893.00/11–1148: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Paris (Caffery)

451. For Bohlen.73 Immediately following tel74 contains summary my press conference Nov 10, ECA press release re Hoffman statement Nov 8 and material for possible use re Tsingtao75 (Delga 677 Nov 1076).

One theme currently running through much press comment on China is need for “clear cut” US policy in China. Alsops77 state President has “directly intervened” in China policy question by ordering Marines remain Tsingtao and requesting arms be sent north China and such action implies “serious search for positive China policy will now be made”. Alsops state Dept theory has been best policy was, in effect, “no policy at all”. Hanson Baldwin78 states recent events emphasize “necessity of American policy in China” based neither on status quo nor on “plague-on-your-houses” concept. He also says US has “no clear-cut policy in China”. Says we “must search for desperate remedies” may have to support individual Chinese generals but admits far more preferable would be thorough clean-up and reform Chigovt and concludes nothing we can do is likely put definitive end to civil war. He describes Europe as “first front” and warns US cannot afford pour billions into China lest aid become insupportable drain on our resources.

In light foregoing, it might be desirable for background purposes to explain to American correspondents basic considerations governing [Page 562] US position in China. We do not want Com China. Our China aid program designed afford Chigovt opportunity adopt internal measures which in final analysis only effective means stop Corns. Foreign aid cannot provide solution China’s problems. Japs as occupying enemy power bogged down in China and we, as friendly nation, could not assume position authority and control similar to that of occupying force even in unlikely event Chigovt would permit it. At every turn our efforts aid China have met Chinese sensitivity both in and out of Chigovt re fancied encroachments on Chinese sovereignty arising from strong nationalistic feeling. To assume responsibility and obligations entailed in underwriting Chigovt politically, militarily and economically would require us override and ignore Chinese sensibilities this point and would involve far-reaching commitments and liabilities at financial cost impossible to estimate. Such course would require our direct involvement in civil war at likely cost of American lives and would furnish Coms and other Chinese critics our position in China ammunition for anti-US attacks and might well tend unite Chinese to considerable degree behind Corns and thereby strengthening Com political position. Our own resources are limited and we must take into consideration our commitments in other vital areas throughout the world. In any area where we extend assistance, we must remember that our aid, while perhaps marginal factor which enables friendly govts to establish sound economies and stable conditions, cannot provide final answer. That can come only from efforts of recipient govts.

  1. Charles E. Bohlen, Counselor of the Department and Adviser to the American delegation to the United Nations General Assembly at Paris.
  2. Gadel 452, November 11, 2 p. m., to the Ambassador in Paris, vol viii , “U.S. Economic Aid to China” (Ch. V).
  3. For correspondence, see ibid. , “Status of U.S. Naval Forces at Tsingtao”.
  4. Not printed.
  5. Stewart and Joseph Alsop, newspapermen.
  6. Military editor of the New York Times.