Memorandum by General Wedemeyer to the Secretary of State

I have carefully considered the subject which you discussed privately with me on Tuesday, July 1. I have not had, of course, sufficient time to determine in detail the instructions that I believe would be appropriate or the personnel required. Off the cuff, I suggest your consideration of the following:

A. Directive.

You will proceed to China without delay with the mission of making an appraisal of the political, economic, psychological and military situation, current and projected. You will contact appropriate Chinese officials and leaders in the course of your survey and maintain close liaison with American diplomatic and military officials in the area. In your discussions with Chinese officals in positions of responsibility you are authorized to state categorically that the United States Government is prepared to assist realistically and immediately a program of rehabilitation and stabilization provided the Chinese Government stipulates, guarantees and accepts definitive supervisory measures to be maintained by representatives of the United States.

B. Personnel.

It is my feeling that the group of assistants should be held to the minimum and all military members of the group should be required to wear civilian clothes. The principal function of every member of the mission, as I understand it, would be to obtain factual information on which you and the President could base appropriate action. My purpose, of course, is to minimize press reaction, particularly in foreign quarters, to the possible military significance of my mission. I should like to take the following individuals: [Page 637]

Captain James Boyle, presently my aide-de-camp and secretary. He served as General Stilwell’s5 secretary in China and continued as my secretary. He is an excellent stenographer and typist and knows many of the Chinese whom I would contact.
Captain Horace Eng, who is presently serving in the War Department as a translator and interpreter with the G–2 Intelligence Branch. Captain Eng served as my interpreter in China and has equal facility in several dialects. Further, he is well-known and respected by Chinese officialdom.
Mr. Mark Watson, well-known correspondent with the Baltimore Sun. He is presently on an assignment with the War Department Historical Section. Mr. Watson has excellent judgment and could insure that my contacts with the press in China as well as en route and return would be discreet and appropriate. Mr. Watson has traveled widely in the world and in the China theater as a war correspondent for several months.
A selected representative from the Division of Far Eastern Affairs, Department of State. I would not want a man who had strong convictions either pro or anti National Government or Communist.
An outstanding engineer who could determine the feasibility and practicability of current and projected instruction [construction?] projects, for example, reclamation of land, communications and mining.
An outstanding fiscal expert or social economist who could soundly evaluate the possibility of stabilizing the currency and improving the economic situation.
A sergeant orderly.

C. Transportation.

I would require that a plane be made available for the trip to and from China and intra China. I believe that the same plane could be used for such purposes. However, for shorter trips or in order to reach isolated areas, local means could be used.

D. Publicity.

In order to preclude possible malicious conjecture concerning my trip it is suggested that the President or you issue substantially the following:6

General Wedemeyer will depart for China [and Korea] immediately to make an appraisal of the overall situation in that area [region]. He will be accompanied by a small group of assistants [whose names will be released later]. It is expected that he will return within six weeks [in about one month] to submit a report of his observations to the Secretary of State. His mission is purely [will be] fact-finding and is in consonance with the current policy to ascertain [Page 638] how the United States can assist other countries in their program of rehabilitation.

E. Communication.

I believe that I should be required to report weekly, presenting brief resumes of information. Upon my return I should be required to submit a succinct report embodying factual information with appropriate recommendations. I should like to have authority to communicate “eyes alone” to you and thus insure that messages would not be screened or given special interpretation by others. In this connection, it is requested that Lieutenant Colonel Claire E. Hutchin, War Department, be designated my special representative in Washington to handle all communications.

F. Departure, Itinerary and Return

I would be prepared to leave by July 10 or 11, contingent upon my ability to obtain the above personnel and the plane. I feel that one month to six weeks should suffice to complete the survey.

General Views

I do not think that it would be sound policy to suggest piecemeal assistance to China. It would be like plugging up holes in the rotten hull of a sinking ship. Our assistance should then be based upon a program that would make possible a new hull for the ship and would be predicated upon an able, honest captain and an efficient crew. The $500,000,000 loan that China sought or any other monetary and material assistance that Ave give China must be based upon the premise that appropriate safeguards are initiated and maintained to insure that such assistance contributes to political and economic stabilization in the area.

A[lbert] C. W[edemeter]
  1. Lieut. Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell, Commanding General, U. S. Army Forces, China, Burma, India, March 4, 1942–October 21, 1944, and Chief of Staff to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, Supreme Commander, China Theater.
  2. Revisions in brackets made in the handwriting of the Secretary of State.