Marshall Mission Files, Lot 54–D270: Telegram

Lieutenant General Albert C. Wedemeyer to General Marshall

22232. Reply to 13585 follows:

With reference to the Army Program, it is my conviction that China cannot properly support 60 active divisions. If the Generalissimo insists upon such above program he is ill-advised concerning his economy. The Chinese would be again dissipating their equipment and budgetary allowances over such a large number of divisions, both National Government and Communist, that a really effective force could not be created or maintained. Further, the economy of the country would be jeopardized. We had successfully convinced the Minister of War of this. After considerable study my staff evolved an army program that I deem sound. The Minister of War and the Vice Minister of War appear enthusiastic. As you know it envisaged the creation of a new army with an ultimate strength of 10 active U. S. type divisions, 40 inactive U. S. type divisions and the necessary army, corps and supporting troops. The plan also provides a national constabulary of 160 battalions for the preservation of law and order and for the projection of lines of communication in China.

[Page 208]

It has always been recognized that the present large Chinese army must be demobilized gradually. Analysis of your plan to reduce the army by the end of the first 12 months after agreement is reached, to approximately 90 National Government divisions and 15 to 20 Communist divisions, appears sound. Continued demobilization to a total of 60 divisions including 12 Communist divisions with the goal of reaching the total of 60 divisions in approximately 2 years after agreement also provides a program of reduction that I feel could be agreed to. Thereafter, these 60 remaining divisions of the old army should be demobilized progressively as divisions of the new army complete their training until ultimately all 60 old divisions have been demobilized.

In connection with the equipment from the U. S. the plan for the new army envisages complete U. S. equipment for the 10 active divisions, while the Chinese would manufacture the bulk of the equipment for the inactive divisions. The U. S. might provide that which the Chinese cannot produce. In this connection, however, I have felt that it would be inadvisable for the Chinese to stockpile for future use huge stocks of equipment which may be obsolete before the need arises for its use. This would be a wasteful expenditure which the Chinese cannot afford. Any future emergency which will require the immediate use of more than the 10 active divisions would be foreseen in sufficient time to produce or procure the latest equipment at a rate commensurate with the mobilization program.

Concerning the equipment for the present interim army, I believe equipment should be made available to the Chinese either under lend-lease or by sales of surplus stocks now in the Pacific through the Foreign Liquidation Commission. In this way certain stocks of U. S. arms, ammunition, and equipment could be made available by minimum cost to them. This will serve U. S. national interest, by putting U. S. arms and equipment in the hands of Chinese forces friendly to us, and at the same time liquidate the large stocks of surplus equipment now lying idle in the Pacific. It should be recognized that this is distinct from CAP,86 and is in addition to it.

The Generalissimo has indicated repeatedly that he desires to use U. S. equipment throughout his armed forces. China’s economy cannot support an immediate rearmament program of such magnitude. However, the program should be approved, and its implementation tied to China’s economic rehabilitation. There have been indications from U. S. high level sources that Japanese equipment should be scrapped. I agree that the Japanese equipment should be scrapped, both for the peace of the world, and for simplified supply of the modernized [Page 209] Chinese army. However, the Chinese may not agree to destroy Japanese equipment.

I do not feel that we should differentiate one iota in allocating equipment to Chinese divisions, that is the Chinese Communists should be given the same equipment that the Chinese National Government divisions are given.

  1. Telegram of February 1, not printed.
  2. Thirty-nine Chinese divisions, known as Alpha units, sponsored by the United States.