Marshall Mission Files, Lot 54–D270

President Truman to General Marshall 38

U. S. Policy Towards China

The Government of the U. S. holds that peace and prosperity of the world in this new and unexplored era ahead depend upon the ability of the sovereign nations to combine for collective security in the United Nations organization.

It is the firm belief of this Government that a strong, united and democratic China is of the utmost importance to the success of this United Nations organization and for world peace. A China, disorganized [Page 771] and divided either by foreign aggression, such as that undertaken by the Japanese, or by violent internal strife is an undermining influence to world stability and peace, now and in the future. The U. S. Government has long subscribed to the principle that the management of internal affairs is the responsibility of the peoples of the sovereign nations. Events of this century, however, would indicate that a breach of peace anywhere in the world threatens the peace of the entire world. It is thus in the most vital interest of the U. S. and all the United Nations that the people of China overlook no opportunity to adjust their internal differences promptly by methods of peaceful negotiation.

The Government of the U. S. believes it essential:

That a cessation of hostilities be arranged between the armies of the National Government and the Chinese Communists and other dissident Chinese armed forces for the purpose of completing the return of all China to effective Chinese control, including the immediate evacuation of the Japanese forces. The U. S. is prepared, if so requested by the National Government of China, to assist in arranging for necessary pledges and to request the Governments of the U. K. and the U. S. S. R. to join in this effort.
That a national conference of representatives of major political elements be arranged to develop an early solution to the present internal strife which will bring about the unification of China.

The U. S. and the other United Nations have recognized the present National Government of the Republic of China as the only legal government in China. It is the proper instrument to achieve the objective of a unified China.

The U. S. and the U. K. by the Cairo Declaration in 1043 and the U. S. S. R. by adhering to the Potsdam Declaration of last July and by the Sino-Soviet Treaty and Agreements of August 1945, are all committed to the liberation of China, including the return of Manchuria to Chinese control. These agreements were made with the National Government of the Republic of China.

In continuation of the constant and close collaboration with the National Government of the Republic of China in the prosecution of this war, in consonance with the Potsdam Declaration, and to remove possibility of Japanese influence remaining in China, the U. S. has assumed a definite obligation in the disarmament and evacuation of the Japanese troops. Accordingly the U. S. has been assisting and will continue to assist the National Government of the Republic of China in effecting the disarmament and evacuation of Japanese troops in the liberated areas. The U. S. Marines are in north China for that purpose. For the same reason the U. S. will continue to furnish military supplies and to assist the Chinese National Government in [Page 772] the further transportation of Chinese troops so that it can re-establish control over the liberated areas of China, including Manchuria.

To facilitate arrangement for cessation of hostilities and pending provisional agreement in the proposed national conference, National Government troops will not be transported by the U. S. into areas, such as north China, when their introduction would prejudice the objectives of the military truce and the political negotiations.

The U. S. recognizes and will continue to recognize the National Government of China and cooperate with it in international affairs and specifically in eliminating Japanese influence in China. The U. S. is convinced that a prompt arrangement for a cessation of hostilities is essential to the effective achievement of this end. Incidental effects of U. S. assistance upon any dissident Chinese elements will be avoided in so far as possible. Beyond these incidental effects, U. S. support will not extend to U. S. military intervention to influence the course of any Chinese internal strife.

The U.S. is cognizant that the present National Government of China is a “one-party government” and believes that peace, unity and democratic reform in China will be furthered if the basis of this Government is broadened to include other political elements in the country. Hence, the U.S. strongly advocated that the national conference of representatives of major political elements in the country agree upon arrangements which would give those elements a fair and effective representation in the Chinese National Government. It is recognized that this would require modification of the one-party “political tutelage” established as an interim arrangement in the progress of the nation towards democracy by the father of the Chinese Republic, Doctor Sun Yat-sen.

The existence of autonomous armies such as that of the Communist army is inconsistent with, and actually makes impossible, political unity in China. With the institution of a broadly representative government, autonomous armies should be eliminated as such and all armed forces in China integrated effectively into the Chinese National Army.

In line with its often expressed views regarding self-determination, the U.S. Government considers that the detailed steps necessary to the achievement of political unity in China must be worked out by the Chinese themselves and that intervention by any foreign government in these matters would be inappropriate. The U.S. Government feels, however, that China has a clear responsibility to the other United Nations to eliminate armed conflict within its territory as constituting a threat to world stability and peace—a responsibility which is shared by the National Government and all Chinese political and military groups. It is to assist the Chinese in the discharge of this responsibility that the U.S. Government is willing to participate and to request [Page 773] U.K. and U.S.S.R. participation in arranging the necessary pledges to assure the prompt cessation of such armed conflict.

As China moves towards peace and unity along the lines described above, the U.S. would be prepared to assist the National Government in every reasonable way to rehabilitate the country, improve the agrarian and industrial economy, and establish a military organization capable of discharging China’s national and international responsibilities for the maintenance of peace and order. Specifically, the U.S. would be prepared to grant a Chinese request for an American military advisory group in China, to dispatch such other advisors in the economic and financial fields as the Chinese Government might require and which this Government can supply, and to give favorable consideration to Chinese requests for credits and loans under reasonable conditions for projects which contribute towards the development of a healthy economy in China and healthy trade relations between China and the U.S.

It must be clearly recognized that the attainment of the objectives herein stated will call for an expenditure of resources by the U.S. and the maintenance for the time being of United States military and naval forces in China. These expenditures, however, will be minute in comparison to those which this nation has already been compelled to make in the restoration of the peace which was broken by German and Japanese aggression. They will be infinitesimal by comparison to a recurrence of global warfare in which the new and terrible weapons that now exist would certainly be employed. The purpose for which the United States made a tremendous sacrifice of treasure and life must not be jeopardized.

  1. Transmitted as an enclosure to President Truman’s letter of December 15; for latter, see Department of State, United States Relations With China, p. 605. For text of statement of policy, with omissions, made public by President Tru man, see ibid., p. 607, or Department of State Bulletin, December 16, 1945, p. 945.