Marshall Mission Files, Lot 54–D270

Minutes of Meeting of Military Sub-Committee at House 28, General Marshalls Residence, Chungking, March 27, 1946, 4:15 p.m.

Present: General Chang Chih Chung
General Chou En-lai
General A. C. Gillem, Jr.
Also present:76 General Kuo
General Lee
General Hsu
Colonel Pee
General Tung
Mr. Chang
Colonel Caughey
Captain Eng

[For first part of these minutes dealing with the entry of teams into Manchuria, see page 606.]

[Page 622]

General Gillem: I think it is time for the school to come to order.

General Chou: Regarding the Kwangtung problem. In the past I have submitted a memorandum77 to General Chang and General Marshall and General Chang had a discussion with General Chang Fa Kuei on this matter and the same thing has been done by me. General Chang Fa Kuei said he must get an official order from the Government. Of course at this juncture whether there is anything wrong in the past I do not want to recall that. It seems that the Government should issue an order to the General Chang Fa Kuei giving instructions on the transfer and demobilization of the Communist troops in that part. In addition to that the Executive Headquarters should also issue specific order to the field team regarding matters pertaining to integration and demobilization. The transfer of those troops will be carried out in two parts, one in east of Canton and the other in Hainan to Chefoo. The demobilization personnel require the protection from the local government authorities and supervision on the party of the field team for the implementation of the transfer and demobilization. For this purpose it is necessary that a directive should be issued to the field team. A directive has been prepared by me some time ago78 and I wish to submit it for discussion and we can proceed to discuss the Hankow matter.

General Chang: When General Marshall was in Chungking, in one of the meetings of the Committee of Three,79 the following principle had been agreed upon. The Communist troops in the East River in Canton should be evacuated to Chefoo, from 2 to 3 thousand. The Government should agreed to designate a port for embarkation and General Marshall also said he would approach Admiral Cooke to get necessary transportation. General Chang has reported the foregoing to the Government and the Government has already taken action. Regarding the detailed arrangements, General Chang thinks that could be discussed by the 8th field team because the team is already on the spot—they can make those arrangements more practically. General Chang thinks the proper procedure should be as follows. The team on the spot [should] try to solve those detailed technical problems. If they get into some difficulties they will refer them to Executive Headquarters. If Executive Headquarters fail to solve those points then they will refer that to Chungking. That is the proper procedure. We haven’t received any request or any report from the Executive Headquarters or from the 8th field team so why not let the field team deal with the local situation. If now on the highest level we make some decision it may not be practical to the local [Page 623] situation and circumstances. The points proposed by General Chou seem to be those technical arrangements of detailed arrangement on the spot. If we issue that to the field teams, it seems that the highest level are doing the job of the team. General Chang understands that General Chou is very concerned with the situation in Canton. So he proposed that the Committee of Three send a message to the Executive Headquarters asking them what had been done in Canton. What is the present status in Canton and have them report back.

General Chou: General Chou says it is true that the draft he has prepared contains many points of a technical nature. However, the work of a field team in Canton has had many handicaps because the Communist troops in that area have not up to now been recognized by General Chang Fa Kuei, therefore, the teams are not permitted to move freely to contact troops. In the field team it has been raised that the Communist troops are stationed in two places, along the East River and Hainan Island. However the field team could not yet establish liaison with those troops. We must now send General Chang Fa Kuei instruction so he definitely recognizes the status of the Communist troops. After the Government has instructed him on this matter, if it has not already done so, we must ask the Government how the present situation is. It is not so important to ask Executive Headquarters in comparison to asking the Government. General Chou has some officer here to go down to locate the Communist troops, but he is a little afraid to send him down to General Chang Fa Kuei if he insists on his original attitude.

General Chang: General Chou says that General Chang Fa Kuei in Canton does not recognize the status of the field team down there—the jurisdiction of the team[—]and General Chang thinks that we must get first hand information regarding the current status from the Executive Headquarters as a basis for discussion.

General Gillem: I would just like to make one comment after listening to both sides. It seems to me that there is a considerable amount to be said on both sides to date. I believe that the solution suggested by General Chang has considerable merit. That is the team should do it, but on the other hand, I think the situation in this particular place is unusual. First of all, we must insist that the subordinate headquarters, General Chang Fa Kuei, recognizes the fact that he must conform to orders like any other officer, in so far as cease fire is concerned.

