Memorandum by the Director of the Office of Far Eastern Affairs (Vincent)7

There is attached a memorandum to the President, together with its attachments,8 recommending that Wedemeyer be sent to China on a factfinding mission.

I have rewritten the directive prepared by Wedemeyer to conform to Mr. Lovett’s suggestions and to include some ideas of my own.9

[Page 639]

With regard to personnel I concur in the suggestions made by Wedemeyer. With regard to his statement that he would not want a man from the Far Eastern Office “who had strong convictions either pro or anti-National Government or Communist” I should like to point out to him that there are no pro-Communist officers in FE. Most if not all of the officers have a realistic appreciation, which I share, of the shortcomings of the National Government under the leadership of Chiang Kai-shek. I suggest that Mr. Philip Sprouse be the officer designated to accompany Wedemeyer. With regard to an engineer I believe it would be advisable to ask the Navy to appoint an outstanding officer of this type. With regard to “an outstanding fiscal expert or social economist” I would suggest that we limit our search to a “fiscal expert”. Mr. James McKay, Vice President of the National City Bank of New York, has had long experience in China and is known to me as a very capable banker. If it is decided to send a man from private life I would not hesitate to recommend him. On the other hand, there may be advantages from the standpoint of “follow-through” in sending a man from Government—Treasury or State. If it is decided to send an officer from the State Department, I would suggest Mr. Norman Ness, Director of the Office of Financial and Development Policy. The fact that he had participated in the mission would have distinctive advantages for us here in the Department, and I would suggest that he might be considered for the mission even though another fiscal expert may be chosen.

In addition to the experts and assistants listed by Wedemeyer I would suggest an expert thoroughly familiar with industrial production and distribution. One of China’s most urgent needs today is the increase of its own industrial production. Mr. Jacobson,10 who accompanied Donald Nelson on his mission and remained in China for a year or more, might be a suitable candidate.

I am in accord with the rest of Wedemeyer’s recommendations. I should withhold judgment on his general views until after he has made his survey.

  1. Addressed to the Secretary of State and Under Secretary of State Lovett.
  2. None printed.
  3. Mr. Vincent’s draft directive was revised prior to President Truman’s signature on July 9; revised directive printed on p. 640.
  4. James A. Jacobson.