Marshall Mission Files, Lot 54–D270

Notes on Meeting of Conference of Three (Meeting No. 5)—General Marshall, General Chang Chun, Central Government Representative, and General Chou En-lai, Communist Party Representative—at General Marshall’s Residence, Chungking, January 10, 1946, 8:15 a.m.

M[arshall]: If agreeable to you gentlemen the meeting will come to order. Last night I had a talk with the Generalissimo and he generously agreed to the issuance of the order for the cessation of hostilities without reference to Chihfeng and Tolun.

[Page 105]

G[eneral Chang]: After I had reported to the Generalissimo he expressed the hope that we could continue our discussions, conclude our discussions, so that the order for the cessation of hostilities could be issued at the earliest possible time. Therefore, we would not at this junction press for an immediate solution of the question of Chihfeng and Tolun which would be a part of the problems relating to Jehol and Chahar. The Generalissimo has full confidence in General Marshall and wishes to place these problems into the hands of General Marshall for a just and equitable solution.

C[hou]: I feel very gratified to hear the statement made by General Marshall and Governor Chang. I have full confidence that the Generalissimo is eager to have this order published without delay due to Chihfeng and Tolun.

M: I appreciate very much the statement the Governor has made quoting the Generalissimo regarding me personally and I appreciate very much General Chou’s references to me personally. I assure you, gentlemen, that my purpose to the best of my mental equipment is directed solely to an effort to help as much as possible in solving a very complex problem. However, with your permission I will not refer to the problem of Chihfeng and Tolun until after we complete the small details that remain to be understood. Therefore, if that is agreeable, I would like to go over finally the statement of exceptions and understandings. The first paragraph reads: “It is understood and herewith reentered as a matter of record to the minutes of these conferences that the cessation of hostilities as now agreed upon was agreed upon with the understanding that the following should be included within the formal minutes of the meeting.

1. Paragraph b, cessation of hostilities order does not prejudice military movements south of the Yangtze River for the continued execution of the plan of military reorganization of the National Government.” I am assuming, gentlemen, if there is any difference you will interrupt and raise the issue.

“Paragraph 2. Paragraph b, cessation of hostilities order does not prejudice military movements of forces of the National Army into or within Manchuria or toward ports in China for embarkation for Manchuria which are for the purpose of restoring Chinese sovereignty.” That is the first time that.…62

G: The Governor was referring to the opinion he expressed before that it seems desirable to use the original wording of this paragraph without referring to the method of transporting troops. He would like to know whether the word “ports” includes all ports in China. Now at certain times of the year Hulutao may not become navigable and other ports can not be made available for immediate use by the [Page 106] Chinese troops, it would seem difficult for the Government to use certain ports that could be used, but does the word “ports” refer to any port in China. For instance, Chinwangtao?

M: My recollection of the previous discussion was that Chinwangtao was specifically mentioned by me as an example of where a port would be available for use even though within China in the event that ports in Manchuria were not available due to being frozen. However, no reference was made by me to any other port than Chinwangtao, as I understood that did not freeze up. If Chinwangtao should freeze up, an issue would be raised regarding some other port, but I should think that could be settled by agreement. General Chou?

C: If Governor Chang thinks that the wording here is too rigid and entails difficulties, General Chou suggests that this phrase, “toward ports in China for embarkation to Manchuria”, be stricken out so that we will only have “into or within Manchuria”. General Chou thinks that he can agree with that providing it is stipulated in paragraph 5 that reports have to be sent daily to the executive headquarters and under this condition if Government wishes to move troops to Manchuria through Communist territories then they should first make a report to executive headquarters and have it talked over there so there will be no difficulty for their transit.

M: Governor, would this be acceptable in its present form, or towards ports in China for Manchuria if it was understood and agreed to by General Chou that Chinwangtao would be available in the event that Hulutao was unavailable. Would that be all right?

G: The Governor accepts the suggestion made by General Chou that this phrase be stricken out entirely.

M: My understanding of that suggestion of General Chou that that phrase be stricken out involves an interpretation of the proposed paragraph 4. That proposed paragraph 4 provides for a daily report. As now written it does not involve an agreement. Is that understood by General Chou.

C: General Chou understood that in paragraph 4 only the question of reports is involved, but if the National Army are to pass through Communist territories like in Jehol then he understands that of course the Government would first discuss with the Communist representative.

