Executive Secretariat Files

Memorandum by the Executive Secretary of the National Security Council (Souers)

Subject: Coordination of Policy Respecting Delivery of Aid to China

At its 34th meeting the National Security Council noted the attached memorandum by the Secretary of Defense on the subject and agreed to recommend to the President, with respect to the President’s decision concerning the delivery of military aid to China, as indicated in Reference A,45 that the President direct that this decision be implemented by all appropriate Executive Departments and Agencies of the U.S. Government under the coordination of the Secretary of State.

The President has this date approved the above recommendation and accordingly directs that his decision concerning the delivery of military aid to China, as indicated in Reference A, be implemented by all appropriate Executive Departments and Agencies of the U.S. Government under the coordination of the Secretary of State.

Sidney W. Souers
[Annex]

Memorandum by the Secretary of Defense (Forrestal) to the Executive Secretary of the National Security Council (Souers)

Subject: Coordination of Policy Respecting Delivery of Aid to China

1.
In your memorandum of 8 February 1949, you informed the National Security Council that the President has decided that, in order [Page 489]not to discourage continued Chinese resistance to Communist aggression, shipments of military aid should not be suspended or terminated, but no effort should be made to expedite deliveries.
2.
I believe that responsibility for giving guidance in carrying out this policy should be clearly fixed, in order that there may be full coordination of the way in which the policy is implemented by the various branches of the Government. At the present time, the several departments of the National Military Establishment have to interpret independently their responsibilities for implementing the program of aid to China. This is also true of the other branches of the Government, including the Treasury Department (with respect to certain procurement) and Commerce Department (with respect to export licenses), which are also involved in implementing the program. As a result, difficulties arise with respect to interpreting the way in which the program should be carried out.
3.
In order to remedy these difficulties and to prevent conflicts of interpretation from arising in this situation, which is changing so rapidly and may give rise to emergency problems, I wish to recommend that, in accordance with normal National Security Council procedure, the Secretary of State coordinate the implementation and interpretation by all appropriate executive departments and agencies of the U.S. policy respecting delivery of aid to China.

James Forrestal
  1. Memorandum by the Executive Secretary of the National Security Council, February 8, p. 486.↩