Memorandum by the Director of the Office of Far Eastern Affairs (Butterworth) to the Secretary of State

It is assumed that Madame Chiang will appeal for large-scale economic and military aid and for the appointment of a high-ranking U.S. officer as military adviser and of U.S. officers as advisers in operational areas and that she will describe China’s fight as being also one for the United States and will charge U.S. responsibility for the Chinese Government’s difficulties because of the Yalta decisions.

It is suggested, therefore, that it would be appropriate to make a statement to Madame Chiang along the following general lines:

The U.S. Government is sympathetic with the difficulties of the Chinese Government and recognizes the threat to China’s independence from an insidious form of foreign imperialism exerted through international communism. U.S. interest and sympathy has been shown by its aid both during and since the war, the most recent instance being the present China aid program. However, the President made clear in his message transmitting the China aid bill in February 194831 that this Government could only provide aid to enable [Page 299] the Chinese Government itself take those measures necessary to provide the framework within which peace and true economic recovery could be achieved, that the solution of China’s problems was chiefly a Chinese responsibility and that U.S. aid could not, even in a small measure, be a substitute for action that could be taken only by the Chinese themselves. The U.S. Government is concerned over the recent serious turn of events. However, the pattern of these developments does not indicate that increased aid would in itself offer a solution. Nationalist defeats at Tsinan, Chinchow and Mukden were caused primarily by defection of troops to the Communists and in no case to a lack of munitions (Tab A for tabulation of losses).32 The will to fight has been lacking and this cannot be derived from foreign material aid.

As the President indicated in his letter of November 12 to the Generalissimo (Tabs B and C),33 the U. S. is making every effort to expedite the implementation of the China aid program. There is no other legislative authority for such aid. The appointment of a high-ranking U. S. officer as military adviser would present great difficulties due to his lack of knowledge of the complexities of the situation and would also be misleading both to the Chinese and American people. General Barr,34 in whom I have great confidence, is familiar with the current situation and his advice has always been available. To send U. S. military advisers into operational areas or have them command Chinese troops would represent a type of intervention in China’s internal affairs contrary to the policy of this Government and to the intent of the Congress, which made its meaning clear on this point in its consideration of the China aid program.

With respect to Yalta, Soviet actions in Manchuria result from Soviet entry into the war and occupation of Manchuria and not from the Sino-Soviet Treaty.35 There is no evidence that the Soviets would have withdrawn their troops from Manchuria any earlier or that they would have been any more correct in their relations with the Chinese Government had the Sino-Soviet Treaty of August 1945 not been signed. On the contrary, it is likely that the Soviets might have continued their occupation of Manchuria, as they have of Dairen, on the technical grounds of a state of war with Japan and Soviet forces might have advanced on into north China at the time of the Japanese surrender.

  1. Message to Congress, February 18; Department of State, United States Relations With China (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1949), p. 981.
  2. Memorandum of December 2 concerning losses, p. 226.
  3. See telegram No. 1608, November 12, 7 p.m., to the Ambassador in China, p. 202.
  4. Maj. Gen. David G. Barr, Director, Joint U. S. Military Advisory Group in China.
  5. Signed at Moscow, August 14, 1945, United Nations Treaty Series, vol. 10, p. 300.