Marshall Mission Files, Lot 54–D270

Minutes of Meeting of Military Sub-Committee, March 18, 1946, 8:10 a.m.

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

General Gillem: Gentlemen, we have been trying to get together without success so far. I appreciate very much the way you have responded and your consideration. If they will give me their indulgence [Page 577]I would like to point out a few facts which I think history, if it is truthful, will include. A great many stories are told; a great many articles are written; most of this will be verified in a truthful history. 222 days ago the last bomb was dropped on Tokyo and it was by a B–29. 96 days before that Germany was beaten to her knees and the things that did it by and large were American bombers and American troops which stopped 50 miles from Berlin—I was there. Now America has marched in 4½ years across the Pacific and certainly had contributed in years what other allies had in a few days to restore to you a lost province—one in 9 days. I think it will show in history that our fleet was in all the seas. We had troops in 27 countries and our air force was the biggest in the world. The Army had 7½ million men with modern equipment and [one?] more thing—the atomic bomb. Now the man who directed this terrific Army through the war was General Marshall and he is a leader throughout the world. Though he was tired after the war, his work here is well-known by all these officers. His endeavors to get help for China has reached tangible form already for I have received a wire that he is sending 100 officers to assist in the reorganization of the Army and the first leaves America next week. General Marshall appeared before the American Congress29 yesterday, and he made these statements which I am going to quote which are of common interest to the people here. “The U. S. is I think at the present time best able to render material assistance to China. We are asking no special preferences of any kind whatever regarding economic or similar matters. We are placing no price on our friendship. I must say though that we have a vital interest in a stable government in China, and I am using the word in an accurate sense. The next few months are of tremendous importance to the Chinese people and I think to future world peace.” Now, General Marshall is in Washington to try [to] assist and I am going to Nanking today to try and assist in two ways: First, to place the officers in the framework that will assist here and, secondly, to arrange the details of a school for General Chou. I think, and it is a very humble opinion, I will admit, that we have been living so close to this problem that we have lost some of the bigger features among the small ones. I will admit that you gentlemen have a vital interest in this area and I am trying to be thoroughly aware of that at all times. I think we are all trying. We are all directly concerned with the restoration of peace and tranquility to China as a whole and Manchuria in particular because of its economic and other values. Now we have for seven days, one week since General Marshall left, attempted to resolve this problem without success [Page 578]so far. That it is very critical in the opinion of General Marshall that we get teams up there can be told from this paragraph that I will read out of his speech: “Up to 10 minutes before my departure we were reaching agreements regarding sending teams into Manchuria. It is of great importance that they get there as soon as possible. In Manchuria they have no representative of the headquarters up to this time. The situation is very fluid with troops moving here and there and all sorts of minor clashes occurring. In many instances, particularly on the Communist side, there is no doubt that they are almost unaware of the agreement that we have reached. Therefore, it is most important that we have these teams appear in the country as quickly as possible.” Now we have added a little on one or two sentences in different places in paragraphs 4 and 5 but I am sure that if you looked at it from the broad point of view and refreshed your memories back to January 10 when certain stipulations were signed by the two officers concerned, you will find in [a] paragraph that the statement that military movements do not prejudice the movement of forces of the National Army into or within Manchuria for the purpose of restoring Chinese sovereignty. It was with this in mind that General Marshall prepared his original draft which we have been unable to agree upon. Now, Gentlemen, we have made certain changes in here and these I hope will prove to be all that is necessary to get it signed and the teams in the field. I think it is critical that we do so, and I ask you to please reach an agreement this morning and to sign the papers to send these teams so that we can dispatch them and settle the problems which if they have not already occurred they will occur if we go along without them. I have left two papers. I would like to leave them with you and I will step out on the porch and see if you can settle it by the smarter men here and any little problems can be left to the field teams or submit to higher authority as I have written in the paper. I have taken 5 minutes longer than I expected. I apologize.

I have no choice in either one, we have made certain changes that we made about liaison and the other one is a copy of the stipulation with the other changes. I hope that we can arrive at some conclusion.

