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To T. V. Soong
March 18, 1946 Radio No. WAR-80983. Washington, D.C.
Personal to Gillem from Marshall.
Please pass the following to Doctor T. V. Soong: “I propose John R. Beal, Washington news editor of Time magazine, as best available man to act as advisor to the Chinese government on foreign press and political relations. He has been a very able and distinguished Washington correspondent for the past fifteen years. He knows the United States Congress intimately and also the ramifications of government departments and influences. He is prepared to consider the job favorably on the basis of one year’s sabbatical leave from Time magazine. If you consider him favorably please radio me the terms you propose and I will have Shepley discuss details with him.”1
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, China Mission, Memoranda-Messages-Cables, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed radio message.
1. Beal was surprised when James R. Shepley suggested the assignment to him, as he had no expertise in East Asian affairs. “Your mission,” Shepley replied, “will be to keep the Chinese out of trouble with the United States.” (See note 1, Marshall to Shepley, March 6, 1946, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #5-382 [5: 489-90].) Although he was familiar with some of the common American perceptions of the Nationalists and the Communists in China, Beal recalled being surprised to hear his State Department briefer assert that “T. V. Soong is the greatest crook in the world.” Given the importance and worrisome vagueness of his assignment, Beal decided to keep a journal, the edited version of which was published in 1970 as Marshall in China. Marshall told Beal to get to China as quickly as possible, and he arrived in Shanghai on April 28. (Beal, Marshall in China, pp. 4-6.)
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. 509.