Memorandum of Conversation, by the Acting Secretary of State

Present: Mr. Lovett
Madame Chiang
General Carter

Madame Chiang called on me in the Secretary’s office at 3 p.m. today at her request. She said that she had been waiting almost four weeks for decisions of this Government, under the impression that General Marshall had the final word. Her conversations with President Truman and me had seemed to corroborate this. She had seen General Marshall this morning at 11:30 and he had explained that he had not been officiating for three weeks and was not aware of current events either here or in China. She repeated her conversation with the General substantially along the lines of the attached memorandum45 dictated by General Marshall after his interview. (Also see Carter’s memorandum of subsequent events, also attached46). She showed me the message she had received this morning from the Generalissimo (attached),47 and went into some detail supporting the Generalissimo’s position as explained in his cable.

I took occasion to explain to the Madame that under no conditions could the United States be placed in the position of deciding for the Generalissimo whether or not he would step aside, that this was a decision for the Generalissimo alone to make and was purely and simply a Chinese problem, that nothing we might say or do or not say or not do should have any bearing on the decision. I re-emphasized this point to make it quite clear to the Madame that we were not involved in any way in this particular problem.

A lengthy discussion ensued as to whether or not the President’s letter to the Generalissimo would serve the purpose of a statement requested [Page 306] by the Chinese. Madame quite obviously did not want this letter released, but said she would again query the Generalissimo on the matter. I explained to her the reasons why we could not appropriately issue a new statement at this time and explained that both the President and General Marshall have already made this clear to her.

She then handed me the three point paper attached,48 stating that General Marshall had asked her to put in writing quite clearly exactly what she wanted. I answered the three requests by referring specifically to those portions of the President’s message which answered them.

At the end of an hour and 20 minutes the Madame left with the following agreements:

She would get the Generalissimo’s latest reaction to release, either here or in China, of the President’s letter.
I would discuss with the President the advisability of releasing the letter here and again take up the question of a new statement.
I would discuss with the President once more Madame Chiang’s urgent plea for a high ranking military adviser to go to China.

I furnished Madame a copy of the President’s letter to the Generalissimo and directed General Carter to furnish her excerpts from press conferences of the last month.

R[obert] A. L[ovett]
  1. Ante, p. 302.
  2. Supra.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Not printed. The three points in this paper were a request for a statement from the United States Government that it would give such moral and material support as was possible to China in its struggle against Communism; that a representative of high rank should go to China to assist in organizing and training the Chinese Army, and to coordinate American policy with the aid program in Europe; and that some way should be found to continue to supply military equipment until Congress should pass a resolution to continue aid to China.