Marshall Mission Files, Lot 54–D270

Minutes of Meeting of the Committee of Three, Held in the Office of the Aide to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, March 11, 1946, 3 p.m.

Present:1 General Chang2
General Chou3
General Marshall
Also present: General Kuo
General Lee
General Hsu
Colonel Pee
Mr. Chang
General Gillem4
Colonel Caughey
Captain Eng

General Marshall: What is the first subject you wish to take up?

General Chang: General Chang said it is rather out place for a student to make a beginning.

[Page 544]

General Marshall: Has General Chou any suggestions?

General Chou: General Chou said he would like to take up the field teams and the service areas.

General Chang: General Chang thinks the teams to be sent to Manchuria seem to be more important—how about starting with that.

General Marshall: General Chou, may we have your comments?

General Chou: I have received the draft5 only this morning and I have made a study myself at the same time informed Yenan about the contents of this draft. Since the matter of cessation of hostilities in Manchuria has been discussed for over a month and the situation there seems to be more complicated than at other places it needs an appropriate solution. First of all, I wish to extend my welcome to the Government concurrence of sending field teams to Manchuria and so that the conditions there can be stabilized. To the acquiescence of these principles by the Government, I extend my welcome because this was the desire expressed from our side from the beginning. Right now I am not going to discuss it paragraph by paragraph, but rather I would put forward a few points for general consideration. Firstly, in the stipulations it is said that the mission of the field teams would only govern the military matters. Of course, all the field teams so far have only cared for the military matters and not for anything else. This is also the mission of the field teams. But with regard to the truce in the Northeast, right following the truce we will have matters in connection with the political affairs. If we deal with them separately, inevitably complications will arise. This morning I have just told General Marshall6 that it seems to me that the Conference of Three should not only issue military instructions with regard to the Northeast to the Executive Headquarters, but should also issue instructions pertaining to political matters to the Headquarters, because as to the military aspect of the matter it seems to be quite obvious in the cease fire agreement7 we have agreed that the government troops may enter Manchuria to take over the sovereignty and in the basic plan we have further agreed that the Nationalist forces should enjoy an overwhelming supremacy in the Northeast so that the Nationalist troops will have a firm hand over Manchuria and that there would be no question about the sovereignty of the Northeast. In making these concessions we have had in mind that in return we shall have democracy, democratic institutions in the Northeast without exception in comparison with other parts of China. Under the democracy we have particularly in mind, the reorganization of the Northeast [Page 545] Political Council would be required. That the joint platform should be applied also to the Northeast with regard to local self-government. In this way we would have a fair way of settling the matter. Not only will there be large forces in Manchuria to protect the sovereignty against external aggression, but the people will also enjoy democracy as well as in every other part of China. On the other hand, if we divide the military from the political matters, then inevitably problems will arise because in that case we will have these political systems in the different places and this will cause administrative confusion and that would be bad to China. Therefore, I propose that from the highest level we should reach an agreement so that in the lower levels they would confront no difficulty. The only agency which I think can discuss this matter is the three-man committee as the field teams have no jurisdiction to discuss on this matter. Therefore, I am hoping that it can be settled here. Secondly, regarding the taking over the various places. On this point we have two procedures. The first one is the taking over of the places by the troops at the present moment. Of course the troops which are now in the Northeast are not yet sufficient for that mission as far as I know and will have to be sent up, but it appears to me that we should here fix the number of troops to be sent up and also to make an arrangement as to what places shall be taken over by those troops and consult on these points to be made here and complete concrete plans to be worked out so that the government troops can take over those places and the schedule. Secondly, regarding the reorganization and integration of the armies, the plan of which will be ready after two weeks.8 In this plan it will be laid down as to which troops should garrison what places. If we have the two plans, the one for the taking over of the sovereignty and the other for the reorganization of the armies, then the two plans can be coordinated and we can, in a harmonious atmosphere, settle all the questions. In that case we will not simply state abstractly that the Government troops have the right to take over the sovereignty and not only that, they can take over the necessary places, but we can concretely pin down the places to be taken over and the procedure of taking it over. So, if we have these procedures concretely worked out, then it would facilitate the matter of the whole problem. Now at the present time, it seems to be advisable to have the hostilities stop at once even before the previous two problems have been solved. It seems therefore, that the field teams should be sent out at once to accompany troops in that place—to stop any hostilities that might take place and there to establish close contact with both armies. Therefore, it is an interim settlement of the matter. Apart [Page 546] from that, I think it best to do it according to the suggestion I have advanced before and which I am advancing again—that is, that in order that the problem can be solved, it would be best for the Conference of Three to make another trip to the Northeast and seeing that General Marshall will not be here for the trip, I think we would like his representative to go on that trip for if the Conference of Three make this trip then we can explain on the spot to the field commanders and there clarify the whole situation. As to my part, I will make my best efforts to clarify the situation and also that Communist field commanders there would have a thorough understanding of the general policy of the Communist Party now. Certainly even before the two previous problems have been solved we will confront no difficulty. It may be that we can solve the other two problems right up there and effect our return. Anyway, our purpose is to seek stabilization in the Northeast and after the general policy has been laid down there, then we can assume the responsibility to carry it out.

