Marshall Mission Files, Lot 54–D270

Minutes of Meeting of Military Sub-Committee, Held in the Office of the Aide to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, March 13, 1946, 5:15 p.m.

Present: General Chang
General Chou
General Gillem
Also present: General Lee
General Kuo
General Hsu
Colonel Pee
General Tung
Mr. Chang
Colonel Caughey
Capt. Eng

General Gillem: Gentlemen, are we ready to discuss the point that was still in abeyance last week?

[Page 555]

General Chou: Regarding the Manchurian problem, since we have had no meeting yesterday I have reported to Yenan about the proposal presented by General Chang and the views of General Marshall and the discussions we have had here. I hope that we can not only solve formally the Manchurian problem, but also the practical matters. Now there are two problems which constitute difficulties to me. Firstly, it seems obvious that at the present time we cannot solve the political and the military aspects of the Northeast province at the same time, and on the other hand the Government is eager to first take over the sovereignty by sending in troops. That is, that the military problem has to be solved first and secondly, regarding the taking over of sovereignty in Manchuria by the Government forces, the principle of that has been laid down in the cease fire order, that the sovereignty has to be restored and to have that presents no difficulty, but as to the concrete matters for the taking over as to what places shall be evacuated by the Communist troops and all these have to be discussed here or on the ground. General Chang has suggested last time that we should first [make?] public the principle as it is in the directive for the stipulations and then we will work out concrete matters later on. General Chang suggested that we can put those problems into the political matters that have to be discussed by a special agency created for that purpose and that the concrete plans for the redisposition shall be discussed but once the stipulations are published, then the problems in Manchuria will be readjusted accordingly and the field teams will be discussed and since by agreeing to this stipulation I have not yet obtained any reply either from our people in the Northeast or from Yenan. So I feel very unsure to do so. Of course, on day before yesterday we also had other counter-proposals like the one prepared by Colonel Caughey and I am also aware that is hard for General Chang to accept. So speaking concretely, I am very much afraid that if the present stipulations are published, then we will have difficulties up in Manchuria. The original proposal16 was to solve the political and the military matters at the same time, but now that seems impossible and therefore before I get instructions from Yenan and I am deeply concerned by this trouble, but still I am prepared to find a solution. Therefore, I wish to forward the following proposal which might seem to be difficult to carry out, but actually it is not so difficult as it seems. My proposal is that we should bring the directive with us and go up to the Northeast so that we can solve it on the ground there. On my part, I am very eager to go to Mukden as speedily as possible. Originally General Marshall did not want to go to Mukden because of the presence of Soviet troops, but now we have learned that Soviet troops have withdrawn, and Government troops have taken [Page 556]over the city of Mukden. So it seems that the matter can be easily taken up and I feel confident that if we can also have the Government representative to go with us with the spirit that we have displayed on the trip, then we can solve the matter on the ground and that would also facilitate the work of the field teams. Because on our side, we have very poor communications, so it is very difficult for us to wait for telegraphic reply either from Manchuria or from Yenan because I feel that the procedure will be that Yenan has first to make inquiry to Manchuria before it is going to reply to me and therefore I come to the idea that we should go directly to Mukden. There is no longer the trouble of the presence of Soviet troops and I also feel that the Government has not much difficulty because the principle for the restoration of sovereignty by the National troops has been laid down in the cease fire order and the present job is only to take up the concrete matters. If we publish the stipulations here right now without explaining to our people in the Northeast, trouble is bound to occur and at that time I shall be held responsible and that is the reason why I feel that I cannot do so before I get instructions from Yenan. My present proposal seems very simple and very clear and I am forwarding it with the sense of responsibility and to have the whole matter amicably solved.

General Gillem: General Chang?

General Chang: General Chang likes to know whether it is General Chou’s view that he has to wait for the reply from Yenan before we can discuss the Manchurian question?

General Chou: I have just put up two proposals. First, await reply from Yenan. Second, the committee to proceed to Manchuria to study the problem on the spot.

General Chang: General Chang’s views are that he thinks: first, in principle he agrees for the committee to proceed to Manchuria, but he thinks it is not the opportune time because it is better to have the field teams proceed there first to lay a basis and collect some data and then we will proceed there and can solve the matter more quickly.

