The Ambassador in China (Stuart) to the Secretary of State
[Received October 25—6:55 a.m.]
1737. Agreement6 was signed by Major General W. P. Wan, Chief, Bureau of Survey, Ministry of National Defense, and Brigadier General Loper, US Army Forces Pacific, regarding the aerial mapping project which was subject of Dept’s 1776, November 1, 4 p.m., 1945 [Page 1266] on which was based a formal note to Foreign Office.7 Since the matter has lain dormant and was only recently activated by military authorities directly with Ministry of National Defense, Embassy was apprised of arrangement shortly before signature.
Agreement is to come into force upon approval of the US and Chinese Govts, and therefore it is expected that War Dept will consult shortly with Dept.
Project envisages use of at least seven airfields in China and will call for the stationing of some 2,000 US Army personnel here. Any such move at this time will obviously attract widespread attention and speculation and if now undertaken would no doubt have important political repercussions since, among other things, it could only be interpreted—at any rate by the layman—as a strategic preparation for a military campaign against Russia.
While Embassy, of course, does not wish to make recommendations in regard to actions affecting the broader field of American-Soviet relations, it does recommend from the point of view of the situation in China that this operation be held in abeyance unless and until it is decided that the benefits to be derived from this project would outweigh its obvious and possibly serious consequences, and that in the meantime special efforts be made to insure that existence of such a signed agreement does not leak out.
Text goes forward by airpouch.8
General Marshall9 is not yet sufficiently informed regarding the over-all project to give his views on the foregoing but would appreciate Dept’s reactions.