General Chou: I have had a talk with General Gillem yesterday and I have explained that [to him?] the actual conditions of my position. I have had several talks with General Chang making an effort to reach a solution. Both General Chang and myself have been working along that spirit and especially I feel grateful to General Gillem’s efforts in this matter. However, after several days of efforts and yesterday General Gillem put forward a new proposal, I only thank him for his cooperation in this matter. I feel very grateful to both of you gentlemen. After the efforts made on all parts, [Page 579]General Chang has finally withdrawn the amended proposal. However as to the present proposal we still have the difference on the word “now” in paragraph 4. On the evening when I was talking to General Chang, he has not agreed on that. However, I have not withdrawn that word that is the point of dispute. As to all the other points I can say that both of us do agree, but of course I have to make a statement that this still has to be approved by higher authority. Now General Chang has talked it over with the Government and it seems that on every point there is no argument except the word “now” which the Government would not accept. As on my party the instruction I have received from Yenan is far more restricted than my proposal. Now if the word “now” still has to be deleted that will differ still more from Yenan’s instruction. Therefore, it is not within my power to sign on this paper because the reason is that in that case if such kind of a paper is issued then dispute will take place on the Communist side. It would be more preferable if we sent the field teams first with only the instructions of paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 so that we will have more than to discuss on the other points. However, such a view seems not possible to be accepted. If now I should be pressed to delete the word “now” from the document then the responsibility on my shoulders are two-fold. One is it has gone beyond my power because it has gone beyond the instruction of Yenan and secondly, if the word “now” is again deleted then my responsibility is too great. I have two points to relate. First one is before that I have discussed with General Chang. I said that if a plane was available we would send up people to Yenan to consult personally. However because of some trouble of the plane it is not possible for us to send up people. However, this shows that I have had the best intention. Secondly, regarding the stipulations in the supplement to the cease fire order, that is about the movement of troops in certain areas as exceptions. The stipulations have particular reference to the clause in the cease fire order dealing with the movement of troops. However I also recall that in the same stipulation it is stated that the Government has to report to the Executive Headquarters about the movement of those troops. However, this has never been carried out. Yenan has inquired on this matter for several times regarding how many Government troops are in Manchuria. My guess would be that the figure agreed upon has not yet been exceeded. However, I actually have no basis for making such a guess because it is not stated in any document. We don’t want to complicate the situation. I only wish to point out that there still [are] points in the cease fire order that have not yet been carried out on the part of the Government. Now besides that we recall the efforts in Kwangtung area. It certainly cannot be said that our side is to blame in that matter because the Government [Page 580]authorities in Kwangtung still refuse to carry out the cease fire order in that part. We had planned to go to Canton on our trip, however, that was cancelled because we wanted to find a solution here. The Communist troops are now being attacked and scattered. I still have the burden on my shoulder to [have] settled that question.

As to the problem north of Hankow, 40,000 to 50,000 of our men are still besieged and we have asked for their transfer. However, General Chang thinks that he finds difficulty in doing that so we made the concession and we do not raise the question of the transfer at this moment. However, they are now urgently in need of food and this is another of the burdens that I have to carry on my back. We must take all this into consideration. The matter north of Hankow was intended to be settled when we went to [on] the trip. However, because the government has difficulty settling the matter on the spot so we agreed that it should be settled when we come back to Chungking. So I said we would wait for another two weeks to see how the things are happening. Now later I have seen Mr. Hsu Kan, the Minister of Food, and he said he needs food in the large cities like Peiping, Tientsin, Tsinan and other places and I have told him we are quite willing to send food into those cities and in return we hoped he would supply food to the Hankow area as we hope that would be a settlement. However, I learn that the Food Ministry is instructed by the Government that there will be difficulty in carrying that out so if we take all this into consideration it creates such an impression as of anything which we have made concessions we would suffer in the end. Now regarding the present document I would not refer to the political affairs because that might be put down in the minutes. As to the document itself we can either adhere to the Yenan principle that we only use the first three paragraphs and send out the field teams immediately without the rest of the documents or we can also follow the idea of General Gillem that we put down the places concretely which are to be taken over right now and in the meantime we can continue our discussion on the military and political matters.

Since all these proposals seem not to be acceptable to the Government and therefore it is beyond the discussion here, so we have worked out a proposal like this one. However, I cannot further consent on the point of the word “now”. I will take the responsibility to report to Yenan on the whole discussion and as I understand that General Gillem is also to come back on Wednesday and General Chang is leaving on Thursday so I think I will still [make] my best effort in those two days to reach some kind of solution.

