893.00/1–1049: Telegram

The Ambassador in China ( Hurley ) to President Roosevelt 29

[141500 NCR 6810.] In continuation of my various telegrams,30 I wish to give you a resume of the latest negotiations between the National Government and the Chinese Communist Party. You will recall that following the fruitless discussions between the Government and the Communist Party at Sian and Chungking, I proceeded to Yenan and returned with a 5-point proposal for agreement signed by Mao [Page 173] Tse-tung, Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party. General Chou En-lai, Vice Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party, returned to Chungking with me. The Government countered with a 3-point proposal31 which was not acceptable to the Communist Party. Chou En-lai returned to Yenan after having spent a month in Chungking. Chou En-lai’s conferences with officials of the National Government and myself were satisfactory and it looked as though a settlement would be achieved. Chou En-lai finally conferred with the Generalissimo. I was not present at that conference. Chou En-lai told me the conference was not satisfactory. However, the Generalissimo is now prepared to make all the concessions requested in the five points except that he does not want a coalition government or a coalition military council. He will, however, give the Communists representation in the Government, in a War Cabinet and in the Military Council which, in my opinion, would have been accepted by the Communists if offered at the time Chou En-lai was here. The Generalissimo’s position was that while he would be willing to give representation and recognition as a political party to the Communists he would be adverse to a coalition government. He explained to me that he would not like a situation created similar to that existing in Yugoslavia and Poland. On December 8th Chou En-lai advised me32 that he was unable to return to Chungking as the National Government had rejected the Communist Party’s 5-point proposal. I urged him to reconsider but on December 16th he replied33 that since the Kuomintang authorities appeared to lack sincerity in the negotiations he would not return to Chungking. Upon my further persuasion for resumption of negotiations, Mao Tse-tung telegraphed on December 22nd [24th]33a that Chou En-lai was preparing for an important conference and could not come to Chungking and that he would suggest a conference with the Government representatives to be held at Yenan and would like Colonel Barrett, our military representative at Yenan, to be present at the conference. I sent Barrett to Yenan. He returned on December 28 with a letter from Chou En-lai34 claiming that the telegram of December 22 was inaccurate due to “mistakes in paraphrasing”; and that in effect he did not want to suggest that the Government representatives come to Yenan or that Barrett should be present at the conference. In this letter he stated that before further negotiations could take place between the Communist Party and the Nationalist [Page 174] Government, the Government should first voluntarily carry out 4 additional points. At that time I was unable to account for the drastic change in position of the Communists. I subsequently discovered that the cause was within our own ranks which is explained later in this report.

I consulted the Generalissimo on the situation and on January 7th I wrote Mao Tse-tung and Chou En-lai regretting that in addition to their previous 5-point proposal they should ask the Government first to voluntarily carry out 4 new points. I stated that since General Chou could not come to Chungking, I wished to suggest to them, with the approval of the Government, that Dr. Soong, Acting President of the Executive Yuan; Dr. Wang Shih-chieh, Minister of Information; General Chang Tse-chung, Director of Political Board of Military Affairs Council, and myself would visit Yenan to discuss a settlement and that if an agreement was reached in principle Mao Tse-tung and Chou En-lai should come to Chungking to conclude the agreement. For your information the Government was prepared to offer at the proposed Yenan Conference the following:

Formation of a War Cabinet with inclusion of Communists and other non-Kuomintang men.
(This would be in fact not in name a coalition War Cabinet.)
Establishment of a committee of three, composed of a representative of the Government, the Communists and an American Army officer, to work out details of reincorporating the Communist troops in the National Army.
An American officer to have over-all command of Communist troops.
Recognition of the Communist Party as a legal political party.

Mao Tse-tung replied on January 11 that the Government shows no sincerity, that, in future, negotiations should be conducted in public and suggesting the calling of a National Affairs Conference, the preparatory conference to be made up of delegates from the Kuomintang, the Communists and the so-called Democratic Federation, that the proceedings of the conference shall be made public and that the delegates should have equal standing. If the proposal were agreed to in advance by the National Government, Chou En-lai would come to Chungking for discussions in the National Convention.

Since the Generalissimo had already on New Year’s Day announced the calling of a National Assembly for the adoption of a constitution this year, this fresh condition coming on top of the original five points and the subsequent four points, the Generalissimo could not entertain.

Since my arrival in China, in accordance with your policy, I have exerted my utmost to help bring about Chinese national unification. [Page 175] The Generalissimo was at first cold to the plan but after your suggestions the Generalissimo has shown himself ready to grant concessions to the Communists far beyond what he had been willing to grant in the past. He is now favorable to unification, reformation and agreement with the Communists.

I had a meeting with the Generalissimo this morning to discuss the Communist reply. He agreed that with or without Communist participation he will immediately take steps to liberalize the Government in spite of the war situation. He is considering with members of the Government the announcement next Monday of the formation of a War Cabinet with inclusion of representative members of other parties besides the Kuomintang. He intends to invite the Communists to participate in it disregarding the latest rebuff from them. By means of the War Cabinet he intends to start liberalizing and cleansing the Government even before the convocation of the National Assembly and the adoption of a constitution, a measure which I consider a substantial step forward in the organization of a stable, unified and democratic government in China. This program has one weakness. It gives the Communists what they have demanded but it does not require submission of Communist troops to the National Government which I had provided in the five point agreement. Therefore during the reformation of the Government and after reformation there would still be the threat of civil war by the armed Communist Party.