General Chang: General Chang would like to assure the gentlemen here that the Government has already sent instructions to General Chang Fa Kuei to recognize the presence of Communist troops in Canton area and have sent instructions to him to comply with the [Page 624] cease fire order. General Chang believes that there is no fighting in Canton area at present. If there should be any fighting the team on the spot they [there?] can wire to the Executive Headquarters and then in turn to the Committee of Three informing us of the situation down there. Up to date there is no report of that sort and it follows clearly that there is no fighting in that area so the only thing for them to do is to make the arrangements of a technical nature for evacuation.

General Chou: General Chou says the situation is different from what General Chang has just stated. As a matter of fact the field team is not in a position to submit any report because they are unable to establish liaison with the Chinese Communist troops and therefore they have nothing to report and nothing to do. At that time the field team has asked the Executive Headquarters for instruction and in accordance with reports the Executive Headquarters was awaiting for the Committee of Three to go down to Canton to settle the matter. However, we later cancelled the trip down to Canton so the field team has been awaiting all the time and have no report. If we don’t find a solution for them they would continue to wait. Another cause for delay is General Chang Fa Kuei’s coming down to Chungking on March 20th, so [was absent?] nearly two weeks and the field team had no commanding general to contact. Now General Chang Fa Kuei has returned to Canton, but it is still unknown whether he has recognized the Communist troops and allowed the field team to establish contact with them. So a decision has to be made here. Otherwise we can visualize that the field team would simply go on waiting and do nothing.

General Chang: General Chang has two points in mind. He doesn’t think that the situation in Canton is a very complicated problem. He views the correct steps to take as follows: Firstly, the Committee of Three to wire Executive Headquarters and they in turn forward a message to the 8th field team asking what the situation is in Canton area and the difficulties they come across. If, by any chance, the three members of the field team cannot agree upon a report then either the American member may report directly to the Executive Headquarters or the three members report to their superiors of the situation and then we will be informed of the situation. With that information we can proceed to discuss the problems more intelligently. Secondly, General Chang is willing to approach the responsible Government departments to send orders to General Chang Fa Kuei again directing him to allow the field teams to proceed to the disputed area and make necessary readjustment. Regarding this particular problem a basic agreement has already been reached so the present problem is how to carry it out. By asking the field team and General Chang [Page 625] to report back it will only take a few days and then we can get ahold of the data and the real situation in that area.

General Chou: General Chou says, of course, we can go through the proper procedure and the proposal made by General Chang, but on account of the fact that in the past General Chou has talked personally with General Chang Fa Kuei and the result was practically nil and General Chang Fa Kuei refused to see General Chou for a second time and now General Chang has again returned he does not know his present attitude toward this matter. Therefore, General Chou is thinking that he should send a representative down from Chungking to Canton. This officer has come here from the Communist troops in Kwangtung so he knows the whereabouts and the exact actual conditions and General Chou will send one person to accompany him and General Chou asks the Government to give him a passport so that he can introduce him to Chang Fa Kuei so that they might talk personally on this matter and through General Chang Fa Kuei to accompany the field team to contact the Communist forces.

General Gillem: I have a possible solution. I would try to present this just as a point. I think we might be able to work it out. General Chang has said that the problem is very easy so we can expect his help. Obviously the cessation of hostilities order applies to all parts of China, therefore it applies to Canton. It appears that General Chang Fa Kuei has not completely carried out the order from information which has been given to me. Therefore, I suggest that the necessary instruction be given directly by the necessary higher headquarters to General Chang Fa Kuei to recognize the Communist troops. My information indicates that General Chang Fa Kuei desires a direct instruction to so inform him that he must recognize the Communists. Step two. The Government give a safe conduct to the Communist officer to proceed to this area and contact General Chang Fa Kuei and I suggest that Colonel Caughey accompany him. Step three. General Wedemeyer will be here tomorrow and I will see whether the ship has been arranged for so the ship’s officers can contact the field team. Based upon the report from Colonel Caughey and the Communist officer we will issue a directive to Peking tell them to so inform and direct the field team. This is merely a point of discussion and I have not consulted General Chou whether he wants Colonel Caughey to go or not. That is merely my suggestion, the solution which I think will solve this problem. This is not submitted with the idea that we cannot get correct information but in a desire to help to solve this problem.

