026 China/7–649

Memorandum for the President by Mr. Clark M. Clifford, the Special Counsel to President Truman

Concerning Draft 15 of White Paper on China

I am sure the publication of a White Paper on China will be helpful to the American people in understanding the difficult and confused situation in China. However, in reading the draft, I noted some omissions which I fail to understand and which I am sure would raise a number of questions. These comments relate to Chapters I, II, III and IV. I have not seen V.

There appears to be a gap in the detailed narrative of U.S.-Chinese relations for the period December 1943 to August 1944. This was an especially critical period of the war, and very interesting politically, coming as it did after the Roosevelt-Churchill-Chiang conference in Cairo, November 1943.16

No reference is made to the Yalta conversations of President Roosevelt and Stalin on the Far East,17 or the Agreement on the Far East signed by Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill.18 This extraordinary omission is all the more noticeable because the conversations of subordinates like Nelson19 and Hurley20 with Stalin and Molotov21 on the subject of China are dealt with at some length. (Too great a length for what they are worth, it seems to me.) The Yalta agreement, among other things, pledged the Soviets to conclude a “pact of friendship” with Chiang’s Government. This was the direct antecedent of the Sino-Soviet treaty of August 1945.22 I believe that failure to refer to Yalta in the White Paper openly and frankly would bring so much criticism that the value of the White Paper would be seriously diminished.

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A great deal is made of the importance of Chinese-Soviet relations (especially in Chapter III) and yet the important conferences in Moscow in the summer of 1945 between T. V. Soong and Molotov23 resulting in the Treaty of August 1945 are dismissed in a brief footnote. There was a close relationship between the terms of this treaty and the U.S.-British-Soviet agreement signed at Yalta.

Repeatedly it is stated or implied that the basis of American policy (of trying to bring the Nationalist Government and the Chinese Communists together) was our desire to enable China to prosecute the war against Japan more effectively. If this was truly the basis of our policy, it is all the more surprising that only the most casual notice is taken in the White Paper of the end of hostilities in August 1945, and no effort is made at all to explain what effect (if, indeed, there was any) the end of the war had on our Chinese policy.

I have a number of doubts about Chapter IV. All of them relate, I believe, to one point: the Chapter seems to lack the perspective and the point of view that a review at this date should have. It reads as though it has been compiled by paraphrasing day-to-day reports prepared in the office of General Marshall’s mission. It seems rambling, repetitive and too long. Chapter IV also departs from the tone of the earlier Chapters by expressing a number of opinions and judgments on persons and events which seem out of place in a White Paper. These apparently were in contemporary documents, and have remained because of insufficient editing. It is noted that on page 53 and page 86 comments are made at the expense of the Chinese people which could well be resented by them.

Equally out of place are praise of Americans and caustic criticism of Chinese. On page 74 of Chapter IV, Ambassador Stuart is highly praised. Without in any sense wishing to detract from the credit due to Dr. Stuart, it seems improper for such praise to appear in a White Paper. It is also inconsistent for no other Ambassador of the many named in this document is praised—or condemned. It is certainly an exaggeration, if not an inaccuracy, to state that American members of field teams “accomplished miracles” in bringing about cooperation between the Nationalists and the Communists (p. 21, Ch. IV). The entire section on the Executive Headquarters (pp. 17–25, Ch. IV) bears a strong “pro-American, anti-Chinese” slant.

One final comment. I understand a White Paper to be an expression of the United States Government. Just as I do not believe the White Paper can omit Yalta on the grounds that Yalta was “White House,” [Page 1372]I do not believe the Paper can avoid Stilwell24 and his role in China by saying “It was an Army matter of no concern to the State Department.” It would appear to be a matter of considerable concern to this Government.

I understand that a substantial re-writing job is to be done. If the later chapters can be brought up to the excellent level of Chapters I and II, the White Paper will be an important historical document of far-reaching significance and wide public interest.

Very respectfully submitted,

Clark M. Clifford
  1. Not printed.
  2. For communiqué issued by President Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill, and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, released December 1, 1943, by the White House, see Department of State Bulletin, December 4, 1943, p. 393. See also Foreign Relations, The Conferences at Cairo and Tehran, 1943.
  3. See Foreign Relations, The Conferences at Malta and Yalta, 1945, p. 894. Marshal I. V. Stalin was Chairman of the Council of Commissars of the Soviet Union.
  4. Signed February 11, 1945; Foreign Relations, The Conferences at Malta and Yalta, 1945, p. 984.
  5. Donald M. Nelson, Chairman of the War Production Board, Personal Representative of President Roosevelt in China, 1944.
  6. Maj. Gen. Patrick J. Hurley, Personal Representative of President Roosevelt in China, 1944; Ambassador in China, November 1944–November 1945.
  7. V. M. Molotov, Soviet Commissar for Foreign Affairs in 1945.
  8. Signed at Moscow, August 14, 1945; United Nations Treaty Series, vol. x, p. 300, or Department of State, United States Relations With China (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1949), p. 585.
  9. For mission to Moscow of the President of the Chinese Executive Yuan, T. V. Soong, see Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. vii, pp. 851 ff., passim.
  10. Lt. Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell, Commanding General, U.S. Army Forces in the China-Burma-India Theater and Chief of Staff to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, Commander in Chief of the China Theater, 1942–1944.