Memorandum by the Director of the Office of Far Eastern Affairs (Butterworth) to the Acting Secretary of State (Webb)

Reference is made to Nanking’s telegram No. 1026 of May 1528 (Tab A) transmitting the text of a message received from Acting President Li informing the Ambassador of the proposed trip to the U.S. of Dr. Kan Chieh-hou as Li’s personal representative.

Dr. Kan recently arrived in Washington, and there is attached a memorandum (Tab B) of a conversation which I had with him on June 2 [1]. I believe that you may wish to read this memorandum in its entirety. There is also attached a copy of a letter (Tab C) dated May 5, 1949 from Acting President Li to the Secretary29 which was left with me by Dr. Kan. Dr. Kan expressed the desire to have an appointment with you, perhaps with the intention of presenting you with the original of Li’s letter to the Secretary, and I recommend that FE30 be instructed to arrange for the appointment if you concur.

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Acting President Li’s appeal for moral and material support as transmitted through Dr. Kan is strongly reminiscent of the approach made by the Generalissimo in his message to the President in November 194831 (Tab D). In that message Chiang appealed for increased military assistance and for “a firm statement of American policy in support of the cause for which my Government is fighting”. In the President’s reply32 (Tab E) he stated that he believed that his previous public statement and that of General Marshall together with the action of the U.S. Government in extending assistance to China under the China Aid Act had made the position of the U.S. clear. Again on December 27, 1948 Madame Chiang Kai-shek handed Mr. Lovett33 a further appeal from the Generalissimo for moral or material support34 (Tab F) in which Chiang indicated that if aid were not forthcoming he would step aside “to make way for negotiation”.

The bitter denunciation of Chiang and his group by Dr. Kan and the professed desire of Li Tsung-jen to make a clean break with all those officials who have sought refuge in Formosa constitute additional evidence of the widening schism within the National Government which may well develop into a situation where there may be two “National Governments”—one in Formosa under the Generalissimo and the other in Chungking under Li Tsung-jen.

  1. Vol. viii, “Political and military situation in China”, chapter IV.
  2. See footnote 10 to letter of May 5, p. 699.
  3. Office of Far Eastern Affairs.
  4. For text, see telegram No. Telmar 155, November 12, 1948, 8 p. m., to the Ambassador in France (Caffery), Foreign Relations, 1948, vol. viii, p. 201.
  5. For text, see telegram No. 1608, November 12, 1948, 7 p. m., to the Ambassador in China, ibid., p. 202.
  6. Robert A. Lovett, Under Secretary of State until January 1949.
  7. See footnote 48, Foreign Relations, 1948, vol. viii, p. 306.