Marshall Mission Files, Lot 54–D270: Telegram

Lieutenant General John E. Hull to Brigadier General George A. Lincoln 24

86972. Reference 8678125 on subject of withdrawal of marines from China. Indication has now been received that early withdrawal may be against the best interests of the US. Admiral Cooke in a message to CNO of 3 May26 cleared by Generals Marshall and Gillem stated that reduction of marines is being withheld because their presence is a weighty factor in present negotiations to accomplish basic US policy in China. He adds that their reduction depends upon relief by national armies in guarding coal mines, railroads and in securing the ports and on these matters the economy and stability of large [Page 867] cities including Shanghai depends. Present estimate of ComGen China is that marines at Tsingtao (approximately 1 brigade) cannot be relieved prior to 31 July and marines Chinwangtao–Tientsin prior 15 September. Both dates optimistic and highly tentative. Piecemeal withdrawal or reductions except minor ones now in hand might adversely affect General Marshall’s efforts. C[hiang] K[ai] S[hek] intends not to provide Chinese Armies for North China until 2 additional (99 and 54) have been moved to Manchuria. In addition to the above General Gillem in a personal message to Wedemeyer on 4 May stated that after discussion with General Marshall it appears that Chinese Armies for North China will not be moved in the foreseeable future. The National Government is pressing for a decision on move of 99th and 54th Armies to Manchuria on which General Marshall has made no commitment but indicated that their movement by US resources is very unlikely. As regards US shipping for lifting Chinese after 10 May no LSTs available. Only other shipping available is 10 SCALS (Shipping Control Authority Chinese Liberty Ships) Liberties and perhaps 10 Chinese manned LSTs by late June.

Although not specifically stated in either of the messages cited above it appears that the shortage of shipping and Manchurian requirements will strongly militate against early relief of the marines even though other major difficulties now existing are overcome.

  1. Of the War Department General Staff, assigned at Paris at this time to the Council of Foreign Ministers meeting. General Lincoln relayed the information in this telegram to the Secretary of State on the same day.
  2. Not found in Department files.
  3. Telegram No. 031624Z, May 3, not printed.