General Marshall: I will not be here, of course, but at the places where the Russians are not in occupation, Mukden for example, and where the Chinese government armies have now advanced, I see no objection to General Gillem representing me on such a trip. I would like General Chou to state his idea of what the instructions would be for the field team in order that they might leave without delay.

General Chou: General Chou likes first to know the general attitude of the Government representative toward his suggestions for if his suggestion is to be adopted, then some amendment will be made to the original draft.

General Marshall: General Chang?

General Chang: General Chou raised the point that the Military Sub-Committee should also deal with the political problems in Manchuria. General Chang rather doubts whether the Military Sub-Committee have such jurisdiction in solving the political problems. Furthermore, General Chang represents the National Military Council. Whether the Military Council have the legal rights to solve political questions, General Chang is very doubtful of that. General Chang thinks in dealing with political problems in Manchuria, perhaps some other form of conferences should be formulated. They would deal with the political questions. That organization and this Military Sub-Committee to coordinate. He doesn’t think it is safe for this Military Sub-Committee to deal with political and military affairs.

General Marshall: I assume that when we are discussing the field teams, it is the Committee of Three, and not the Military Sub-Committee. The Military Sub-Committee was not charged at all with the cessation of hostilities and this is what we are talking about.

[Page 547]

General Chang: It is true that today we are having a meeting of the Conference of Three instead of the Military Sub-Committee. I am not certain whether the Conference of Three have the jurisdiction to discuss civil and political affairs. General Chang thinks that the situation in Manchuria is rather serious, so it is most urgent for us to do something to clarify the situation in that area so that the feeling of the people, both in Manchuria and of this country, will be eased. As this is an emergency case, he thinks the field teams sent there may clarify the situation. After the situation has been clarified, General Chang thinks the political problems can easily be solved. There will be changes later for the political questions to be brought up and discussed. The most important thing for us is to do something now to clarify the situation, in that area. General Chang suggest[s] that we discuss item by item of this proposed draft.

