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To Lieutenant General Albert C. Wedemeyer from Lieutenant General Thomas T. Handy
September 11, 1945 [Radio No. WAR-62610.] Washington, D.C.
For Wedemeyer’s eyes only from Handy.
In General Marshall’s discussion with Madame Chiang Kai Shek prior to her departure from the U.S.1 it is my understanding that he commented on the possibilities in the field of aviation for China in the post war period not only from the military standpoint but from the civil as well. He emphasized his feeling that China should not attempt to maintain a large peacetime Army or Air Force but that a small, well trained and well equipped Army with adequate means of transportation and a small efficient Air Force would best meet her needs; that the paucity of surface communications in China precludes rapid movement of military forces, therefore proper development of China’s transport aviation would be very beneficial not only on the efficiency of Chinese military forces but would provide rapid communications for other purposes. He indicated that we would have a surplus of transport planes once the requirements for occupation and returning personnel to this country had been met; that if Chinese pilots could be trained to handle these planes and arrangements worked out as to their transfer to Chinese agencies it would be of mutual benefit to both United States and China to turn some of these planes over to the Chinese. The whole discussion was of a relatively broad nature and no commitments were made.
General Marshall felt that if a way could be found to furnish China the means of developing air transport the results would be far reaching. Serious doubt exists as to whether the Chinese can be trained as pilots for planes as large as the C-54. It would seem, however, that such could be accomplished in time. The method of transfer of these planes would have to be worked out and would have to be on some basis other than lend lease. In order to get an efficient organization in China the Chinese probably would have to develop an air transport system under military control.
Reply to invitation to visit China will be answered by Chief of Staff later.
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed radio message.
1. Madame Chiang left Washington, D.C., for China on the evening of August 29, 1945, having been in the United States for much of the past year. She had flown to Rio de Janeiro in mid-July 1944 for medical treatment. In mid-September 1944 she entered Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City reportedly “suffering from nervous exhaustion, insomnia, and chronic urticaria.” After leaving the hospital in October 1944, she lived in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. (New York Times, August 30, 1945, p. 4; July 14, 1944, p. 1; September 12, 1944, p. 10; October 9, 1944, p. 25.)
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. 300-301.