5-588 To Colonel Marshall S. Carter, November 6, 1946

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: November 6, 1946

Subject: China

To Colonel Marshall S. Carter

November 6, 1946 Radio No. GOLD 1727. [Nanking, China]

Secret, Eyes Only

Reference my GOLD 1673 and your WAR-84274 please arrange to have private interview with Eisenhower and Handy. Request Eisenhower to read GOLD 1673, Nanking Embassy 1737 to Sec State and his Byrnes 979 dated November 3d and finally your 84274.1 State that I do not wish to run contrary to War Department desires but am very much puzzled regarding logic of statements of OPD and G-2 in your 84274. For example the statement “There are no offensive implications in the plan” is so completely the opposite of my impression that I am at a loss to comprehend OPD or G-2 reasoning. Also the statement “It is limited to China and will not include foreign areas contiguous to China” seemingly invites a facetious retort since the first priority for action includes Manchuria. While the outlay is not my business anymore yet I am puzzled by the contrast between such a critical shortage of United States ground personnel in China that safe flying has at times been endangered and the requirement for 2,000 United States personnel in China. Naturally the Government here is agreeable to mapping plan because it implies United States backing of Kuomintang Party by introduction of large increase in United States Army personnel and also their thesis and hope that we must become involved in backing them in possible strife with Communists, Chinese or Soviets.

I have struggled against a continuous series of factors which have been productive of bitter feeling and offensive propaganda, KMT political intrigues inciting demonstrations, Soviet action in Manchuria, United States congressional discussion of Lend Lease, Military Advisory Group and munitions, Marine incidents, and lastly the surplus property transfer which has invoked more of misunderstanding and bitter attacks than anything else. Now the initiation of the mapping project with the much advertised and feared B29s as an important factor will cause silent rejoicing among KMT political die hards and general confusion of issues and question of American integrity of purpose in connection with my mission. Get Eisenhower to give me the benefit of his completely frank opinion.2

Document Copy Text Source: Records of the Department of State (RG 59), Lot Files, Marshall Mission, Military Affairs, GOLD Messages, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.

Document Format: Typed radio message.

1. In November 1945, the War Department began pressing the Chinese government for permission to take aerial photographs in order to make a map of China and Formosa (with the subsequent addition of Tibet, Sinkiang, Inner Mongolia, and Manchuria). On October 17, 1946, the Sino-American Cooperative Mapping Agreement was signed in Nanking. (Foreign Relations, 1946, 10: 1261-63.) In GOLD 1673 of October 20, Marshall instructed Colonel Carter to talk to the War Department Plans and Operations section and John Carter Vincent at the State Department about the project: “It seems to me that if the operation gets underway in the near future it will inevitably raise a Soviet, if not a Chinese Communist, storm of propaganda to the effect that United States is openly preparing for war against Soviets in Far Eastern Theatre.” (NA/RG 59 [Lot Files, Marshall Mission, Military Affairs, GOLD Messages].) Ambassador Stuart (Radio No. Embassy 1737, October 25) recommended to the State Department that the project be “held in abeyance” until the political consequences of public knowledge of the project could be ascertained. The State Department agreed. (Radio No. 979, November 1.) (Foreign Relations, 1946, 10: 1265-67.) The editors have not found Carter’s WAR-84274.

2. Eisenhower replied that he agreed with Marshall’s “estimate of probable effect on the political situation. I know that you appreciate the great desirability from the purely military standpoint of having adequate map coverage in the China area and realize that you considered this factor in reaching your conclusions. In all matters affecting China I have consistently acted on the basis that the success of your mission is over-riding and you must have the eventual say.” He would halt further action on the mapping project. Marshall replied: “I wanted your brutally frank opinion rather than your expressions of complete willingness to cooperate with me of which I already felt assured. I am sending this to make sure that you are not repeat not acting against your own best judgment. I am clear in my view but nevertheless I wanted to have the benefit of yours.” To which the army chief of staff responded: “I thought I had made it perfectly clear that no repeat no military desirability of a mapping program should weigh repeat weigh against any slightest element involving the suc[c]ess of your mission. I assure you that my views completely parallel your own and I have issued orders accordingly.” (Eisenhower to Marshall, Radio No. WAR-85025, November 8, 1946, NA/RG 59 [Lot Files, Marshall Mission, Military Affairs, Carter Correspondence, vol. 3]; Marshall to Eisenhower, Radio No. GOLD 1734, November 8, 1946, NA/RG 59 [Lot Files, Marshall Mission, Military Affairs, GOLD Messages]; Eisenhower to Marshall, Radio No. 85216, November 12, 1946, NA/RG 59 [Lot Files, Marshall Mission, Military Affairs, Mapping Project-Top Secret].)

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. 734-735.

Digital Downloads




Holding Rights: Public Information
Holding ID: 5-588

Rights: Public Information