Marshall Mission Files, Lot 54–D270: Telegram

Mr. Walter S. Robertson to General Marshall

48. Reurad 86. At joint press conference Jan. 18, both General Cheng and General Yeh, in reply to questions, stated that Manchuria was not included within scope of operations of Executive Headquarters. Later on in the conference, in reply to a question about sending a team to Yingkou, I made the same statement. Unfortunately all three of us had received the same impression from our conversations in Chungking. After the press conference, Byroade questioned our replies, stating that he understood that Executive Headquarters did have jurisdiction over Manchuria.

There are two reasons which would have kept me from doubting the accuracy of our understanding had not the question arisen. First, our teams are sent into areas of conflict not only to deliver cease fire orders, but to halt troop movements, order evacuation to positions occupied at midnight on Jan. 13, and, if fighting continues after receipt of cease fire orders, to investigate and report which side is guilty of violation. With the exception of delivering cease fire orders, such activities do not seem appropriate for the Manchurian situation. Under the agreement reached in Chungking between the two factions and in the text of the cease fire order, itself, the movement of National Government troops in Manchuria to restore sovereignty, is specifically authorized. Therefore it would seem that, if such troop movements are opposed by Communist troops, the Communists ipso facto become the violators of the truce agreement, posing a problem for consideration and action Chungking. The second is the presence of Russian troops in Manchuria and the agreement between the Russian and Chinese Governments providing for the transfer of authority to Chinese National troops. Under such circumstances it seems our plans easily could become involved in embarrassing situations.

I regret my misunderstanding but the situation is one which should also be clarified for the benefit of the other two commissioners by their respective principals.