Marshall Mission Files, Lot 54–D270

Notes on Conference of Three (Meeting No. 4)—General Marshall, General Chang Chun, Central Government Representative, and General Chou En-lai, Communist Party Representative—at General Marshall’s Residence, Chungking, January 9, 1946, 5 p.m.

M[arshall]: If agreeable, the meeting will come to order. Has either of you gentlemen any proposition to make? Has General Chou any comment to make?

[Page 99]

C[hou]: No.

M: Did you receive the minutes on yesterday’s meeting.

G[eneral Chang]: Yes.

C: Yes.

M: Are there any comments regarding those minutes?

G: The minutes are being translated.

M: You are not ready to comment. We terminated the meeting last night and I submitted a possible compromise regarding Chihfeng and Tolun. Have you any comment to make regarding that?

G: We are ready to discuss, to continue our discussion on the basis of this draft (referring to the draft produced by General Marshall at the previous meeting).

M: We are ready to listen to General Chang.

G: We can accept this proposal in principle.

M: Can or cannot?

G: Can. According to our understanding with Soviet Russia, we should take over not only Chihfeng and Tolun, but also the regions south of those towns, but we are now willing to have those towns south of Chihfeng and Tolun discussed later on and for the time being, we will not enter into discussion of the taking over of those places, but as regards Chihfeng and Tolun, we will send limited numbers of troops as we have proposed to those places—Chihfeng and Tolun, but in regard to the first paragraph, I think the form will have to be changed. When you use the word Manchukuo, you have included Chahar. Now the term never included Chahar, though it included Jehol, we would rather see that the Northeast provinces, or the nine Provinces, expressly mentioned in this proposal as a separate unit. As regards Chahar and Jehol, we will only occupy the two places of Chihfeng and Tolun with a limited number of troops.

C: As regards Chihfeng and Tolun, we think that the Government claim is in principle unreasonable, because right now we are discussing the problem of cessation of hostilities and not the problem of taking over certain territories in accordance with any treaty or agreement. For if we base our discussion on treaties or agreements, then we would not only have the Sino-Soviet agreement, but we may also have Sino-American agreements or other agreements. Regardless whether the Sino-Soviet agreement exists or not as it has been accounted in General Hsiung’s telegram or what this agreement is, if we take it as a basis of our discussion, it would not only affect these two cities, but would also involve other places in and around those territories. Governor Chang has just said that right now the Government only claims sovereignty of those two towns and would leave other places for later discussion and from this reasoning it can be deduced that the Government may also lay claim on other places, [Page 100]possibly others than those two towns later. Based upon the same reason, the Government may claim in future that in accordance with General MacArthur’s order,60 it is entitled to take over all places which have already been taken over by Communist troops, but it was just this particular problem, who should have the right to participate in the receiving of surrender, we have had military hostilities during the past four months. Our immediate concern is that hostilities must be ceased and after it has been effected then we will start to solve political problems. When touching the political problems we will have to discuss such matters as the location of troops, the reorganization of Armies, etc. as I have stated yesterday and therefore our party is of the opinion that irrespective whether the Sino-Soviet agreement exists, and how it is worded, it is not our concern. Yesterday I have suggested that if it affects Soviet Russia then we may invite Soviet representatives to explain this matter and to discuss it, but Government representatives have made no reply to my suggestion. This proves that it is not necessary to have the present conference linked up with the Sino-Soviet agreement. As to the actual facts in Chihfeng and Tolun right now there are Chinese troops who are assuming sovereignty over those two towns. Of course, these troops are Communist troops, but after the reorganization of the Army we may discuss the location of troops, as it is a political problem which we certainly will take up later. Furthermore, from the telegram we can see that what we are now discussing are matters which should have been completed in November, all this now are things of the past and those two towns have been taken over by the Communist troops. Now we have already stipulated certain exceptions to which after consideration we have given our consent, but now we definitely cannot agree with this particular exception. On the exception of Manchuria we have from the very beginning stated that we may agree on it and later the government representative has raised new exceptions, such as the movements of troops in regions south of the Yangtze River for the purpose of military reorganization and we have accepted this point. The same is with the problems of demobilization and redisposition. All these show that I have done my best to agree on anything that I am in a position to do so. We have since the very beginning asked for unconditional cessation of hostilities and for these reasons we have raised no condition. In the present conference it was our hope that cessation of hostilities order may be published as soon as possible because this is in the interest of the people and is also the hope of all the people. Now agreement has been reached on the [Page 101]cessation of hostilities order and on the executive headquarters and I am of the opinion that these agreements should be carried into effect immediately. If it is said that unless the exception of Chihfeng and Tolun are accepted all our past agreements shall become invalid, then it means that our cessation of hostilities is not an unconditional one. If the government insists that it must take over these two cities and is not afraid to take military action for this purpose, then I must state definitely that the responsibility will not be on our side. Therefore, it is my earnest request that this order of cessation of hostilities may be immediately published and agreement on executive headquarters be at once effected and would not regard the questions of Chihfeng and Tolun as a prerequisite to such matters.

