5-457 To Lieutenant General Albert C. Wedemeyer, June 1, 1946

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: June 1, 1946

Subject: China

To Lieutenant General Albert C. Wedemeyer

June 1, 1946 Radio No. GOLD 807. [Nanking, China]

Top Secret, Eyes Only

Reference your message 29th,1 action in your case has been delayed in hopes earlier peaceful settlement here would have been accomplished before announcement, for several reasons, effect of suggestion of my withdrawal on CC clique and Communists both, weakening of my influence on Gimo in view of his insistence on my long stay here, your inclusion with me in Communist propaganda against U. S. assistance to Government armies in present fighting. I had hoped to have fighting terminated several weeks ago but matter still drags with Government military now pressing their temporary advantage to the limit.

Problem of congressional adjournment had not occurred to me but will have to be taken into account immediately. I have a hope to precipitate initiation of settlement within next 48 hours. If not successful we will have to go ahead with your affair.2

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. Wedemeyer did not know that Marshall had asked that his nomination as ambassador to China be delayed (see Marshall to the Secretary of State, May 11, 1946, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #5-438 [5: 553]), and Marshall apparently did not know that Wedemeyer had not been told (see Carter to Marshall, June 3, 1946, NA/RG 59 [Lot Files, Marshall Mission, War Department, Miscellaneous Files, Wedemeyer]). In his May 29 message, Wedemeyer said that he wanted his status clarified as “I tentatively plan to leave Washington between June 10 and 15 for China. . . . In as much as legislation is involved and the adjournment of busy congress is scheduled for early summer some action is clearly repeat clearly indicated.” (Wedemeyer to Marshall, May 29, 1946, ibid.)

2. Secretary of State Byrnes had not been informed of Marshall’s desires regarding Wedemeyer’s nomination, and on June 12 he met with the general and offered him the job. Wedemeyer asked him to clear this with Marshall—to which Byrnes agreed. Wedemeyer told the secretary that if Marshall “could not accomplish amicable arrangements between the opposing factions, I know of no one who could do so.” Moreover, Wedemeyer said, his experiences in China had taught him that “an American could foresee the goal to be attained and also the methods by which the various forces involved could be integrated or coordinated. However, the devious ways of the Chinese would invariably interfere with the attainment of goals; sometimes there were malicious and intentional circumventions; sometimes there were simple stupidities and incompetencies involved.” (Wedemeyer to Marshall, June 13, 1946, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [China Mission, General].)

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), p. 572.

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