5-309 Memorandum of Conversation, December 26, 1945

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: December 26, 1945

Subject: China

Memorandum of Conversation

December 26, 1945 [Chungking, China]

Top Secret

Notes on Conference with the Generalissimo and Madame Chiang

Kai-shek at the Country Residence, December 26, 19451

Following the Christmas dinner, the Generalissimo and Madame Chiang took me with the American Minister, Mr. Robertson, and the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Wang, to the cottage on their country place. There the Generalissimo discussed several matters with me.

He asked my advice on the following:

He said that Stalin had requested him to send a representative to Moscow and he had in mind sending his son. He wanted my advice in the matter. I told him that I thought he should meet Stalin’s request, but I thought it imperative that the individual selected be one who would be very direct in his dealings with Stalin or the Russian Staff.

The Generalissimo informed me that the Russians had requested him to place troops in Changchun, the capital of Manchuria, and that he had given directions to fly a division in from Peiping. He asked my opinion regarding this. I told him his decision seemed the proper one.

He made some reference to the Russian attitude in Manchuria and I outlined at considerable length the United States experience with the Russians in Germany which included the question of what constituted “war booty”. I pointed out that a number of the actions of the Russians which the Chinese, the Generalissimo and Mr. Soong had talked to me as indicative of Russia’s collaboration with the Chinese Communist party and Russia’s maneuvers to deny Chinese control of any kind in Manchuria, were identical with the technique Russia had followed in dealings with the United States in other portions of the world. I stated that to me it was very important to determine whether or not the Russian Government was in contact with and was advising the Chinese Communist party for that I regarded it as very important to eliminate from consideration those Russian actions which were common to our procedure in any portion of the world.2

I spoke to the Generalissimo regarding the serious state of affairs as to winter equipment that I had been told applied to his divisions near Kowloon and at Tientsin which were due for transfer to Manchuria; I told him that I had taken up with the War Department the question of locating winter equipment either in Alaska or the United States, or possibly in MacArthur’s forces, for issue to these Chinese divisions and I told him that I had not received definite information from the United States on the subject, but had received a preliminary message which indicated the possibility that such equipment in certain amounts could be made available on the coast of China seven weeks after the orders were given in the United States.3

I also told the Generalissimo I was looking into the question of certain supplies in Burma, some 50 million dollars worth, which might be of immediate importance to the rehabilitation of China. He expressed appreciation in these matters and said that he would send two officers to see me. One to explain the situation from the Chinese point of view in Burma, and one to discuss the economic picture in China.

Document Copy Text Source: Records of the Department of State (RG 59), Lot Files, Marshall Mission, Political Affairs, Conferences Miscellaneous, vol. 1, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.

Document Format: Typed memorandum.

1. The Christmas dinner was on December 25; Marshall’s notes were written on the twenty-sixth.

2. Marshall asked Secretary of State Byrnes for personal and confidential “assistance in evaluating whether difficulties the Generalissimo reports to me in his relations with Soviet in Manchuria are purely in the pattern of our own similar difficulties in Europe or whether Soviet policy here is deliberately calculated to mitigate against an effective and unified China.” (Foreign Relations, 1945, 7: 813. As the secretary did not receive it, Marshall sent the message again on January 3, 1946; see Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1946, 11 vols. [Washington: GPO, 1969-72], 9: 11.) Byrnes replied that while Stalin suspected the United States of intending to remain in China militarily, “he denied aiding Communists in Manchuria and said they had no military strength there and that the National Government had exaggerated the situation.” Byrnes thought that the course of Soviet relations in China was in the “same pattern as our relations in Europe”; Stalin “intends living up to his treaty with China and will not intentionally do anything to destroy our efforts for unified China.” (Foreign Relations, 1946, 9: 17-18.)

3. Marshall had initially cabled the War Department on December 22 requesting a “quick investigation” of U.S. Army winter clothing stockpiles for the estimated 250,000 Nationalist troops in or going to Manchuria. On the twenty-ninth he requested “most expeditious action” on the matter and on January 3 “immediate action.” (All three messages [unnumbered, GOLD 4, and GOLD 13] are in NA/RG 59 [Lot Files, Marshall Mission, Military Affairs, GOLD Messages].)

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. 402-404.

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