Memorandum by the Secretary of State to the Under Secretary of State (Lovett)

For some time I have been considering what action we should take with relation to the rapidly deteriorating situation in China. The Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the War and Navy Departments I believe, are strongly in favor of supporting the Chinese Government both in a military way and in relation to the economy of the country. I felt as did Vincent1 that the Chiefs of Staff paper2 was not quite realistic and solutions were offered which were somewhat impracticable, particularly as to implementation in China. Nevertheless, the situation is critical and it is urgently necessary I feel that we reconsider our policy to see what changes may be necessary if any, regarding our continuing action in regard to China.

For about two weeks I have had in mind the probable desirability of sending Wedemeyer3 to China with a few assistants to make a survey of the situation and to report back at as early a date as possible. He is generally familiar with the China state of affairs and particularly with the important officials, and he is greatly esteemed by the Generalissimo. It so happened that during the past three days his name has been proposed to me by three different people outside of the Department representing the importance of doing something to clarify our situation with regard to China. I therefore brought Wedemeyer in quietly yesterday and discussed the situation with him, told him to think it over and come in today and give me his reactions. I had so little time to talk matters over with him today that, while I was up on the Hill I had him dictate a memorandum to me of his ideas of a draft of a directive, et cetera. This is attached.4 I might say now that a [Page 636] portion of his directive is not acceptable. It refers to the program of rehabilitation and stabilization; that is, I think its terms are too general and imply too much which may later prove embarrassing. However that is a mere detail.

Up to the present moment I have kept this matter of Wedemeyer entirely to myself and I think until I get your reaction it should be confined to the two of us. If you and I reach an agreement then I think it would be necessary to bring Vincent into the matter, but not until then.

Please look this over and let me have your reaction tomorrow. It need not be in writing.

G. C. Marshall
  1. John Garter Vincent, Director of the Office of Far Eastern Affairs.
  2. See memorandum by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, June 9, p. 838.
  3. Lieut. Gen. Albert C. Wedemeyer, Commanding General, U.S. Forces, China Theater, October 31, 1944–May 1, 1946, and Chief of Staff to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, Supreme Commander, China Theater, and President of the National Government of the Republic of China.
  4. Infra.