General Chou: General Chou entirely accepts General Gillem’s proposal. He says that in this way we can on the one hand inform [Page 626] the field team about the decision of the Committee of Three and on the one [other?] hand we may wire Peking of our decisions and General Chang will also inform General Chang Fa Kuei about it. As to the matter that Colonel Caughey shall accompany General Lin to go to Canton, General Chou fully concurs. In this way they may establish contact with the Communist representatives as well as with General Chang Fa Kuei. The liaison might be quickly established with the Communist troops. If General Chang Fa Kuei agrees that he will carry out everything in accordance with the cease fire agreement then, of course, the subsequent work can be taken up by the field team. General Chou has now in his mind to send down two persons. The one is the one who came up from Kwangtung who knows the whereabouts of the forces and the other person will talk to General Chang Fa Kuei to improve the relations with him so that it would facilitate the work of the field team.

General Chang: General Chang agrees with General Gillem’s proposal in principle but he likes to clear himself on several points. Firstly, if Colonel Caughey will accompany the Communist representative to Canton then how about a Government representative in that party to make it a sort of a representation of the Committee to make a cessation of the Canton situation. If that idea can be adopted then one of the steps is not necessary as the Government representative may take with him the necessary directive to General Chang Fa Kuei. General Chang agrees in principle on sending some officers to Canton to find out the situation down in that area, but he still feels little concerned over one respect. That is, when General Chang commanded troops in the field he himself would not feel right if a superior did something without notifying him, disregarding him. If now we are sending a group from the Committee of Three without informing Peking that will jeopardize the prestige of the Executive Headquarters in Peking. So [he] has in mind in order not to jeopardize the status of the Executive Headquarters will it be more advisable for the Committee of Three to send a directive to the Executive Headquarters in Peking instructing them to send another party consisting of three sides to Canton and to help the team already down there. If that can be adopted then General Chang thinks that will ease his mind over the Executive Headquarters, but if General Gillem thinks it is better to send a party from Chungking he also [will] have no objection.

General Gillem: I would like to present a point which may assist in clearing up the situation. I am thoroughly in accord with the principle he has just made about a commander being informed of someone else coming in. I would feel the same way. Possibly you recall that before General Marshall left he told me that he wanted me to visit Canton.

[Page 627]

General Chang: No, I didn’t.

General Gillem: Well, he did want me to go there. I think Peking is going to be very busy with Manchuria for the next few days. It is always possible that information is not correct and General Chang Fa Kuei may conform definitely to the orders. Therefore as a representative from this group may go and determine that our information is incorrect and as this committee works as a whole rather than as individuals it might be desirable if General Chou has no objection, as I nominated one man I will nominate Colonel Pee as the representative. We are very anxious to get this problem settled. I think that by this preliminary mission we can make our directive in an intelligent way and accomplish the problem. I am not trying to usurp General Chang’s prerogative of nominating his officer. I started and I was just completing it. He can, of course, assign anyone else. If that solution is reasonably satisfactory to the two officers concerned I suggest that we suspend school and we can take the other problem tomorrow. Will that be all right.

General Chang: General Chang said that he has no other jurisdiction over the person of Colonel Pee inasmuch as Colonel Pee is the personal aide to the Generalissimo.

General Gillem: I apologize, but I was simply trying to bring this to a head.

General Chang: General Chang just pointed out the indispensability of Colonel Pee.

(At this point Colonel Pee plaintively pleaded his plainness.)

General Gillem: I recognize that indispensability.

General Chou: General Chou says it is very well that now we have decided to send representatives to Canton to get the correct information on the spot and try to solve the matter and so that the Committee of Three would also be well informed about the actual conditions. Now since the [cessation of] hostilities has to be applicable to all areas I would like to take this opportunity to point out that on Hainan Island the Communist forces have been there for 8 years during the war so we have therefore also suggested that they should be evacuated together with those to the east of Canton. At the present time we only deal with troops to the east of Canton. Maybe I have not stressed accurately the presence of Communist troops in Hainan Island. It seems to be desirable to send one representative from each party so they can work as a group and cooperate with each other and they should come back again. So on my part I desire I [to] send another another [Communist?] representative so he will be able to come back to Chungking.

General Gillem: Is there any objection on it.