G: General Chou has said that we are discussing questions relating to the cessation of hostilities and not to any treaties or agreements. This is quite true and I entirely agree with his views. For this reason I did not answer the suggestion made by General Chou that we should invite Soviet Russia to participate in our discussions because, like him, I thought that our discussions had nothing to do with Soviet Russia, apart from the fact that there are certain arrangements with Soviet Russia which have some bearing on the position we have taken. The reason why I introduced the question of our arrangements or agreements with Soviet Russia was simply because, according to our understandings with Soviet Russia there are certain regions which we should take over, and this is not a condition precedent to the cessation of hostilities. This is simply a part of the various topics that are under discussion on the subject of cessation of hostilities. We have never said anything or suggested anything as a condition for cessation of hostilities. I would like to make this point very clear. General Chou has said that at present the Government is pressing for the carrying out of the terms of our understandings with Soviet Russia. Therefore we must take over Chihfeng and Tolun. He has expressed the fear that in the future Ave might press for the taking over of other places south of those towns. Now, although according to our agreements with Soviet Russia we are duty bound to take over those places evacuated by Soviet troops, yet we are now only in the process of taking over Chihfeng and Tolun. Other regions may be arranged as a part of the general plan concerning the reorganization of troops, including Communist troops. So this also I want to make clear. I feel what General Marshall has proposed in the second paragraph of the draft that is before us is entirely in agreement with my viewpoint. He has also suggested that, for the time being, inasmuch as we are already on the way of taking over Chihfeng and Chahar, we will be permitted to establish a certain number of troops [Page 102]in those places. The fears as expressed by General Chou in regard to the possibility of the Government asking for the taking over of other places south of Chihfeng and Tolun by virtue of our arrangements with Soviet Russia or in pursuance of any orders issued by General MacArthur, those fears are really not well founded because those things we have never thought about. After the cessation of hostilities everything will be arranged and settled according to terms of our agreement, so any questions concerning regions in Chahar and Jehol south of Chihfeng and Tolun can be arranged later on, in any manner as permitted by whatever arrangements we reach here. So General Chou really should not entertain any fear as regards those regions.

M: May I interrupt? As I understand General Chou, his fear was that a precedent was established which would be utilized in further discussions regarding other points in Jehol and Chahar. Is that correct?

C: This is one of his reasons.

M: I was just asking this one question.

C: Yes, but not all.

M: Yes, I understand. I interrupted you, General Chang.

G: We are now discussing these questions before the cessation of hostilities. After the cessation of hostilities everything will be arranged and fixed according to the terms of our agreement, so no precedent can be established. If we continue our discussions without reaching any definite result, without cessation of hostilities, then when one concession has been made on Chihfeng and Tolun we may ask for some other advantages. This may create a precedent, but after the cessation of hostilities conditions will entirely be changed, so the question of precedent does not arise. We want to emphasize the point that we are not attempting to introduce any condition precedent to agreeing on the cessation of hostilities, but it happens that we are just advancing to take over Chihfeng and Chahar in accordance with our obligation arising out of an agreement with Soviet Russia, and now that more than ninety percent of our difficulties have been overcome, it seems that we should reach an agreement as soon as possible on the general question of the cessation of hostilities. Now we are far from setting up any obstacles or creating any conditions to the realization of our common hopes. General Chou referred to the date fixed for taking over Chihfeng and Chahar. He seems to think that the date has already passed and that these places have already been taken over by Communist troops, but General Chang would like to point out that the date has been postponed by agreement and the date is approaching now as newly fixed, and the date was postponed because of the difficulty we met with in effecting our [Page 103]taking over. We also earnestly hope that the Communist Party can see its way to accept our suggestion as one of the exceptions.

