4-332 Memorandum for the President, April 4, 1944

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: April 4, 1944

Subject: World War II

Memorandum for the President

April 4, 1944 [Washington, D.C.]


Subject: Mission to North China.

General Stilwell has informed me that the Generalissimo refuses to authorize any U. S. officer or Consular official to go into the Yenan District (Communistic Area). This amounts to a withdrawal of his statement to you in his message of 23 February 1944, in which he indicated, “he would do all he could to facilitate the plan.” Refusal to permit the mission to enter Communistic areas negates the purpose of the proposed mission.1

In view of the importance of persuading the Generalissimo to order some offensive action by the Yunnan force, I doubt the advisability of pressing him at this time to reverse his decision regarding the visit to the Yenan District.

[P.S.] Since above was dictated the attached message from Chungking has arrived. I still think my proposal in par. 2 above is sound.2

G. C. M.

Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.

Document Format: Typed memorandum signed.

1. On February 9 President Roosevelt had requested Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek’s support and cooperation for a plan to send an American observer mission to Communist north China, which was to gather information on the Japanese army that was concentrated in north China and Manchuria and to survey the possibilities of future ground and air operations. The Generalissimo replied on February 22: “I shall be glad to do all I can to facilitate your plan to send an American Observer Mission to gain more accurate information regarding the troop concentration of our common enemy in North China and Manchuria. I have already issued instructions to the Ministry of War to get into touch with General Stilwell’s Headquarters in order to map out a prospective itinerary for the Mission in all areas where the political authority of the National Government extends, and wherever our army is stationed.” (Riley Sunderland and Charles F. Romanus, eds., Stilwell’s Personal File: China-Burma-India, 1941-1944, 5 vols. [Wilmington, Del.: Scholarly Resources, 1976], 5: 1913, 1938.) When General Marshall queried Stilwell on March 20 as to the status of the mission, Stilwell replied on March 30: “CKS definitely refuses to allow any US Army Officer or Consular Official to go into the Yenan District (Communist Area). He says the President does not understand the conditions and the sinister intentions of the Communists.” (Marshall to Stilwell, Radio No. 4784, March 20, 1944, NA/RG 165 [OPD, TS Message File (CM-OUT-8401)]; Stilwell to Marshall, Radio No. 15442, March 30, 1944, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected]. For further information regarding Chiang Kai-shek, see Marshall Memorandum for the President, April 11, 1944, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-343 [4: 401-2].)

2. On April 4 Marshall received a message from Stilwell, who insisted that it was essential that an observer mission proceed to the Communist areas. “Military reasons include the need of remedying the present flow of enemy intelligence from north China and Manchuria, assistance to air operations, including evasion and rescue work in guerrilla and occupied areas which will become of increasing importance, and study of possible utilization of Communist guerrillas in ground operations in North China. Political reasons include the important bearing of Chinese Communist relations with the Central Gov’t and with Russia on future developments in China, particularly the North and Manchuria.” Stilwell included a proposed message for President Roosevelt to send to the Generalissimo, advocating that he reconsider allowing the observer mission to proceed. (Stilwell to Marshall, Radio No. CFB-15551, April 1, 1944, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)

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. 4, “Aggressive and Determined Leadership,” June 1, 1943-December 31, 1944 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), p. 387.

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