893.20 Mission/7–2648

The Secretary of Defense (Forrestal) to the Secretary of State

Dear Mr. Secretary: The Joint Chiefs of Staff have concluded, and I agree, that it would be desirable to establish a Joint U. S. Military Advisory Group to the Republic of China at the earliest possible date. The following is the substance of the views which they have expressed to me concerning the desirability of taking this step, and concerning the question of whether further negotiations with the Chinese Government are a necessary prerequisite thereto:

“In a memorandum dated 24 October 1945, the Joint Chiefs of Staff informed the State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee that they believed a U. S. Military Advisory Group should be established in China; requested the State Department to negotiate required contracts between the United States and China for its establishment; and requested the War and Navy Departments jointly to propose necessary legislation. Subsequent to this memorandum, the only pertinent legislation which has become law is Public Law 512 authorizing among other things, detailing Navy and Marine Corps personnel for advising the Chinese, although other pertinent legislation, HR 2313, known as the Missions Bill, passed the House on 16 February 1948 and is currently before the Senate.

“In a memorandum dated 13 February 1946, the Joint Chiefs of Staff reaffirmed to the State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee their belief that a Military Advisory Group should be established in China, and recommended, as an initial action, that the” Secretary of State propose to the President issuance of a directive to establish such a Group. On 25 February 1946, the President directed the Secretaries of War and the Navy to establish jointly such a Group and directed the Secretary of State to conduct necessary negotiations with the Chinese. It is understood that to date these necessary negotiations have not been completed.

“In the absence of any legislation specifically providing for the establishment of this Joint Group, the Judge Advocate Generals of the Army, Navy, and Air Force are agreed that the Army (including the present Air Force) and Navy are authorized, pursuant to the Act of 19 May 1926 (44 Stat. 565) as amended (10 U. S. C. 540), during the continued existence of the present war or declared” national emergency, [Page 268] to furnish officers and enlisted men of the various services to advise and assist the Republic of China by means of a Joint Military Advisory Group to China. In their view, this will accord with the directives of the President of 25 February 1946 in all respects, save possibly the provision in the President’s directive that ‘the Secretary of State will conduct the necessary negotiations with the various governments’. As to this aspect, since there are now, under various titles, groups of the three services in China on independent advisory missions, presumably with the assent of the Chinese Government, it would appear that, with the concurrence of the Secretary of State, the three independent groups can be consolidated without entailing further detailed negotiations with the Chinese Government; that, therefore, the President’s directive as to negotiations may be considered as having been fulfilled, and that consolidation of the groups may proceed unless new detailed arrangements with the Chinese Government are believed necessary by the respective Services, or by the Secretary of State. The Joint Chiefs of Staff are of the opinion that the act of consolidating the three service groups now in China on advisory missions, as recommended in the proposed directive, does not require the prior consummation of pending negotiations or new detailed arrangements by the Secretary of State with the Chinese Government.

“On 20 December 1945, the Joint Chiefs of Staff submitted to the Secretaries of War and the Navy a detailed plan for a Joint Army-Navy U. S. Military Advisory Group to China which they recommended be adopted as the basic directive to the Chiefs of the respective service groups. The Joint Chiefs of Staff consider that their original plan is sound, although in need of certain modifications to take account of developments occurring since it was first prepared and to incorporate certain proposals submitted by the Secretary of the Army. They have modified it and attach it hereto (Enclosure ‘A’64).”

If you concur in our conclusions that the establishment of such a Group is desirable, and is possible without the conclusion of further negotiations with the Chinese Government, I would appreciate word to that effect at the earliest possible date. On the other hand, if you believe that further negotiations with the Chinese Government must precede the establishment of this Group, I would be grateful if you would proceed to conclude such negotiations as soon as possible.

Sincerely yours,

James Forrestal
  1. Not attached to file copy.