America's Failure in China, 1941-50

By Tang Tsou | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER III

DIPLOMATIC
ACTIONS
AND
MILITARY
STRATEGY

A. The Attempt to Make China a Great Power by Diplomatic Actions

As soon as the United States entered the Pacific war, American officials began to impress upon her allies the importance of treating China as a great power and to assure China the return of lost territory. Churchill's impression of the climate of opinion in Washington on the subject during the winter of 1941-42 has already been referred to. The lifting of the name of China, together with that of the U.S.S.R., out of their alphabetical listing in the original draft of what has become known as the Declaration of the United Nations and placing them with the United States and the United Kingdom in the final listing was trivial in itself but indicative of the mood in Washington.1 When, on February 9, 1942, General Stilwell called at the White House before leaving for China and asked the President if he had a message for Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, Roosevelt told Stilwell to inform the Nationalist leader that "we are in this thing for keeps, and we intend to keep at it until China gets back all her lost territory."2 The President's informal, oral pledge, though made casually on the spur of the moment, was entirely in harmony with his deep convictions, as his formula of unconditional surrender and the Cairo Declaration readily show. In January, 1943, the United States signed a treaty with China relinquishing her extraterritorial rights and other special privileges. She also persuaded Great Britain to take a similar step.3 The conclusion

____________________
1
Robert Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins ( New York: Harper & Bros., 1948), pp. 446-53.
2
Joseph Stilwell, The Stilwell Papers ( New York: William Sloane Associates, 1948), p. 152.
3
Department of State, United States Relations with China ( Washington, D.C.: Gov

-57-

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