Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Chinese Affairs (Ringwalt) to the Director of the Office of Far Eastern Affairs (Vincent)
Dr. S. C. Wang, Chairman of the Chinese Supply Commission, called by appointment and stated that he had been referred to me by Mr. Cummins, Chief of Munitions Division, in connection with his application for an export license to cover a shipment to China of one hundred million rounds of 7.92 “Generalissimo” rifle ammunition. According to Dr. Wang this ammunition was procured by the United States Army during the war for shipment to China as military Lend-Lease but never left this country. He said that the ammunition is now stored in various depots in the United States where it is tending to deteriorate and to be a source of embarrassment to the United States Army. It is of a special calibre and is therefore of no value to the United States Army. Dr. Wang asked whether in view of these facts special consideration could not be given to shipping the ammunition to China where it would fulfill an urgent need and at the same time relieve the United States Government of responsibility for its maintenance and storage.
I informed Dr. Wang that although I understood that the embargo on the shipment of arms to China was still in effect in view of the special circumstances involved I would make a memorandum of his request and refer it to my superior officers for review.[Page 814]
Dr. Wang pretended considerable embarrassment, stating that he would prefer that this case be handled by me informally with Mr. Cummins, and that he would by all means wish not to make this a matter of official record. He said that he hoped that if I could not agree to his recommendation that I drop the matter entirely.
Major Naylor, the officer in the War Department primarily concerned with surplus war material, has informed me that the information given me by Dr. Wang is substantially correct. He states that as of March 31, 1947 there are stored in Army supply depots in the United States 130,616,868 rounds of 7.92 rifle ammunition which were procured for the Chinese Government but arrangements for the transfer of it to China were never completed. Major Naylor is anxious to dispose of this ammunition and will welcome any indication from the State Department that we would have no objection to its being declared surplus to the needs of the United States Army and transferred to China under FLC procedures. Major Naylor indicated that the records of his office showed that members of the Chinese Supply Commission had recently toured the ammunition depots in question and had indicated their interest in this ammunition with a view to its possible purchase. Major Naylor tells me that Secretary Marshall is aware of the existence of this supply of “Generalissimo” rifle ammunition in this country.
N. B. Major Naylor states that according to his records the ammunition referred to in the present memorandum was procured through Western Cartridge Company between June 1942 and October 1944.