The Secretary of War (Patterson) to the Secretary of State

Dear Mr. Secretary: At the present time, our program of military assistance to China is incompletely implemented, nor will implementation be complete by 30 June 1946, when present authority to transfer equipment and continue training under the Lend Lease Act will expire. Thereafter equipment can be transferred to the Chinese Government, and training provided, only through such agreements as may be executed at a governmental level prior to 30 June 1946, under the Lend Lease Act; or, for the matter of property transfer, through the machinery of the Surplus Property Act of 1944.21 Both of these alternatives appear to be inadequate. As you know, our present programs of military assistance are playing an important part in bringing about internal peace in China, in the repatriation of Japanese nationals from Chinese territories, and in the reorganization of Chinese Forces. Furthermore, no convenient legal method of sale or transfer of Government property will be available for any long term peace time army program in continued implementation of our China policy.

In a letter to you of 18 February 1946, in which our Lend Lease Program to China was outlined, it was pointed out that if the State Department desired to continue assistance to the Chinese Government subsequent to 30 June 1946 some sort of an agreement would have to be made with the Chinese Government. It appears that this problem could more satisfactorily be solved by the passage of legislation which would permit the transfer of equipment, and provision of services, without resort to any war time authority or measures now in effect.

If it is the desire of the State Department that the War Department should continue the implementation of its programs of military assistance to the Chinese Government, I strongly urge you to initiate the necessary legislation to render the implementation of these programs legal, irrespective of any war time measures or authorities.

Sincerely yours,

Robert P. Patterson
  1. Approved October 3, 1944; 58 Stat. 765.