Memorandum by the Director of the Office of Far Eastern Affairs ( Vincent ) to the Secretary of State

Mr. Secretary: There is attached a draft of a memorandum for the War Department.21 I believe that by quoting the first three paragraphs of your statement before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee22 we point up in the best way possible General Marshall’s mission to China.

As you stated yesterday, the question arises as to what we shall do in the event General Marshall is unable to bring about a conference by Chinese leaders and a cessation of hostilities. My own suggestion is that:

If the failure to achieve these ends is clearly due to the refusal of the Communists to cooperate we should proceed to assist the Chinese in transporting troops to north China. This will not be a satisfactory solution because it will not prevent civil war. It will simply enable Chiang to do what the Japanese have done for the last 8 years, that is, control the main urban centers and the lines of communication. With 300,000 troops, the Japanese were unable to eliminate the indigenous so-called Chinese Communist troops and guerrillas from north China.
If the failure to achieve these ends is due to the stubbornness of Chiang Kai-shek, it is suggested that we proceed as rapidly as possible with the evacuation of Japanese troops from north China. This course of action will necessitate arrangements with the Chinese Communist troops. It will result in Chinese Communist troops occupying lines of communication from which the Japanese are withdrawn. I understand that Under Secretary Gates of the Navy and Captain Dennison, who recently discussed the matter in Peiping with our Marine Commander, believe that it is feasible to undertake an operation of this kind.

  1. Infra.
  2. December 7, 1945, Department of State Bulletin, December 9, 1945, p. 930.