5-439 To Harry S. Truman, May 12, 1946

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: May 12, 1946

Subject: China

To Harry S. Truman

May 12, 1946 Radio No. GOLD 681. [Nanking, China]

Top Secret

Most confidentially,

Generalissimo informed me today that early last week Attache Russian Embassy here requested him to have his son, who speaks Russian and made special trip to Moscow last winter,1 call on Russian Ambassador. Son was in Peiping, so Generalissimo proposed to send Secretary Foreign Affairs. Russians said no, repeat no, that the matter was secret and personal. Son was then brought from Peiping and saw Russian Ambassador Thursday last. He was told that Stalin desired Generalissimo to go to Moscow immediately on completion of meeting now in progress in Paris.2 Generalissimo replied that the situation in China was so serious that he could not leave China at this time.

He said that he had not told me of the affair until he had given his answer as he did not wish to run the risk of embarrassing me.

I replied that, speaking purely personally and without any guidance from my Government, I wished to say that our interest was for peace in China, for a united China; that as for Manchuria we of course wished to see Dairen a genuine free port and American business to have access to Manchuria in common with others, but that peace was our great purpose. We would have no suspicions whatever as to his motives and no resentment regarding such a conference with Stalin. That, as a matter of fact, if Stalin should propose the good offices of the Soviet Government to bring the Chinese Communist in Manchuria to a reasonable agreement with Chinese Central Government provided no U. S. officers were utilized in adjustments or negotiation of Manchurian difficulties I personally would favor his agreement with Soviets. We were working for peace and not special privileges, and I for one would welcome a helpful, repeat helpful intercession by Soviets to compose Manchurian crisis.”3

Note for Colonel Bowen: The secrecy of this must be guarded with every precaution. There must be no slip.4

Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, China Mission, Memoranda-Messages-Cables, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.

Document Format: Typed radio message.

1. Chiang Kai-shek’s thirty-six-year-old eldest son (by his first wife), Major General Chiang Ching-kuo, had met with Stalin on December 30, 1945, and January 3, 1946. As special commissioner of foreign affairs in Peiping, he dealt with the Soviet Union regarding Manchurian affairs.

2. The first part of the second session of the Council of Foreign Ministers (i.e., of France, U.K., U.S., and the U.S.S.R.) met from April 25 to May 16; see Foreign Relations, 1946, 2: 88-440.

3. President Truman replied the following day that he and Acting Secretary of State Acheson approved of Marshall’s reply to the Generalissimo. (Ibid., 9: 846-47.)

4. Like nearly all of Marshall’s radio messages from China to President Truman, this passed through War Department Office of the Chief of Staff channels where it would be handled on an eyes-only basis by Secretary of the General Staff Colonel John W. Bowen.

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. 553-554.

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