The Acting Secretary of War (Royall) and the Secretary of the Navy (Forrestal) to President Truman 1

Dear Mr. President: Under date of 9 December 1945,2 the Secretary of State requested the War Department to issue directives to General Wedemeyer3 to assist the Chinese National Government in transporting Chinese troops to Manchurian ports, including the logistical support of such troops, and to effectuate the stepped-up arrangements for the evacuation of Japanese troops from the Chinese Theater.

Pursuant to this request the War Department has given instructions that specific items requested by General Wedemeyer be delivered to him at Shanghai without delay. Other similar requests on the War and Navy Departments from the theater commander may be expected during the next five or six months.

The War Department has informed the Secretary of State of these facts and has requested his desires as to whether the actual transfer of these items to the Chinese should be effected under military lendlease procedure or by surplus disposal or intergovernmental agreement arranged by the Department of State.

The only method by which the War and Navy Departments are currently authorized to effect transfer of items to the Chinese is by military lend-lease under the Presidential memorandum to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, dated 5 September 1945.4 If serious delays due to administrative considerations are to be avoided, procedure under lend-lease remains the only practical and expeditious manner in which we can carry out the Presidential directive with respect to [Page 725] China pending completion of ultimate arrangements by the Secretary of State.

The Presidential memorandum of 5 September 1945 to the Joint Chiefs of Staff is deemed inadequate to provide General Wedemeyer’s requirements for arms and ammunition and for deliveries of all types of materials and services beyond 2 March 1946. The currently stated requirements can not be satisfied by 2 March 1946.

It is, therefore, recommended that you delegate to the Secretaries of War and Navy additional authority to make lend-lease transfers of all necessary types of items and services in support of General Wedemeyer’s mission with a terminal date stated as 30 June 1946 to accord with the provisions of the Lend-Lease Act.5 A suggested draft of such an authorization to the Secretaries of War and Navy is attached, and for ready reference, a copy of your previous memorandum to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Respectfully yours,

Kenneth C. Royall
James Forrestal

Draft of Memorandum From President Truman to the Secretaries of War and Navy

You may interpret my memorandum of 5 September 1945 to the Joint Chiefs of Staff as authorizing you to furnish to China in implementation of U. S. policy, and as Lend-Lease aid, such services and such quantities of arms, ammunition and other War and Navy Department procured materials as may be required by programs indorsed by General Marshall.6 Your action under this authority will be limited to services which can be performed, and to materials which can be delivered to the custody of appropriate Chinese authorities by 30 June 1946.

A copy of this memorandum is being furnished the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

  1. Copy transmitted to the Secretary of State by William D. Hassett, secretary to President Truman, with his memorandum of January 17, not printed.
  2. Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. vii, p. 760.
  3. Lt. Gen. Albert C. Wedemeyer, Commanding General, U.S. Forces, China Theater.
  4. See circular telegram of September 13, 1945, 5 p.m., Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. vii, p. 558.
  5. Approved March 11, 1941; 55 Stat. 31.
  6. General of the Army George C. Marshall, Special Representative of President Truman in China.