893.30 Missions/1–2048

Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Chinese Affairs (Ringwalt) to the Director of the Office of Far Eastern Affairs (Butterworth)

Congress by Public Law 512 authorized the establishment of a naval advisory group in China. At a conference between State and Navy representatives on February 20, 1947,22 General Marshall indicated that he had no objection to the establishment of a separate naval advisory group but that this was a question to be worked out between the War and Navy Departments.

The Navy, anxious to proceed with the establishment of a separate naval advisory group on the basis of Public Law 512, prepared a draft agreement between United States and China to formalize the activities of the naval advisory group. This agreement was based on a draft combined military and naval advisory group agreement, in which War, Navy and State had already tentatively concurred.

However, the conclusion of a separate agreement for a naval advisory group was strongly opposed by the War Department, and the Secretary of War23 in letters of April 24, 1947,24 addressed to the Secretaries of State and Navy, advocated the establishment of the joint military advisory group envisaged in SWNCC 83/17,25 which [Page 241] would operate under the war-time powers of the President. Mr. Patterson proposed, should the Department of State not favor such action, that the status quo be continued until the nature of Congressional action on military missions bills was determined.

Faced with’ strenuous opposition from the War Department, the Navy Department in a memorandum of June 20 for the Secretary of State,26 proposed that the joint advisory group be established when legislation permitted and that in the meantime naval personnel sent to China to form the naval advisory group continue training Chinese crews for ships to be delivered under Public Law 512. The Department in its reply of July 2327 concurred in this proposal.

In a letter dated November 1, 1947;28 the Secretary of National Defense informed the Secretary of State that, if it were decided to submit to the present Congress the bill for military aid to China, he would wish to include certain changes which would, inter alia, specifically permit the Air Force to participate in the military advisory group. On December 31, 1947 the Acting Secretary of State suggested to the Secretary of Defense28 that the proposed changes be supplied to the Department of State so that it could be in a position to act with dispatch.

Admiral Wooldridge tells me informally that Navy does not contemplate at this time reviving its program for a separate agreement for the naval advisory group. If, however, the present Congress closes without having provided for the necessary legislation, Navy will then doubtless press for a separate agreement.

It had not previously come to my attention that the Department of the Air Force might, like the Navy, have been giving consideration to a separate agreement with China. In my view, it would be highly desirable to negotiate a single agreement with the Chinese Government in which the unity of command principle were carefully established. However, it seems to me that this is primarily a matter for the armed forces themselves to decide and that we had best avoid committing ourselves in any way, indicating, if asked, that we would be agreeable to whatever arrangements may be decided upon by the armed services concerned.29

A[rthur] R. R[ingwalt]
  1. See minutes of conference, February 20, 1947, Foreign Relations, 1947, vol. vi, p. 946.
  2. Robert P. Patterson.
  3. Foreign Relations, 1947, vol. vii, p. 961.
  4. Note by the Secretaries of the State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee, February 13, 1946, Foreign Relations, 1946, vol. x, p. 817.
  5. Foreign Relations, 1947, vol. vii, p. 968.
  6. Ibid., p. 970.
  7. Not printed.
  8. Not printed.
  9. Marginal notation by the Deputy Director of the Office of Far Eastern Affairs (Penfield): “I think we should hold out for one agreement P[enfield]”.