General Chang: No. General Chang said it is not a question of [Page 628] whether the Government will recognize the Communist troops in Hainan Island or whether the Government has already recognized the Communist troops along the East River, but when in discussing the problem of the Canton area General Chou only raised the East River brigade. He did not mention any Communist land troops in Hainan Island so when General Chang reported to the Government, he also only reported the fact that the Communists [would] like to evacuate their forces along the East River so if the Hainan Island problem is raised that means that the Government is not informed of that—the presence of Communist troops in Hainan Island.

General Chou: General Chou says this is easily to be settled because when the team was sent down to Canton it was explicitly stated by Executive Headquarters that there were two places where Communist troops were stated to be. General Chou suggests that we also take up the Hankow problem now because General Chang might be very busy before his departure.

General Gillem: I would like to make a suggestion as to procedure. In view of that fact that General Chang may go away day after tomorrow we can break up for 30 minutes to go home and wash up for dinner and then be available here for a meeting after that.

General Chang: General Chang has four conferences tonight, starting from 9 o’clock.

General Chou: General Chou asks if we can continue the discussion until 8 o’clock, then have dinner.

General Gillem: I am agreeable.

General Chang: General Chang agreed.

General Chou: Now the Communist area[s] to the north of Hankow are still besieged and although local provisions for food have been made that would only last for a matter of a few weeks. The problem still has to be solved. The method for solving this matter which I have in mind are the following. Since the Army has to be reorganized and during the reorganization the troops have to be assembled at one place from the various places to which they are now scattered; since it is not possible for the Communists to have a big place to be assembled they should be transferred to some other place to undergo reorganization. As to the rest they will be demobilized. If they are not transferred the problem cannot be settled and the food problem will be existing all the time. Even now we know that Hupeh is suffering badly from famine. In the PPC80 session the delegates have raised this point very sharply. Now if 2/3 of the Communist troops in that area are transferred and the rest demobilized then the Government troops surrounding this area can also be transferred. [Page 629] Once the Army have been sent to another point the food would be more available for the people. Otherwise there will be no way to solve the problem. Now we may recall this Hankow problem has been unsettled for 20 days after our tour. At the first meeting after our tour I stated that if the problem cannot be settled within two weeks that I would bring up this problem again. I have submitted a draft of my proposal81 and I have in mind the best way to transport the troops is by train. I am thinking that we may set aside one or two train runs which will run from the coal mine area in north Honan down to Hankow to bring down coal and on return they may take Communist soldiers up to North China. In this way the Communist troops would dispense with the marching by land and would avoid causing excess anxiety among the population. The field team would accompany the troops on the train and there would be no trouble on the way. So after some time the Communist troops would all be transferred to North China. Otherwise if we stick to the present circumstances there is a heavy line around the Communist troops and hostilities are bound to occur. Now we have to solve the food problem everywhere in China. North China, the Communist areas are going to send food into areas where food is needed. We have the same situation in Hupeh in view of shortage of food.

General Chang: Regarding the problem in Hankow area, General Chang recalls that when General Marshall was still in town the representatives reached some agreement as General Chang makes clear the movement of troops will be effected as a part of the demobilization and as regards food supply to the Communist troops north of Hankow, Government should assist effectively to relieve the food situation there. Now General Chou raised the troop movement points again. The reasons against troop movement at this juncture and the seriousness and complications involved have been explained in past meetings so there is no need for him to repeat. It seems to General Chang the problem now at hand is how to solve the food problem effectively. That is the first point. Second point. I wish to solve the over-all problem of food and movement as a part of the demobilization and integration process. If we finish the problems in that way it will be much easier and [more] effective without any complications or dangers involved.

General Chou: General Chou says the previous arrangement was only of a temporary nature and we have reached the understanding that the movement of troops will be incorporated into the Army reorganization plan. At that time he has made the statement that he hoped the food problem can be solved within two weeks and if it [Page 630] cannot be, he will bring up the same question again. Now three weeks have already elapsed and the problem is still unsettled. He has asked Chinese SOS82 whether they have reserves of food supply and they say they have not. As to the Ministry of Food this problem has not even been talked about by the Ministry so in urgent need we borrowed some money and we assure that the money can be returned by delivering food from Kalgan to places assigned by the Government. However, we have to take in view that the place where the Communist troops are stationed north of Hankow it is very difficult to buy food even if they have money so the food problem is still present and some way of settlement has to be found. Now since we all agree that when the reorganization starts the troops will be moved to some other places and we also know the Communist troops in Hupeh and Canton are those which will be reorganized in the initial period of reorganization so they have to be withdrawn anyway. In the brief discussion between the Government and the Communist Party it has been agreed that the Communists would withdraw from 8 points and 2 points are left, that is in Kwangtung and north of Hankow. General Chou cannot visualize that the reorganization can be effected in such a small area. He takes the view it seems safe to have the troops transferred and that we will use a plan for the movement so that we can carry out the plan which will take some time, That is one more reason why we have discussed beforehand so that we would have less trouble in supplying food for the troops in the future. Even if the troops are to be transferred by train that would at least take half a month. With all these in view it seems to him very sound to have the transfer carried out, at least to have the plan worked out now for the transfer.