I have heretofore recited to you the elements which constitute the opposition to the unification of China. Briefly again they are:

The standpat element in the Kuomintang Party;
Serious opposition in the Communist Party;
The opposition of the representatives of all of the imperialist governments;
Dr. Soong was not favorably inclined in the beginning but is now wholeheartedly in favor of an agreement with the Communists. He would like to have credit for having avoided civil war and unified China.
In addition to these, we have had constant opposition from some of our own diplomatic and military officials who sincerely believed that the Chiang Kai-shek Government must fall.

We had overcome all of these elements of opposition when the Communists walked out on us. It has taken from the 1st of January until now to find the fundamental cause of the break. Here it is. During the absence of General Wedemeyer from headquarters, certain officers of his command formulated a plan for the use of American paratroops in the Communist-held area. The plan provided for the use of Communist troops led by Americans in guerilla warfare. The plan was [Page 176] predicated on the reaching of an agreement between the United States and the Communist Party, by-passing completely the National Government of China, and furnishing American supplies directly to the Communist troops and placing the Communist troops under command of an American officer. My directive, of course, was to prevent the collapse of the National Government; sustain the leadership of Chiang Kai-shek; unify the military forces of China, and, as far as possible, to assist in the liberalization of the Government and in bringing about conditions that would promote a free, unified, democratic China. The military plan as outlined became known to the Communists and offered them exactly what they wanted, recognition and lend-lease supplies, for themselves and destruction of the National Government. If the Communists, who are an armed political party, could succeed in making such arrangement with the United States Army, it would be futile for us to try to save the National Government of China. While I had some inkling of the plan I did not know it had been presented to the Communists until that was made apparent by the Communists applying to Wedemeyer to secure secret passage for Mao Tse-tung and Chou En-lai to Washington for a conference with you. They asked Wedemeyer to keep their proposed visit to you secret from the National Government and from me. I might interpolate here that Wedemeyer has my confidence and I have his. We are cooperating completely. The Communists are not yet aware that I know of their effort to bypass me and go directly to you. Our present difficulties with the Communists were brought about by an American plan for the unification of American and Communist forces without passing through the National Government of China. With Wedemeyer’s able assistance, we are clearing up the situation but we have not yet advised the Communists that I am familiar with the military plan or with their attempt to bypass the National Government of China and me and go directly to you. Having discovered the real reason for the change of attitude of the Communists toward negotiations with the National Government and toward me, I will use every effort to continue negotiations until we have convinced the Communists again that they cannot use the United States in their effort to supplant the National Government of China. Notwithstanding all this, I am still in favor of every concession that we can get from the National Government for the participation in that Government by the Communists.

I, therefore, suggest the following program. In your heralded forthcoming meeting, secure the approval of Churchill35 and Stalin of your plan for:

Immediate unification of all military forces in China and
A post-war free, unified, democratic China. When you have [Page 177] secured that agreement we will be able to place in your hands complete plans for the unification of the military forces of China; for the recognition of the Chinese Communist Party as a legal political party; for representation of all parties in the administration of the Chinese Government; for the liberalization of the Chinese Government; for the promotion of democratic processes and the establishment of fundamental individual rights and the reconstruction of a free, united, democratic China. We should then offer a meeting with you to both Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Tse-tung on the condition that they must, prior to the meeting, reach an agreement between themselves for the unification of China which will be promulgated when they meet you.

The overall of the military situation indicates that the Japanese offensive capabilities remain as they were a month ago. Wedemeyer feels that the success of MacArthur36 will act as a deterrent to an immediate, strong, westward offensive in China. This gives Wedemeyer time for changes of strategy and tactics and reorganization and reinforcement of the defenses of Kunming and Chungking areas. Wedemeyer is doing a first-class job both in the military field and in his relations with Chiang Kai-shek and the Government.

I am sending this report to you but I have no objection to giving it to the State Department if you approve. I have complete confidence in Stettinius but we have been reading and hearing so much about the reorganization of the State Department and the leaks that have been and are occurring that I thought best to send this to you so that it would enjoy the protection that my messages have always received from the White House. If you think best not to send this report to the State Department, I hope you will let Stettinius read it.

  1. Copy of telegram from files of the Embassy in China.
  2. See telegrams of November 7, 16, and December 12, 1944, Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. vi, pp. 666, 698, and 733.
  3. Handed to General Hurley on November 21, 1944; for text, see Third Counterdraft by Chinese Government Representatives, Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. vi, p. 706.
  4. Ibid., p.723.
  5. Ibid., p. 739.
  6. Ibid., p. 745.
  7. Ibid., p. 755.
  8. Winston S. Churchill, British Prime Minister.
  9. Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander, South West Pacific Area.