5-255 Memorandum for Admiral King, October 22, 1945

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: October 22, 1945

Subject: Postwar, China

Memorandum for Admiral King

October 22, 1945 [Washington, D.C.]

Top Secret

SUBJECT: U.S. Military Advisory Group to China1

Two principles that appear to me to be essential in the establishment of the U.S. Advisory Group in China are:

a. That there be no possibility of differing viewpoints on similar matters being placed before the Generalissimo for resolution.

b. That there be some method to insure that duplication and overlapping of functions be avoided between the various groups in China.

Judging from our past experience and the questions now under discussion, it is obvious that there are important matters on which clear agreement does not exist as to whether they are the sole concern of one service or are of joint concern. These matters include intelligence, communications, and the size and composition of forces. Differences in view between the Army and Navy as to what matters are of joint interest have probably occurred recently more often in China than any other areas of the world.2 The amendments in your memorandum of 18 October propose a constitutional framework which I think does not sufficiently guard against the difficulties that are important to avoid.

I suggest that we discuss this matter at the Joint Chiefs of Staff luncheon on Tuesday with a view to making a decision at that time on guidance for the State Department and for commanders in China.3

Document Copy Text Source: Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs (RG 165), Records of the Operations Division (OPD), ABC 336 China [Januart 26, 1943, Section 1-B, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.

Document Format: Typed memorandum.

1. In a letter dated September 10, 1945, Chiang Kai-shek formally requested that the United States establish in China a “military advisory board,” with General Wedemeyer as its head, to help China “reorganize her defensive military machine.” President Truman replied three days later that the U.S. government was exploring the idea of sending advisers and the “form and extent” of such a mission. (Foreign Relations, 1945, 7: 554, 557.)

2. This interservice rivalry is examined in Maochun Yu, OSS in China: Prelude to Cold War [New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1996].)

3. At their October 23 meeting, the Joint Chiefs of Staff approved a memorandum (J.C.S. 1330/10) prepared for the State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee (S.W.N.C.C.) outlining the organization and duties of a proposed 3,880-man Military Advisory Group and the rights or concessions they desired from China to accommodate the operation. (See Foreign Relations, 1945, 7: 590-98.) When the State Department’s Office of Far Eastern Affairs examined the paper in mid-November, it had doubts about the Military Advisory Group’s size and intent, the concessions its presence would require from the Chinese, and the general tenor of the J.C.S. proposal, suggesting that it might appear that the United States was moving toward establishing a “protectorate” over China. In early January 1946, shortly after Marshall began his mediation mission to China, he reduced the proposed Advisory Group to a few hundred people. (Ibid., pp. 614-17, 639-43; Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1946, 11 vols. [Washington: GPO, 1969-72], 10: 810-11.)

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. 333-334.

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