Marshall Mission Files, Lot 54–D270: Telegram

Lieutenant General Albert C. Wedemeyer to the Chief of Staff (Eisenhower)

25154. 9868475 refers. General Marshall and I have conferred personally and he concurs in this message. In addition to that stated below he points out that any State Department objection that seems to be anticipated by the War Department is now nullified by the Secretary of State’s expressed desire to accomplish and publicize early the inactivation of the China Theater (see 9868576).

Although answers follow herein covering specific questions you have raised, first I desire to provide a résumé of the situation and operation as envisaged. It has always been my feeling shared by members of the Staff that the China Theater of Operations could be inactivated about midsummer. In fact I had set July 1 as a planning date. Recently in Chungking the President’s Special Envoy, General Marshall, suggested that an earlier inactivation of China Theater might make a strong contribution in the solution of the international problem presented by the presence of Russian troops in Manchuria. I agreed with General Marshall and told him that my Staff would initiate an immediate study to determine implications of closing China Theater by 1 May. This resulted in 2419477 sent for War Department’s approval and appropriate directions.

State Department’s concern over Advisory Group having other functions than advice to the Chinese military and assistance in training matters is known. This headquarters is and has always been opposed to the permanent assignment of additional functions to the MAG. Nevertheless, I feel that inasmuch as USMAG will be the senior American headquarters representing the JCS78 in China (although Seventh Fleet will be based in China waters), that it is not a breach of faith either with the Chinese Government or the American Government, more particularly the State Department if the advisory group is charged with overall supervisory duties of completing theater residual functions during the comparatively short interim period in question. However, as you will see from the brief outline below, the contemplated organization to perform the theater residual functions is so constructed that, if deemed advisable, the duties assigned to ComGenMAG,79 could be taken over by (a) Executive Headquarters [Page 851] at Peiping, (b) General MacArthur’s80 headquarters at Tokyo, or (c) Com Seventh Fleet.81

Briefly I propose a program as follows: after elimination of as many residual functions as possible, and assumption by the Navy of certain functions which by virtue of equipment and position they are best fitted to accept, I propose to reorganize my present Shanghai Port Command into a Shanghai Station Command which will take over to the largest extent practicable all operating functions remaining to United States Army Forces in this area. Transferred to the U. S. Military Advisory Group Headquarters will be overhead policies and administrative control matters, liaison with the Chinese Government, War Department, U. S. Navy and adjacent theaters. I contemplate leaving with U. S. MAG and Shanghai Station Command the necessary military personnel and civilians to permit them to carry out the added temporary responsibilities. This can be done and still effect a material saving with respect to the troop ceiling allocated to China Theater as of July 1. Likewise there will be a material reduction in the number of civilian employees required.

It should be noted particularly that I propose to make the minimum number of changes possible in the U. S. MAG organization by adding to it only those functions of a top control nature and creating under it an operational agency, the Shanghai Station Command, to relieve it of the immediate control of the added responsibilities until completion of those responsibilities permits MAG to confine itself entirely to normally assigned functions.

Specific answers to your 98684 are as follows:

Proposal does include abolition of Headquarters, China Theater and Headquarters, Army Air Forces, China Theater. At present there are no activities specifically to be taken over by MacArthur, although a possible exception might be prosecution of war criminals. Conferences are now in progress with representatives of Com Seventh Fleet to determine the specific activities to be accomplished by the Navy. In general terms they are:
Operational control of U. S. Marines in China.
Coordination with SCAP82 of Japanese repatriated from China ports to ports in Japan.
Operational control of water movement of Chinese Military forces as directed by Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Reference your sub-paragraph b, the organization provided in the Shanghai Station Command plus liaison through the Military Advisory Group should adequately provide the necessary coordination required.

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Reference your sub-paragraph c, with the inactivation of the theater, liaison will be maintained for the period needed. Operational planning and other logistical assistance will be furnished to the Chinese through the Shanghai Station Command reorganized to complete this mission. All logistical assistance to the Chinese Army will cease 1 May 1946 except for delivery of supplies previously ordered. Delivery of these supplies will be made at North China or Manchurian ports. Operational logistical support to the Chinese Air Force will be gradually reduced to complete termination on 30 June 1946. The Shanghai Station Command will be staffed with sufficient qualified and experienced personnel to carry forward such residual activities of an operational nature as required.

