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January 18, 1946 [Chungking, China]
GENERAL MARSHALL’S STATEMENT REGARDING
THE CHINESE AIR FORCE1
General Marshall agreed to concur with General Wedemeyers recent proposal for a Chinese air force, provided it was made clear that the proviso that the organization should start with the creation of the carrier groups, drawing on existing personnel for this purpose. That completion of carrier group program should be followed by repairs to damage done combat squadrons of fighter bombers and reconnaissance planes. By that time General Marshall feels that it will be apparent to all from a financial as well as strategical point of view that the maintenance of the medium and heavy bomber units will be inadvisable.2
Document Copy Text Source: Records of the Department of State (RG 59), Lot Files, Marshall Mission, War Department, Originals, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.
Document Format: Handwritten draft.
1. Brigadier General Russell E. Randall of the Air Force Liaison Mission to China was informed that Marshall’s statement was “for reference in case you are queried on this subject by the Generalissimo or other Chinese officials.” (Caughey Memorandum for General Randall, January 18, 1946, NA/RG 59 [Lot Files, Marshall Mission, Military Affairs, Chinese Air Force].) Regarding Marshall’s previous ideas on the possible creation of a Chinese Air Force, see Handy to Wedemeyer, September 11, 1945, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #5-229 [5: 300-301].
2. The War Department received Wedemeyer’s first plan for creating a Chinese Air Force in August 1945. By late October, the Joint Chiefs of Staff had a paper (1330/9) on the subject. In December, Headquarters, Army Air Forces, China Theater sent in a plan, and the J.C.S. requested Wedemeyer’s comments on it. (M.S.J. [Colonel Max S. Johnson, chief, Strategy Section, Operations Division] Memorandum for Colonel Roberts, January 9, 1946, Subject: Proposed Chinese Air Force, NA/RG 319 [OPD, ABC 336 China (January 26, 1942)].)
Marshall’s statement resulted from Wedemeyer’s memorandum to him that was to be the basis of the theater commander’s reply to the War Department. Wedemeyer recommended that the War Department approve a program to create four fighter/bomber groups, two troop carrier groups, one medium bomb group, one heavy bomb group, and one photo reconnaissance squadron. Priority was to be given to the troop carrier groups. (Wedemeyer Memorandum to General Marshall, January 9, 1946, NA/RG 59 [Lot Files, Marshall Mission, War Department, Wedemeyer File].) For more on U.S. plans for training and equipping the Chinese Air Force, see Foreign Relations, 1946, 10: 767-86.
Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 5, “The Finest Soldier,” January 1, 1945-January 7, 1947 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003), pp. 424-425.