5-363 To James R. Shepley, February 20, 1946

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: February 20, 1946

Subject: China

To James R. Shepley

February 20, 1946 Radio No. GOLD 218. [Chungking, China]

Top Secret

I have spoken to Wedemeyer regarding ambassadorship to China. He will accept this position if he is asked. I may in the near future, recommend Wedemeyer to the President. I understand that Mr. Byrnes questioned him on this point last October. Also, Generalissimo expressed desire for appointment. Use your judgment regarding discussion of the matter with President and Byrnes.1

Another subject: I have been meeting almost every day with General Chang Chih-chung and General Chou En-lai on the reorganization of the Chinese armies. We have made excellent progress and apparently there remain but two points to be resolved. Chang generally accepts initiation of integration in the latter half of first stage but presses for fusion of personnel in second stage—i.e. last six months of eighteen month period. The Communists on the other hand desire to delay army integration until after the first stage of twelve months in order to, I am now inclined to believe, more for purpose of permitting them to reorganize into a respectable divisional appearance more than for purpose of maintaining a sufficiently large separate force until they have achieved their purpose in organization of constitutional government. I introduced a compromise proposal in order to get on with the integration. That proposal follows. “During the first twelve months there shall be organized three army groups each consisting of one National and one Communist army. Each army shall consist of three divisions. The schedule for establishing these army groups shall be as follows: one army group shall be organized during the seventh month; another the eighth month; and another the ninth month.

“During the following six months these three army groups shall be reorganized, creating four separate armies each consisting of one National and two Communist divisions and two separate armies each consisting of two National and one Communist divisions; an additional Communist division being added for this purpose. Thereafter, the organization of army groups shall be terminated.” General Chou En-lai states that he personally favors this proposal but cannot proceed any further without approval from Yenan. I sent him to Yenan on 19 February in order to make personal representations to Chairman Mao. We are awaiting his return today before proceeding. Chang really did not oppose a delay of a year in initiating integration. I did though, because I thought it dangerous to permit the passage of so much time without any positive action of integration. My plan incidentally only concerns the ten Communist divisions which are to be in existence at the end of eighteen months.

The second point at issue is the question of military and railway police. Fear of Tai Li animates Chou in this matter. Tai Li is now organizing 18 regiments of railroad police of which he is the C in C.2

Chou wants to start on inspection trip as soon as possible and guesses we will be clear to start in about eight days. He wants to go to the same places in North China we had in mind, but also includes Yenan, Hankow, Nanking, Canton and Mukden.

I asked WARCOS to give you a copy of my radio to the President of 19 February 1946 (GOLD 205).3

Another subject for Colonel Bowen:4

Please telephone the following to President’s secretary Mr. [Matthew J.] Connelly: “General Marshall requests me to ask you to arrange for a half hour conference with the President for James Shepley who accompanied the General to Chungking as an attache of the State Department and took a leading part in the negotiations. He is returning home at conclusion of his leave of absence from Time magazine and can bring the President up to date on the situation and the future problems and difficulties.”

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. According to Marshall’s appointments diary, he met with Wedemeyer on February 15 and 16. On his return to Shanghai, Wedemeyer wrote to Marshall about their discussion about his and Marshall’s future plans. “You indicated that you felt the following schedule might be accomplished if I accepted the position of Ambassador upon your relief which you stated would probably occur next Fall: (1) You would go to the States in March and return to China about the first of April. (2) I would return to the States the first week in April for a scheduled operation on my sinus. (3) If the deactivation of the Theater were progressing according to our presently projected plans, in all probability I would not return to China Theater but would be given some temporary duty until such time as my appointment to the Ambassador’s post became effective perhaps early Fall. . . . (4) If you were appointed Secretary of State, I would be continued in role of Ambassador to China for approximately one year and then would be assigned to post in the State Department. . . . If the President appoints me Ambassador to China I will accept but I hope that in so doing that I will ultimately be assigned to the State Department to assist you, the Secretary of State, or be returned to the Army as an active military man.” (Wedemeyer to Marshall, February 17, 1946, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [China Mission, General].)

Concerning suggestions in 1945 that Wedemeyer become ambassador, see Wedemeyer Reports!, pp. 358, 364. The president describes his problems with Secretary of State Byrnes and his desire to appoint Marshall as secretary in Harry S. Truman, Memoirs, vol. 1, Year of Decisions (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday and Company, 1955), pp. 546-52.

2. Regarding Major General Tai Li, see note 2, Marshall to Wedemeyer, February 18, 1946, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #5-360 [5: 458].

3. See Marshall to Truman, February 19, 1946, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #5-361 [5: 458-60].

4. In mid-November 1945, at army chief of staff designate Dwight Eisenhower’s request, Marshall had appointed Colonel John W. Bowen (U.S.M.A., 1932) secretary of the General Staff.

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. 461-463.

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