General Chang: General Chang made a statement that in the reorganization and integration troop movements are bound to have to take place. That is after we have worked out a detailed plan for the implementation of the reorganization then at that time both the National troops and the Communist troops have to go to their designated localities for reorganization and for demobilization so it seems that it is much more advisable to just await the working out of that plan the [that] the troops all over this country will all start the movement to their designated area. If at the present moment we allowed that particular Communist area to move it will cause misunderstanding and confusion. The Government has already demobilized a number of units. The Government has submitted the data and the lists of demobilization to the Combined Chiefs of Staff, while the Communist side hasn’t submitted their list to the Combined Staff yet. So at the present moment, the problem is only [as] to how to solve the food problem. [Page 631] The troop movement problem will be settled when the detailed plan has been worked out, That is, wait for a short time for that plan to be finished and then the troop movement can take place according to that plan. The point of view of General Chang differs from General Chou’s in this respect. The troop movement under the detailed plan for demobilization will not cause any complication or misunderstanding. It seems to General Chang that waiting for that two weeks there is nothing to lose on the Communist side as effective means of supplying food will be arranged. Regarding the effective means of supplying food to Communist troops in the area north of Hankow, General Chang is willing to propose to form another sub-committee[,] that is a member from the Communist, a representative from the Government to work jointly with the Ministry of Food to solve the food problem. At the same time General Chang wishes that General Chou will also contemplate to relieve the food situation in those places surrounded by Communist troops especially at Linyang which is in the south part of Hunan where it is reported that several tens of thousands of civilians have already starved to death.

General Chou: General Chou says in this connection we actually have two problems to solve. One, regarding the reorganization plan and secondly regarding the food plan. Regarding the first, General Chang has admitted that it would be easier to move the troops under the reorganization plan and then General Chou raises the point that it must be understood of course that the Communist troops in the area north of Hankow should have the first priority to move to another place as soon as the reorganization plan takes place and General Chang agrees. If that principle is recognized then of course we can expect to work out the plan within a week[,] then it can be immediately put into execution, then the movement of Communist troops in this area. As to the food problem, General Chou agrees with General Chang’s proposal that the Executive Headquarters should try to contact both sides to establish a commission for dealing with the food problem. The committee will survey the food situation in all the places and try to readjust the food situation in all places and to take food away from those places where it is in surplus. In this way they would help to solve the present food problem. Of course, that may be only a temporary solution but still it would help.

General Gillem: In that connection has General Chou designated the Communist member who is going to work on the Control Group. I know the Control Group has a list from the Government, but none from the Communists. If you put your representative on there this is a critical area and could be one of the first to be considered. Is the solution agreeable to both gentlemen as worked out?

[Page 632]

General Chang: General Chang would like to state his understanding.

To expedite the detailed plan of demobilization. After that plan had been decided[,] then the troop movements in the area north of Hankow have first priority.
A subcommittee should be formed consisting of members from the Ministry of Food and member from the National Military Council and a member from Chinese Communist Party to make a tour over all the country to find out the real situation in order to formulate an over-all plan for alleviating the food situation over all China.

General Gillem: I understand. Is that satisfactory then?

General Chou: General Chou suggests that the committee should be formed within three days.

General Chang agreed.

General Gillem: I think that is a good day’s work. I wish to express my appreciation to both of them. Now if you will all stay around we will have dinner in a few minutes. This meeting is adjourned.

  1. Names listed in three columns in these and similar minutes are respectively those of representatives and their assistants of the Chinese National Government, the Chinese Communist Party, and the United States.
  2. Memorandum of March 15, p. 615.
  3. Undated draft, p. 619.
  4. On March 9; see p. 516.
  5. People’s Political Council.
  6. Supra.
  7. Services of Supply.