Marshall Mission Files, Lot 54–D270: Telegram

General Marshall2 to President Truman

11. A rather critical conference with a Central Government group on Saturday afternoon precipitated a conference late Sunday night December 30th with the three governmental leaders in the People’s Consultative Council3 including Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang.4 There was outlined the prospective Central Government’s rather uncompromising position in reply to Communists’ proposals for cessation of hostilities. For the first time I gave what might have been termed an opinion though I voiced it as a mere suggestion of the moment. In consequence the leaders held a meeting Monday morning, finally consulting with the Generalissimo.5 Doctor Wang then came to see me at 4:30 p.m., 25 miles out of city at Generalissimo’s country place. He stated that as a result of my suggestions they would present following proposal6 to Communist members of the PCC at 5:30 p.m.

Immediate cessation of hostilities.
Appointment of Central Government and Communist representatives, one each, to consult with me in proposing terms and methods of enforcing and maintaining the armistice, restoration of rail communications, and initiation of surrender and removal of Japanese troops in disputed districts.
Appointment by PCC of a commission to visit disputed areas and determine facts and make recommendations.
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The first two points only are concerned with immediate future. I have my staff developing plans for an executive combined agency or headquarters to carry out on the ground a possible directive7 to be agreed upon by the representatives with me. An elaborate command-control-communication setup will be required. I have already drawn upon Wedemeyer8 for some personnel and will have to secure more from him and especially of motors, radio material, etc. This group will have to control for the time being railroad reconstruction and operation, organization of railroad police to remove troops from such service, and troop movements incidental to Japanese surrenders and repatriation. Working members of group or headquarters will be under U. S. Executive, in effect a Chief of Staff, with staff officers and communication operatives from Central Government and Communist Armies, coordinated in each activity or mission by Americans. I propose establishing my immediate assistant and Military Attaché Colonel Byroade9 as this Executive. He is now planning organization, duties and equipment of group. I plan to appoint the American Minister, Mr. Robertson,10 as Chairman of the Control Group or Headquarters to balance the contentions, claims and views of the two hostile representatives.

I am quite certain that no other method will give genuine effect to the cessation of hostilities, reopening of rail lines, acceptance of Jap surrenders and repatriation of Japanese. There must be an impartial source of direction and authority on the ground. The directive for guidance of this group will be drawn up here by me and the two hostile representatives, to receive joint approval of Generalissimo and Mao Tse-tung.11 Thereafter to be issued formally by Generalissimo. No American troop units are involved in present plans or envisaged for future developments.

The foregoing as to proposed combined Group or Headquarters is at present merely my proposition to bring forward at meeting proposed by Central Government and not yet accepted by Communists.

Tonight Communist representative12 spent several hours with me and I frankly outlined my conception of necessary procedure. He apparently agreed throughout, at least he understands my point of view. He has not yet heard from Mao Tse-tung on question of acceptance of Central Government proposal. I was left with impression that he was favorably disposed.

  1. Gen. George C. Marshall, Special Representative of President Truman in China, with personal rank of Ambassador.
  2. For correspondence regarding more strictly political activities of the People’s Consultative Council (PCC), see pp. 131 ff.
  3. Wang Shih-chieh.
  4. Chiang Kai-shek, President of the National Government of the Republic of China.
  5. Infra.
  6. For these draft plans and directives, see document and annexes, p. 3.
  7. Lt. Gen. Albert C. Wedemeyer, Commanding General, U. S. Forces, China Theater.
  8. Col. Henry A. Byroade.
  9. Walter S. Robertson, Chargé d’Affaires in China.
  10. Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party.
  11. Gen. Chou En-lai, representative at Chungking of the Chinese Communist Party.