The Second Secretary of Embassy in China (Penfield) to the Ambassador in China (Gauss)85

No. 63

Sir: I have the honor to refer to my despatch to the Department no. 30, June 18, 1944,86 in regard to a conversation with Young China Party Representatives, and to report hereunder in regard to the current Communist–Kuomintang conversations as described to me by Mr. Li Hwang, Young China Party leader, during the course of that conversation. [Page 460] It is realized that all of this information has probably already reached the Embassy, but as Mr. Li holds himself out as an unprejudiced and non-partisan observer and has recently returned from Chungking where he claims to have attended, along with other small party representatives, meetings between Communist and Central Government delegates, it is believed that his views may be of some interest.

At the beginning of the negotiations the Communist delegate, Lin Tsu-han, handed Wang Shih-chieh a full list of the Communist demands. The Generalissimo, on the other hand, refused to give Wang Shih-chieh any list of detailed demands upon which to negotiate, but instructed him to be guided by the principle, “first discuss military matters, then discuss political matters.”

The Communist list of demands was prefaced by a request that the Central Government, as evidence of good faith and before detailed conversations began, (1) permit the reopening of the Communist radio station at Chungking, (2) release Communist political prisoners, and (3) lift the blockade of the Communist areas. Other items on the list, which numbered perhaps twenty, included a demand for the incorporation of a Communist army of 18 divisions into the Central Government army and their equipping and provisioning by the Central Government. The list did not, however, include demands for the appointment of Communists as heads of the Control Yuan and three ministries. This and similar rumors come from Central Government sources. (I have heard these rumors in Chengtu repeated by a person who reportedly has close party connections.)

Wang Shih-chieh, apparently fearing the Generalissimo’s temper, refused to accept this list of demands and asked Lin to revise it by drastically cutting down the number of items.

Neither side is sincere in the negotiations and there is little hope of an early satisfactory settlement.

Respectfully yours,

J. K. Penfield
  1. Copy transmitted to the Department by the Ambassador in China without covering despatch; received July 21.
  2. Not printed; in this despatch Mr. Penfield reported a conversation giving information as to the Young China Party. This was described as one of the so-called small parties constituting “the only organized political groups in the country (with the exception of the Communists) which are pledged to the establishment of a more democratic form of government and are opposed to the Kuomintang one party rule.” (893.00/6–1844)