Reference your sub-paragraph d, as stated by General Marshall in his 23183 he is hopeful that he may be justified in proposing the start of the withdrawal of Marines except transport, air, housekeeping and small guard details at an early date, possibly April 1. If this is approved only housekeeping or residual functions coincident with closing out of all operations of the Marines will remain on 1 May or shortly thereafter. Admiral Cooke84 advises that shipping, disposal of surplus property, and other factors will prevent withdrawal of all Marines by 1 May 1946. Those remaining in China on that date will be returned to CinCinPac85 for command and operational control.

Reference your sub-paragraph e, ground logistical assistance will be completed 1 May (except for delivery of supplies previously ordered) and Air Force logistical assistance will be completed 30 June in China Theater. Major residual responsibilities existing after 1 May which will require liaison with the Generalissimo86 are (1) advice and assistance to the Chinese Government in repatriation of Japanese;87 (2) advice and assistance including logistical support in reoccupying and reassumption of control over that portion of China (including Manchuria) liberated from the Japanese; (3) continuation of the China Search and Graves Registration Program; (4) liaison with the Chinese Government on SCAP program for aerial mapping in China, including Manchuria;88 (5) disposition of surplus property of this theater89 with the question raised as to whether War Department authority will be given to turn over to the Chinese supplies now being held for a future Chinese Army and Air Force program.

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Proposed Navy and Army Liaison with the Chinese Government is through MAG. 91760 dated 6 January 194690 also requires that all such matters be cleared with General Marshall.

Reference your paragraph f, most of the functions remaining in the theater have been answered in previous paragraphs. The Shanghai Station Command would be the operational vehicle for the MAG to provide port facilities, for supply, to handle evacuation of American troops, personnel and supplies. Sufficient additional required personnel to prepare Chinese troops for movements and to effect any necessary transfer of supplies will be handled through this command. In view of the short period of continued support to the Chinese Forces, it is contemplated that current activities could easily be transferred to this agency.

Reference your paragraph g, you question benefits to be derived from inactivation while carrying on many important residual operational functions. This I have covered in part supra. With reference to the reactions of the Generalissimo to this proposal, it is considered that General Marshall can convince the Generalissimo that inactivation of the China Theater of Operations will increase the tempo of the withdrawal of the Russians from Manchuria, and if the Generalissimo is assured that the U. S. Forces remaining in China will complete the projects now being undertaken by the theater, the Generalissimo can have no valid objections to inactivation of the China Theater of operations.

To summarize, while it is true that operationally and administratively it might be easier to delay 60 to 90 days, I feel that the Russian-Manchurian question must be resolved satisfactorily and as early as practicable. Everything possible should be done to accomplish the prompt removal of Russian troops from Manchuria, and the early inactivation of China Theater of Operations may reasonably be expected to strengthen the Generalissimo’s pressure on Soviet to remove their troops. I can, by taking action at this time, close out operational and logistical support of many agencies whose support by the U. S. Army facilities should be curtailed. Manpower and material savings accruing from this action will permit a significant saving in this area.

  1. Telegram of February 28, not printed.
  2. Supra.
  3. Telegram of February 25, not printed.
  4. Joint Chiefs of Staff.
  5. Commanding General, Military Advisory Group.
  6. General of the Army Douglas A. MacArthur, Supreme Commander, Allied Powers in Japan.
  7. Commander of the U. S. 7th Fleet.
  8. Supreme Commander, Allied Powers in Japan.
  9. Telegram of February 23, p. 848.
  10. Vice Adm. Charles M. Cooke, Jr., Commander, 7th Fleet.
  11. Commander in Chief, Pacific.
  12. President Chiang Kai-shek.
  13. For correspondence on this subject, see pp. 888 ff.
  14. For correspondence regarding mapping project, see pp. 1261 ff.
  15. For correspondence regarding surplus property, see pp. 1033 ff.
  16. Not printed.