggestion however; Japanese are not being evacuated according to plan for following reasons:

The Chinese Central Government desires to retain Japanese troops as guards on lines of communications and to hold key areas until Central Government troops do assume those roles. To accomplish this the Generalissimo has urgently requested U. S. shipping to move 5 additional armies to the North China [area?].
The Chinese Communists expect to retain Japanese troops in the area in order to obtain their equipment and hope to accomplish this by either attacking them outright now, destroying and intercepting avenues of evacuation, or inducing them to desert.

7. As indicated above, no appreciable number of Japanese troops now holding north and south road communications would be relieved by Chinese troops released from port areas. Under the present political situation in North China the Jap troops cannot be relieved unless additional Chinese Central Gov’t troops are brought into the area by U. S. resources and further supported logistically by the U. S. There are two possible ways of evacuating Japanese from North China as follows: [Page 754]

Employ unlimited U. S. resources in support of the Central Gov’t, accepting possible involvement in fratricidal war, and thus insure removal of Japanese by superior strength.
Withdraw support and evacuate the Japanese with such U. S. forces and resources as may be required and without regard to Chinese Central Gov’t or Chinese Communists’ interests.

If our policy is to unify and stabilize China politically and economically by assistance to the Central Gov’t, the support visualized in Subpara a above should be adopted. If our primary concern is the evacuation of the Japanese, we should pursue the course mentioned in Subpara b.

8. The rail line Tientsin to Chinwangtao must be made secure if the Marines are to remain in North China, if Japanese are to be evacuated effectively and if coal is to be supplied to cities and industries. Tangku, the chief port of the area, freezes in December and the port of Chinwangtao may be required as alternate port.

If we retain the Marines or any other American forces in China a definite publicly announced policy enunciating their mission would be very helpful and might reasonably be expected to clarify our objective in China not only to the Chinese but also to other interested nationals. The announcement could approximately include the statement that principal road and rail lines as well as ports would be maintained and that American forces would not be scattered in the interior or employed on offensive missions. Also the announcement could properly include the fact that the Americans have no offensive intentions anywhere in China against any dissident group but would brook no interference in the role of evacuating Japanese and further that necessary military action would be taken to protect American lives and property in the process.

[Here follow comments regarding accommodations, etc.]

  1. Not found in Department files.
  2. For documentation regarding the resignation of Ambassador Hurley, see pp. 722 ff.
  3. Line of communications.