Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Affairs (Thorp)1

top secret
Participants: S—Mr. Acheson
ECA—Mr. Hoffman2
E—Mr. Thorp
Mr. Hoffman stated that he was still unhappy concerning our China policy. He elaborated at some length on a memorandum from Harlan Cleveland3 to Mr. Hoffman, dated February 8, 1949, which he left.4 Mr. Acheson said that he would give the matter careful study. (He later asked that Mr. Butterworth analyze the memorandum carefully, and that a meeting be arranged with the Secretary, including those particularly concerned with China policy, to discuss the matter.)
Mr. Hoffman stated his great concern that too much emotion was being focused against Communism. He felt that the Kremlin had as a primary objective the establishment of satellite police states, and only as a secondary objective the acceptance of its particular ideology. He feels that we should focus our efforts against the extension of the establishment of satellite police states and that we have by no means lost this battle in China.
Concerning a possible development in our policy with respect to Yugoslavia, he feels that this ‘should be governed by the second proposition, and that we should not be so much concerned with ideology as with the effort to weaken its situation as a satellite state. However, this is a rather sophisticated point of view and needs considerable explaining. In particular it is important that it be explained to Cardinal Spellman.5 Mr. Acheson commented that Cardinal Spellman was somewhat concerned with ideology, and Mr. Hoffman said that the problem was to convince him that one should not make the factor of communism as such a completely controlling force in practical policy, particularly in the cases of China and Yugoslavia. Mr. Hoffman said that he knew Cardinal Spellman fairly well and would be willing to discuss the problem with him, but that there might well be another intermediary who would be better. Mr. Acheson said that it was an exceedingly valuable suggestion and certainly should be followed. He mentioned that there were a number of people who might have [Page 873] suggestions on this, such as Messrs. Allen and Russell in the Department and Niles and Connelly at the White House.6 (After the meeting Mr. Acheson said that Dean Rusk should consider what would be the best approach to the Cardinal.7)
W[illard] L. T[horp]
  1. The source text bears the marginal notation “Action completed” in an unidentifiable handwriting.
  2. Paul Hoffman, Administrator, Economic Cooperation Administration.
  3. Harlan Cleveland, Director, China Program, Economic Cooperation Administration.
  4. The memorandum under reference is not printed. Documentation on events and policies regarding China is presented in volumes viii and ix.
  5. Francis Cardinal Spellman of New York.
  6. The references here are to George V. Allen, Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, Francis H. Russell, Director of the Office of Public Affairs, Department of State, David K. Niles, Administrative Assistant to the President, and Matthew J. Connelly, Secretary to the President.
  7. No additional documentation has been found in the files of the Department of State regarding any approach to Cardinal Spellman.