5-432 To Colonel Marshall S. Carter, May 9, 1946

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: May 9, 1946

Subject: China

To Colonel Marshall S. Carter

May 9, 1946 Radio No. GOLD 664. [Nanking, China]


Our Embassy and Consulate people are having strenuous time in China in managing a decent standard of living. Consumer goods are seldom available at all and when available are so exorbitant in price as to preclude purchase. Basic foodstuffs sell at prohibitive prices. Rents for suitable quarters are beyond capacity to pay. Furthermore the Embassy and Consulate are not organized in a manner to maintain themselves in view of recent withdrawal of Army support, particularly as to commissary and post exchange supplies and motor transportation. Many are now finding themselves in dire straits.

I am informed that War Department regulations were the basis upon which Army support was withdrawn. What steps can I take to secure extension of privileges, which the Army is, and will continue to be, in a position to render here in China? It is extremely important for Americans in governmental service in China not only to be clothed in a dignity befitting their position which is not now possible under fantastic condition of inflation but in a manner to support high morale and pride in the service they are rendering.

I am aware of budget considerations and necessity for other departments to bear their legitimate expenses but this ia virtually a theater of war with all Americans fighting on one team and the numbers involved are small.1

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

Document Format: Typed radio message.

1. The editors have not found Colonel Carter’s response to this message. In mid-May, Acting Secretary of State Dean Acheson told Marshall: “You may rest assured that we shall do everything in our power to place Shanghai and other China posts on an adequate footing as quickly as possible.” The department would authorize salary increases for Chinese employees and the establishment of a commissary. (Acheson to Marshall, Radio No. 127, May 14, 1946, NA/RG 59 [Lot Files, Marshall Mission, Political Affairs, Messages In—Embassy].) The following week Marshall instructed Carter to “thank Handy, Hull et cetera for generous action regarding support of State Department personnel in China.” (Marshall to Carter, Radio No. GOLD 737, May 22, 1946, 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. 545-546.

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