General Gillem: How does General Chou feel about such a procedure on sending the field teams first. Then [they] can be on the ground and they can form the background on which the committee might work, rather than have the committee go without an advance agent to make arrangements and to have the necessary data for the committee to proceed to function.

General Chou: General Chou says that he has agreed from the very outset that the field teams should be sent immediately. But at present about the instruction, General Chou has not quite understood what General Gillem has in mind. If you are thinking by first sending the field teams which are to collect the data and material and wait for [Page 557]the directive of the committee of three which will be dispatched later—in that case he, of course, perfectly agrees.

General Chang: General Chang thinks that if we do send the teams to Manchuria we must give them directives, otherwise there will be no guiding principle for them to follow. He hopes very much that we can pass this directive and then send the teams and not mix the political affairs with the military affairs.

General Gillem: What is General Chou’s comments on such a proposal.

General Chang: General Chang is explaining to General Chou that if he insists on the solution of the political affairs before we may send the field teams, then it will cause a long delay. Then he believes that all the efforts made in the past in the cease fire cannot be accomplished in the near future. As a matter of fact, General Chou has agreed that the railway zone shall be exclusively controlled by the Government and those localities evacuated by Soviet troops should be taken over by Government troops. General Chou has already agreed on these two points so he doesn’t think it will cause any dispute. He doesn’t think it will cause any dispute on points because the Government haven’t enough troops to take over every place in Manchuria and it is mentioned in the draft that the status quo should be maintained in Manchuria. General Chang is very concerned that a very bad reaction will be created among the people which will be very disadvantageous to both the Government and the world. He thinks that the five points should be approved.

General Chou: General Chou refers to two points. First one, is regarding the instruction of the field teams. If we start back to discuss the discussions then we just return to the status on day before yesterday. General Chang proposes that we adhere more or less to the original instruction, but put down in the minutes regarding those two points regarding the political matters and the concrete plan for the redisposition of troops. To this proposal General Chou has no other way out than to await for Yenan’s instruction because he feels that Yenan’s instrutcions might be delayed for several days, therefore he put forward the proposal to go immediately to Mukden and if the Government has difficulty to accept his proposal then, of course, we have to await for Yenan’s instruction. As regarding the field teams which General Gillem has just raised, if the field team is to be sent there to collect the information then, of course, that is all right. If it is not for that purpose then of course the field team has to wait for the instruction and we have to discuss the instructions first before the field team can be sent out. Regarding the explanation made by General Chang, General Chou perfectly understands, but that is only an understanding by the two of them. This is hard to understand up [Page 558]in the Northeast and in Yenan. That will take some time and in order to cut that time, he thinks that the committee should go to Mukden so that we could establish a personal contact and explain to them. Now as to the point that special efforts should be made for political settlement, General Chang has just assured to General Chou that such an opportunity will be given and General Chou has also agreed with what General Chang has said, but he is afraid that if that is not put down in words, the Government might send some other representative to replace General Chang and in that case new troubles will arise and General Chou further points out that there is, of course, a difference between the understanding he has and what Yenan has. If the understanding is only between the two and he can’t get it put down in words, then, of course, if new representatives were appointed they would have no references to carry on the discussions and since the Manchurian problem is of tremendous importance, the leading members of the Communist Party are very eager to have it solved once and for all. By the settlement it must be made very clear, so that no new trouble will arise.

General Gillem: I think his points are very well taken. I would like to see General Chou’s reaction to just a suggestion for the modification of this original paper that we presented, that is the one, “the mission of the team” and find out if he could subscribe to that entering in the record of the points that he made about an outline in the minutes of the agreement that has been made here about the political settlement. If we can send the teams with a certain instruction which does not involve the political aspect the team on the ground can arrange the troops so that there will not be hostile conflicts which might be pending, then the Committee of Three can go and spread the information. Meanwhile, the political aspect is being worked out by the second group. How does General Chou feel about such a program. The suggestion as to the modification of this original set of principles I will present to General Chou to see how they react to a possible modification of this first part. The first three paragraphs remain unchanged. Paragraph 4 after the word troops, delete from there to include line three at the word and. In other words it will read. “The Government troops will assume exclusive control of a strip 30 kilo on either side of the two railroads mentioned in the treaty.” In paragraph 5 delete the entire first sentence and it reads. “Communist troops will not be permitted to go in and occupy places evacuated by Russian troops.”

