Memorandum of Conversation, by the Secretary of State

Madame called on me this morning to have a final conversation with me regarding the decisions of this Government in the matter of China.

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I first explained to Madame that she had been laboring under a confusion or misunderstanding regarding my position during the past three weeks; that I have not been officiating as Secretary of State and that I was not even aware of the various actions being taken by the Security Council, the Chiefs of Staff, the State Department, etc. I explained to her very carefully how matters were handled, including the fact that the President himself had called two meetings of the Security Council to consider the Chinese matter. I also took occasion to explain on the basis of your (Lovett’s) explanation what had occurred in relation to the diversion of a ship of supplies to Okinawa.42 I made a fairly successful effort to convince her that she was laboring under a misunderstanding or disillusionment in thinking that a word from me would settle matters or that I was in a position to give such a word. I explained to her that her messages to Mrs. Marshall were third hand to me and fourth hand to the State Department and were inevitably confused and much was omitted.

I told Madame that it was the decision of the Government that the request of the Generalissimo that a distinguished officer be sent to the Chinese scene could not be approved. Regarding a statement by the Government on the question of Communism in China, I explained that the Generalissimo was free to quote from the President’s message to him and also from the statements made last spring by the President and also by me. I stated that a check of the press conferences showed that in each case that the question had been asked about our policy toward China, it had been stated that our policy had not been changed and that we continued to support the same Government headed by the Generalissimo and mentioning him by name.

Madame explained that she had had a message from the Generalissimo this morning (it may have been last night) stating that the members of the Government were pressing him; that if there was to be no more American aid, he should make an accord with the Soviets, and that he had to make the decision immediately, today presumably; that he would resign in that event, but he had to be advised immediately.

I told Madame that such a message should be produced in writing so that we would know exactly what she said and could consider it accordingly. I suggested that she either dictate it to my secretary who was available at the hospital, or write it out herself and General Carter would call at her brother’s residence and take it to the State Department where it could be considered.

She said she would do this and would telephone General Carter when she had the draft ready.

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I told her that when she made her statement she must make perfectly clear what she was talking about when she said immediate aid.

She requested that the sense of the Generalissimo’s message be communicated to the President.

That ended the interview.

G[eorge] C. M[arshall]
  1. See memoranda of December 24 and 27, pp. 237 and 238, respectively.