General Chang: According to what General Chou has just said it seems impossible for us to have the document signed today. The [Page 581]dispute really lies on the word “now” appearing in paragraph 4 and I don’t like to make any guess, but if the Government has really made such a major concession in withdrawing all its amendments put forward yesterday but we failed to get General Chou’s agreement to deleting one word “now”, I feel it is very regrettable. General Chou has just said he will make every effort in these two days and General Chang is very pleased to hear that. He sincerely hopes that agreement may be reached on Wednesday when you come back.

General Gillem: I have cancelled my trip today. Could General Chou send his dispatch to Yenan and get it back so we can approve this.

General Chang: I have seen much criticism in the newspapers and among the people and I regret to see this. Some of the time they are aimed at the Communists. If these are proved to be facts it would be very regrettable so as to jeopardize the Communists. He hopes that an agreement may be reached so those rumors will be baseless. If those rumors turn out to be facts in the end it would be very disadvantageous to the country as a whole—to the Government and to Manchuria, but most of all it may be as disadvantageous to the Communists as well. General Chang likes to repeat the statement that he appreciates General Chou’s effort in order that results may be achieved and the document may be signed. He has great hope and he appreciates that, thus he sincerely hopes that an agreement may be signed.

Regarding the other points of issue made by General Chou regarding the situation in Canton area and north of Hankow and in the Government failing to notify the Executive Headquarters, General Chang wonders what aim did General Chang [Chow?] have in mind in making such a statement in this present meeting. He likes to make some clarification. Under the present situation General Chou said very definitely that he cannot sign this document and then at the same time he mentioned those points which is a list of accusations made by the Communists to the Government. They seem to be very unnecessary in this case. It may waste too much time if General Chang [should] try to answer to every accusation made by General Chou and furthermore it seems totally unnecessary for him to make such an explanation to every point. Anyway from the very start, General Chang said repeatedly that there is no time for us to argue about the right and wrong. The most urgent thing to do is to try to use our brain to solve practical problems with the spirit of mutual confidence and making mutual concessions. This is the attitude General Chang has had in the past and he will still stick to that spirit in the future. In any discussion he will have that attitude. General Chang was greatly touched by the example given by General Marshall saying that nearly 100 years have elapsed from the civil war in the United [Page 582]States—still people are arguing about the right and wrong of the civil war.

General Chang regrets very much that he has to leave this conference now as his subordinates are getting together at 9 o’clock to have a farewell meeting and General Chang had them postpone it to 10 so he has to leave now.

General Gillem: I realize you gentlemen have many difficulties and we have passed through the same thing. As a matter of fact my country was not sure which war we were talking about when we came back this time. I think it is probably very good for both of them to have gotten that out rather than keeping it inside. I have now cancelled my trip again to have this document transmitted to Yenan and see if we can get an approval of the question involved and meet again either tonight or tomorrow morning and settle the problem.

General Chou: General Chou is not arguing about what is right or wrong. He simply put up questions and would like to get the solution. He is not clear about what people are thinking about the Manchurian problem raised by certain quarters because that is a problem regarding who is right and who is wrong. As to the Kwangtung problem that is almost [also?] not a question of who is right or wrong. It is simply that the troops are not recognized by military authorities and that has to be solved. As to the problem north of Hankow, he himself has endeavored to make a solution with the Ministry of Food. However that formula was not approved by the Government. All this shows that he has many things on his own shoulders which has to be resolved. Regarding the draft30 which you have shown to him last night, General Chou does not feel sure that he can definitely get a reply from Yenan today. In fact General Chou has reported to Yenan last night after talking to you regarding this draft but as our communication is quite poor with Yenan he is not certain when the reply will be back.

General Gillem: Have you any suggestions to make. I will plan to leave tomorrow and come back Wednesday if possible and possibly you can arrive at some conclusion between the two and we can settle it and get the teams out. I am sure they are set to go. We have made arrangements with the Marines and they are set to go north on call. I see no recourse except to inform General Marshall that so far we have [been] unsuccessful but I am still hopeful that we can do something within two or three days. I am very sympathetic to General Chou with the responsibilities on his shoulders because I am trying to carry General Marshall’s, so if we can attempt to get that settled the next couple of days.

[Page 583]

General Chang: Yesterday General Chou request[ed] General Chang to exert all his efforts and today it is his turn.

General Gillem: I request both of them to lend themselves to the problem.

  1. See statement released to the press on March 16, Department of State Bulletin, March 24, 1946, p. 484.
  2. Presumably the same draft, text of which was transmitted by Lieutenant General Gillem to General Marshall in telegram No. 200300Z. forwarded from Nanking on March 20, p. 584.