Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Chinese Affairs (Vincent)2

President Chiang Kai-shek’s New Year’s statement that “we must prepare for the convening of a Peoples Congress within this year (1945) to adopt and promulgate a constitution”, with the reservation “as soon as the military situation has become so stabilized as to enable us to launch a counter-offensive with greater assurance of victory”, is not believed to have great significance. However, the convening of a constitutional congress during the present year is a possibility.

If Chiang sincerely desires to realize popular government, he has at hand several possible measures to achieve that end which could be put into effect at once: give the People’s Political Council real power as a deliberative assembly; introduce a measure of representative local government; give minority groups effective representation in the National Government; form a coalition government composed of all resistance elements. The fact that Chiang does not effect a modus vivendi with the Communists lays open to question his latest promise of representative government.

A serious question would be the probable opposition of non-Kuomintang elements to participation in the Congress because of the preponderance of conservative Kuomintang representation therein.

In a fifteen-point statement that followed Chiang’s announcement, Mao Tse-tung, Chairman of the Central Executive Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, said inter alia: “Only when China has a coalition in the central Government that can carry out democratic programs and mobilize as well as unite all our resources against Japan can the victory and liberation of our people be assured”.

J[ohn] C[arter] V[incent]
  1. Addressed to the Director of the Office of Far Eastern Affairs (Ballantine) and the Under Secretary of State (Grew). Transmitted to the Ambassador in China by the Secretary of State in his instruction No. 33, February 8.