General Lee: What you wish deleted is that part relating to the sovereignty in China.

General Gillem: I simply offer that [as] a suggestion to get the teams in there[,] then when the teams have gotten in on the ground [Page 559]the conflict which might be pending [would?] be averted. The Committee of Three then go into the area equipped with all possible political information that has been received and we settle the points that are now at variance. The teams go first and separate troops that might be conflicting. This simply gets the teams in there for the same thing they have done at other places. I would like to have General Chang’s comments on such a proposal.

General Chang: General Chang is afraid that with such a modification there will create a misunderstanding that only that strip around the railroads and only those cities evacuated by the Russian troops may be taken over by the Government troops. It may imply that in the remainder of the areas or localities the Government has no jurisdiction at all to recover sovereignty, so General Chang proposes that the paragraph 4 be retained as it is, but add specifically they are to assume exclusive control of a strip 30 kilos to either side of the two railways mentioned in the Sino-Soviet treaty and the coal mines. To insert and the coal mines. In the paragraph 5 we will delete the first sentence. Just keep the second sentence. General Chang thinks that with omission of the first sentence in paragraph 5 that will meet the difficulties entertained by General Chou because that sentence is implied in paragraph 4. It implies that Government troops may proceed to those localities mentioned in paragraph 4 and those places evacuated by Soviet troops and all the remaining areas a status quo be maintained. Although it is not stated specifically, it will imply that the status quo will be maintained.

General Chou: General Chou explains again that with such a modification that will be more or less along the same line as Colonel Caughey’s proposed draft of paragraph 4 and 5 but while in Colonel Caughey’s draft it stated specifically that a status quo should be respected but in General Chang’s modification it implies that meaning without making such a specification. It will get the same results.

General Gillem: How does General Chou react to such a suggestion?

General Chou: General Chou points out that the proposal just made by General Chang actually is the same as what General Marshall has proposed so we have just returned to the original status and no progress has been made and in that case he still has to wait for Yenan’s instruction.

General Gillem: Would the suggestion be in order with the first three paragraphs only and follow up with the committee of three to settle the matter?

General Chang: General Chang thinks that as with omission of paragraph 4 and paragraph 5 there will be no slightest chance of cessation of hostilities at all because as soon as Soviet troops withdraw [Page 560]then it seems very difficult to restrain the Communist troops to try to get into those localities and then of course the Government troops will also move towards those places and hostilities are bound to happen, so the field team cannot do anything. The cessation of hostilities cannot be achieved at all. Furthermore, the situation in Manchuria is different from that in China Proper because in China Proper the situation is static, no movement, while in Manchuria Soviet troops are on the move, everyone is trying to get to the area so it will cause dispute and confusion if no provisions are included in this paper.

General Chou: General Chou suggested that in article 4 we make it read something like this: “Government troops are authorized to occupy such regions or places as may be necessary to establish sovereignty of China in Manchuria, but the places occupied by Government troops should be discussed by the Government and the Communist Party.”17 General Chang said he can hardly concur with that idea and as General Chang has just proposed to delete the first sentence of paragraph 5, he thinks that is the greatest concession the Government can make because in the agreement on the cessation of hostilities it is stipulated that the number of Government troops may proceed anywhere they like.

General Chang: General Chang, or the Government, appreciates the difficulties on the spot, so we are willing to make such a concession, so if that proposal just made by General Chang cannot be accepted, he doesn’t think he can make further concessions and as no provisions are included in this paper for the Government to recover sovereignty then he is afraid that hostilities in Manchuria will start. As he just said after Soviet withdrawal, both armies will try to reach those spots and hostilities will soon arise.

He cannot understand what more anxiety should be entertained by General Chou as the coalition government will be effected by sometime next month and Manchuria doesn’t belong to any political party—it belongs to this country as a whole. It is not for any political party to restore sovereignty, but the Chinese people as a whole to restore sovereignty. So it seems to General Chang that disputes should not exist unless the Communists are interested in getting control of the railroads in Manchuria. He sees no reason why General Chou should raise any dispute on these points and then General Chou said that he doesn’t want to argue, but he has to get approval from Yenan. General Chang said in that case then we cannot proceed on with our meeting and perhaps we will have to dismiss.

