124.93/3–2447: Telegram

The Ambassador in China (Stuart) to the Secretary of State

642. I appreciate the Department’s thoughtfulness in not laying down too specific rules applicable to the functioning of the new Executive Office, many of which experience itself will of necessity dictate. However, there is one very important aspect of this project referred to in Department’s telegram 326, March 20, noon, and two others of pertinency which must be clarified forthwith.

First and foremost, the Minister-Counselor3 who is now in direct charge of the Embassy must also act in the matter of the Executive Office as my deputy and therefore cannot both from a functional point of view as well as from the point of view of available time become the chief Embassy representative in that office. The Executive Office will be under his immediate jurisdiction and it will be to him that it will report its suggestions and recommendations. The fact that the War and Navy Departments will be represented by a general and flag officer, respectively, is not in my opinion a determining factor. Furthermore, the present Military Attaché,4 for example, is also a general, but his routine liaison with the Embassy is with the Chief of the Political Section. Accordingly, I would propose to assume that Embassy’s chief representative in the Executive Office should by reason of that fact alone be regarded as appropriate opposite number to a general or flag officer even though he be a first secretary.

Secondly, it would be helpful to have background guidance information regarding what in particular Department had in mind by inserting in the original draft of the Presidential Directive the [Page 1432] sentence: “The establishment of this Executive Office will in no way interfere with the normal functioning of the Embassy”.

Thirdly, there is no doubt that the establishment of an Executive Office with advisory duties in the matter of supervision and coordination of basic policies governing all phases of American activities in China will add decidedly to the responsibilities and work of the Embassy. Therefore, I should like to have assurance that Department is prepared to supply such additional officer and clerical personnel as may be necessary to undertake these new duties and to make it possible for the experiment to be a success. In this general connection I would like to have telegraphic confirmation that the War and Navy Departments will be responsible in the matter of their personnel for providing such requirements as clerical assistance, transportation and living quarters, etc., for Embassy does not have such facilities. I assume that Embassy will provide office space and, accordingly, an affirmative answer to request contained in Embassy’s telegram 618, March 21, 11 a.m.,6 is urgently needed. Embassy now has real need of an additional experienced code clerk (Embassy’s telegram 641, March 24, 5 p.m.6), and even now before establishment of Executive Office, it is quite obvious that a second experienced code clerk and one stenographer will be needed forthwith, and request is hereby made that they be sent by air.

  1. W. Walton Butterworth.
  2. Brig. Gen. Robert H. Soule.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Not printed.