5-493 To the Department of State, July 2, 1946

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: July 2, 1946

Subject: China

To the Department of State

July 2, 1946 Radio No. GOLD 1040. [Nanking, China]

SWNCC 291/1 reached me at most critical time of my current tour in China, right at the eleventh hour of my negotiations when I and my small staff were in the fourth week of continuous pressure without respite. I have not the time now to give this paper on “Security Implications in Manchurian Situation” the consideration it merits.1

At first glance, conclusions appear basically sound. There is considerable attention devoted to Manchuria. We should probably encourage China in an effort to locate the center of gravity of its industry further south. Manchurian resources should be tapped to a maximum but the area is very vulnerable strategically. It would be better if possible to avoid a heavy concentration of industrial strength there.

Page 13, paragraph 4 (d), in the middle sentence regarding the Soviet trained leaders it might be added “and to improve the harsh conditions under which the peasantry lives”.2 However, from past experience it would seem that the most drastic measures would be necessary to influence the controlling clique of Kuomintang leaders sufficiently to effect the large scale reforms which are necessary.

On page 15, paragraph 4, (g) apparently overlooks the opportunity to make use of facilities and technical ability provided by the United Nations Economic and Social Council in addition to Japanese technicians.3 Also it appears that the power of the loan to China has already been overplayed. While the Chinese want it for the long term pull, a popular view of some National Government officials is to plan on going ahead without it.

On page 16, paragraph 4, (k) makes the statement that the position of the United States vis-a-vis China and Manchuria is exceptionally strong, etc.4 This is not as valid today as it was prior to Yalta agreement. This agreement legalized Soviet position in Manchuria and thus weakened ours.5 It made it difficult for United States to continue its historic policy of insisting upon territorial and administrative integrity of China.

Last but not least, the outbreak of a general civil war in China might well require a reorientation of our policy toward China. Since what this paper states is repetition of what is already well established fact, I suggest the paper be submitted to the President “to note” instead of “to approve”.

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. This report by the State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee’s Subcommittee on the Far East recommended that “this paper be transmitted urgently by the State Department to General Marshall for comment, including his opinion on the advisability of requesting Presidential approval of the paper, prior to final consideration by SWNCC.” (Foreign Relations, 1946, 9: 933-45; quote on p. 937.)

2. Section 4 (“Conclusions”) included eleven lettered paragraphs (a through k) which were primarily concerned with: (1) perceived Soviet efforts to create a puppet state in Manchuria “integrated into the Russian economy,” which “would prove a grave threat to the United States as well as to China”; (2) ways of helping China to preclude this eventuality. Paragraph d discussed how the Chinese government could “win the allegiance and support of all Chinese groups”: encourage middle-of-the-road groups to convince the government to create a multiparty representative government. The sentence at whose end Marshall would append his comment reads: “It is felt that communism is in opposition to the basic Chinese way of life and that the present Communist party in China has won a following, not because of real devotion of the people to Communist doctrines emanating from Moscow, but rather because of the ability of Soviet-trained leaders to exploit popular opposition to the reactionary and oppressive one-party rule of the Kuomintang.” (Ibid., p. 935.)

3. Paragraph 4f enumerated ten reforms China’s government needed to implement. Paragraph 4g listed six ways the United States could assist China financially, provided a reform program was adopted. (Ibid., p. 936.)

4. The sentence Marshall cites concluded: “for the United States will be continuing its historic policy of insisting upon the territorial and administrative integrity of China, upon non-interference in China’s internal affairs, and upon the equal opportunity of all nations in China’s commerce and economic development.” (Ibid., p. 937.)

5. The trilateral “Agreement Regarding Entry of the Soviet Union into the War Against Japan,” signed on February 11, 1945, at Yalta gave the U.S.S.R. “preeminent interest” in the port of Dairen, the lease of Port Arthur as a Soviet naval base, and joint Sino-Soviet operation of two key Manchurian railroads serving those ports. These agreements were made without Chiang Kai-shek’s knowledge, but his government was obligated to legitimatize them in a Sino-Soviet treaty of friendship signed August 14, 1945. (Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States: Diplomatic Papers, The Conferences at Malta and Yalta 1945 (Washington: GPO, 1955), p. 984; China White Paper, pp. 585-96.)

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. 616-617.

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