C: The points which have been raised by Governor Chang, I think, are conflicting with each other in certain respects. First, Governor Chang referred to the fact that the Chinese Government has certain obligations toward other countries, but I wish to point out that China has many obligations toward foreign countries, but why take up this one particular obligation without paying regard to the others? Concerning these two towns, I have repeatedly stated that they have already been taken over by Communist troops. Secondly, Governor Chang also admits that this would now serve as a precedent for the future. If that is the case, why should we take certain steps which may provide ground for precedent? Thirdly, regarding the date in General Hsiung’s telegram, it referred to some time in November, but the Government troops have not reached those places in the aforesaid time, and the Communist troops have taken them over, and this is a matter which happened more than a month ago, and, fourthly, according to treaties the Soviet Russian War Theater is entirely restricted to Manchuria—to the nine provinces of Manchuria, while the actions taken by the Russian troops in Jehol and Chahar are entirely due to emergency military needs with no reference in any agreement. Therefore, I conclude that if the Government insists that an exception should be made regarding these two towns, and have it recorded in our minutes attached to the order of the cessation of hostilities, then it would mean that the Government is continuing the hostilities, for otherwise the Chinese Communist troops have to evacuate those towns. Right now, though the Government has already concentrated certain large forces in Manchuria, there are still many places in Manchuria left in the hands of the Soviet Russian troops and have not been taken over. But the Government right now is not sending its troops to those places, but direct one Army into Jehol in order to take over those two towns, and therefore I can under no condition accept such an exception.

M: Gentlemen, it appears to me that there is a complete disagreement with no prospect immediately before us of reaching any acceptable compromise. It seems too bad to me that we have so nearly reached complete agreement on a large number of difficult problems and then at the end we reach a complete impasse. I have been debating in my mind whether it was appropriate for me to suggest any other form of compromise. I had thought of the possibility of suggesting that a group of three representatives should be sent to the two towns in question to take over control in the name of the executive headquarters while the political settlement of the matter was reached. However, I do not think it advisable to submit this proposition at [Page 104]this time and I therefore am of the personal opinion that we gain nothing further by continuing our present discussion. We only get into a more complicated state of misunderstanding, or rather definition of point of view, so that it appears to me that it would be best, if agreeable to you gentlemen to adjourn this meeting until say 10:30 tomorrow morning in the hope that in the meantime some other basis of compromising can be found. There is no doubt in my mind it would be a tragedy to have this conference fail at the last moment and particularly on the eve of your consultative conference. I therefore propose that Ave adjourn until tomorrow morning at 10:30.

G: Unfortunately the time you suggested conflicts with the time at which the first meeting of PCC will take place—at 10 o’clock.

M: I thought it was noon.

M: What is your suggestion.

G: Some time in the afternoon.

M: Tomorrow afternoon. What hour.

G: Any time in the afternoon, say 3:30.

C: It will suit General Chou.

G: General Chang has another conflict of schedule at 3 o’clock. There will be another exchange of views between the representatives of the Kuomintang in the PCC and the representatives of the Communist party at the same hour. Governor Chang suggest 5 tomorrow afternoon.

C: I can come any time.

M: Well then, as I understand it, we adjourn until 5 o’clock tomorrow afternoon and we are left with a most unfortunate situation of starting the PCC with the hostilities still in force, and this meeting is adjourned.

C: General Chou has the same feeling, that it is most unfortunate.

M: (To General Chou) Here is a copy I have obtained from the combined headquarters of this message.61 That is for your file.

  1. General Order No. 1: Instruments for the Surrender of Japan, August 15, 1945; Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. vii, p. 530.
  2. This has reference to the radiogram from General Hsiung, October 31, (annex), p. 98.