General Chou: General Chang has just expressed his view that he thinks it not to be within the capacity of this conference to discuss on the political aspect of this matter and therefore he, General Chang suggests that some other agency should be created to discuss on that and it is rather unfortunate that he didn’t have time to contact General Chang before the meeting so that we could exchange our views between ourselves. The draft contains five points and it seems rather difficult for me to accept it right now without discussing the political aspect of the matter because if we publish this document without making any reference to the political side then the burden on my shoulders will be too great and it cannot be understood by our people in the Northeast and within our party, and consequently confusion will take place. With this in view, I have, therefore, suggested that we should take up the two aspects of the matter simultaneously. The intention was to bring about stabilization instead of confusion and disorder. Of course it seems also difficult for General Chang to give his consent on this problem right now. I guess that General Chang has first to ask the Government whether such consultation can be made and therefore it is also difficult for me to give concrete views on these five points because it appears to me that it has close connection with the political matters. Therefore, I am thinking whether we both agree that some method has to be worked out to put the people at ease. Since General Chang has not had the chance to read over the document beforehand I also obtained it only this morning, it seems difficult for both of us to give a reply now. As to the political side of the matter it has not yet been taken up and no decision has been made. I am thinking that if we agree to an announcement that field teams should be sent to the Northeast, only to make such an announcement. I don’t know whether the Government can give an agreement to it right now and as to the [Page 548] concrete matter pertaining to the field teams, we can have it settled within a day or two. Of course, the best method, it appears to me, is to solve the political and military matters altogether and if General Chang finds definitely that, then we can also separate the two matters but we have to work out some concrete matters so it would be possible to tackle both the problems. Otherwise if I should go on as General Marshall has suggested to make an amendment on the present draft it seems rather difficult because if I add something pertaining to the political matters then General Chang would certainly also have difficulty to agree on it right now because of this difficulty, so I have not concretely put down any amendment to this document.

General Chang has just asked General Chou what he was thinking to add and General Chou told him that he was thinking to add a clause saying that all political matters will be taken up by the Committee of Three for settlement. Until decision the present status in Manchuria should be maintained. General Chou is afraid that this would not be acceptable to General Chang therefore he is not raising this point.

General Marshall: If agreeable to General Chang, I suggest that this further consideration be postponed until a later meeting, but that the later meeting be held at an early date.

General Chang: General Chang will agree to your suggestion, but he likes to clarify on two points. The first point regarding the draft, which points would General Chou be willing to accept and which he likes to alter or make changes. General Chang would like to learn from General Chou what concrete measures he has in mind on how to solve the political problems. The reason for General Chang raising those two questions is that it is his understanding that the cease fire order will apply to every corner of this country. The spirit of the cease fire order is to solve the military questions or alleviate the military conflict and no political matters are attached to that. So if he is talking about Manchuria, it seems not advisable to attach the political affairs with military affairs. Regarding the political matters, there will be plenty of occasions for General Chou to bring it up for solution. Not necessarily in this conference, but in other conference[s], he can bring up that point, because those political problems have to be solved anyhow.

General Chou: In answer to General Chang, General Chou has two points to raise. First, regarding the missions of the field teams. Of course he agrees that in a certain situation the mission of the field team is restricted to military matters but if the field team would not contact any matters outside the military subjects then everywhere political questions will immediately arise and this will have no means of settlement. Secondly, he says that in the fourth point, it has been said that the Government troops will be sent up but he thinks that [Page 549] definite amount of the Government troops should be fixed and it should also be stipulated what points are going to be taken over. There two points have to be arranged by consultation here so that field teams may have definite instructions in dealing with this matter and after the definite arrangement has been made here then the Communist troops will then, of course, evacuate from certain places according to plan and he thinks that this has also close connection with the reorganization plan because in that case, Communist troops can be assembled for the purpose of reorganization. It would also be helpful to the movement of the Government troops. These are the points which he thinks should be definitely fixed. Regarding the second question raised by General Chang about General Chou’s views on the political affairs, General Chou says that he has expressed his views on the political affairs for several times already and he likes to repeat it here. His main idea was that agreement should be reached on the top level and then it would be carried out down to the lower level. At the present moment we have a military control in the Northeast and we have a Northeast Administrative Council under the military headquarters there. General Chou, therefore, suggests that a unified method should be worked out for the reorganization of the Northeast Administrative Council under the military headquarters and also the reorganization of the various provincial governments so that people from all quarters can participate and that the procedures of the joint platform to be carried out. In that we [way?] we will set aside confusion in the lower levels and we can carry into orderly effect the reorganization procedures from top to the bottom levels.

