5-338 To Walter S. Robertson, January 29, 1946

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: January 29, 1946

Subject: China

To Walter S. Robertson

January 29, 1946 Radio No. GOLD 121. [Chungking, China]

Top Secret

I have had several difficult and lengthy interviews with Generalissimo reference Chihfeng situation and probable procedures of team and commissioners in handling the matter. He assures me that National troops will not be sent into Chihfeng by his direct orders. Your DOVE 109 leaves us in confusion as to why your team did not attempt to contact the plane of 26th with radio equipment. Was there an interpreter with plane?

The situation in Chihfeng is so serious in its possibility of establishing unfortunate precedents as well as possibly disrupting the armistice that Colonel Tourtillott in my opinion should be given the prestige of the presence of immediate United States assistance of rank. Possibly Byroade should go if he can get back without too much of delay. The issue there is critical in its effect everywhere and must be handled accordingly.1

Another subject: I noted today your report of January 27 to State Department.2 Please do not make any reports to Washington reference the work, situation or your duties in Executive Headquarters. I am carefully refraining from giving Washington such details to avoid destructive leaks in the press. Besides, this business of Executive Headquarters is an establishment under Committee of Three and not under the Embassy. Your channel is to me direct and probably for my eye only.3 Press releases are matter for unanimous agreement of commissioners and are not referred to in foregoing.

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. On January 27, Marshall responded (GOLD 115) to a message from Robertson (DOVE 96) regarding the situation around Chihfeng and observed that the report by the head of Truce Team 2, Colonel Raymond R. Tourtillott, “sounds somewhat hysterical.” Message DOVE 109 from Peiping in response to GOLD 115 “was inadequate in that it did not give full story concerning plane carrying radio supplies [for the Truce Team] which had to return without making delivery.” This problem was solved the following day, and Tourtillott reported on January 30: “Situation now satisfactory. No immediate danger of conflict now seen.” Robertson thus thought that Brigadier General Byroade should not be sent to Chihfeng. (Marshall to Robertson, January 27, 1946, NA/RG 59 [Lot Files, Marshall Mission, Military Affairs, GOLD Messages]; Robertson to Marshall, January 30, 1946, Foreign Relations, 1946, 9: 389-91.)

2. Marshall is probably referring to two reports Robertson made on January 25; see Foreign Relations, 1946, 9: 377-80, 391.

3. Marshall followed this with instructions to Byroade to cease submitting Truce Team Summary Reports (Trusums) to Washington and to mark copies going to China Theater headquarters as being only for Wedemeyer and his immediate staff. All consular officials were informed that their political reports were not to go directly to the State Department but were to be routed through the embassy in Chungking. (Marshall to Robertson, Radio No. GOLD 131, January 31, 1946, NA/RG 59 [Lot Files, Marshall Mission, Military Affairs, GOLD Messages].) For more on this issue, see his comments to the War Department in Marshall to Bissell, January 31, 1946, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #5-342 [5: 435]. Marshall informed the State Department of his actions on February 5. (Foreign Relations, 1946, 9: 394.)

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. 432-433.

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