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To James F. Byrnes
March 7, 1946 Radio No. GOLD 286. [Chungking, China]
Dear Mr. Secretary:
General Wedemeyer informs me that the evacuation and repatriation of Japanese is now proceeding at a rapid rate from China proper and that shipping now involved in this procedure will be gradually liberated starting April 15th unless Japanese personnel from Manchuria reaches the ports ready for embarkation.
The Japanese soldiers of Manchuria are in the hands of the Russians. Japanese civilians are scattered about in the country but we have no data regarding them except in the few places occupied by Chinese troops.
What procedure should be followed? (a) I might write directly and somewhat informally to the Russian Ambassador here stating the shipping situation and requesting him to ascertain whether or not the Russian Government wished to turn over the Japanese soldiers at Dairen or other port or elsewhere for shipment home and making much the same inquiry regarding Japanese civilians or (b) the State Department make the inquiry.
The point is that unless we receive early advice this shipping will be lost to the movement.1
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. Byrnes replied that he thought option (a) was better. He also noted that the Soviets had told him in December that the Japanese troops in Manchuria had been disarmed and moved to Soviet territory. With regard to Japanese civilians, the secretary of state agreed that it was a good idea for the U.S. to offer the shipping, but he did not wish to “make an issue of the matter at this time should the Soviets prove reluctant to accept the offer.” (Foreign Relations, 1946, 10: 890.)
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. 494-495.