M: I also understand. As I understand it the words, “or towards ports in China for Manchuria” will be stricken out. Is that correct?

G: Yes.

C: Yes.

M: So ordered. The next exception now labelled paragraph 3 reads lines of communications mentioned in paragraph c, cease hostilities, includes post communications. The fourth paragraph which [Page 107] has not been approved reads as follows: “It is further agreed that movements of forces of the National Army under the foregoing stipulations should be reported daily to the executive headquarters.” Is that acceptable, General Chou?

C: Yes.

M: Is that acceptable, Governor Chang?

G: The Generalissimo has just telephoned to us to say that there are certain expressions or words in the translation of the cessation order which should be improved and he is having a new draft being sent to us, rather a corrected draft.

M: We will have to wait until we [have] received that. The American is acceptable.

G: Yes.

M: But the Chinese translation is in doubt.

C: General Chou is waiting for the Chinese translation.

M: I am now authorized as I understand it to include these special minutes as an accepted document.

G: Yes.

C: Yes.

M: Agreed.

M: With your permission then, Gentlemen, I will now turn to the actual order for the cessation of hostilities. The first paragraph of the document is a recommendation from this group to the Generalissimo and to Chairman Mao Tse-tung. May I understand that the two representatives are authorized to state for their chiefs that the body of the order as previously approved by them, the representatives, is, acceptable?

G: Yes.

M: Is that correct, General Chou? (Discussion between General Chou and General Chang.) Will you translate that, please?

C: General Chou has asked Yenan for approval of this order, and he now gets word from Yenan that Yenan has one more suggestion. First, that Yenan ratifies this draft and, secondly, Yenan suggested that the words “Chinese Communist troops” be changed to “Chinese Communist-led troops,” because there are certain units which are not Communist troops but they are led by the Communists.

M: Are there any objections to that?

G: No objection.

C: In all places “Communist troops” should be changed into “Communist-led troops.”

M: Is that acceptable?

G: Yes.

M: It is so ordered. Then it is agreed that this document, with [Page 108] that alteration, is accepted by the Generalissimo and by Mao Tse-tung. Is that correct?

G: The Governor is not in a position to say definitely until we have received the note from the Generalissimo which is on its way.

M: Presumably that note refers to translations?

G: We are not too sure about that.

M: Then we will have to delay the formal acceptance of this document until the Governor has heard from the Generalissimo. Meanwhile, it would seem—is the Governor getting lost in papers?

B: General Chou, we have “Communist Armies” in the papers. I believe you said “Communist-led troops.” Would you rather substitute “troops” for “armies”?

C: It is the same in Chinese. There is no question in Chinese.

M: “Troops” and “Armies” are the same?

C: Yes.

M: Then every company commander is an army commander? I will submit for your consideration, pending the formal acceptance of the order, a draft of a proposed press release. The document appears long, but most of it is a quotation. The first paragraph reads: “We, General Chang Chun, Representative of the National Government, and General Chou En-lai, Representative of the Chinese Communist Party, have recommended to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek and Chairman Mao Tse-tung and have been authorized by them to announce that the following order has been issued to all units, regular, militia, irregular and guerrilla, of the National Armies of the Republic of China and of the Communist-led troops of the Republic of China:” Then there follows a quotation of the order. Further it states, on page two, at the bottom of page one, “As a matter of public interest we are further authorized to announce that the following stipulations regarding the above Cessation of Hostilities Order were agreed upon and made a matter of record in the minutes of the conferences.” There then follows the exceptions. In the middle of page two, another paragraph appears: “We are also authorized to announce that the agreements, recommendations, and directives of the Executive Headquarters will deal only with the immediate problems raised by the cessation of hostilities and will not interfere with or impair the parties’ rights and authority to negotiate in the future, political agreements, or make recommendations covering the reorganization, integration, or deployment of National Government forces or forces of the Chinese Communist Party.”

G: General, we should like to pause for just one minute. This paragraph “or make recommendations”—does this phrase follow “will not interfere or make recommendations” or does it follow “the parties’ rights and authority to negotiate”?

[Page 109]

B: The parties’ rights.

G: “The parties’ rights and authority” to make recommendations?

M: Do you wish to change it?

G: I want to be clear on this point.

B: “The Executive Headquarters will not interfere or will not make recommendations.”

M: How do you want that in, “or will not make”?

G: “Or” or “and”? “And.”

