893.20 Mission/6–1548

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Chief of the Division of Chinese Affairs (Sprouse)

Participants: Captain Fitzgerald, USN
Assistant Chief, Naval Operations, Politico-Military Affairs
Captain Hummer, USN
Assistant Chief, Naval Operations, Politico-Military Affairs
Captain Orem, USN
Mr. Butterworth, Director for Far Eastern Affairs
Mr. Sprouse, CA

The three above-named officers of the Navy Department called at Mr. Butterworth’s office on June 15 pursuant to Mr. Sprouse’s request to Admiral Wooldridge that he see Mr. Butterworth in regard to the decisions reached on the role of U. S. military advisory groups in China. Admiral Wooldridge designated these officers to represent him in view of his absence from Washington.

Mr. Butterworth explained that he wished to inform the Navy Department of the decisions reached in the conference between Secretary Marshall, Secretary Royall,44 General Bradley,45 General Wedemeyer46 and others on June 1147 with respect to the role of the U. S. military advisory groups in China. He referred to the recent top [Page 257] secret telegrams received from the U. S. Army Advisory Group, the Air Division of the Army Advisory Group, Admiral Badger and Ambassador Stuart, all of which gave a similar picture of the seriousness of the situation in China, and handed a copy of Ambassador Stuart’s top secret telegram48 on this subject to Captain Fitzgerald to read. The latter in turn furnished Mr. Butterworth a copy of Admiral Badger’s top secret telegram49 in this regard.

Mr. Butterworth then went on to explain that it had been agreed at the above-mentioned conference that U. S. military advisers would not be stationed in the operational areas with Chinese Government troops and that the guiding principle of their activities must be the avoidance of U. S. involvement in the civil war in China. He described the various considerations which had led to the decisions and also explained the background of the China Aid Act,50 particularly that relating to the $125 million grants.51 He further said that Secretary Marshall had expressed the opinion that the U. S. Navy Advisory Group should be permitted to participate in training and instruction of the Chinese naval crews both in port and at sea since involvement in the civil war could be avoided in this field in a way that was not possible with ground forces.

Mr. Butterworth concluded that he was giving Captain Fitzgerald and his colleagues a description of Secretary Marshall’s conference with officers of the Department of the Army because the conference had been held as a result of the recent telegrams from the U. S. Army Advisory Group in China, Admiral Badger and Ambassador Stuart and because the decisions reached serve as the basis for the future role of the U. S. advisory groups in China and thus were of concern to the Navy Department.

Captain Fitzgerald expressed his appreciation of Mr. Butterworth’s action in conveying this information to the Navy Department and pointed out that it was to be regretted that the Navy Department had not long ago gone ahead with plans to establish a separate Naval Advisory Group as authorized under Public Law 512.

  1. Kenneth C. Royall, Secretary of the Army.
  2. Gen. Omar N. Bradley, Chief of Staff, U. S. Army.
  3. Lt. Gen. Albert C. Wedemeyer, Director of Plans and Operations, Army General Staff.
  4. For minutes of this conference, see p. 90.
  5. Probably telegram No. 1044, June 9, from Nanking, vol. vii, p. 282.
  6. Supra.
  7. Approved April 3, 1948; 62 Stat. 158.
  8. For correspondence on this subject, see pp. 73 ff.