General Chang has just pointed out that it would be better to deal separately with the political and military affairs as we have done in the past regarding the cease fire by the Conference of Three and political matters by [sic] be taken up by the PPC. Of course it would be well if the two matters can be separated, but there is one difference between the situation in China Proper and in Manchuria. In China Proper all troop movements are practically frozen up but in Manchuria troop movements continue. I think that the Government’s considering the question of sending field teams to Manchuria for over a month was certainly also due to consideration of this point. Now the situation in Manchuria is rather complicated as to the diplomatic aspect of the matter. We can just leave that aside, not to be discussed here, but I still want to call to your attention that there is some difference beween the situation in Manchuria and in China Proper. In China Proper all troop movements have ceased so we can wait for political decisions, but in the Northeast, we cannot do so. As soon as the Communist troops have evacuated from certain places then the local civil administrations set up at the time under the Communist [Page 550] control has to be looked out for—some arrangement has to be made for them. Particularly in Manchuria we have now military control over certain provincial governments. This is another phase of the differences than China Proper and, therefore, we have to have the political affairs settled also. As to through what agency and by what method it can be solved that is all the same to me. I have not yet found out myself an appropriate method for solving this problem and through my discussion with General Marshall, no such satisfactory method has yet been worked out and I would willingly accept General Marshall’s proposal that we postpone the discussion for the next meeting which will take place as soon as possible and in the meantime I will contact General Chang separately so that we shall try to work out some formula and then bring it up jointly at the Conference of Three.

General Chang: General Chang understands clearly on General Chou’s reply to those two questions, but in order to simplify the discussion, General Chang thinks that regarding the cessation of hostilities we should just carry out the cease fire order in Manchuria in the same way and same spirit as we did in the other points in this country. Regarding the political questions we should stick to the provisions of the agreement in the PCC. That will simplify matters. If we classify Manchuria as a special area—as a special status, if we must attach a relation between the military affairs and the political affairs it will delay any accomplishment. In that case it is not only disadvantageous to the country as a whole, it may be disadvantageous to the Communist Party as well. So the most urgent thing for us to do is to clarify the situation in Manchuria, to stop hostilities. We can settle political questions in some other location.

General Marshall: As I understand it, it is acceptable to both you gentlemen that this be discussed at another and early meeting. I have only 30 minutes so what do you wish to take up next. I would suggest that we take up this paper entitled formation of service areas.9 It is quite essential that the work be got underway by the Government in the preliminary organizations concerned. Is that agreeable?

General Chang: General Chang thinks that in the first case, you only have 30 minutes, therefore, it may not be possible to get this paper through and then General Kuo just said that the Ministry of War has also prepared a plan along the same line and he likes to study this plan and that plan together and see the points and make a comparison and then he can put forward their recommendation.

General Marshall: In other words, he would prefer not to discuss it today.

[Page 551]

General Chang: Yes.

(General Chang and General Chou spoke at length in Chinese.)

General Chang still is trying to persuade General Chou to have the field team in Manchuria to be settled if possible today then we will relieve the serious situation in Manchuria.

General Chang suggested that we send the team first in order to clarify the situation and then regarding the political problem we can get together the representatives of the PPC on both parties and work out a solution on that until the political question is solved.

General Chang said that the students will try to arrange a compromise and while doing that they will just leave the professor alone.

General Marshall: It is all right with me if they will just effect a compromise. I will never speak as long as they agree.

General Chang: I hope that some agreement will be reached on that paper then you may get on board the plane with an easy mind.

General Gillem: My mind will be easier too.

General Chang: General Chang suggested that the political solution will further be protected by the army reorganization and also the plan for the coalition. Last sentence, paragraph 5, can be subject to interpretation.

General Marshall: Would it facilitate matters if the first sentence of paragraph 5 were omitted. That is implied in paragraph 4, therefore, there seems to be no objection. The first sentence of paragraph 4 gives the Government the right to go into such regions or places as may be necessary to reestablish the sovereignty of China in Manchuria. Paragraph 5 will just begin with, “Communist troops will not be permitted, etc.” What is General Chou’s comment.