M: “and will make.” All right. I might say that the point has been raised by some of those involved in drafting this that the whole paragraph, commencing “We are also authorized to announce,” well might terminate with, after the word “hostilities” in the third line, the remainder of the paragraph they felt was a matter of course.

G: You intimate that the rest can be omitted?

M: The thing is that the rest is implicit. It was put in so there would be no technical misunderstanding, but it might well stop with after the word “hostilities.”

G: The Governor would propose to take out all the words after “hostilities.”

M: Is that acceptable to General Chou?

C: Yes.

M: All will be struck out after the word “hostilities.” A period will go in after “hostilities.” The next paragraph reads: “American participation within the Headquarters will be for the purpose of assisting the Chinese members in implementing the Cessation of Hostilities order.” I would like to insert the word “solely”—“American participation within the Headquarters will be solely.” Is the paragraph as amended by me acceptable?

C & G: Yes.

M: It is so ordered. The next paragraph reads, “The Executive Headquarters will include an Operations Section, composed of the number of officers and men required to supervise adequately in the field the various details.” Any objection to that or is it acceptable?

C & G: Yes, sir.

M: It is so ordered. Next paragraph reads, “It is agreed that separate and independent signal communications systems may be established by the Operations Section for each Commissioner in order to insure rapid and unhampered communications.” I would suggest there that the words “by the Operations Section” be struck out. Did you get my amendment?

G: Drop the words “by the Operations Section”? Yes.

M: Is that acceptable?

G: Yes.

M: Is that acceptable?

[Page 110]

C: Yes.

M: So ordered. “The Headquarters will be located initially at Peiping.” Is that acceptable?

C & G: Yes.

M: “The names of the Commissioners in the Executive Headquarters follows:”

G: I don’t know who will be the Commissioner, they haven’t been named yet. Nobody knows. They haven’t been appointed.

M: All right, then we will have to strike out this last paragraph.

G: All right, take out the last paragraph.

C: Yes.

M: Now, I wish to read to you the first paragraph. Is that acceptable as written?

C: With the exception of the last line it should be “Communist-led troops.”

G: General, the suggestions made by the Generalissimo only concern the Chinese text. They don’t involve any changes.

M: Then we can finish with this now so that we can get it typed. Is that first paragraph acceptable?

C & G: Yes.

M: I propose that the blank spaces below in the next paragraph, which is a quotation from the Cessation of Hostilities Order, be filled in as follows: “As of 10 o’clock on the 10th of January of the year 1946 of the Republic.” Or what is it?

C: 35th.

M: “35th year of the Republic.” Is this the 10th of January?

C & G: Yes.

M: That should be “1000 hours”. That makes it a.m. It will not be necessary to have any signature because this is a press release. Now may I Make this—(discussion between General Chang and General Chou). I am trying to time this with that meeting.

G: But, according to this order everything will take effect on this date.

M: Yes. It won’t get to the troops. The minute you receive it you stop. We can only do the best we can.

G: It will take a couple of days at least.

M: Yes, but nobody can specify the exact number of days. While you get it, the man over there may be fighting yet, but we can only do the best we can. There is no other way you can do it, because there is a varied time schedule all over China.

G: The Governor says that before we leave this room the order will have supposed to have taken effect.

M: Whenever you do it it will mean that. We could say 1:00 o’clock today, but we wouldn’t gain anything one way or the other. [Page 111] I participated in one Armistice where they took four hours. I was Chief of Operations of an Army, but the fighting went on for six or seven hours, but we still had the Armistice. That was Germany. We had prisoners, casualties, very heavy fighting.

G: Your conditions are different.

M: It is a matter of communications.

G: Yes, it is a matter of communications.

M: They were not sufficient there; they are not sufficient here. What’s the difference? If you should select an hour when you are certain that everybody will have it, you are having fighting going on in a number of places for three or four days. Is that tolerable?

G: General Chang is afraid that it will take probably four or five days for the order to reach all the important cities, not to speak of far-flung places, and if we should say that this order will take effect today at 10:00 o’clock, then during a period of four of [or] five days either side may be accused of violating the terms of the order because fighting is still going on during that period. He would inquire if it could be so arranged, as he discussed this question with General Chou before and General Chou also expressed the opinion that it would probably take four or five days, for the order to take effect. He now inquires if it would be in order if the order would be issued at 10:00 o’clock today and in the order will be fixed the date and time for it to take effect?

M: The present form of the Cessation of Hostilities Order involves that particular character of statement which you have just referred to.

