Memorandum by the Acting Secretary of State to President Truman

There is returned herewith joint letter to you from the Secretaries of War and Navy, dated January 14, 1946, together with draft memorandum [Page 726] to the Secretaries of War and Navy which was attached thereto and which recommended extension of the authority of the War and Navy Departments to furnish lend-lease aid to China to include transfers of arms and ammunition and transfers during the period between March 2, 1946, and June 30, 1946.

I have revised the proposed directive to the Secretaries of War and Navy, in accordance with our conversation, and attach a suggested draft of directive which I recommend that you sign and despatch.

My suggested revision grants the additional authority requested by the Secretaries of War and Navy but contains two major changes in their suggested draft. In my revision it is provided that the programs, in implementation of which lend-lease transfers may be made, shall be those falling within established policy as interpreted by the Department of State rather than those endorsed by General Marshall as was suggested by the Secretaries of War and Navy. I have also added to the War and Navy draft a request that the War and Navy Departments promptly furnish to the Department of State information on which to base a policy decision with respect to the terms which shall govern additional transfers under the Lend-Lease Act to China.

While General Marshall’s endorsement of lend-lease programs should be secured, I believe it inappropriate to measure lend-lease transfers to China solely on this basis. Such a provision not only might be interpreted to cast upon him an excessive responsibility to review in some detail programs of lend-lease assistance but it also charges him with what is properly a function of the Government to be exercised in the light of his recommendations.

The administrative necessity of continuing military lend-lease transfers to China after March 2, 1946, is recognized. It is apparent, however, that these transfers may be very substantial. Information now at hand indicates that transfers since V–J Day7 are already in the neighborhood of $500 million. In the light of your public announcement with respect to the termination of lend-lease, it seems essential that the War and Navy Departments should promptly provide the necessary information to evaluate the Chinese lend-lease picture and to permit the Department of State, with your approval and consistent with the progress of General Marshall’s mission, to institute negotiations to determine the terms under which such assistance is to be provided.

My suggested revision also recognizes the possibility that there may be certain assistance required after June 30, 1946. Such assistance can be provided only until June 30, 1949 and then only under [Page 727] arrangements completed prior to June 30, 1946 (Section 3 (c) of the Lend-Lease Act). In the revised draft any such extension of assistance requires the approval of the Secretary of State.

Dean Acheson

Revised Draft of Memorandum From President Truman to the Secretaries of War and Navy 8

I have considered your joint letter of January 14, 1946, in which you advise that under my memorandum of September 5, 1945, to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, you are unable to carry out existing directives with respect to this Government’s policy regarding military assistance to China.

It is essential, particularly in the light of General Marshall’s special mission, that there be no serious interruption in carrying out our policy with respect to China. You, therefore, are authorized, until further advised, to continue to furnish to China, under the Lend-Lease Act, such services and such quantities of arms, ammunition, and other War and Navy Department procured materials as may be required to implement general plans approved by the Department of State within established United States policy as interpreted by that Department. 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 June 30, 1946, except as the Secretary of State may subsequently find it necessary to modify this restriction.

In order that prompt determination may be made as to the period during which this additional authority should continue and the terms and conditions, which shall govern the extension of this aid, I desire that you furnish to the Secretary of State as promptly as possible, and not later than thirty days hence, the following information with respect to all programs of assistance to the Chinese which may be undertaken or continued by your Departments under existing established policy: (a) the known or estimated value of assistance which will have been provided to the Chinese during the period between V–J Day and March 2, 1946, (b) the known or estimated value of assistance which will have been provided to the Chinese during the period between March 2, 1946 and June 30, 1946, and (c) the known [Page 728] or estimated value of any assistance which might be required to be furnished after June 30, 1946 and the length of time during which it is estimated that such assistance would be required.

The information to be provided to the Secretary of State should specify your plans, with estimated cost, for the movement and logistical support of Chinese armies for the occupation of Manchuria; assistance to the Chinese which might be required in the occupation of north China; the disarmament and repatriation of Japanese forces, and any similar short term programs for Chinese assistance contemplated by your Departments in implementation of presently established policy. You should also include a statement of the status of, authority for and financial arrangements regarding programs of a more long term nature such as the equipping and training of thirty-nine Chinese divisions and military training of Chinese in the United States.

  1. September 2, 1945, official date Japanese surrender.
  2. Approved by President Truman on January 19 without change. Transmitted with exception of first paragraph by the Acting Secretary of State to the Embassy in China in telegram No. 136, January 22, 8 p.m.; transmitted in full by the War Department to the Commanding General, U. S. Forces, China Theater, in telegram No. 94506, January 24.