893.30 Missions/1–2048

The Deputy Director of the Office of Far Eastern Affairs (Penfield) to the Minister-Counselor of Embassy in China (Clark)

Dear Lewis: I have done some exploratory work based on your telegram no. 79 of January 12 and have received from the Navy the enclosed statement35 purporting to set forth the directives under which the Navy training operates. I believe Ringwalt has sent you a copy of his memorandum of January 22 on the background of this situation, which is rather involved, the most important factor apparently being a difference of views between the Army and the Navy on the legal set-up of the Advisory Groups. The Army has set up its Group under the authority contained in the President’s directive (issued under his war powers) set forth in SWNCC 83/17.36 The Navy, after it received statutory authority for its operations under P. L. 512,37 decided that it would be inappropriate to set up a Navy Group (or participate in a Joint Group) under this Presidential directive and pressed for approval to set up a separate Navy Group under the authority of P. L. 512. The Army has never agreed to this and after a lot of maneuvering and several false starts the subject was dropped about a year ago. The Navy’s present position is that they will take no action until it is possible to make a good guess as to the fate of the general Military Missions Bill.38 If it appears that this bill will be approved by the present session of Congress, the Navy will propose the negotiation of an agreement with the Chinese Government for the [Page 252] setting up of a Joint Military Advisory Group under the authority of this bill. If, on the other hand, it appears that the bill will not pass, the Navy will probably reopen the question of a separate Navy Group under authority of P. L. 512.

In the meantime the Navy Group is still, as you will note from the enclosed, officially designated “Naval Advisory Group Survey Board, China” and the Navy feels that its activities should be strictly limited to the technical training of crews for the ships turned over to the Chinese under P. L. 512.

Incidentally, the Navy informs us that they are under increasing pressure from the Chinese to lend assistance in the establishment and training of a Chinese marine corps and that the attitude they are adopting is that if the Chinese desire American assistance in this field the matter should be taken up on a governmental level. On this subject the following is an excerpt from a letter of July 23, 1947, from the Secretary of State to the Secretary of the Navy:39

“The State Department feels that it would be unwise at this time for the Chinese Government to divert any of its depleted financial or military resources to developing a new military arm in the form of a Marine Corps. For this reason, … it is recommended that this Government refuse training or other support for the proposed Chinese Marine Corps in the immediate future. When conditions in China become more stable, the organization of a Chinese Marine Corps under the Naval Advisory Group, or the amphibious training of some Army units, would appear to be a normal activity tending toward establishment of a balanced Chinese military force.”

Sincerely yours,

J. K. Penfield
  1. January 20, p. 239.
  2. Foreign Relations, 1946, vol. x, p. 817.
  3. Approved July 16, 1946; 60 Stat. 539.
  4. H. R. 2313, introduced February 28, 1947 and S. 759, introduced March 3, 1947, Congressional Record, 80th Congress, 1st sess., vol. 93, pp. 1579 and 1598, respectively.
  5. Foreign Relations, 1947, vol, vii, p. 970.