General Chang: General Chang suggests to General Chou to pass all those five articles, but with the remarks saying that detailed arrangement for implementation of article 4 and article 5 will be discussed and settled later. General Chang suggests that for [now?] he has this in view. The longer we delay the issue—the more lives will be sacrificed because Soviet troops withdraw and Communist troops and National troops will go in to take over and there is bound to be a clash and many people will be killed.

General Marshall: But 4 and 5 will operate, or will not operate.

General Chou: General Chou is still worried about the political matter. It is not mentioned in that.

General Chang: General Chang says it seems improper to incorporate any clause pertaining to the political matters in that draft so he suggested to put in the minutes that political matters will be settled by another conference on both sides.

General Lee: There seems to be agreement in principle between General Chou and General Chang. Article 4 and Article 5 are liable [Page 552] to a liberal and a strict interpretation. They wish to work out some sort of agreement to stipulate the places and cities which are to be taken over by National Government and which are to be assigned by consultation.

General Marshall: What does the team do that goes out immediately. The team does not go until that is decided upon.

General Lee: Without specifying the places that are to be taken over, the teams cannot start work.

General Chou: There is no question about the following points: Firstly, that hostilities should be ceased immediately, and secondly, that the team should be immediately dispatched and the immediate mission of the team shall be first to take care of taking over the sovereignty of the places now withdrawn by the Russians, and second, the railway line of those two railways in connection with the Sino-Soviet treaty shall be taken over and these are definite. The question he has in mind is regarding the clause that regions and places as may be necessary to restore the sovereignty of China in Manchuria will be occupied by Government forces. He thinks that would have such an all-inclusive clause that it would mean difficulties are bound to arise as to number of Government troops, the places to be occupied and the redisposition in connection with the Army reorganization and especially the administrative affairs in connection [with] the redisposition. It seems to him perfectly agreeable if field teams are sent out now for the specific purpose. For example, to send a team to Mukden, that can be immediately dispatched, but if we send all the field teams then complications will arise and they would be difficult for him.

General Marshall: I have this one comment to make and I have only about three minutes left. I think it is very important to get the teams up there. With reference to General Chou’s comment regarding these stimplations as to how many troops are to go there and what they will occupy, General Chou spoke to me this morning on what he had heard about different Government divisions going to Manchuria. I inquired on that with General Wedemeyer10 and those troops could not be moved in 4 or 5 months. What we are laboring with is the troops that are now up there. Meanwhile, trouble is brewing. I see no relation between the movement of troops of the Government there at this particular moment with this particular paper. I think we ought to find the simplest way of getting those teams up there immediately. Now I don’t want to terminate this meeting by my departure. I hope very much, that you will go ahead, but I have to leave now myself as I have a meeting with the Generalissimo [for] which I am [Page 553] already a little late and I have no time left. (General Marshall left the meeting.)

General Chou comments that with regard to the taking over of the localities there will be no difficulty. The present problem now is to have the right wording so that he will have no difficulty when this is public.

Meeting was adjourned.

  1. Names listed in three columns in these and other similar minutes are respectively those of representatives and their assistants of the Chinese National Government, the Chinese Communist party, and the United States.
  2. General Chang Chih-chung, Chinese Government representative in the Committee of Three.
  3. General Chou En-lai, representative of the Chinese Communist Party in the Committee of Three.
  4. Lt. Gen. Alvan C. Gillem, Jr., designated by General Marshall as his representative in the Committee of Three during the temporary absence of General Marshall in the United States.
  5. See draft of instructions for Executive Headquarters regarding the entry of Field Teams into Manchuria, supra.
  6. See minutes of General Chou’s statement on March 11, p. 535.
  7. January 10, p. 125.
  8. See draft document of March 16, p. 564.
  9. Not printed.
  10. Lt. Gen. Albert C. Wedemeyer, Commanding General of U. S. Forces in China.