General Chou: General Chou comments that from the very beginning, he has explained that he has two alternative proposals, the [Page 561]first to wait for instructions from Yenan and the second for the Committee of Three to go to Manchuria. He has gone over the arguments with General Chang and he personally believes in what General Chang says and he has brought this up to Yenan and he has now to get instructions from Yenan before he can make such an agreement and therefore he put forward the second proposal that is the Committee of Three would not wait for Yenan’s reply and try to make use of the time for coming few days in having the Committee of Three go to Mukden to try to reach a settlement and he has made this point very clear at the very beginning. Now the Government has difficulty to agree that the Committee should go to Manchuria immediately before the field teams are sent out so, of course, the second proposal cannot be realized. Then General Gillem made the proposal to issue the instructions without paragraphs 4 and 5 and General Chou fully understands that General Gillem made that proposal with good intention so that some agreement may be reached. However, the Government has trouble to accept that. Now we reach a position that all the proposals are not acceptable to all. General Chou has to wait for Yenan’s instruction. However, they have shown the desire that they want to find a solution. It looks like the solution cannot be found today.

General Gillem: I would like to cite an example of the last war. We had a new air force and they were trying to incorporate in the same airplane the bomber and the fighter, with the result that we never had an airplane at all at the end of the war. My thought is that if we are not careful and prepare some instructions, there may be so much difficulty in Manchuria that anything we write will be useless. So it was for that reason that I was making a proposal that would enable us to get an initial effort started. As General Marshall says, “begin at the beginning” and then we could [get?] settled the political aspects by consultation of the experts or by movement of the Committee of Three following the teams. We are trying to help—we all are. So if we can reach some agreement to keep the difficulties in Manchuria from culminating, I think we will be very fortunate.

General Chang: General Chang wishes to express his thanks to your thoughts in order to present a beginning, but from his point of view it seems that [from?] any angle there seems that there is no reason for General Chou to object to inclusion in this draft directive a paragraph, as he has explained a minute ago, to restore the sovereignty in Manchuria under the Government. It is not for any political party to restore the sovereignty. Manchuria has been occupied by the Japanese for over 14 years so everyone in this country likes to recover the territory and restore sovereignty. If the directive will not include any provision, like paragraph 4 and 5, then the field teams have no guiding principle for implementation. It will be more or less [Page 562]useless for their usefulness in sending that team to Manchuria will be lost. Furthermore, if it is not prescribed in the directive, the Communist troops will try to rush and grab for cities and localities and naturally hostilities will arise in Manchuria instead of cessation of hostilities. General Chou is now awaiting word from Yenan and under that condition should we adjourn today and await until General Chou has gotten approval from Yenan to have another meeting.

General Gillem: My only thought, and I am sure that both of you gentlemen realize it, is that the time is very important. I have no intention of attempting to expedite General Chou’s request from Yenan. There is a crisis that might develop and time is very important. Then we await reply and if the reply is favorable we accept the document. Is that correct?

General Chou: There is no question about the sending of the teams. The only point of issue now is the kind of instructions the field team will have as a basis of activity. General Chou is waiting for a reply on whether we should put the fourth and fifth points in the minutes and arrangement for political settlement.

General Gillem: Well I assume that we had better adjourn until we get the reply. I would like to ask in the event that the reply does not come before tomorrow or the next day, can we meet and discuss some of the other matters so that we could get these papers cleared?

General Chang: General Chang is a member of the Central Committee of the Kuomintang and he is rather fully engaged in the next two days—the 14th and the 15th. The Committee will close on the 15th, so after the 15th he will be free and during those two days he states that if General Chou gets a reply from Yenan he will try his best to find some time to solve this problem, but otherwise he likes to have himself present at the Central Committee because the other problems, the formation of the supply area and the demobilization, seems not to be so urgent so he asks to have that discussed at a later time.

General Chou: Agree.

General Gillem: Gentlemen, this reminds me of a poker game. We have lost the first hand so maybe everything will be all right.

  1. See draft instruction, p. 543.
  2. Apparently at this point General Chang’s comments began.