5-382 To James R. Shepley, March 6, 1946

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

Subject: China

To James R. Shepley

March 6, 1946 Radio No. GOLD 281. [Chungking, China]

Top Secret

Returned few hours ago from trip through North China and to border of Inner Mongolia, some three thousand miles. I found your message of March 1st. Many thanks. Am contacting Soong regarding Beal and Reston.1

Took commissioners with me on travels. I found our presence was urgently needed and had most happy results. We saw principal leaders, talked with extreme frankness and terminated almost all of the complications some of which were threatening. Sieges or encirclements productive of starvation and animated by presence of puppet troops were abolished. Resistance to opening of communication work was terminated. All commanders were brought to an understanding of the much more important things before us. They without exception assure me in most emphatic terms that they would comply with complete loyalty and energetically to the terms of all agreements, they would put aside their differences and bitter feelings during this critical period. I had completely frank conversations with the old warlord present Governor at Taiyuan2 and Mao Tse-tung at Yenan. If reiteration after reiteration of intention to cooperate in every way means anything, I think we are on the way to immediate clearing up of conditions throughout North China. We arrived just in time I think and the results I believe will be highly beneficial. I believe Chou had to deal pretty strongly with some of his people and Chang much the same.

I plan to send the President a wire tonight reporting on my trip and the situation and as directed by him notifying him that I wish his message of recall to be sent immediately and his statement given to the press that I was being brought home to report on various details and would return to China. I will probably leave here no repeat no later than the twelfth and will probably fly straight through without spending any time en route. I will bring nobody home with me except Sergeant Wing and will drop him on the West Coast for a visit home.3

I hope you get another opportunity to talk to the President. I received your message regarding the Secretary of State business.4 I am beginning to think that maybe that would be my only way of escape from this burden.

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. Marshall thought that the Chinese government should consider the American press’s reaction to certain of its policies. He had protested to officials about “the harm they were causing, but Marshall felt cautionary advice would be more effective if the government heard it from someone independent of his mission. The Chinese, he concluded, needed an adviser familiar with both U. S. Government thinking and American public opinion. Accordingly he suggested that they hire an American adviser for this purpose. The Chinese government promptly agreed but since it was his idea they asked him to find a suitable candidate.” (John Robinson Beal, Marshall in China [New York: Doubleday and Company, 1970], p. 4.) T. V. Soong rejected the first three candidates suggested by General Wedemeyer, so Marshall asked Shepley to present some others. (Marshall to Shepley, Radio No. GOLD 240, February 24, 1946, NA/RG 59 [Lot Files, Marshall Mission, Military Affairs, GOLD Messages].) In his March 1 message, Shepley nominated John R. Beal, Washington news editor for Time magazine, and Scott B. Reston of the New York Times. (Shepley to Marshall, March 1, 1946, NA/RG 59 [Lot Files, Marshall Mission, War Department, Reports to the President].) For further developments, see Marshall to Soong, March 18, 1946, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #5-399 [5: 509].

2. General Yen Hsi-shan had been governor of Shansi province, whose capital was Taiyuan, between 1912 and 1927 and again since 1943. In 1930, he had fought a major separatist war against Chiang Kai-shek and the Nationalists.

3. Wing’s home was in Hanford, California.

4. Shepley had told Marshall about a March 4 story by Constantine Brown at the top of the first page of the Washington Star asserting that Marshall was to become secretary of state because the president was displeased with James Byrnes’s negotiations at the Moscow Foreign Ministers Conference. Shepley thought the story was “a calculated attempt to embarrass the secretary irregardless of the fact that it embarrasses you at the same time.” (Shepley to Marshall, Radio No. WAR-99329, March 5, 1946, NA/RG 59 [Lot Files, Marshall Mission, Military Affairs, Messages In].)

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. 489-490.

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