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To the Acting Secretary of State
October 5, 1946 Radio No. GOLD 1601. [Nanking, China]
The Commanding General of the Marine Forces in China has submitted to COM Seventh Fleet a request to obtain authorization for dependents to join the officers and men of his command in China. I am in sympathy with this request, but must consider the world reaction in view of the current reports regarding presence of Marines in China. Arrival of dependents could and probably would be misconstrued as evidence that the United States intends to keep the Marines here indefinitely.
On the other hand, the move might be justified as a privilege accorded Army and Navy personnel now serving here,1 to the Marines in view of the fact that this station for several years will be in the Pacific when they are withdrawn from China. If handled in this manner by a planted question in a State or Navy Department interview immediately following notification of families, I would offer no objections from this end, but the question I am sure is one requiring consideration by the State Department.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. The first ship carrying U.S. Army and Air Forces dependents had arrived in Shanghai September 22. Due to the severe housing shortage in Nanking, Shanghai, and Peiping, Marshall had to intervene with the Chinese government several times to arrange for housing rentals. The War Department was warned that an officer who tried to rent housing on the open market would discover that it cost more than his salary. (DETCO Shanghai to War Department, Radio No. 260530Z, September 26, 1946, NA/RG 59 [Lot Files, Marshall Mission, War Department, Dependents].)
2. Someone wrote on the War Department’s received version of this message: “Navy takes dim view [of sending Marine dependents], but if they consider, will coordinate with State.” (CM-IN-1214. [October 6, 1946], ibid.)
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. 708-709.