G: “To carry out the following directive as from today at 10:00 o’clock. [”]

M: No, the form agreed upon for Cessation of Hostilities Order included a provision of that character which the Governor has just referred to. Will you translate that please?

C: General Chou favors the original form because he thinks this only stipulates that the order has been issued at this time and all the troops on receiving this order should immediately carry it into effect and if they cannot carry it into effect at the time stipulated, then it is only because they haven’t received it, but immediately after receiving it they should stop firing.

M: I think what he is saying is the same thing I am thinking. If we should provide a time here for the cessation of hostilities, based on how long it would require to transmit this order to all the troops, you will have a period of very serious possible consequences with troops on both sides maneuvering for best advantage. That, I think, would be most regrettable. We are trying to cease hostilities and we should avoid difficulties.

C: Yes, General Chou entirely agrees.

[Page 112]

G: There will be a period, however, during which conflict will occur in certain regions where the order has not been received and these conflicts are unavoidable.

M: But I think you get into much more serious ones if you leave it open. After the words, the following directive, all units, regular, etc. are ordered to carry out the following directive and then put a period right there.

G: Cut out the date and the hour.

M: Cut out the time.

G: All hostilities will cease immediately.

M: That means when you receive the order you stop. There is no way you can time this without having a longer interval in there with everybody playing for position and that is what I think should be avoided.

C: General Chou advises that the original should be retained but if it is more acceptable to leave it out then he thinks there should be an understanding between himself and Governor Chang that it would take three or four days to get a fixed time so that all orders will have reached the Armies in the front. Both sides should assure that [on] a certain date all orders must have reached the Armies in the front.

M: That would be one way to do that right here in the minutes and not publicize this complication to the troops. If the Governor and General Chou agree that the orders will be issued in such a manner as to reach the troops within certain number of days. Therefore, it would not be necessary to include in this any wording after the word directive.

G: Is it taken for granted that this order would be issued today.

M: Yes. That would be my understanding.

B: I think that ought to be in the minutes.

M: I have the proposal that we record here in the minutes, not to be a published exception that it is agreed that the order will be issued at noon today. If that is acceptable? That the words after the word directive be omitted, as of 10 hours on the 10th of January, that that be struck out. Do you wish to put in at noon?63

G: The Governor suggested to say in the forenoon.

M: That is agreeable.

C: Agreed.

M: The records of the minutes will show that General Chang and General Chou agreed that the order will be issued before noon, this morning, January 10. That is a matter of record. Next is it agreeable that that portion of the draft of cessation of hostilities order in the first paragraph, third line, the word directive be omitted, which [Page 113] reads as follows: “on . . . . . hours on . . . . . day, on . . . . . . . month on . . . . . year of the Republic.” Is that agreeable?

G: Yes.

C: Yes.

M: It is so ordered. Now I will ask you to return to the press release. Do you want to await the Generalissimo’s comments.

G: No.

M: The words in that same paragraph, “as of . . . . . hours of . . . . . . day of . . . . . . . month” on message will be struck out. Now I wish to inquire what hour should be placed on this press release? May I suggest 10:30?

G: The Governor would like to have a little time in which we could make a final report to the Generalissimo before this is released, just to show the order and everything in its final form to the Generalissimo. That won’t take too long.

M: May I make this inquiry. Is there a probability of reopening the question of the wording of the order.

G: I would presume that he won’t make any changes.

M: I would merely suggest to the Governor that he communicate to the Generalissimo my own concern if there is any delay between whatever statement the Generalissimo makes at ten o’clock and the release of these details. What will happen in the U. S., I know, will be a very confused statement because there will be a news flash immediately and unless they know what is stated in this paper they are going to guess and then we are in for all kinds of trouble. So that if this does not follow closely on the Generalissimo’s announcement you are going to have all kinds of confusion and you will be forever straightening it out.

G: There won’t be any delay.

M: The complication is that if we get nothing here and the Generalissimo announces it they will flash his announcement with a lot of guess work.

G: Is there anything else regarding the release.

M: I understand the Governor does not wish that release be accomplished until he has the approval of the Generalissimo. Now is my understanding correct that we will await instructions from the Generalissimo until that release has been looked over.

G: Colonel Pee is going to deliver that and he will call here.

