Memorandum by Lieutenant General John E. Hull, War Department General Staff, to General Marshall

Mr. Byrnes’ Proposed Draft 17 of U. S. Policy Towards China

General Marshall:

The paragraph inserted by the State Department on the bottom of Page 318 should be deleted in its entirety for reasons which include the following:
If the State Department objectives include Chinese unity, it should be realized that:
There is grave doubt that the situation in Manchuria will await the outcome of Chinese internal negotiations.
It appears certain more Chinese forces are needed to be transported in the near future in order to take over all of Manchuria.
The ability of the U. S. to assist in transporting troops diminishes as time passes and hence, it is to the advantage of the Communists to delay cessation of hostilities and also delay “provisional agreement” in any conference.
Some movement of Chinese forces appears necessary in connection with the repatriation of Japanese.
If any aid in the form of repatriation of Japanese and transportation of Chinese is to be given, then operational arrangements must go forward now. The paragraph, as written, places the onus on the military rather than on the State Department to determine when the introduction of National Government troops “would prejudice the objectives of a military truce and the political negotiations”.
The objectionable paragraph puts a basic contradiction in the policy which stands out clearly when the sentence promising transportation to the Chinese troops (immediately preceding the paragraph) is read in conjunction with the paragraph. The solution would appear to be to initiate steps consistent with the policy in the remainder of the paper to transport armies and repatriate Japs and then control the application of this aid in such a way as to act as a lever on both the Generalissimo and the Communist leaders. If the State Department desires to retain the paragraph, then the policy should receive major revision throughout to state with honesty that the U. S. is attempting a “wait and see” program and also to recognize that U. S. ability to assist in repatriation of Japanese and securing of liberated areas for China will certainly diminish while the “waiting” is going forward.
An editorial change which you suggested in the middle of Page 3 is marked thereon.
In the second line of Page 5, the word “concurrently”19 should be retained in the sentence. With the deletion of the word, the State Department is, in effect, blessing the existence of autonomous armies in China probably for some years, since the development of a “broadly representative government” in a country which has never had an election is going to take time. It may, in fact, be necessary to achieve the elimination of the autonomous armies before a “broadly representative government” can be brought into existence.
The remaining changes in the paper can be accepted although several of them weaken the policy.
It seems essential that before you leave for China, a firm and unequivocal policy be published. Otherwise, you, the JCS20 and the War and Navy Departments may continue to be hamstrung by the vague, indecisive, delaying tactics which have characterized U. S. policy toward China since Japanese capitulation.
J[ohn] E. H[ull]
  1. Supra.
  2. See paragraph beginning: “To facilitate arrangement”, p. 756.
  3. Overlined preceding sentence beginning: “With the institution of” on p. 756.
  4. Joint Chiefs of Staff.