The Secretary of War ( Patterson ) to the Acting Secretary of State

Dear Mr. Acheson: On 26 February 47, I gave to the Secretary of State a letter concerning the United States policy with respect to China, and outlining the status of various War Department programs of supply assistance to China.

In that letter, I stated that the War Department was unable to meet the full requirements of the programs as originally planned, and explained that, as deterioration of stockpiled items continued, the extent to which the War Department would be able to implement the programs would steadily decrease.

Information has recently been received from General MacArthur, Commander-in-Chief, Far East, indicating that the excess military type items which have been stockpiled for the Chinese Air Force (8⅓ Group) Program in the Far East Command have deteriorated to such [Page 810] an extent that they can no longer be considered operational, nor are they capable of rehabilitation to an operational condition with funds and personnel available to the War Department. This is also true of similar supplies stockpiled in other areas in the Pacific. Although the War Department is investigating the possibility of applying other excess stocks to the requirements of military type items for this program, it appears at this time that no other stocks will be available for such a purpose.

Due to the continued expense of maintaining items which are now no longer capable of operational use, the War Department will direct the Commander-in-Chief, Far East, and the Commanding General, Army Ground Forces, Pacific, to begin disposal of the military type items which they have stockpiled for the 8⅓ Group Program, effective 28 March 47, according to present instructions concerning the disposal of excess stocks; specifically, this means that these supplies will not be turned over to the Chinese Government. If the State Department feels that any other disposal should be made of these stocks, it is requested that the War Department be notified.55

Sincerely yours,

Robert P. Patterson
  1. The substance of this letter was discussed informally between the two Departments which agreed “that the U. S. commitment is not such as to warrant continued stockpiling of these items in the Far East.”