M: That completes our business of the moment; before we go would it be agreeable to you gentlemen to meet at 5 o’clock. When will it meet their pleasure to sign the order. The English text will be the record text. You have enough basis now for issuance of the order. Then the actual signing of the English text will be a mere matter of form. Is that correct.

[Page 114]

G: You mean to sign the agreement.

M: The proposal is drafted for our three signatures.

G: The Governor suggests that he and General Chou sign the press release now, immediately after we have heard from the Generalissimo.

M: Is it agreeable to meet at 5 o’clock?

G: Three o’clock. Governor Chang inquires when the Executive Headquarters will be brought into being.

M: That is what I wanted to do at three o’clock or this morning if we had time. I have got that all here.

C: General Chou has a technical request to make. That is regarding to signal communications here, because up to now we are not able to send a man to operate the radio station of the Military Council. Now since we have a separate system in the executive headquarters, I hope that the government has no objection that we have our own station here at the office and he hopes the original station can be established. If I had communications with Yenan this afternoon I could arrange these things to Yenan real quick.

M: That would be my recommendation.

G: General Chang likes to take this opportunity to say [to?] both that it is most unfortunate that hostilities should have occurred. Now that hostilities will cease it is a thing worthy of congratulations and he hopes that our efforts towards the reestablishment of peaceful relations will produce still greater results because the cessation of hostilities is not an end in itself. He wishes that the committee of three which has already been appointed will proceed with its work and that we urgently recommend to this committee that they immediately proceed with the duties assigned to them so that our efforts will produce better results and at the same time he wants to express my thanks to you, General Marshall, for all you have done to bring us together and bring about the cessation of hostilities and we also hope that you will contribute your further efforts towards this discussion.

M: Thank you, Governor, I appreciate very much your generous expressions of whatever I may have done. I, too, regard this as a most favorable development that we have reach[ed] a basis for terminating hostilities and I hope that it will prove historic. I agree completely with the Governor regarding the importance of proceeding with the negotiations for the reorganization of the Armies of China. I understand a committee has been agreed upon to consider this very complicated matter and I would think that it was imperative that a solution be reached at the earliest possible moment because that is a fundamental to all the difficulties. What we are doing is giving a pause for deliberation. Now, certainly something very definite should be done to find a solution for the difficult problem of reorganization of the Armies of China. Whatever the timing of the execution of such a [Page 115] plan, it seems to me it is essential to immediately develop a plan because at best it is going to be a very difficult matter of compromises. It is my hope that the good faith that will be built up under the terms of this cessation of hostilities order as it is being carried out by this practical headquarters in the field will result in a development of confidence in the good faith of all parties so that it will not be as difficult as it would now appear to reach a solution. Now as I understood the Governor, he proposed that this particular group submit an urgent recommendation that this committee to which he referred be convened immediately to proceed with the development of an acceptable plan for the reorganization of the Armies of China. As I have said, I think that is both a fundamental and imperative requirement and while I feel a reticence, or rather a hesitation in injecting myself into that measure, with which I have not been previously associated, I would be very happy to participate with this group in submitting that urgent recommendation.

G: Did you say that this committee or you would write a letter.

M: I said while I hesitated, felt reticent, about injecting myself into a matter with which I had not been previously associated or invited, I would be happy to participate with this group in such an urgent recommendation.

C: Since the time is short, I will only say a few words. First of all, I want to thank General Marshall for his participation in the order of the cessation of hostilities you have published. Governor Chang has also done his best. I myself suggest sincerely that the reorganization of all Chinese troops can be proceeded, which includes the Chinese Communist-led troops so that they will be an equal part in the National Armies and I hope that this will also enjoy General Marshall’s support.

M: Then it is agreed we meet at three o’clock. I would like to make certain that you get the correct interpretation of what I said that was misunderstood by Governor Chang.

G: The Generalissimo is going to speak at the meeting today at 10 o’clock and he is going to make an announcement in regard to this and he thinks that it will take at most 15 minutes or so and this will be released at about 11 o’clock.

M: 11:15?

G: 11:30.

C: Yes.

M: If agreeable to the Governor and if agreeable to General Chou I will have these press men come into the hall and in the presence of the Governor and in the presence of General Chou receive this 11:30 release.

G & C: Yes.

[Page 116]

M: We don’t have to say anything but just give them this.

(Press men invited in and told that the transmission time was 11:3064)

  1. Points appear in the original.
  2. Notation on the original: “Meaning the time of publishing.”
  3. For text of press release, see United States Relations With China, p. 609.