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To Colonel Marshall S. Carter
January 4, 1947 Radio No. GOLD 1897. [Nanking, China]
Top Secret, Eyes Only
Please pass to SecState.
Dear Mister Secretary:
Your message (WAR-88875)1 has been received and the President’s desires regarding mediation activities of Doctor Stuart and my return home for consultation have been noted.
I think it best for me to delay my departure and any notification to the Generalissimo and others of this purpose, until a decision is reached by the Government regarding a mission to Yenan and the Communist reaction is known. Also I would suggest that the first public notice of my intended return should be in Washington but only 24 hours repeat 24 hours before my departure from Nanking. Otherwise I will be considerably embarrassed by a series of governmental formalities. End of SecState message.
Since writing the foregoing your WAR-88932 has arrived regarding President’s desire for me to arrive in Washington by January 10.2 To do so I would have to leave here tomorrow morning or make a day and night continuous flight which imposes too much of fatigue for my years. Please urgently see President again and find out if January 10 is an imperative date. He may possibly have expressed himself carelessly. I had planned to rest up a week in Hawaii. I think I fully understand matter to be discussed. My answer is in affirmative if that continues to be his desire.3 My personal reaction is something else.
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. See note 1, Marshall to Truman, December 28, 1946, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #5-610 [5: 767].
2. Carter noted that he had shown President Truman Secretary Byrnes’s message (Radio No. WAR-88875). “Mr. Truman suggested that I advise you in the utmost secrecy that he hoped you could be back by 10 January. Mr. Truman’s concern is connected with the last two words of Mr. Byrnes’s message [i.e., “other matters”], and the project that the President has previously discussed with you.” (Foreign Relations, 1946, 10: 681.)
3. Carter reported (Radio No. WAR-88993, January 4, 1947) that the president indicated that there was “nothing imperative about your presence here on 10 January,” when Truman expected to announce that Marshall would be nominated to be secretary of state. (Ibid., pp. 681-82.)
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. 768-769.