Memorandum of President Truman’s Press and Radio News Conference
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Q. Mr. President, on the subject of the United States policy toward China, is it still the policy of this Government to favor the inclusion of Chinese Communists in the Chinese Government?
A. The President said that he never knew it was ever the policy of this Government; that if it was, it was news to him. He further said that we have always been in friendly relations with the recognized Government of China, and that we have been trying to help the recognized Government of China to help maintain the peace in the Far East.
Q. Mr. President, returning to the Chinese question, you did make a statement in December 1945 advocating the broadening of the base of the Chinese Government?
A. The President said that he still stuck to that statement; that that statement was just as good as it was then.[Page 142]
Q. Mr. President, you mean the broadening of the base includes taking the Chinese Communists into the Government of China?
A. The President said that it did not.
Q. Mr. President, when the December 1945 statement was made, did it then include the possibility of including Communists?
A. The President said that it did not include Communists at all.
Q. Mr. President, along that line, can you amplify now what was the President’s purpose in sending Secretary Marshall to China?
A. The President said that it was in an endeavor to assist the Chiang Kai-shek Government to meet the situation with which it was confronted.
Q. Mr. President, will the Wedemeyer report11 be released?
A. The President said that it would not.
Q. Mr. President, Secretary Marshall, just before becoming Secretary of State, did recommend broadening the base so that the Communists would be admitted?
A. The President said that he did not think Secretary Marshall would take any Communists into the Chinese Government; that we did not want any Communists in the Government of China or anywhere else, if we could help it.
Q. Mr. President, it may be that the correspondent is using the word “Communists” in an entirely different sense than what we are talking about?
A. The President replied that that was possible.
Q. Mr. President, can you tell us in what sense you are using it?
A. The President suggested that the correspondent tell him in what sense he (the correspondent) was using it, and he (the President) would tell the correspondent in what sense he was using it.
Q. Mr. President, I believe a great many people have felt that the broadening of the base meant taking in Communists and Chinese Liberals?
A. The President said that Chinese Liberals was what they were talking about; that there was a very great difference between the Liberal element in China and the Communist element in China; that Communists were people who believed in Government from the top—a totalitarian state. He further stated that there were a great many Liberals in China; that he had talked with one the day before yesterday; that they were educated in this country; that those were the people in which we were interested principally, and that we would like to see them included in the Chinese Government.[Page 143]
Q. Mr. President, the distinction between a Liberal and a Communist would also apply in this country?
A. The President said that that was a very good distinction.
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- Lt. Gen. Albert C. Wedemeyer, President Truman’s Personal Representative on a special mission in China, July–August, 1947. For his report of September 19, 1947, see United States Relations With China, pp. 764–814.↩