121.893/1–1046: Telegram

General Marshall to President Truman80

30. Dear Mr. President: Conferences or negotiations between representatives of the National Government and the Communist Party with me had reached a point two days ago where the wording of the order terminating hostilities and the exact terms of the detailed instructions creating an executive headquarters of three commissioners with a complete staff for implementing the armistice, reopening and repairing communications, creating a railroad police organization, and proceeding with the surrender and evacuation of Japanese soldiers, had been formally agreed upon. There negotiations hung on the insistence of the National Government to continue its troop movement into provinces of Jehol and Chahar to occupy important rail points of Chihfeng and Tolun in accordance with the outline of the plan of the National Government to take over from the Soviet forces in accordance with the latter’s plan of withdrawal through four phases, all to have been executed last November. A delay to January 3 was requested by National Government of Soviets and a further delay to February 1 was later requested, the line through Chihfeng and Tolun to have been vacated by Soviets on January 15.

It is not known whether or not Soviet troops are still in those two places. The Communists claim that their troops have already occupied those places.

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Negotiations continued here at a stalemate up to meeting yesterday evening which I terminated to avoid further rather bitter discussions.

At 10 last night I saw the Generalissimo and secured his agreement to drop all reference in armistice arrangements to situation in Jehol and Chahar, which means that National Government troop movements cease in those provinces leaving that issue to later political negotiations. I suggested and Generalissimo agreed for him to make announcement of [cessation of?] hostilities at opening of Political Consultative Council at 10 this morning, to be followed at 11:30 by press release terms of cessation order, including provisos regarding certain troop movements which will be permitted. This release to be by the Government and the Communist Party representatives.

At 8 this morning a meeting of the three conferees was held and has just been completed with regard to numerous minor details to permit Generalissimo to make his announcement of cessation of hostilities at opening of Consultative Council meeting at 10 this morning.

I will start Colonel Byroade with first echelon of field headquarters to Peking immediately to be followed in about 48 hours by the three commissioners to head the headquarters, traveling in my plane. I have designated our Chargé here, the American Minister Walter S. Robertson, as the U. S. Commissioner, who will be invited to act as chairman.

Last night the Generalissimo expressed the desire for me to participate directly in conference of an already agreed upon committee of three military officials to develop the plan for the nationalization or reorganization of the armies of China. Today at the meeting both representatives, National Government and Communist, expressed the same desire. I agreed to participate. This will be the hardest problem of all and it is fundamentally basic to all other considerations, political and economic.

What I may be able to do indirectly to facilitate political agreements for coalition government is quite uncertain and must remain to be determined.

I am having the exact terms of the order, instructions and provisos regarding cessation of hostilities, sent direct to State Department.81 I am sending this through War Department channels and by hand to you in order to avoid possibility of a disastrous leak regarding this most confidential description of what has actually happened.

  1. Delivered by hand of officer from the War Department to the Secretary of State or Under Secretary of State (Acheson).
  2. Submitted with a covering memorandum dated January 17.