Moscow Embassy Files, Lot F–96

Statement Circulated by the Secretary of State Among the Three Foreign Ministers

President Truman has announced and I have stated to the press on a number of occasions that American Marines are in North China for the purpose of assisting the Chinese Government in the demobilization and deportation of Japanese troops in North China in accordance with the Terms of Surrender. We have assumed a responsibility in this respect which we feel obliged to discharge in the interest of international peace as well as of internal stability in China. One of the causes that brought us into war against Japan was our refusal to accept the position of Japan in China—our refusal to compromise the principle of the territorial and administrative integrity of China.

Our Marines will be withdrawn when they are no longer required for the purpose stated. We hope that will be soon. There are something over 50,000 of them in North China now. This represents a small reduction from the original number. There are in North China some 325,000 Japanese troops. Over half of these have been disarmed but their deportation from China has been slow due to a shortage of shipping. We are making plans for a considerable increase in shipping facilities which will make possible a much more rapid deportation of Japanese—civilians as well as troops—from China.

The President has recently sent General Marshall to China as his special representative.15 We recognize that internal conditions in North China, arising out of differences between the Chinese Government and dissident political factions in China, constitute a serious impediment to carrying out the Terms of Surrender and in particular to the demobilization and deportation of Japanese. In view of this situation we are very anxious that the differences which exist between the National Government and the dissident political factions be settled by methods of peaceful negotiation having as its objective the [Page 840] broadening of the base of the present National Government of China to provide fair and effective representation to the principal political elements in China. The primary objective of President Truman in sending General Marshall to China is that he exert his influence to bring about discussion and agreement among the various political elements and, concurrently, to arrange for a truce between the opposing Chinese military forces in North China. The arrangement of such a truce would facilitate and speed the demobilization and deportation of Japanese troops from China and hasten the day—which we sincerely hope will be soon—when the American Marines will be returned to the United States from China.

  1. See pp. 745 ff.